Which Heart Rate Zone for 5K run?

I've been using the 5k Runner app on my phone for the last 5 weeks. Going really well so far.

I picked up a heart rate monitor recently and want to understand how best to use this when I'm doing my runs.

According to the data collected by my HRM my runs tend to be around 160 - 170 bpm. I run at 6mph.

I'm 34 and from what I gather 160-170 is in the Anaerobic Threshold Zone.

I'm trying to find out whether or not I should be in this zone for a 5k run or if it would be more beneficial to be in the Aerobic Zone - which is around 140 ish for someone my age I believe.

The thing is, running at around 140bpm is fairly easy and I don't feel like I'm pushing myself - it also feels pretty slow.

Can anyone clarify what zone(s) I should be aiming for during my runs? If it's the aerobic zone I'll just have to get used to running a bit slower.

Thanks in advance.


  • Unless you've tested your heart rate max with a proper exertion test - all of the levels may be complete rubbish.

    Just run at a pace you can chat at. That is the right zone for the majority of runs.
  • Chris

    Are you taliking about training or trying to get a PB at a Parkrun?

    For the former, as Cougie says, it should feel slow.

    For the latter I start at around 165 (after a warm up) and hit my max 180bpm in the last 500m. I'm 41 and the highest HR I've recorded in the last year is 183bpm.

  • I'm talking about training. For instance 6 mph sustained for say 10 minutes gets tough but I can do it ok. It gets longer each time.

    If I reduce the speed to say 5 - 5.5 mph it's much easier but also feels much slower almost like a very fast walk.
  • cougie wrote (see)

    Just run at a pace you can chat at. That is the right zone for the majority of runs.


    You can talk during a 5k??? I can just about breath.

  • Oh OK - I didn't actually mean when racing. MOST of your runs should be at a chatting pace. Actually my IM runs are done at a pace I could chat with a small child toddling along at if they could be bothered.

    For a 5k pace - then yeah - you're struggling to think, let alone breathe. image
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