Heart Rate

Nelson told me he recently calculated his max heart rate. Here’s my two cents worth on the subject:

As of June 2012; average of 5 different formulas I found on the web puts my max heart rate at 179. I may have to revise since I’ve had a birthday in the mean time!

One website recommends 80-87% of max as ideal training zone. Hal Higdon on Livestrong says 65-75% on long and recovery runs; intense workouts ok 90-95%.

Based on 179:

65% = 116 75% = 134 80% = 143 87% = 155 90% = 161 95% = 170 (peak)

Garmin’s recommendations based on 179:

Zone 1  50-60%  89-107 bpm

Zone 2  60-70%  107-125 bpm

Zone 3  70-80% 125-143 bpm (“optimal cardio”)

Zone 4  80-90% 143-161 bpm (“improved anaerobic, speed”)

Zone 5  90-100% 161-179 bpm

3 comments on “Heart Rate

  1. neltow says:

    I’ve read a lot about HRmax and VO2max, and I am frequently confused by the various percentages. I must admit, I still spend a lot of time cross-referencing various tables and comparing the various recommendations with my personal experience. The latest touchstone that I have on this (that I like) is Daniels’ table of training intensities (p. 35 of Running Formula). For HRmax, he puts Easy running at 65-79%, marathon at 80-90%, threshold at 88-92%, intervals at 98-100%, and “reps” or repititions (which are basically repeated “controlled” sprints) off the chart.

    One of the interesting things to me is that VO2Max % is lower than HRmax, that is, they’re not the same. So at 79% HRmax, you’re only at 74% VO2max… Then they get closer together the higher you go. A lot of things you read will be talking about effort in terms of VO2max, and the percentages (for the same effort) are lower.

    VO2 is something I can’t measure – other than by perceived effort and taking race times and approximating it. On the other hand, HR is something I can measure and use to compare different runs for fitness changes. So, I like HR better, it’s more accessible.

    Another thing I’ve read is that HRmax, once you start training, will actually stabilize. So, you won’t see it go down over the years. So, a lot of times the birthday calculations will only give you a good place to start. Of course, a good place to start is better than no place to start!

    My post on my test is at http://runnersexperiment.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/heart-rate-at-vo2max/

  2. Tad says:

    I’m reading the Paleo Diet for Athletes right now. Very focused on training as well. You probably know this, but according to this book apparently you can get take a stress-test type test to find out your VO2max. It is several hundred dollars – I don’t know if it’s available anywhere around here as such. It is specifically for athletes – not medical diagnosis. Of course as I said I think a cardio stress test would give you the data you want – if you could talk the tech into giving it to you.

    The book very much subscribes to the idea that LSD training is the way to go to teach your body to burn fat and not gobble up all your carb reserves. Very technical stuff but everyone has a natural ratio of carb-burning to fat-burning – although you can alter that somewhat with how you train.

    I targeted a HR of 70-75% on my 1.5 hour workout on Saturday. Heart rate monitors are a really helpful training tool for keeping effort up, or keeping it from getting too high. I wanted 2 hours, but hey, it was in the middle of the day so I can’t be greedy.

  3. Tad Kardis says:

    Small correction. I referred to a test to measure VO2max. The test the book was referring to may give you that too, but it is a test for RER (Respiratory Equivalancy Ratio) aka RQ (Respiratory Quotient). I’m not sure I could explain the details or precisely what it means, but knowing the number helps you to figure out your body’s sugar-burning vs fat-burning preference. Eating the right kind of higher-fat diet during training can teach your body to burn more fat and dip into your carb reserves less, in theory getting you past THE WALL.

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