Maximum heart rate %: Hive thoughts on % of max... - Couch to 5K

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Maximum heart rate %

Over60sRunner profile image

Hive thoughts on % of max heart rate. My runs usually average an HR of 130-132bpm which is approx 83% of my max HR (220 - 62 = 158).

Now, if I run any slower, I'll be walking, and I don't feel exhausted, just a bit heavy legged my last few minutes, but am I technically overdoing it? And, if so, what can I do about it?

20 Replies
MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate

I’m not an expert on this at all so I’ll let someone else advise - just want to say well done on not feeling exhausted- your fitness levels must be well up there! I’ve just completed a run and am well and truly knackered! 🤣😂😂

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to MaCherie112

Doesn't mean to say I'm not a rather unattractive red, sweaty, puffy mess when I'm finished mind MaCherie112 😂🏃‍♀️🥵

MaCherie112 profile image
MaCherie112Graduate in reply to Over60sRunner

🤣😂🤣🤣

Poppdog profile image
PoppdogGraduate in reply to Over60sRunner

I agree with part of this, red sweaty puffy yes unattractive definitely not. We are all absolutely beautiful we are taking our life health and well-being seriously and that in my book is fantastic.

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator

Make yourself a cup of whatever you like to drink and have a sit down and read.

In respect of heart rate you might find this FAQ Post addressing that question helpful healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Heavy legs is a classic sign of poor hydration (though not necessarily) as explained in this FAQ Post about hydration healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Great read with my Earl Grey 👍 I'm not mithering anymore 😁 Thanks for the reassurance.

I don't know what is causing my heavy legs, but it's definitely not lack of water. I drink at least 3 litres a day, and often more. I suspect my weight is to blame and am working on that, but being 62, post-menopausal, and in a sedentary job, it's going to be an uphill battle.......... but that's not going to stop me trying.

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Over60sRunner

Are heavy legs normal when you run, or is it only occasional?

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Not always, sometimes just a wee bit and sometimes more., sometimes not really at all 🙄

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Over60sRunner

What is circulation in your legs like? Do you have any issues?

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I had a DVT in my right calf in my teens (sports injury!) but apart from that my circulation is fine as far as I am aware. The DVT left no lasting damage - I was scanned around a year after it happened and nothing was seen.

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Over60sRunner

You say you have a sedentary job. If that involves sitting most of the time, it is recommended to get up and move about for at least two minutes every half hour, or better still, use a standing desk.

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

I have a rise and fall workstation to accommodate my horrible spine. I did wonder if it the pain in my calves was related to that.

I work for a charity called Thrombosis UK who educates, raises awareness and supports patients with DVT and PE so I'm an absolute stickler for mobility. After 45 minutes the blood supply to the lower leg reduces by over 50% and immobility is the commonest cause of thrombosis 😬

IannodaTruffe profile image
IannodaTruffeAdministrator in reply to Over60sRunner

It sounds like you are very aware of the dangers of inactivity, so my final question is, do you do any of the leg strengthening exercises, as linked to in the guide to the plan? These not only build muscle but will improve flexibility along with static stretching after every single run.

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to IannodaTruffe

Yes, I do strength and flex on the days I don't run and walk a good four miles as well with the dogs daily. I figure this mostly just down to carrying too much weight and I'm just going to have to keep plugging away at that 😕

Instructor57 profile image
Instructor57Moderator

As IannodaTruffe has said ! Read the posts he has linked to 🙂👍

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador

"My runs usually average an HR of 130-132bpm"

What device are you using? Usually, any discussion of HR is a bit pointless unless the measurement can be trusted. And that 220-age calculation does not apply to everyone - it's very arbitrary, an approximation :-) It would put me at 168. However, I know that my max is 178 ...

In practice, if you feel ok, like you're not over-doing it, then that's a better measure. Have a read of Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) .

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to John_W

Thanks. I definitely don't feel like I'm overdoing it. I can still sing along to my play list, albeit a little puffy by the last few minutes of my current 32, but I'm only a couple of weeks into consolidation and still more than 2.5 stone overweight 😔

John_W profile image
John_WAmbassador in reply to Over60sRunner

Technically, running at 83% of your max HR is a very common pace (effort) that runners do. Almost everyone who's been running for a few years does that. They'd get more benefit by actually going slower, but that's another story, covered by IannodaTruffe 's excellent FAQ.

Here's the rub though... you/we don't actually know what your maximum HR actually is. Using the 220-age calculation, then yours could be as low as 148 and maybe even as high 168. That's how inaccurate the 220-age estimate is.

We don't know your max HR because (1) your haven't tried to measure it and (2) your device (Fitbit?) almost certainly isn't accurate or reliable enough. Having said that, I really wouldn't want you to try and measure it because you're nowhere strong enough yet to.

If you don't know your max HR and your device isn't accurate, then there's no point in talking about the numbers.

In light of all this, the best way is simply to go how you feel. Keeping your pace 'conversational' is by far the best way to go. And, adding in a hard, fast workout once every 4 or 5 runs will also be beneficial.

As for weight-loss, unless you run for a many hours in the week (say, 5km per day), then the calorie burn isn't enough to cause significant changes. Time wise, a far more efficient way to burn calories and lose weight is weight-lifting . You get far more bang for your buck than cardio (running, cycling, dancing, elliptical, rowing, swimming) . Hope that helps.

Over60sRunner profile image
Over60sRunnerGraduate in reply to John_W

Very useful. Thank you 🙏 I only run at 6kph, any slower and I'll be walking! I used to be a bit slower - 5.5kph, but I can't physically run that slowly anymore... it really hurts my back 😕

Sadly weights are a big no-no as I have had major spinal surgeries and can't risk injuring my spine. There's no more intervention for me now - what I've got now is as good as it gets which is good, as three years ago I couldn't even walk without two sticks. The weight is coming off slowly with diet, so that's OK.

I've resigned myself to being OK with running without gasping and keeping away from posts and forums that focus almost solely on HR. I am never going to be a serious runner, and as long as I can trot along I'm OK with that. My goal when I started in June was to lower my BP, pulse and blood sugars and I've achieved all that less than 4 months and shifted nearly a stone too, so I'm doing OK...... indeed, more than OK in my eyes 😁😁😁😁

Wow, great results. Well done!

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