I am doing HIIT running. I push myself to 85-90% of my maximum heart rate in the high intensity interval. In the rest phase, my heart rate usually stays high for a while, then quickly drops. I jog between the intervals. What is the optimal heart rate for the rest phase? Or in other words, what should be my heart rate when I start the next high intensity interval?

  • How do you know your max heart rate? And please don't tell me it's 220-age. – JohnP Mar 5 '14 at 15:18
  • @JohnP When I do 8x200m intervals, I reach 170bpm. I believe this is 90%. It fits with all the guestimates as well. – MartinTeeVarga Mar 5 '14 at 15:37
  • Also just checked, the maximum heart rate I've ever reached during 3 years of running training was 177 bpm. From the profile of the track it was a sprint uphill. That might be very close to 100%. – MartinTeeVarga Mar 5 '14 at 15:43
  • OK, good. I just wanted to check it wasn't a bad formula. 220-age is one of the worst myths in exercise science. – JohnP Mar 5 '14 at 16:55

Your heart rate will stay quite high for a while after your high intensity interval, this is perfectly normal. The period of time it stays high will reduce as your fitness improves. When i do interval training I will be looking for my heart rate to settle back down to around 65-70% of maximum before starting another high intensity interval. Basically at the lower end of your aerobic zone. If I drop down any lower I find that i have effectively "warmed down" and too much of the high intensity interval is wasted getting my HR back up into the anaerobic zone.

Hopefully this makes sense?

  • Same question - How did you arrive at what your max heart rate is? – JohnP Mar 5 '14 at 15:19
  • @Jimsan It makes sense, but has anyone ever did any research? Before the HIIT you are supposed to warm up. Then of course before you reach the target rate, your actual HR will be much lower. I am wondering whether I am supposed to calm down to a walk HR, jog HR or ever higher... I've done a lot of HIIT without thinking about it :) – MartinTeeVarga Mar 5 '14 at 15:46
  • I have been trying to find some research as it's a topic I am interested in so I can train to the peak of my ability. I'll keep looking and update my answer if I find something of interest. @JohnP I use a HRM and a test like this – Jimsan Mar 5 '14 at 16:33

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