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2744 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: May 10, 2011 6:49 PM by EnergizerBunny50
Riverside Tri-guy Rookie 4 posts since
Jan 2, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

May 1, 2011 9:24 AM

HR monitor question

Although I've been a runner for a long time, I've recently been running with a HR monitor.  I notice that when I start off, my HR jumps up really high and very fast.  For instance, yesterday after about 4 minutes or so my HR was already up to 170.  I think my max is like 185-190, although I've never had it tested.  Anyway, I try to slow down to keep it in check but I can't keep it lower than 170.  Do you think that I should slow down or even walk, and then keep going?  Or should I just live with it that I may have a high HR?
A couple other things: My rest HR is 55 so that's pretty good, and when I had to wait for a crossing light during my run yesterday (about a min rest), my HR went from 170 to 128.  Does that matter?
Although I've never checked my HR on the swim, this isn't a problem on the bike.  It's consistently about 150 or so when I ride, except for hills. 
Do you think this is something that I should try to work on?  Thanks for any advice.
  • Moriates Legend 292 posts since
    Jul 19, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. May 2, 2011 1:05 PM (in response to Riverside Tri-guy)
    Re: HR monitor question

    The faster your heart rate recovers, is a sign of proper conditioning.


    But I will say, you really need to run a threshold test on the bike and run.  Without those numbers in your hand, what your HR monitor is telling you is nothing but numbers.


    Run your tests, then set your zones and make your workouts have a purpose according to your training zones.



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  • BT.ROB Legend 270 posts since
    May 12, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. May 2, 2011 3:06 PM (in response to Riverside Tri-guy)
    Re: HR monitor question

    I agree with Greg. It is best to get your limits dialed in. You can do this yourself and there are articles on Active that tell you how to set up a test or you can have it tested at a hospital/sports lab. That being said, it sounds like you are doing well. Running uses big muscles and your heart rate will be greater running than cycling. If your max HR is 190, a 170 HR is 90% so that is probably a bit high to maintain because it is likely over your Lactate Threshold. As a long-time runner, you will know if this is your maintained pace/perceived HR. Your resting HR is good and your ability to recover (170 dropping to 128) seems good too. If you do speed work or hill repeats, your recovery should be similar between each interval. When the HR ceases to drop significantly, it is time to cool down and stop the intervals.


    Your HR profile is similar to mine although now being in my 50's, my max HR is more like 180.  My LT is 153 for cycling (tested by Dr. Max Testa of BMC, Levi Leipheimers coach) and he has me doing intervals at 156HR to increase LT (something that can be increased).


    Good luck and have fun.



  • Ramrise Rookie 3 posts since
    Oct 30, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. May 5, 2011 10:30 PM (in response to Riverside Tri-guy)
    Re: HR monitor question

    This high of a HR does seem pretty high and so quickly out on the run is also unusual.  There are many reasons why your HR would be so high.  The heart rate monitor is simply a tool that shows you how hard your heart is working at that particular point in time.  Your HR climbs up rather quickly and that would ordinarily indicate that you're working too hard to achieve your desired running speed.  Of course, your original post did not indicate your age, body type or how far & fast you were running and how often you run.  This is important to know because it helps determine what a "normal" heart rate should be.  Let me also give you an example.  Your high heart rate may simply be caused by you being dehydrated, or too hot or simply running too fast a pace.  Drinking more water on your runs may lower your heart rate.  You could also try running early in the day when it's much cooler.  These are the simple solutions.  A more complex cause would be an inefficient running stride which would require a more complex solution.  Then again, a high heart rate may be an indication of an underlying medical condition.  There are lots of unanswered variables here.  It is very encouraging though, to see that your heart rate falls quickly when you rest for short periods.  This is a good barometer of your overall fitness level.


    I agree with the previous response and suggest that you either test yourself of have someone give you one of these tests to figure out what is normal for you.  A coach or a professional testing site may be able to spot a more complex cause to this problem.  Remember, the HR monitor is only a tool that tells you how hard your ticker is ticking.  Use that tool when you run and learn to recognize when something is out of whack.  Good Luck.

    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • quadzilla1 Expert 39 posts since
    May 30, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. May 6, 2011 4:05 AM (in response to Ramrise)
    Re: HR monitor question

    +1 to Greg and BT...Get tested or test yourself and find your zones.


    Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day and are properly fueled up, that is a huge factor.  Also, take a look around at what is happening in your, work, home life, family, etc.. This could explain a jump in the heart rate as well.


    Make sure your levels are all topped off before the run, then relax before a run. By that I mean, clear out all that has happened to you throughout the day, good or bad and get into the present.


    You will enjoy the workout more and more importantly, your heart rate probably won't be as high.



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  • buck1400 Rookie 5 posts since
    Aug 17, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. May 6, 2011 12:03 PM (in response to Riverside Tri-guy)
    Re: HR monitor question

    Also make sure the HR is reading correctly; they can be off quite a bit when your skin is dry.  I always wet my skin under the HR strap when I put it on, just ot be sure.

  • EnergizerBunny50 Rookie 4 posts since
    Dec 1, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. May 10, 2011 6:49 PM (in response to Riverside Tri-guy)
    Re: HR monitor question

    My running heart rate is always higher than on the bike. My coach explained why this is, but I honestly can't remember exactly what he said it was so long ago. He does a heart rate test on the bike and a separate one for the run because they will be different. (HR is also different in the water, usually several beats lower due to the effects of the water.)  I also go by perceived exertion as well as the numbers on the HRM. You can usually tell how hard you are working and how long you can maintain any given effort. The fact that your HR came down quickly is a good sign.

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