The MHR formula of 220 minus your age is based on broad population averages, rather than being a precise scientific formula. If you looked at people's actual MHR's, you would find them scattered above and below (sometimes significantly) what is predicted by the formula. Like most statistical averages, it is a good predictor for about 1/3 of the population, somewhat useful for another 1/3, and less useful for the remaining 1/3.
I use an HRM for cycling, and like you I had been a bit concerned about how high the numbers were going. However, on a recent climb up a steep hill, I discovered my true MHR was about 10 bpm faster than what is predicted by the formula. Once I understood my true MHR, and recalculated the ranges then the recommended percentage ranges made a lot more sense. 90% of MY MHR is the top of my aerobic range. I can go to 95% but this is only sustainable for a few minutes. And figures of 95-100% are achievable, but are only sustainable for a few tens of seconds.
Also, as has been pointed out elsewhere in this thread C25K is interval training, and part of the point of interval training is to lift your heart rate to high levels for a short period of time.
You may also want to check out Spark's Reference Guide to Exercise Intensity, and the Rate of Perceived Exertion in particular. www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_artic les.asp?id=1044 Going by the RPE is a useful way of checking whether your heart rate is a suitable measure of exercise intensity. If your running periods are still in the 7-8 range on the RPE scale, then that would sound about right.
Fitness Minutes: (2,659)
7 6/6/14 11:43 A
I am so glad I found this post... I have pretty much the exact same "problem". I'm 32, my max heart rate is supposedly 188, but doing a brisk walk can easily push me up over 150 and jogging to over 170 steady. I do 20 second sprints between lamp posts that have pushed my heart rate to 189+. When I see these numbers on my heart rate monitor I can't help but think "how am I not dead???". When my heart rate spikes it doesn't take more than 1-2 minutes to come back down to what I would consider my "going to get groceries" rate of 90-110. I couldn't help but think, is spiking that high in the first place and then ebbing to that low in that kind of time frame even normal?
My family has a history of heart issues. I've never felt like I have one, but after seeing my heart rate flashing these angrily high numbers at me I started to really worry, then off to the forums I went.
Based on everything I've read, including this post, I've officially decided to start to ignore my heart rate monitor for anything other than calories burned estimates. Going forward I'm basing my exertion on how I feel. At 170 I can still hold a conversation with my husband as we jog (albeit using shortened sentences) and I don't feel like I want to fall over, I just feel like I'm working.
I think if you stick to the "if it hurts, don't do it" motto you're fine :)
Fitness Minutes: (103,453)
6/11/13 3:26 P
my HR shoots up pretty fast, but it comes back down pretty fast too.
I'm with the 'slow your running pace a bit & listen to your body' group.
I do get a BIG kick out of seeing how much lower my resting heart rate is now. One of my favorite NSVs
Fitness Minutes: (2,769)
6/11/13 3:18 P
Gimme.....part of your problem is you are causing yourself anxiety about your heart rate. If your max is 190, and you are at 185, then no, it is not too high. Keep in mind, you are just beginning the program and you need to condition your heart (which is nothing more than another muscle with autonomic function). This will take a couple of weeks before you begin to see a difference, but it will improve.
What I suggest you do is table the C25K for now and do a modified program. Instead of running at 5 mph, jog at a nice easy 4 mph for 30 seconds. As your heart rate improves, you will be able to improve both your speed and your length of time at a run.
It takes time to condition your heart, but backing it down will help keep you in a proper range and more comfortable, both psychologically and with your asthma.
And whatever you do, DON'T OVER TRAIN ON THE RUNNING! You don't want to cause an overuse injury of the knee like a fracture of the tibia or torn ligaments/meniscus.
My heart rate gets up into the 190+ range when I am running. When I am doing intervals it rarely goes below 165 in the sort "recovery" time they give you. I don't feel bad, so I don't worry. As I get more in shape, my heart rate does recover quicker. Yours should also. Pushing yourself above the average rate for short periods of time is actually good for you.
I used to hit my max heart rate when exercising. I wore a chest strap heart rate monitor and would see 196 and 198. It was terrifying, not to mention I actually did feel like I was going to die and I even passed out once and came to in an ambulance. So there is definitely such thing as "too high." But as long as you FEEL OKAY - yes, you're working hard, but you aren't starting to panic, automatically reduce intensity, etc, you're probably okay. The body does have fail-safes. I have a motto which is " You'll pass out before you die" and while it's a little tongue-in-cheek it is reassuring to me because after I had that awful experience I was pretty scared to get my heart rate up again. But it's true... our bodies will protect us. If your heart rate is at your maximum and you keep pushing, all that means is your heart isn't capable of beating faster and you may pass out in an attempt by your body to get you to friggin' stop already.
Now I'm not writing this to scare you (the opposite, really) but to remind you that yes, there is such thing as "too high", though when it happened to me, pushing myself too hard didn't end up having lasting consequences -- but as long as you FEEL reasonably well, you should be okay and your maximum heart rate will increase as you improve your fitness level (and your ability to raise your heart rate that high will probably go down too). When my brother was a very high level athlete, his maximum heart rate was 20 bpm faster than it "should" have been based on the 220-age thing - so that is also just an average and the more fit you are, the faster your heart can go if it needs to.
Fitness Minutes: (131,612)
6/10/13 7:02 A
Since you have asthma, you have to check with a doctor!
Fitness Minutes: (15,095)
9,707 6/9/13 5:42 P
I'd say don't worry about it, then. I've hit 95% of my "max heart rate" before, and felt fantastic afterwards. ;) As long as you're listening to your body, you're fine. I think it's normal for those of us on the higher end of the BMI scale to get higher heart rates. And they come down a lot. These days? I rarely see 85%, even when pushing it. And my resting heart rate's lower, too! I went from 125 resting to 90. Haven't checked it recently.
I mean my heart rate is too high according to the "target heart rate." I looked at the RPE, and I am at about an "8" at the end of my jogging interval. Hard, but not too hard that I feel like I'm gonna die.
I do sometimes have trouble breathing, because I have asthma. If that happens, I slow down, or even take a break and use my inhaler if necessary.
I've been walking at an incline for about a month...but before that I was using a bike or elliptical with a high resistance. I don't like walking because it's too slow, lol. I get bored.
Fitness Minutes: (15,095)
9,707 6/9/13 3:24 P
What exactly do you mean, your heart rate is too high? Are you experiencing physical symptoms that are preventing you from continuing? Or are you just going by "heart rate zones"?
Don't worry about zones. They're largely useless for anyone not an elite athlete in training. If you aren't experiencing physical discomfort (beyond what you expect for challenging exercise, of course) then one minute at a high heart rate zone is basically just interval training.
The more you do it, the stronger your heart will get, and you won't get into those 95% zones. I used to get into that a LOT when I was doing interval training with a trainer at the gym. :)
Listen to your body. When your heart rate is that high, are you having trouble breathing, or do you feel like you're running through a swamp? If not, don't worry about it. RPE is a better measurement of exercise intensity in the early days. It's more versatile, and less dependent on obsessing over numbers which may or may not be accurate for you personally... it's usually based on averages.
I'm trying a C25K...and noticed my heart rate is extremely high when jogging....It goes up to 185 according to the heart rate monitor on the treadmill (and manually taking my pulse)...and takes about 2 minutes (or more) to get back down to 165. So, I can't do the jog 1 minute, walk 1 minute without my heart rate being too high.
I'm 30, so using the 220-age = max heart rate, my max heart rate is 190...so 185 is too high.
I'm not doing anything crazy, I walk at 3.5 mph and jog at 5 mph.
This is very frustrating because I can't progress and jog more with my heart rate so high. Anyways, my question is, am I doing the right thing by paying attention to my heart rate, and not increase activity until it's back down to a better rate?
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