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Using a Heart Rate Monitor For OCR Training

I'm sure a lot of you are currently using a Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) in your training, and no doubt many of you aren't. It's fine either way. We just wanted to pull some points out about Heart Rate monitors for those who might be interested.

Point 1: Wrist Heart Rate Monitors aren't very accurate.

If you are going to use a heart rate monitor in your training, you should invest in a chest, or arm heart rate monitor. The HRM's on GPS and fitness watches are not typically very accurate during training. The point of using a HRM is to gauge your effort level, and if the watch isn't telling you the proper HR, then you aren't working at the proper effort.

Point 2: HRM's are a very efficient and smart tool for training.

Because your HR is a gauge of how easy or hard you are working, it can be extremely beneficial to know what effort level you are training at. For endurance athletes (those in OCR), a lot of work needs to be done in lower effort levels in order to build up aerobic fitness levels. Using an HRM can be a great way to make sure you are working in that lower level. It's also a great way to gauge your tempo runs, intervals, and so on. If you have your HRM linked to a fitness app of some kind, you may even be able to see percentages of work effort based on HR over time and adjust your training accordingly.

Currently, Coach Joel uses the Wahoo TICKRX chest strap for most raining, and the Wahoo TICKR FIT forearm strap for some other work. Coach Luke uses a Garmin chest strap HRM.

Point 3: While great training tools, people can get too caught up on data.

HRM's provide data about your training. Sometimes though, people get caught up in the data of training. Some people lose the passion for training as they track data all the time. Others may miss out on improvised training that could be beneficial because it doesn't exactly fit the data they want for training. There should be enjoyment in training, not just data.

Point 4: Just about any chest strap HRM will do.

Of course, some brands are better quality than others, but most of them are pretty solid at this point. Just check reviews online. As long as it will pair with your GPS watch or phone, you should be good to go. It's not really complicated. I've used a Wahoo TICKR X for 4 years now, and it's great.

Point 5: Temperature will affect your training with a HRM.

When it gets hot and humid out, your heart rate will be higher than when it's not hot and humid. Thus, your Zone 2 heart rate in summer time may be at a slower pace than your Zone 2 heart rate in the cold. Just something to keep in mind. Do with that information as you will!

Point 6: HRM's can be used for multiple types of training.

HRM's aren't just for running. You can use HRM's for cycling (yes, I know, a lot of people use a power meter - the fact remains), Rowers, SkiErgs, interval workouts, and so on!

If you think you'd like to try using an HRM, go for it! They aren't that expensive for the amount of time and data you get from them, and you'll get used to it quickly. If you still don't want to use one, then don't. Unless you are working to be a top athlete, the data isn't necessary to progress and be fit and strong for OCR.


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