Resting Heart Rate and Speed

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10/01/2013 at 11:44

I took my Resting Heart Rate (RHR) yesterday, I got 57. I think this just about puts me slightly better than average but not by a lot. If I raced tomorrow I would probably achieve around 19:00 for 5k, 39:30 for 10k and 1:30:00 for a half.

I'm just after a sample of other runners data to see how their RHR and race times correlate as I'm starting some specific HR training to improve my RHR.

Thanks in advance for any contributions!

10/01/2013 at 12:31

You forgot to mention your age, which will be a contributing factor.  I'm no expert in this stuff, but I thought your RHR was based on a number of factors with some that are changeable (e.g. fitness level) and some that are fixed (e.g. genetics)?  what specific training are you doing to reduce your RHR? I always thought it was a lower RHR was a good sign - but the actual values between individuals were irrelevant?

I dd google it and found this web site, with some very comical responses!


cougie    pirate
10/01/2013 at 12:33

I dont think there will be any correlation  - or there would be some chart that you could use to show your estimated race time just off your RHR. 

10/01/2013 at 13:21

I am 27, I'm hoping to see if my times drop along with my RHR and by how much. I agree there wont be a direct link, but a general ballpark could be useful just to see how I compare with other of varying ability. If I know people with a similar RHR are achieving better times than me, I will know its not aerobic strength holding me back - if that makes sense.


I'm trying to reduce it with aerobic pace running 70-80%, 2-3 times a week with a long run (12-15miles) thrown in. RHR is influenced by genetics but can be improved by training but surely that goes for all running, some are born better than others but if they don't train they can still lose to a runner that is genetically inferior.

Anybody else willing to share?

10/01/2013 at 13:43

At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

Resting HR is one sign of fitness, but in a race a really high one is better, just to pump more blood around.

Mind you the numbers don't mean much. I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm. By the time we were doing six minute miling, my HR was 180 bpm while his was only 145 bpm.

The difference in races was that he had the capability of hitting a HR of 190 bpm plus as well. That's why he was an international runner.

10/01/2013 at 13:56

My RHR (49) is the same as my dad's (I'm 30, he's 62), and I'd manage to get the times you mention but he certainly wouldn't, if he even managed to finish a HM at all.

10/01/2013 at 14:03
RicF wrote (see)

At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm ...

25? 35? I call typo or bullshit ...

10/01/2013 at 14:39

Resting HR can vary from day to day, in the same individual.

10/01/2013 at 14:48

Hi Ship-Star, I think what we're all trying to say is that using RHR as a performance measure isn't a good idea.  Its worth keeping track of it, maybe on a monthly basis, so you can see the effects of training - but a better performance measure would be the  higher pace you can achieve whilst maintaining a HR of 75% of effective range.

The other use of RHR is to confirm you're over-training or ill - if its higher than your normal level its a sign that you need a few days off. 

10/01/2013 at 15:17

There probably is a weak correlation between resting heart rate and running fitness, other things being equal, but there are too many variables affecting heart rate for it to be a good indicator on its own.  I started out in running with a good aerobic base and a RHR of around 36.  A few years later, RHR is pretty much the same but I'm running 7 minutes quicker for 10k!  So my heart's still big and strong but my legs are more running shaped.

Here's my recommendation for a fitness indicator: beats per mile.  I use fetcheveryone for my training log and if you input time/distance and average HR it'll work this out for you.  Looking back over a year's worth of data it's pretty impressive how well "bpm" correlates to my race performance.  When I was returning to running I was struggling to break 1,000 bpm; my record is 904, on an easy run a few days before setting a 5,000m PB.  So anything in the low 900s is, for me, pretty good.  (Obviously you can't compare across different people because of differences in heart rate ranges and maximums.)  Also, compare bpm figures for similar runs; intervals, hill work-outs, etc. will tend to give higher bpm.

11/01/2013 at 09:56

I think it is said that absolute RHR is not much good as an indicator of fitness relative to someone else, but that your drop in RHR with training is a better indicator of fitness. ie, if your RHR has dropped 30 beats since you turned over a new leaf, whereas your neighbour has only dropped 12, then you are fairly likely to be fitter. That depends on you knowing your RHR before you started training.

Edited: 11/01/2013 at 10:02
11/01/2013 at 10:59
Muttley wrote (see)
RicF wrote (see)

At my fittest my HR range was 25 bpm to 193 bpm.

I knew a guy whose resting HR was 45 bpm when mine was 35 bpm ...

25? 35? I call typo or bullshit ...

Possible but unlikely

 Lance Armstrong has a reputation for having a super low resting heart rate. According to his official website, his heart is 30 percent larger than average; however, an enlarged heart is a common trait for many other athletes. He has a resting heart rate of 32-34 beats per minute (bpm) with a maximum heart rate of 201 bpm.


Miguel Indurain, a cyclist and five time Tour de France winner, had a resting heart rate of 28 beats per minute, one of the lowest ever recorded in a healthy human

11/01/2013 at 11:00

I googled that I am not full of useless info 

Edited: 11/01/2013 at 11:02
11/01/2013 at 11:07

 Nice comments there nighnurse. Interesting discussion. Do the training and see what the heart rate measures for interest, if you are wanting to improve just do the miles I reckon. Too much science blinds the fact that you have to get out there and do the hard work, though its interesting as a personal record of improvement.

11/01/2013 at 11:17

I agrea with Philpub. I am a bit of a statto, and keep running logs back to the 90s. I learned about beats/mile on Fetch, and have retrospectively added it into my spreadsheet. I know I'm in reasonable shape when easy/recovery runs up to 10miles register at less than 1000 beats per mile. For me it is a very good indicator of race performance.

11/01/2013 at 11:19

Oh for the record, the lowest I've seen is RHR 39. Low 40s is pretty common when I'm in training. I'm 51 years old.

11/01/2013 at 11:21

Phil, Out of a matter of interest, have you found the ideal intensity to run at to get the best BPM? It does worsen if you run harder, but at what point, if any does it worsen getting easier?

11/01/2013 at 11:37

Brian, good question. I've got a pretty clear picture now from continuous runs ranging from easy to steady to MP to tempo over the past few months.  bpm is always lowest for the easy/steady runs and rises for MP and above. e.g. for December (fairly stable levels of fitness/health...) my stats are:

Easy: 923 - 964
Steady-state: 941
MP: 991
Tempo: 991
(Interval, hill sessions & XC all over 1,000 but that's a different kettle of fish!)

BUT it would be useful to control for the early miles while HR is still climbing, which I'm sure would see the differential getting smaller.

11/01/2013 at 11:50

PP, It could be a relative thing too. Only my easy stuff is below 1000. All other sessions tend to be 1040 upwards. And as you say XC or hills are 1100+.

My stats are Easy: 950-990 MP:   ~1080 Tempo ~1060-1080

Maybe it does correlate across athletes, I am fit to run ~6m/m for 10k, and about 6:10 for HM (will become painfully apparent a week on Sunday!).

I'm figuring you are in about 5:30 shape for 10k and 5:40 for HM?

11/01/2013 at 13:56

I'm sure Noakes has something on HR vs pace which hopefully would bear out our findings, i.e. I think there's a relatively linear relationship up to a point (probably related to LT or some other threshold??), above which HR rises higher than pace. CNBA looking it up though!

Brian. wrote (see)

I'm figuring you are in about 5:30 shape for 10k and 5:40 for HM?

I'm hoping it's closer to 5:20 / 5:30 but I'll let you know after the Chichester 10k in three weeks.

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