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What is a Good Resting Heart Rate for a Runner?

One of the major benefits of any cardiovascular exercise is that it will make your cardiovascular system more efficient, stronger, and healthier.

The improvement of this system in the body is caused by your body adapting to the physical demands of running or another cardiovascular exercise. 

The oxygen transfer between the lungs and the bloodstream becomes more efficient, your muscles gain endurance and crucially, your heart becomes stronger. 

What is a Good Resting Heart Rate for a Runner

The heart is a muscle just like any other muscle. And just like any other muscle, the heart can be trained to become bigger and stronger which will, in turn, allow it to pump blood more easily.

As your heart becomes more powerful it doesn’t need to beat as quickly to ensure adequate blood flow is achieved. This is because each individual beat of your heart is able to pump out more blood due to its increased strength and efficiency.

This means that anyone with a good fitness level, particularly runners, tend to have low heart rates due to the strength of their entire cardiovascular system.

It isn’t possible to say exactly what someone’s heart rate is or should be as it will always vary slightly depending on numerous factors such as whether you’re rested or not, stress levels, illness, latent fitness levels, age, air temperature as well as your diet and use of medications.

As a general rule, young, healthy athletes may expect to see a heart rate in the region of 40 beats per minute (BPM) when rested, compared to an average person’s heart rate of around 60 to 80 beats per minute.

Some particularly unfit or unhealthy people may have higher heart rates which can be a sign that a lifestyle change may be required.

In the same way that very unhealthy or unfit individuals can have abnormally and potentially dangerously high heart rates, athletes can actually have dangerously low heart rates in certain conditions.

If an athlete’s heart rate is too low they may experience fatigue, dizziness, or weakness which can be a sign that their heart rate is too low.

Some athletes even develop a heart condition known as Athletic Heart Syndrome, which is typically harmless and presents as an arrhythmia, or an irregular beating of the heart. It can sometimes cause chest pain, fainting.

Always seek medical attention if you’re experiencing symptoms like this, as this irregularity will typically show up during an ECG/EKG making for easy diagnosis.

As mentioned above, however, generally a lower heart rate is a sign of a healthy person when achieved through exercise and means your heart and lungs are efficient and strong.

What should my heart rate be running a marathon?

This depends on the particular person, and a wide range of factors come into play. 

For the average athlete in their mid 20’s, a person’s heart rate might be around 160 beats per minute, based on a maximum heart rate of 200bpm and a resting heart rate of around 50 bpm. 

When running or training any type of cardiovascular endurance, you should be maintaining around 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. This will help you gauge how intense your workout is relative to your own personal fitness level. 

To work out your own maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220. If you’re running a marathon you will want to be staying within the 50 to 85% ratio depending on your fitness and experience level. 

In general, when performing any sort of cardiovascular exercise you should be able to maintain a conversation throughout, as a quick and easy way to see how hard you’re working.

How much blood can an elite marathon runner’s heart pump per minute?

An elite marathon runner is someone who has trained their cardiovascular system to be as strong and healthy as it can be. Their training regime and diet are strict and their health carefully monitored. 

They will often have some of the most efficient cardiovascular systems in the world, as well as often being genetically predisposed to a majority slow-twitch muscle fiber composition and a very good VO2 max. 

All of these factors allow elite runners to pump blood far more effectively than sedentary or unfit individuals, as well as allowing them to extract oxygen from the blood more efficiently.

Most elite marathon runners will be able to pump around 40 liters of blood around the body every minute. This is 84.5 pints of blood being pumped at around 160 beats per minute. This indicates how much stress the body is under during intense physical activity and how impressive it is to achieve this level of physical fitness. 

Being able to push your body and mind to extremes of this type are some of the most impressive feats of athletic achievement and why marathons are some of the most challenging events a human being can ever undertake. 


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