Hi. 1st post here!

Been into running a couple of years now and decided to purchase a GPS watch with hrm as I was getting more curious as to how well I was training. 

Back ground info: age 41, resting heart rate low 50's. worked out max should be around 180. Have been running at same pace most times I go out for ages now. Average 4 min 45 sec a kilometre. Mostly 5 and 10k runs. Wanted to get into longer distances at 70% heart rate, hence my purchase. 

1st run with it, a usual paced 10k showed heart rate average of 169bpm, on garmin site that's a 5 = over reaching! 

Went out again today at particulary slow pace and had average 158bpm. 

My query is, can I be doing something wrong? Never thought I be running 10k at 90% max heart rate as I don't feel that bad after. 

Many tips you can put my way on best way to incorporate hrm into my traing would be much appreciated. 

Got a half coming up in November that I did in 1h 45 last year and want to improve on that if poss. 

Sorry for such a long 1st post!




  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

    The obvious question is...how did you work out your maximum? The formulas are pretty general, it is likely that your max is higher than you think.

    I'm 52, on a good my resting rate is low 50's too, but my max is mid 180s.  That doesn't mean yours will be, but I think you are being conservative.

    if you google you can find some methods to measure your mhr on the treadmill with your garmin, or by doing short hard intervals.

  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

    Oh, and the Garmin bands aren't gospel either.

  • thanks, yeah, just the usual formula for guessing max so will look into getting accurate figure and go from there....

  • I tend to be running my 10Ks at 90%+ HR (of my measured max HR at a recent VO2max test - 187).  40 next year, resting HR about 50-52 bpm, running seriously 1 year but on and off for 4.

    I've given up using HR for anything other than a very rough guide and now go on how out of breath I am.  I can run a 7:00 min mile 5K, but to run at 80% of my max HR (which is 150) I'm running 11:00 minute miles plus.

    I can't even get down to running at 130 bpm most days (70%) as I'm stumbling into walking.  There seems to be a sudden jump up to 150 when I break into a jog and anything approaching a run it goes up to at least 165 - feels fine though.

  • I started the RW marathon training by heart rate programme a few weeks ago, so this topic is very interesting to me. My max heart rate from my last two 5k parkuns is 180 and today I did a 15 mile run at 76% MHR at 8:47/mile pace. My 5k time is also about 7 minute miles. I jogged to the last parkrun for 4.5km at 70% MHR at 10:10 min/mile pace. So a similar 5k time to Daeve but quite a big difference in pace at similar percentages of HR max.

    It sounds like using heart rate for training is going to have a huge variation depending on what your heart rate response to effort looks like. Having said that, I'm really enjoying this HR training programme but it's hard work.
  • 1) As others have said, if you can safely handle it then do a test to get a useful idea of your max HR. The formula is a statistical guide but of little or no training usefulness for any given individual. Eg on sprints and hard intervals my HRM has measured me at 20bpm higher than the max formula estimates.

    2) Have you looked at a graph for the duration of your session to check whether the average is being skewed by high false readings? If the strap contact point is too dry then it might be picking up your cadence instead of your heart rate. More details here: http://www.dcrainmaker.com/2010/04/troubleshooting-your-heart-rate.html


  • Thanks for all the replies, some interesting reading there.

    1st off, i'll research best method to get more accurate idea of max heart rate. 

    I have been on a few runs lately going approx 1 min slower per km with a friend just getting into running, now i have the means to check my effort via my heart rate i'm pleased to see the early signs are that it is still an effective workout as it seems too slow! Looking back though, it is the pace i ran at when i started and that seemed as fast as i could go then ! It has also opened my eyes a bit regarding longer slower runs which i hope will help with training for my half marathon coming up in November.


  • Hi All,

    Have been musing over the same problem - what feels like an easy run to me is showing as 85-95%.

    So why ?   I'm pretty confident that my RHR number is accurate, but I suspect that my MHR measurement might be a little on the low side (motivating yourself to stay in bed for an extra 5 mins is easier than pushing hard up a hill ! image 

    But I think that its because my heart rate response is just not very linear.  I was hoping this was simply because I'm so unfit.

    I had a VO2max test a few months ago as part of a health assessment which at 28.9 put me in the bottom 10% of the human population (for a 43 year old).  This is what spurred me on to take up running, so after graduating the Couch25K podcasts I have managed to get my 5k down to 28:30.

    Reading NCE's post above quoting distances and paces I can only dream of, and seeing the same issue is cause for thought, but I think I'll just ignore the heart rate and stick with good old perceived effort.


  • Two points for you to consider:


    i have never rated the training effect on the garmin site as it seems wayward to me and pays no attention to your goals. 

    the other is that, and I have used HR since 20, do a test to calculate you max HR not a formula. If you search max HR test on here you will find it.  


    Good luck. 

  • So, did a fairly long run (for me) this morning of 6.5 miles and as usual after the first couple of miles I was into the 90pc heart rate band according to my guessed MHR for a good 40 mins.  I was feeling OK so I thought I'd just go for a sprint finish for the last 100m or so.  Well, my heart rate climbed and climbed to 203bpm.

    This would explain a lot, but I'm sceptical.  The value had not leveled out, it was just climbing right until the point I slowed down - maybe it still isn't the max ?  But  on the gentle walk the rest of the way home it suddenly spiked up to 206bpm for a couple of seconds and stayed much higher than I would expect after that.  It was the longest run I've done for a long time with a sprint at the end, so it could be symptoms of fatigue ?

    I'm going to change the battery in the strap tomorrow, and I plan to do a park 5K on Saturday, and would hope to get up to MHR there.

    I'ld love to think I've got an MHR over 200, but I suspect its faulty gear.  I'll let you know.

  • I can get my heart rate to go to 222!  Doesn't mean I should though!  Do the threshold test to calculate MHR not a formula.

  • I'm not trying to calculate MHR at all, but rather measure it.  Only to find out what it is so that I can set my heart rate zones properly.

    SCBB - not sure what the threshold test is, but if its the thing in the link below it seems too much for a beginner like me (not sure I could manage maximal output over 10K - just glad to finish)

  • By the way - Simon, sorry I seem to by hijacking your thread - please do let me know if I'm comitting a forum faux pas, as I'm new to the community.

    But like you I suspect something is wrong if your heart rate monitor is telling you your are running for half an hour anaerobically !

  • The threshold test I use is from someones triathlon bible - warm up then run at max effort for 20mins. The average HR FROM THAT 20min period can be used as your Max HR. 

  • Surely if you take the average you will have higher and lower readings for the 20 minute session. Therefore the higher reading will be your maximum 

  • I thoughtdot thought that but tis blokes book said average. Some one on here must have it, all triathletes think its the bible apparently.  guesses the average accounts for the fact that you can make your heart work harder than its maximum WORKING heart rate.

  • SCBB, I guess you either misread the book or somebody else did? By default the MAXIMUM of anything has to be greater than the AVERAGE. Maybe it was said in order to work out an optimum pace/HR for (say) a Tempo Run or Lactate Threshold? When you say run at Max effort for 20 mins your not running your fastest, just the fastest possible for 20 minutes (a shorter distance would be run faster).

  • Or, and highly possible , your maximum working heart rate is not your maximum possible heart rate. As I said earlier, I can take my HR to 222 but my maximum working HR is 204.  I am trying to convince my Doc to let me go to Haslar to get it calculate at the INM along with view other things. I will let you know if I find anything out. 

  • PS I have just checked and the variance when I did the test web tween max HR and average HR was 5 bpm so I suspect its good enough and certainly better than a calculationThis website is always worth a read and this e article tends towards Andi Mc's point:



  • SmilingSnail wrote (see)

    By the way - Simon, sorry I seem to by hijacking your thread - please do let me know if I'm comitting a forum faux pas, as I'm new to the community.

    But like you I suspect something is wrong if your heart rate monitor is telling you your are running for half an hour anaerobically !

    No problem, been away for a bit so just catching up on the posts.

    Used the hrm a fair bit now, mangaed to get 181 max so far and still averaging 169 on 10k run.... don't mind that and did 9 miles at 9.05 pace with average heart rate 153 which shows about 75% so ok for long slow run i think. Wouldn't want to go any slower though as wouldn't seem like running!

    Never used to do a weekend LSR so feel I'm mixing it up a bit more now, did some good hill work on the South West Coast path while away. Got a 10k race in two weeks so will see how much this new training is working out.



  • I managed to lock up my 310XT by uploading some big courses into it.  After an initial panic and search of the web I found out how to reset it, and re-entered all my data.  I included a slightly higher MHR which I got from my last very fast run (racing my 11 year old son image

    Anyway - next time I was out I am showing 75-80pc of max heart rate where I would have expected to have seen 85-90pc before.  I think that perhaps it was not set correctly to show percentace of heart rate reserve before.

    For me anyway the heart rate zone descriptions now seem to match my 'perceived effort'.


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