Saturday, March 04, 2006

Heart rate monitor

OK yes I know that I haven’t blogged in a while but this one is a good one. This one is about my heart rate monitor. The heart rate monitor that I have is the Polar RS200ds which means its not only a heart rate monitor but a speed distance monitor as well. The speed distance monitor is a little thing that you put on your shoe.

So at first I wasn’t a big fan of the heart rate monitor but that’s because I hadn’t spend enough time figuring out what everything meant and I hadn’t figured out how to use it. Well this week changed things for me. This week I’ve been doing some hard training attempting to drag myself back into shape. I’ve been stacking the workouts back to back in an attempt to get myself into shape. I’ll talk about this idea later in the blog but the watch is actually helping with this stacking of workouts. On Thursday I had a really hard hill workout (6*2min up a massive hill) and I was totally exhausted when I got home. The watch didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know from the workout, I knew that I had worked very hard and I wasn’t in shape. Friday is when the heart rate monitor was really useful and I’ll tell you why. Friday was meant to be an easy recovery day but when I started running I wasn’t running that quickly but I looked down at the heart rate monitor and it was telling me my heart rate was higher than it should be for an easy run. This was a warning sign that I was tired from Thursdays workout and that I should slow down even more to get the full benefit from the recovery run. Normally I would have just thought that I was lazy on Friday and would have pushed through the run and not complained or even known that I was overly tired. So finally this heart rate monitor has become useful. You can set the watch up so that you can be in between certain heart rate zones and if you get outside of the zone the watch will beep at you but I’m not sure if this is something that I’m really interested in right now.

Now I really like the speed distance monitor a lot. This thing is totally handy because I travel a lot for work and it’s always good to know the total distance of the run. That being said I have been running long enough that I normally pretty good at telling how far I’ve run so it isn’t that big of a deal. The big thing for me is the speed monitor that can tell you at what pace you are going. I love this because when I’m away and I have to workout I normally set my workout up so that I will do some tempo running. Tempo running is when pick up your pace for a certain time period but the key is that you need to keep that pace for the whole time period. You try to get a total time of tempo running of over 20 minutes because then it has an effect on your total fitness. This means you could do something like 4 reps of 5 minutes or 2 reps of 10 minutes, you get the idea. Well the watch is really good at telling me the pace that I’m at so that for the whole tempo run I can keep the same pace. I love it! When I think I’m going to slowly at the start I just check the watch and it tells me I’m at the right pace or it tells me to get my butt in gear.

For me I use the heart rate monitor to help keep my easy days easy and I use the speed distance monitor to help with my tempo running. Tempo running is only one maybe two workouts a week so I guess I really don’t need that part of the watch but since I bought the full meal deal its been worth it. I do like looking at what my average km is over an easy run and to monitor what my heart rate is at that km rate. I do think that if you are doing shorter workouts on the track I don’t think either the heart rate monitor or the speed distance monitor are that useful but longer lonely runs it can be a lot of fun.


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