Maximum heart rate testing for running


Testing for your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) is a useful training tool (refer to my HR training zones article and power Vs Heart Rate training article for more information).
There are a number of ways of testing for your Running Max HR (testing for maximum cycling HR can be found in this blog)

If you would like a personal training plan, using these training tools, please go to and let me help you achieve your training goals.

1. Running Max Heart Rate – Test 1
Least recommended method – 220 minus your age.
(it is strongly believed this has many shortcomings, and although is a simple method of calculating your max HR it is the most inaccurate).

2. Running Max Heart Rate – Test 2
Lab test – VO2max, lactate threshold and running economy are often completed in a sports science laboratory to monitor physiological fitness.
(These tests are often expensive and difficult to get regular testing done, but are the most accurate).

3. Running Max Heart Rate – Test 3
Most easily done and close to lab test accuracy – Max HR step test
(To determine Max HR you have an athlete complete an incremental run on a treadmill to exhaustion).
Max HR step test requirements –
rested athlete, treadmill, HR monitor, helper
Test protocol –
1. Commence the test at a slow speed.
2. Every 3minutes the speed of the treadmill is to increase by 1km/hr (NOT the slope)
1. Increase the running/treadmill speed continuously until the athlete reaches exhaustion.
2. Stop the test at the final speed you can maintain for at least one minute.
3. With the use of a HR monitor, you can measure maximum heart rate (max HR) & therefore determine your own heart rate zones.