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  • heart rate high first mile

    When I run, though I start out slowly, it is very common for me to record a high heart rate for up to a mile or so, after which my heart rate drops to where it should be for the pace I am running. Last Friday, for example, my initial rate was in the low 180's (which is essentially my maximum rate - I am a 61 year old male). My rate stayed there for about 0.7 miles, then it fell rapidly to the 130-150 range (depending on grade), where it stayed for the rest of my 5 mile run. The entire run was done at the same 12 minute per mile pace. During the initial period with a high heart rate, I do not feel like I am working hard. Whereas, if I get up to a 180 heart rate at the end of a 5K race, I feel like I am working REALLY hard.

    Has anyone else had this experience? Does anyone know what this means?

  • #2
    You need to warm up properly. That's probably the most important thing to do and the most likely reason why you are having a high heart rate at the start for the same pace.

    A good warm up, 10 to 15 minutes of easy running, with a similar amount of cool down will also reduce the chances of injury.

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    • #3
      The heart rate monitor can give spurious high readings during the first part of a workout, if the contact between the electrodes and your skin isn't fully established. You can help that along, by wetting the electrode areas with saliva, water, or ECG gel before you start out.

      A second source of this interference is static electricity from your shirt. It is generally more a problem with synthetic fiber shirts (compared to cotton). There are several remedies for this situation, including wetting the shirt (this may be uncomfortable in cold weather), not putting the shirt in a hot-air clothes dryer after washing, and rubbing the inside of the shirt with an antistatic dryer sheet or spraying it with a static cling reducer.

      The electrodes of both the hard strap and the soft strap will also 'break in' over the first few uses, and you may notice that the problem becomes less prevalent after the first couple of times you use the HRM.

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      • #4
        This is more like a physiological issue than a technological one: During a workout one's heart is required to supply a higher than usual volume of blood to muscles. Before the heart muscle warms up enough to perform it's full pumping action (high volume pumping on each stroke) this is done by increasing the heart rate. Once the heart is warmed up - volume of each stroke increases - HR drops.
        This is the reason one should warm up properly before running, most specially before racing.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BBLOCH71 View Post
          This is more like a physiological issue than a technological one: During a workout one's heart is required to supply a higher than usual volume of blood to muscles. Before the heart muscle warms up enough to perform it's full pumping action (high volume pumping on each stroke) this is done by increasing the heart rate. Once the heart is warmed up - volume of each stroke increases - HR drops.
          This is the reason one should warm up properly before running, most specially before racing.
          Actually T_SMIT answered correctly. While the phenomenon you describe can happen in decondition individuals who start too fast and and can have an elevated heart rate (but not all the way past max for several minutes) that isn't the problem the OP described.

          The OP is 61 so his maximal HR would be under 170BPM (elite athlete) using the Miller, Londeree and Moeschberger formula (159BPM using the old (220-age) formula). If he is actually experiencing a sustained heart rate of 180BPM (beyond max) then he needs to seek medical attention.

          Heart rate calculators
          Last edited by julien321; 11-20-2010, 06:42 AM.

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          • #6
            I am using the FR110 with the HRM. During my training I get readings of over 210 BPM. I know that doesn't sound good .
            When I check my pulse manualy it feels normal enough. Can it be bad contacts? Should I use gel for beter contact?
            Running is fun

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BEN_D_R View Post
              I am using the FR110 with the HRM. During my training I get readings of over 210 BPM. I know that doesn't sound good .
              When I check my pulse manualy it feels normal enough. Can it be bad contacts? Should I use gel for beter contact?
              Yes use electrolyte gel and you won't have a problem.

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              • #8
                I had the same problem with an initial high HR that went 180-196 for the first five minutes of a 4.5 run this morning then settled into the normal (for me 140) for the rest of the run. I warmed up, etc, but it was the first time I used the HR monitor without wetting down the contacts. I take beta blockers for HBP, so I doubt very much that my rate went up to 196, and it sure didn't feel like anything was unusual. I think T SMIT hit the issue for me... contacts on the HR monitor.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by JULIEN321 View Post
                  Yes use electrolyte gel and you won't have a problem.
                  I found out that a lot of hair on the chest is also not good. I shaved it and no more strange values. If needed I will start using the gel but for now I'll stay with water.
                  Running is fun

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                  • #10
                    mine's wacko for the 1st mile or two as well. I know it's not my heart- as if I hold my hands against the strap and firmly push it against my chest - the reading settles down.

                    yes- i thoroughly wet it, and I'm not very hairy in that spot. Also- the strap is pretty dang tight.

                    I'd imagine if I got some of that gel it would work.

                    I think that some combination of these will work:
                    1. improve connection (shave)
                    2. wet. If wet doesn't work, then get some conductive gel.
                    3. possibly a new battery.
                    4. Static Guard. yup, spray the stuff all over it and on your shirt. Apparently a lot of these errors are caused by static buildup due to the rubbing of our 'tech' shirts.
                    Last edited by MOREY000; 12-14-2010, 01:08 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Reporting back in:
                      Turns out that "Static Guard" did the trick for me. These high tech shirts tend to build up a lot of static that interferes with the HR.

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                      • #12
                        Same problem

                        Race fix = spiting on the strap at the contact pads. Alternatively use an isotonic drink NB use an electrolyte only mix otherwise thinks could get sticky.
                        I am running the length of the UK, 860 miles in 15 days in 2011. My Blog

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                        • #13
                          Hi all, I read this thread with some interest as for the last 6 months I have had an extremely high heart rate for the first 7 to 10 minutes of a run before it has dropped into my normal range. The pattern is as follows - resting heart rate (stood at my front door) around 55 bpm. Start to jog at around 9 min mile pace and within 50 metres my heart rate is at around 170 to 180 bpm. I am a 47 year old male who is reasonably fit (run around 25 to 30 miles per week at an average of 8 minute pace - last 10 k race was in 47 mins). My heart rate stays at around 180 but can go as high as 200 bpm but I feel reasonably OK. After around 7 minutes my HR drops to around 130 to 135 bpm and remains in the 'normal range' for the remainder of my run no matter how far. It is not bad contacts or anything else technical as if I stop and feel my pulse it is both erratic and very fast so the HR being recorded by my Garmin is correct. If I go for a slow long run after perhaps a few glasses of wine the night before and if I'm feeling a little fragile then the high HR can continue for 15 to 20 minutes into my run and can come back spuriously throughout my run. So what is the cause? Well for my it is some sort of fibrillation. Currently I am undergoing various test with my doctor and have been told that I have Sick Sinus Syndrome (my resting HR can drop as low as 37 bpm (bradycardia) and I occaisonally have AF when not exercising). Personaly speaking I think I have a vegas nerve problem which wouold account for the abnormally low resting HR and can cause AF. I am taking Flecanide Acetate at the moment and am awaitng further test to find out what I really have. The reason I am posting here is to simplpy say that the original issue of this thread may be nothing to do with the Garmin or dodgy electrodes and no one should leap into shaving their chest I would suggest that after running for two minutes and assuming your Garmin shows the unusually high HR, simply stop running and feel your own pulse (two fingers against your temple should be fine). If your HR is low and normal then it's technical (shave that chest!) if you HR is as high as the Garmin says it is and if it's erratic (pretty likely) see your doctor soonest as you may have an AF problem which neesds to be managed to avoid such things as Stroke.

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                          • #14
                            Hello guys,..
                            I am here to this forum and read out your reviews about heart rate.But i think
                            exercise and morning walk is the best solution to control the heart rate.
                            Martin4500

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                            • #15
                              I have had the same thing happen to me on a handful of occasions, but it was before I was using Garmin equipment. I recorded the spikes with a Wahoo Fitness HRM using an iPhone app (either RunKeeper or iSmoothRun).

                              I didn't observe or feel the spikes when running, but only after I got home and viewed my HR charts online. It was always at the start of a run, first .5 to 1 mile, and onetime it was even downhill (I might expect heavier exertion going Uphill ).

                              T-Smit's response was pretty much the conclusion I had reached, but now Phoebe26's response (Unusual name for a 47 year old male, lol), has me a bit concerned. I appreciate the reply, and if I note the spiked HR during a run I will pay attention to it and take a physical pulse. It will be easier to note the spiked HR during a workout now that I'm using a Garmin (FR610).

                              For those of us outside the medical community, what is AF? I can figure out MI (Myocardial Infarction), HR, etc. Arterial Fibrilation?

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