Crazy Heart Rate

Hi peeps.

I wonder if anyone can help/advise.

I had a crazy HR moment on our club run last night. I'm 33, I've been running for 12 years. I'm a 4:15 marathon runner. My resting HR is about 45 (it was this morning). My normal average HR for a tempo run would be about 150-60, in an interval session I might average 170. For a long slow run i'm usually around 140.

Last night I forgot my HRM, but what happened has happened before, when I've been wearing an HRM. Last night we'd done about 3.5 miles (and had stopped to re-group twice already) and we stopped again. My HR went mental. I could feel my heart burbling away (feels a bit like its beating under water and is double beating) and my guess is it would have been over 220. Last night was cold and I was running at tempo pace. But this has happened a few times before, on a long run, on an interval session and on other tempo runs. When it happens there has been no really pattern to the weather (i.e. its not cold, because this has happened when it was super hot). Those times I've had my HRM on and my HR has hit 230. I can get it to go down again, but only if I stand or sit still and then I can carry on (this wasn't possible last night as it was FREEZING!). For example I was out for a 22m run and had done about 7.5 when I stopped for a gel, and my HR escalated. I sat down for 5-10 mins it settled at 80 and then I carried on and did another 15m or so. Last night I kept running (to avoid hypothermia) but I felt heavy and like I was running through waist deep water.

Has anyone experienced this before?

I don't keep good enough notes, but there may be a common denominator of tiredness. Other than that I cant think of any reason why it would happen....

What's strange is that my breathing is fine, not at all laboured (or what I would expect for such a high HR) and it doesn't hurt, just feels strange.

Any ideas....????




  • Unlikely that your HR would have been 230 ....

    When this has happened before have you thought about speaking to a Dr rather than carry on, I am sure that this would be the wisest step ..

    HR monitors are prone to spikes and therefore data should be used inconjunction with how you are feeling, there obviously is some concern with what is happenning but dont rely soley on the HR monitor to give you the details

  • Thanks meldy. I think you're probably right about the GP. image Xxx
  • My hrm goes crazy sometimes at the start of runs, particularly in the cold. It will often say for the first mile or so that it's up at 220/30. My theory is that it's something to do with needing some sort of moisture to work properly and in the winter I don't get sweaty so soon. So I would agree with meldy that they cannot be trusted 100 %.

    Is the heart thing like palpitations when it feels like your heart beat is all over the place?
  • I guess a bit like palpitations, it certainly feels like its beating all over the place. I also find that I get a spike when I start to run, usually around 180, but I.don't feel anything.
  • If I'm reading this right - you felt your heart rate going mad rather than just seeing it on your hrm.

    If that's the case get to the gp for a checkup. It sounds like tachycardia ?
  • as above and sooner rather than later.

  • Definitely get it checked out. Hopefully they will give you a 24 hour ECG monitor, only bind is when you then don't have an episode within that 24 hour! Hope you get it sorted!

  • Agree with all the above. Especially if you could feel your heartbeat now and it did not feel right. Go to your GP and explain what happened. Did you feel bad as well? 

  • Thanks guys!

    Runningmax - I don't feel bad as such, un-nerved and heavy legged but no breathing issues and no pain.


    Did Park Run and a MTB ride today, both with HRM. No issues. Confused. Trip to the GP for me next week then....

  • Hi Mud Girl. This is always difficult. Not only via advice on distance, but also for your GP. There are so many possibilities what you could have felt. You describe above that it feels like a palpitation. Did you drink a lot of coffee or tea that day or did you eat a lot of chocolate? Or... did you use a gel or sportsdrink with caffeine? All these substances can make you more prone for irregularities.

    But the safest thing is a trip to your GP, explain it and maybe be tested with a 24/48 hour monitor. Make sure you do all the things with it you normally do like running etc.

    Hope it turns to be nothing important, but just to be on the safe side. I would let you have the test if you came into my practice image Also be aware of the fact that it is sometimes difficult to 'catch' the irregularity during the first tests. They might even consider doing a longer monitoring of the heartrate.

    But please make the appointment with the GP and take it from there.

    Please let us know what the result was!


  • Hi Mud girl... any progress on the appointment yet?

  • Hiya, Off to the Docs tomorrow morning.

    had a strange peak, as tracked by the HRM on sunday, but felt nothing (so assuming tis the sensor) other than that I've run a few times with no issues. Will see what the Doc says. I've printed off a few of my HRM stuff from Garmin. No idea if it will help!


  • Good luck! 

  • See GP if you can feel the increase in HR as well as see it.

    i don't wear my heart rate monitor as it scares the pants off me. I do sweat a lot so think that's why I very often get 200+ readings and often spiking over 225 - so technically i should be dead, but I'm breathing heavily and recover easily.

    Just before marathon training I saw my GP for a full health MOT and mentioned high HR.

    I was advised it's more likely the electronics playing up. But get your own check up. I now go by my own perceived effort rates.


  • @ red stripe: exactly that WAS what Mud Girl was worried about. That she could feel it when training without the HR monitor. I agree that most strange readings are artefacts

    @ mud girl: how did you get on?

  • Doc thinks its superventricular tachycardia (sp???) so I'm booked in to have an 24 hr ECG fitted and have a blood test in January.

    Is it wrong that I'm actually quite excited about an ECG? I'm fascinated to see what my HR does all day and night.

    Was out for the club run last night and according to my HRM in the last few miles my HR climbed hitting a max for 217, but felt nothing like the week before.

    Apparently to make it calm down when it's gone crazy I need to hold my breath and make like i'm having a poo (sorry!) so i'll give that a go next time!


    Thanks for all the advice!


  • @ mud girl: yes supraventricular tachycardia is very well possible. You are talking about a valsava manoeuvre. Maybe you can google that. It sometimes works pretty well. When will you have the 24hr holter? Hope it will give you any clues. 

    Do you know how you are breathing during your training sessions? With breathing good under control you can also lower your HR as little.

  • I get the 24hr thing in mid Jan. I'll make sure that I go for a good run that day. As I don't get these symptoms at any other time (I don't think!)

    I think I breathe OK. It never feels like the racing HR. But I'll concentrate on controlling my breathing and trying to relax. I did an XC race today and that felt good. Hard work, but no HR issues that I'm aware of (not that I can tell as my Garmin has eaten the last 3.5m of data!!)


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