Running vs Cycling Max HR

by John

Max HR on the bike vs. running :

"I am currently running the introductory weeks to the 4:00 plan. I haven't done a lot of running before and am enjoying the training so far.

I completed two max HR tests over the last few weeks as described on the HR page of your plan. My HR seemed to rise to maximum within only about 2-3 minutes rather than 5, but max was 197 on the first one and 196 on the second.

However, records on my HR monitor from a few weeks ago show a previous max HR of 219. This was while cycling up a fairly steep hill in hot sun at the end of a 30min ride. I was pushing quite hard, but was not going "all out"...

Should I just ignore this higher cycling max HR and continue with my running max HR from the tests? Using 197 as max seems to be about right compared to the effort descriptions if I run in the higher end of the zones (it is maybe a few bpm too low for the easier zones).

For background information: I am 24, my resting (lying down) HR is currently 48 and I ran 5km in 26 minutes 2 weeks ago."

Answer: Hi John and thanks for the question.

First of all, the max achievable heart rate will generally be higher on the bike comoared to running IF you are not equally used to both sports - but a better cyclist. The point is, you will always be able to get a higher heart rate usually, in the sport you are the most used to - due to larger recruitment of muscles/the general economy of the movements allowing a harder affort.

So IF you are former biker, turned into a runner now, the 219 might be righh, however, if you are not a former VERY good cyclist - I would suggest that there has been an error with your watch during that ride. In either way, stick to the "running one" for now - of just below 200 but do monitor his closely so see the pattern re-appear in running and if so : adjust the max.

I wish you all the best !


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