Low Maximum Heart Rate
I'm a 32 year old trail runner in Montana and I do all my runs on trails in the mountains. I'm training for a 50k run and I recently got a heart rate monitor to help prepare.
I went out to determine my max heart rate today. I picked a steep trail and after warming up for about ten minutes ramped up my pace until I was going flat out and kept going until I couldn't hold it any longer.
I repeated this 4 times and the highest my heart rate got was 151 (the results were 150, 151, 149, 150). Each time I spent 3-4 minutes ramping up and maxing out. My resting heart rate is 42.
I'm concerned because it seems like 151 is too low, and I feel like maybe I haven't actually maxed out. The formulas (which I understand to be inaccurate) say I should be at 184-188.
Could anyone tell me if my approach to maxing out was flawed? Should this be done on a track? Do I have to build up and hold max for a longer time? Should I simply spend the $$ and have a physiological test done? I've never heard of anyone my age having such a low max...does anyone here know of any such examples?
I've always been a pretty strong endurance athlete and was a competitive mountain bike racer in college, so I don't feel like anything is necessarily wrong with me...just that I might be missing something in my approach.
JohnAnswer by Dominique:
Thanks for your question about your low maximum heart rate.
It is an interesting one as a maximum heart rate this low is very uncommon.
I think your approach is pretty good. I have got my own approach to determining my maximum heart rate, which you can find here
Basically anything that makes you go flat out for long enough will drive up your heart rate to max levels.
Have you tested what your heart rate monitor says compared to the good old-fashioned approach of putting two fingers on your pulse and count the beats for ten seconds? There may be an initial reliability issue with your new toy?
If this is not the case then you might have to go with a full lab test to get worked out what your maximum heart rate is. And if it is really that low, the experts might be able to give you some reasons as well.
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