T Nation

My Heart Rate... What Gives?


This question doesn't fit in any other category, so I figured I'd post in here.

I know T-Nation is about strength, and not endurance training, but I figured there'd be some knowledgeable individuals who could chime in (and if you're a T-Nation contributor, feel free to chime in as well).

Here's the scoop:

I went jogging today, and whenever I do my endurance training, I measure my heart rate 15 minutes into activity, immediately after finishing activity, and after 1 minute of recovery.

Here's what happened: at the 15-minute mark, my heart rate was 183. At the 30 minute mark (the end), my heart rate was 192. My question is why was I able to maintain such a high heart rate for so long? Wasn't I in the anaerobic zone at this point, well above my VO2max and well past the lactate threshold? Shouldn't I have been able to maintain that pace for only 90-120 seconds, tops?

I'm 21 years old, so my age-predicted maximum heart rate is 199. 183 and 192 bpm represent 92% and 97% of my HRmax, respectively. Now, I know that this is just a predictive formula, and a standard deviation is about 15 bpm. So let's say that my max heart rate is actually 214. In that case, 183 and 192 bpm would represent 85% and 90% of my max. Still above my VO2max and lactate threshold.

Does anyone have any possible explanations? The only one I can think of is that my maximal heart rate is more than one standard deviation above the mean, which would place 183 and 192 below my VO2max.


mine is 1000 suck it


You have discovered the fact that the traditional "220-age" formula is very general and not necessarily at all accurate for any given individual.


I discovered long ago that my heart does a very similar thing and was a real pain when the Air Force had that pathetic bike test for fitness. Even in my best aerobic shape, I would barely pass.

I no longer even pay attention to the heartrate chart and simply judge my work on how i'm feeling.


The 220-age is generally for non-active people anyway, so it won't really apply to you. Solong as you can keep going at a good pace and improve your running, then personally, I wouldn't care about any of the heart rate stuff. Your stroke volume will keep increasing, with your HR decreasing, so you have a lot of room for it to increase during exercise and work at higher levels for longer. [Something like that anyway, cheers if someone can confirm all this/say if I'm wrong]


The best measure of whether your run was anaerobic or aerobic is your breathing pattern. Typically, if you're completely winded, heaving and couldn't hold a conversation while you ran, it's gone anaerobic.


What you say is true. Someone well trained with a strong heart however, should have a much more difficult time getting their heart rate to get high due to what you pointed out at the end of your post. Their heart is stronger and pumps a greater volume of blood per beat decreasing it's frequency while maintaining output.


Max heart rate can vary from 150 to 250 among healthy individuals. It almost completely genetic and the formula 220-age is worthless IMO. Mine is >215 and I'm 36 ( I know because I've seen 215 on my heart rate monitor) and I can maintain ~190s for long durations but my resting heart rate has been as low as 47. That makes those formulas quite useless to me!

The only way to really know your max heart rate is with a stress test.

DaVinci's post about breathing pattern is the best measure.

The important values with regards to heart rate are resting heart rate and the length of time it takes to recover after stopping.