I finally bought one, a heart rate monitor, and I must say that it did teach me some things about my running.
I’ve been hesitant to buy a heart rate monitor, because I’m not really able to train within heart rate zones. My heart rate keeps going up while running, which makes it almost impossible to stay within a certain zone. But eventually I got curious about my heart rate while running (I knew it was high, but not exactly how high), so I decided to buy one after all.
I bought a Wahoo TICKR, an easy to use heart rate monitor. The only problem was that my smartphone did not have the smart bluetooth that is required to use the device (there is no watch, you have to connect it to your phone). Turns out I couldn’t update the Android version of my phone, since my phone was already 2+ years old. So I ended up buying a new phone, since the old one was already getting a bit too old anyway. But if you already have a phone with smart bluetooth you’ll be fine using the Wahoo TICKR. It’s easy to work with and quickly connects to your smartphone. Although, I did notice the GPS of the Wahoo Fitness app was not that accurate, so I decided to keep using Runkeeper instead. The Runkeeper app and Wahoo TICKR work really well together.
My new Android phone also seems to have a more accurate GPS, thus my Runkeeper stats also became more accurate. I’ve learned that my running pace while running is a little faster than I though it was, around 5:00 min/km. But I have to walk half the time to get my heart rate down again. Thus, half the time my pace is around 12:00 min/km. Which makes for a average of between 8:00 min/km and 8:30 min/km.
Since having a heart rate monitor I now know how high my heart rate gets while running and I was also able to make a better estimation of how many calories I burn. I’ve noticed that on fast runs I reach my maximum heart rate of around 212. When my run is a bit slower it will stay just short of 200. My average heart rate on a run is between 185-195. The problem is that while running it is almost impossible to stay under my threshold of 195, which makes it hard to keep running and I have to walk to get my heart rate down again. Basically I’m just doing interval training all the time.
Since I now know my average heart rate while running and I already knew my VO2Max from my sports check-up last year, I was able to make a decent estimation of how many calories I burn on a 10 K run. A 10 K training run will take me between 85 and 90 minutes (races will be faster of course) and in that time I will burn around 1,200 calories. Someone my age and size would burn that same amount of calories during a half marathon, just because they have a much lower heart rate and thus burn less calories and are able to keep running. This also explains why I sometimes run out of energy on my 10 K runs, 1,200 calories is a lot!