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At the weekend I ran in my first 10k for a long time. I wasn't sure what pace to go for so I thought I'd use heart rate instead. My target was to stick to about 165bpm until 6k mark and see what I had left for the last 4k.
I started towards the back of the field and ran steadily for the first couple of km...at the sort of speed which felt like in training would have yielded a heart rate of around 165. My monitor was showing 170 and I attributed the small difference to race day excitement.
I felt good and kept going...the next thing I was overtaking a few people and my heart rate was up at 180. This gave me a dilema as I felt OK but wasn't sure if I could keep this rate (close to my theoretical maximum) going for another 7 or 8 km. When I say I felt OK I mean that it felt tough (beyond comfortable but just about sustainable...maybe...if that makes sense)
Anyway, to cut a long story short I did keep it going untikl the end and I was very happy with my race...I finished in 46mins...a personal best.
Anyway my questions are:
(1) Is it normal to be running for so long at what I thought to be my maximum heart rate?
(2) Is this actually what I was doing or is it likely that I have a higher maximum heart rate than I thought I did?
Some background facts
- 42 years old male / heavy-ish (14stones) / regular but not too serious runner
- run 3-4 times per week (1 track + 1 x 70 mins long slow run + 2 or 3 slowish 40mins)
- never use HRM at track but try to keep HR around 150 for my long slow run and 160 for others
- up to now I've not seen my heart rate much above 180 and that's running fast-ish (for me!) up a long