Sleepless night...

I have got out of my warm bed to post this because it's really bugging me!

Been using a HRM for a few months without really knowing what it was all about, an increase in trainning and enthusiasm has led me to read the mannual and now I am confused.

I have used the 220-age formula then 60% to 80% to get a target zone which comes out at 110 - 147. This is fine but I have previously just been looking at my average heart rate for each run and over the last couple of weeks (When I have been keeping a record) it has constantly been around 163 - I am happy running at this rate and can hold a conversation, so whats going on? am I a freak?

Help please.........


  • Not hugely into HR zones but I do know that the 220-age formula will only give an estimation of your max HR so I suspect your MHR is higher than you think. Also you should be working off a percentage of you Working HR not the max.

    To calculate WHR, first measure your Resting HR, best done first thing in the morning, before you get out of bed and subtract this from your MHR. Calculate your percentages of WHR then add back the RHR to get your training zones.

    So for example, MHR 183, RHR 43 gives WHR 140.

    So 60% is (140x0.6)+43=>84+43=127
    80% is (140x.8)+43=>112+43=155

    This may not help you at all, and I'm sure others will be able to go into greater detail.

    Sleep well and fear not, you're no more of a freak than the rest of us.
  • you have more than 1 zone

    Z1 - < 60% = Recovery
    Z2 - 60 - 70% Steady
    Z3 - 70 - 80% Threshold
    Z4 - 80 - 90% hard (10 mile race)
    Z5 - 90 - 95% Dam Hard (10k race)
    Z6 - > 95 short intervals and kiling yourself :o)

    Each training session should have a pupose - so choce the zone that meets the purpose

  • I've also been using a HRM during the last 3 months and am a little confused as to where I should set the zones. My theoretical peak is 184bpm but when I run at anything less than 160-5 (90%) it feels a bit pedestrian.

    I wore the monitor during a 10k race and recorded consistent readings in excess of 170bpm (95%) and peaked at 183bpm (>99%) at the end of the race.

    Is it possible to have a significantly higher max rate than the 200-age thingy ? and if so, how do I determine what it really is?
  • Robert

    there is a test you can do for max heart rate but it should be done under supervision...for safety and to leave you to concentrate on the effort of getting there. See your local gymn, running club or use a personal trainer. I have a book which details the test...I am in a hurry so will get back to you with detials later today

    fergal k
  • Hi robert

    read precision heart rate training by Edmund Burke...the page on self test is a bit long to to copy out, if you cant get the book let me have an email address and Ill try and scan the page in for you


  • my email address is

    much appreciated
  • Of course there is the cynical view that believes that a HRM is just another way of raising revenue for the industry by making very complicated something which, in reality is very simple.
  • I'm 26 so my max is supposed to be 194 (ish, from the 220-age calc). So calculate out what you will, I find I can run for longest if I keep my heart rate just under 180 - That's high. However, I know I have a high heart rate. My resting is about 75 so it's not just about the maths, it's about what works for you. To be able to run easily I'm supposed to keep my heart rate around about 160 but I just can't do that. I do find it useful to have a HRM because I can monitor my heart rate to keep it under 180 because, through trial and error, that's the rate that seems to work for me. Everyone's different - the calculations can't work for everyone.
  • Thanks for all the advice - glad to know I am not alone - I'll sleep well tonight!
  • Oh Will et al,
    Being absolutely hopeless faced with figures, I'm sleepless tonight!!
  • Now I dont really know too much about HRM but I bought a Nike Triax about 2 weeks ago, have been checking its accuracy with pulse v's time check and it seems very accurate, now last week I ran just over 10k (about 6.5 miles to tell) and for most of the run it was reading 175/180 now at the end of my run (last 500 yards) I really uped the pace and ran as hard as I could, and when I finished it read 197, I am 34 years old, so I think I'll take 197 as my max and work from that, but there is a way to test your Max with a series of short runs for X amount of time then you work your work rates from that I'll try and find it and post a link.
  • here it is the test can be found here its called the conconi heart rate test
  • Just thought is it OK to post links? I'm new here and just thought of it. If it aint OK Im sorry, if it is OK Your welcome.
  • Thank god I thought there was something wrong with me!!! I mean my range (one morning resting hr was 48) next day I had it at 197, thought "this aint right" reading too much into the "take age away from x method", cheers
  • I looked at various formulas for pulse rates I found that 75% of max works out at about 163bpm. Any slower than this and I would be walking. I have set levels for running.

    level 1 163-170 easy (longest runs)
    level 2 166-173
    level 3 169-176
    level 4 172-179
    level 5 175-182
    level 6 178-185 very hard (only use for interval training)
  • I've been running with a heart rate monitor for about 3 years now, I find it a very good tool for keeping you honest while running as the monitor never lies, it does go to zero from time to time but I'm generally running to hard to be dead. The 80% heart rate threshold is indeed a sod to work out and is unique to individuals best advice I can give is to do your usual steady runs and take an average whilst running on the flat and remember as you get fitter your resting and max heart rates will improve. When I started I was hard pressed to keep my rate under 170 but now running the same distance faster I have to constantly push to break 160 and my resting heart rate has dropped from 68 to 60. Proof if proof were needed that regular running is good for your heart.
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