Where's Your Heart Rate?
If your heart rate is in zone 5 on an easy run, something's up.
Are you on Garmin checking out your run details and notice that some or all of your run was spent in zone 5? If so, something is up and you need to make some adjustments.
Yes, heat and humidity have a big part in why your heart rate is high. But having a run that is supposed to be easy and your heart rate is in zone 5 for the majority of the run is no good.
I don’t have all the answers to why your specific run might be way off-kilter, but these are a few reasons why it could be off:
The heat is a doozy, you know all about running in the heat and why you should avoid the midday sun.
The same can be said about humidity. It zaps and saps your energy, so if you can avoid the sun, that’s your best bet.
Your watch may also be a player in why your heart rate is way up there. Newer watches all have wrist-based heart rate tracking and as you may or may not know, your pulse is weaker in your wrist than it is over your heart. So while watches are good at getting close, when you’re a hot sweaty mess, your watch may just be reaching for pulses and not actually measuring correctly.
Your zones might just be way off base in Garmin (or whatever platform you use). You might be a fit individual, but your zone presets are for someone who is sedentary. This will have most of your runs looking like zone 5, when they might actually be a zone 2 or 3.
I mentioned this earlier, but not having a chest strap is another reason why your HR data might be off.
Lastly, if you don’t know your max heart rate, you don’t have anything to base the zones on anyway.
You’ll want to get tested like I did or find an alternate way to find your max HR. The post above is a good starter to find your max.
So what are you to do?
Here are 4 things you can do right away to adjust your high heart rate:
Continue to run early and avoid the hottest parts of the day. Also, know that being fatigued will start you out at an elevated heart rate, so make sure you are well-rested.
Fix the watch you currently own. Make sure it’s snug on your wrist and tracking appropriately.
Get a chest strap that pairs with your watch. I have one from Garmin and I really like it. I wear it on workout days and on some long runs days (mostly just for data). You can get a chest strap just like mine (affiliate).
Go into Garmin (on a computer) and adjust your training zones to match your training intensities. It’s good to know your max, but if you don’t, there are articles published on the web that’ll help you.
Friday’s Action Plan:
Easy run in zone 5? Do something to make sure you are actually running an easy effort. Fix your training zones, get a HR strap, adjust your watch, and/or avoid the midday heat and humidity.
What’s Got My Attention:
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Be a Morning Runner - Oct 2020
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Marc is a middle school teacher and coach but also works with distance runners online. I help distance runners around the globe by providing support, writing customized training plans, and designing workouts to help them reach their racing goals. I write for my blog every Wednesday morning and newsletter every Friday morning.