I've got the Polar Coach, which enables me to download directly from the watch to my computer (no base station required). It does graphs, calculates pace, adds up weekly and monthly mileage and total running time. It's fun to see the mileage chart grow during a marathon buildup.
I wear it for every run. It has 3 presettable target zones. I do easy recovery runs every other run midweek at 70% effort (Karvonen formula) which is 144 for me, by setting the upper limit of one zone to 144 and turning on the audible beeping if I exceed. This is a gread workout(even though it feels slow) because it leaves your legs fresh but builds the aerobic conditioning. Another workout I do on some of my hard days is what coach Roy Benson calls a Heartrate Fartlek. Basically bouncing between 65% and 85%. To do that I set another target zone to 138-166 and slowly speed up until it beeps at me that I'm over 166, then ease off until I'm back down beeping at under 138. Those are two examples of how to work with your monitor to control your training.
I just got my HRM at Christmas and have only run one marathon since - CVS Cleveland, but it was a PR at 3:39.
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