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Polar Data Provides Insight into How Consumers are Training with Heart Rate


KEMPELE, FINLAND – September 29, 2017 – Polar, the leader in wearable sports and fitness technology for 40 years, has revealed original insights into the ways users are training with heart rate. Polar’s global data, spanning August 2016 through January 2017, provides a unique look at how athletes at varying levels train with heart rate and where each group has room for improvement. Data shows that although users are adopting fitness trackers and regular workout routines, they are passively tracking their heart rate rather than actively applying it to achieve successful results.

Higher Number of Weekly Trainings, Lower Heart Rate Zones

Polar data shows that users who train an average of 3.5 times per week spend most of their time in heart rate zones two and three, reflecting light or moderate intensity. These users are training often, but at disproportionately lower intensities. They are not challenging themselves and reaching higher heart rate zones during workouts, likely resulting in mediocre or plateaued results. These users would benefit from more training in heart rate zones 4 and 5.

Lower Number of Weekly Trainings, Higher Heart Rate Zones

Users who train an average of 2.9 times per week spend most of their time in heart rate zone 4, with some time in zones 3 and 5, which reflects hard intensity and at times reaching their maximum heart rate. These users are training disproportionately in higher intensities, with little or no aerobic base nor recovery in their routines. This type of training sometimes results in injury or fatigue because the user isn’t spending enough time building their endurance in lower zones. These users would benefit by applying more time in zones 2 and 3, and less in zone 4.

“I think beginners may not quite know what their personal target heart rate zones are in relation to training, as it's something you learn by feeling out workouts or getting HR/VO2 Max testing done,” says Molly Huddle, world-renowned runner and Olympian. “I would start by trying to get HR data on a race or maxed out effort and use that as your jumping off point for figuring out what to target for workouts and recovery days.”

Frequent Trainers Have a Good Grasp on Heart Rate

Polar users who train an average of 6.8 times a week, vary their times in all heart rate zones, with the least time spent in zone 5. The most common device used during training was Polar V800, indicating that this is likely a group of serious or competing athletes. These experienced athletes understand heart rate training, and are applying heart rate to make sure they’re meeting daily goals, ensure recovery, and avoid injury.

“Polar heart rate helps me to better gauge workouts and fatigue levels during training blocks,” says Huddle. “I like to check Polar Flow after a workout or recovery run and see, relative to how I felt, how the heart rate was doing. Some days I feel terrible, but it's just sore legs or allergies;  the heart rate is normal. Other days I feel ok and push the pace, and after looking at the heart rate data see that I went too hard, leaving the zone I wanted to train in. Polar’s heart rate has helped me train smarter and hone in on what effort I'm really feeling, with less guess work.

Effective Heart Rate Training

Polar data shows that runners who receive and adhere to training guidance experience a significant improvement in their performance. Runners who incorporated training guidance from Polar Running Program achieved up to 3-5 Running Index Points improvement, approximately equivalent to a 3-5-point improvement in Vo2 max. A change this significant in running efficiency can make the difference between a 3:35 marathon finish or a 4:02 marathon finish.

Polar guides athletes at all levels to better use and understand heart rate during their workouts and helps them reach goals successfully. Polar Running Program enables users to set a goal, and then builds a customized and adaptive training plan that includes heart rate training to help runners meet their goal. Users can upload easy-to-follow adaptive running training plans to Polar watches such as Polar M430, Polar A370 and Polar V800 and receive live heart rate guidance during training.

Learn more about training with heart rate here, and get started with Polar’s personalized and adaptive Running Program here.


About Polar:
Polar is the innovator in heart rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking and GPS sports training solutions for elite athletes, coaches and active fitness enthusiasts. For over 40 years, we have helped athletes understand, track and improve their performance. Our award-winning product range includes pioneering sports wearables that work elegantly with Polar training apps and cloud services.

Headquartered in Finland, Polar is a privately held company that operates in more than 80 countries. Polar products are sold through over 35,000 retailers globally. For more information, please visit


Media Contact:
Max Borges Agency for POLAR
P: 305-374-4404 ext. 171

Molly Huddle

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