Maximum Heart Rate  


I have been pretty lazy with this blog the last couple of weeks. I had a coulple of pretty slack weeks of training and a few nagging achs and pains. Not to make excuses, but it was an appropriate swim session last Sunday that shocked me back to reality. And the details is what I will use to get me off my duff again, and make some contributions.

I figured the best way to start would be with an overview of maximum heart rate, and the max HR test we did at our masters swim practice two Sundays ago.

There are several popular formulas that are used to estmate Maximum Heart Rate. The first test was a simple moderately long swim. Total distance, or number of laps depended upon the lane which was divided up into abilities. We swam 250 yds starting with a moderate start and then slowly ramping up to full effort for the final 100 yards. At the end, I took my heart rate for 15 seconds and counted 50 which multiplies out to a max HR of 200. From my past experience, that was high. Since a lot of the less experienced swimmers admitted they might have had a little something left in the tank, Coach had us try again, but with a little different approach.

The second time we were to do sets of 100 on a split that would be challenging to complete. The goal was to try to do a split that would causeu s to use a full effort to make, or to just fail. Our split was 1:50 for the first 2, then 1:40 for the next 3. The idea was to start with a couple of sets with longer rest to get the body going, then ramp it up to red line. I started the first 100 nice and relaxed, but forgot the split, and went on 1:40 Then the second set finished with only a couple of seconds to spare. When I started the third, I had just enough time to glance at the pace clock, and then after the first 50, I started to get that heavy pain in the pit of my stomach tha you get just before you hurl.. I knew I was creating buckets of lactic acid, and definitely giving a maximum effort. When I finished the fourth 100, I continued and did another 50, as hard as I could sprint, just for good measure. It was tough concentrate on getting a 10 second pulse without tossing my cookies. But the result was a pretty reliable max heart rate of 31 beats for 10 seconds which works out to be 186.

So how does this compare with other maximum heart rate data? Well first of all, the traditional old 200 - age, for me works out to be 180. Then there is another formula that I found in an article that I had saved on my old computer. I have no idea where it came from but the formula is 210 minus 50% of your age minus 5% of your body weight (pounds) + 4 if male and 0 if female. For me it works out to be 184. Finally, there was a similar test I did two winters ago on the 200m indoor track at our local fitness facility. The result of that one was guess what? You got it, 186.
So now armed with my newly aquired heart rate data, I can now determin the training zones required to carry out my specific workouts for the upcoming race season, specifically Ironman Newfoundland 70.3