This heart rate zones calculator uses your Maximum Heart Rate and your Minimum Heart Rate to calculate your Heart Rate Reserve – this is how much your heart rate can vary. It then calculates your heart rate zone boundaries as percentages of that Heart Rate Reserve.
For the values entered below, the Maximum Heart Rate should have been measured in a Maximum Heart Rate Stress Test. The Minimum Heart Rate should have been measured while standing still, first thing in the morning, or use the average recent resting heart rate from your activity tracker device.
In the absence of availability of a blood lactate response test, this heart rate zones calculator is a great option for determining all your training zones. If you are able to run for 75+ minutes comfortably, you should consider also doing a Heart Rate Drift Test separately to better determine your optimal fat-as-fuel adaptation zone.
This is a running heart rate zone calculator, but it would also be applicable as a cycling heart rate zone calculator, or for other endurance athletes to understand their zones.
Calculate your Heart Rate Zones from Heart Rate Reserve:
Remember that whatever values this heart rate zones calculator tells you, listening to your body is always the most important thing, so if you are struggling (effort is higher) to achieve a particular heart rate for a normal session pace, perhaps you are coming down with something, so always spend time thinking about what the physical effort related to any particular heart rate would normally be, rather than blindly following your heart rate monitor. This will help in races immensely and in interval training, with less distractions from constantly looking at your watch. You shouldn’t need a watch to tell you that you are working really, really hard! If you need more help understanding which zones to train in during the week, take a look at the personal running coaching options.
Other reasons that your heart rate might vary from normal are atmospheric conditions, dehydration and altitude, which can all have big impacts on your ability to hold a certain pace as you’d expect. Again, what’s your underlying perceived effort? That’s what you really need to replicate each time.
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