HI! I'm now officially on Week 4 of C25K. It took me 8 weeks to get here but I'm excited for the progress, nonetheless. I'm a 43 year old, 5'2 female, who currently weighs 138 lbs.
My Hubby got me a nifty watch that measures my heart rate. I've heard from other seasoned runners about the importance of my heart rate, but I have blocked out all of that information because up until now all I have concentrated on was being able to BREATHE and actually pick up my feet and RUN. I didn't want to complicate things with my heart rate. I figured I was doing well enough just by getting out there and running!
But on my run today I had the nifty little watch on (which tells you how many calories you are burning too, by the way), and I kept on checking it and checking it. It wasn't good. While running, my heart rate was consistently at 162. The little watch kept beeping and beeping saying, ABOVE RANGE, ABOVE RANGE. Should I be worried?
I seem to have high blood pressure, which is what propelled me to start running and getting more cardiovascularly healthy. I am not on high blood pressure medication and I have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure disease, YET. I begged my doctor to give me six months to lose weight and try to get in better shape before we pursued a cardiologist and medication. I go back to see the doctor in March. Is the high heart rate something that works itself out eventually or do I have to do something to make my heart rate go down? If so, what is it? I can't possibly run any slower because then I won't be running. I'd be walking fast.
Do you have any advice?
ALSO... is anyone on BLOGSPOT? I have a blog there and I have been writing all about my misadventures and challenges. See: http://giovannagomez.blogspot.com/ If you blog at Blogspot as well, let me know and I will follow you.
Hello Hope, and Happy New Year. Congratulations on being on Week 4. I'm on Week 4 too. Although I am not your physician and haven't examined you I can give you some general info about your high heart rate.
In response to exercise, your heart rate speeds up from your resting heart rate. It is supposed to do that. People who have exercised for a very long time and who we would consider atheletes have low resting heart rates because their heart muscles become very efficient at pumping the blood supply around. If you continue to exercise over time, your resting heart rate will become lower too and it will get harder to get to your target heart rate.
The best way to determine the maximum safe heart rate for a person is by having a doctor perform a cardiac stress test. But generally most people use a mathematical formula to determine their maximum safe heart rate based on their age. That formula is 220-your age = your maximum heart rate. From this formula a target heart rate can be estimated and this is dependent on your physical condition and sex. Generally, it is considered safe to work out at 65-85% of you maximum heart rate. Based on the information you provided when you set your heart rate monitor watch, your watch is beeping when you are going above the average limits based on your maximum heart rate. Remember that this is a generality, and not specific to your heart. If you feel good and your heart rate returns to pre-activity levels within a reasonable amount of time, then I would not worry at all. The beeping is telling you that based on your information, you don't have to work as hard as you are apparently working when you are exercising.
I am 59 years old and have been a couch potato all my life. I have high blood pressure and some other cardiac issues and over the last 6 months I have dedicated myself to losing weight and moving off the couch. My goal was to get off my high blood pressure medications. I have lost 24 pounds and my cardiologist has reduced my blood pressure medications by 1/2. He says I may never get off of them completely but I am going to continue to try by continuing to eat less, and exercise more. If it makes you feel better, when I first started exercising, my heart rate monitor recorded heart rates greater than 160 as well. When I did my cardiac stress test, I was able to reach 160 without experiencing any symptoms and I am 16 years older than you.
If you are experiencing any symptoms such as feeling shortness of breath, excessive fatigue, or feeling faint, please don't wait until March to see the cardiologist. If not, relax and enjoy your progress.
Don't worry about your heart rate at this point in your training. As the previous Doc just said, it will come down. There was just one point that I would dispute, the formula for heart rate based on 220-your age is not based on science. Do a little research and you'll find that it was just a guess that became gospel. Everyone is different and there are many variables, so just enjoy your progress. Good luck with your blood pressure; I just went on BP medication this week and I've been running competitively for a long, long time. There's no alternative to getting old and there's only so much you can do to beat genetics. If your BP doesn't go down enough, make sure you get a runner-friendly medication. This is two months since your posting; I hope you're still running.
. . . There was just one point that I would dispute, the formula for heart rate based on 220-your age is not based on science. Do a little research and you'll find that it was just a guess that became gospel. . .
220 minus age was developed using a collection of data from several studies that measured maximum heart rate.
The problem is the data was not necessarily unbiased, so it could not be reliably applied to the general population, which the auther admits.
Thanks so much for your reply. I actually feel really good when I run. Besides the normal shortness of breath that is common among newbies (which I'm conquering), I feel very good.