Heart rate monitor training



  • Folks,

    I have been lurking on here for a while now. I noted the earlier posts about spurious high readings on hrm and moistening the chest strap and your chest before the run. The high readings have gone BUT when I do that the hrm shows me belting along at 36 bpm no matter what the effort or worse still at 0 bpm !!

    Anyone have insight ? Will the conductive gel sold at Boots be any better ?

    Cheers, Pies
  • I have just had a speed read through this forum, sounds like a perfect combination of gadgets and exercise to me!!

    A couple of questions though:

    1. What HRM is most common among you guys?

    2. I am moving into my 3rd year of running and I would like to reduce my times - is HRM trining likely to do this for me (currently 21:30 5K, 43:40 10k, 1:34 half M and 3:39 M)

    3. I train between 20 and 50 miles per week and race about once a month as a speed check - would HRM require a greater commitment.

    4. Are there any downsides to doing this?

    Thanks for the help - any answers will be appreciated.

    ps my last gadget was my IPOD a year ago so I am long overdue for another!

  • I'm testing a Polar RS800 for Polar right now and I'm getting on very well with it. Others seem to be using the Garmin.

    Certainly making me focus on my training more than I used to, a bit to early to say how much difference the HRM and software is making to my fitness and performance. In the past I just trained by running how I felt on the day. Now I have some structure and a way of monitoring and analysing each run.
  • Thanks Big Pony - you are saying what I want to hear, I want to move on from running how I feel and focus on what I am doing and how.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Hi Steven,

    I don't feel entirely qualified to advise on the training since I'm quite new to running myself - just to say that for me the HRM gives me a lot of assurance that I'm training at the right level as a 'marathon virgin'.

    I use the Timex Ironman T5C411 (£70) which seems to have every function I need - min/max/average HR, pre-set and manual training zones, 30 laps, etc. Works perfectly well so far, no erroneous readings and the chest strap is v comfortable.
  • Hi.Everyone.I've been reading quite a bit of this thread.The formula I am using 180 -your age.Which for me is 152.Im using this for all my runs at the moment while I try and build my base and mileage.I've been running about three and a half months now but have only been training like this for a fortnight.I have done about 50 miles over the last couple of weeks.I feel fine but do you think my training max of 152bpm is too high.I have'nt really noticed any improvements yet but know it takes sometime.

  • I struggle big time to get my heart rate low enough to do any of this type of training. I recorded a HR of 198bpm last summer and felt I could actually go over 200 when I did it. I am 27 now, so in theory my max HR should be lower according to some formulas. Anyway, that asside my resting HR is below 50, yet as soon as I begin running I find it very difficult to get my heart rate lower than 165, about 170 is good for me if I can maintain it. I can if I push myself maintain about 180-185bpm over a 10km run without collapsing and dieing. Usually I have enough left to get up a bit of a sprint at the end too. I find it difficult to imagine that this sort of training would be suitable for me. Am I a freak or do I just have a big strong over enthusiastic heart?

    I did a 10km run this evening, although I am not amazingly fit at the moment and on my usual hilly course I managed to do a 54 minutes 49 seconds which isn't too bad for the course I feel. I have when much fitter done the course in 50 minutes 29 seconds. Admittedly I didn't go hard tonight as I haven't been running a lot lately and am starting again, but I have heard of this HR training where you run at about 70%, but I can either walk way below the 70% mark or run way over the 70% mark. I cannot win...!

    I wondered if anyone had any advice?
  • Guys,
    Good read this, esp for us night workers.

    Have used a Polar Rs200 for 3years, used other Polar gear before when I competed in canoeing.

    Im 34, and have my wach on a% setting for showing effort, as it easier to maintain this on my runs.
    My max Hr was 206,(102%)last km of a 10km run.
    Have completed my;
    spring marathon 2hour54, avg Hr 91%
    ashby 20mile 92%
    half mara 93%
    We are all diffrent, and my recovery runs, feels slow but I know worthwhile the 65% runs you get used to, honest.

    Intervals i love em, al that feedback afterwards! Average hr, peak hr, lap times, am I the only one...
  • Hi all - I've just started doing a bit of running and want to make it a little more focussed by using a heart monitor. I'd like to get a decent book but the 'compleat idiot' that everyone recommends uses distance rather than time according to the Amazon reviews. I just go out and run for half an hour - fast if I feel good, slow if I don't and I'm not too fussed about how far it is (even if I had a way of finding out). I'd like to increase this time - preferably without killing myself. Does anyone know if I can easily adapt the book to time or is there another that might suit me better. I hope that's not a daft question, and any advice will be gratefully received. Thanks folks.
  • I can see no reason why you cant use it for time instead of distance. Infact your mileage will probably increase anyway as you improve. If you want to get the most out of heart monitor training you will have to increase the amount of time you spend running though.

  • I have used a hrm since i began running in October and i cant fathom it at all. My hr is typically about 175bpm after about 5 minutes. If it goes much above 183 i know i am "in trouble" and when i reach 190 i am running on borrowed time (so i'll walk until its dropped).

    Today i joined my running club on a 5k and within 5 minutes i was at 189bpm. I also managed to get a stitch which only happened once before too and i hadnt set off too quickly since i went off first under a "handicap" system". Great eh? my running debut with my peers and i had a nightmare.

    In terms of my background, i couldnt run for 5 minutes in October, i weighed almost 19 stone. I had a goal to complete the Edinburgh marathon in May and somehow i managed it. I am still overweight now at 14.5 stone.

    I have managed about races in excess of 10 miles plus a couple of solo efforts so plodding along at 180bpm is something i am capable of, i just cant help but feel i am working so much harder than i ought to be.

    Now every race i enter i roll home towards the back, typically beating about 5-10 people in 350 runner races. This doesnt bother me at all but what is bothering me is my heart rate. I CANNOT run at 75% of my max heart rate (estimated at 200bpm, ive never done a max stress test - the age formula doesnt work since i am 33 so my max ought to be 187) since my hr is never lower than 150 when i run and im running 11 minute miles as it is, if i go much slower i will be walking.

    I know i am getting fitter, the gym does fitness tests and every one has improved on the last and my resting hr has dropped from 65 to 57bpm.

    Do i just have to accept my body is knackered? Will it improve any? I dont seem to be getting any quicker at all, the times i was running in February on 4 months training i am still running now.

    Dont get me wrong, i am not out to rival Haile Gebreselassie, i would just like to be able to run comfortably instead of running to the point of exhaustion all the time.
  • Hello.

    Is anyone still training like this and how is the training going?


  • IanRunner,

    Pretty much.

    I have been doing all my long runs and recovery runs at 70% WHR. For my Tempo and LT runs I have running at a pace prescribed by the McMillian Pace Calculator based upon actual race times (and predicted marathon time from my half time).

    Ran Leicester marathon in just over 3 hour 9 minutes.

    I would say that it does work but running at 70% WHR will only get you so far.

  • Hi Sean,

    Impressive time for the marathon.

    What you are saying is what I have heard too. I have been using HR monitor training for my base training. The formula was slightly different to John L Parker but it has only worked out a few bpm difference for steady runs. Which was all I did for three months apart from races. I got some decent results. I have just started to use John L Parkers method  with one long run, one tempo run (above 85%) and three to four easy runs per week. I think just adding a tempo run each week will probably make a difference after the base training.

    I have heard alot about Mcmillian pace calculator, it s seems a popular way to train, how have you found it? Iam debating using that or hr training at the moment.

  • IanRunner,

    I don't run any races less than 10 miles. Therefore, when I had to do Tempo runs and Intervals at 10k or 5k pace I didn't have any real clue at what pace I should be running at. McMillian gave me the answers.

    Just for the record the McMillian calculator had my Marathon predicted time as 3:09:28......I managed 3:09:20. Can't get much closer than that.

    I was running 70 miles a week to acheive my 3.09.20 with midweek runs of 12 and 15 miles, not to mention 17 to 21 at the weekend. So, my stamina was greatly improved too.

    The heart rate training certainly helps me to training effectively on every run.

  • There's a copy of the John L. Parker book `Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot' available on ebay.  Might be a cheaper option than amazon!


  • BR - are you the person selling it?

  • No it's mine, listed under BR's ebay account as I don't have one.

    Obviously not allowed to advertise on hereimage

  • Hilly, did you find it helpful?

     I have a feeling I borrowed a copy from a library a few years back and didn't really get on with it (mainly because I didn't realise that WHR's varied so much between people)

  • At 51 my training HR zones are those of a 29 year old using the 'averages' that are often published,  If I were to follow the averages for my age - 51 - I wouldn't get out of bed.  So it is important to find the real numbers for your own body.

    Despite the expense I got a copy and this time I found it useful because I know my Max and Resting Heart Rates.  The book offers examples to start you off, and tells you how to find out the real figures.  I think I must have skipped that bit on first reading!

    It has been quite strange to run so slowly, but I have managed to go further and to break the one-hour-non-stop barrier by following the advice in Parker's book, so I'll stick with it for now.  

    Anyway, this week I received the first copy that I'd ordered couple of months ago and was lost in the post, so I've listed it on Ebay

  • Hi guys,

    I've only just recently began training with an HRM which my mate gave me. It's an old Polar one, (not sure of model number). It lets me see HR during a run and afterwards I can see total time and average HR. It's pretty basic but it's helping me to train at the correct intensity for the time being.

    Before I started using it I was convinced that I wanted a Garmin Forerunner 305 for my Christmas, however, now i'm becoming more inclined to go for the Forerunner 50. Does anyone have any advice on which would be better?

    As far as training is going, I read the article by Hadd (i think?) and am currently using the 180-age+5 formula to give me a training HR of 155. I'm using this for all runs just now as i'm trying to concentrate on improving my base level of fitness before beginning training in earnest for the Edinburgh Marathon in January. 

  • Hi leslie.

    I treid that method myself and got some good results from it. You will gain alot from if you do a decent amount of mileage or build upto a decent amount. I got upto about 40 miles per week and it helped me alot.


  • Ian, I'm currently trying to increase my mileage. I only started running in February to train for the Great North Run and did so quite haphazardly. Hopefully this will help!
  • Hi Leslie,
    I got a 305 a few weeks back, I would thoroughly recommend it. The price seems to have come down an awful lot too. I used to use the nike plus system with the foot sensor which I guess is comparable to the new garmin, but I wouldn't swap the 305 for anything.
    Only this week I've started trying to do the Hadd training, but I'm doing 2 paces 160 and 140, I'm going to continue with that til I decide on some target races for next year, and will then incorporate some faster stuff. I'm also going to do the track test the article talks about tomorrow, hopefully that should give me some tangible way of measuring progress
    I did GNR this year (also my first running year) I think I'll only do it again if I can start right near the front or to run it with someone doing it for the first time
    good luck with your training
  • I only want to train three days a week;

     0.5-1.5hr Monday & Wed

    1.5 -3 hrs Sat run

    I want to keep things simple - using %MaxHR & run duration to plan my training for a race in March - are there any training plans out there for me?



  • Here's a link to a cycling forum where you will find heart rate training zones from the following orgs/coaches...

    • Joe Friel
    • Andy Coggan
    • British Cycling Fed
    • Peter Keen (original BCF guidelines)
    • Sally Edwards
    • Karnoven Formula
    • Ric Stern
    • Dr. Peter Kanopka
    • ACSM guidelines 

    It requires dowloading an excel file, I've used it with no problems but rememeber to virus scan before opening it just in case.


  • Hi all,

    I've actually just realised that it's the Maffetone method (as described in the 'want speed?, slow down!) article i'm following and not the Hadd one! I have the read the article by Hadd and that was what confused me. It doesn't take much!

    I did a maximum aerobic fitness (MAF) test last night over 4 miles and the results were;

    1. 8.46
    2. 8.46
    3. 8.48
    4. 8.57

    In the example of a MAF test in the article the differences between each mile are much greater. It was a bit windy last night and I did notice that my HR was not constant throughout the test. I'm not sure whether I should try it again tonight or not.

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