High Maximum Heart Rate

Hi, I have been running for a couple of years and last year have been using a HRM, by using the formula I have been running supposedly 70-80% of MHR. I am a 39 year old woman. However I have caught my Heart rate at 220, 230 and even 232 not the supposed 230-age = 187 maximum. I have read somewhere that if you happen to catch your heart rate higher than the calculated one you can use that for your percentage calculations. Is this right? It seems my MHR is very high compared with other people. I don't want to be dangerously pushing myself. I haven't done a specific stress test as I never seem to be in peak condition - had a baby 3 years ago who only started sleeping well last year. So all my running has been a very careful plan of getting a run in and getting enough sleep to stop me coming dowm with endless colds and flu. If anyone has any advice on this or anywhere to read about what high Max HR mean I would be very grateful. Thanks


  • Gosh - that IS high. Are you a hamster?
  • Emma
    would i be right in guessing you are not tall ?

    we had a similar thread somewhere on this
    and us 5ft type ladies all came out with much higher Max HR than the standard

    i'm 38 and i've definitely caught mine at well over 200
  • Emma - is that a gradual increase to those figures ? I know power lines sometimes give a reading of 220.

    I would think that you'd be able to feel your heart pumping like anything at that kind of level - and you'd be flat out.

    Whats it like for a steady run ?
  • Emma, I'd guess that the high readings are because of interference - electricity pylons, for example. If it only briefly spikes above 200, and you don't feel as if you're putting extra effort in, it's almost certainly the case. I wouldn't worry about it.

  • xpost. What cougie said.
  • don't think mine was electrical interference
    but i could be a hamster
  • Hi Thanks for all your responses
    No I am not a hamster! I am 5 foot 6. I wasn't running flat out either and I am usually shocked to see such a high reading on my moniter, I know I am going a bit faster than usual but its not pushing me - admittedly the 220 - 230's are usually on the down hill, I live in North Wales Snowdonia so there are no electricity pylons anywhere to be seen, as they are not allowed and mostly I am in the mountains so there are not even any ordinary electricity cables. It is bizarre that my heart rate is so much higher than usual....should I be worried? I don't imagine I am turning into a hamster! LOL Would a low energy level generally mean higher MHR? I guess not as its supposed to be a genetic thing, I worry its the foreteller of illness. When I first got the moniter last Christmas I was often running at 212 and a week later I came down with a 2 month long flu type thing. I kind thought it was due to me overdoing it - though again I wasn't going fast and I only run 15 mins 4 times a week through the winter. Any other ideas - should I just accept it?
  • I wouldn't worry about it, if its that high, it just means thats your max HR. Calculate your running zones accordingly.

    I would borrow another HRM or get a cheap one just to see if it gives the same readings, or even go get a max HR test done by someone else.
  • Emma
    Don't answer Jj's question, she's only looking for lunch...
  • Ok Avalaf, Thanks I will try another moniter but adjust my training levels accordingly in the meantime. As to JJ - no I am not on the menu! LOL
  • Emma - i don't think your HR is reading right on those downhills. You'll never get it as high as you would when you crest the top of the hill.

    If it was getting higher as you ran up the hill - 180s, 190, 200s, 210s then its a possibility, but other than that - its a false reading.

    My max Hr is 189 and when I'm near it - its all i can do to focus on a watch and I'm near to dropping... If you aren't like that, then you aren't hitting a max.
  • Hi Iron Cougie

    I take your point and will watch the uphill progression without trying to slow down (like I normally have do to keep in the range downhill I get carried away with myself as I love it so much!!) - also I will try another moniter and see if that makes a difference.

    Thanks for your comments

  • I'm not a hamster either and mine's quite high. But as cougie says - you'd know if you were near your max. I was inside out at the top of a hill when I saw mine hit 203.
  • Now, if you were a pepperoni pizza...
  • I *am* a hamster and hit over 210 at the top of a very steep hill in a race- I felt dizzy and sick and had to sit down for a minute or two...I'd be pretty confident that that was my max HR...
  • Well went out for a 12k run today and found I was on average 170 - 180 but went steadily up to 215 at points on the flat or uphill - but it seems my lung capacity prevents me doing more there, however on the down hills I would steadily increase to 236 this time when I was really pushing myself to go fast. Perhaps I just have a high max rate or perhaps my moniter is just a bit flaky - next thing I will try is someone elses moniter....will keep you posted....any comments welcomed. Sounds like there are others with max in the 200's which I suspect mine is naturally - however if I do decide to take my max as 236 I will have trouble sustaining anything in the 70-80% range, I am thinking perhaps there is something going on either with the moniter or my understanding of what max heart rate really means.

  • Emma - something is wonky with that downhill run max. I can see that you hit 215 on the uphill - but how could it be harder work running downhill ? I've never achieved it - maybe your legs are on backwards ? ;-)

    But yeah - borrow another monitor to check.
  • whats your resting rate Emma?

    you may just be a "high beater"

    or you migght be pushing yourself a bit too hard ...lots of people find they are when they start training with a HRM and have to really slow down to kep within an "aerobic" level

    you might find having a look at John L Parkers book (cant remember the name now! Heart rate training for idiots"?) as its very useful for getting used to training with a HRM and getting the best out of it

    and slow down on those downhills ...you arent sprinting down the side of Snowden are you? ;-))
  • Lok ,interesting thought about the shorter runners having higher heart rates .I'm short and running up hills etc it will quite often go above 200 .
    Have had it up to 232 before too!
    I may have a look at that thread.
  • 200 plus on a downhiller is a bit toppy. Unless you are 12 second miling.

    Deffo suggest try another HRM.

  • Hi everyone
    Am certainly going to try another moniter, though I was sprinting downhill - love it!(not Snowdon today though - too icy - Cwm Penaman) I have to say - it seems less work on my lungs but I guess my legs have to go round faster so my heart goes faster....hmmm ameater sports physiology thoughts on it here! I suspect from what you are all saying there is something amiss with my moniter. I doubt I am 12 sec miling! LOL

  • OK, so I am busting to say something about it's t do with being with the Welsh. >>ducks<<
  • i like coug's comment about having legs on backwards

    my hr has been 205 without me feeling like i am gonna be sick and keel over (which i think is true max hr type feeling)

    i guess i could be a 210 or even 215 max
    but i haven't ever pushed it up to that
    i can't imagine being in the 230's ever

    and mine is always on the uphill not down

    one thing though
    sometimes you're on the downhill by the time you look down at your hrm
    and hrm can sometimes lag a few secs behind actual hr

    but if you're seeing that several minutes later then it is a bit weird

    maybe underground elec cables?

    or you've found the bermuda triangle/the "force"/ some other scifi zone

    or if you carry a mobile phone or something ??? but that wouldn't explain why it keeps happening in the same place

    very interested to hear results of trying another hrm
  • Can do 185 down hill and 197 up hill but going dizzy and feeling sick, and I'm 42.
Sign In or Register to comment.