Beginner HR Training Shock!

Hi all, I've been running for 3 years and am 39 years old.  My 10k race time is 39 mins.  In the last week I've tried some HR monitor training and I've had quite a shock when looking at the Garmin Connect charts.  The last 4 runs I've done wearing a HR monitor my HR has gone up to between 196 and 200 BPM in the first few minutes, then it has dropped to about 145, and then remained steady at about 150 - 155 for the rest of a harder run.

I'm really quite horrified that it has gone up so high!!  I guess I haven't been warming up enough and it's something I'll keep an eye on in future runs.  Otherwise, I felt perfectly fine.  My resting HR in the morning varies from about 39 to 43 from day to day so generally I don't have a high HR.

Has anyone else experienced this?


  • It's nothing to do with your fitness, it's just the HR monitor having a bad connection until you've sweated a bit and made a connection. 
    Try licking the HR contacts beforehand, but basically ignore the first few minutes as they'll be garbage.


  • Agree. I sometimes get really high values in the first few minutes, but not if I remember to put some saliva on the contacts first. Or you can get a water-based gel designed for electrical contacts (for ECG machines) - but that's more expensive!

  • Ian/Debra - thanks for that, I'll see what happens next time and I'll manually count my HR next time too image

  • I have the opposite issue, the garmin HR reads fine for the first 45 min ish then as I sweat more it goes mental, spiking above 200 regularly even at easy pace, but settling as I dry it and reseat it. I've changed sensor, batteries and the strap (onto a modified, cut, polar strap now) but it only puts of the problem until a bit later into the run.

    Cheap ECG gel off ebay did help it me more reliable in the short term, but in general I've not been impressed with garmin HR monitors.
  • I've always found mine to be rock solid reliable. Also a Polar one I used to have was great too. Agree that licking or otherwise wetting the contacts on the chest strap helps to get an initial reading more quickly...

  • I find my garmin heart rate monitor pretty useless.  Never use it now. Same problem as you plus apparently I only used c200 calaries doing a 10 mile run...

  • I've used Polar hrms for about 12 years now. I soak it under the tap before I put it on but if its a cold windy day it can still dry out underneath. Also you need to give it a thorough wash now and again to get all the dirt and dried sweat out of it.

  • What you need to know is whether your heart is beating at this rate or whether your HRM is telling you wrong! Next time it does it check your pulse; if it is beating at this rate then you need to see your Dr! But I suspect it is as above; are you a bit of a caffeine junkie? (no offence intended)

  • Thanks for all the replies, it was just a bad contact making it show high rate.

  • Hi all

    Just asking for some advice regarding Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) please!
    I am a female, 35 years old, have been running well 3 times a week in the last 7 months. Recently, my MHR was quite high which makes me a bit concerned.

    - Thursday speed work session, MHR: 236 bpm, avg: 176, pace: 07:53 m/m
    - Tuesday tempo session, MHR: 226 bpm, avg: 171, pace: 08:50 m/m
    - Sunday long run, MHR: 180 bpm, avg: 166, pace: 09:25 m/m

    I am using Garmin Forerunner 610’s strap. The thing is I felt fine, no pain or chest complaint at all. Have anybody got abnormal high MHR like me?


  • Just looks like you have a high max heart rate.  If you'd not got a HRM you wouldnt be concerned at all. 


    See a doc if you really are concerned though - but I'm sure its nothing to worry about.

  • I agree, though those maxes are very unusual. At age 34-35 I used to top out at 207 which was considered interesting and somewhat freaky but 'normal' enough and not dangerous in any way by a cardio doctor friend of mine.

    If you just recently got the HRM I wouldn't worry about it. If you've been HRM training for a while and these maxes are much higher than normal, firstly put in new batteries to rule out wonky readings! If still higher than normal I'd see a doctor just to rule out any problems.
  • If the high readings are in the first few minutes, just ignore them - it's almost certainly due to poor contacts giving erroneous readings until you get going and start sweating properly. The averages look okay. If you're monitoring during your run and you notice such high values (200), check your pulse rate, see what that is. If it is really getting that high and you're concerned, then go get yourself checked by your GP.

  • Thanks everyone. I have used the HRM since started running and noticed that I am on the high side of MHR, normally is around 200, but never higher than that until this week. Hope those were just the false reading. The max was recorded at the middle of my runs, after 25 minutes, not at the beginning.

    I’ll give the strap a good clean and make sure it is tight enough next time.


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