MHR problems

Hi, i'm a 50 year old who has been running pretty consistently but not competitively for the past 19 years and prior to that always raced cycles. This past year i've had problems with kidney stones and virus that wouldn't go away, but now i'm fit again and just starting my Rome marathon training schedule (today is day 1). I'm trying to set my maximum heart rate and although i know the process the results i get mean that even on my easy training runs what with being in hilly Sheffield, i'm in the red zone - according to the settings. So take this for example, my maximum heart rate is 173bpm based on 220 - 47bpm (resting heart rate as i wake up). I did a 4 mile easy early this morning and my heart rate hit 175, which means i was over my maximum. This was a hill but not eye-popping effort. It leaves me confused about my zones because looking at all of my runs over the past few years my average HR is 144 and my average maximum is 155. What i'm saying is that the MHR of 173 does not leave me much scope for making very much effort.


  • 220 - age is too rough a calculation to establish MHR - you need to do a stress test where you work your nuts off to the point of exhaustion and then take your HR

    you can do this by something like choosing a steep hill - say 400m in length - and running up and down it 3x as hard as you can - take the HR at the top of the 3rd run.  make sure you're warmed up first!!  and repeat twice more (different days) and then take an average.

    and if you hit 175 on an easy run, this am, and  based on previous experience then a couple of things - something's wrong with the HRM; it was a spike in the HRM; or you're coming down with something

  • Hey thanks fot that. I will use that to measure the MHR. As fort the 175, i do have a sore throat and feel a bit off. i should know better as running with colds, viruses from January - February had me sick until end of May. Desperate to get cracking though.

    Thanks a lot for the advice.

  • Plook - i think you're using even that crappy MHR estimate wrong. It was meant to be 220-your age - not your RHR.


    As FB says - you need to test it. Its pointless using a calculation. 

    If you're hitting in the 170s - how could your 'average maximum be 155' ? Unless most of your runs are very steady. 

    Personally I'd ditch the HRM and just run to feel. Did you race with your HRM when you cycled ?

  • Plook, needless to say don't attempt these MHR tests until your current health issues are resolved, and be careful about a thorough warmup especially if you don't normally do a lot of HARD speed work (eg hill reps). You say you've not been running competitively so do you do regular speed work? You might be better off just taking cougie's last bit of advice. Good pace judgement is a vital tool for racing and training IMHO.

  • Yes, most of my runs have been plodding and with this marathon training schedule i started today i want to not skip ALL the speed work like before, but what with turning 50 i don't want to stuff myself.

    No, only got a HRM two years ago.

  • Joe, in all my years of running i've NEVER done any speed work in training, just left it to race day, hence i just have a plodding pace. It's that i am determined to work on before Rome in March.  Two previous marathons have seen me just focus on endurance, so i know i can get around but it's slow

    Marathon: 4.31

    Half marathon: 1.59

    10k: 47 mins

  • a 47min 10k should get you closer to a 4hr marathon with some application.  my 10K PB is just over 45mins and I have a 1:45 1/2 and a sub-4 marathon (by 8 secs but who cares?) - and I was over 50 for all of them 

    so some speed or tempo work can help you get faster - just don't overdo either and build up.

    I tend to run on feel these days, not HR as I've given up PB hunting - saves worrying what my HR is doing and my experience tells me how I'm feeling 

    get rid of the virus first and then start applying yourself.  google FIRST run training - it's speed based training regime which uses the 10k time as the baseline.  but be careful not to go too hard on the speed sessions - that can lead to injury as I found out

  • Thanks, that's really encouraging, especially the bit about the sub 4, which leads me onto the isue of following a training schedule. I thought if i follow a 3.45 schedule it will push me to improve by March, or is that madness which will just get me sick? Should i follow a 4hour training schedule instead? knocking 46 mins off of my 4.31 seems like a tall order given my current plodding pace.

  • Plook, great name, godd luck.

    FB, 45 minute 10K at 50+ with er, a generous figure is really quite impressive.

  • Plook - following a 3:45 training regime might sound like a good idea but you may find you're pushing yourself too hard - but I reckon that's always worth a go.  but review how it's going regularly and adapt if needed.   if you read how the sub-3 guys train, they will always say that it comes down to having basic speed to start with (that's your genes to a large extent) and then putting the miles in and working hard.  that's how I got my sub-4 - sheer bloody hard work and determination.

    DB - me - generous figure??  you're too kind... image

  • Maybe i should train to a 4 hour schedule as i'm wary of getting sick again. Just beating the 4 for now would please me.

  • not everyone does speed work...My OH who is in his 50s bnever does and at marathon has a PB of 3:18 despite only running a few years.......

    I also don't do speed work but do some park run 5k runs as my speed work.and have managed to get under 4 hrs.........

    so there is no one way suits all.........I have too many niggles etc to consider speed work as they are for me the number one way to get imjured.......others love them and feel they help strengthen......each to their own

    good luck

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