What Is A Normal Heart Rate When Running?

by Natasha

Hi, I am a reasonably fit 23 year old female. On an average week I do 4-5 sessions of sport. I have been running for a few months and looking to take part in a 10k race.

However, I wear a Polar HR monitor and when running at an average speed of 10km/h my heart rate is between 174 and 180.

Do I have anything to worry about?

Answer by Dom:

Hi Natasha,

Thank you for your running training question.

It is not easy to establish whether you do have a genuine reason to be worried about your heart rate.

Yes, it definitely seems a bit high. But keep in mind, everybody is different. Some people's heart rate is immediately high whenever they do something more than walking, for others it stays pretty low, no matter what they do.

It is likely a function of you getting used to running and building up your fitness.

However, what is the speed that you call "average"?

Most of your running should be easy running, the pace at which you'd be able to have a conversation with someone.

At this pace, your heart rate should be about 40 beats per minute lower than your maximum heart rate. See this heart rate monitor training page for more details.

Which brings me to the next question: do you know your maximum heart rate?

There are some general formulas (e.g. 220 - age = maximum heart rate, so 220 - 23 = 197), but these formulas are pretty rough. I am not sure if you have one of those smart heart rate monitors that tells you your maximum heart rate, but that is more often than not also quite inaccurate.

Check out my max heart rate page for more details.

For your next run, follow the "is conversation possible?" rule and check your heart rate.
If you keep on experiencing higher than expected heart rates you may want to get your maximum heart rate tested in a sports lab, to really make sure that it is what you think it is.

Of course, if you are absolutely not comfortable about this, you should talk to your doctor about this. Better safe than sorry.

Also make sure you have a good read of my heart rate monitor training page.

Hope this answer provided some help.
Best of luck.

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