Heart Rate Monitor

When I was deciding what watch I wanted to get to replace my ancient Garmin 405, an important consideration was that I really wanted a heart rate monitor. I ended up getting the Garmin 220 and buying the heart rate monitor separately.

I absolutely love the 220. It is light, comfortable, and finds a signal immediately. The side navigation buttons work so much better than the stupid touch screen on the 405 and it is super easy to sync with my computer. Basically I am in love with this watch.

What I am not in love with is the heart rate monitor.

It chafes. During my hot, sweaty, summer runs I end up with a painful chafing from the strap. I have the new supposedly more comfortable strap, but I am still chafing. Ouch!

Very unfocused picture of my chafe line. I am sure you all wanted to see this.

2. It is demoralizing seeing my true calorie burn. This morning I biked 25.21 miles in 1:36. When I put the time and pace into My Fitness Pal it said I burned 957 calories. My Training Peaks said 919. My Garmin said 647. In the long run I know it is better to have the accurate calorie burn, but it is a bummer to find out I am burning 300 calories less than I thought!

3. I haven't educated myself enough on how to workout by heart rate. Basically, I just glance down and say "Oh, my heart rate is 150. Ok." Really, heart rate doesn't mean enough to me to be meaningful. I need to learn more about my different zones and how to use the information to help me. 

Do you use a heart rate monitor? How often do you use it? What is the most meaningful information it gives you?