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I've been reading about heart rates and have some questions. I hope my fellow active.com members can help me out. First, a little background. I'm a 33 year old male that is trying to get back in shape. In high school I ran cross country, track, and played basketball. I wasn't the best but around average. My PR for a 5k was 20:11. Since then, I've sporadically ran. Putting in a few months here and there with a 5K thrown in every few years. The last 3 years, I haven't run at all. I developed gout and found it extremely difficult to run. Well with changes in diet and daily herbal supplements, I no longer suffer from gout and have been trying to get back in shape for about a month. The last three weeks I joined a gym and have been alternating between an exercise bike and the treadmill. This is the first time I've been watching my heart rate. I never did before.
So now to the question. I've always had a relatively low heart rate. I have a standing heart rate of around 50 bmp. However, when I'm working out and check it, it quickly jumps up to around 105. From there, depending on how hard I'm working I'll get it up to around 130-150 at a steady pace without feeling like I'm over doing it on the bike. The same thing on a treadmill pushes it up to 160-170. If I really push myself it gets up to 160-170 on the bike and 170-180 on the treadmill. From what I can gather this is too high. But I don't feel I'm really pushing myself hard enough through most of my workouts. Should I back off and do what I feel is a moderate workout, or is it ok to push myself up into the 160-170s? I don't want to have a heart attack but I'd like to feel like I got a good workout. Thanks in advance for your input!
Oh, and to clerify, I've done the calculations for MHR and such. According to the Karvonen Formula I should be running between 141 to 166 bmp. This works great when on the bike, but when running I'm consistently at or above 166 when I feel like I need to push myself harder. I basically want to know if I should gauge my workout on my heart rate and calculations or should I go on my perceived level of exertion.Because according to the heart rate monitors, I'm nearing my maximum heart rate, but according to my body, I'm not pushing myself much.
There is another thread on Newbie Cafe called "Heart Rate Too High", that has links to another thread where heart rate was discussed in more depth. There is also a link to an article on Marathon Guide about calculating and using training zones. It's definitely worth reading.
Your MHR will vary depending on the type of exercise you are doing. Generally, MHR is higher for running than for cycling, so you can't really compare the two. You should not be doing every workout at a high intensity. You workout hard one day, then do an easy recovery workout the next. It's also recommended to take at least one complete rest day each week - no workout. Admittedly, "hard" is relative. And your MHR may be higher than the formulas predict. So perceived exertion may work better for you until you have a chance to run a test to find out your true maximum.
I think my actual MHR is higher than the calculations. I do alternate my workouts between light days and rigourous days. When I'm doing a light workout, my hear rate doesn't get very high and I'm comfortable about that, it's when I'm intending on pushing myself, either to go faster or increase the tension/incline, that my heart rate jumps up there and I have to back off for fear of damaging my heart. I need to schedule a stress test and find out my real limits. Thanks again.
I've been learning more and more about it. I've been a runner off and on since high school, but not until now did I think about heart rate. I'm not near as in shape as I was then. the last time I ran a 5K was five years ago and I ran it in about 25 minutes. Now, I'd be lucky to run it in 35 minutes. Don't you just hate getting older!
Each time you hit a new age group you have a chance to set new PRs! I ran a 25 minute 5K about 4 years ago (age 57). So now you have something to shoot for when you're 57.
oh, god, there is so many ways to traing using a HRM that I can't begin to list them.
as you are just a beginner, feel free to go by perceived exertion, but maybe later you'll want to look into HR based training.
as for doing heavy vs moderate workout. if you do heavy workout, then give yourself a lot of rest after that (rest day, etc.) the harder your workout was the more rest. but you'll want to run at least 3 times a week if you want to achieve anything - so find your balance
I'm not really a beginner. I've just been out of it for about 5 years due to personal and medical issues. I know how to run and train but have never integrated a HRM into my workouts. As of now, I use the ones built into the equipment at my gym, but am planning on getting a good watch HRM so I can use it on my outdoor runs as well. Thanks for the input.
As an experienced runner, I wouldn't worry too much about what the HRM says. Use it as a guide, much like you use your RPE. I use both to vector in on my workouts. Since you know how to train, keep doing that. On easy days, use the HRM to keep your HR lower than 144. Notice your RPE on those days. When you do intervals or a race, notice what your HR does at different RPEs. You'll get to a point where you can tell what your effort is without looking at the HRM, which is good practice for the days you forget the HRM or it doesn;t work properly (windy days really mess mine up). I can usually guess within 1 bpm what my HR is, then I look at my watch. I only use my HRM for hard workouts and races. I know what easy feels like.
Also, note that for your LSD runs, you have cardiac creep effect. In essence, if you could run a 6 minute mile for an hour, your HR will slowly drift up at a constant pace. You might start at 170, then after a few miles, you'll notice it's at around 173-175. near the end, you'd be around 178-180.
hope this helps.
I've read throught the rest of the thread. Some helpful hints - the HRM readout on the treadmill etc. is usually 1-3 beats higher than if you had a wrist unit.
I would recommend for running on a treadmilll that you set the incline at 1.0%, since you have no wind resistance, this will simulate the wind.
And on the bike, your HRM will be about 5-10 beats lower than the same RPE on a run. However, if you train alot on the bike, you can get your bike HR and run HR to be about the same...I used to also race bikes, and found this out. This is great if you ever want to do a tri or dualathlon. Also, if you ride a stationary bike, your HR will be about 20-30 beats lower than if you were riding outside. so don't try to match your HR level inside on the bike, go by RPE.
If you do buy a HRM with a wrist unit, don;t buy the special lube cream for the chest strap. I just use some spit to pre-wet it. Once you start sweating, you'll have more than enough water to keep it going.