Training with heart rate

by | Feb 22, 2021

5 min. read

Why Train with Heart Rate?

Because by monitoring your heart rate, you know exactly how hard your body is working.

Getting the most out of training doesn’t always require working faster or harder: it requires working smarter.

Heart rate training equips you with the smartness you need. It optimises your effort and makes every minute of each session count.

What is Heart Rate?

Heart rate means the number of heart beats in a minute. It’s very individual and a reliable indication of your effort.


Your heart rate is your personal workout metric.

Heart rate is a useful tool for understanding your sports’ performance. When you train with heart rate, you’ll be able to monitor and control the intensity of your workouts.


Benefits of Heart Rate Tracking

Heart rate training optimises the effort and can make each minute of every session count. When you track your workouts with a heart rate monitor and train with varying intensity, you can increase your aerobic fitness and improve your performance.


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Heart rate tracking is a great tool for evaluating your effort and accumulated load. It helps you see how hard your body is working in real time during your sessions. It also gives you data on the intensity of your session afterwards. No more guesswork!

Train Smarter

Training with heart rate enables you to identify the optimal target heart rate zone for each exercise session, according to your goals.


It is important to be sure that you work out right. When you track your heart rate you can be sure that you always train at the right intensity level. Be smarter – use your time effectively!

See your improvement

Being able to do more than you could before is one of the most satisfying benefits. After every session you can easily see the results and become motivated by tracking your individual improvement. For example, when you’re able to sustain a certain pace during a run than your previous session but you manage to maintain a lower heart rate – that is a motivating improvement.


What are Heart Rate Zones?

The range between 50% and 100% of your maximum heart rate is divided into five heart rate zones. By keeping your heart rate within a certain heart rate zone, you can easily control the intensity level of your workout. Each heart rate zone carries its own main benefits and understanding these benefits will help you to achieve the effect you require from your workout.


Heart rate zones

Just like your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate, your heart rate zone limits are individual. This is why they’re generally defined as percentages of your maximum heart rate.


Heart rate zone 1 – Very light: 50-60% of HR max

Training in zone 1 improves your overall health and helps you recover from more demanding training.

How does it feel?

It feels very easy. You could go on for hours.


Heart rate zone 2 – Light: 60-70% of HR max

Training in zone 2 develops your general endurance: it improves your body’s ability to utilise fat as an energy source or in other words to burn fat.

How does it feel?

It still feels comfortable and easy. You could go on for hours.

Heart rate zone 3 – Moderate: 70-80% of HR max

Training on zone 3 improves your aerobic fitness. On zone 3 lactate starts to build up in your bloodstream, but your body can reuse it as energy and it won’t affect your performance yet.

How does it feel?

You’ll start breathing deeper and feel a moderate effort.


Heart rate zone 4 – Hard: 80-90% of HR max

Training on zone 4 improves your speed endurance and your body gets better at using carbohydrates for energy. It also improves your body’s ability to withstand higher levels of lactate in your blood.

How does it feel?

Your muscles will feel fatigued and you will be breathing heavily.


Heart rate zone 5 – Very hard: 90-100% of HR max

Training on zone 5 improves your maximum performance. A large amount of lactate starts to build up and you won’t be able to continue for much longer.

How does it feel?

It will feel exhausting even to breathe and your muscles will hurt


Heart Rate Zones in Different Sports

There is some fluctuation in heart rate zones depending on the sport. For example, take cycling and running at the same level of intensity: the cyclist’s heart rate is 5-10 beats slower than the runner’s heart rate. This is because cyclists don’t need to support their own body weight and their muscles can use most of the available oxygen for moving forward. Also, the number of working muscle groups used for cycling is smaller than for running. In swimming, heart rate is even lower, usually about 5 beats below cycling.

Polar Australia

Polar Australia

Polar are experts when it comes to heart rate and fitness monitoring. In partnership with Brooks this article explores the benefits of heart-rate monitoring.

Bottom line, the ideal time of day to exercise is when it is best for you. Although more research is needed in this area to draw a conclusion on exactly what time of day is the best to exercise, what we do know is that long-term exercise does in fact improve aerobic capacity, cardiac function, management of BMI, and strength. So, the evidence points to moving your body for overall wellness regardless of what time you do it.

Keep that spring in your step this season and embrace your Run Happy journey with Brooks Running!

Our writer’s advice is intended for informational or general educational purposes only. We always encourage you to speak with your physician or healthcare provider before making any adjustments to your running, nutrition or fitness routines.

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