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High Heart Rate at Onset of Run
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High Heart Rate at Onset of Run

I am a 39 year old female and have been running consistently for well over a year. Recently (last two months or so) it seems as though very often at the beginning of even easy runs my heart rate starts extremely high anywhere from 190-230bpm according to my heart rate monitor. After about 10mins or so it always lowers to the appropriate target range. I don't really feel any different and have seen a cardiologist earlier this year for a thorough exam and had no issues after completing a stress test, 24 holter and ecchocardiogram. At the time though, my heart rate did not start high like now. My resting rate is 50-55bpm. During speed training (short sprints) I have often reached a max heart rate of up to 239 which drops fairly quickly to 120-130 in between intervals. Does this high heart rate at the onset of my runs sound like a potential new problem I should be concerned about?
Tags: Running
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi JMM39,
I am a 46 year old female runner, and I have noticed something similar happening to me.  I don't feel any differently either, so I wondered if it wasn't a glitch in my heart rate monitor.  You might think about changing the batteries and see if it doesn't correct itself.  As long as you don't feel light headed or dizzy, and as long as your heart rate regulates itself, I don't think I would be too concerned.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.

Do you actually feel your heart beating that rapidly during the times your heart rate monitor is logging 190-230 bpm? I was actually thinking the same thing as run4fun46. Since your cardiovascular status has been evaluated to be unremarkable, it is entirely possible that your heart rate monitor might be slightly defective or would need replacing of the batteries. What you can do is have a friend test the device and see if it would also happen when he/she uses it.

Hope this helps.
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm not a runner,but I've been experiencing a similar fluctuation in heart rate during aerobic exercise, only mine drops to 45 then quickly goes to 213 with only a slight increase in speed. I'm wondering if my synthroid medication is causing this. Some medications cause a change in heart rate, tho' I haven't found out to what degree, and if you're taking any meds, I wonder if that could be the cause of your problem.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am 47 y/o and have experienced similar problems. Just to be absolutely sure and rule out any possibility of a hidden heart problem I had a stress test done. I knocked it out just fine and the cardiologist stated they was very little chance of myself ever having any type of heart disease. Sometimes even if you are in good shape the body still takes a few minutes to adapt to the particular exercise, before it settles in accounting for the higher HR at first. Especially factoring in weather conditions (heat, humidity, etc.) or even anything mentally that may be going on in your life at that time. From my experience and talking w/ other people and good coaches this is normal. Still to be completely on the safe side I would really consider the stress test.
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Avatar_m_tn
Sorry I see you did complete a stress test. I had already forgotten about that while posting the note. Short term memory loss comes with age and doing to many things at one time. I wish you well
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry for the cross post, but I have a simillar problem. I wonder if its diet related.

I am 62 years old, I run a lot, finished a marathon (my 3rd) last year in 4:03. About a year and a half ago, after a poor marathon performance, I changed my diet and virtually eliminated any fats. (I should have about 25% fat by calories, I am working back to that.) Last fall I put my self in the hospital with a gall bladder attack, my analysis is since there was no fat, the gall bladder stopped working and sludge built up.

That's not the question though, when I run I always wear a heart rate monitor (Garmin 305) and I get a graph of the heart rate for every run. My resting heart rate is around 45. My normal running heart rate is in the range of 125 to 140, depending.

Here is the weird part, when I just start out on a run, my heart rate frequently jumps to 175-180 for the first mile or half mile, then abruptly drops to the normal range. I can also feel a little lack of energy at the time, a sort of "I don't want to do this." I guess I should also mention that most of my runs start at 3 or 4 in the morning as its the only time I have during the week. But Saturday long runs (starting around 7:00 am) also do this.

I am guessing this is lack of fat in the liver, or lack of energy for the short term (liver, blood stream?) but when the other energy mechanisms of the body kick in, the heart rate goes back to normal.

This did not happen two years ago or more, when I weighed 20 lbs more and ate lots of bagels. I assume its diet, but I don't want to gain the weight back.

Any ideas?
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
I do not think in any way heart rate is related to fat intake.
Increase in heart rate immediately occurs if you do not warm up before exercising. Some people take some time before going into exercise mode, there is nothing to worry if your blood reports are normal, blood pressure is normal and if you are healthy.
Take care!
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Avatar_n_tn
To: DrVinod I

Thanks for the feed back, I do warm up somewhat, I spend 8 minutes on the treadmill walking at faster and faster speeds, then stretch before heading out the door.

As I mentioned, my runs are first thing in the morning, at 3, or 4, to get home by 5. I obviously haven't eaten anything since the night before. (8 hours or so since my last food intake).

Just for the fun of it, I am going to experiment on myself and try eating some low-glycemic index food sometime during the night. Last night I had a bunch of baked potato, whole grains (literally, oats, barley, rye, the wife calls it my gruel), and yogurt at around 7:00 PM. This mornings run had a lower effect, max heart rate of 145 in the first half mile, nothing like the usual.

Did I mention that I am an anal-retentive computer programmer and a former experimental physicist?  This whole thing is beginning to annoy me, so food timing is going to become this years training issue.
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Avatar_n_tn
Oops, I should also mention that I don't generally start out at top speed, it takes a couple of miles before I start to roll. I have been more deliberate about that since this heart rate thing began to annoy me.

So we'll see what the experiment of one shows.
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Do not go on empty stomach and i advice you to take a fruit or some amount of glucose and try running after that.
You can experiment with foods containing high fibre carbohydrates like oats etc at night, do not worry about Heart Rate if your basic parameters are perfect as i mentioned in my last post. Just get examined near a cardiologist if the heart rate worries you. Take care!
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912879_tn?1247529359
I am a personal trainer at a well known gym.  I have a B.S. in Wellness, Health Promotion and Injury Prevention, as well as a minor in Exercise Science.  

First of all I have to say, I am a personal trainer, not a doctor.  You should always check with your doctor if you suspect there is something wrong.  That being said...

There are a few possible reasons for high heart rate at onset of exercise:

1. Make sure you are wetting your heart rate monitor's sensors (located on the inside of the chest strap) to ensure that it picks up your heart rate correctly.  This will also prolong the life of your HRM.

2. Your chest strap may be too loose--it should be tight--and it needs to be in direct contact with your skin at all times.  If the sensor moves around it is hard for your monitor to pick up your heart rate correctly.  

3.  If you are training with a HRM without a chest strap, you should know that they are less accurate than those with a chest strap.

4.  At the beginning of your run, the smooth muscle in your throat actually relaxes, and as a result more air can then reach the lungs.  It takes a few minutes for your smooth muscle to relax though, and for your heart rate to stabilize.  

5.  High heart rate at the beginning of a run can be a sign that you are OVERTRAINING.  One tell-tale sign of overtraining is an increased heart rate upon waking.  Other signs include: depressed mood, insomnia, headaches, increased aches/pains, decreased performance, injury/reinjury, decreased appetite, and illness.  You must include active recovery days in your running schedule.


Hope that helps!

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912879_tn?1247529359
P.S.  Your high heart rate may also be diet-related.  If you are on a low carb or no carb diet, your athletic performance will definitely be hindered.  Research has shown that those on ketosis diets (no carb diets) will only be able to perform at 70% of max.  Results for low carb diets are similar.  
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Avatar_n_tn
I have the same pb : high, even erratic heart rate for about 10-15 mns at the beginning of my run, and then it goes back abruptly to normal. However this just happens in the morning (around 6 am), not when I train in the afternoon. Kind of weird but the above exchanges seem to show that it could be some general lack of stamina in the morning...
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
There is an error in most of the facilities with the monitors which show heart rate, Physician can measure and can confirm your heart rate. Warming up before you start also helps. Proper diet coupled with cardio is advised. The total calories consumed should be less than required for your age and height when you want to lose weight and should be equal when you are stabilizing or a little more of protein when you want to add muscle, so dietician/trainers role is important in preparing you a neat diet chart, take care!
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912879_tn?1247529359
Hey guys :)

If I'm correct, you aren't using the HRMs on the equipment at your gym, right?  Although on many pieces of equipment, the HR sensors will EVENTUALLY pick up your heart rate accurately, they are usually painfully slow at best, and DrVinod is right, often the sensors will not be accurate in measuring your HR.  

I CANT STRESS THIS ENOUGH--Make sure you are dampening the leads/sensors on the inside of your HRM's chest strap (this ensures that you will get an ACCURATE reading--it also prolongs the life of your HRM), and that it is in contact with your skin AT ALL TIMES.  (Ladies, a helpful hint if you don't do this already, your HRM chest strap should run directly under the bottom of your your bra, this will ensure that it stays in place/in contact with your skin).
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi,

I am 36 years old and have been exercising consistently for over a year now.  I jog/walk three miles about 3 to 5 times a week.  When I'm not able to get to the track, I exercise using small hand weights and aerobic activity with an exercise DVD.  I weigh 164 pounds, and I am 5' 6" tall.  I bought a Polar FT7 HRT monitor over a year ago.  I am now using my second chest strap.  Here is my problem:  The monitor will sometimes beep and show readings over 200 even when just walking briskly.  Tonight, it read 233 when just sitting in the car and read 196-212 while just walking up to the playscape at the park tonight.  I physically take my pulse, and does not seem to be going that fast.  I went  to a cardiologist in October 2010 and had a stress test, echo, and a test that looked for a hole in my heart.  (I've also had occural migraines w/o headache a few times after heavy exercise; thus, the test for the hole in the heart).  All the tests came back fine.  I don't know what my next step should be:  throw away the HRT monitor and go back to manually taking my pulse...seems most logical.  Or, should I go back to the cardiologist and ask if there are any other tests I might need?  I have not done a 24 hour holster monitor.  Is this the next step?  Thanks for reading!  

Sally
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Avatar_m_tn
I had this problem recently and figured out the solution. Your shoes are too tight. Have you noticed that your feet are swelling up more when this happens? When your shoes are too tight, blood pumping to the feet can not return as easily to the heart and so the heart has to work harder. To test, try running barefoot and see if it still happens.
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Avatar_m_tn
I'd like to add some advice to my original post, which is that another major factor in heart rate jumps with heart rate monitors is not having a good enough connection. Meaning you need to wet your chest down more before starting your exercise. You'll notice that the heart rate only jumps for the start of the exercise, which is because it takes you that long to begin sweating and the sweat makes the connection with the heart rate monitor. Good luck.
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