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Couch to 5K
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Heart rate

Looking on the British heart foundation website your max heart rate is 220- your age . The target heart rate 50-70% should be where you aim for aerobic exercise. So I am 50, making my max 170bpm, target range 85 - 119. When I run my heart rate is around 160 and peaks around 172 and I am not going fast at all. Should I be concerned? Any other views?

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Do you use a heart monitor when running? No medical knowledge whatsoever so can't advise. I suggest you check with your gp. I will be interested to hear other people's thoughts.

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I too will be interested to hear what people say. I'm 56 yet my heart rate can briefly record as high as 180 when I'm running. I googled a few weeks ago and the first article I read suggested it was very dangerous! I didn't find that repeated in any other article. Most said the 220-age was a very rough guide, some gave a different formula for my age (but I exceed that calculation too). Some articles suggested it was fine - hitting a higher rate just meant you set a new max rate for yourself! So I was no clearer, but I am a teensy bit concerned that it might not actually be good for my heart, and like you I'm curious to know more.

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I wear a Fitbit HR ( from my pre running days, wouldn't be my choice today as no GPS). I am 47 so similar theoretical max, my Fitbit says that I am Fatburning above 87, cardio above 121 and peak above 147. Today I did the first run of week 6 and is says I was in Peak for 53% of the time and my max heart rate was a whopping 194!😜😱 ( average was 128 but that includes warm up and cool down walks)

All that said, I tend to think that my Fitbit is like all such devices, not particularly accurate, but they are consistently inaccurate so it is changes in my performance over time (measured on the same device) that is most useful to interpret

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I used to use Fitbit HR and now I am sporting a series 2 iwatch, they both gave very similar readings to yours, I too, am 50yrs old, will keep an eye on this thread as I am also keen to hear people's views!

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Have a look at this as it sort of answers the question.

runnersworld.com/ask-the-sp...

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I would not be surprised if you are going faster than you need to for the purposes of the C25K objectives, given your history with the programme.

I'm no sports scientist, and I am sure other things, such as your blood pressure, are relevant to the 'safety' or otherwise.

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I am definitely going slow, at the end I could walk faster! I'm using a Withings steel hr and used a garmin hr before that. Both results were consistent with the hr monitor on the treadmill when I have run inside. I probably have ran too fast previously but this time have slowed right down hence now at week 8.

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Doesn't matter if you could walk faster, it is a different movement. I find running much easier than a 'brisk' walk, yet (according to my Fitbit HR) I get a much more reliable cardio workout from a gentle run on the flat to walking up the steep hill home which feels much harder work and makes me more puffed. (Bloomin' thing still thinks I am walking though - but you can see exactly when my warm up and down walks come if you look at the trace)

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The 220-age figure is an extremely rough calculation. If you are exceeding your 'Max heart rate' then it is not your max heart rate.

I am the same age as you and if I was exerting myself at 85-119 I would not be doing more than a brisk walk. As I recall from when I did the programme, my lower cruising rat was about 135-142.

However the whole aerobic zone thing is almost as much a nonsense as the max heart rate.

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Everyone is different. The 220 - age is only a very rough guide. I'm 43 so according to that, I should have a max of 177, but using a chest strap I've seen my heart rate go over 190 on a few occasions. If you've seen your heart rate go high, use that as your max. I use 190 and it seems to give me better zones.

As for target zones, your working heart rate will come down as you get fitter. As soon as I start running my heart rate is around 150 without really working. In fact my heart rate was about 120 when I was stood at the start line of the Liverpool Half on Sunday :-)

If you look into it further, there are loads of ways of calculating your heart rate zones. There is also Working Heart Rate, which is where you take your resting heart rate away from your max, take the %age of that figure you want (e.g. 60% - 70% etc) and then add your resting heart rate back on to it. This will give slightly different figures to work from again.

Bit more info - runnersworld.co.uk/health/h...

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If you feel fine, have no palpitations and recover to normal hr relatively quickly, then I would not worry about it. I am 61 and my rate is often around 160 for an entire 10k, even when l know I could push harder.

It might be worth running past your GP when you see them.

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I am 50 and my max HR is 188. I have had my heart check out with a Gp as I used to have an elvated pulse and all is fine but I agree with IannodaTruffe if in any doubt check it out. Some people just run high and that means that their calculations for the different zones are in a different place. When I do events I am prone to taking my heart rate to the max so I have a base line to calculate from but if you have a look around there are tests you can do yourself to help to get your max heart rate but mainly I wouldn't worry too much if it isn't causing you any bother. I know that when my heart rate goes above 172 I have to slow right down as unless I want to be training in that zone. Training in that zone for me is too high to be sustainable for any length. We are all different and I read somewhere that your max meant rate is what you are born with and it doesn't change whereas your resting pulse can get lower the fitter you are.

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Agree with previous comments. I recently had a Bupa health assessment and saw a Physiologist as part of the excercise element. I mentioned the 220 - age and she said it has no medical significance. Having completed the excercises attached to various machines and monitors, it turns out that my max heart rate is 210 and I am 40.

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also it is worth pointing out that the 'max' is not a point at which your heart explodes and srpings and dials fly off in all directions. When I had my meltdown incident last year my heart rate rocketed up to the 340 mark. Whilst I obvs would not recommend this, I was amazed that it could actually go that fast.

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I don't think doing this gentle programme will do any harm to one's heart at all. You are mostly walking to start with

You can talk yourself out of all sorts of things by being over cautious. Being mobile is healthier than not. I would get moving and keep moving.

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