Heart Rhythm Community
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335551 tn?1195373546

skipped beats & very high max heart rate


Im 36 years old, male. I started running November last year. Prior to that I was into mountain biking and bike commuting, averaging about 130 miles a week.

There are many things I discovered about my heart when I started running and wearing a heart rate monitor. First, is that I have a maximum heart rate of 221 as recorded by the HRM! I could not believe it that I even bought a more expensive HRM only to get the same results. At conversational pace, I am at 190 beats per minute.

Second, I experienced skipped beats last March. It woke me up at midnight. This coincided with runs of about 13 miles long. The pattern is random but could be as frequent as one skip every 2 to 5, and last from 15 mins to an hour. I consulted with a doctor who did EKG and blood tests. Results were all normal except for a "first degree heart block" which he said not to worry about, and I can continue with running.

Last August, I consulted again with another doctor just to make sure, because I was planning to run a marathon this January. He ran a lot of tests, including EKG, echocardiogram, stress test, and blood tests for thyroid, ca+, etc. Results were all normal. There were no recorded the skipped beats. I was cleared to run.

Now I'm halfway into my marathon training, and the long runs are about 15 miles. The skipped beats are back!

Is this something to worry about? Should I stop training? The skipped beats themselves don't scare me now unlike before. What I'm scared of is dropping dead during my training runs or the marathon. They have become a nuisance because I don't get enough sleep at this stage of training.

2 Responses
Avatar universal
Why do you want to run a marathon?   Skipped beats are a result of too much stress.  And your body is telling you to stop.  Set a new goal or get in shape more slowly so your body can adapt better.
Avatar universal
I have the same problem. I went to a cardiologist and had the full set of tests, plus I ran with the holter monitor twice. The first time they did not record skipped beats, but the second time I had lots of them. My resting HR is 58 but overnight it gets as low as 39. While running it gets up to 175 and if I push it too hard it going into a pounding race and I have to jump off the treadmill and go down to a walk immediately. The cardiologist diagnosed it as an AV block. I'm not sure of the type but he has sent me on to an electrophysiologist to talk about treatment options. They can ablate the AV node and reduce the racing HR. The low HR may require a pacemaker when I get older (only 49 now).

In any case, my cardiologist says I can keep running but to pace myself to avoid the racing HR. I find that adding walking breaks to my running helps keep my HR down and I don't feel skips or racing.

I am training for a 1/2 marathon and feel perfectly safe.  Your "body" is not telling you to stop, but you may need to moderate your pace to manage the AV block. It is probably a degenerative condition and may get worse as you age.
Ask your cardiologist about treatment options. Stopping running is not necessary. Anyone who suggests that is not a runner!

Hope this helps.
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