Am I normal?

Hello everyone. First post.

I ran last night with a new heart rate monitor and it showed in the 90% HR zone for an hour (calculated using age 34, resting pulse 60). It was over 172 bpm from 4th km to end.

I've got this result with other heart rate monitors and I've always run at very high heart rates. I'm just trying to use my heart rate monitor to set a program and all the programs seem to be written for "normal" people.

I'm certainly not elite (4:55m/ km for the hour) and it was low temperature.

Questions are

1 Does this mean somehow that I have peaked? Is this my "limit"?

2 Is my technique/efficiency terrible? I'm 85kg and 6'1" and working on increase cadence.

3 What can I do to lower my heart rate so that I get some head room on times?

4 Am I vulcan?

Thank you 



  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    Its normal. Some people can cruise with HR approaching 200bpm.

  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭
    You don't mention your maximum heart rate. If you've calculated it on your age it's probably wrong, you need to do a proper test. You'll probably find that you are nowhere near 90% because you true maximum is higher than the unreliable age calculation.
  • 1. No

    2. Impossible to tell just from a heart rate

    3. Train more. As you get fitter your heart rate will come down for the same speed.

    4. That would be illogical.
  • Thank you guys

    RicF - If people cruise at 200bpm, what happens when they put their feet to the floor and go at it?

    Mr Puffy - how would I get a proper test? I did consider just running as fast as I could until I collapsed and just taking the reading but it doesn't seem that responsible.

    Cougie - training more is good but if I'm training at 90% of max then should I drop to much slower speeds in order to get better ?

  • Sc you probably are not training at 90% of your true max. Calculations are pointless you need to test for max.

    Most of your running should be done at chatting pace - so see what that shows on your hrm. Then you do a smaller amount of speed work.
  • You can no better predict your max HR from a formula than you can predict your height.  If you don't perform a max HR test, your monitor is no more than an expensive bangle.

  • Swedish Chef wrote (see)


    Mr Puffy - how would I get a proper test? I did consider just running as fast as I could until I collapsed and just taking the reading but it doesn't seem that responsible.


    I asked how to find out my max heart rate recently and was told that our max heart rates are something we 'discover', rather than 'calculate'.
    The advice I was given was to run for a few miles - to warm up - and then beast myself up a big hill three times; jogging back down inbetween; and on the third ascent really go for it.  If you're not puking when your finished, you haven't tried hard enough.
  • Sounds normal to me (novice recreational runner, so what do I know?!) - I've run about 90 miles in the last 3 weeks, nearly all of over 165bpm, and around 174bpm for nearly half of that at 9 min miles.  I've not discovered my max HR (can't be bothered to put in the effort) yet but regularly hit high 190's on steep hills.

  • Swedish Chef wrote (see)
    Mr Puffy - how would I get a proper test? I did consider just running as fast as I could until I collapsed and just taking the reading but it doesn't seem that responsible.

    Yup, that's pretty much how you do it...

  • I would say there is nothing wrong with it really. it depends on a load of factors though.

    Was it a race? were you supposed to be running that hard for that duration? what was the terrain like? is it actually 90% of your max heart rate? how accurate is your monitor?......

    like easy does it says - max heart rate is learnt more than a simple equation. you can use a simple equation as guidance at first but it is just something that will come with experience.

    based on the standard workings my max is 195. but i know from recent hilly races that i was, at points, over 200 BPM and averaged 187 BPM overall. It is all relative to your fitness though.

    Like cougie said though, continue to run and you will improve. don't expect it to happen over the course of a day or a week though.

    I would suggest that if that was your EASY run pace then maybe you should recalibrate your monitor if it didnt feel like you were working that hard - or you adjust how fast you are running if it did feel that hard. The majority of your miles should be at an easy pace - i generally average about 150 bpm on my easy runs (7-8:00 min/miles)

  • I, too, was overly concerned with my heart rate. However, as some of these comments have explained, it is not sensible to apply equations that have been averaged over a large mix of types of runners. My age is 62 and so my theoretical max HR is near 158. I have sprinted mile distances at 174. My max HR is higher than 174. What this means is that my body has the physique of a 220-174 = 46 year old (if your trust the equation).

    Also, the 90% HR is not max HR times 0.90, but (max HR - resting HR) x 0.90 + resting HR. My resting HR is 41 bpm; my max HR is 174. So 90% is 161 bpm. By the way, I race at 160 which is 89% effort. In a 10K race I ran at 150 which is 82% HR and came in 1st in my age group.

    Less reliance on monitors. Everyone is different. Still, I would like to know what Mo Farah's resting and max HR are, and at what HR he races at. Just curious. Does anyone know?

  • Train more at lower heart rate (e.g. 150bpm) this will develop your base/aerobic fitness.  At the moment your anaerobic fitness is fairly well developed but your aerobic fitness isn't so train slower to develop that.

    To start with you'll be stupidly slow but keep at it and the time per km will come down for the same low heart rate.  And when you race you'll find you're able to go faster at 170bpm than before and recover quicker.

    Training at this low heart rate will also train you to use your fat sources more for fuel so you'll find your weight comes down a bit too (which will also make you faster).

    Try it (and don't quit just because you feel like you're running so slow at 150bpm)


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