HRM is one of those nice-to-have features in a running app like Run 5k. It’s not required to do the run, but it sure is very useful and worth the money. In this post I’ll try to explain what are the benefits and what models you should seek out if you don’t already have one.
Which one to buy
First of all, the technical requirements: Run 5k support Bluetooth 4.0-based HRM devices. This version of Bluetooth is also called Low Energy (BTLE) or Bluetooth Smart. These devices are made to offer very long battery time (spanning months, possibly even years) and thus is the reason why iOS supports them that much. The upcoming ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ main communication is also based on BTLE. It’s really good and power-efficient communication platform for short-range devices.
I personally use Wahoo BlueHR which I bought few years ago and it still works very nice, with just one battery change so far. Wahoo does not longer makes this – they now have new model called Tickr which can only be better than the previous model. For Run 5k, the cheapest model (called just Tickr) is enough. Another well-thought off model is Polar H7. I’m sure there are others that would work fine, just make sure they are BTLE based and you are good to go.
The main benefit of the HRM is that it’s the best indicator of how your overal fitness and running shape is improving. Since in each week of the program you are doing more or less identical distances, if you run with the same pace, your average heart rate should be more or less consistent over the runs. As you become more fit, you will be – over time – able to maintain the same pace with less effort and thus lower average HR.
HR is also a good indicator to show your physician in case you have medical concerns. If your HRM spikes from time to time, you should seek medical advice. Run 5k is designed to slowly increase your fitness thus your HR will be higher than during your normal daily activities, but it should not have spikes – it should rise up to (more or less) same levels across your jog and walk intervals. Jog intervals will naturally have slightly higher HR.
When you are looking at the running chart, it should be something like this:
You can also tap and hold on the chart, then slide your finger over the chart and you will see specific values at that moment at the top.