A heart rate monitor is a small, personal monitoring device that many athletes use to monitor their heart rate during physical activity. It can measure someone’s heart rate in real time or record it for later study. Does a beginning runner need to use a heart rate monitor?
While it is not a necessary piece of athletic equipment, a heart rate monitor can improve a beginning runner’s performance faster than simply relying on the way he or she feels. However, this handy piece of equipment is only effective if the runner knows how to use it. Used properly, it is like having a personal coach along for every run.
A heart rate monitor can help a runner train at the appropriate intensity level. It sets a running pace that is neither too hard and fast nor too slow and easy. When it is time to step up training, the monitor nudges the runner to the right workout intensity.
To improve fitness, a runner can change or control three variables: frequency, duration and intensity. Frequency refers to how often a runner exercises. Duration alludes to the length of the run. Intensity describes the level of challenge of a workout session.
These variables remain constant whether someone wants to shed pounds or train for a marathon. If general health and well-being is the goal, a few easy workouts a week can do the trick. A heart rate monitor is not necessary for casual workouts and weekend warriors.
On the other hand, it can be a valuable aid for someone who wants to be fit, especially if the goal is to complete a race or finish faster. Workout intensity is very important for marathon runners, triathletes and cyclists. For these athletes, heart rating training is a must.
While exercise frequency and duration is easy to get right, workout intensity is harder to target. It is also the most important variable for achieving a fitness goal. How a runner feels is not an accurate gauge since various factors – enthusiasm, mood swings and training partners – can influence heart rate.
A heart rate monitor makes workout intensity easy to determine. Heart Rate Monitors USA, found at heartratemonitorsusa.com, is an example of a company that sells this handy piece of athletic equipment. The monitors on this site represent all of the most popular brands. A runner can decide what the heart rate will be for a particular workout, and the monitor will ensure that this rate is reached during a workout.
Depending on the brand and model, a heart rate monitor can help a runner determine the normal and best heart rates for given levels of intensity. Through mental and machine calculations, a runner can find his or her functional threshold heart rate (FTHR) to establish various training goals.