HealthTraining & Performance

Heart Smarts

Training with a monitor can be daunting to master, but it’s the best way to make the most of your workouts.

Human heart (Photo: Wikimedia)
Human heart


It's All in the Wrist

Get started tracking your workouts with the best combined heart rate monitor GPS watches on the market.

First determine your maximum heart rate, since you’ll be basing most of your workout ranges on it. Warm up for 20 to 30 minutes, then do five all-out sprints of 45 to 60 seconds (for runners) or 90 seconds (for cyclists and swimmers). The highest number your monitor captures is your max.

Begin plotting workouts tailored to your goals. If you’re looking to finish an Ironman, load up your schedule with easy aerobic work (60 to 70 percent of your max), an intensity that builds endurance. Running a 10K or half-marathon? You’ll want a balance of threshold and economy training (90 to 95 percent) to maximize effi­ciency. And if you regularly train in open water or off-road, a heart-rate-monitor-GPS combo can help you maintain a consistent effort even when terrain or conditions vary.

Tracking your heart rate is an ideal way to monitor your fitness over time. If you’re working hard but not improving, check to see whether your heart rate is elevated in the morning or during easy workouts—classic signs of overtraining and a reminder to back off either your volume or your intensity. For hard-charging athletes, a monitor makes it easy to avoid creeping into threshold range on recovery days—a sure way to get injured—by alerting you when your heart rate gets too high.

Our mission to inspire readers to get outside has never been more critical. In recent years, Outside Online has reported on groundbreaking research linking time in nature to improved mental and physical health, and we’ve kept you informed about the unprecedented threats to America’s public lands. Our rigorous coverage helps spark important debates about wellness and travel and adventure, and it provides readers an accessible gateway to new outdoor passions. Time outside is essential—and we can help you make the most of it. Making a financial contribution to Outside Online only takes a few minutes and will ensure we can continue supplying the trailblazing, informative journalism that readers like you depend on. We hope you’ll support us. Thank you.
Contribute to Outside
From Outside Magazine, Feb 2012
Filed To: RunningEndurance TrainingHeart-Rate Monitors
Lead Photo: Wikimedia
More Health