Heart Rate

Is average heart rate too high?

14 messages
27/01/2013 at 16:40
Hi all First post. Just started running at beginning of December to train for a half marathon in March. I found running 1.5 miles really hard then but am now up to 9 miles on my weekend 'long run' at a 8.25 pace. My concern is my heart rate. I feel that I am running slowly but according to my Garmin I am doing about 90 percent of my runs in zone 5 (170bpm average). At 44 years old is this ok? If you do the 220 minus your age then it seems too high and if I trained in zone 2 like I have read somewhere then I would be walking!!
27/01/2013 at 16:53

Mark you need to do a proper HR test - the [220 - age] is just an average, and deviations from it are huge.

Having said that, unless you have an unbelievably freak high max, 170 is probably too high for the bulk of your runs.

Read this http://www.fetcheveryone.com/article-view.php?id=434

Edited: 27/01/2013 at 16:54
27/01/2013 at 17:56
Thanks for your info. Just read the link. Lots to take in. I will try to do a HR max test and maybe slow down a bit. Thing is, once I have done a couple of miles I feel quite comfortable and it's not till I get home and read the stats that I see how high my heart rate is.
27/01/2013 at 18:01
220-age +/- 15bpm is the formula which matches 95% of the population. Everyone likes to use 220-age, but ignores the +/-15 bit!

If you are going to train by heart rate, then you need to do a maxHR test
27/01/2013 at 18:32

Try doing a max heart rate test and then check your resting heart rate. You can take the resting away from the maximum and you get you heart rate reserve (HRR). This is a much more accurate way to figure out where you need to be. Percentages can be worked out using the HRR - google it

It really important you dont go too hard to often as you end up knackered. Longer runs need to be easier, that way you recover faster and can do other relevant training like tempo runs.

good luck

27/01/2013 at 19:09
Ok thanks, I will look into what you have all said
27/01/2013 at 19:27

I like the +/- 15 bpm - I've not heard that before. It gives me exactly what I run at comfortably! (that's having done RHR, Max HR and all the maths, then tweaked it a few beats on the Garmin so I'm happier ...)

27/01/2013 at 20:55

I may have got the standard deviation of +/- wrong - can't find the info - seen all sorts of variations online. In anycase as others said, check your own max Heart Rate, and don't worry too much about statistical norms, otherwise you may have a familily with a 0.2 child one day

28/01/2013 at 15:13

Got to say that a 44yr old, doing 9 miles at 8:25 pace is impressive for someone who only started running 8 weeks ago. But I would say that I've frequently read that you are now  at a critical time for getting injured. (a little experience myself too)

Now you are a runner, you are subjecting your leg bones, ligaments, muscles, to repetitive stresses...  and it takes some months for them to adjust - hence why almost all plans do not propose that you do as much as you have, as fast as you have. 

Maybe your heart/lungs were quite fit to start with (from other activities?), or maybe they just responded quickly to training...  and this is allowing you to run at a fast pace over long distances...  but you really MUST consider that you will almost surely be putting repetitive strain on those ligaments etc, and building up cumulative damage.   Your heart and lungs may be able to cope with this rapid increase in speed/mileage, but many people find that the cumulative damage on their ligaments/tendons/bones/muscles catches up with them about 6-12 weeks in.

So... take care. If you think this rings true, then have a "rest week", where you do fewer miles at a slower pace,  and even then, when you pick it up again, I'd recommend that you continue to slow down that pace. You're doing great. Look after yourself... and focus mainly on building up your body with aerobic, slow runs.  Don't undo your good work by finding you get shin splints or plantar fascia or something...  the sorts of things that can come and bite you at this stage.

Well done on doing so well.

28/01/2013 at 17:03
Thanks for that run wales
I think i was fairly fit anyway due to being a builder and racing motocross bikes for many years.
I thought i was taking training fairly easy, sticking to a beginner schedule and not pushing hard.
It was only that the heart monitor reading seemed high that I joined this forum.
I will try and slow it down a bit and do a max heart rate test.
Thanks again
30/01/2013 at 16:48

I'm confused

After reading what you all said I thought I would take it easy this week since my Saturday long run. Normally I go out Tues and Thurs on a 4 miler and Sat for the longer runs (will be 10 miles this Sat) but this week I had Tues off and I have just been out for a gentle 4 mile run (Wed)

I tried my hardest to run really slow and to be honest it was hurting my calfs after 3 miles. I wanted to take bigger steps but kept at what I thought was a really slow pace. Dont know if this was a good idea but 100 metres from the end I ran as fast as possible to see if I could get a max heart rate reading.

The Garmin read as follows -

Max heart rate = 183    Average HR = 167    Average pace 8.11

I also did a resting heart rate test for 30 mins before running and the average was 55

This slow run turned out to be my second quickest 4 miler !!!!

What can anyone tell me about these readings. Looking back at my original post should I stop looking at the Garmin and just run and not worry about the average heart rate ?

30/01/2013 at 17:02

Hi Mark

A 100m sprint isn't going to change the average much for a 4 miler.  It also isn't a true indication of your maxHR - you need to do the test properly as per link I posted above.

As for what is "slow", I could suggest you race a 5k parkrun on Saturday. Do it flat out, eyeballs popping etc.  As you hit the last 100m that will probably be 5 beats off your maxHR.  After finishing, work out your pace in mins per mile. Then add 3 mins.  That is "slow". 

I apologise in advance if your 5k pace is 5.11 per mile...

Edited: 30/01/2013 at 17:03
30/01/2013 at 17:10
M4RKRUN wrote (see)

I'm confused

After reading what you all said I thought I would take it easy this week since my Saturday long run. Normally I go out Tues and Thurs on a 4 miler and Sat for the longer runs (will be 10 miles this Sat) but this week I had Tues off and I have just been out for a gentle 4 mile run (Wed)

I tried my hardest to run really slow and to be honest it was hurting my calfs after 3 miles. I wanted to take bigger steps but kept at what I thought was a really slow pace. Dont know if this was a good idea but 100 metres from the end I ran as fast as possible to see if I could get a max heart rate reading.

The Garmin read as follows -

Max heart rate = 183    Average HR = 167    Average pace 8.11

I also did a resting heart rate test for 30 mins before running and the average was 55

This slow run turned out to be my second quickest 4 miler !!!!

What can anyone tell me about these readings. Looking back at my original post should I stop looking at the Garmin and just run and not worry about the average heart rate ?

Yes just run, take it easy, even a slow jog is 200 times more energenic than resting.

31/01/2013 at 20:28
Thanks for your wise words chaps.
So I need to slow down a bit.
Was kind of hoping someone would say my heart rate is normal !!
Think I will just keep running at a comfortable pace and not worry too much about what the Garmin says.
Cheers

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