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Backpacker Magazine – February 2008

Smash Your Fitness Barriers With Heart-Rate Training

Become a better hiker. Build speed, endurance, and strength all through heart-rate training.

by: Lisa Jhung

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Photo by Chuck Haney
Photo by fitness
Photo by Chuck Haney

If you exercise regularly but never get in better shape, it's time to check your pulse. Training at an elevated heart rate can noticeably improve your cardiovascular fitness. "The simple act of changing your pace strengthens your heart," says personal trainer and professional adventure racer Michael Tobin. "And strengthening your heart develops stamina and endurance." Runners and cyclists have used heart-rate monitors (HRMs) for years to fine-tune their workouts. As a hiker, you can benefit from these tools as well, whether your goal is to cover more miles or tackle a multi-day trip with less fatigue.

Get Equipped
Even the most basic HRMs, like the Timex Ironman Triathlon Heart Rate Monitor ($90, timex.com) include a chest strap to measure your heart rate and a watch to record and display the results. More advanced systems like the Polar RS800sd ($500, polarusa.com) record heart rate, speed, distance, and elevation data, which can then be downloaded to training software on your PC.


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READERS COMMENTS

JoAnn
Apr 24, 2008

How does this all tie in with VO2max?

Dave
Mar 28, 2008

HRM's are nice but not necessary to get the benefit of HRM type training. For years people have been using the Perceived Exertion method by simply judging how hard they are working by the ease at which they could talk or take a drink while working. The two extreme conditions might be:
Working and able to hold a conversation with ease.
You are likely below 50% of your heart rate.
Working and the simple act of taking a sip of water is enough to make you feel desperate to breath. You are likely 80+% of your max heart rate.

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