Have a heart – or, Learning how to USE that heart for better fitness!

Better life through technology. Isn’t that the dream of scientists (and capitalists) everywhere?  I decided to look into what technology could do for me! (ok, I read an ad and wanted it) – so I picked up a heart rate monitor.  I think I have made it pretty clear that I LOVE my android phone and what it does for me, so obviously I wanted a heart rate monitor that not only sync’d with my phone – but preferably with the CardioTrainer software I use for everything exercise-related.  It seems that the people who make CardioTrainer realized there are idiots like me out there that want to use more technology, and want it to all integrate in one place.  Due to this revelation on their part, you can now purchase the Polar Wearlink®+ Wireless Bluetooth Transmitter and have it track your heart rate as you go – getting updates on your phone as to what you should do (speed up/slow down) for your optimum heart rate for fat-burning.  I strapped this thing on to my chest (after wetting the contacts – per the instructions) and headed out for a run.  I was told every half mile that I needed to slow down to reach optimum fat burning levels.

Hmm.. So it seems I need to learn more about Heart Rates, and how it applies to working out.

Apparently there are several ways to determine your optimal heart rate, and the most common ones are generic (and therefore a bit inaccurate), but work as a basic guideline to get started. 

The basic Heart rate levels seem to be (with my numbers inputted):

Resting: 72
Maximum (normally calculated as 220-your age): 220-35 = 185
American Heart Assocation recommended target heart rate of 50%-85% for working out: 92.5-157

They have a chart for the various ages, for those that don’t want to pull out a calculator:

Heart Rate chart for different ages, from the American Heart Assocations Website.


Of course this ignores any individual specific information, but seems like a good starting point. On my 10 mile run, I was doing around 155-165 bpm.  I don’t know how accurate it was as I hadn’t registered my “resting” heart rate with the monitor, but it was probably pretty close.  I did wander around with the monitor on before my 3 mile run – so that I could see my resting heart rate (72 bpm, my normal). I kept that run at around 155 bpm.  It seems that I was a little higher than recommended for the ten miler, and at the high range for the three.  But was does that mean?

I google’d target zones for heart rates, and found myself on heart.com – which had a handy little chart.

(This also mirrored the information on found on other sites, as “heart.com” didn’t seem to have much in the way of credentials – including Runners World, and countless personal training sites if you google “heart rate chart”)

So, Now I suppose – based on the chart above – I have to decide what my primary goal is with my running, which should tell me what heart rate to go for.

I would love to talk to someone else who has trained based on heart-rates.

As an “afterword” – I mentioned Runners World earlier, well it seems they recommend finding YOUR specific maximum heart rate, rather than basing it off of just your age, AND they are even kind enough to tell you how to do it!  I haven’t done this yet, so I will continue to use the “average” method until I get the opportunity to do so.


I run, because I am a runner. Having realized that I have always "been a runner" - even when I went years with out running, I am learning how it has integrated itself in all aspects of my life. When I started running in highschool, my perspective on life changed. Funny that I didn't realize how much it had affected it until just recently.

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Posted in Heart Rate, running

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The Once and Future Runner
Once and Future Runner

2013 Was an amazing year, for me, So I am really looking forward to 2014!

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April 2011
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