I don't know how I ever exercised without a heart rate monitor. I got mine for Christmas (as it is a little pricey) but I can't believe I ever tried working out without it! It is my trainer, my partner, and my best friend when I am at the gym.
Please excuse my naivety, but I learned something this week at my cycle class (I have heard it preached before, but I LEARNED it finally last week). You see, I spend the majority of my cardio time with my heart rate WAY too high (for me, this is like 177-180 bpm). The result is a red face, and tired lungs. The trainer said that when you are that high, you are just burning sugar, and that you should spend most of your time in a zone 3 (for me this is more like 160-168 bpm).
I have tried to run and cycle with this mindset. I do some interval work and get my heart rate in the 90% range, but I only spend one minute out of every six there. What a difference it makes.
I am sad to say that my half marathon training has almost stopped as I have been enjoying group fitness as of late, but yesterday I hopped on the treadmill and keeping my heart rate in this "fat burning" mode... I pounded out three miles. Sure, my legs felt like they were going to fall off for the rest of the day, but I probably could even gone another mile in terms of breath and energy.
Love it. Thought I'd share it.
That is all.