To be honest.. I believe the below ranges are useful reference for someone who has been training for 10 years plus and knows exactly what formula those ranges are linked to (or at least knows that the below refers to whatever calculations are performed by a particular HRM. I'm not sure Polaris, Sigma and Garmin uses the same calculations to determine target zones). But I'm not entirely sure how useful those ranges are for someone who is trying to start out at both running AND using heart rate monitor to, well, monitor their fitness.
First of all - there are at least 2 wildly different methods used to calculate heart rate zones, and I suspect each of the methods come with their own target zones. You can either calculate % of (220-age) or you can calculate (%(220-age-restingRate))+resting Rate. (That is before going into formulas that factor weight and gender in - but those things mostly just affect max rate calculations and can then be plugged into either one of the above formulas).
Second.. We are not exactly trained athletes here. We're learning to run. Running brings heart rate up very quickly and unlike with cycling or aerobics, there isn't much you can do to get the rate back down while continuing to run. With running even the minimum effort required to propel yourself forward pushes heartrate up noticeably. If we were so good at running at a pace that does not bring a heart rate up, we wouldn't need a walk-run programm to get to 5k, we would just, well, run.
So yeah, if someone with knowlege and advice for beginner runners might advise on the target heart rates (and if there's any trick to maintain them) - now that would be very useful.
Especially if someone could link to some reliable material on whether or not it's bad to run for those 3-4 minutes at high heartrates - and if it is bad, whether or not there's something we can do to lower the risk.
For statistics - In last weeks when I'm doing my running-walkings, the max number I see on screen is 176. Comfortable range of running is 148-166 or maybe 145-171 or so. Anyhow if I could stay in that range I guess I could run for longer. It's not 'if HR stays above 172 for a long while I get exhausted'. It is 'when I get tired, my heart rate goes up into 172+'. I average 157-158 over a session.
With %(220-age) formula 148 becomes 77%, the rest of numbers being spot in 80-90% high intensity zone... what does not precisely make much sense. I'm not a fit person.
With %(200-age-65)+65 numbers become a saner 65-80%, what would probably pretty much suit my goals.
So far so good, that would seem to indicate Karvonen formula appears to suit me pretty well.
Except Karvonen requires 'resting heart rate' - I'm just putting a random 65 in there without much real reasoning. Is resting heart rate 'lowest number I've seen when I have been sleeping prone for a while and meditating/browsing internet' or is it 'sat down for few minutes'?
Also... Ok, could be my resting rate has dropped considerably in last few months (doesn't seem like that but I don't exactly walk around with HRM strapped on all the time), but if I go by how I feel at certain pulse zones - that certainly has changed a lot during past few months. I remember being exhausted-can't-do-no-more when doing stationary cycling and letting heart rate go past 150 for more than 30 seconds. Then I remember 'half-dead-gonna-faint-or-puke-right-now' feeling doing xbox aerobics pushing heart rate over 162 for 30 seconds or more. Now 171 is kind-of-sustainable for a minute or two if I hit a pace that keeps HRM at exactly that number. 176 does not feel good, but it does not feel quite as bad as I've felt before - it's more the fear of 'if you keep running at high HRM you're damaging your heart and will one day fall dead on spot' rumor that I'm fearing. I don't know if it's true, but it is enough to scare me.
So, um.. anyone has some, dunno, qualified insight into this? Is there a good safe formula we could be pointed to and told 'when you do couch-to-5k, make sure your heart rate stays between these numbers, and unless you have prior heart problems, you should be good' ?
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