How To Lower Heart Rate While Running? 7 Proven Strategies

Ever notice your heart racing during a run, feeling almost as if it’s trying to outpace you?

You’re not alone. Managing a high heart rate is a common challenge for runners, but there’s good news. Learning how to lower heart rate while running can transform your experience, making every jog, sprint, or marathon more enjoyable and beneficial for your health.

In this guide, we’ll share seven proven strategies on how to lower heart rate while running, ensuring you can focus more on the path ahead and less on the thumping in your chest.

Ready to take control of your heart rate? Here are the strategies we’re about to explore:

  • Maintain a consistent training schedule
  • Incorporate interval training
  • Focus on breathing techniques
  • Stay hydrated
  • Warm up and cool down properly
  • Monitor your heart rate
  • Adjust your pace

Dive into these tips to master how to lower heart rate while running and enjoy a safer, more effective workout.

What is a good heart rate while running?

A good heart rate while running varies by individual, fitness level, and age. It typically falls within 50-85% of your maximum heart rate (MHR).

To calculate your MHR, subtract your age from 220. For a more personalized training zone, aim for the lower end for light intensity and the higher end for vigorous intensity.

Heart Rate While Running by Age:

To provide a clear understanding, here’s a table showcasing the recommended heart rate zones for running based on age. These zones represent 50-85% of the estimated maximum heart rate.

AgeGood Heart Rate While Running (BPM)
20100 – 170
3095 – 162
4090 – 153
5085 – 145
6080 – 136
7075 – 128

Having explored the optimal heart rate ranges for running, we now transition to a critical inquiry. Why does one experience elevated heart rates even when maintaining a modest pace?

The forthcoming section will meticulously examine the factors contributing to this phenomenon, providing a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics at play.

Why is my heart rate so high when running?

Crop anonymous woman in smart watch using her phone to monitor heart rate

Let’s delve into why your heart rate might spike during runs, breaking it down into digestible bits with examples and numbers for clarity.

Reason 1: Dehydration

When you’re not drinking enough water, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body. Think of it like trying to drink a thick milkshake through a straw; it takes more effort than sipping water. This extra effort raises your heart rate.

Reason 2: Lack of Conditioning

If you’re new to running or getting back into it after a break, your body might not be used to the exertion yet. It’s like when you first start lifting weights; initially, even the lighter weights feel heavy.

As your muscles, including your heart, get stronger with consistent training, your heart rate during runs will start to lower.

Read: Benefits of jogging every day

Reason 3: High Temperature and Humidity

Running in hot weather or high humidity is like trying to perform a tough workout in a sauna. Your body has to cool itself down while also supplying oxygen to your muscles, which increases your heart rate.

For example, if you normally run with a heart rate of 150 bpm in cooler weather, don’t be surprised if it jumps to 160 bpm or higher on hot days.

Reason 4: Stress and Anxiety

Emotional stress doesn’t just affect your mind; it also has physical effects, including raising your heart rate. If you’re running while feeling anxious or stressed, your heart rate may be higher than usual.

It’s similar to how you might feel your heart race during a scary movie or before giving a presentation.

Reason 5: Overexertion

Pushing yourself too hard, especially during high-intensity runs, can cause your heart rate to soar. It’s like driving a car with the accelerator floored; eventually, it’s going to overheat.

Finding a pace that’s challenging yet sustainable can help manage your heart rate more effectively.

Reason 6: Poor Sleep

Lack of sleep can affect your heart rate too. When you’re tired, your body has to work harder to keep you moving, raising your heart rate. It’s akin to running with a heavy backpack; everything feels more challenging.

Reason 7: Caffeine Intake

Drinking too much coffee or energy drinks before running can spike your heart rate. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it’s like putting your heart on a treadmill before you even start running. Monitoring your caffeine intake on running days can help keep your heart rate more stable.

Understanding these factors can help you take steps to manage your heart rate more effectively during runs, making for a safer and more enjoyable exercise experience.

How to lower heart rate while running?

An Elderly Man Tracking trying to lower his heart rate while running

Lowering your heart rate while running is crucial for enhancing performance and ensuring a safe workout. Here are seven proven strategies to achieve this goal, explained in a clear and engaging manner:

1. Maintain a Consistent Training Schedule

Consistency is key in conditioning your body and improving your cardiovascular efficiency. By sticking to a regular training schedule, you gradually increase your heart’s ability to pump more blood per beat, lowering your heart rate during runs.

For instance, running three times a week consistently can lead to noticeable improvements in how your heart rate responds to exercise within a few weeks.

2. Incorporate Interval Training

Interval training mixes short, high-intensity bursts with recovery periods. This method boosts your cardiovascular system, enhancing your heart’s ability to recover and maintain a lower heart rate during sustained runs.

For example, after a 10-minute warm-up, alternate 1 minute of sprinting with 2 minutes of walking or light jogging, repeating this cycle for 20-30 minutes.

3. Focus on Breathing Techniques

Proper breathing techniques can significantly impact your heart rate. Deep, rhythmic breathing increases oxygen exchange and can help keep your heart rate more controlled.

Practice breathing deeply from your diaphragm rather than shallow chest breaths. A simple technique is the 4:4 rhythm, where you inhale for four steps and exhale for four steps.

4. Stay Hydrated

Tired runner man drinking water to lower his heart rate when running

Dehydration strains your cardiovascular system, causing an increase in heart rate. Ensure you’re well-hydrated before, during, and after your runs to help maintain a stable heart rate.

A general guideline is to drink about 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before running, and 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes during your run, adjusting based on weather conditions and personal sweat rate.

5. Warm Up and Cool Down Properly

A proper warm-up prepares your heart for increased activity, while cooling down helps gradually lower your heart rate post-exercise.

Start with 5-10 minutes of light jogging or dynamic stretches before running, and conclude your workout with 5-10 minutes of slow jogging or walking followed by static stretching.

This helps avoid sudden spikes or drops in heart rate.

6. Monitor Your Heart Rate

Keeping an eye on your heart rate can guide you to adjust your intensity in real-time. Wearable devices or heart rate monitors can provide immediate feedback.

Aim to stay within 50-85% of your maximum heart rate during runs. If you notice your heart rate climbing too high, slow your pace or take a short walking break.

7. Adjust Your Pace

Understanding and listening to your body is crucial. If your heart rate is too high, slowing down can help bring it back to a more manageable level. Over time, you’ll find the pace that allows you to run efficiently without overexerting your heart.

For example, if you’re consistently hitting a heart rate above 85% of your max during what should be an easy run, reducing your pace by 30-60 seconds per mile can help manage your heart rate more effectively.

Read: Benefits of slow jogging

By grasping what drives up your heart rate, you’re better equipped with the know-how to lower it. Applying these strategies not only makes your runs more enjoyable but also boosts your overall exercise efficiency. Remember, knowing how to lower heart rate while running is a game-changer for your fitness journey.

Final Thoughts

Wrapping up, mastering how to lower heart rate while running isn’t just about enhancing your performance—it’s about running smarter, not harder. Whether it’s tuning into your body’s hydration needs, refining your training schedule, or simply learning to pace yourself, each strategy opens a new door to a more enjoyable run.

Remember, every runner’s journey is unique, but the goal of a healthier, more controlled heart rate unites us all. So, lace up, take these tips to heart, and hit the ground running towards a smoother, more efficient stride.

Here’s to every beat of your heart working in harmony with your running shoes, guiding you to your personal bests with every step.

Read: How to run a 5 minute mile

Frequently Asked Questions

Is 180 bpm bad when running?

Not necessarily. A heart rate of 180 beats per minute (bpm) might be okay for young, fit individuals during intense sessions. However, it’s high for many people. The key is knowing your own limits and what feels sustainable. If you can talk while running at this rate, it’s probably okay for you.

Is a heart rate of 190 bad when running?

A 190 bpm is on the higher side for most runners. While elite athletes might reach this during peak training, average runners should aim lower. It’s crucial to listen to your body. If you feel dizzy, light-headed, or overly fatigued, slow down.

Is 170 bpm bad when exercising?

A heart rate of 170 bpm during exercise isn’t bad for everyone. It depends on your age, fitness level, and the intensity of the workout. For some, it’s a moderate pace; for others, it’s pushing the limit. Always aim for a heart rate where you can maintain control and conversation.

Is 200 bpm bad when running?

For most people, yes, 200 bpm is considered too high and could be risky. It’s important to ensure you’re not pushing beyond what’s healthy for your heart. If you reach 200 bpm, consider slowing down and consulting with a healthcare professional to discuss safe exercise practices.

Yves Rudyard
Yves Rudyard

Yves Rudyard, the author behind, is a passionate endurance athlete and dedicated student based in Germany. With years of experience in running and a deep love for the sport, Yves brings insightful perspectives, expert tips, and inspiring stories to the world of running through his blog.

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