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8061 Views 6 Replies Latest reply: Nov 3, 2010 11:49 AM by bartchilders
rajasperson Rookie 2 posts since
Sep 6, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Jul 5, 2010 7:40 PM

Struggling with My Heart Rate

I've been a pretty active jogger now for over a year.  I also do some pretty intense hiking now and then.  I just completed Half Dome (Yosemite National Park) in 8 hours and felt fantastic with no soreness the next day.  My problem is this: When I run I cannot keep my rate below 180.  I am a 34 year old woman, 5'4" tall and weigh about 150.  I have been running religously 3 days a week about 4-6 miles a day and have been doing this for over a year.   I cannot get past this distance because of my heart rate issue.  I don't run too fast.  That is the standard answer when I ask around. I actually run crazy slow averaging a 12 minute mile.  Running this slow is the ONLY way I can get my distance up as high as I have.  When I try and pick up the pace, my heart rate immediately shoots up to 190-200 and I am forced to walk to bring it back down.  I have tried doing sprint wiith walking in between in hopes that when I return to normal jogging my heart rate would not be so high.  I just don't understand what I'm doing wrong.  I see people that I trained with that have flown past me with 8-9 minute miles.  I am becoming really discouraged and feel like a running failure.  Please help with any advice you can!

  • LakeGuy2010 Rookie 1 posts since
    Jul 13, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jul 17, 2010 10:40 AM (in response to rajasperson)
    Re: Struggling with My Heart Rate

    I am a 22-year-old man who used to run cross country in high school, skipped running altogether in my four years in undergrad college, and just this past June 2nd gotten back into working out.  I am and have been a beanpole 140lbs, which fluctuated 20lbs up to 160lbs, but nothing that changed my overall appearance. 

    When I use the elliptical machine at my gym, Planet Fitness, my heart rate also jumps up really far, say, 200 for a start.  My uncle is a heart surgeon, and I asked him what he thought of my problem.  He told me not to worry too much about it, because the whole heart rate thing is on a sliding scale.  People who are real muscleheads won't have a higher heart rate because their cardiovascular systems are used to it.  He did say one thing that stuck out, though.  Drink more water, he said.  People who do not drink enough water have thicker blood, and thicker blood is harder to push through the veins.  Thus, the heart works harder.  Maybe this is your problem!

  • Ineed2Run5K Rookie 1 posts since
    Dec 3, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 20, 2010 8:47 AM (in response to rajasperson)
    Re: Struggling with My Heart Rate

    I am a 53 years young woman, 5'3", carrying 150 to 160 pounds over the last year.  I have worked with a personal trainer for over 13 years and felt rewarded by every minute.  My disappointment has come over the past 4 years when I decided I wanted to become a runner.  I had been walking for cardio for years, but I wanted to run a 5K.  I've trained for them and I have run 3-4 5Ks every summer for the past 4 years.  My heart rate problem is the same.  Whether running, working with weights or using the cardio machines in the gym, by the time I'm finished warming up, I am at 75% of my max heart rate.  Within 5 minutes of working out or running, I am up to 85% and while I'm running I stay between 85% and 95%.  Folks pass me all day long, at 82% and they can go on forever.  I truly start to feel the high heart rate and when I get to 96% my head gets dizzy and I lose focus, and ultimately will pass out if I don't slow it down.  It takes a good 5 minutes to recover.  My doctor has indicated that sometimes it could be the meds (I have auto-immune disease), so I give that 5% of the credit.  But now I know I'm going to have to live with this and likely I'll be able to run marathons and trails (my wish), but I will always be slow because I have to manage my heart rate.  I sympathize with you rajasperson.  This has caused me to give up on my pursuit of running and overall great health more than a few times!  Good Luck.

  • Biss Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 27, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Sep 22, 2010 1:18 PM (in response to rajasperson)
    Re: Struggling with My Heart Rate

    I'm not an expert at running but I have kept fit in the past through other sports.  When I run, it is so new for my body that is challenges me as well.  I run incredibly slow as well to maintain longer distances.  I've noticed that the fitter you are, the better your body is able to maintain a distance and speed.  That's why it's important to stress the body continuously.


    When you workout, are you always running 4-6 miles at the same speed?  If this is the case, you body will not adapt to a higher speed.  Throughout the course of a training season I start small (whatever base I maintained) and do one long run a week, one short run a week (base maintenance), and one run that is either a speed, hill or interval workout.  Throughout the season, the distances and paces will change.  The only run that is ever "easy" is the short run.  The first long run is always hard and slow because of the lack of fitness but throughout the season my body is more prepared and my heartrate will eventually lower.

  • moni lew Rookie 3 posts since
    Jul 30, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Sep 22, 2010 1:49 PM (in response to Biss)
    Re: Struggling with My Heart Rate

    I have a high heart rate when exercising too.  I have done many spin classes where my heart rate had gone in the 200+ range and at the time I was lifting and training for a marathon. My heart rate should have been lower.   I never adjusted my effort due to my monitors reading, I went more with how I felt, and yes, at times I found myself huffing and puffing but I would only keep it up for a short time and then slow down a bit (bringing my heart rate to 180 for extended times was not unusual).  I was in my 30's at this time. I suggest try running for a few weeks without the monitor and use how your body feels more as a monitor.  You can add short sprints and slow down for longer more endurance. Add a little distance at a time and increase the speed at other times.  Then if you want, use your monitor again to see how you do.  But definately go by how your body feels.   This is just a suggestion on what I found to work for me

  • bartchilders Rookie 1 posts since
    Mar 24, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 3, 2010 11:49 AM (in response to rajasperson)
    Re: Struggling with My Heart Rate

    I would go get a physical to start.

    If everything is ok, then I would hydrate as discussed. Then I would increase my weekly milage.  Run more often and slowly increase your weekly milage no more than 10% per week.  Also get some help with your diet to make sure you are eating properly.  The goal to lose a little weight and see if that helps lower your heart rate.

    You can also slow down even more during your workouts.  I recommend getting a trainer and a diet coach.  Maybe you could find someone that can do both.  Meet once a month and go over your schedule and your diet.

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