Heart Rate Query

Hi I am training for London marathon (& possibly Milton Keynes). my heart rate is around 151-156bpm when training on a long run - this equates to around 70/75% for me. This weekend just gone I did a half marathon & my rate was about 156-168bpm (75-90%) as I ran quicker than in training. I am a slow runner at a pace of 11-12min mile. My question is to check running at 75-90% is normal or ok? Not a lot I can do about it but my breathing is ok, though I always get tired in training & races towards the last 3mi. I feel like I have no energy despite gels & a sports drink plus eating plenty of complex carbs a few days before. I don't want to slow down even more - my goal is sub 5:00 (or as close as poss). I have done a marathon before in 6 hours but had to walk a lot due to injury. Any polite suggestions welcomed. Many thanks.


  • If you're working on 220-age for your calculations - go and hit the watch with a big hammer. That's out for a lot of people. You need to do a proper test.

    75-90% is a hell of a range. 75% I'd be working steadily. 90% I could probably do for an hour tops before my eyeballs burst.

    Aim to do most of your runs at a pace you can chat at. For your long runs - aim to run them 90 secs per mile slower than your goal pace at the marathon.

    On the day - adrenaline and cardiac drift affect the figures so much that a HRM might not be that much use.
  • I'm working on 226-age. I am at 90% sometimes but most of the time 80% in the half marathon. In training runs more like 70%. To be honest I can't really chat & run - I can't concentrate on breathing otherwise!! I take your point though. Hoping adrenaline will get me round VLM!!! Cheers.
  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    90% peaks in a half-marathon race is fine, but 90% in training will leave you too tired to train effectively in your other sessions. For the marathon you won't be able to sustain 90% for very long, you should be looking to stay below 85%.

    PS There's something wrong in your figures as 156bpm (75%) gives a max HR of 210 bpm, but 168bpm (90%) gives a max HR of 187?


  • Perhaps I am working it out wrong then - what formula are you using? Will have to keep an eye on the 85% during the marathon then. I'm trying to avoid having to walk in the second half but I can't run much slower!! Although I think I need to slow the first half down!!
  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭
    Have a look on the web for max hr test to see ideas for the stress test to get your heart to its max level, and then use this as a basis for your calculations. The generic 220 - age formula is a guide, and originally was caveated with a +10/-10 % rule ( may even have been more than 10%). Then you take your hr reading divide it by your max hr and then times this by 100 to get your hr %.
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