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Max Heart Rate question (Read 1122 times)

    I started running last year, and have run five 5Ks since September, including today's (another PR -- woo). I was surprised to see that at the end of today's race my max HR (as recorded by my trusty Garmin Forerunner 305) was a full six beats higher than I've ever seen it. (189 today vs. 183 previously).

     

    I don't want this to start another debate about HR training, or whether or not max HR means anything, etc. (I've searched and read through previous posts, so I'm familiar with the various points of view.) Bottom line is that I do use my HR as a rough guide to understanding my current state of fitness, and I do compare it with the various formulas, many of which are based on max HR. I'm still a noob so it's helpful to have guidelines, even if I don't always follow them.

     

    Primarily I'm interested in this: one thing I thought I understood was that max HR doesn't change with fitness -- it's something that is primarily set via genetics and age. So what's going on in my case?

     

    My hunch is that prior to today, my overall fitness wasn't to the level at which I could push hard enough to reach my true max HR. Does that make any sense? I suppose one could argue that I just hadn't pushed hard enough in the previous races. But trust me when I say, I felt like I was dying at the end of each race (that's how I know I'm doing it right Wink Wink.

     

    Any ideas?

    DanMoriarity


      Congrats on your new PR!

       

      I'd say your hunch is bang on. Your fitness has likely to improved to the point where you can push a little harder in races. Your max. heart rate doesn't change that much but I do find a bit of variability from week to week in the rate I can reach at the end of a race or really tough workout, and I think that's what you're experiencing. Either way, a couple of beats here or there isn't going to make a big difference to your standard training paces.


      jules2

        Set a fixed route and run it keeping your HR at a comfortable rate say 150? Repeat the run every couple of weeks and in theory if you are getting fitter your times reduce with the same HR. There are a lot of factors that can effect max HR on any particular day from the weather to tiredness.

        Old age is when you move from illegal to prescribed drugs.

          I certainly don't have anything concrete to tell you, but I know that my max HR has gone up significantly in the past 6 months. Up to that point, my max was somewhere between 190-195, seemed to be decreasing slowly. I had an interesting reaction at the end of a run that involved an ambulance ride, got tested up the yin-yang, and everything seems normal, but now I get heart rates over 200 while I'm starting out hard, say first km or two of a tempo run, then they go back down to the 180's where they should be (for me) for that workout.

           

          Strange. But hey, the EKG said I was normal.

          2013 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away - FAIL.

          2014 Goal: Make 3:00:16 go away.

            You exceeded your max heart rate and died. Sorry to break the news.

                 but now I get heart rates over 200 while I'm starting out hard, say first km or two of a tempo run, then they go back down to the 180's where they should be (for me) for that workout.

               

              Strange. But hey, the EKG said I was normal.

               

              Thats likely static electricity from not being warmed up or sweating enough and is worse with a tech shirt. Its very common.

               

              The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff

               

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                I've never trained or raced with a HRM and don't even know my max but from what little I know about human physiology, it's probably impossible for most non-elites to hit their max HR in a 5k road race.  So probably you are able to get closer to your max as you get fitter.

                Runners run.

                  You exceeded your max heart rate and died. Sorry to break the news.

                   

                   

                  This.   Based on my max heart rate readings and the way that I feel this morning

                   

                  I am sure that I did die yesterday Shocked

                   

                   

                  Okay, I admit that I fiddled with it quite a bit due to chafing causing a couple readings up in the 200's.

                  steph  

                   

                  OCD  If you don't laugh...   

                    I think that there are a couple of factors at play, but I really don't know. 

                     

                    In reviewing your log, it appears as if you're hitting 182 during the last mile of a long run (8mile+, 10mile+).  That last mile, you increase speed from 10:00 mile to 8:00 mile, and effectively "sprint" the last mile.  That is a much different workout than running a race at 7:45 / mile.  (I didn't review every workout to see if there were other 182's from more of a 5k strategy).

                     

                    The other thought relates to the temperature.  During this time of the year, as the temperature rises, so will your HR.  (I don't know that your Max HR would increase.)  With an increase in temperature, while holding effort consistent, your HR will be higher.


                     

                    2014 Goals:

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                      "Max HR" isn't a static number.  FWIW, I've had higher HR readings in summer workouts than I achieved at the end of January races with uphill finishes.  The heat's good for about 10bpm for me.  I think dehydration also can influence HR.

                      “Everything you need is already inside.” -- Bill Bowerman

                        Thanks to everyone for the replies. 

                         

                         In reviewing your log, it appears as if you're hitting 182 during the last mile of a long run (8mile+, 10mile+).  That last mile, you increase speed from 10:00 mile to 8:00 mile, and effectively "sprint" the last mile.  That is a much different workout than running a race at 7:45 / mile.  (I didn't review every workout to see if there were other 182's from more of a 5k strategy).

                         

                        I've really only been using the 5K data when looking at my max HR. The max in the previous races were various 181, 182, and once a 183, which is what I've been using as my max. I wasn't really trying to max out at the end of those long runs you saw, but I was certainly trying to go as hard as I could at the end of the 5Ks.

                         

                        The other thought relates to the temperature.  During this time of the year, as the temperature rises, so will your HR.  (I don't know that your Max HR would increase.)  With an increase in temperature, while holding effort consistent, your HR will be higher.

                         

                        That's a good point -- yesterday's race was an afternoon race, and the others have been morning races. And yesterday was definitely warmer than the fall and winter races of last year.

                         

                        Again, I appreciate the responses. I'm ok that there's no definitive answer here. I just found it interesting, so thought I'd bring it up.

                          The more you race, the more discomfort you will be able to tolerate. 

                          In order to get to your true MHR, you have to be able to deal with a lot of discomfort

                          to actually get there.  During stress tests, most people never get there, because

                          they can't stand it. 

                           

                          I have read some things here and there that suggest MHR will get lower when you get fitter.

                           

                          It's a tough thing to determine really, because of the tolerance factor.

                           

                          WIthin a ballpark of 5 beats is cool, and erring on the low side won't hurt you.

                           

                          --JimmyCool

                          log   prs      Crusted Salt comic #143

                           


                          HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                             

                            I don't want this to start another debate about HR training, or whether or not max HR means anything, etc...

                             

                            Then it is a good thing you avoided the subject of max heart rate.

                            It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                            LateBloomer

                              I used this article when i first got my HR monitor, it has percent HR for the various workouts and races. i've found the numbers to be very close when i compare HR values to the paces calculated with mcmillan's calculator compared to what i actually ran.

                               

                              http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267--1039-1-2X5-3,00.html

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