HR Zones and Reality - a Newbie Question (Read 663 times)

    I've started taking running seriously about two months ago. For the last month I've been using a HR monitor, and found that (my) reality does not match the training programs... I am 36, so my max HR is ~184. Running at 50%-70% of max HR, as so many programs and articles advise, is simply impractical - it gets above 145 (=80%) almost immediately after I take off. Slow as I run, I simply can't finish a 4 km-5km run at less than 148 avg. HR - even at a very slow 7 min/km. Physically I feel OK during and after the exercises, passing the "small talk test" most of the time and with HR dropping quickly during cooldown. Am I straining myself too hard or is the 50%-70% really too optimistic?
      I think the problem may be that you've used "general" formulas to determine your max HR. How did you come up with the number 184? There are several ways you can actually find it yourself (running uphill is one good way). I am 37 and my max HR is 196, even though the "general formulas" say it should be lower. In fact, it might even be slightly higher than 196, because I am using that as the highest number I've ever clocked on my HRM (during a 5k race).
      ---- Cynthia
        cynthia has got it spot on. you need to test your max hr - the formula ones are worse than useless. i'm 33 - max hr = 206 (found by running hard 5 times up a steep hill)

          If you join the Low Heart Rate Training user group, you will find a multitude of articles and discussions on the topic. There is a lot of very useful info and opinions of people who have been through what you are going through now. DB

          Tougher than most, dumber than the rest. "You can not count the miles until you feel them" TVZ

            I used the formulas all last year and felt the same as you. I didn't feel like I was pushing all that hard, even after I had a good base of miles under my belt. I ran a few races and noticed my MHR was over 200 (I'm 33). My AHR was over my formula MHR for a 10k. This year, I ran easy all spring. However, after my first race, I used my MHR (205) for the race as my actual MHR to train by. Because of this, I feel my times are getting faster because I am actually pushing my limits for each heart zone.
            "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways.... totally worn out ....shouting...."Holy S**t....What a ride!"
              Thanks everyone for the encouragement. I don't feel like running five times up a steep hill to better my max HR assessment just yet... but at least I'm not too worried about my actuals!