Couch to 5K
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A question about strange happenings

As most of you know, I am more of a treadmill runner for C25K. I will be going out soon though. Once I graduate, I aim to do most of my running outdoors.

The question is about running speed but in a strange way.

So, Laura says - increase your speed if you can - or increase your speed in the last minute and finish on a high.

And I have been doing that.

In fact, for the last 2 weeks including the latest W9R1, I have started gradually increasing speed and elevation over the last 5 minutes.

What I have noticed is rather than my heart rate climbing steadily, at one point it drops.

I am going to find what point that is.

Has anyone else noticed something like this?

And does anyone have any thoughts as to why this might be?



6 Replies

That is unusual I think. However I have never monitored my heart rate when I run, although I am keen to now as I want to optimise my training. Conversely to you i have recently started to try and run on the treadmill at the gym as I am mindful of really bad weather ( deep snow, thick ice etc) which could compromise my training but I just CANNOT DO IT. My calves cease up, I feel like I am moving fast but its actually really slow, I'm really self conscious that i look silly and its become a real mental block for me. Any advice??? And it sounds like you are really healthy if your HR drops???

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What I find for the treadmill is if I make sure my feet land reasonably flat, I don't get any issues with my legs. It may take you just some time to figure out what works best for you on the treadmill and then keep at it.

Perhaps, lowering speed to begin with may help?

Perhaps you may need indoor shoes? I use Nike Vamero for both outdoor and indoor. They cost me just around £35.

Perhaps the bounce you get from the treadmill is something that is putting the added pressure? Just some minor adjustments to your running form may help.

I would recommend not letting it become a mental block or become self conscious. Everyone at the gym is there for themselves. And the only reason they would look at someone else is for obvious reasons.

If you want to monitor your heart rate, I would recommend buying a reasonably priced HRM belt that the treadmill would pick up on.

I would not class myself as really healthy. I am getting there :-)

Good luck with running on the treadmill.


Hi Ash,

Maybe your body has a natural running speed/elevation/ effort level and to run below this is harder work. So when you are fully warmed up at the end of the run, you are increasing your pace to one more natural for your body causing your effort level to drop and your heartrate to decrease.

It's not the same, but I find if I go walking with one of my friends who is very unfit we go at such a slow pace (for me) that I get terrible back ache. Walking twice or three times the speed is easy-peasy and causes no pain at all. I guess our bodies are engineered to do certain things in certain ways at certains speeds - maybe you've found your running speed.

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Thanks PFW.

In a strange way, that makes perfect sense!


If you are going to use a heart rate monitor, for you to get any meaningful results, you need to first ascertain your true resting heart and your maximum rate. Going off factor settings isn't any good, for the simple reason we are all different. Mio (link) do an excellent heart rate monitor wrist based, it will connect with runkeeper and you can use it with almost any watch that as bluetooth enabled. For the treadmill to replicate running on the road, you need to have it at 1 degree minimum. Garmin do the 225 with built in heart rate, one downside of this, is in the winter you may want to strap it over your clothing in which case it will not detect your heart rate, I still use the link with it in the winter and disable the built in heart rate on the 225. You can ascertain your true heart rate by running up hills a few times and take your maximum, but I advice you do a bit of research on google first, but it is important to have the right information in it.

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I have a FitBit Surge which I find fairly accurate. Over the years, I have used numerous Polar and Garmin and other heart rate monitors.

So I understand where you are coming from with regards to finding what my heart rate zones are. Luckily for me, FitBit does that automatically for me. So do many other HRMs.

I also understand where you are coming from with regards to HRM being on top of clothes. In fact, I just gave my rather new pair of Gore gloves to a friend as they were being uncomfortable to use with my Fitbit on the wrist.

The reason I say that what PFW has said above makes sense is because I have noticed on many occasions that if my body is warm then I find certain additional effort easier than staying at same or lower level.

I take on board the 1 degree minimum elevation and I aim to do that after W9R3 every time I run indoors.

Thanks for your advise. I greatly appreciate it.

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