HR - Keeping in Zone

I posted earlier that I purchased a Polar FT4. At set up it had my resting HR at 80. My HR Max at 173, then it calculated the "zone" I should stay (65%-85%.) 113-147. I notice that during work outs on my elliptical, I have a really hard time staying in that zone. I try really hard but I am always over 85%. It was usually reading I was at 155 or so, give or take. This was only after being on the machine for 6 minutes at a medium interval, (Machine has level 1-Level 12), I have set it for a program that goes 30 minutes ranging from Level-2 to Level 6.

When I try to drop it back down, I am going so so slow on the elliptical. the machine registered "fat burn range" not "aerobics" and it said I was out of pace.

Can someone tell me why I should stay within zone? Should I change my zone?


  • TrainerRobin
    TrainerRobin Posts: 509 Member
    Oh boy. I know this one -- from being a trainer -- but mostly from personal experience. My experience may shed some light on your dilemma.

    I have a bit of a heart issue (having to do with rhythm) so I see a cardiologist. When I first took up running again (about a year and a half ago), I ask him about this and we had a little "talk" that lasted about 20 minutes. And for clarity's purpose I did ask him if his advice was so strict because of my "condition" and he said no. The same rules he shared with me applied to everyone.

    I had asked him how in the world I could become a runner again, when my heart rate soared above the 80% to 90% rate with barely any jogging. He said that I just needed to stay within my zone, walking if necessary, when it went over 90%. He explained, ad nauseum, why that was noting (long story short) that our hearts are not meant to operate at or over 100% for any extended period of time and he explained the risks of doing that (not a pretty picture). I expressed my frustration with having to stay in the zone because my legs weren't tired, I wasn't breathless at all, and I had plenty of energy and felt good. In short, he would NOT give an inch and told me that if I just hung in there, and was persistent, that would change.

    As frustrating as it was, I did -- and it took me about six months to be able to consistently run at a decent clip, even up the big hills we have in our area, without busting out of the 90% max zone. If it's hot out, I have to go slower and if it's a monster hill, sometimes I have to slow to a SLOW jog (really slow!!) or even a walk if it's hot and hilly, but it is working out.

    If you were sitting in his office with me and heard the entire explanation, I guarantee that you'd follow his advice too. Know that you're in good company, and that patience does pay off. Eventually, you will be able to go further, faster, without your heart racing too fast.

    He also explained that some meds can contribute to a higher HR (like my thyroid meds) but he said I needed to respect my HR just the same. No pushing harder just because the meds may be contributing. My heart, he said, doesn't care. I need to follow the rules despite my conditions and frustrations. Just like everyone else, he emphasized!!

    Your heart monitor is invaluable for this. Listen to your monitor and slow down when you get too high (or slow). I know it's frustrating, but things will improve with time ... and patience! :)

    Good luck!
  • brittybee23
    brittybee23 Posts: 16 Member
    Good Question!! I always sky rocket out of my range, but not sure how to drop back down!!
  • katmarsc
    katmarsc Posts: 118 Member
    Thanks Robin.

    I can't wait for the weather to get warmer, so I can start my walking again. If I have to be a "snail" to keep my HR in the zone, I would rather do it breathing fresh air. At the pace I was going last night, i barely could get the "steps" a full circle around without warning bells telling me I was out of the zone.. LOL..