Montane Trailblazer LT 20 running backpack review: super light storage for long trail runs
This body-hugging, lightweight design provides tons of gear storage for when you want to move light and fastThe roll-top opening makes way for 20 liters of space within the main body that is complemented by four extra pockets. Once you fit it to your body, it stays in place even on technical trails, and the mesh backing and straps don't get you overly sweaty on hot, humid days.
Runners obsess over distance, time and pace, but these are pretty blunt tools when it comes to understanding what’s actually happening physiologically during training. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking running harder and longer is the best way to get fitter and faster. The reality is that a good weekly training schedule should have runs that mix up the intensity. That’s where heart rate monitoring comes in.
Strap on a heart rate tracker, whether round your chest, arm or in your ears, and you can unlock useful insights into your real-time performance, helping you train at the right effort for your goals. It can estimate your fitness levels, indicate potential peak performance, help with recovery recommendations and even spot your susceptibility to injury or incoming illness.
All Of Your Long Run Questions Answered
Everything you need to know about long runs, including the benefits and how best to go about themHowever, there’s a lot to learn beyond the basics of long runs to make sure you’re doing them right, and if you are following a marathon or half marathon training plan it’s essential that you nail your long runs to be prepared for race day.
Now it’s easier than ever for runners to monitor their heart rate. From chest straps to headphones, there are a huge array of wearable options to keep tabs on your ticker. But what’s the best?
If you’re looking for accuracy, a dedicated ECG-based chest strap like the Polar H10 is still the gold standard. Optical heart-rate sensors on dedicated running watches don’t offer the same precision, but they are convenient and an increasing number of models now have these built-in as standard so there’s no added cost.
Because you tend wear a watch 24/7, they open up a world of new insights beyond the run, using continuous heart rate tracking as a window into things such as recovery, stress levels and sleep.
Monitors for the forearm and bicep are also common, while heart rate sensors are also available in earphones. Whichever style you choose, digging into your BPM can help make you a better runner. So here’s our pick of the best heart rate monitors for runners you can buy right now.
Best Garmin watches 2022
We examine the many shades of fitness tracker on offer from the best Garmin watchesDig into the Garmin website to try to find how an Instinct differs from a Forerunner, for instance, and you have to rifle through a features table that is more than 100 cells long. It’s partly because almost all Garmin watches have a huge set of features and all of them make generally excellent fitness trackers.
What are the best heart rate monitors on the market?
Best heart rate chest straps and arm straps:
Polar H10 Polar h10 heart rate sensor front-2
If you’re serious about heart-rate training then beat-to-beat accuracy is paramount. That’s why the Polar H10 is still top of the pile. The ECG (electrocardiogram) strap offers super-fast responses to changes in the intensity of your workout, which are reported back to a paired device in real-time. It’s also waterproof to 30m, making it ideal for triathletes as well as runners. There’s enough memory for 65 hours of training between syncs and 400 hours of battery life. It’s easily paired with two Bluetooth devices and ANT+, and it plays nice with the top performance tracking apps like Strava and Endomondo.
Garmin HRM-Pro Plus Heart Rate Monitor 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
As well as ECG heart-rate monitoring, the Garmin HRM-Pro Plus Heart Rate Monitor also tracks your torso movement, providing data on your cadence, stride length, vertical oscillation, ground contact, ground contact balance and vertical ratio with the aim of helping you improve form and running power (with a compatible Garmin watch). You’ll also get tons of insight from the heart rate data, including zone training with audio updates, calorie burn, fitness age, recovery times and training load. In addition, it has a treadmill setting that calculates distance and pace. As well as connecting to Garmin devices, it can connect to other sensors via Bluetooth and ANT+.
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar vs. Instinct 2 Solar
The Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar and Garmin Instinct 2 Solar both sport solar-power options to gain a charge from the sun. But they differ in many other respects.The runner’s companion
Wahoo TICKR 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
The Wahoo TICKR offers three simultaneous Bluetooth connections for hooking up with your favourite apps and sensors, which is especially useful if you use a lot of tech for indoor training. The monitor provides real-time heart rate tracking as well as workout duration and calorie burn, and the coin cell battery is claimed to last for 500 hours. At 48g it's also extremely compact and lightweight, and a great entry point to HR chest straps if you are new to the technology.
Scosche Rhythm24 Scosche - rhythm24
Moving the heart-rate strap away from the chest has generally been for comfort and convenience over accuracy, but that’s not the case with the Scosche Rhythm24 (the successor to the popular Rhythm+), which sits around the forearm. You get an improved 24-hour battery life (13 hours of data storage), while it also promises Bluetooth Smart and ANT+ connectivity for data transfer to a companion device. Helpfully, the LED lights let you know at-a-glance which HR Zone you’re operating in and how much battery you have left. The Rhythm 24 also offers IP68 water-resistance, meaning it’s happy in the pool. The strap also measures Heart Rate Variability (HRV), an increasingly important metric in measuring heart health, fitness and recovery. It works with over 200 fitness apps, so no issues with compatibility here.
Running the London Marathon without training could be possible
Most London marathon runners spend months preparing by hitting the gym, completing longer runs and eating nutritious food. But some celebrities say they didn't even train before running 26.2 miles.Athletes face aching muscles, dehydration, cramps and chafing as they push their body to its limits. Although incredibly rare, some runners have even died from the sheer exertion.
Polar Verity Sense 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
If you’re not a fan of chest straps – and due to the tight-fitting nature of their design they don’t suit everyone – this is a good option that provides more accurate data than a watch’s optical wrist sensor. The Verity Sense is an elasticated band that can fit anywhere on your arm, meaning there’s less chance of grip and motion interfering with the sensor’s readings. It connects to third-party apps and software via Bluetooth and ANT+, and transmits your data to the Polar Flow app which you can monitor while you work out as well as post-workout. Swimmers will be glad to hear that you can clip the sensor to your goggles to track your sessions in the water. One thing to note is that you have to switch it on before tracking your workout, which is different to a HR belt which just starts tracking as you begin recording, and it offers 20 hours of charge but can be recharged via USB.
Best running watches built-in heart rate monitoring:
Garmin Forerunner 55 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
The Forerunner 55 is a worthy entry-level heart rate watch from Garmin. If you're new to HR monitoring, this is a good place to start as the 55 provides accurate HR tracking which goes towards the watch's training advice and recovery suggestions. Like most wrist-based HR sensors, it's not as accurate as a HR chest belt, but if you're looking for near-accurate heart rate tracking and advanced recovery advice, you won't go wrong with the Forerunner 55.
Garmin vs Polar: which is worth buying in the Prime Early Access Sale?
Torn between Garmin vs Polar? We delve into each brand and will help you decide which is better for you Garmin has a running watch for just about anyone, amateur or professional, offering up basic beginner-friendly models, everyday smartwatches with fitness tracking abilities, and some show-stopping advanced multi-sport watches. The sheer number of top-quality watches released by them explains why they frequently appear in our best running watch guide.
Apple Watch Series 7 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
Apple Watches are building a solid reputation for the accuracy of their heart rate sensors, and the latest iteration takes this to a level where it's nearly as accurate a chest belt. The Series 7 tracks HR throughout the day and night, and during workouts, plus you can monitor your resting HR, breathing rates and recovery at any time. It offers the ability to alert you if your HR remains above or below a certain threshold, as well as notifying you if it identifies irregular heart rhythms that could potentially be atrial fibrillation. The watch can also produce an ECG on the app that Apple claims is similar to those used by medical professionals, so is the one to get if you have any concerns about your heart health.
Whoop 4.0 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
The Whoop band takes heart rate monitoring to another level – the sensor tracks your HR 24 hours a day and provides detailed insight into the results, including measuring your resting HR and HR variability. The system then uses this data alongside other metrics including skin temperature and blood oxygen levels to track sleep, recovery levels and stress to provide targetted workout plans and training suggestions. The strap features five LEDs and four photodiodes for some of the most accurate and regular HR readings available. To get the full use out of this system though, you'll need to sign up for membership starting at £18 a month, which means it's aimed at dedicated athletes flush with cash. But if you're driven by data – especially when it comes to how rested your body is – this could potentially be an essential tool.
The Best Workout Headphones For The Gym And Exercising At Home
Turn on, plug in and work out with our recommended Bluetooth wireless earphones, featuring the best workout headphones from Beats, Jabra, Apple and othersThe best workout headphones prioritise fit, often coming with a range of interchangeable wings and tips so you don’t have to continually adjust a loose bud – irritating at the best of times, but especially hard to do when holding dumbbells.
Best heart rate monitoring headphones:
Jabra Sport Pulse 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
While a chest strap will always offer the most accurate heart rate readout, some experts suggest the ear is the next-best position for listening in on your BPM. Jabra was one of the first companies to place a heart rate sensor in headphones and its latest model offers ‘clinical grade accuracy’, according to the brand. The Sport Pulse headphones pick up your heart rate via your inner ear, but they don’t just track your HR while playing your favourite bass-enhanced running playlists – they also track your VO2 Max in a similar way to many running watches. This additional feature can help inform and guide your training, especially if you don't own a running watch.
Philips In-Ear Wireless Sports Headphones 10 best heart rate monitors for runners
Thanks to a sensor built into the earbud, these track your heart rate as you run. They are fully sweatproof and waterproof, and feature six hours of playing time when fully charged, even when they're tracking your BPM. The buds also feature two fitting options – either in-ear held in place by wingtips, or with the hooks that fit over your ear. The price makes them a decent budget option if you're looking to dip an earlobe into the earbud HR market.
JLab Go Air Sport review: affordable workout buds that won't fall out .
If you've been looking for a JLab Go Air Sport review, here's everything you need to know about these budget-friendly budsMany of the best workout earbuds retail for over $100/£80, but the most feature-packed will typically set you back closer to $200/$160. Not the JLab Go Air Sport, though. These true wireless headphones cost just $30/£30, ideal if you've been worried about losing earbuds or accidentally damaging them at the gym.