Some Thoughts About Heart Rate

I have a stress injury–most likely a stress fracture–in my right foot, so I’m not allowed to run for at least four weeks. I’m still planning to run my half marathon at the end of May, so I’m doing other cardio in hopes of maintaining fitness. Today I would usually do my long run (about 80-90 minutes), so I spent 90 minutes on a stationary bike, instead. 30 minutes on an upright spin bike and then an hour doing some “around the world” hill program on a recumbent bike because I got bored and also the seat was more comfortable.

While on the recumbent, there was a girl working out on the same kind of bike to my right. I caught her looking at my screen at least once, but that’s okay because I was doing the same thing. Honestly it doesn’t bother me when people do that even though I know everyone complains about it.

Anyway, according to the little chart on the bike, 65% of the maximum heart rate for a general 20-year-old is about 135 and 80% is around 160, if I’m remembering correctly. It claims 65% is the “fat burning zone” and 80% is the “cardio zone.”

The girl to my right had her bike set to “manual” and was chugging along at level 1. Her RPM (rotations per minute) was between 80 and 90 whenever I happened to glance over, and when she checked her heart rate it tended to be around 150.

I was doing a hill program, which meant there were lots of segments of high resistance, and I had the base level set at 5 for the first half, 6 for the second. My RPM was like 85-95 and my heart rate never got above 125. It sat around 111 most of the time.

I’m not trying to show off by saying my endurance must be better, or whatever. I honestly felt a little annoyed that my heart rate was so low. There I was spending an hour and a half trying to get a good cardiovascular workout in and apparently my heart was chilling out like it was no big thing.

I don’t know how high my heart rate gets when I run, but I wish there was a better way to approximate my running workouts. Swimming is supposed to be pretty good, but right now I can’t swim for extended periods of time because my breathing is so inadequate. I think I’m going to try swimming every day this coming week to see if I can improve with more practice. I haven’t swum in at least three weeks.

Or maybe every other day. Every day sounds like a lot…

3 thoughts on “Some Thoughts About Heart Rate

  1. If I’m right, a low heart rate means that you’re very much in shape and that you are very healthy! I heard a rumor that said that Lance Armstrong’s (scandal aside, he was very much in shape) resting/sleeping heart rate is only 30 bpm, which is crazy low.

    I’m not sure whether or not swimming will help your heart rate, but more oxygen sounds awesome to me! May your foot get better faster!

  2. I have exactly the opposite problem – I’m keen to tone up and shift a few kilos, but can’t keep the ol’ ticker chugging at an even pace in the fat-burning zone. Partly it’s inclined to go crazy anyway, partly I need to keep working at it. Don’t worry too much about the science, I reckon – sometimes you just have to give it what you’ve got, and trust that if you always give it 100% you’ll always be moving toward your goals!

    Good luck with it all šŸ™‚

  3. I can’t run anymore because of my foot injury so I use an exercise bike for fitness. I am sorry you have an injury knowing how much you love to keep fit and have this marathon in May xx

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