I started the couch to 5k a few weeks ago, and am now nearing the end, week7 of 9. I bought myself a new toy so I can keep track of my progress, a garmin watch with a heart rate monitor. I don't know much about ideal heart rate zones and all so I kind of ignored that info even though I still used it. I was comparing my runs to others in the area (garmin lets us peak at what others are doing), and noticed that my heart rate is way off the mark. I average about 185 and usually peak in the upper 190's. I am a very thin 26 year old who has NEVER exercised in the past, although I am not a smoker, heavy drinker, and eat pretty healthy. Is this something that will go down as I keep at? Something I need to worry about? I am not even running a full 30 min yet so it seems high. Advice?
It's really hard to tell. You really need to know your true maximum heart rate (MHR), not what the formulas predict, to decide where 185 fits. I have run with one person whose max is 221. Your zones are computed based on your MHR. You mention being very thin and it could be that you have a small heart. Small hearts, they say, have to beat faster. Anyway, it could also be that you are running at a relatively fast pace for your current training level. Heart rate has more to do with speed than time. It is something that will go down, for a given pace, as you continue to train. But we're talking months, not weeks.
I have always had a higher heart rate than many friends of mine who exercise. One thing I can share is that I have a Stress Test done each year (because of leaking heart valves) but my point is that my heart rate has gone down over time. It used to be normal for me to get to 180 in the first 15 minutes of exercise/running, sometimes it would spike higher than that. I was an avid Aerobics exerciser for years and now I've been running for 15 months and it is taking a longer time for my heart rate to increase. It's very important to listen to your body. Even if your heart rate is 145 - 150 but you feel winded, slow down until you can breath normally and then pick your pace back up. It could be that you're starting out too fast or strong.
The heart is a muscle, remember. So just like your calf and thigh muscles, it takes time to condition them to be able handle 30 minutes of running. You will definitely see that over time, your heart rate won't increase as quickly.
I agree with Len - 1) it's going to take months of consistent training to condition your heart.
and 2) you should really learn what YOUR maximum heart rate is.
Don't be afraid to have a doctor or Cardiologist check your heart. It'll give you piece of mind if you're serious about running. I do think because you're so young, you will learn what is normal for your body and your heart over time.
Good luck ......and GET OUT AND RUN!!
2010 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k ---47:24 (walked...first race in 10 years!)
2011 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k ---- 33:53
2012 - St. Paddy's Day 8k/5k Run....58:59....FIRST 8K!
2012 - Tiger 5k Speedway Racetrack....35:38
2012 - Short Run on a Long Day 5k in Frankfort....34:43
2012 - Fort2Base - 3 Nautical Mile (3.45 miles).....36:44
2012 - Hot Chocolate 5k/15k.....31:46...PR!!
2013 - Mar - St. Paddy's Day 5k/8k Run...34.26
2013 - Apr - Tiger 5k Speedway Racetrack...34:36...2nd place in my "old age" group
2013 - May - Solider Field 10 Miler...2:01:26
2013 - June - Chicago Color Run (not timed)
2013 - June - Women's Chicago 1/2 Marathon....2:43:04
Ist of all Congratulations on doing the couch to 5k program! As far as your heart rate goes, I think starting any new physical activity will do that to you. You might just want to get a physical just to be safe though.
The longer you continue to keep up with the running... the lower you heart rate will be. Your body will get into condition. I remember 1st starting out over 15 years ago. It was tough! BUT I stuck with it... it was also so exciting to reach all the milestones. Making it to my 1st half mile without stopping... and then eventually mile... ect. I hope you continue with the running and make it a life long habit!
running does a body (and mind) good! Enjoy