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Heart Rate Worries

by Michelle C
(United Kingdom)

I have been running for nine weeks now and am worried about my heart rate. My partner bought me the Garmin 305 so I could monitor it as it still seems to be high....
I don't find the running too strenuous but then how do we know when enough is enough....

I am 37 years of age (pushing 38) relatively fit and active... weigh about 8st 12lb and am 5'4

My heart rate whilst running is mainly in zone 5 which is 170-183 and goes up to 185...and this is still after 9/10 weeks....

I run 3/4 times a week and vary my length between 3/4/5 miles.

Should I be worried?????

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Michelle,
Thanks for your running training question.
It is good to see you are already about 2.5 months into running.

It is pretty hard to say with great conviction that you are going too fast. And if you should be worried. Your heart rate seems to be quite high. But maybe you still need to get used to running, maybe your body is a bit different to that of other people. Heart rate is quite volatile. A warmer day or stress will cause a higher heart rate as well.

A Zone 5 run is full speed ahead without stopping and is usually not something you can keep up for more than a few minutes, definitely not 3/4/5 miles, so I wonder if you are really in Zone 5.

To see if you running too fast use the following rule:
most of your running at this point should be easy running. That is conversational pace, the pace at which you'd be able to easily have a conversation with somebody running along with you. At easy pace your heart rate should be pretty low (Zone 2).

A question which comes up to me is how you established your maximum heart rate?
Have you done this using a formula (220-37=183)?

The general formula is not good enough for you given your heart rate reaches 185 at least. You might find that your real maximum heart rate is quite a bit higher than 183.

So, you are possibly worrying a little too much about this. Your "higher than general" maximum heart rate, you getting used to running, possibly some other factors (temperature, stress, your body), maybe running a bit too fast, etc. can all contribute to your higher heart rate.

Next run, use the "conversation possible"-rule. If you keep on experiencing such a high heart rate you might find comfort in getting it professionally tested. That's the only way to be really sure about your maximum heart rate.

Of course, if you are absolutely not comfortable about this and your heart is really racing out of your chest, you should talk to your doctor about this. Better safe than sorry.

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Hope this helps.
Best of luck with your running.

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Oct 30, 2008
by: michelle

thanks dominique for your response...i have tried running whilst talking and although i found it boring my heart rate stayed at average heart rate is still 167 so i'm going to give it another few weeks and if it doesnt change get professional advice as you suggested...i am now up to 7 miles though...and i absolutely love it

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