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**Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Heart Zones, Inc.  As an ambassador for Heart Zones, I received the Blink 3.0 in exchange for promoting their product on my blog + various social media.  All opinions are my own.**

I’ve always been fascinated with heart rate.  It was always my favorite lesson to teach when I was teaching health.  Teaching kids how to take their heart rate and to see which activities caused them to actually get into the “heart rate zones.”  I also loved learning about heart rate in college, seeing how long it takes your heart rate to go back down after exercise, and counting beats per minute while someone was testing their VO2max on the treadmill.  (OMG, I’m such a huge nerd…)

However, as much as I LOVE heart rate (the heart is such a cool muscle!), I’ve actually never personally trained by heart rate… or really even tracked my heart rate on a run.  I’ve tried a few different heart rate monitors, but I hated the strap around my chest.  Plus, it just wasn’t fun for me to have to constantly be looking at a number and hoping it was in the right “zone.”

Enter the Heart Zones Blink 3.0 heart rate monitor.  This cute little wrist strap makes training by heart rate SO much easier.  First of all, love the simplicity of it being on my wrist.  I strap it on right before my run, press a button, and we are all set to go!  No worrying about moistening the electrodes and keeping it secure on your chest.

And what’s more with the simplicity, once you sync the Blink 3.0 to the Heart Zones app, it automatically calculates your training zones, and then will blink a different color depending on what zone you are in.

Blue = Easy

Purple = Moderate

Red = Hard

It also has the ability to track your steps and cadence, making it multifunctional for your training.  Plus, waterproof and compatible with lots of different running apps + watches.

So, how have I been using the Blink 3.0 to enhance my running?  A LOT of my training lately has been focused on running my easy runs EASY and my hard runs HARD.  I’ve been able to easily assess my intensity using the Blink 3.0 simply by looking at what color it is blinking.  On my easy runs, I try to spend the majority of my run in the blue, while sometimes getting into purple, but trying to limit my time in the purple.  When it comes to my interval + tempo workouts, I’m making sure those paces keep me in or at least closer to the red zone.  Does it make my runs harder?  Absolutely!  But, I can already tell it’s paying off as I had an INCREDIBLE tempo interval run this weekend, hitting ALL of my splits at or faster than my tempo pace.

I also really like using the Blink 3.0 to determine my recovery times.  I know my runners + myself tend to take our recovery pace a little too fast.  If my recovery jogs are 800m, I am trying to make sure that my heart rate gets back down into the blue zone before I start my next interval.  That recovery allows me to run hard with each subsequent interval, so that I am able to consistently hit my splits on my runs.

While I don’t ever think I will actually train by heart rate instead of pace, I think combining the 2 really does get the most bang for your buck out of your training.  My next nerdy, data-driven training thing I plan on adding is using the Blink 3.0 to calculate my resting heart rate first thing in the morning and then tracking it to determine my recovery.  The higher your resting heart rate in the morning, the more recovery you need.  It’s a great way to determine whether you need a rest day, easy run, or can handle a tough workout.  But, my Type A needs a little more advanced notice before getting up to get my run in to know what I’m doing for the day! ;-P

Interested in learning more about training by heart rate + the Heart Zones products?  Check out their website for various training tips for runners, as well as all of their amazing products!