What’s the Ideal Heart Rate When Jogging?

Anyone who jogs and runs for fitness should know how to pace themselves. Tracking your heart rate is the best way to know whether you’re working too hard or if you’re not pushing yourself hard enough to get any results.

It’s particularly important that you think about this if you’re new to running. Lots of novices tend to push their bodies too far before they’re ready, which stops them seeing results and can also damage their motivation levels before they’ve really got going.

How your heart rate affects your workout
Everybody is different. Our bodies and hearts work in their own way and we all have varying levels of fitness, so working out the ideal heart rate for your run is really important.

Everyone’s target heart rate is 50-85% of their maximum heart rate. By keeping within this zone when jogging, you’ll be sure to get the most out of your run and stop you from stretching yourself beyond your limits.

Run at 60-70% of your maximum capacity, and you’ll be improving your heart’s ability to pump blood and boosting your muscles’ ability to use the extra oxygen they’re getting. At this capacity, your body is essentially learning how to burn fat and use it as a source of energy.

Push up to 70-80% of your maximum capacity and you’ll be working on improving your overall cardiovascular fitness and increasing muscle strength.

Figuring out your ideal heart rate target zone
Try using the Karvonen Method to calculate your personal target heart rate. With this method, you’ll need to measure your resting heart rate when you first wake up in the morning. Count how many times your heart beats in one minute while you’re still lying in bed by feeling the pulse at your neck or on your wrist. To be really accurate, do this three mornings in a row and then take an average.

Working out your maximum heart rate is just as easy—all you have to do is simply subtract your age from 220. Then, use this formula to figure out your target heart rate:

Target Heart Rate = [(Maximum Heart Rate – Resting Heart Rate) × %Intensity] + Resting Heart Rate

So, the target heart rate zone for a 34-year-old who has a maximum heart rate of 186 and a resting heart rate of 74 would be worked out as follows:

For a 50% Target Heart Rate: [(186 − 74) × 0.50] + 74 = 130 bpm
For a 85% Target Heart Rate: [(186 − 74) × 0.85] + 74 = 169 bpm
In this example, the person’s target rate heart zone would be 130-169 bpm.

Monitoring your heart rate
So how do you keep track of your heart rate while you’re out for a jog?

You could just pause every so often and take a quick measurement of your pulse, especially if you’re just getting started with jogging. Otherwise, lots of regular runners wear specialised heart rate monitoring devices. There are also loads of different kinds of activity trackers on the market now, many of which are like smart watches, which can keep a fairly accurate record of your exercise routine and heart rate.

Good luck and most importantly, enjoy it!