Training Smarter with Polar

February 5, 2013 0

I admit: I never used to be a fan of heart rate monitors. What I realize now is that I’ve simply never understood heart rate monitors and how much they can impact my training.

Thanks to Fitfluential, Polar sent me their FT40 Heart Rate Monitor to review.


To start off I did my research. The HRM tells me how hard I’m working- more accurately than I “feel.” It can tell me when to slow down and when I should work harder.

I fell in love with my watch upon first touch. It’s so light and soft.. you really have to feel it yourself to know what I’m talking about. You can wear the watch alone and you wear the monitor and strap when you’re ready to do some tracking.

The strap is comfortable and has become less noticeable the more that I’ve worn it. It’s really easy to put on and sits right around the base of my sports bra.


HRM = Marathon PR?

I really like how Runners World lays out how to use a HRM to determine what bracket to train and race in. (Full article here.) Runner’s World recommends determining your max heart rate as such: MHR = 205 – (.5 x your age)

Workout Percent of Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)

Easy run and long run 65-75%

Tempo run 87-92%

Interval repeats 95-100%

Race Distance

5-K 95-97%

10-K 92-94%

Half-marathon 85-88%

Marathon 80-85%

Especially in longer races, I struggle with pacing myself. I either go out too fast or too slow and rob myself from energy in the end miles and, even worse, I rob myself from a PR. More accurate than tracking pace, tracking heart rate can keep your heart working exactly where it should to meet your goals.

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Features Galore

The Polar FT40 has an Energy Pointer feature that displays if you are in a fat burning or fitness improvement zone so you can target the intensity that matches your goals.

It also has lots of progress and feedback features to help you reach your goals, whatever they are. Aside from the snazzy features, it also gives you an accurate count of calories burned and the duration of your workouts.

The watch has features available to you, but it’s still really easy to use, even in the middle of a hard workout or long run.

Here is an article from FBG on using a heart rate monitor when you’re at rest.

Is it HRM Love?

I love this watch, though it’s not yet a part of every workout. I’m currently using it a few times a week to manage my heart rate during a workout but plan on using it more, especially for long runs and shorter speed training.

Do you use a heart rate monitor? How has it affected your fitness?

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