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1916 Views 5 Replies Latest reply: Dec 29, 2011 11:56 AM by Irun100s
teepspalmer Rookie 1 posts since
Jun 9, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Oct 31, 2011 8:10 PM

Maximum heart rate question

At the end of August, I started running again after 13 years.  It was tough getting going, but after 3 weeks I started getting the runner's high.  Since I'm a geek I got a heart rate monitor to help with my training.  Today I did some 1/4 mile interval training to increase my speed.  My MHR hit 195.  I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing.  I'm 36 so my max heart rate is calculated to be 184 if you do the 220 - age or 187 if you do the 205 - (.5 * age).  I'm 6' 5" and about 200 lbs.  My RHR is 58.


I read somewhere that the MHR has nothing to do with your endurance, but is a genetic thing.  Ok... that's fine.  But I'm curious if I should let my heart rate get up that high? Is it dangerous?  Is it a benefit that it can get that high? I'm generally fit so I'm not too concerned.  I didn't feel like I was going to pass out or anything.  I just felt good and winded. (Didn't help that I was running into a strong head wind.)


Hoping that someone can shed some light on this.  Thanks in advance.


in Him,


  • runtolivetorun Rookie 2 posts since
    Dec 5, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 5, 2011 1:41 PM (in response to teepspalmer)
    Maximum heart rate question

    I was also concerned about this.  It may be the heartrate monitor.  Though I'm a little younger at 26, my watch often goes to 195 when I continue to run hard.  I've read that you can't always trust what those heartrate montors show as accurate.  I also know that the instructions for the heartrate monitor say not to wear synthetic fabrics because they can cause static and raise the heartrate.


    If you measure your heartrate by other means and it is that high, everything that I have read says that you should not continuously train at this level.  Most of the studies and books that I have read suggest that you should train at around 60% for normal runs and for weightloss and cardio and around 80% to increase your VO max.

  • Jasko123 Legend 461 posts since
    Apr 18, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Dec 5, 2011 2:42 PM (in response to teepspalmer)
    Maximum heart rate question

    Hi Terry,

    Are you calculating 220 minus your age and then multiplying that by 60-70%?  If so, that would put your exercising HR at between 119-128, but remember this is an

    old-fashioned method utilized as a generic guideline and individuals respond differently to various routines or levels of activity.  I would recommend seeing your doctor

    for a check-up or physical because even though you feel good, it is always in your best interest to seek the advice of professionals, especially when there is such a

    discrepency between your very low RHR and potentially very high exercising rate. 

    Wishing you all the best.

  • jjwaverly_42 Pro 388 posts since
    Dec 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Dec 5, 2011 3:36 PM (in response to teepspalmer)
    Maximum heart rate question

    The 220 formula is xtremely inaccurate for calculating MHR. If you're seeing 195 during intervals, then your MHR is probably upwards of 200+. Nothing wrong with that. I'm 50 and mine is aprox 200. The best way to find your MHR is to run for awhile, then do some intervals or hills, or to keep track of your HR at the end of a race. It's hard to get there, because it is very uncomfortable to run that hard. It's okay if you are a few beats short.


    Running that hard isn't dangerous per se. You can only run so long that hard anyway without having to slow down. Doing too much speedwork can break you down after awhile. It is best to train aerobically and keep the speed work to a minimum.


    The belief that MHR is fixed has been challenged over the years. Some say it gets lower by a few beats when you become very fit. I have experienced a higher MHR when I was out of shape at one point.

  • Terranss Legend 268 posts since
    Feb 14, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Dec 5, 2011 4:29 PM (in response to jjwaverly_42)
    Maximum heart rate question

    I agree with jjwaverly42--the generic MHR calculations out there are very flawed.  The best way to measure (if you feel you even need to) is to use the ones that use your personal stress test results to calculate it.  It's probably more important for you use your heart rate monitor to track your fitness gains as well as what heart rates you attain at different effort levels. 


    As jjwaverly42 said, you can't--nor should you--spend too much time with speed work and intervals.  The fact that you can reach 195 beats/minute doesn't mean you should target that each day.  Once a week, tops.  For the rest of the time, you want to work in a lower range (150-160, maybe?), so that you feel comfortable.  You will increase your endurance this way, by training your body to burn fat instead of only sugar, and you will also improve your oxygen transport system (capillary production in muscles).  Most importantly, running comfortably helps decrease your risk of injury.


    Best of luck to you, and welcome back to running!

  • Irun100s Amateur 11 posts since
    Dec 29, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Dec 29, 2011 11:56 AM (in response to teepspalmer)
    Maximum heart rate question

    Heart Rate and Exercise go hand-in-hand for proper training. As athletes we are striving to be our best and understanding heart rate is key. And from time to time we ask ourselves, “how hard should I be training?” To become stronger we know that we need to push our body to make it stronger. The intensity level must be high enough to overload the cardiovascular system, but not so severe that it over taxes other systems in our body. This is where a knowledge of heart rate and exercise is important.  I found this article called Heart Rate and Exerices very informative.




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