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Taking a lead from a post on a separate subject, does anyone know how to calculate one's particular maximum heart rate?
I am aware that this "max" will vary between different people, and one size does not fit all, but aside from running to the point of a heart attack, how would I figure out what my max is? The goal from that is to make sure that I can determine what my ideal aerobic range is (ie be able to run most efficiently).
You can get it tested at a "human performance lab" ($$$). Or this article lists a number of ways to get pretty close.
It helps if you wear a heart rate monitor (HRM) because most can be set to record your workout and you can see your peak from that. The thing to be careful about is an "instantaneous" peak that is well above all other readings. I did mine originally without benefit of an HRM, by running a series of 800 meter intervals and taking my pulse after each. Take it for 10 or 15 seconds because it will drop off pretty quickly afterward. So if you do a count for a full minute it will probably be low. More receently I've been taking it at the top of the hill after hill repeats.
I have read that, if you ad your heart are otherwise healthy, your heart could beat for hours at it's max. I don't know how true this is. But like any muscle, it would eventually get tired and slow down
Thanks Len - great article, very helpful.
Part of the reason for my question is that I am wanting to figure out what my most efficient pace should be for the MCM. I'd love to be able to run a negative split, but it's hard for me to quess how much juice I'll have left come the last third of the race. Thus the question -
You mean the 2nd half, which starts at mile 20. That is pretty much when the going gets tough. Though heart rate may help, a prior half marathon might be a better guide. Double that time and add 15 - 20 minutes. Or if you want to be a conservative, add one minute per mile. Do at least the first 10 at that pace, better the first 15. From there, well, like I said, around 20 is where it gets interesting (plus the bridge is there).
I thought that I would give you a quick follow up to this heart rate stuff. I've done a bunch of reading and experimenting. My personal conclusion is that while I understand and buy into the physio-mechanio-chemical relation between heart rate and physical effort/endurance, the ratio's of it all is a huge black hole. More importantly, how these ratio's apply to each person varies tremendously.
One kind of crazy thing I found was something by Phil Maffetone and his approach to endurance training. Using his formulae, my max aerobic HR during a standard run should not exceed 124 b/m. Some background research reveals that it has taken some people many, many months to get to the point that they can efficiently run an event and stay below their max aerobic HR (seriously?). But I tried a run to see if I could do 3 miles and keep below 124 b/m - not a chance. For starters, I felt like I had to run way too slow to keep it under 124, and it seemed harder to run - I was never in a nice cruising rhythm. And the slightest hill would cause my HR to pop up over 130. I did learn that when I'm "just cruising", that my HR will range between 126 and 130 - and I feel very comfortable, like I could go a long way with it. Maybe it just takes a really long time to condition your heart to be more efficient?
The net-net here is that while I enjoy all of the science and the metrics, I just have to run "comfortable", whatever that is, for whatever the challenge is on a given day, and screw all of the gadgets and monitors. Just run baby, just run.
I mentioned Maffetone in another thread, forgot to here. You may find some threads here on Active if you do a search on his name. Some folks who have tried it say it works well but it takes about 6 months of following his program. It may also promote more fat burning at "normal" running pace, which could be helpful in longer runs such as marathons.
I have the same issues with heart rate training - too much effort for what I get out of it.
I've always thought the max heart rate and optimal training rate were pretty bogus for recreational athletes. Why? Because there is no hard and fast formula to apply to any given individual which will come up with a max heart rate with any accuracy; the fact is that two people of the same relative size, shape, level of conditioning, and even race times, can have wildly different max heart rates. With that being said, I refuse to believe that I have a virtually identical max heart rate as every other 56 year old male on the planet; this whole concept just doesn't pass the smell test for regular individuals.
Now, if you're a world class endurance athlete and have undergone some very rigorous testing, yeah, I might buy the concept.
Fat old man PRs:
Uh, yeah, the original formula was based on a study involving a bunch (don't remember how many) U.S. Army soldiers and was only relevant to that particular group. The author of the study said later that he never intended for the formula to be used as a general rule. Estimates are that it works for about 50% or so of the population. It doesn't work for me - mine is about 195 and I'm 65 years old.