Hi PC - following up on the earlier conversation about Max HR, I saw this info on a cycling website today related to HR-based training. Thought it had some relevance:
Many believe that you can calculate your maximum HR by using the formula of 220 minus your age. For some people this may be accurate, but for many it will be wildly out. I’m 54 years old so, using the formula, my max HR should be 166 (220-54). It’s actually 178, which is a big difference when training in very tight zones.
A much more accurate formula is 210 minus half your age, then subtract 5% of your body weight in pounds. Add four for a male and 0 for a female.
So, I am 47y.o. Using the original formula, it would say 220-47=173. Using the adapted formula, 210-(47/2)=186.5. Body weight is 69kms, 5% is 3.45, so 186.5-3.45 is rounded to 183.
It's been a while since I actually tested my MHR but I think it is around 181-182.
Went out for a nice little run with TinkerBEL this evening. She put in a cracking tempo finish, HR right up there, so I thought I needed to make a bit of extra effort too and did a couple of hard kms, including my first 4min/km in a very long time. Running hard makes me happy.
PC - I just stick my fingers in my neck each morning when I wake up and watch the little clock projected on my ceiling. Just count over a minute. Have been doing it for years and when you are in the habit of doing it, you recognise how your heart behaves, how it responds to training, how it doesn't 'cool down' when you are stressed etc. Some minutes it may go up and down a few beats. I think the point I would make is, don't get stressed about one day's readings but collect your HR data and know the trends.
As for measuring maximum heart rate, it's easier to do when it is warmer than cool as more blood is pumped to the skin. Effectively do a tempo run to get your heart rate nice and high, which would probably be around 90% of max, then find a reasonable size hill, say 200m long with an incline between 5 and 10% (steep, but not so steep you can't run it hard). Then do 2-3 reps going up the hill, each time going harder than the time before with minimal rest in between. The last one you should absolutely give it everything, going so hard you probably can't even make it to the top.
This WILL hurt. That's what max HR is - the absolute max that you can do. There is no such thing as 101% of MHR when exercising (except with drugs, and electrical stimuli, Frankensein doctors etc). Oh, and remember to turn your watch to be capturing data every second and not smart recording (if you use a Garmin), so you will be sure to capture your absolute highest HR.