Lots of the cool guys have heart rate monitors. Should you get one?
I’m going to assume that you are doing a set of structured workouts.
So, if you’re doing that, you need to set your training zones. You can do that by taking a percentage that you determine use 220-age or one of the other formulas, and then train based on that.
But there are a few problems with that. First of all, none of the formulas to determine max hr are of much use, as there are wide variances of maximum heart rate across the population.
But even if that formula does work for you, it’s a poor way to set ranges.
Basically, one of your goals is to push your anaerobic threshold to a higher percentage of your maximum heart rate. To do this, you may need to work out near your anaerobic threshold.
The problem is that that threshold is a moving target. A range set based on a maximum will likely be too high when you are untrained, and too low when you are well trained.
The right way to set ranges is to use a field test, like the Carmichael one. That will gve you better ranges, and a good way to track your progress over time.
The other big benefit of heart rate monitors is to get you to slow down. Most riders spend too much time working out right around their anaerobic threshold, which is bad.
Heart rate monitors are a great tool. Unfortunately, they can be a bit pricey, especially the ones that can upload your data to a computer.