What Heart Rate % for Half Marathon

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23/08/2008 at 15:03

Never said i had run a half marathon at 96% of my maximum, only that i think i was capable of that pre-illness. Let me tell you why i think it is possible, though I have to talk about when i was a cyclist.

According to my records, in September 2004, when i was 31 years old, i did my last time trial with my racing club, it was a 'very hilly' 50 miler through shropshire and mid wales and i completed the course in 2hrs 16mins. My average heart rate for that ride was 172bpm but over the final hour, when the route went skywards, i was up near 180bpm for most of that time, with an average pedalling cadence of 98rpm, and burning legs.

Taking the textbook theory that our maximum is 220 minus our age then my max should have been 189bpm and that means when i was cycling at 179/180bpm i was apparently working at 95% of my maximum. However, on that day my heartrate actually maxed at 198bpm. The highest i have ever got my heart rate was the previous year when it reached 201bpm in a pursuit of someone up a hill.

You see why i say the theory for working out maximum heartrate is just a theory. I was capable of going 12 beats higher than i was supposed to which must have made me 19 years old! On that basis my working at 180bpm is actually only 89% of my true maximum.

Back to running. It was also at this time (4 years ago) that i was running about a 6 minute mile but only over short distances because my focus was mainly on cycling. I was also 3kg lighter than i am now. I dont know for sure what i could have achieved in a half marathon and i guess i never will as the repercussions of my illness means my lungs are 15% less efficient than they were. But if i had never got ill i would definitely be taking you up on the challenge!!

23/08/2008 at 16:58

220 - your age is a guide, it as proven many times to be inaccurate. Your max is unique to you.

Cycling too cannot be compared to running, running is far more stressful on the body.

23/08/2008 at 19:08

There are several ways to find your max heart rate.

I've never done one of the officially recognised tests, but I know that I've worked bl00dy hard in my club training runs and on my own and the max I get is 178 bpm.

220 - 47 (my age) = 173

So for me it's fairly close and I base all my efforts on 178.

I have never raced using my heart rate as a guide. As has been said here - race depending on how you feel - BUT err on the side of caution for the first 5-6 miles.

I've not done a half yet but hope to later this year and that will be my strategy.

Good luck 

24/08/2008 at 10:12

Feel the pain,

Interesting that you dont think that running can be compared to cycling, when in fact we are talking about heartrates not the type of activity. Well you seem to know everything about everything so i guess theres no point arguing with you! Running is indeed stressful on the body, but the most pain ive ever felt is through cycling.

 Bye for now...

24/08/2008 at 13:29
Shane...... if you're using heart rate to help your training then why are you p1ssing about with the 220 - age nonsense.  220 - age is nothing but a wild guess so go and find out what your max actually is, then you'll be able to do some useful heart rate training.
24/08/2008 at 16:38

There is no 'textbook theory' about the oft-quoted 220-age equation. There is a range of about +/-15 around the figure you get from it, in other words its best ignored.

Your maximum heart rate is just that - the highest YOUR heart rate goes. For examply I did a BUPA fitness assessment at age 23 and achieved a VO2max of 65 at a heart rate of 186. I've never managed to exceed that figure.

The source for the +/- 15 is 'Exercise and Sports Cardiology' By Paul D. Thompson McGraw-Hill 2001

Edited: 24/08/2008 at 16:42

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