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5633 Views 14 Replies Latest reply: Jan 12, 2011 1:38 PM by jjones282 RSS
Hope2LuvRunning Rookie 7 posts since
Nov 1, 2010
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 31, 2010 2:54 PM

High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

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.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,340 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Dec 31, 2010 4:43 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Everybody runs out and gets a heart rate monitor (HRM) without really understanding how to use it or what the numbers mean.  Here are a couple articles to read to begin to understand the basics.

    http://www.marathonguide.com/training/articles/HeartMonitorTraining.cfm

    http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-244--12397-0,00.html

     

    Your heart rate while running depends on a number of things.  Among others:

    - Your resting heart rate (RHR) and maximum heart rate (MHR)

    - Your state of hydration, your state of health, how much sleep you get

    - How fast you're running, up or down hill, weather, wind, etc.

    - The (physical) size of your heart

     

    Your RHR should be taken before you get out of bed in the morning.  Do it several days in a row and average the readings.  Finding your MHR is more involved.  The best way is to have it tested in a lab but that costs $$$.  This article suggests several ways you can test it yourself, none easy but doable.

    http://www.howtobefit.com/determine-maximum-heart-rate.htm

    The "220 minus age" formula works for maybe 50% of people.  According to one of the study authors, it was never meant to be used for the general population.  MHR also apparently depends somewhat on the size of the heart.  Smaller hearts pump less per stroke so need to pump more often.  (I'll have to try to find the article where I read that.)

     

    All that said, 162 is probably not all that high, and is very unlikely to cause problems, particularly if your "perceived exertion level" is reasonable.  Would you like it to be lower?  Probably, and with continued running, your pulse will be lower at a given pace (and your RHR will be lower).  As your pulse exceeds about 90% of MHR, you run anaerobically, and your muscles use fuel faster than your bloodstream can provide it.  Your muscles will tire and force you to slow or stop.  So if you can continue, you're not too close to MHR.

     

    So do a little research and read the articles.  You will probably find that 162 is a trifle high, but not a lot.  For a not very scientific comparison, my heart rate while running a marathon is about 150 (say, 145 - 155).  My RHR is in the upper 40s (46 at the doctor), my MHR is 188, and I'm 63 yo.

     

    Len





    Len

  • ragingsamster Amateur 25 posts since
    Oct 20, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Dec 31, 2010 9:16 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Blogspot? Followed! Follow me at http://ragingsamster.blogspot.com

     

     

    For heart rate and distance running I recommend http://chuckiev.blogspot.com/2007/08/hadds-approach-to-distance-running-part.html a great read for info on running, heart rate, and cellular biology.





    Started exercising - 6/2009

    Started running - 9/2009

    First race - Kent Christmas rush finished 4th (from last!) in my age group 1:03:19 for 10K

    Longest run to date - 26 miles - Green River Marathon! June 5th 2010

    http://ragingsamster.blogspot.com/2010/06/gollum-runs-marathon.html

    My blog - http://www.runningintherain.net

  • ragingsamster Amateur 25 posts since
    Oct 20, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Jan 1, 2011 12:39 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    I do need to post an entry - the blog has been neglected in the past half year. Thanks for the compliment!





    Started exercising - 6/2009

    Started running - 9/2009

    First race - Kent Christmas rush finished 4th (from last!) in my age group 1:03:19 for 10K

    Longest run to date - 26 miles - Green River Marathon! June 5th 2010

    http://ragingsamster.blogspot.com/2010/06/gollum-runs-marathon.html

    My blog - http://www.runningintherain.net

  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Jan 1, 2011 2:35 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?
    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!

    I'll totally go along with that.  Unless you are gasping for breath, feel lightheaded, faint or nauseous, and/or your HR doesn't begin to drop quickly as you cool down, then you are probably fine.  I am an overweight 48 year old woman who has been running for several years without ever using a HR monitor. Occasionally while using an elliptical trainer, I will glance at my HR - just because its there - and when I am at a perceived exertion (PE) of about 7 my HR is in the 140's.   Otherwise I rarely give it a thought.

     

    In our age range, it never hurts to get a stress test before you embark on a vigorous new exercise routine.  When I started back running in my mid-40's I got a stress test and the go-ahead from my doctor.  Since my doctor didn't give me any particular warnings about keeping my HR in a certain range - his words were "you can run and train all you like" - then I have never really worried about it.  It is something you might consider doing if you have any doubts at all just to put your mind at ease.

     

    Otherwise, unless you are a serious athlete trying to push your performance to the max, then you are fine just paying attention to your PE and how well you recover from exertion - no need to obsess about HR.  If your breathing pattern while running is deep, but controlled (you can speak short sentences while running) and you feel pleasantly tired but not sick or exhausted afterwards, then you are on the right track.





  • Marykb Legend 1,347 posts since
    Jan 16, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Jan 1, 2011 7:03 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Well it sounds like you are doing great so far.  Keep up the good work!

     

    I can identify with your determination to stay off meds.  I have the same situation with my high cholesterol.  After being told I needed to start on statins because of my cholesterol in the 250's, I insisted that I would try diet and exercise first.   That is when I started back running a few years ago.  I got back in shape, lost weight, ate a very lowfat/low cholesterol diet, exercised 5-6 hours per week.  After several months of this regimen, while I was training for my first half marathon, I got my cholesterol rechecked and it had actually increased slightly.

     

    I still refuse to take statins, however (too many possible side effects for me to be comfortable with it.)  It may or may not be the right decision, but that is where I'm at now.  I completely know what you are dealing with.





  • CRAZ8 Amateur 23 posts since
    Dec 12, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Jan 1, 2011 9:27 PM (in response to Marykb)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    I'm not a medical person, so don't take this as advise!

     

    I have a condition that causes my immune system to attack parts of my body.  I've read that 90% of cholesterol in the blood is manufactured by the liver to help the immune system rebuild the damaged parts that need to be rebuilt.  The rest (10%) comes from the digestion system.

     

    If you have high cholesterol, then your body is trying to fix something.  If you use cholesterol drugs to try to fix this, then you're missing the point.  If you can find out what is causing the cholesterol to be needed by the body, this may be the best thing to fix - the cholesterol itself is the messenger, not the message.

     

    Having said that, I'm now taking a medication that is much, much stronger than a statin to treat my condition, but it might actually help the real problem instead of just treating the symptom of 'high colesterol'.  I have yet to test my cholesterol since starting this new med, but I really do feel better!





    Jan 2011 - Bermuda International Race Weekend 10K - 1:22:22

  • Kegan36604 Pro 84 posts since
    Sep 29, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Jan 2, 2011 7:27 AM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Let me share my experience regarding heart rate.   When I started C25K, about five years ago at 45 YOA (and a bit overweight), I too was running at a 160-170 heart rate.   Using the 'talk test' I was OK, but figured that was still too high.   I decided to slow my pace to stay in the 135-145 range. I seemed painfully slow.  At some point I finished the C25K and moved to the One Hour Runner program (which I recommend as a follow up if you're so inclined).

     

    Over time, by keeping my HR around that lower range, I found that my distances increased and my time improved.  So, the HR number is what I tried to keep as a 'constant'.  My mile time dropped from 12 to 10 m/m.  My ability to go longer improved.   So, based on the info you shared and my own experiences, try to bring your HR down (by slowing down).  Monitor if your speed and distance improve.  If they do, you will find some great motovation (read that:  bragging points) from the experience.

  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,340 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Jan 2, 2011 7:48 AM (in response to Kegan36604)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Kegan36604 wrote:

     

    Let me share my experience regarding heart rate.   When I started C25K, about five years ago at 45 YOA (and a bit overweight), I too was running at a 160-170 heart rate.   Using the 'talk test' I was OK, but figured that was still too high.   I decided to slow my pace to stay in the 135-145 range. I seemed painfully slow.  At some point I finished the C25K and moved to the One Hour Runner program (which I recommend as a follow up if you're so inclined).

     

    Over time, by keeping my HR around that lower range, I found that my distances increased and my time improved.  So, the HR number is what I tried to keep as a 'constant'.  My mile time dropped from 12 to 10 m/m.  My ability to go longer improved.   So, based on the info you shared and my own experiences, try to bring your HR down (by slowing down).  Monitor if your speed and distance improve.  If they do, you will find some great motovation (read that:  bragging points) from the experience.

    This is a technique recommended by Dr. Phil Maffetone (google maffetone).  Basically do up to 6 months of training at a low heart rate.  I think he says 180 minus age.  No faster paced speedwork or racing allowed.  (I suppose you could run a race as long as you kept the HR down.)  From all accounts this does work, and in time you will find yourself able to maintain a faster pace at the same low heart rate.  Personally I think you can accomplish the same think with traditional training (my opinion).

     

    Len





    Len

  • Slow Running Pro 66 posts since
    Apr 18, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Jan 2, 2011 9:07 AM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Hi hope2loverunning.  I was in the same place you are but I was 300lb with  a high heart rate and on bloodpressure med's.  My heartrate was at 180 when I walked when I started, but as I continued to lose the weight and started running things got better.  At 170lb I started noticing that when running my heart rate was at 180.  Then at 150lb I had to stop taking my BP med's due to a low blood preesure of 88/40 and my heart rate resting was 44.  When running my heart rate was in the 160 range.  Now at 132lb I run anywhere from 5-15miles and my maximum heart rate spikes at 170 and then quickly drops to 144 and stays there through out my run.  That took a little time to happen.  I've been runnig since August of 2009.  I run about a 11.54mm right now due to the cold and snow.  In the spring I speed up to about 10.47mm.  Slow but good for weight control.  You shouldn't pay so much attention to the heart rate when running unless your feeling dizzy, vomiting or having tightness or pain in the chest.  It's the resting heart rate that you would want to check.  How long does it take for your heart rate to slow to a normal rate after your run and when you wake up in the morning what is your heart rate.  Once you have found your resting heart rate you can keep a log and watch for changes over time.  On days when your resting heart rate is higher then normal you may choose not to run as your body may be tired.  Or you may want to do a walk/run program onthese days.  On these days I walk and do ab/core workouts.  As for your watch alarm.... It may not be set correctly.  Most of those watches have to be set up for max and min heart rate and have zones that they follow.  Heart rate zones are what you use for maximum fat burning.  anything above the maximum heart rate for fat burning may alarm on your watch.  Ofcourse I don't know what your watch is set up for but you could go to the company on line and find out what the alarm is and how to set it for your personal work out needs.  I'm not a professional but this are my experience with heart rate and running.  I've read as many books as I could find on fitness and running and had a personal trainer for a year so I would know how to work out correctly.  I hope that I have been of some help to you and wish you luck with your running goals.

  • jusbecuz Amateur 32 posts since
    Jul 28, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Jan 4, 2011 9:09 PM (in response to Marykb)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    Mary, I have a family history of high chols. and mine was averaging around 250.  My Dr. put me on Lipitor, and it dropped my chols. to 180, however I started developing calf pain, which took years to resolve so I quit taking it.  Went to another Dr. this year for a physical and it was back up so he recommended Lipitor again.  I told him my story and he told me to start taking Niacin extended release tablets.  They are a naturaul compound, inexpensive, you can get it anywhere in the vitamin section, and it lowered my chols. to 190.  I have had no issues with it at all, as it is mostly vitamin B3.  Just thought I would share that with you as it has defiately worked for me.   





    RUNNING DOES NOT BUILD CHARACTER, RUNNING REVEALS IT

  • 64spokes Pro 59 posts since
    Apr 24, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Jan 7, 2011 2:35 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    <blockquote>The little watch kept beeping and beeping saying, ABOVE RANGE, ABOVE RANGE.</blockquote>

    Did it pick your 'range' automatically?  Probably based on your age?

     

    the 'max = 220 - age' is just an average.  For various reasons people may be above or below that.  You need to find our own numbers before you let a little watch tell you what to do.





    CIM 12/4/2011 (1st Marathon) 3:27:19

    Run Rocklin 12K 4/7/2013 52:59

  • jjones282 Amateur 9 posts since
    Jan 24, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Jan 12, 2011 1:38 PM (in response to Hope2LuvRunning)
    Re: High Heart Rate -- should I be worried?

    No you shouldn't be worried. If you've been out running for a while, you have nothing to worry about. Your watch is only beaping because you have it set to beap when you go over a certain HR for the workout you have chosen on your watch. If you want to burn fat you want to stay within 50-85% of your max HR. The watch may have been set at a default setting. Look into your instructions and personalize your watch for your Max and resting HR.

     

    Just an FYI... I run pretty much everyday and my Average HR for most of my runs is around 179. My Max HR is around 199.

     

    I would urge you to find out what your Max HR is on your own. Don't use the genaric formula 220-age. Instead as you are running, push as hard as you can without physically injuring yourself. Your HR will increase as you excert yourself. Use the highest number you can get as your Max HR. After doing this, you may occasionally go over your set Max HR, this is common and not to worry, replace your old Max with the higher number, the higher HR is your real Max.

     

    As you run, your blood pressure should lower naturally. I wouldn't worry to much about that either unless your doctor says otherwise.

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