View Full Version : Heart Rate and Conditioning

July 7th, 2007, 10:08 AM
I'm curious, how many of you use, and how often do you use it, taking your heart rate to judge your aerobic conditioning? Last winter when I was not in good swimming shape, my heart rate for a medium effort swim would run 160 beats per minute (I'm 59, not a good heart rate number). As my aerobics came into play, it would drop week by week, a good thing.

Today, I am swimming 10,000 yds every other day and on off-days do a little mile or two with a half-mile of sprints. At the end of my 10,736 yds yesterday, my heart rate was 110. Also, I took my resting heart rate yesterday morning and it was 40. The thing I notice is the better condition I am in, the faster my elevated heart rate falls and I have heard this is a good sign.

Now, I take my heart rate each and every day before, during, and after swimming. It gives me a lot of information. How about you? Are you doing this often enough?

July 7th, 2007, 10:51 PM
I wear a heart rate monitor when I work out as I tend to push it too hard. I haven't noticed that my heart rate is lower, but I've noticed I can push it harder and my heart beat average is 144. When I first started back at swimming, I couldn't swim nearly as hard and far without my heart rate going off the charts.

I don't know what my resting heart rate is (resting? what's that! :p). But I have also noticed that I can recover a great deal faster between sets.

When I am unable to swim for more then 4 days, the first workout is brutal as my heart rate is much higher, but it is only for 1 workout. The next workout I'm back to where I was before the short break.

Donna - have you lost weight/inches?

July 8th, 2007, 08:04 AM
I don't like to wear my HRM for swimming. Afraid I will ruin it in the chlorine. Maybe I will wear it today and see. I wear it for cycling and other aerobics, and it takes significant effort to get it in the 140 range. My resting is around 50, 40 is outstanding!

I think age plays a part in this as well. I will be 46 in August.

July 8th, 2007, 09:28 AM
I check my heart rate occassionally, and have noticed that when I am doing fast intervals (100's & 50's), my heart rate will be around 165 when I finish the swim, but drops very rapidly, usually to less than 120 before I start the next interval. After long, steady swims (400+) it generally is between 130 and 140. My resting rate is around 50.

July 8th, 2007, 09:45 AM
I don't like to wear my HRM for swimming. Afraid I will ruin it in the chlorine. Maybe I will wear it today and see. I wear it for cycling and other aerobics, and it takes significant effort to get it in the 140 range. My resting is around 50, 40 is outstanding!

I think age plays a part in this as well. I will be 46 in August.

Dorothy, if you have a Polar HRM, you will have no problems in the water. I don't know about the other brands. The only thing I've noticed is I have a Polar "ice blue" color watch and the watch band is slowly turning into a gray color, but this has been 2 plus years in the making.

July 8th, 2007, 10:23 AM
I have the polar f11, which is ice blue. I may try it out and see.

July 8th, 2007, 11:54 AM
I started to look into my HR because I wanted to know how hard I was working and how much rest I should be taking between reps and sets during my interval training. I didn’t remember from back in my age group and college days...

I found these articles by Genadijus Sokolovas at USA Swimming and Wayne McCauley at S. Pacific Masters respectively to be VERY informative:

http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=62&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=381&ItemId=287 (http://www.usaswimming.org/USASWeb/ViewMiscArticle.aspx?TabId=62&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en&mid=381&ItemId=287)

http://www.spma.net/heart.htm (http://www.spma.net/heart.htm)

So I did my research and went out and bought a Polar S720i HRM, my personal value recommendation based on feature-functionality and reputation – see http://polarusa.com/ (http://polarusa.com/). It gives you a real-time reading of your HR on the watch (receiver) while swimming. It also calculates calories burned, among many other features.

More importantly, it stores your heart rate data every 5 seconds and total calories burned (among other things) on the monitor/watch and allows you to very easily download the data to your PC for review and analysis in Polar’s proprietary software, and a copy and paste away from Excel. That’s 720 HR data points in an hour practice with way cool graphs to visually show your efforts.

This information is very helpful in understanding your interval/set/workout energy zones, including being able to identify actual work vs. recovery heart rates and total calories burned in your workout. The data doesn’t lie…you’ll know when you’re dogging it.

This HRM works VERY well in the water. Every once in a very great while, the receiver/watch will lose the transmitter’s signal, but it usually restores itself, and it is easy to do manually if needed. Plus, I have had no negative impact of chlorine on the receiver or transmitter (attached to the chest strap.) And the batteries are still going strong after almost a year’s time – they are supposed to last up to two-years.

There are only two minor drawbacks. First, guys may need to wear the chest strap a little extra tight to keep it from fluttering and having the watch lose the HR transmitter’s signal. Women can just wear it under their suits.

Secondly, the chest strap is made of stretch elastic and will tend to fade and lose shape over time due to chlorine, much like a swim suit. So, I wash the chest strap after every practice. The strap (not transmitter) is also rather inexpensively replaced – about the cost of a new suit.

Hope this info helps. Between USA Swimming’s info and the HRM, I have a much greater understanding of how to go about my work effort and training.


July 8th, 2007, 01:10 PM
I posted this information a couple of years ago in another thread, but it's worth repeating...

I have two Polar heart monitors that I use for swimming. I have had the batteries replaced in each of them a couple of times.

There are two batteries involved: one in the receiver (the wristwatch) and one in the transmitter. To maintain the water-tight seal, it's best to send them to a Polar factory-authorized service center.

I have sent mine to:

5148 Saddle Ridge Road
Plymouth, MI 48170
or 734-996-5900
e-mail: sales@chponline.com

They change the batteries, test the seal, and calibrate the unit. I've received very good service from them. They also sell a lot of other fitness-related products - check out their web site.

You can buy the replacement elastic straps from them, but it's MUCH cheaper to make your own. All you need is a couple of feet of elastic from a fabric store.

Anna Lea

July 8th, 2007, 05:57 PM
I used to wear my heart rate monitor when I was out of shape and trying to motivate myself. Even if I wasn't making my time intervals at least I could see that I was giving it a good go and that my heartrate was in the right range. Then, one practice somebody stole the wristwatch part of the HRM when I took it off thinking it would be OK fastened to the starting blocks in my lane (why did I do this ?). Grrr.

I find that morning waking pulse does go way down when I am in shape.

Also, "trying" to get resting pulse down by relaxing everything can help me get to sleep at night.

July 8th, 2007, 08:52 PM
I have no heart rate monitor down here, I use a watch on my wrist and take it for 6 seconds and multiply by 10. I do this a lot. The common denominator seems to be that my training heartrate is lower this year for the same effort. But my biggest achievement seems to be that my heart rate is just lower now that I am piling on mileage. And it falls quickly when I take my little hydration breaks every 800 yds.

To answer a question presented, I have lost no weight and this may sound crazy to some, I am glad I haven't. I find that my added weight helps me so much in my very long swims. But what I have noticed is now that I am piling on mileage, my body composition is starting to change; slightly a little less fat, more upper body muscle and lat muscle, and my upper thighs are starting into a definition I haven't seen since I swam thousands of yards of backstroke. I'm happy with it all, just have a very long way to go training wise to confidently swim 20 miles in a year. But I find by taking my heart rate more often than not is a very good tool to use to judge my aerobic conditioning.