Sponsored by Timex
Check any runner’s Instagram and you’ll find scores of pictures, beautifully lit from the morning sunshine, featuring a watch displaying their distance, time, and heart rate. Let’s be honest – it’s the cool thing to do. And it really is a great feeling, being able to look down at that watch and say “yeah, I killed it.” But believe it or not, that fancy watch serves a bigger purpose. Rather than just looking down at those numbers and then going on your merry way, use them to get better, stronger, faster – to become the best runner you can.
Heart rate monitoring is such a useful tool for runners, but is often neglected as a form of training. To state the obvious, a heart rate monitor tracks how many beats per minute your heart is pumping. This is an indicator of exercise intensity or how hard you are working. Now, it’s pretty easy to stay at the same intensity when you start running, but switching up your intensity is so helpful in increasing your speed and fitness. Here are a few ways to use heart rate monitoring to switch up your runs.
The first step is figuring out your max heart rate. Once you establish your max heart rate, you can better gauge your intensity. Use the following formula:
Maximum Heart Rate = 208 – 0.7(your age)
Once you have that number, you can use the following percentages to figure out how hard you should be pushing during your workouts.
Base work is establishing your comfortable pace for a longer run, typically lasting anywhere from 1-3 hours. This will be at about 65-75% of your heart rate max. Base work is how you can establish that you are keeping a good, easy pace to go further and gain more distance.
Tempo runs, or interval runs, are a classic running technique that incorporates bursts of higher intensity followed by a recovery jog. This can be a timed interval or for distance- for example, you can do 5 x 3 minutes at tempo pace, 60-second easy jog in between each one, or you can do 3 miles at a quick pace, followed by one mile at an easy pace. The Timex IRONMAN ONE GPS+ has a built-in interval timer for timed runs, as well as a mileage tracker for distance-based runs. You can create up to 10 customizable timers, and easily plan a week’s worth of runs. Use it to keep track during your tempo run, and connect it via bluetooth to your heart rate monitor to ensure that you’re hitting the rate heart rate percentage – aim for 87-92% of your max during high intensity.
Now this is the fun stuff. It’s time to get those feet moving as fast as possible with all-out sprints. These workouts don’t need to last a long time, because you’re pushing as hard as you possibly can (95-100% of your heart rate max). At this high of an intensity, it’s impossible to push for more than about 15 seconds. See how fast you can go in that short amount of time- it may only be 15-20 seconds, but it’s a killer. Check your heart rate monitor to make sure you’re really pushing – this is not the time to take it easy.
These are just a few ways to use heart rate training to aid your workouts and get you to the next level in your runs. All of these different techniques work together to make you a better runner, so it’s important not to neglect any of them. Connect the Timex IRONMAN ONE GPS+ to your heart rate monitor and go for a run without missing a beat. While you’re at it, take advantage of all of the other amazing features this watch has to offer:
- Instafix GPS connects quickly to satellites for real-time pacing and distance so you can get up and get going.
- It’s compatible with Bluetooth heart rate monitors (if you don’t already have one, you can opt for the ONE GPS+ HRM as well)
- Send and receive messages— leave your phone at home.
- Let your friends track your location during a routine run or race. In the event that you are in need of help, send an SOS that pinpoints where you are.
- 4GB of memory of storage means you can take your favorite songs with you wherever you go.
- Ready for the elements- it’s water resistant up to 50 meters.
- The INDIGLO® night-light makes for nighttime viewing AND a touchscreen that is easy to read in all conditions, and even gets brighter in direct sunlight.
- Then, when you’re all done, upload your workout to MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, Strava and more.