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Five tips for running with a heart rate monitor

gps timingTraining with a heart rate monitor is beneficial for runners of all levels. Competitive runners can carefully gauge their progress and tailor their training for peak performance while more fitness-oriented runners can assure training runs are spent in the optimal zones.

Find your correct training zones

The 220-minus-your-age formula for calculating your maximum heart rate is notoriously inaccurate, especially for fitter athletes. While there are many formulas coaches and athletes use to figure out the maximum heart rate and anaerobic threshold (the point at which you stop using fat as your main energy source), it’s worth a trip to a reputable testing facility to get some accurate numbers to make using your heart rate monitor more worthwhile.

Train in different zones

To get the most out of your heart rate monitor, you should be using it to make sure you’re training at the right intensity for each workout. If the workout is supposed to be hard, your heart rate monitor will be a great tool to make sure you’re pushing as hard as you should be. If you’re on an easy, fat-burning run, the heart rate monitor is a great help to make sure you’re going easy enough.

Keep it simple

While many heart rate monitors provide an extensive list of features, including alarms and memory functions, sometimes all you really need is to be able to see is the heart rate. If you typically shy away from complicated gadgets, don’t feel you need to pick up a technical heart rate monitor.

Analyze the data

If you do have a heart rate monitor that provides memory functions or can be downloaded into a computer, use that function to keep track of your workouts. That information can prove invaluable as a gauge of your fitness.

Don’t be a slave to your monitor

Some days, especially when you’re tired, it truly is best to take a day off from analyzing your heart rate during training. If you’re having one of those days, leave the monitor at home and listen to your body during that day’s workout.