General Max. Heart Rate Query


I've been pounding the Streets of my local town since June last year.  After the inital pain of starting this kind of excercise I was, towards the end of 2012, running 3 times a week (2 short runs of approx 3miles and a longer 5/6 mile run).  I decided that at the begining of December I would rest for a month (based on weather and Christmas).  This week I have re-started my runs with a very steady 2.5miles (mainly flat).  My question is this - my new heart rate monitor says I'm maxing out at 193 although I'm 40 and most people are saying my max should be closer to 180.  The run lasted approx 20mins and I was up close to the max for a good half of that run.  Does this sound right?



PS - I'm 178cms and 80kg and resonably fit (I think??)


  • the 220 - age = HR max is generally thought to be useless

    to get a better assesment of your true HRmax, you need to do a stress test - essentially, find a steep hill about 400m long, run up and down that 3 times at full pelt and than take your HR. and repeat twice (different days) and then average the 3 readings.   

    it also sounds as if you're going too hard on the run if you're maxing for approx 1/2 of it - take it a bit easier and build up

  • Was it up at 193 for the first half or second half of the run? Sometimes HRMs give false readings for teh first mile or so; I can often watch my HR rise to 180+ during the first mile of a jog, then settle at about 125 thereafter.

  • Your max heart rate is what it is. You can be very fit and have a high rate or very unfit and have a low rate. It has nothing to do with your fitness, ability or even your love life, its personal to you. Yes it may drop bit by bit as you get older but it does remain very consistent.

    The oft used 220 - age is only true for about 80% of the people.

    I have hit 182 in runs but the 220 - age says I should be 168. A better formula (about 90% of people fit this) is 205 - half your age which would give you 185 rather than 180.

    When you start your run your heart rate can be high for the first part especially if you are unfit, but it tends to steady down when your heart knows what is expected from it.

    Your resting rate however can vary wildly depending upon your level of fatigue, health or stress. If you have set your HRM up with this figure I would say measure it over several days. I have gone between 45 and 56 in one week. it can also be a good way to see if you are over doing it or coming down with a cold.


  • Thanks very much for this, I think I'm gonna average out the various high and low points on the HRM over a week and see what I get.



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