Resting Heart Rate and Speed

I took my Resting Heart Rate (RHR) yesterday, I got 57. I think this just about puts me slightly better than average but not by a lot. If I raced tomorrow I would probably achieve around 19:00 for 5k, 39:30 for 10k and 1:30:00 for a half.

I'm just after a sample of other runners data to see how their RHR and race times correlate as I'm starting some specific HR training to improve my RHR.

Thanks in advance for any contributions! image


  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    You forgot to mention your age, which will be a contributing factor.  I'm no expert in this stuff, but I thought your RHR was based on a number of factors with some that are changeable (e.g. fitness level) and some that are fixed (e.g. genetics)?  what specific training are you doing to reduce your RHR? I always thought it was a lower RHR was a good sign - but the actual values between individuals were irrelevant?

    I dd google it and found this web site, with some very comical responses!


  • I dont think there will be any correlation  - or there would be some chart that you could use to show your estimated race time just off your RHR. 

  • I am 27, I'm hoping to see if my times drop along with my RHR and by how much. I agree there wont be a direct link, but a general ballpark could be useful just to see how I compare with other of varying ability. If I know people with a similar RHR are achieving better times than me, I will know its not aerobic strength holding me back - if that makes sense.


    I'm trying to reduce it with aerobic pace running 70-80%, 2-3 times a week with a long run (12-15miles) thrown in. RHR is influenced by genetics but can be improved by training but surely that goes for all running, some are born better than others but if they don't train they can still lose to a runner that is genetically inferior.

    Anybody else willing to share?

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭

    At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

    Resting HR is one sign of fitness, but in a race a really high one is better, just to pump more blood around.

    Mind you the numbers don't mean much. I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm. By the time we were doing six minute miling, my HR was 180 bpm while his was only 145 bpm.

    The difference in races was that he had the capability of hitting a HR of 190 bpm plus as well. That's why he was an international runner.

  • My RHR (49) is the same as my dad's (I'm 30, he's 62), and I'd manage to get the times you mention but he certainly wouldn't, if he even managed to finish a HM at all.

  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭
    RicF wrote (see)

    At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

    I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm ...

    25? 35? I call typo or bullshit ...

  • Resting HR can vary from day to day, in the same individual.

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Hi Ship-Star, I think what we're all trying to say is that using RHR as a performance measure isn't a good idea.  Its worth keeping track of it, maybe on a monthly basis, so you can see the effects of training - but a better performance measure would be the  higher pace you can achieve whilst maintaining a HR of 75% of effective range.

    The other use of RHR is to confirm you're over-training or ill - if its higher than your normal level its a sign that you need a few days off. 

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    There probably is a weak correlation between resting heart rate and running fitness, other things being equal, but there are too many variables affecting heart rate for it to be a good indicator on its own.  I started out in running with a good aerobic base and a RHR of around 36.  A few years later, RHR is pretty much the same but I'm running 7 minutes quicker for 10k!  So my heart's still big and strong but my legs are more running shaped.

    Here's my recommendation for a fitness indicator: beats per mile.  I use fetcheveryone for my training log and if you input time/distance and average HR it'll work this out for you.  Looking back over a year's worth of data it's pretty impressive how well "bpm" correlates to my race performance.  When I was returning to running I was struggling to break 1,000 bpm; my record is 904, on an easy run a few days before setting a 5,000m PB.  So anything in the low 900s is, for me, pretty good.  (Obviously you can't compare across different people because of differences in heart rate ranges and maximums.)  Also, compare bpm figures for similar runs; intervals, hill work-outs, etc. will tend to give higher bpm.

  • I think it is said that absolute RHR is not much good as an indicator of fitness relative to someone else, but that your drop in RHR with training is a better indicator of fitness. ie, if your RHR has dropped 30 beats since you turned over a new leaf, whereas your neighbour has only dropped 12, then you are fairly likely to be fitter. That depends on you knowing your RHR before you started training.

  • Muttley wrote (see)
    RicF wrote (see)

    At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

    I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm ...

    25? 35? I call typo or bullshit ...

    Possible but unlikely

     Lance Armstrong has a reputation for having a super low resting heart rate. According to his official website, his heart is 30 percent larger than average; however, an enlarged heart is a common trait for many other athletes. He has a resting heart rate of 32-34 beats per minute (bpm) with a maximum heart rate of 201 bpm.


    Miguel Indurain, a cyclist and five time Tour de France winner, had a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute, one of the lowest ever recorded in a healthy human

  • I googled that I am not full of useless info image

  • image Nice comments there nighnurse. Interesting discussion. Do the training and see what the heart rate measures for interest, if you are wanting to improve just do the miles I reckon. Too much science blinds the fact that you have to get out there and do the hard work, though its interesting as a personal record of improvement.image

  • I agrea with Philpub. I am a bit of a statto, and keep running logs back to the 90s. I learned about beats/mile on Fetch, and have retrospectively added it into my spreadsheet. I know I'm in reasonable shape when easy/recovery runs up to 10miles register at less than 1000 beats per mile. For me it is a very good indicator of race performance.

  • Oh for the record, the lowest I've seen is RHR 39. Low 40s is pretty common when I'm in training. I'm 51 years old.

  • Phil, Out of a matter of interest, have you found the ideal intensity to run at to get the best BPM? It does worsen if you run harder, but at what point, if any does it worsen getting easier?

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Brian, good question. I've got a pretty clear picture now from continuous runs ranging from easy to steady to MP to tempo over the past few months.  bpm is always lowest for the easy/steady runs and rises for MP and above. e.g. for December (fairly stable levels of fitness/health...) my stats are:

    Easy: 923 - 964
    Steady-state: 941
    MP: 991
    Tempo: 991
    (Interval, hill sessions & XC all over 1,000 but that's a different kettle of fish!)

    BUT it would be useful to control for the early miles while HR is still climbing, which I'm sure would see the differential getting smaller.

  • PP, It could be a relative thing too. Only my easy stuff is below 1000. All other sessions tend to be 1040 upwards. And as you say XC or hills are 1100+.

    My stats are Easy: 950-990 MP:   ~1080 Tempo ~1060-1080

    Maybe it does correlate across athletes, I am fit to run ~6m/m for 10k, and about 6:10 for HM (will become painfully apparent a week on Sunday!).

    I'm figuring you are in about 5:30 shape for 10k and 5:40 for HM?

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I'm sure Noakes has something on HR vs pace which hopefully would bear out our findings, i.e. I think there's a relatively linear relationship up to a point (probably related to LT or some other threshold??), above which HR rises higher than pace. CNBA looking it up though!

    Brian. wrote (see)

    I'm figuring you are in about 5:30 shape for 10k and 5:40 for HM?

    I'm hoping it's closer to 5:20 / 5:30 but I'll let you know after the Chichester 10k in three weeks. image

  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    Rhr of 46 and similar race times to op but I'm 45. Don't know max, not really keen on finding out given the method involved!
  • In my teens my resting hr was in the 50s, but I couldn't run at all! I was kayaking 6-7 times a week though. The correlation is more between fitness and RHR, rather than running times.

  • RHR is roughly 42 and run times are around16:45 for 5k, 35 for 10k, 1:17 for HM.

  • I'm really intrigued with HR ever since I got my new garmin hence my reason for starting the thread.

    I did a long run on Saturday of 14.5miles, aiming to keep my heart rate in the aerobic zone. My HR never exceeded 160 (max is 194 and RHR is 57) and I averaged 8:08min/m. I hope I'm not asking too much here but would that indicate I have relatively poor aerobic system considering I can run a 39:xx 10k and a sub-19 5k ? I'm quite new to running so trying to absorb all knowledge if possible image

  • TippTopTippTop ✭✭✭

    PP/Brian - interesting on the beats per mile thingy. I've always performed better at MP/LT than at easier paces. Typically the only time I'll go under 1000bpm(ile) is at Marathon pace when I'm fit. Even now, whilst very unfit, my Mara and LT stats are ahead of my easy stats. Apparently I'm a 'high beater' though (not sure if such a thing exists, but that's what I was told).

  • ShipStar, I'm slower than you, eg 10K PB 41:45, HM 92:10, but my RHR is 46. About 5 years ago my 10K PB was 47:00 with RHR of 48. ie I've speeded up but my RHR has barely changed. 

    So it's mostly genetic I think.


  • Night Nurse wrote (see)

     Miguel Indurain, a cyclist and five time Tour de France winner, had a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute, one of the lowest ever recorded in a healthy human

    er... are you really a nurse?

    I'm late forties. I've always had a low resting heart rate... usually it's in the mid-low 30s when I wake, but several times I have measured it below 30.   29 for sure.  Probably 28.

    It's always been like that.  My fitness has fluctuated over the years, from being very unfit to well above average... (e.g. regular footballer, and run a marathon) but never ever have I been close to 'super-fit' like a lot of people on here, or in the army...  I've never noticed a change in RHR (though I didn't monitor it). Right now, sat at my computer, I just measured it at 44bpm.

    Does this make me world-class or potentially unhealthy?   I've had Well-Man check ups from time to time, and had a precautionary ECG and heart echogram about 15 years ago...  and everything was perfect. So if I've not been unhealthy, I must be world-class.  I really must buy a bike.

    Seriously though.. should I investigate this further?

  • RicFRicF ✭✭✭
    Muttley wrote (see)
    RicF wrote (see)

    At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

    I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm ...

    25? 35? I call typo or bullshit ...

    Sorry guys. My resting HR never got quite as low as 25.

    A sheet from my diary of the time for your inspection.

    Saturday 28th is the true figure.



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