Hi to fellow runners. I only run canicross, and have noticed on Strava that my heart rate is a fair bit higher than that of others within the same age band. Have always had a faster pulse as far as I recall. Am female, reasonably fit and in my early 50's. Heart is typically 150 to 170 bpm for an average run (typically the lower and 40-70 mins at about 5 to 6min/km moving time over different terrains). Should I carry on and enjoy, or make changes? As for exercise, I run twice a week and do an hour of pilates. Strava is stressing me out by telling me there's been 'massive relative effort' for many runs!
What's your resting heart rate?
Age and resting is usually the basis for calculating HR training zones. Doesn't matter what other people's is.
Edit, it's also possible your device is reading high, is it chest strap or wrist? If a friend has one you could always try theirs to compare.
My watch hr sensor reads 20bpm too low, but chest strap is good.
Yes, as The Potato said, not all HR monitors work that well. Chest straps are usually more accurate than the ones on the wrist.
Both can also pick up your cadence instead of HR which could well be between 150 and 170. Wrist watches can because they're just not as good as chest straps and chest straps can when they're not on tight enough, not in the right position, the contact points are not moist enough (this happens in cold, dry weather as you may not be sweating much) or the battery is going.
Also, again as The Potato said, it depends what your resting rate, age and max are as to whether 150 is particularly high.
Everyone 's hr is different dependant on size of hearts, Big hearts beat slower than smaller ones. Stava effort is rubbish unless you put your proper metrics ie max hr in there. Eg the standard calc gives my max hr as 155, my actual max is 189. If I left standard strava calcs as is virtually all my bike ride would show as zone 4/5 rather than the zone 2 most of them are! I'd say that HR monitoring is only of value if you have an idea of your true max hr
I am late fifties and get a similar range of heart rates when I go for an 8k-ish run at similar pace. I do this in binges of a few months on 5-6 runs a week, then a month or two off, then on again, 200-250 runs a year and I have been at it for 16 years, on and off (latterly mostly on, to paraphrase Fletcher). I have no idea if that means I am on the edge of popping it or not. My resting heart rate is 50-55, according to the same watch, which sounds good to me.
Strava (or it may be Garmin) constantly tells me that I don't sleep enough, that I have over egged it on runs in which I have stopped frequently and sat on benches wherever I have seen one, and gives me -3, or -4 when I am starting out, whatever that means. Not sure, but I suppose - is bad and + is good.
Hi, there might be some helpful info on your question in this archived thread from last year. I brought it up in a cycling context but there could be quite a bit of applicable crossover. (As it's archived you can no longer comment in the linked thread).
Actually running faster all the time makes you slower cos basically you overtrain and get tired. You should run slow 80% of time and only hammer it 20% of time. Lots of research on that, also training in z2 helps fat burning efficiency
Yup I would be concerned if it was swinging that wildly. They do have some limitations eg being crap at handling rapid changes in effort (so for interval work best to use a chest strap) and also unpredictable if you are using your forearms a lot (so dubious for mountain biking) but for my normal 5k loop I dont see major differences between when I remember to wear the chest strap vs not.
> Actually running faster all the time makes you slower cos basically you overtrain and get tired.
Surely that would only be a problem if the tiredness meant you did less training. It would be very counterintuitive if, say, running 5 miles three times per week in 30min got you fitter than running 5 miles three times per week in 25 min.
> Lots of research on that, also training in z2 helps fat burning efficiency.
No idea what you mean by z2, but, if that is true, wouldn't it only be an issue if you need t0 lose weight?
Ok. I have read that. But does it actually mean that the OP running only twice per week should slow down if they are making a full recovery between runs and can maintain this schedule indefinitely?
Similarly for my hypothetical example in my last post.
No idea what intensity they are actually running at, and I suspect they don’t either. With due respect if someone is only going out for a couple of 30 mins runs a week they are not going to improve much apart from the initial transformation from couch potato when they start. Suggest you read and absorb the article and employ the services of mr Google if you wish to learn more.
> I may be missing something, but why would you slow down if you are able to run faster and are enjoying it. Presumably running faster gets you fitter.
Depends a lot on what you mean by “fitter”. You wouldn’t train for freeing big walls by just campus boarding. Higher intensity isn’t necessarily better - it depends on your goals.
If you want to be able to go for longer, then training at low intensity will be most successful at getting you “fitter” in an appropriate way. Different muscle fibres and metabolic systems are used for high and low intensity activity. If your training is targeting physiological systems that aren’t relevant to your goals then it’s not a good training plan.
> So we're no further forward with the OP's question!
Pretty much. Anything from strava etc is a tad of a guestimate.
Last year I had a week in the lake district doing a bit of mountain biking with a side of running. On the first evening I went for a 5k run and afterwards (for the entire week) my watch told me I was "detraining". Maybe or maybe it was the last 5k had about 25m of elevation on easy terrain and the one I just did had 180m ish on rough terrain with pretty much all the ascent in the first 2k.
So overall for the OP I wouldnt really care unless I am wanting to be winning races in my age category in which case I would be looking for a coach to tell me what it means.
You would probably get worse at running!
> Ok. I have read that. But does it actually mean that the OP running only twice per week should slow down if they are making a full recovery between runs and can maintain this schedule indefinitely?
> Similarly for my hypothetical example in my last post.
Running flat out twice a week wouldn't be as good as running one long easy run and one interval session. Long slow, easy recovery, interval, threshold training etc.. they are all training different muscle, chemical and biological functions. Too reach your personal best you need them all. The only difference between elite and novice in simply terms are the distances and number of repetitions involved, a novice will likely have an extra rest day.
20% was cited above, many say only 10% should be hard running, plus every 4th week is easier.
> If you had bothered reading and understood the responses you would have seen she has received a lot of good advice.
But the OP has not said what they are training for or trying to achieve and nobody has asked them! Are they just worried that their high heart rate might indicate a health issue in what they are doing?
I'm actually genuinely interested because I used to run in the hills two weekday evenings per week, but a knee issue has stopped this. I am now instead doing two "spinning" sessions of about 45 mins on a fixed bike. My instinct is to push every session absolutely as hard as I can to get maximum benefit from it. My motivation is general cardiovascular fitness, weight control, strengthening muscles to help my knees (I go for higher resistances) and the satisfaction of pushing myself to my limit.
> Running flat out twice a week wouldn't be as good as running one long easy run and one interval session. Long slow, easy recovery, interval, threshold training etc.. they are all training different muscle, chemical and biological functions. Too reach your personal best you need them all.
Yes, I get all that, but my point is that, given you are running for so many minutes twice a week, could there be more benefit from going slower than you are able (assuming full recovery)? This is not the same as making one run slower but longer.
> But the OP has not said what they are training for or trying to achieve and nobody has asked them! Are they just worried that their high heart rate might indicate a health issue in what they are doing?
Yes, exactly this. I'm running mostly for pleasure, to be out in scenic places with my dog amongst friends. I'm not training or seeking to improve particularly, but was just concerned about the high heart rate. We're only running a couple of times a week, from 6 to 15k max.
Thanks to all for your thoughts and advice, it's made for informative reading.
> Yes, exactly this. I'm running mostly for pleasure, to be out in scenic places with my dog amongst friends. I'm not training or seeking to improve particularly, but was just concerned about the high heart rate. We're only running a couple of times a week, from 6 to 15k max.
As mentioned before, heart rate is really individual and without some medical testing it is hard to determine what your ideal heart rate zones are. So unless you want to perform exercise ecg with lactate testing i would suggest the following:
Thanks, that advice makes sense and is easy to follow. I make the mistake of letting the dog dictate the pace and had also been needing to keep up with people 20 years younger with powerful dogs. I'll making more effort to join more suitable runs when in a group.
Where runs have been with less pacey friends, they've still been enjoyable and more in Z3 than Z4/Z5. Going slower should have the added bonus of me hitting the deck quite so frequently.
> Surely that would only be a problem if the tiredness meant you did less training. It would be very counterintuitive if, say, running 5 miles three times per week in 30min got you fitter than running 5 miles three times per week in 25 min.
> No idea what you mean by z2, but, if that is true, wouldn't it only be an issue if you need t0 lose weight?
Running at high intensities all the time leads to systemic inflammation which as well as significantly blunting any adaption isn’t good for your health.
> 20% was cited above, many say only 10% should be hard running, plus every 4th week is easier.
The 20% is the approx number of sessions that should be hard. In other words you’d do 4 easy sessions for every 1 hard. But when you look at heart rate distribution it’s about 90% easy, then 10% hard or very hard.
A lot of people assume the easy sessions are just recovery. But they are not, there are adaptions you get from easy sessions that you can’t get from hard.
But if anyone is only exercising twice a week, no matter how hard , that’s going to plateau pretty quickly in terms of fitness gains.
To the OP you’d need to know your baseline resting HR plus your maximal HR running to get an understanding of just how hard you are working during these runs. You can’t compare yourself to other without also knowing theirs. There are various protocols to find that maximal HR.
> In a word, no. If you can do what you are doing week after week then you will see no benefit from doing the same thing less intensively.
Not strictly true. Training in aerobic zones under say 75% aren't wasted miles, they bring benefits too.
The idea that to get fit running you need to be killing it every time, for miles, constantly hitting pbs is what sees folk over train, pick up injuries and become disillusioned.
My first experience of easy sessions being of benefit is when I had chest pains and cardiac consultant told me to keep effort below 75% of max hr until I was thoroughly checked out. That took a couple of months , when I got the all clear I smashed my park run pb from just over 22mins to 20:05 (aged 60) after that I followed the 80/20 plus at least one rest day per week. I do that with cycling now as I screwed my knee up when I fell off my mountain bike. I do on average about 5 sessions on the bike 3 or 4 long z2 rides and one or two shorted interval sessions or TT races. As I monitor hr and power I can really see the effect of overtraining when power drops and it’s hard to get hr up. Having said that people are individuals although the same training principles hold for all. With regard to the op, I used to do a lot of canicross with two springer spaniels and found it a great way of training at high cadence and pace but low hr😀 just stay in the air as much as possible and let the dogs propel you. I speed tested one of the dogs when I was on a bike and he sustained 20mph for 4 mins 🐕😀🚲
> I would add that a long run at an easy pace would be classed as a hard session if the duration is well above what your fitness is ready for.
Yes, this is what people are not making clear. If I do one four hour run at a slow pace and one much faster one hour run, does the four hour run count as "easy" even though I'd be just as knackered at the end of it?
I base it on my hr zone, which I note you have previously said you have no knowledge of. Basically avoid junk miles, ie z3 which is where most recreational runners run at. Z2 is where most should be done which should feel easy with the hard sessions being z4/5. Z2 has same benefits of z3 but doesn't tire you. F4/5 is hard , blinkin hard. So if the 4 hr run was all in z2 id treat it as easy, if a significant amount was greater than z2 I'd treat as hard. If you are not used to running 4 hrs (and few are) then its hard no matter the zone! In cycling I'll treat a 5 hour ride at 68% avg max hr as an easy ride, I aim for 30 mins at 88 to 90 % on training hard rides in a 90 min ride. On a TT (or previously in a running race) I'll sit at 90 to 92% of max hr for up to 2 hours.
> Basically avoid junk miles, ie z3 which is where most recreational runners run at. Z2 is where most should be done which should feel easy with the hard sessions being z4/5. Z2 has same benefits of z3 but doesn't tire you.
Thanks. So should they be doing longer runs at Z2 than they might currently be doing at Z3?
i’m 48 now and can still get my hr up to just over 200, resting 50-60. I think some people are just fast beaters.
It always makes me smile when strava tells me I need 3 days to recover or some other interesting stat🤣🤣
best of luck
Difficult to say without knowing more detail but generally I'd initially aim for a very similar mileage but in a more structured plan. I suspect a good investment for you might be Fast after 50 by Joe Friel
Very simplistically, up to zone 2 you are basically only using your aerobic system. In zone 3 the anaerobic system starts to come online so you aren’t training your aerobic capacity particularly effectively any more. But at the same time you still aren’t working hard enough to be benefiting your anaerobic systems. So neither system is benefiting hugely, and at the same time injury risk is much higher than if most of your training is zone 1 or 2.
I’m reading Jason Koop’s excellent science based Ultra Running book. He discusses effort metrics like Strava and Training Peaks. They are not absolute measures and only worth it for you to compare your own relative efforts. Also, when trail running, heart rate isn’t great due to changing terrain and gradients. So basically the best measure is how you feel (rate of perceived exertion), which is surprisingly accurate. The upshot of all this is if it feels ok, it is ok, and bollocks to Strava.
> As mentioned before, heart rate is really individual and without some medical testing it is hard to determine what your ideal heart rate zones are. So unless you want to perform exercise ecg with lactate testing i would suggest the following:
> Stay at a pace where you can comfortably have a conservation. It is fine if you get a little bit out of breath e.g. on uphill sections but if it is really hard/impossible to keep up a conservation you are going too fast.
> Keep pace and distance at a level where you could go on longer if you wanted. It is ok to feel a little bit tired at the end, but you should not go all out on your runs.
> If you feeling unusually tired during a run, reduce the pace or cut it short. Similar if you feeling great, there is nothing wrong with doing a little bit more or increasing the pace a little. Just keep listining what you body tells. Usually this information is much better than anything that strava could tell you.
This seems like good advice to me.
I'm 40. Resting heart rate low-mid 50s. Heart-rate is 155-ish when I'm running at a pace where I can comfortably hold a conversation, up to mid-170s in high-intensity sessions. Max I've recorded is 187. I've been measuring similar numbers for about 10 years now with a variety of different watches and monitors. Running is a mixture of 5-15 km road runs during the week, and trail runs up to about 50 km at weekends.
Those numbers do seem to be higher than average, but everyone is different, and if you feel ok I wouldn't worry about it too much. As the post above suggests, if you can comfortably have a conversation at your slow run pace, you aren't getting unusually tired, and you aren't having palpitations or chest pains, you are probably fine - any of the above would be a warning that something isn't quite right though.
I don't use Strava, but I have found in other platforms that the default heart rate zones are usually based on using 220 - age to estimate your max heart rate. For me, measuring my actual max heart rate and threshold rate, and using those to customise my training zones for me stopped Garmin and Training Peaks from complaining.
Thanks for that. I do now seem to be more susceptible to injuries than in the past so perhaps should pay more attention to this business. I am not interested in absolute performance, but am taking a punt that what I have been doing, in elevating my heart rate (but not to the point of exhaustion) for about 50 minutes several times a week, year in year out has an overall benefit to my heart, joints, muscle tone and sense of well-being.
Indeed, which is why I specifically included those caveats.
Edit: now I look I did phrase it badly. I meant that you would see no benefit from going slower over what you would see from going faster. I can see how it could be read as meaning no benefit at all, which is of course wrong.
Before anyone jumps on me, I am not saying that you should always run fast. My thesis is specifically that:
1) if you are only ever going to do a specific set of runs, and
2) you currently do them at some speed which doesn't result in injuries/overtraining, then
3) you will not see a greater training benefit from doing those same runs slower.
Of course you would almost certainly see greater benefit from some other programme, but that is not what either OP or Robert Durran was considering.
A few things I'd pick up on here - with the caveat that I'm not a coach, nor have any academic credentials here. Jim you may be a coach, and if so I'd be interested in hearing if I'm wildly inaccurate with any of my critique. None of which is meant personally but I suspect (I might be wrong) that your posts are not super-helpful to the OP or many people reading.
1) I'd suggest that HR is only a useful metric if a) you're getting things like LT measured on a regular (6 months ish) basis. Everything apart from max HR is trainable, and so the stimulus of running will shift everything. b) If you are getting tests making HR meaningful metric there's no point at all in using a wrist based monitor. Just not accurate enough as others have pointed out. For the OP or others worried about their HR whilst running - changes in perceived exertion (or at worst dizziness/nausea) would be a much better tool for working out if something's not right. Perceived exertion also a better tool than wrist based HR monitor for estimating which zone you are exercising in.
2) "Z2 is where most should be done which should feel easy with the hard sessions being z4/5" this depends entirely on why a person is running, and how often. For the OP, running to be in scenic places, does the zone matter at all? If you're an ultrarunner (eg the sort of runner for whom Steve House's book is useful), I'd agree that 80% of your training in z2 is a good idea, but would question the wisdom of sessions in z4 or 5. z3 much more specific and where you'd want the adaptations (though you might want to chuck in a few z4 sessions in your training cycle). For the people in this thread who run twice a week for general fitness, I suspect the zone they run in is not that important, and the "ideal" is probably more to do with what they do on other days eg does a z3+ run leave them tired for the quality board session the day after (same would apply to a long (for them) z1 or 2 run)?
3) Running in z2 will lead to different adaptations to z3, and will tire you if you do enough of it (won't tax your cv as much, but will tax your ms system and metabolic system).
4) z4 and z5 very different in feel. z4 "comfortably hard" ie 10k pace. z5 could be your all out 400m pace, or mile pace - ie will hurt from the first few strides onwards.
5) hr in cycling vs running totally different and not comparable in this context
6)In my limited understanding, 2 hours at 90+% of max HR is unbelievably tough and would mean you're either a world-class marathoner or have inaccurate HR data.
> Running at high intensities all the time leads to systemic inflammation which as well as significantly blunting any adaption isn’t good for your health.
This may be a stupid question but is somebody training at high intensity 2 hours per week more likely to get systemic inflammation than someone doing the 20/80 thing and training 2 hours high intensity and also 8 hours low intensity? Is the person capable of doing both without being over fatigued going to have adaptations which protect them?
> This may be a stupid question but is somebody training at high intensity 2 hours per week more likely to get systemic inflammation than someone doing the 20/80 thing and training 2 hours high intensity and also 8 hours low intensity? Is the person capable of doing both without being over fatigued going to have adaptations which protect them?
If I were to train at at high intensity for 100% of the time, I would not be able to keep that up for a theoretical "5" hours per week, however if I were to train only at a high intensity for 20% of that time.. I could easily do the other 80% of low intensity mileage without feeling overly fatigued and still be able to do the same again the next week, and the next week etc.
This only really matters if you are putting in a significant amount of mileage per week, if you are doing an (exercise of your choice) once or twice per week all of this is probably just not relevant !
> If I were to train at at high intensity for 100% of the time, I would not be able to keep that up for a theoretical "5" hours per week, however if I were to train only at a high intensity for 20% of that time.. I could easily do the other 80% of low intensity mileage without feeling overly fatigued and still be able to do the same again the next week, and the next week etc.
> This only really matters if you are putting in a significant amount of mileage per week, if you are doing an (exercise of your choice) once or twice per week all of this is probably just not relevant !
That all seems like common sense to me, but does not really answer my question about inflammation!
1) I base stuff on max HR, which actually is very similar for running and cycling for me. I only use a chest strap heart monitor
2/3) Whatever! Evidence is that to maintain Vo2 max or improve you need to do Z4/5. Z3 has minimal adaptation advantages over Z2 ... outweighed by much increased fatigue. Ultimately people should do what they enjoy. I enjoy training... previously running but with knackered knee now cycling.
4)Z4 is balls out effort that you can sustain , z5 is all out ... again I base it on % of max hr Z4 85-92, Z5 92%+
5) It is for me and for most triathletes it only varies by a few beats.
6) Not really, I do 50 mile time trials and target to stay at 90% max hr... you're correct though that its effing tough.
Sorry for being unhelpful, I'll avoid any similar discussions in future.
I’d say from personal experience that the base of low intensity training prepares you for higher volumes of high intensity work, so my answer is yes, but only after a period of lower intensity base training as preparation. The other point to note with the 80/20 thing is the way it’s commonly implemented is that 2/10 workouts would ‘contain’ high intensity work/intervals rather than 20% of the total time per week is at high intensity.
To the point that mid-intensity is ‘junk’ that others have raised, I think a) it’s individual- I need a lot to gain fitness and b) if you do need to train at what you do (specificity) at least in some phases of your training cycle, and if you’re a time trialist for example I think you need to do that work to prepare both physically and mentally. Personally I need to cover a range of intensities to be fit for road racing, time trialing and cyclocross, but the emphasis changes during the course of a year.