Heart Rate to high???


for my age and gender my max heart rate is 188 but when I run 5k it hits an average of 182 and a max of 197.

This is running at a pace I can sustain even though I am working hard - should I be worried? should I slow down and introduce walking sections in my 5K or should I just ignore it and carry on regardless

any advice most welcome



  • Hi Roller2, your your MAX HR is obviously not 188 (using a generic calculation will rarely give an accurate result). I'd hazard a guess that your MAX hr is nearer 200bpm, the best way to find out (other than lab tests) is do a search on MAX HR and follow the plan (hill reps are a good way of achieving this after a thorough warm up).

    Usin a generic calculation gives me a max hr of 166bpm  220-age(54) =166. In fact it's 188bpm.

  • Yes, Andi is right. Generic formula's are far from accurate.

  • Wow - thanks to both for the advice - I guess as long as I feel OK I should carry on - the 197 heart rate I reached today was when I was tring to run up a nasty litle short hill - I have never made it all the way to the top yet so I think it is probably a good measure of my max rate .

    Does this mean that as a 54 year old something about my body resembles a 20 year old??? 




  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭

    As a 54 yo if you're seeing 197 hr I would worry. I reached that age today and there's no way I can get my hr that high. My max is probably in the 160s althouh I really don't want to try and find out. Got to 157 or so recently trying to sprint at the end of a 5 mile race (with a 5 mile warm up). Do you have a hrm or you counting your hr?

  • Happy Birthday Womble image Looks like the 54yr olds have the edge in this thread (I'm #3). My MHR is currently set at 188bpm though guess I should retest it as I've hit that 3 times in training earlier this year, I'm currently HADDing so rarely see over 82% (155bpm) these days. AHR is currently 73% (138bpm) for all runs.

    Your unlikely to find your true MHR at the end of a 5 mile race from what I've read as your body just can't push itself far enough as your already tired. Again (from what I've read) your age doesn't dictate your MHR though it does/can go down with age.

    btw, am a beginner that reads a lot so maybe get that pinch of salt outimage

  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭

    As I said I'd actually run 10! Mind you my hrm can give me all sorts of numbers..... It does its own thing sometimes. I believe the min hr I've seen of 39 though! Quite proud of that image

  • oops, missed the brackets sorryimage  39 is pretty darn low! you'd freak your doctor out if they saw that. I thought 50 was decent for me (at our age).

  • WombleWomble ✭✭✭

    They don't like it when I go to A&E for sure!

  • Heart rate is individual. Some people have large hearts that beat slowly and some have small hearts that beat quickly. 

    A heart rate monitor is a simple bit of kit that takes a while to get any decent data and trends from.

    Spend a few months running with it and get readings at different paces, different weathers and under different states of health. 

  • thanks everyone for the advice - its really helpful. 

    I wore my HRM to do a 10k walk last night - I was walking pretty fast and some of it was uphill - I ended up with average heart rate of 136 - supposedly over 70% of my max HR

    I guess I am just one of those people with a little fast heart and I will keep an eye on it over time to see whether it changes

    thanks again

  • You should check what your resting HR (RHR) is.

    As an example if your RHR was 60 that would be 30% of your max already. 70% isn't a great deal in those terms. My RHR is 58 and jumps to 100 when I stand up. 

    How long have you been running? It may be that you're quite unfit and pushing very hard. Try some slower runs for a few weeks and the do another fast 5K. The weather will be cooler and that will affect you too. 

  • I'm only 46 but my heart rate is often over 200 at a start of a race and averages around 185/190 for races of around 5k........

    i also get to 190 on a bike on some hills...........

    my resting heart rate is around 60 as well. and as i do a lot of longer distance stuff i don't worry now that it seems higher than everyone elses

  • I did a one miler last week and got my hr upto 166, which backs up my thoughts about where my max is likely to be.

    As TimR says, use your hrm literally as a monitor to find out what is normal for you. You'll get used to what your hr will at different paces, conditions etc. and you'll start to see things change as your fitness improves. My resting hr has come down considerably over the last year but I have been doing a lot of training.

  • thanks Womble - thats a helpful view point. I have been making a note of my times/distances/ max and min HR so over the next year I will see some improvement I hope.

    I am trying to slow down a bit if my HR gets towards 200 but otherwise I am trying to not let the monitor rule my running.


  • Are you doing different length runs at different paces or are you doing the same hard run every time?

    I don't know your background or what distances your aiming at but it pays to do one hard fast run, one medium paced run and one long slow run a week. That will give you lots of time to recover. Just in case you're overdoing it a bit, which can lead to overtraining and a high heart rate. 

  • Hi Tim


    my background is that I am new to running - started in the middle of April this year on the NHS C25K program. I completed the program and have been trying to do at least 5k each time I go out - 3 times a week. I am trying to extend the time that I run - I am now up to 40 mins. Pacing myself is not my strong point!

    I know I need to include hill sessions and interval runs but at the moment I am mainly trying to consolidate what I have achieved so far before moving on.

    So I suppose the answer is yes, I am doing the same hard run every time - its hard for me at least for now  - there is plenty of scope for me to improve my fitness


  • Excellent. 

    I wouldn't bother with hill work, intervals or speed sessions at the moment.

    Do one all out effort of 5k a week, then an easy one and just extend one of your runs at a slow pace by about 1km a week until you get to an hour.

    Your heart rate will settle, you'll get faster and should lower the risk of injury. 

  • thanks for the advice TimR - I will be doing a Park Run on Sat morning so that will be my all out effort then after that I'll carry on building up my time running - cant imagine running for an hour at the moment!


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