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Maximum Heart Rate Explanation?

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  • Maximum Heart Rate Explanation?

    Hi everyone, hoping to get an easy answer to this question. And while I am at it, a quick thank you to everyone in the forums for being so helpful.

    I went for a run this morning and I got a HR spike around 198 bpm (using 310xt). This lasted around half a minute (jumped from around 176 to 186 and then fluctuated between 186 and 198) towards the end of the run. It was a fairly easy going run for the most part. But I did finish by pushing myself harder at the end - hence the spike.

    The average at the end of the run was 165 bpm.

    My question is this; is this (198 bpm) then my MHR?

    If I use the formula 220 - Age = MHR then my MHR is just 183. I am aware that this formula (and others like it) can never be 100% accurate, but I would have thought 198 was a little on the high side for a 37 year old goat like me.

    Thoughts and advice?

    Thanks to all.

    PS. Sorry if this is in the wrong section but I did not see a section devoted purely to fitness and not a device. Thanks.
    Last edited by SJSTRAW; 10-21-2009, 07:40 PM. Reason: Update

  • #2
    198 bpm wouldn't be out of the question even for 37 years of age but it's entirely possible that the HRM picked up a couple of noise events because you were sprinting (due to upper body motion) and it caused an erroneous report to the watch. You should look at the TCX file in detail and see how the heart rate increased as you sped up and then how it recovered when you slowed down. If there is a gradual rise and fall ("gradual" is a relative term here) then it's probably real. If the heart rate jumped up all of a sudden, especially after a period where the heart rate was reported as exactly the same for more than a few seconds, then the spike is probably due to body noise.
    Can you post your TCX file from that session?Or link to the activity on Garmin Connect?


    • #3
      It is perfectly normal to have a (true) MHR within a 40 BPM span of
      220-age (M) or 226-age (F). For a 37 yo M: 163-203.

      For 37 yo M
      ~68% are between 173 and 193
      ~95% are between 163 and 203
      the rest are even outside that (most perfectly normally!)

      Please, folks, don't use the 220-age (226-age) for planning
      your workouts. Find your true MHR by testing for it, preferably
      aided by professionals. You are more likely than not training
      at the wrong intensity if you use the 220-age (226-age) formula.

      (Noone would give their height as the average for their age
      group would they?)
      Last edited by ALAALA; 10-22-2009, 02:13 AM.
      DISTANCE: 3000M___ - 5000M___ - 10000M__ - 21098M_ - 42195M_ --- Current VDOT: ?
      PB______: 10:50,09 - 18:40,20 - 38:39,00 - 1:25:39 - 3:10:26


      • #4
        My max HR is also about 10 bpm higher than the 220-age formula. I'm 48, and my max HR is about 185 or so. Same thing for a friend of mine, who is your age and has a max HR of around 200.


        • #5
          Thanks guys for your responses. Seems I am not abnormal. Is there a recommended test to follow to find out what my MHR is? Or can I assume that it is probably around the 195 bpm mark given this morning's experience?


          • #6
            A spike is a spike - i.e. artifact. I'll regularly see long periods at 240 if my HRM strap isn't making good contact.

            My MHR is closer to 190. (Which is far from 220 - my age.)

            What your HR reaches after six or seven hard intervals, on a hot day, is as close enough as nevermind to your max. If you're not a professional, do you really need to know within any more accuracy? And if you are, your team should've had your MHR tested by now.