A heart rate monitor (HRM) is a useful tool to find this “sweet spot” of heartbeats per minute. Your heart rate is one of the best way to measure your overall fitness. When exercising, your heart pushes oxygen-rich blood from your lungs to your muscles and back again. The harder you exercise, the more fuel your muscles demand, and the harder your heart beats. Using a heart monitor in Training will prevents you from over-training during your marathon preparation and teaches you a lot about your body.You can use a heart rate monitor to record your cardiovascular ups and downs during recreational or competitive activity. All but the most basic models are designed to help you stay in your optimal heart rate target zone through your entire workout.
There are 2 Type of Heart Rate Monitor Watch
Chest Strap Models
By far the most common style, these consist of 2 components: a chest strap that fastens around the chest and wirelessly transmits continuous heart rate data to a wristwatch-style receiver.
Yay: Chest-strap models offer continuous heart rate information without needing to stop during exercise to measure or view it. Accuracy tends to be better than with finger sensor models, and they offer more options, such as speed and distance monitoring via GPS receivers.
Nay: These are usually more expensive than finger sensor models. Low-end chest-strap models don’t prevent crosstalk (interference) with other wireless heart rate monitors. Some chest straps are less comfortable than others.
Finger Sensor Models
These consist only of a wristwatch-style monitor. Simply touch a finger to the unit’s touch-pad sensor to activate the heart rate monitor. Finger sensor data is estimated to be 95% accurate.
Yay: No chest strap means greater simplicity and comfort. Finger sensor models are more affordable than most chest-strap models.
Nay: You must pause during exercise in order to take a measurement. They tend not to be as accurate as chest-strap models. There is no option for integrated speed and distance monitoring.
Getting a heart rate monitor watch can get confusing as there are a thousand of model to choose from. Below are some consideration to look at when selecting a Heart-Rate Monitor (HRM) watch :
1) Basic key feature of a Sport watch.
A good Heart Rate Monitor (HRM) should have all the function of a Sports watch such as Data memory, Lap timing, Chronograph and interval settings. They should also be ergonomics and should feel comfortable on your wrist. Thus, eliminating the need to wear 2 separate watches when you are out training.
Check out our article on What to look for in a Sports Watch
2) Programmable Heart Rate Training Alarm
This is useful as it allows you to programme the desired range of workout and it will remind you with a beep if you drop or go above your desired planned heart rate zone
3) Current Heart Rate Function
This function tells you your heart rate is at the time and is an important must have feature in all HRT monitor watch.
4) Average Heart Rate Function
This function calculate the average heart rate over a session and is useful when trying to gauge actual fitness
5) Maximum Heart Rate Function
This Function simply records the highest heart rate over the course of the session
6) Comfortable Heart Rate Belt
Heart Rate Monitor read your hearts via a belt that you wear around your chest, there fore it is important to ensure that it is going to be comfortable and it does not lead to chaffing
7) Uniquely coded
The monitor should have a unique electronic code that matches the wrist watch so that it does not pick someone else’s reading when you are out training.
*Other desirable functions can include ability to record distance, route, wind speed, direction etc.. but one useful function is the ability to download the recorded data onto a computer so that could review it later and check on your progress and measure your improvement.