Worrying HR

Here's a HR graph from a 10k run I did today, I was doing some sprints so I expected my HR to go up but not this much. Should I be worried? I thought it could be me adjusting the monitor but looking at the graph going up quite steadily rather than a spike, makes me think it might be accurate.  All comments appreciated.





  • if I'm running fast my heart rate is always over 170 which is where yours seems to average,racing a 5k and its in the 180s and above.......start of a race higher again....

    i suppose it depends on where yours normally is  as to whether this is unusual

  • Mine's done that when the monitor moved around on a run.  I think you'd have noticed if your heart had spiked so sharply.

  • If you didn't feel it jump - then I think it didnt happen. Surely you'd have felt it of its jumped 60 beats ?
  • Nothing wrong with that at all. I always get a spike rise to start off with and someone did explain once what was causing it but it was no problem.

    Your clothing can affect the HRM too but I have been unable to change mine so just accept that I will never get a correct average heart rate for the first mile of a run.

  • My average HR for the whole run was 161 which is about right, it was 166 when I ran the same distance 5 mins faster. I don't think that it spiked that sharply to dismiss it as miss reads it climbed quite steadily for 2.5 mins then down at a similar gradient for another 2.5mins. I did use to suffer panic attacks (palpatations) but I certainly noticed them. I'll have a read around to see if I can find any explanation, I have a Dr's appointment next week so I'll ask there.

    A similar thing did happen last week without sprinting at all but it was the begining of a virus which stopped me running for a week. My last 2 runs had a small rise at the begining but nothing like this.

    Part of me agrees with you cougie but I didn't notice the steeper 'jump' from 60 to 150 when I started. So I really don't know.

    Thanks for the input.

  • I often find the first few minutes have a much higher heart rate and then it settles down. Its a bit like having the choke on in your car (ok, I'm old we don't have manual chokes any more) until the engine gets warmed up and then it settles down to its normal rhythm. I think we also take a few minutes to get in to our proper pace and can often set off a bit faster than we realise.


  • Hi,

    I had some traces like this which alarmed me so I looked online. Once I had waded past all the people telling me I was about to suffer some major cardiac event, I found some post suggesting that the HRMs aren't the most reliable at the start of a run and that they can be affected by what you wear.

    So, I experimented with a few things and found the following:

    - when my HRM said my HR was 160+ (from RHR of 50 after 200m of gentle jogging! but sometimes it used to do it gradually over a few minutes) my HR when taken manually was about 110

    - if I was really really diligent in moistening the contact pads on the HRM it rarely seemed to happen (guessing that once you start sweating the contact is much better)

    - if I wore a cotton t-shirt it never happened

    - if I wore a "technical" top it happened quite frequently

    So, my conclusion was that it was something to do with the strength of the contact between the pads and my chest and also the nature of the top I was wearing, presumably something to do with static and the like,

    Interestingly, I bought new everything (Garmin and HRM) to see if it was better, but it was worse. Other people have confirmed this. The newer HRMs seem to be even more sensitive to this static effect than the old ones.

    Not everyone suffers from this though. I guess that an individuals body composition and their trainers (how much of an earthing effect they have) and all sorts of things will make a difference.

    Just my own experiences....
  • Thanks elstead, I went to the Dr's and had an erg done, it came out as fine.

    He suggested the same as you, that the monitor is not right. I did try a manual hr test but it was going to fast to count properly with cold hands.

  • ER.interesting in what you say about static........i suffer from static a bit normally and always wear technical t-shirts.........i always have really high rates at the start .....( stay fairly high in races )......might explain the very high readings at the start.......although I wear it on the way to the race and it seems to keep normal then

  • I often record a very high HR in the first half mile of a run. Never thought to worry about it as it's normal for me and I feel fine.

  • Looks exactly what Elstead said.  Sweat is a great conductor and once you start sweating it doesn't dry up till you stop and cool down.  Even wetting your HRM strap it is amazing how quickly the body will dry it out and hence the bad readings till you start sweating which might be affected by the pace of your run and also ambient temperature.  Current weather it's probably a couple of miles before you build up a sweat.

  • I've just had a letter from my Dr saying he's relooked at my results and has got me an appointment at the hospital, so I do hope it's the shirts.

  • Well I was happy with what the Dr previously said, but he's the expert and has the ECG results if there was no problems with it I can't see why I'm being refered. Although I am convinced it's the shirts. Maybe there's another problem unrelated to what I reported, Ive no idea.

  • Would be interested in what they come up with.  When is the appointment?

  • mine always spikes at the start and then settles down...unless it is causing you pain etc, I wouldn't be too concerned. A HRM isn't supposed to be bang on accurate - more of a guide I'm guessing.

  • Mine very sensitive to early spikes, nearly always get a trace like that. You need to be sweating really. Mine also rises gradually liek that (when it's behaving itself). As you get a bit more knackered, I think it rustles up a bit of extra go to start repairing the damge you have done. Utterly unscientific but it seems to make sense to me.

    Don't worry Seth, get it checked then happy days

  • Hi Seth


    I think you are wise getting it checked out and at least your Dr  is taking you seriously and quite right too.   I have had odd things happen on my HRM but im not bothered by it.  The technology cannot be relied upon, and I would erg you to change the battery in it.  Mine spikes up and down making it look right odd, sometimes saying I have 42 bpm, when ive checked it and its more like 70! 

  • 15th of april for appointment, I won't be stopping training but at least it will be before first marathon attempt may7th. So hopefully I'll survive before big effort.

    I don't think there will be any problems but who knows, nothing to lose getting it checked.

  • What do you mean stop worrying? The Dr refered me, shall I tell him some bloke on the internet told me I'm ok so I won't bother with his recomendation.image

    Someone asked when the appoinment was so I answered.

  • I don't think it's hypochondria to play it safe and obviously your doctor doesn't think so either. Comments like that are partly the reason that 50% of cancers are detected first by A&E doctors when the patient attends for an unrelated reason - people consistently say things like they didn't want to 'bother' the doctors if it was nothing and that they didn't want to 'waste the doctors' time'.Then they leave a perfectly treatable early stage cancer until it's too late to do anything with.

    And some doctors CAN make you feel like that. I remember going to my own doc age 27 with a huge lump in my armpit. Didn't think it was breast cancer but also didn't want to not get it looked at and die of reticence! Before even looking at it the doctor said 'Don't be silly, you've not got breast cancer.' I was like, 'Do you know how many under 30s die of breast cancer every year? Do you think some of them maybe got THIS response from their doctor and that's why they ended up dying? Now bloody LOOK at it before you tell me it isn't cancer!' And of course it wasn't cancer, but that's not the point.

  • Defensive wall Dave, You're telling me to ignore the advice of my Dr, be serious.

    Just because I'm a hypochondriac doesn't mean there's nothing wrong with my heart.

  • That's lucky Seth, managing to get an expedited heart check appointment in 2 months.

    You'll be able to train hard for your marathon mean time and be ready for tapering after your appointment image

  • I have a heart rate watch which I use for training purposes. I regularly do circuits and find that after the warm up my heart rate is 160-170 and goes up to 180-190 during the harder elements of exercise. I did insanity and my heart rate was from the outset 190+ and I could feel it, so I controlled my breathing more and did less. What I'm saying is your heart will often go int oa higher zone and level off when starting exercise - it's because of the fight or flight response. I wouldn't worry. If you get pain or really short of breath then stop. 

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