Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Why I'll No Longer Run Blind

I tested out my dad's prehistoric heart rate monitor last night. It actually worked pretty well. It was an old Polar monitor. How old you ask? Old enough to be made in Finland and not China or India.

Testing Out a Heart Rate Monitor
This particular monitor had a chest strap and also a watch.  You have to wet (lick) the sensors to activate them, and then you place the strap right under your chest. The watch can go anywhere, since it does not measure your heart rate.

Just from putting the device on my heart rate jumped up to 72 and then 80 beats per minute. This is pretty cool. It almost made me excited to go run in the cold. I also used my dad's mountain biking flashlight (one that attaches to your head). I can only image what the neighbors thought as I ran by with a dozen electronics stuck to me.

I'm still missing not having a great place to run. Running up and down my neighborhood isn't cutting it, but for now it would have to do. I made sure all my straps were tightened, and I bolted down the street turning left and up the hill. I ran about 70% of my max effort and when I made it to the top of the hill I had a pretty good burn in my legs. The heart rate monitor read 160 - which for me is my aerobic zone. Success! Now, I know approximately how hard I have to run to get into the aerobic zone.

Getting Started with Your Heart Rate Zones
I used this website to calculate your heart rate zones. It also does a great job of explaining why you should train with one. The short answer is that the heart rate monitor is an easy way to track your progress. You may think that you are pushing yourself, but the heart rate monitor won't lie to you (as long as your put it on right).

I am going to continue to test out how hard I think I'm working and compare it to my actual heart rate. With out the monitor you can gauge your intensity on mileage, or speed, but I have no way of tracking these things. So, I'll continue to use the Polar device until I can find a replacement. I would really like to have this Garmin 305 watch. The features look awesome, and it got great reviews from people who have bought it from Amazon. I think I'm just a geek for statistics. Check out this photo...

I think it would be really cool to see your runs plotted out on a map. You can also track your heart rate, speed, and so much more. It is pretty bulky though. I definitely would not wear this out anywhere that I wasn't running with it. I think it's only a matter of time before I get something fancy to track my progress. But for now, the Polar heart rate monitor will do.

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