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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > Jun-17 > BEAT DIS

BEAT DIS

The heart-rate monitor has come a long way since the humble chest strap, but it’s still the metric of choice for most runners. Here we look at why beats per minutes should be at the heart of your training

HEART-RATE MONITORS

The reduction of running tech in both size and cost means ever more people are getting their hands on some seriously smart data-recording devices. While this democratisation of access is definitely a good thing, it also means that increasingly specialist equipment is being marketed as a necessary purchase for even the most average of runners. Long a staple tool for serious athletes, heart-rate monitors (HRM) allow users to keep an eye on exactly what their ticker is up to as they rattle off the miles. But if your ambitions go no further than improving your half marathon PB, why would you consider investing in one?

“Heart-rate monitoring is the single most accurate means to understanding how your body is responding to exercise and the activities of daily life,” says Mark Gorelick, Chief Science Officer at Mio Global. “The benefit of using heart rate for training is that it provides a real-time, continuous, dynamic representation of your physiological response to a given exercise workload. In simpler terms, heart-rate data tells you exactly how demanding the exercise is on your body.”

Stuart Hale, a sports coach with Accelerate Performance Centre, describes heart rate as your body’s own rev counter that puts other metrics in the shade.

“By comparison, speed and distance are outputs, what our body does for a given heart rate at a given time,” he says. “People try to turn it around the other way. For example they’ll go and run seven-minute miles and look at their heart rate as the outcome but it’s not – rather, the speed you run and the distance you cover are the outcomes. Your heart rate is the real indication of how you did that day and is therefore a great tool for ensuring you’re comparing like-for-like efforts.”

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About Men's Running

By the time you read this, the spring race season will be well and truly underway and those of you who have trained for a specific event will hopefully have seen the fruits of your labours in PBs and long-held goals achieved. Once you’ve completed a big event it’s understandable to want to take a few days off before running again. But sometimes those days can become weeks, the weeks months, and before you know it you’re no longer on talking terms with your trainers. To stop that from happening, we take a look at the opportunities open to runners who find themselves with all the fitness but not the focus. One obvious path is to take your running abroad. As any seasoned traveller will tell you, the best way to explore a location is by foot and that certainly proved to be the case for our writer, Simon, who decided to combine his passion for running with a life-long ambition to visit Cuba (page 34). If you fancy something closer to home you can utilise the very powerful bit of tech on your wrist to create some new training goals (page 48), or follow our expert advice on how to make the move from tarmac to trail (page 23). Or, if you’re already au fait with off-road, why not take a leaf out of Kilian Jornet’s book and run up Mount Everest (page 54)? For more inspiration on what to do with your current peak condition head over to mensrunning.co.uk and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
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