A blog by runners. For runners.

Training by heart rate: getting started


You’ve probably heard a lot about heart rate monitors but you may not know exactly what they are, how to use them, or why they matter. If that’s the case, you could be missing out on hitting your training and racing potential.

bluetooth-integration-relatedMonitoring your heart rate during running helps you to stay within paces appropriate for your current level of fitness.

The simplest way to determine your maximum heart rate, is to use this equation: 220 minus (-) your age. Note: this is just a quick estimate. If you’re interested in a more exact number, ask your doctor about a stress test.


  • Easy runs should be run at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  • Tempo runs should be run at 80 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  • Intervals should be run at 95 to 100 percent of your maximum heart rate.

A 30-year-old female runner would have a maximum heart rate of 220 – 30 = 190 beats per minute. Therefore:

  • Easy run: Heart rate between 114-133 beats per minute
  • Tempo run: Heart rate between 152-171 beats per minute
  • Intervals: Heart rate between 180-190 beats per minute

You can also use your heart rate monitor during races to improve your performance.

  •  A 5K race can be run at 95 to 97 percent of your maximum heart rate for the entire race.
  • For a half marathon, it is recommended to stay within the range of 85 to 88 percent of your maximum heart rate.
  • For a marathon: your pace should be maintained within 80 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate.

Running with a heart rate monitor is a great way to have reliable data to improve your skill as a runner. Heart rate monitors can improve your performance and enhance the quality of your runs.

Written by Danielle Bressoud.

Related WalkJogRun app update: bluetooth heart rate monitor integration

*Stats from Runner’s World.