Heart Rate concerns

  • I did some max heart rate research today and learned that when I run, I am just asking for a heart attack. Yesterday, while doing my HIIT, my heart rate was consistently in the 170's and even peaked at 182. My max heart rate is 188... That's 97% of my max, by the way. I know when it's getting high because I start to feel short of breath and have to stop until it drops back down into the 160's.

    With everything else, I would expect my ability to run and keep my heart rate low would improve as I go on, but I've had this problem for a quite a few months. This is bothersome to me because I'm not running any faster, any further or on any more of an incline. I feel like even though I'm running, I'm not improving with my run. I can run a bit further without pain, but I can't seem to get my heart in line with my body's physical ability to perform the work.

    To me the obvious answer to the question of how to improve my cardiovascular ability to run is to keep running. Keep practicing and make myself better at it, but that hasn't been the case. I am always well over my 85% MHR of 160. The only time I stay in range is when I walk or use the elliptical. Mind you, I don't run fast... 4.7 mph on the treadmill. That's a 12:45 pace. Not even remotely fast... no where near the 11:30 I ran in the summer of 2010 when I started HM training. It's frustrating. It's like instead of moving forward with my fitness, I'm moving backward. Mind you, in 2010, I had just had a baby via c-section and was doing an 11:30 pace and only weighed 2 lbs less than I do now.

    Anyone know how to solve this? To improve my heart rate while running so unbelievably and boringly slow? Is this where heart rate training comes into play? And how can I do HIIT if my heart rate goes so high? I aspire to burn 400 calories a day doing 30 min of cardio. Can I do that while remaining in my heart rate range?

  • Jstyler3b,

    I am no medical professor but I had a similar experience to yours when I first started doing BLF about 8 years ago.  So here is what I found out that is very similar to what you are saying.  Most people who run, find out at some point how much they like it, and they just start doing it without paying any attention to their heart rate.  So if the person isn't at a very young age they willl often drive their heart to a very dangerous level without even knowing it.  As they continue to do this day after day - they are actually training their heart to say - "Hey, I am running - pay no attention to how much oxygen my muscels need and jump up to 95% of my MHR like you do every time I run."  It is very likely that something like this is what you are experiencing.  At least it was for me and with the help of a cardiologist buddy, I was able to fix it.  Here is how you do it:

    Go to the store and get you a hear monitor.  This is not a time to save pennies - get a good reliable one that you can depend on.  Now use the formula 220-your age to get your max heart rate.  I suspect this is wasted words on you because you've already mentioned your heart was at 95% of your max.  At any rate, take the MHR and figure out what 80% is.  Now, begin to train every day - whether on an eliptical, tread mill, or out on the road running.  But it is imperitive that you do not go over your 80% mark.  This is going to be very hard on you emotionally because you are going to feel like you are not even working out.  But believe me, we can retrain your heart in a couple of weeks to listen to your muscels instead of your brain.  After about 7 or 8 days, you will notice that you must exert a little more energy to get your HR up to the 80 percent mark.   That is the result you are looking for.  So the key here - never just expercise and not monitor your heart.  Only world class atheletes should be training at 90% of their MHR.  I really hope this helps.

    Ralph