Best or Ideal or Optimum heart rates...resting, zones, max, etc (Read 458 times)


    Wondering how to calculate all the heart rate zones, and send that to my Garmin. 


    "Resting" heart rate is a riddle for me since I've heard to take my pulse after I wake up.  Well, after I wake up my heart rate is no longer "resting."  Or is the difference so subtle that it really doesn't matter?


    So moving on...I've heard 220 minus my age, but the number I get is ridiculously low compared to where my heart rate is while I run...  in order to keep my heart rate that low I'd almost have to give up running. 


    So after talking to a cardiologist (yes, a cardiologist), his only advice was to "slow down a little."  Yeah right.  My normal doc tells me that running is just fine..he's giddy that I run. 


    I believe that there is no ONE definitive source for this.....no ONE definitive answer.  My solution might not be good for you, for her, for him, etc...


    So moving on....zones...shall I consider my heart rates in terms of zones like resting, sitting, walking, jogging (conversational jogging), running (non conversational), and then sprint for, say, 1 minute or two, and then finally max sprint!  that puts my max heart rate ever recorded up around 206....only that high for a few seconds.


    Can anybody offfer tips, hints, suggestions, or am I already on the right track?

      Hi Brian


      I don't use HR zones to train so can't really comment but until somebody comes along who can.... check out some of the comments and links here:


      2013 Goals
      1) Break 1:50 in a HM (PR 1:52:19)
      2) Break 4:00 in a Marathon (PR 4:20:39)

        I think the most honest answer is, "It depends."


        First off, your resting heart rate is simply your heart rate at rest.  I take mine right when I wake up, before I get out of bed.  This is probably most accurate if you do so right when you wake, but I get similar numbers throughout the day, so long as I've been lying down for 10-ish minutes, unless I've had a stressful day at work.


        Second, I've hit my Max HR only a handful of times (example: redline at the end of a 5K), so it should be something you cannot maintain for long.


        Your log is hidden, so it's hard to tell if you're running too hard or too easy.  Heart rate training can help guide, but the real measures are:


        1.  How do you feel?  Do your day-to-day runs beat you up, make you feel whipped, or kick your ass?

        2.  Are your race times improving?

        3.  Are you enjoying your runs?


        If you answer positively to all those, don't worry about it.  If you don't, maybe it's time to change something.


        I personally have calculated my zones using the percent heart rate reserve method: (MaxHR - Resting) * 0.x + Resting.  You can also have a calculator like this do the work for you if you know max and resting.  


        I've also done the LT test and used Joel Friel's training zones.  For me, these produce (drum roll) virtually identical numbers.


        I personally run the majority of the time in "Zone 1" or "recovery" or "very easy" or whatever you want to call it.  I do this because I love running at that effort level, I like to run frequently and it keeps me from feeling thrashed, and because, well, in my experiment of one, I've found it makes me progress the best (for now).  I'll keep at it until my racing plateaus again.  Your mileage may vary Smile.

        "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
        Emil Zatopek


          220-age is bunk. Was never intended for how it is use. It can be off 30 bpm either direction. Maximal heart rate is largely genetic. You can have a sub maximal heart rAte test done. A quick and simple method is run an evenly paced all out 5K and sprint for all your worth to the finish and see where your heart rate is.... My maximum heart rate is 17 bpm higher than 220-age would say; which would make a huge difference in zones (got mine tested when I did VO2). If you reached 206 and its clearly raised to that point not a misread of the hrm, your maximum heart rate is clearly not lower than that.

            There is an interesting article by Steve Magness at scienceofrunning.com on zone training. He doesn't like the model, but he hasn't posted a follow on article on what he proposes instead.

              MattJ, rgilbert, heather1985, and zonykel,


              Thank you for responses!


              I know that I could surf the internet and go in many different directions wrt heart races, paces, etc.  But I knew that a better source or sources would be my fellow runners.  I wanted to hear, and I have, what other runners' thoughts were on the heart rate riddle I've posed for myself (there's a reason that will become clear).


              I want to say this again:  thank you for your responses!  I really sincerely want to hear other runners' opinions! 


              In no particular order:


              I know that 220-age is bunk..I agree.  Of course it depends... I knew it depended upon the individual runner when I couldn't get a straight answer out of a cardiologist! 


              I love running...I feel great running....I want to run more, but sadly that doesn't pay the bills!  I feel stronger and stronger after my day to day runs, but admittedly sometimes speed work or hill work kicks my butt.  Sometimes, sometimes, last night's margaritas or wine don't help!


              After I type this I'll read the articles offered by zonykel and MattJ. 


              The reason I have asked about heart rates and the zones, etc., is because about two months ago I MIGHT have suffered a small heart attack.  It could have been angina, it could have been acid reflux.  Testing since then has eliminated the likelihood of it being a heart attack, but it was that moment when I had to come to grips with the fact that I was in a Cardiologist's office...and seeing the staff react the way they reacted sure as hell woke me up.  I was told to stop running until I was "cleared."  Imagine being told to stop running!  Several X-rays, 2 stress-tests, 3 ECGs, 3 EKGs, 1 urine sample later I was told I could go on running...but that I should consider "slowing down a little." (this from a cardiologist).  That's when I thought about the "heart zone" thing.  One of the EKG technicians also mentioned that the 220-age is also more of a suggestion or a starting point, but that it varies from person to person. 


              So I think that maybe I should train in a way where I "push" heart zones....since I've worn a heart monitor (I've been running and wearing a heart monitor for years, but the heart attack or whatever it was occurred very recently), I've noticed that my heart rates during runs has, over the years, dropped (!) since I've started running seriously.  We've all heard stories about Lance Armstrong's resting heart rate being around 30 bpm.  Jogging conversationally, jogging where I can't converse, sitting, resting, sprinting and exercising is helping to LOWER heart rates...and each are zones that one of these days I'll start taking my own pulse counts....but every morning, I forget the resting heart rate!


              Again, thank you!  See ya'll at the finish line!