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Please help me see the point of my heart rate monitor!!

(14 Posts)
Britchic Wed 03-Apr-13 15:08:39

Hi all

I have loved running for years, I run twice a week, 4k and 8k, not particularly fast, but I do it because I love the peace & quiet, the scenery, and I like to feel fit from it.

Which is why I was very confused when my husband gave me a polar heart rate monitor. He thought it would be great for me because I love running! I get how it works (kind of), but for me I just don't see the point.... yes I could lose a tiny bit more weight, and yes I could be a little bit more fit, but I'm totally uncompetitive, so not worried about increasing speed for races, and I really enjoy running the way I always have done.

I'm very tempted to get him to sell it on (but worry he'd be upset), I don't want to leave it in a drawer.... can anyone help me to see the point of it for my kind of running?!! I really would love to fall in love with it!

Thanks so much!

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Fri 05-Apr-13 12:14:42

It's quite handy if you're a bit geeky and into analysis, or are a bit competitive with yourself.

DH uses his to run in heartrate zones and train according to his bonkers schedules. I think this is the traditional way of using it.

I tend to use mine to confirm what I knew - as in "that was hard today" normally shows a higher heartrate than normal, and sometimes if I'm feeling loopy I see how high I can push it. What they do show, however is that you're getting fitter. As you get more used to running you'll be able to maintain the same pace at a lower heartrate, which helps to confirm that there's a reason for taking the time to train. It comforts me that the pain has a purpose!

rubyrubyruby Fri 05-Apr-13 12:18:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheSurgeonsMate Fri 05-Apr-13 12:20:45

I used mine when I started running to make sure that I was running slowly enough! You're a bit beyond this stage though. You might be right that it's not your style.

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Fri 05-Apr-13 12:51:25

I have a polar one and I love it and like Hotel's DH, use it for heart rate/calories during my also bonkers fitness regime. Mine doesn't moniter distance though so would be useless for running apart from calorie counting.

waycat Sat 06-Apr-13 08:36:09

For a while now I've been toying with the idea of buying a HRM, but have always said "no", mainly because I think I'm scared that it will tell me that I haven't been burning as many calories as I'd hoped after all this time!

Maybe it's better I just carry on in blissful ignorance and enjoy my workouts for what they are - a bit of escapism, and "me" time.

applejelly Mon 08-Apr-13 09:36:56

If you always run the same distance at the same speed your body will adapt and you won't make any gains in fitness after a while, and sometimes you actually lose fitness slightly (there is a technical name for this but I can't remember it just now!). So a HRM might be useful to shake up your runs a bit (e.g. do some intervals at a higher HR in the middle of your 8k run) and give you a boost of extra fitness. Of course, you could do that without a HRM!

It does sound like it's not really your thing, but it may be worth trying it for a bit as it's quite a thoughtful present from your DH. I don't have one as I'm only just restarting running with c25k, but might do later in the year when I start training for a 10k.

Keep enjoying your running, whatever you do!

Pedallleur Mon 08-Apr-13 09:52:18

Men love them s it's a gadget that can quantify how hard they are (not) working. Basically you have a number of zones > 100% (Max effort). You need to know what your resting heart rate is (when healthy) and what your max is (there is a rough formula but I can't remember it - Karvonen?). Basically you should be aiming to run in the 60-70% 'aerobic' zone and above this you go 'anaerobic'. I stopped using one it distracted me from running but if you know how to use the figures they can be good. Note that stress,illness etc will raise your heart rate so the HRM may get skewed by that.

Mondrian Tue 09-Apr-13 12:05:02

If you are happy with doing what you're doing now - running for fun and keeping fit then don't bother. A HRM is really used to provide some focus for your training by adopting a more scientific approach and addressing specific training in Endurance, power & speed.

rubyrubyruby Tue 09-Apr-13 12:14:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

applejelly Tue 09-Apr-13 19:58:01

ruby my mum is 60 and she started running last year - you're a spring chicken! smile

Britchic Thu 18-Apr-13 15:05:26

Hi everyone

Sorry, been away, but thank you so much for all the responses.

Ok, I think I might give it another go to increase my fitness levels.

However I'm quite confused... the one (and only) time I used it I averaged 80% of my max heat rate (it works this out through your weight age etc). So it kept beeping at me to slow down (it was set for me to run at 65-75% max heart rate), but I don't run particularly fast.... and I certainly don't want to slow down!

Can anyone tell me what percentage I should run at if I want to get fitter? And if I can't get used to it I'm following Mondrian's advice!

Thanks so much for your help!

Pedallleur Fri 19-Apr-13 09:27:30

you need to set the rates yourself. Generally going as hard as you can for as long as you can to get to 100%. Using the Karvonen formula will get you in the area but you have to take account of weight, fitness,age. When you have the number then you should aim to be in the 60-70% zone.

HotelTangoFoxtrotUniform Fri 19-Apr-13 09:35:36

Yes ignore the formula for working out your max heart rate and go out to do some hill reps to work it out yourself. On about the fourth balls-out hill rep you'll get your maximum.

I have to do the same - my max HR according to the formula is 186. I can maintain conversation whilst running in the 170s and max at over 200.

Fitness is an odd concept - if you want to remain in the aerobic zone then the percentages you have are right, if you want to push that zone wider you need to work above your aerobic threshold, doing intervals and the like.

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