Accurately determing Max HR

How do I accurately determine max HR? Do I do a run to warm up then sprint up a hill to exhaustion or do I do a set distance at gradually quicker pace until I'm flat out (on the floor)?
Answers and suggestions gratefully received.

I have a HRM and have recorded values (average and maximum HR) from a 5 mile and 10km race in the past 6 weeks. However, according to those values I am running at 92-95% MHR in my races! I somehow think my max HR is higher as it would then give me a figure which would make my av HR in a race about the 85% mark not the 95% mark!


  • cheers Lizzie but that doesn't seem as good as this one I've found Tips/HR_testing_protocol.htm

    basically take the average of the last 20mins of your 5 mile time as your anaerobic threshold. Cheers anyway peeps
  • mmmm
    anaerobic threshold is not he same as maxHR - far from it!!!
  • sorry I meant AT = Aerobic Threshold = race pace. Thanks for pulling me up on that anomaly!
  • MM, for what its worth. I race marathons at 85% MHR, 1/2m & 10 milers at 88/89% MHR, 5K's & 10K's at 90 to 93%Max at the end of which if I put the boot down I will get up to 95% MHR.

    In my humble experience your hardest effort at the end of a race is about 5% lower than your Max HR.

    The test(s) that I use for determining HR max is -

    After a thorough warm up -

    1: 1 x 800m flat out, recover three minutes then 1 x 400m flat out. You should finish the distance in a choking, heaving, lactic filled wobble. Record your highest HR on your monitor.

    2: 2 x 400m to 600m uphill sprints. Post rep distress should be the same as above.

    Do expect it to be very uncomfortable.
  • well I pulled in a favour from a mate at the local uni and got a maximal test done on the treadmill for free :-)
    Got 1bpm higher than the value I recorded during the hill repeats I did last week with the local club and my aerobic threshold looks like it's pretty much where I thought it was.
    I took the average of the last 3 miles of a recent 5 mile event as my aerobic threshold and it's within 1bpm of my AT from today's test so at least I now know what I thought was correct, actually is correct.

    Goes to show that running at 85% for the shorter races is NOT the right thing to do; maybe for the longer races (HM,etc)
  • Sodahead - your figures do stand up to what I am finding out by trial and error. Many thanks.
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