Heart Rate While Running : Hello, I am on... - AF Association

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Heart Rate While Running

PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
35 Replies

Hello,

I am on week 7 of my C25K training and progressing well. I have a fitbit and noticed that when running for 20 or 25 mins at a rather slow 5mph pace, my heart rate generally stays around 182, which seems high as I am 36 and max heart rate is apparently 184 (although you can see from my screenshot that my heart rate when up to 192 when I sped up to 6mph towards the end of my run).

My resting heart rate was 66 bmp before I started a daily exercise regimen 3 months ago, and it's currently 53 bpm. Before beginning the C25K program I could not even run for 5 mins. I have no medical issues, nor am I on any meds.

If I go any slower, I'm essentially walking, so not sure what to do! Is this something to worry about? Obviously would need to consult my GP for medical advice, but wondering if you might have any thoughts on heart rate and running, especially when first starting out.

Thanks for your help :)

Update:

After reading all your replies (thanks!) and doing lots more research, I have come to the following conclusions:

a) My true max heart rate is likely higher than 200, which would make 180 not quite as high as it seems.

b) speed is relative, and being new to running and fitness, even 5 mph is quite "fast" for me at the moment, which means more exertion, which means a higher heart rate than a more seasoned runner at this pace.

c) I have no reason to believe I have anything wrong with my heart, but I'm going to book myself in for a check-up, just in case (god bless the NHS!)

Thanks again xx

P

35 Replies
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Kaz747

The Fitbit isn’t a medical instrument and the heart rate is not always accurate, especially if you have AF. Mine has recorded my heart rate at 180 when on a reasonably fast walk. Sometimes I get a funny feeling in my chest and I know my heart is a bit jumpy but if it really was 180 I wouldn’t be walking. I have found it fairly accurate when resting as I have compared it to the reading on my BP machine.

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to Kaz747

Hi Kaz747, thanks for your reply - I have actually found mine to be extremely accurate and have manually counted both resting and exercise heart rate, it varies by only a beat or two, so I am confident the average showing above is pretty accurate :)

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seasider18
seasider18
in reply to Kaz747

What is the maximum heart rate ?

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to seasider18

My max ever recorded on my fitbit is 195, but I was not doing a max test, so it could be higher than that, thanks.

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oyster

Hi

The optical sensors on heart rate wrist watches are apparently unreliable. You may have more luck with a Bluetooth linked wrist monitor and chest belt.

Do you have atrial fibrillation? Is your apparent inappropriately fast rate possibly due to a heart rhythm disorder?

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to oyster

Hi Oyster, thanks for your reply - no, as mentioned, I have no medical issues. Thanks for your input! I have found the readings to be accurate when compared to manually counting.

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oyster
oyster
in reply to PCLARKVN

Well an average heart rate of 182 for 25 minutes while jogging slowly seems very high at your age. Especially when your resting rate is now 53.

Going up slopes can elevate heart rate quickly, as can being overweight.and starting from a very low level of cardiorespiratory fitness.

As you know, 182 is approaching 85 per cent of your predicted max. How are you feeling while running?

Suggest a chat with your GP to get the ok to continue at this level of training.

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to oyster

I feel okay actually, not super exhausted. I am 116 lbs (5'3") so not overweight. I phoned my Mum (a nurse) and she suggested that it's probably just that I've never done any running before so even a little bit is proving taxing for my heart. Thanks again for your feedback :)

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kitenski

Everybody’s heart rate is unique, the 220-age calculation doesn’t work for many people. 25 mins isn’t slow for a 5km, are you running flat out at the end to reach the 190bpm? As oyster says that’s the type of heart rate I’d expect to see in a full out race effort.

Do you mind me asking if you are overweight as that could be putting more strain on the heart?

Are all your runs at that kind of heart rate? There is a theory that you should be doing 80% of your runs at an easy pace where you can just breath through your nose.

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to kitenski

Hi, thank you for taking the time to reply! I am 5'3", 116 lbs, so not overweight. Sorry I didn't mean I was doing a 5km in 25 mins, I meant I had run for 25 mins at 5mph, so not a fast pace at all. For the latter part, where my heart rate went to 192, I only sped a little to 6mph. I cannot do any "easier" runs where my heart rate is lower because, well, then I'd be be walking! I can walk fast at 4mph.

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kitenski
kitenski
in reply to PCLARKVN

thanks for the clarification! What fitbit do you have? It'd definitely be worth trying a 2nd device or a HR strap if you can beg/borrow from a friend?

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to kitenski

Yes, definitely going to do this now, thank you! I have a Fitbit Versa, which according to tests comparing it with chest strap, is quite accurate, but still worth getting a "second opinion" :)

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kitenski
kitenski
in reply to PCLARKVN

good luck, if you are in Leeds you are welcome to borrow one of mine, assuming it'll link to the Versa. The most trusted site I know for tech reviews does agree that the HR is pretty good for running on the Versa though (search for HEART RATE ACCURACY)

dcrainmaker.com/2018/05/fit...

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to kitenski

Ah great link, thanks! And very kind offer...I am in Cornwall, but I think I can track one down :)

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Samazeuilh

There has been a lot of criticism of Fitbit related to its accuracy. I would suggest checking that the readings it is providing are accurate using a different instrument.

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to Samazeuilh

True, worth getting it double checked, thanks :)

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Ionos

My resting heart rate is similar to yours. When I'm running at cruising speed my heart rate is around 160. But then I have been running regularly for about 6 years now. I wonder if your running heart rate will decrease as you get fitter. My heart rate does go up to the 180s when I'm pushing it (and I'm older than you). Personally I wouldn't worry too much, might be worth double checking with your GP for peace of mind. Well done for getting active!

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to Ionos

Great advice, thank you :)

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KMRobbo

Low resting HR does not necessarily mean you are an athlete! My wife's resting HR is 48 to 50. Mine is 74.

Go for a walk up a steep hill mine is 125 hers is 150. She overtakes me somewhere about 110!

And my running HR was always quite high , when I was trying anyway! I think everyone is different. But if it continues to be high then I would get it checked out.

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to KMRobbo

This is true! I am certainly no athlete (yet!), and my Mom who is a nurse said the same thing. She works with patients who are not used to exerting themselves, and their heart rates shoot up even with moderate exercise at first. Makes me a feel a bit better!

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chenstone18

A couple of points to make. 1. To run 5km at very close to your maximum heart rate is race conditions for an athlete and for the average runner that is only sustainable for a few minutes before exhaustion steps in. Are you breathing very heavily and unable to talk to someone running next to you? Do you feel your heat beat pounding in your ears and is it rhythmical? 2. It is unusual for hr to go very high when you start out unless you push it particularly hard initially, it should raise progressively until you have warmed up and settle at about 70 to 80% of your maximum hr. 3. Have you had an ecg and stress test? I ask because because you may have af that comes on when you exercise. I notice that if I go out too fast and my heart hasn't got used to the load it shouts at me and my hr goes up past my maximum with rhythm disturbance. I find I need to keep my pace down until I have done about 5 minutes and then I can get up to my normal pace. So give your heart time to get used to the load. 4. Optical hr monitors have their issues and I'm not saying yours isn't working. If you can borrow a chest strap and link it to your phone you can compare. It might be also how your fitbit calculates the beats giving you an average every 2 seconds or so instead of real time and any sports watches get confused if there is any rhythm disturbance.

Finally well done for getting off the couch. I have paf and usually manage it well and get to run about 3 x 10km a week so keep going but make sure you get at least an ecg to make sure. God Bless.

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PCLARKVN

Thank you for this reply :) . I will definitely get a max heart rate test and borrow a chest strap. The online formulas say my max heart rate is 184 (I am 36), but I already know it has to be over 195 (highest registered on my fitbit).

When I am running at 5mph for 25 mins, with my heart rate sitting at 180-ish, I feel tired and want to stop, can't carry on much of a conversation, but I do feel like I could keep going if I pushed myself, if you know what I mean? It doesn't feel like I am sprinting or racing, and I don't feel sick. So, perhaps it's just a matter of fitness. As I never ran at all before, I suppose even 5mph is "fast" for my heart/body at the moment.

Thanks again for your help!

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chenstone18

OK that is a mystery then. I would suspect an issue then with you heart rhythm. For absolute sure any person will only be able to at the most be able to sustain maximum heart rate for only a very short time like 2 to 3 mins. In my experience when I am in afib my heart rate will go upto 220 which is 50 above my max when I am running but I don't feel that I am over exerting so if I wasn't getting " EXTRA" beats that af gives you then I would be beating at my normal rate which is 140 to 150.Do you once you have finished running monitor your heart rate? Does it return to within 20 beats per min above your resting heart rate within 10 mins or does your heart rate stay high for a long time afterwards? Do you have a regular heart beat with a regular rhythm when exercising or at rest? So to recap, no one can sustain their max heart rate for more than a couple of mins, it's impossible, as your heart fatiques and you have to slow down. I have done many efforts like climbing up alpine passes on my bike and doing flat out sprints at maximum effort and it is very very hard to get close to the theoretic maximum heart rate, it literally takes a massive effort which isn't the case with you. So there must be something that's going on that is abnormal from what you have discribed. Not being a clinician I can't say for sure but get it checked out.

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PCLARKVN

Thank you for the ideas. My heart rate rapidly returns to around 65-70 within a few mins and then eventually back down to 50-55, which is my resting. I never get huge fluctuations. The more I research, the more it seems that, one, my max heart rate is just higher than the average formulas, so 180 is not as high as it seems (for me), and two, I am not that fit, so my heart rate is higher when doing moderate exercise and will probably eventually decrease. Just educated guesses based on all the replied and my research - I will monitor it and get it checked and come back to report! Thanks :)

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dedeottie

Hi My son had the same heart rate when he started running. He paid to have an exercise stress test as both husband And I have AF and so he thought it wise to have an MOT which didn’t reveal anything untoward so the consultant said the high heart rate was ok as long as it came down quickly when he stopped.

He was about 3 stone overweight.

In May he did he completed his first full marathon. As he got fitter his heart rate when running at a comfortable pace, came down to the 60s. And goes down to low 50s after a few minutes of stopping. He is 37 and has now lost 3 stone.

So, perhaps get an MOT to put your mind at rest. I wasn’t clear if you have AF because if so your heart rate will be all over the place and you will need specific advice on training.

Hope that helps. X

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to dedeottie

That is very helpful, and wow, congrats to your son! I do not have AF (so far as I know!), nor am I overweight, but lack of fitness could be the culprit. I will probably get checked out to just to put my mind at rest, thanks :)

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Dinsdale099

Hello, I would consider having a talk with your GP. A stress test and a 12 lead EKG would certainly put your mind at ease. Maybe while you're running and your feeling tired, try walking quickly a see if your heart rate drops. Also if you have been not exercising, for a long time, it may take a while to get up to speed. A big concern will be if your heart rate does not drop quickly, after you stop running. Doctor first, exercise after. Better safe than sorry. I am from Canada so I don't know how your health system works.

Mark

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PCLARKVN

Thanks, great advice :) . The goods news is my heart rate drops very quickly :) . We have the NHS here in the UK, so easily to get this checked out :)

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Aufgeblassen

My HR was baffling when I merely walked normal speed a short distance my HR would be 150 or even more. When I get up 1st in the morning, I always have a spike, just merely getting up. Sometimes as high as 150.

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PCLARKVN

Oh that is strange and worth getting checked out!

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Aufgeblassen

I mentioned it to my cardiologist's PA, and she said that my watch was probably not reading right whilst I was walking. I also found that my watch also read quite high HR whilst riding my motorcycle, but determined it did not read high with my hand OFF the handlebar, si it must have merely been a false reading from the handlebar vibration.

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windyrider

My experiance with a Garmin watch heart rate measure through the skin on the wrist was very inaccurate, this changed when the device was paired with a heartmonitor strap on the chest which gave reliable readings when running similar to when using stable indoor exercise equipment.

The watch on its own gave higher readings and several times I stopped when my supposed heart rate was extremly high and a quick check showed the watch was wrong.

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MaxfieldP

Hi !. About your question concerning your heart rate, let's suppose the 180-190 pulse rate measured are correct. (Considering that your Fitbit is a good instrument...). Based on my experience on running and other endurance sports, I have some ideas and suggestions. I was an amateur athlete. I had been running for 37 years. I trained for triathlon and took part in competitions during 6 years (age group), and mountain bike all my adult life. In the last years of activity I did "mountain running", before my knees ware out problems. And today, 72 years old, I have atrial fibrillation. It begun during a mountain running race, 6 years ago. Today I am sure I really pushed my body and, clearly, my heart, a little far from the safe limits. In fact, I could have had afib anyway. Even if I was on the rocking chair all my life. But, anyway, let me give you some advices:

1. Keep your heart beat rate, while training, in the safe region, saying less than 90 % or 95% of the maximum. The maximum pulse calculated (185, 190, etc) may be used a rough guide. Your overall feeling will tell you if you run in the safe region of heart rate.

2. To run 5K safely you may need more than 3 month, at your age, depending on your starting physical condition. Consider training for 8k or even 10 k before taking a 5 k competition. Because it is difficult to control competition "adrenalin" during a race. And you will not want to cross the finish line in bad shape;

3. Train longer time and longer distances at lower pace. If it is possible, try to maintain a conversation with a friend during training sessions. If you can't talk (say a couple of words...), you are training too fast (for a long distance runner).

4. If you feel that you can't maintain the pace planned by your C25K program, think safe and keep your health; go farther but slower.

5. Summary: train longer times at slower paces to keep your heart beat in the safe region. Do not wear out your body prematurely.

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PCLARKVN
PCLARKVN
in reply to MaxfieldP

Excellent advice here! I am paying more attention to my breath now and slowing down. I agree that I need to give my body and entire system a chance to catch up. My plan is to do the 5k at a really slow pace and not worry about the race aspect at the moment :) . Thanks again xx

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MaxfieldP
MaxfieldP
in reply to PCLARKVN

Congratulations for running!

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