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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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General Heart Rate Monitor Usage - Polar

Pacing Yourself Using the Average Heart Rate

The reason, because unlike pace charts, your heart rate is individual to your fitness level. For example, if you're fit, your resting heart rate will be pretty low which means your training program will have to be tougher to get results. Whereas if you´re unfit, your resting heart will be higher which means your training program should be easier.

Checking your condition by using your Average Heart Rate vs. pace:

The Average Heart Rate function of your monitor can be used to check your development versus your pace.

If you exercise regularly, your Average Heart Rate in a single training session will decrease over time. Which means that over time your Average Heart Rate should be lower during a training session even though you maintained the same pace. This means that you're more fit than before you started. Remember though, that the pace you use shouldn't be in the heaviest exercise intensity. Try to keep it within the recommended aerobic area or moderate intensity zone at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate.

You can also use the Average Heart Rate and pace in the opposite way to improve your race times. If you're Average Heart Rate is lower as a result of your training efforts, that means you should be able to increase your pace and therefore your race time simply by pacing yourself according to your Average Heart Rate.

Using the Average Heart Rate in endurance races:

You can draw different conclusions from the Average Heart Rate values of the race depending on your personal training background and your personal capacity. The best way to learn how to use the Average Heart Rate is to use your heart rate monitor always when you take part in races. Gradually, you will learn how your heart rate works when you're in good shape and when you're not. By always checking your Average Heart Rate after a workout or race and comparing it to your overall race time, it'll be pretty easy to see where you went right or wrong.

During your race, have your monitor record your Average Heart Rate at different intervals, for instance, every kilometer or every other kilometer is fine for a marathon. Once you have finished your workout or the race, recall your Average Heart Rate and write it down if you don't have the possibility to use the Polar software or then download the data to your software program.

Compare your actual Average Heart Rate during each part of the race against your planned Average Heart Rate.

For example, if you ran a marathon and you planned to keep your Average Heart Rate at a high but manageable level throughout the race and maybe increase it a little towards the end of the race. But at the end of the race, you ran out of energy and had to slow down. So instead of a strong finish a maybe a personal best, you had a weak finish.

By analyzing your Average Heart Rate, you would know, for instance, whether you pushed yourself too hard at the beginning (your Average Heart Rate would be higher than planned) or whether you haven't done enough aerobic base training or your plan was too optimistic (your Average Heart Rate would be as planned but you still ran out of steam at the end).

By downloading your Heart Rate Monitor's files to a Polar software program (if you monitor supports this), you can determine even more about your personal race performance. For instance, you can analyze the your heart curve throughout the entire race and see graphically how your heart rate changed during each section of the race. So you'll know what the Average Heart Rate level was, if it has gone up or down or if it varied a lot in the course of the race. By overlapping the heart rate curve and comparing it to previous race or your practice race, you can see where your race was on target and where it went wrong.


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