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# Heart rate query

Hi

Not sure if this should be in training or beginners so have posted in both.  I’m hoping that someone out there can answer this heart rate query?  I have been running for about 9 months now and I’m doing three 30-40minute runs per week.  My resting heart rate is about 72 bpm and I have fairly low blood pressure (110/55).  I’m 53 by the way.

My ex -aerobics instructor calculated the various percentage heart rates for my monitor but even on the slowest of runs and I mean slow (just above walking) my heart rate is up to over 145 bpm.  Faster ones average around 155 but it seldom goes up over 165 even if I sprint!  However I can’t seem to keep it lower unless I actually walk.

I have tried two or three monitors and it is the same.  Is this normal as most articles indicate that it should be lower for steady runs?  I’m sure this has been answered before but there are so many posts I can’t find one.

Thanks

Lennie

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You need to calculate your maximum heart rate to get meaningful figures.  I suspect your aerobics instructor used the widely-known but not very accurate 220-age formula (220-53 = max HR of 167).

When first training with an HR, most people find low intensity runs are at a very slow pace and may involve some walking, but within a month or so they are able to maintain a higher pace whilst keeping their HR within the lower threshold.  Based on what you've said, see if you can run a few runs at around 140 - 145 bpm (walking if your HR rises above 145) and then see if you progress within the next month?

• The Karvonen method is supposed to be one of the most accurate.

This uses : run perc *(max - rest) + rest

If you don't know your max a more accurate calculaton (apparently about 90%) than the mentioned 220-age is 205 - half age so for you would be 179 (females can sometimes be about 5 more)

So if you wanted a steady recovery pace of 70% it would be

.70 * (179-70) = 76 plus 70 = 146

I'm a 51 year old male but with a resting rate of 45 and use 141 for recovery and often ended up walking for stretches to get back down to this figure. The longer I stuck to it the more I ran and I don't feel tired out after (it is a recovery after all).

For harder interval type runs at 85%  would be 162

If you want to find your proper max it might be best to have a chat with your Doc first before you do anything so demanding.

• Helen Appelbe-Jackson wrote (see)
Faster ones average around 155 but it seldom goes up over 165 even if I sprint!

It is very hard to get a true MHR, especially if you are not that fit. It is hard to  push the body hard enough to get the HR up to maximum.

• Sadly the only 'true' way to get your maximum heart rate would involve, well, running till you drop!

I used my Garmin to put me through a 30 minute session and it came up with 180 (and have recorded 176bpm since), the 220-53 is 167 and 205 - half my age (53) is 178 so the second method is closer to my true MHR.

I started trying to run in the recovery Zone in August and rather than walking (or stopping) because I was out of breath I was walking when my HR reached 80% and did almost as much walking as jogging for a while. I don't use the alarm on the watch so much now as I live in a hilly area so try to jog 10 metres further up the hills on each run. My first 'run' in August was 5k with 8:16 a kilometre with a MHR of 175 (96%) and an average of 159 (83%). Todays jog was 6k @ 6:43/k with a MHR of 159 (83%) and an average of 144 (70%).

I'm still taking regular walk breaks but they are shorter and I'm walking faster so guess I'm saying if you persevere then you will benefit from the walking breaks in the long run. And talking about long runs, by keeping my HR down I managed my first ever 10 mile run/walk the other week and felt fresher than I did after a 5k run 10 weeks ago.

• That's part of the problem with your max heart rate it's not really related to your fitness it's part of your physiology so varies from person to person. You can be unfit and have a low max or very fit and have a high rate. At least once you know it you don't have to go through the torture again. On the other hand the resting rate can vary quite a bit day to day, though checking that only involves laying in bed, a much easier option.

Helen - if you want to train with a HRM, I heartily recommend the book 'Heart Monitor training for the compleat idiot' by John L Parker

• Helen you are being mis-advised.

the 220-age formula is nonesense. it's plain wrong. the formula are just too generic to be of any predictive use to everyone. My MaxHR is 194 or higher yet the formulae say it should be near 180. Theyare just WRONG.

your max and min heart rate are "whatever they are". as others say your max HR is largely fixed but your resting HR will fall as you get fitter. it is that and your LTHR which are measures of fitness and endurance.

your resting heart rate sounds a bit high, maybe you have the wrong figure.??? check it again carefully.

heart rate based training IS the way to go. but only if you get your zones right.

instead when you do your runs, run at a pace where you could talk to someone. JUST ABLE to talk to someone. that is roughly the pace you want to be running at, maybe a little faster. There is some HR stuff on my blog if you want to delve a little deaper.

------------------------------------

Better 5k, Duathlon and Triathlon
More: http://the5krunner.com
Goals: 82% Age Graded 5k and an open water Triathlon.

• again all of the above is irrelevant information as you will not be running to the point where your heart will be nearly exploding

the best method is the little know Maffetone Method which states: 180- your age= the max your heart should beat at for aerobic activity.

so for me  being 24 my aerobic heart rate is 156 (max) any higher and you're working an aerobically which isnt good for long distance running.  Constantly running at or just under your max aerobic rate will eventually make you quicker and a far better runner. To the point you wont care about your heart rate.

Ignore the other bs. Trust me it works. By doing this I have gone from 9.30min mile to 8.45min mile over a period of 10 weeks. Best results Ive ever acheived.

• Avit - for the Maffetone Method to be true that must mean that the aerobic / anaerobic threshold is dictated by age?

So, I'm 41, and that means my aerobic threshold is automatically lower than yours? Even though I may have been training consistently for the last 15 years????

Not being funny, but that strikes me as yet another example of a generic formula that can't possibly be true.

I'm glad it has worked for you, but I know my max heart rate is around 190 bpm, my resting heart rate is mid 40s, and my LTHR is around 160. As such, in training I try to keep an aerobic run to around 150-155.

YP
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Yup that sounds like another BS calculation.

It may work for some - but not all.

What's the point in having a precise instrument like a HRM and then basing all your training on theoretical figures. Its like buying a Rolex and setting it by the sun.
• So many books and websites all with their own winning formula. The one thing they all seem to share is people usually run too fast for their recovery run. Slowing people down so they actually do recover is the important thing.

Without knowing your actual max we can only use formulas which never work for everyone. Just on this thread if I used the various formulas I would have a choice between 129 and 154. No wonder people get confused.

• YoungPup wrote (see)
Avit - for the Maffetone Method to be true that must mean that the aerobic / anaerobic threshold is dictated by age?

So, I'm 41, and that means my aerobic threshold is automatically lower than yours? Even though I may have been training consistently for the last 15 years????

Not being funny, but that strikes me as yet another example of a generic formula that can't possibly be true.

I'm glad it has worked for you, but I know my max heart rate is around 190 bpm, my resting heart rate is mid 40s, and my LTHR is around 160. As such, in training I try to keep an aerobic run to around 150-155.

YP

Nope, it isnt generic for two reasons:

the method is mainly for the generic/recreational runner to give them a clear bs free method of working and progressing.

and 2 the method is flexible for people like yourself who have trained for many years and know their own bodies. you can if you wish to use this method experiment by adding 5 or 10 to your heart rate.

the above is just cloudy advice thats got greyer over the years.

• HalfRunnerHalfBiscuit wrote (see)

So many books and websites all with their own winning formula. The one thing they all seem to share is people usually run too fast for their recovery run. Slowing people down so they actually do recover is the important thing.

Without knowing your actual max we can only use formulas which never work for everyone. Just on this thread if I used the various formulas I would have a choice between 129 and 154. No wonder people get confused.

hence the Maffetone method will strike the balance needed- you run just under your threshold ie not too slow or too fast and there gain maximal results. Sounds like you should read up on it.

• Avit - That's what I was saying, all the different approaches advocate running at a lower rate than most people do to achieve better results. I use John L Parkers book which was first published nearly 20 years ago and on its 3rd edition.

Maffetone would have me running at 129, Parker at 141, both considerably less than most people do a recovery run. I'm happy with mine, you are with yours, no further comment needed.

• Avit - I'm not slagging off the Maffetone Theory, I'm just saying it's far too simplistic (maybe that's a better word than generic).

I acknowledge that if I did the bulk of my aerobic training at below 139bpm, that I would still be getting some benefit from that, and would eventually get quicker.

However, it definitely would not be maximal results, as I get more benefit from not using a formula that applies to everyone, and using a calculation based on my body, my heart rate, and my current level of fitness.

I'm not suggesting everyone has to be so scientific about it, and for a long time I used to use the following non scientific / non heart rate based measures:

- A recovery run is run at a pace where you could sing out loud, in tune, whilst you were running.

- An easy run is one where you can talk in full sentences without having to pause for breath.

- A steady run is one where you can still talk normally, but only in shortened sentences.

- A tempo / threshold run has you speaking 2-3 words at a time, in between deep breaths.
• Youngpup - thats me stuffed, I can't sing in tune at any speed, including stationary.