Just like running at your happy pace, your heart likes to beat at a happy pace, too. A runner needs to stay within a healthy heart range. For moderately intense activity, you should shoot for 50% to 70% of your maximum heart rate. For vigorously intense activity, 70% to 85% is the max. To find these percentages, you will need to do a little math:
For 50% max heart rate: 220 – (your age in years) x 0.5 = beats per minute
Example: 220 – 25 years x 0.5 = 97.5 bpm
For 70% max heart rate (example): 220 – 25 years x 0.7 = 136.5 bpm
Or, to simplify things, the Mayo Clinic has a heart rate calculator on their website. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/target-heart-rate/SM00083
Now that you know how to calculate your heart rate, here are a few tips for taking your pulse:
There is a pulse point on the inside of the wrist, just below the thumb, near the wrist creases. This is your radial pulse.
There is a pulse point on the side of your neck, just under your jaw. This is your carotid pulse.
Use your index and middle finger to take your pulse, do not use your thumb. Your thumb has a pulse of its own.
Count your pulse “beats” for 30 seconds, then multiply by 2. This will give you your beats per minute.
You can use these helpful tips to stay within a healthy and happy heart pace while you train for your marathon. Find your happy pace.