# How do I calculate my MHR?

13 messages
08/02/2009 at 08:31

Yes I know there's loads of info on this site how to do it, but I have a garmin 305, I am 36 yrs old and I know the old calculation of 220-age but don't think that works for me (as during my run yesterday my HR got up to 190 at one point and I wasn't running flat out at all!, I was running comfortably for the whole of my 5.5m run, average was 173)

I have read that to find your MHR, you should run flat out for 4-10 mins and read the highest from there, but I can't sprint for that length of time!, any other options?

08/02/2009 at 08:51
Google Karvonen heart rate method. Its more accurate than 220 - age.
08/02/2009 at 22:18

I just used that and it gave me exactly the same as 220- my age....

And on a bike I've had 11 over that and running 13 over that......

08/02/2009 at 22:20
infact it didn't matter what I put in for my resting heart rate it still gave me the same
08/02/2009 at 22:43
Find a 200m (roughly) hill. It doesn't have to be steep. Run it 3 times absolutely flat out and jog back down. On the third repeat you should hit your MHR if you have run to the point where you feel ill and have wobbly legs.
JJ
JPenno    pirate
08/02/2009 at 22:53
rach - HRM monitors can be subject to interference, power lines, mobile phones and even the electrics in the car can affect them, the reading may not be accurate
09/02/2009 at 15:06

I will no doubt be contradicted, but I am not at all sure that focussing on heart rate is the right thing to do.  I believe your perceived level of effort is a much better indicator: As you say yourself, at some point you were running comfortably and not flat out, and if you believe your heart rate monitor and the maximum calculated, you should have been dying.

If I were you, I would forget the heart rate monitor, and just use the old rules of thumb (can hold a conversation, short sentences, etc.) to estimate your level of effort.

09/02/2009 at 15:57
Laurent D wrote (see)

As you say yourself, at some point you were running comfortably and not flat out, and if you believe your heart rate monitor and the maximum calculated, you should have been dying.

... that's not because of the the monitor though, it's because the guesstimate of the MHR is wrong. With a real value, this wouldn't be an issue. To use a monitor sensibly, you need a reasonably accurate value for MHR.
09/02/2009 at 17:01

Karvonen shouldn't give the same as 220 - age. Are you looking at the upper and lower % training zones to the figure?

Karvonen calculator Then scroll down to see the % training zones.

09/02/2009 at 17:10

That Karvonen calculator is calculating MHR as 220-age

Target Heart Rate Zone Limits (Old Method) ... i.e. basic "% max heart rate"

Karvonen Formula (Heart Rate Reserve Method - The Gold Standard) ... this is the "% working heart rate" (i.e. ala the Parker book).

Both rely on an accurate Max Heart Rate to obtain meaningful zones ... but the calculator uses "220-Age" which is not accurate for many people (though it's pretty close for me).

Edited: 09/02/2009 at 17:17
09/02/2009 at 17:31

When you are at 'unable to speak' pace you are as good as damn it running to you MHR.

I agree with many others who say, do not rely on your heart rate monitor readings, they are prone to 'spikes' and therefore unreliable!

All in all I agree with Larent D

PSC    pirate
09/02/2009 at 17:37

read what JJ put above.  That is the best way.  For wobbly legs you could read throwing up!

It's not a pretty way of finding your MHR, but it works....

09/02/2009 at 19:19

Thanks guys for all your replies, I did look at the Karvonen method and it calculated my MHR at 184 (220-age) and sllightly less than what my HR spiked up at on my steady run last week! It's the HR monitor with my Garmin 305 that I'm using.

I will try the steep hill method, I guess I just want to try to train in the correct zones but without knowing my MHR this is difficult I guess, I suppose I could just go off perceived effort which I find easy anyway (and it might not scare me as much!)

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