Maximum Heart Rate Test, or How to Make Your Chest Explode.

Hopefully your chest will not explode, but a good piece of advice that is missing from many of the sites that describe doing a maximum heart rate test is to ensure that there are other people around. You know, just in case you push yourself too hard.

My plan was to do this test today and ideally to be completely rested, well hydrated and warmed up. Last night was ‘date night’ with the missis (we went to see “The World’s End” which is brilliant!) so I had a couple of beers and was slightly later than usual to bed, but I felt okay this morning once I dragged myself away from the eider.

I chose to do my test at the track as it is easy to see where you should start different pieces of the test.

Firstly get your HR strap in place, synced and checked before you start. You don’t want to have to start messing with this once you are mid-test.

I did one lap as a walk/jog to clear the track’s inside lane; the grounds people had cut the grass yesterday and left the benches and bins on the track lanes.

I did two laps of warm up at a casual pace. The one lap at moderate pace. Next I dropped back to a casual pace then did an all out lap. Then four laps at an easy recovery pace and, finally, another all out effort. Then I did three laps to cool down after I had sat for a minute to recover my breath.

I believe the key to the test is that you build up your heart rate to the maximum without prematurely reaching your VO2 max threshold and starving your muscles. You need to be coaxing your heart rate up with minimal muscle fatigue because you don’t want to have to stop running due to your muscles being tired before you peak at your max HR.

The above seemed to work well for me as I am comfortable doing sprint laps at the track.

Here’s a shot of my results.

20130830-101024.jpgYou can see from the graph the gradual build up of my heart rate with the warm up laps. It starts to kick in with the moderate lap. The recovery lap that follows keeps my heart rate in the same range but allowed my legs to recover a little so that my HR peaks during my all out lap. Then you can see my recovery laps and a final kick at the end where I reach the same level as earlier. I think this successfully demonstrates my HRmax level for running.

So there we have it. An HRmax of 189 which is higher than all the formulae predicted but just about within the range of their stated accuracy. Most calculations estimated it at around 178. The Runner’s World calculation was closest at 184.

At the end I felt quite exhausted but had earned my traditional Friday breakfast of pancakes and strawberries. Hurrah.

I have updated my HR formulae chart to show actuals so that I can familiarise myself with the various training zones.

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3 thoughts on “Maximum Heart Rate Test, or How to Make Your Chest Explode.

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