What are the benefits of running with a heart rate monitor?

Heart Rate monitors can ensure that an athlete is working in the proper zone throughout their training to target very specific adaptations in the body from increased reliance on fat for fuel, to more oxygen delivery to working muscles. There are various methods to calculate appropriate ranges. The most common one used is the 5 zone method.

Here is a break down of the 5 zones and how to calculate your heart rate for each zone:

Zone 1 - 50-60% max heart rate. This is considered the recovery or “easy” zone. Athletes should begin and end their training sessions in zone 1 for proper warm-up and cool down.

Zone 2 - 60-70% max heart rate. This is a mildly harder effort, slow jogging, but still aerobic. This zone is sustainable for longer runs.

Zone 3 - 70-80% max heart rate. Most of your workouts should be done in this zone as this is the best way to increase aerobic endurance as the body responds to training in zone 3 with many physiological adaptations; one of which is increasing mitochondrial density; the powerhouse of the working cell.

Zone 4 - 80-90% max heart rate. This is the zone you likely reach when running up a hill or increasing your pace at the end of a race. You can’t sustain it for long, but spending more and more time in Zone 4 by alternating hard efforts with recovery will lead to improved performance.

Zone 5 90-100% max heart rate. These are all out efforts for a very short period of time. They are not sustainable, but they can help to build speed when safely integrated into a training program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.