WK 6 - heart rate at max. so am I running too ... - Couch to 5K

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WK 6 - heart rate at max. so am I running too fast ;-)

Really enjoying the programme but puzzled as to why my heart rate is so high when I am jogging at 8km/h. My max heart rate is 220-my age = 155bpm and I get to this rate most of the time when I have been running. I don't feel as though I am over exerting myself but today I tried to keep my rate under 130bpm but I ended up "running" at just over walking speed ! Are there any other gadget freaks who measure their heart rate and speed ?

10 Replies

Any generic calculation, including 220 minus your age, is pretty much worthless and won't be accurate for most people. I know a very fit gent in his 60's whose maximum HR is over 200 for instance.

An actual test of your maximum heart rate (which is fairly brutal and not recommended at this stage) is the only way to establish what it really is, I am afraid.

Many of us do use these gadgets, some of which have a mind-boggling array of metrics (vertical oscillation, ground contact time etc. etc.), but with some experience you pretty much know where your heart rate is just by how you feel and how you are breathing.

Whilst doing c25k and for a good 3-4 months after that, you will be rapidly improving your aerobic capacity so for the time being just focus on running at a pace that feels comfortable and would allow you to hold a conversation. Your gadget will come in handy later in your running 'career'.


Thanks for the reply and good advice. After I've hopefully graduated and run for a few months after, I might get to see a reduction in my heart rate as I get fitter aerobically. One older post suggested setting a min and max heart rate on your preferred gadget (in my case, a Garmin Vivoactive HR) and then walking when you hit your max. I am just not very good at running slowly and like to push myself a bit more but this is probably not the best practice at the start of my running "career".


Yes. Garmin Connect has three methods of standard calculation to establish your HR 'zones' but all of them require you to know your resting HR and either your Max HR or your lactic threshold.

From what you have said, my best guess (and it is only a guess) is that the 155bpm you regularly hit would be just in your (orange) threshold zone where you don't feel entirely comfortable but likewise you don't feel like you are about to expire! If that is the case then your actual maximum HR would likely be around 175.

Congratulations on the Vivoactive HR, it is a lovely piece of kit. I have the Forerunner 235 which has very similar capabilities.


Yes, I really like the Vivoactive HR - my daughter recommended it and she's training for an Iron Man ! My resting HR is 55bpm and I have been a cyclist for the past five years so I agree that I can be flexible setting my maximum HR. Looking at my activities in Garmin, I see that my average HR is predominantly below 130bpm and when I saw my doctor a few years ago, he said don't let the needle stay in the red zone for too long (was he confusing me with a car rev counter ;-)


Most Doctors have no idea about "athletes" like us!! :) They all work to the time honoured but highly discredited 220 -age for maxHR formula. And 55 BPM resting heart rate is for most non-athletic types something to worry about!!!! But not for us :)


At this point in your running career , you should only be running at just a very little over your maximum walking speed. Try this on a off day (when you are not doing C25k) - go for a walk say for around 10 minutes - over the last 5 minutes of your walk , speed up the walk until you can't walk any faster (if you have a HRM , take note of what your heart rate is at the end of this 5 minutes of fast walking) . Then start to "run" but keep at a slow pace not much more than you were walking - do this for say 5-10 minutes avoiding speeding up. It will feel quite weird running at your walking pace. :) Then note your HR - you should find that it has gone up maybe 20BPM over your walking number. Although you are travelling at roughly the same pace, you have employed two different gaits - walking gait and running gait.

I am part of a Runners and Walkers club - the runners are mostly much younger than me ( I am 70) and I can't keep up with them for very long - but we do have some quite fast walkers - I regularly jog alongside them as they walk and over an hour or so I get a great workout :)


Thanks for the advice and will definitely try this and check the difference between my fastest walking pace and my "running" pace. I hope to have a long running career so it makes sense to run slower and longer and enjoy the scenery ! I also cycle with a group who are younger than me and at one stage, even bought an electric bike to keep up with them but then got fitter and lost weight so for the moment I can keep up with them most of the time and they are happy to wait for me (especially if I buy the drinks at the end !)


My heartbeat after a 5K on the treadmill, using the grip the metal bars HR test is usually up around 180 - it falls by 40 - 50 after a 5 minute walk at 6 kph - I am 57 BTW


No. I just run. I don't need anything else to worry about 🙂


Probably the best way but I love my gadgets !


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