How to Tell if Your Running Heart Rate is too high


Sometimes faster and harder is not always better, especially if your running heart rate ends up too high. This could be a warning sign that you are working out too hard and your body is having trouble keeping up. So what should your heart rate be and why should you keep an eye on it? Here are some tips to keep you on track in your training and tools to keep you improving.


What Should Your Heart Rate Be

The first step is to figure out what your average heart rate should be. The first formula to use is to subtract your age from 220. For example, if you are 30 your maximum heart rate would be 190. The second method to use is to figure out your training heart rate. Find your resting heart rate and subtract that from your maximum heart rate. For example, if your resting pulse is 60 then your training heart rate is 130.

Now that you know where your heart rate should be while training, learn about the different zones and what that means to you.

Know the Different Zones

The first zone is aerobic zone, which means a harder training effort because you will work at 70 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. For example, using the 30-year-old example from above, we take 190 and multiply that by .70 to get 133. Then, we take 130 and multiply that by .70 and get 91. The range for this runner to work between is 91 and 130 beats per minute for the aerobic zone, or your training zone.

When it comes to your daily running zone, the American Heart Association has a slightly different recommendation. They use the 220 minus your age formula, but recommend training from 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

While you are running, you want to take a mental note of what you feel like when your heart rate gets into the various zones. If you hardly get a word or two out while you are running, then you are in the anaerobic zone, which can also be the danger zone. If you can speak a few words at a time, you are in the lactic threshold. If you can get full sentences out, then you are in the aerobic zone.

What is the Danger Zone?

A heart rate over 85 percent of your maximum pulse is considered the danger zone. Some of the characteristics include feeling like your heart is going to jump out of your chest and your legs feel like giving out. It gets very uncomfortable fast.

Working out at in this zone can put extra stress on your immune system if you are not careful. The extra stress on your body increases the number of catecholamines and cortisol, which decrease immune cells in your body. This puts you at risk for getting sick or unable to recover in a proper amount of time, especially if you are training for a race.

What to do When Your Heart Rate is too High

Heart rate

If you find your heart rate is too high while you are training, you may need to take a look at your routine. Are you doing too much too soon? If you are running and notice your heart rate is way above your maximum, slow down and walk for a bit. Take time to get your breath and allow your body to recover. You certainly do not want to lose the progress you made, which could happen if you overtrain, get sick, or injured.

If you continuously have a high heart rate while running, it may be a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure everything is okay, and they may recommend a different training program or have another option.

How to Watch Your Heart Rate

Just how do you check your heart rate while you are out on a run? A GPS watch or a fitness watch is the easiest way. There are many available on the market that comes in varying price ranges. While looking at the different ones, it is important to note whether they have heart rate monitoring or not.

GPS Watches vs. Fitness Trackers

What are the difference between the two? Quite a bit actually. Fitness trackers are normally cheaper because they do not track as much as the GPS watches do. However, most do have heart rate monitors, but they may not be as accurate as GPS watches. Most fitness trackers are worn around the wrist and measure things like steps, calories burned, miles, sleep, and heart rate. Many will pair with your phone and app to upload your progress so you can keep an eye on how your training is going.

Not all GPS watches have heart rate monitoring, but when they do they provide an accurate report, usually more accurate than fitness trackers. GPS watches have more features and many do not require your phone to be near you while out on a run. A GPS watch is a great fitness tool to have if you are serious about your training and progressing to the next level.

Keeping an Eye on Heart Rate

Having too high of a heart rate while running can be detrimental to your training. Keep an eye on your pulse to make sure you stay below your maximum heart rate, as determined by the formulas above. The easiest way to track your heart rate is with a fitness tracker or a GPS watch. If you are having problems with your heart rate continuously being too high, it is important to contact your doctor.

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