Heart rate monitors are an essential tool for the serious athlete. Whether you are competing at a professional level or are thinking of training for a marathon, a heart rate monitor can really help you to achieve your goals.
Professional athletes have very low resting heart rates. This is because, as athletes train, their heart capacity increases. This means that the heart has to beat fewer times in a minute to achieve the same blood circulation. Miguel Indurain, a cyclist and five time Tour de France winner, has a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute which is one of the lowest ever recorded in a healthy person.
A heart rate monitor is not just for indicating your resting heart rate, but also for monitoring the intensity of your workout. To do so, you must first establish the lactate threshold. This is the hardest you can run without experiencing serious discomfort. This means that your breathing is controlled up until the lactate threshold and after this point, it becomes labored.
Once you have established your lactate threshold, you can practice running at a pace that will help you to improve your endurance. Running too fast too often can result in injury or burnout. Running below your lactate threshold can help you to run further and improve your endurance.
Heart rate monitors also help you to establish your current level of exertion. If you are faced with a hill, you can push yourself harder if your heart rate monitor indicates that you have not yet reached your lactate threshold.
For most athletes, a heart rate monitor is an indispensable tool in their training program. Speak with your trainer so that you can establish your five heart rate zones and work on a training schedule that moves you through all five with every run.
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