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The Advantages of Using a Heart Rate Monitors

By Kate Schnatterbeck | Feb. 26, 2009, 12 a.m. (ET)

Heart rate monitors should be used to gauge your training. The ultimate goal is to be able to run longer and faster with a lower heart rate. Keep track of your results, and see the progress.

A heart rate monitor:
  • Is your own personal coach, bringing objectivity to your training program
  • Can keep you from training too hard
  • Is a way to assess your fitness level and if you are over training (elevated resting heart rate)
  • Is a way to determine if you are training toward your goals (getting fitter)
  • Is a link between the mind and the heart.

General equations for heart rate

  • Maximum heart rate is "sport specific“
  • Subtract 5 beats for cycling
  • Subtract 11 beats for swimming

HRMAX = 220 – age (males)
HRMAX = 226 – age (females)

  Zone 1      Zone 2      Zone 3      Zone 4    Zone 5 
  Recovery      Endurance      Aerobic      Threshold      Redline 
  50-60%      60-70%    70-80%    80-90%    90-100%   

Zone 1
Recovery – easiest workouts

Zone 2
Endurance – ability to talk

Zone 3
Intensive/ endurance – Aerobic

Zone 4
Threshold – increases lactate tolerance and remove lactate from the muscles

Zone 5

Redline – Anaerobic (finish line push)

Kate Schnatterbeck, founder of Tri-umph, Inc. has specialized in athletic training, personal and multisport training and has been training and educating athletes for over 16 years. Kate is a Nationally Certified Athletic Trainer, USA Triathlon Certified Coach, American Swimming Coaches Association certified, Schwinn instructor and previously coached NCAA swimming. Contact Kate for more information at or visit