Polar Heart Rate Training
I have made a fundamental shift in my training plan in the last while. Last season, I went a lot by how I felt, but one thing I have found is that I cannot necessarily trust myself when it comes to that. Exhibit A? What I thought was just annoying case of shin splints that ended up being stress fractures. A high pain tolerance is both a blessing and a curse.
At the beginning of this year, I read the Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing by Dr Philip Maffetone. As in most things in life, I try not to subscribe to just one school of thought when it comes to training and performance, but one thing I did take away from the book was heart rate training for running.
What is Heart Rate Training?
Tracking your heart rate with a monitor (which reads your pulse via a sensor built into a chest strap) tells you precisely how hard—or easy—your heart is working. When you work out using a heart-rate monitor, you’ll aim to work out within a specific zone. Hitting a “zone” means falling within a particular percentage of your heart rate during every workout—for example, 65 to 80 percent for most runs and 90 percent or more as you blaze to a fast race finish.
Benefits of Heart Rate Training
- You can monitor your heart rate for variability. A higher heart rate can be telling of an impending illness or overtraining. It can be helpful to prevent injury and overtraining which are both things I battle with.
- You can train with specificity. You can pick the zone that you want to train in whether it is neuromuscular, anaerobic or aerobic.
- It is helpful to mimic your sport of choice while cross training. While off with a stress fracture, I have been using it to transfer run workouts to the bike. I have just been training in the heart rate zone I am wanting to tackle using my Polar sports watch.
- It is a great way to track progress. Over time, you are able to do the same level of workout with a lower heart rate. It is exciting and motivating to see!
As a part of my training for my 2015 season (and trust me, I have some HUGELY exciting races on the horizon), I have partnered with Polar Canada as an ambassador for their heart rate watches.
The watch I have been using has been the Polar V800 and I wanted to chat a little bit about why I love the watch so much.
Why the V800?
- This is the most incredible watch I have ever used. I was wearing it in a coffee shop recently (because it is fairly average for me to waltz around in public in spandex and running shoes) and someone approached me and asked about about the watch, thinking it was a fashion watch. It is that slick.
- While we are on superficial topics, the sounds this watch makes are so intuitive, light and amazing.
- It lets me know at the end of each training session what my training load is and how long I should rest until my next session.
- Quickly finds the GPS signal. You are not left standing with your wrist to the sky before the run.
- Fully customizable sports profile. Like seriously. It even makes sure it knows which wrist you wear it on.
- Fully waterproof. Even the heart rate monitor. I tested it out with some ocean water swims in Mexico and it worked beautifully.
- Fully compatible with Bluetooth so I can upload my workouts to my iPhone.
- Has a great platform to monitor training called Polar Flow.
There are many other watches in the Polar line, including the snazzy new M400, but I love this one for triathlon training as it tracks the swim/bike/run.
Do you use heart rate training?
What is your watch of choice to train with?