January 25, 2013

Here's how to make every run count!

A heart rate monitor is an extremely useful training tool designed for wear during strenuous exercise to measure and record your heart rate. They are one of the most effective aids for tracking and developing your aerobic endurance which is a point of focus for almost any runner. Here is some basic information about the benefits of using a heart rate monitor: 

Monitor your fitness
Polar RCX5 Run
Using a heart rate monitor allows you to monitor and precisely control the intensity of your running. You'll be able to determine how much benefit you are deriving from your workout and tailor your workouts to meet your goals. It is the most accurate gauge as other methods, such as how hard you are breathing, or how tired you feel, can reflect other factors and give imprecise information of the effectiveness of your workout.

Lose weight effectively
If weight loss is the primary reason behind your workout, a heart rate monitor can help you achieve your goal. By adjusting your pace you’ll ensure that you are burning body fat and not just the carbohydrates in the meal you ate earlier in the day. 

Prevent Overtraining
Using a heart monitor to avoid stressing your body too much will help to prevent overtraining and in turn minimize the opportunity for injury. Injuries will be much less likely to occur and it goes without saying that avoiding injuries are critical to avoiding setbacks. Once you determine the desired intensity of your weekly workouts, you can use the monitor as a gauge. You'll also avoid depleting your body's glycogen stores which ensures you'll have enough energy to perform your intense workouts. 

Prevent Undertraining
Probably less common than overtraining is undertraining but some runners simply do not run hard enough or often enough. In this case, the monitor acts like a coach, telling you when your body can handle more, and consequently, when you should pick up the pace. Set a minimum heart-rate goal for your run, and the monitor will sound an alarm when you have dropped below your target, telling you to work harder.

Pace Yourself during training
Another use for a heart monitor is to pace your training runs. Your time is not always the best measure of how hard you are working since any number of factors – different terrain & energy levels, inconsistent distance measurements –can mislead you into thinking that you have performed well or poorly when in fact, the opposite may be true. The work-rate of your heart is the best measurement of your cardiovascular performance so pacing your training runs according to your heart rate is the best method of targeting your cardiovascular fitness.

Pace Yourself during racing
Some runners not only train with a heart monitor, but race with one as well. The monitor is a great tool for gauging effort during a race. It is an objective observer than can help you maintain a consistent pace, both over varied terrain and in areas where other factors affect your motivation and speed. Wearing a monitor while racing is perhaps most useful for preventing you from going out too fast or working too hard early in the race.


A heart rate monitor can perform a multitude of functions –tracking weight, body fat, body water, calories burned cadence and much more. Prices range from around $80 for a basic model to over $400 with GPS to track your pace and distance. Visit us at Runner's Edge, 242 Main Street, Farmingdale to get more information about heart rate monitors and how they can help you get the most out of your running!

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