Fast Heart Rate

Hi to all,

First visit to the forum and suffering from a little anxiety over this issue. Hoping for a bit of sound advise from you guys.

I have been trail running for a lot of years, several ultras under my belt. I am 53 and really pleased that my daughter who is 28 loves to run with me. We are signed up for the Mont Blanc Marathon at the end of the month and have been getting some good mileage in. Now here is the rub. My wife bought me a Garmin 910 recently and I put it on my daughter, her heart rate is giving me concerns. She is booked in to the doctors but half the time they look at you gone out as though you've brought this upon yourself. We are not fast by any stretch of the imagination and are more than happy knocking 10 miles out off road hill work in 2 and a half hours. She can hold a conversation whilst running but her heart rate is constantly around 175/185 I have read a lot on the garmin and a lot of folks reckon the training zones are a bit out. I have never managed to get a run in under 5 which keeps telling me I am overreaching. Based on the info off the Garmin she is averaging 88% on her runs and does exceed her maximum heart rate on hills. This just doesn't reflect though as she is not excessively out of breath or otherwise distressed. She never has dizziness or anything like that either during or after a run. If I hadn't put the watch on her I'd never have known. Any comments would be appreciated.


  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    It doesn't sound like you have anything to worry about.

    I'm assuming the heart rate calculations you are using are probably based on the "220 minus your age" or similar.  These are for guidance and don't apply for all (most?) people.  As you've said "... does exceed her maximum heart rate", then the figure programmed into the watch cant be her maximum heart rate (as you can't exceed your max HR).

    If you want to use the heart rate function, then she'll need to calibrate it with her maximum heart rate.  Its worth googling this to get some proper info (or buying a book about HR training) but it involves stressing your body until you can't give any more effort and then taking the max heart rate reading at this point.  From what you've said this is likely to be significantly higher than the 192 (i.e. 220 - 28) figure that I suspect you are using. 


  • It's highly unlikely that there's any issue with your daughter but with the coverage of sudden deaths among the young and fit it's easy to be concerned and there's a whole world of anxiety to be had with a HRM if you haven't done the basics first. You MUST know your max HR - and your resting HR rate. You can then think about zones and %s. Standard estimates are really no use as a basis for training. For example I am 52 and my max is about 173 and resting 50, Mrs M is 48 and her max is about 190 and resting 65. There's max HR zones and HR reserve zones - all very confusing. Telling your average GP that your HR goes up to 185 while you run up a mountain isnt going to raise to many eyebrows providing you feel ok otherwise.


  • Your daughter's exercising heart rate sounds similar to mine. When I was 29 I would do a steady workout at 175-180ish and a tough one at 190-195ish.

    Worth getting checked out but unlikely to be anything to worry about. image

  • I seriously doubt you should be worried. Heart rate monitors aren't all that reliable at times and there are a lot of different factors in a work out.

    Nothing wrong with getting a quick MOT at the Doc's and asking them for more advice on what you can do to measure it more accurately. Try and be quite matter of fact with the Doc as well, sometimes they aren't very pleased with sport injuries and I've never figured out why.

    Maybe we annoy them? image

    The key fact is that she never feels distressed or dizzy. Leads me to believe the heart rate monitor is a bit squiffy.

  • I'd disagree with that. Decent HRMs are usually spot on and the 910xt definitely comes into the 'decent' category. More likely that the HRM is accurate but as the 220-minus-age formula isn't, your daughter naturally has a higher than average max heart rate...

  • I would agree that it is the formula that is squiffy and that the HRM is ok .... neither are relevant without a factual Resting and Maximum HR  (IMO)

  • i agree with others. To illustrate i am a male 39 and lots of my training is done in the 180s HR. last night I ran a 5 miler and my heart rate hit 200. I calculate my max heart rate as 204

  • First Loser wrote (see)

    I seriously doubt you should be worried. Heart rate monitors aren't all that reliable at times and there are a lot of different factors in a work

    Another dissenter.  I do HR training with the 305 and it's accurate.  I caught a virus a while ago which developed into viral myocarditis.  I could tell immediately - shortness of breath, increased HR, chest pains etc. 

    If your daughter has no symptoms and is able to speak while exercising, then it's more a case of using a dodgy formula (as M...eldy said) rather than a dodgy HRM.  If I used some of the formulae available, my max HR would come out in the 160s, when it is in fact 197.

    If you have concerns, by all means see a GP, but at the same time, check out some of the more reputable HR training advice that's around - if you're going to use it, you'll need to calculate the actual max HR which can only be done by doing a road test - not by using the calculator!

  • tricialitttricialitt ✭✭✭

    GEt her to measure her real max HR- the calculators are rubbish. Don't see your GP, it won't help.(unless you have symptoms of an illness to discuss,they won't understand why you are there, or even worse, might tell her to stop!)

  • The bit people who repeat that formula forget to mention is the "fuzz" around that original best-fit line of HR vs age: it is that 95% of people fit anywhere inside 220 - age + or - 20 bpm ! That's far too imprecise to decide your exercise zones.

  • This Norwegian university slightly refined the formula, but the picture gives the idea of the fuzz. Your daughter could lie anywhere in that fuzz for her age and not contradict the basic rule of thumb, but as a practical guide it is only better than nothing at all.


  • My HR a band slipped a bit in my last race and reported 234bpm during mile 1. Might be worth making sure it's fitting correctly, I think they are accurate but like everything only if they are fitted correctly!

    For reference, my max is 197.

Sign In or Register to comment.