In another article about the Snowdon Mountain Race and Inov-8 F-lite I’d mentioned a strange fitness affliction. Many runners — and others who train their bodies — report abnormal heart beats or arrhythmia. Some years ago, I became alarmed with my own heart beat. Sometimes, during relaxation, the heart skipped beats: instead of a nice steady oooooooo I had an interupted oo oo oo. After a visit to the GP and subsequently to a cardiologist for thorough testing my heart was found to be structurally ok and I was thankfully given the green light to carry on running. Over the past 15 years or so these episodes of missing beats have come and gone with very little pattern. The only consistency being that they usually occurred when I was quite well-trained and some hours after a hard session or race.
Recently however, the irregular or skipped heart beats had been returning to a greater degree and also not always whilst resting. Accompanying these symptoms was an apparent dip in fitness; typically about a minute over 5k, but anything up to about 10%. Anyone who runs or trains regularly would be somewhat concerned by this alone and should be asking themselves a few questions about the training they are doing. I had a big race coming up: the Snowdon Mountain Race. In an effort to encourage my heart to behave I cut the training more than usual and also completely cut out caffeine (known to upset heart rhythm). Seemingly this had worked, because up to race day I’d been free of symptoms. But, after a short warm-up, standing at the start I could feel the tell-tale signs of my skipped beats and sure enough as I stood there with finger on pulse I could feel my heart regularly missing one beat in three. I was rather surprised and more than a little alarmed; of all the things that are going to work a heart to its max then running 5 miles up the highest mountain in England in Wales will be near the top. Was I worried? Strangely not really, maybe my mind was more occupied with the thought of staying upright on the way down (which proved to be the biggest danger anyway), or maybe after travelling 7 hours to the race the day before I didn’t fancy dropping out at this stage. Unsurprisingly, I was slower to the top than I should have been, by about 10%. Sure it felt hard (as it always will), but I’m not sure if my perceived effort was affected by some unconscious worry — probably it was. So, that little episode convinced me to do two things:
- take some time off running
- visit the GP
Fortunately, the GP is quite fitness orientated; he’d even experienced similar missed heart beats himself. He said that although my heart was checked out 15 years ago, any structural defects would have been revealed then, so there was no real need to repeat them. Nevertheless, he did book me in for an ECG. It was an interesting visit, he suggested that the missed beat is not a missed beat at all, but more likely a strong beat after an unnoticed extra beat immediately after the one before; the ECG should confirm this (if of course I am symptomatic at the time). One very revealing fact he mentioned was that on my previous visit about this all those years ago, I had also mentioned a dip in performance or fitness; I’d forgotten that. He again gave me the green light. So, what to make of all this. Well, it’s at times like this that it’s useful to have been keeping a running or training diary. Mine tells me this: I had been running well at the end of last year, and then over Christmas and New Year I was very poorly with flu. It completely flattened me and I had two weeks completely off with no training at all, and even after that I was on very light duties for another week. Since then though, I’ve trained at a consistent level without any breaks apart from a couple of days after a marathon. So, my training has been largely unbroken for more than 7 months (why is that we often do what we’d advise others not to do?). I don’t think that I’m symptomatic of over-training, but there could be some connection with my flu at the beginning of the year — it was pretty bad. Sometimes we never know why certain things affect us the way they do. Nevertheless, at this stage, taking a bit of time off from running seems a natural thing to do. I will of course expect to lose a bit of fitness, but I’ve not been responding too well to training lately anyway, so there’s not much to lose in the short term. We’ll see what happens when I resume running training in a couple of weeks. I’ll be interested to hear about other experiences of missed or irregular heartbeats; leave a comment below about your own .
Interesting further reading:
British Heart Foundation, Abnormal Heart Rhythm
MSD Manual, Ventricular Premature Beats
American Heart Association, Exercise Induced Ventricular Premature Beats
Paul Wheeler says
Hi all, I’m 56 years old and have been a runner for over 40 years now. I have experienced ectopic, missed or extra beats for many years now both at rest and whilst training. I have also experienced svt ( rapid heart rate) on occasions. I had a thorough check by a cardiologist and all is well with the heart itself. Lately I’m getting clusters of extra and missed beats while warming down from fartlek session which, although harmless , make me feel anxious and have to stop and walk untill they pass. Its good to read orger peoples storiesand to assist each other. Paul from Hampshire, UK.
Thanks Paul, it’s certainly not unusual, and you’ve done the right thing getting checked out by a qualified person.
I still experience missed beats mainly while resting, and often after drinking coffee.
Chris Davidson says
Hi, Interesting. I am 62. Until I was 58 my HR was very steady, max 164 bpm. Since then various chest HRM often record my max at 220! I went to see a cardiologist who did a Bruce test, said heart structure was sound and that I shouldn’t use a HRM! I don’t feel missed beats. I can be running / cycling steadily at 130 bpm and then suddenly Garmin chest HRM shows 190. Wrist based Fitbit always shows lower level.
I must admit I have had very little success with chest-based HRM, I probably have an odd-shaped chest. The most reliable device I’ve used is the Polar OH1 optical HR sender that goes around the forearm or bicep.
Interesting that you were getting reliable readings before. Could there be any interference on a particular route, maybe from overhead power lines?
I guess you’ve manually checked when you see the excessively high reading; just stop and count beats for 6 seconds (x 10), that will tell you if it’s actually your heart or the device that’s playing up.
Frustrating, but if the cardiologist has checked you out, that should provide some reassurance for you.
Debbie Voiles says
Fascinating read. I am 66-year old female distance runner troubled by palpitations. Happened the first time 10 days before 2019 Boston Marathon. Had it checked out by cardiologist , ultrasound and Holter monitor. By then, it was fine. Cleared to compete.
Now, keeps happening again. Off and on, mostly late in the day and often when I awake, and I find my heart rate gets much higher much faster when I run than it used to, requiring me to stop and walk.
I’m very healthy. No meds. Good blood pressure, but I live in Florida where it’s over 80 degrees with high humidity.
I think it could be electrolyte imbalance. but I am very aware of that. I eat a lot of the foods high in electrolytes and take electrolyte capsules when running. I worry that I’ll take too much, which is equally dangerous.
Have a script for a calcium scoring test but that is a whole year’s worth of radiation. So, would rather not. Had one ten years ago. Score was zero.
I’m quite anxious. Don’t know what to do next.
Thanks for your comment. It is a worry for sure. The number of comments on this page indicates that it’s widespread concern for many others in various forms too.
I’ve been running now for nearly 30 years and probably been experiencing irregular beats for 15. It’s not always apparent and is probably slightly less frequent now I’m not training to quite the intensity I used to.
I’ve not experienced a racing heart whilst running, at least not knowingly; I don’t run with a monitor. I have found that often when I start to run I get very breathless for the first couple of minutes, but that’s probably an age thing.
I guess I’m past worrying about it now; it’s certainly not getting any worse.
However, there is a need for caution. Two runners I know well have both experienced more serious heart conditions. Both have been exceptionally good runners and would have been training at a high level for many years. One has since returned to more relaxed running, the other not; he was told if he experienced another episode, he would lose his driving licence. Of course, we don’t know if these people, and others similarly affected, would have had heart problems if they had not been runners. To be blunt, we don’t know if running has nearly killed them or saved their lives.
You have had a much more recent cardio check than me, so I would be reassured by that. However, I’m no doctor and obviously cannot advise. I think even the specialists scratch their heads when trying to figure out the complexities of the well-trained heart.
Now, we have a new and comparatively under-researched complication, that of Covid-19 and its effect on the heart. What is particularly interesting is the complications and after affects of Covid-19 on those who were otherwise asymptomatic. This article on Forbes website describes in more detail.
By the way, I checked out your website, what a wonderful business/community/resource you have built over there — fabulous.
Paul Wheeler says
Hi I’m a 53 year old man who’s been a runner for over 40 years. For the past few months I have experienced extra abd missed beats whilst running and at rest. I’m due to have a monitor fitted and to see a cardiologist to fing out what’s going on.
I’m still training but at a slow pace as I’m terrified to go faster! I also suffer with anxiety which I feel is at least compounding the situation,if not the cause.
What was the outcome of your tests?
Nearly 80 yrs old, beginning of a run, if I start off fast, about 3 or more minutes get pain in upper back, and inner thoracic region. HAVE to slow down for couple minutes or it’ll get really bad. Then back to normal and can run for another 45 minutes at decent pace (for me, maybe 10 – 11). Had all the tests, all perfect (even nuclear stress test). Every kind of doctor, head scratching. Finally this morning did a test; run in place, fast squats, running in place moving arms a lot. After about 2-3 min got the pain; put my hand on neck pulse: oo oo oo , not necessarily a beat skip, just irregular. After about a minute went into strong regular pulse o-o-o-o-o…. THAT’s what was happening at the beginning of my runs if I start off at regular pace or higher, esp going up a slight grade. Otherwise, totally healthy and very active and strong. For what it’s worth.
Thanks for your inspiring words Stan, another interesting take on the peculiarities runner’s heart.
54 year old male runner, 35-55 mpw. I was at the end of a stretch of five weeks racing 10m or half marathons every week and had an intense bout of anxiety. Started feeling a lot of extra beats and after five days went to the cardiologist. She did an ecg and said likely PVCs, I had a stress test six years ago with echo and all was normal and a calcium scan at 37. On 10mg of crestor. She said go ahead and run to my heart’s delight since I’m asymptomatic otherwise and come back in a month if the frequency didn’t reduce. I have had these once in a while in the past during low sleep stretches but never have lasted quite this long. I have found magnesium (400 mg of mg citrate, taurate) +coq10 (30mg) seems to be settling down. 10 days later I feel one every few minutes and hope they fade away. I am keeping my running on the lower end of mileage for a few weeks to see what happens, but am doing a 10K tomorrow and a half next week. From all I’ve read this is pretty common and can be managed with some of the steps mentioned above. Getting freaked out about them is counterproductive.
Another example of symptoms being more prevalent as physical activity intensifies.
You make a useful point about not getting too stressed about it.
As always, seeking reassurance from a health pro should help to reduce anxieties.
Stewart King says
Hope this helps some.
I’m a 57 year old competitive cyclist .I started to get extra beats mid season,hr would sore up and down in warm up to frightening levels.
I had bloods,ecgs, holter monitor,I’m a paramedic and showed my ecg to every doctor I knew and no one could give me the cause,I felt fit and well.
Eventually my wife nagged me to take magnesium 1000mg.
Within 2 days all symptoms had gone.i resumed racing and finished the season with some great performances.
At the end of the season I stopped taking it and they returned,back on it now and they’ve gone again.
It’s another example of how complex our mineral requirements are and how exercise can reveal deficiencies.
It’s definitely worth getting checked out, I guess most medical practitioners will assess blood readings.
I think with magnesium, overdosing can be pretty serious too, so best to ensure any deficiencies are confirmed before supplementing.
Great that you seem to have nailed your issue and it’s a useful pointer for others.
Nico Ricci says
Hello.. Glad I found this website or page, as I am kinda losing my mind over this..I am a 64 YO male, 5’5′ , 129 lbs, that has been running for over 40 years, about 50-60 miles per week. My heart started skipping beats, about 6 months ago on a regular basis, and getting worst, as I start out on my training runs, I now, actually have to stop at about a half mile, then a mile, then a mile and a half to catch my breath, and then it feels like my heart starts beating better, weird, huh?.. anyway, I was a 21 minute 5k runner, ( high 21, in March ),a and last month I ran a 29:05,running as hard as I could, with my heart skipping beats, running out of breath, and getting the ” sympathy ” clap as I finished the race.. Gave up Caffeine, went to GP, Had tons of blood word done, came back ok, checked all Hormones levels, checked out ok, was told not to run,( like any real runner is going to stop, maybe slow down), they put a Holter monitor on me to check the beats, and scared me by saying that if the blood pools up in the top of my heart, it could lead to a stroke.. but the weird thing now is that when I’m done my run, I burp up gas, the Dr. says I must be swallowing air on my runs.. anyway, waiting for the results of the holter.. but they are convinced it is an electrical problem,,, stay tuned..
Thanks Nico, that’s another one that shows us how strange our bodies are. Any more news?
I just wanted to add that I also have skipped beats, which really caused me some anxierty when I first noticed them – to 5e point that I actually paid a visit to the doctor. They come on when I am relaxing, just about to doze off in the evening.
I have a resting HR of around 50bpm so my Holter showed a low heartbeat of 35 bpm when it was skipping beats. Cardiologist recommended a pacemaker 🙁 so I went to a sports doctor for second opinion – Did a full stress test and everything came back better than OK.
As you mention, I was also burping a lot and feeling tightness in centre of my chest, around solar plexus. – a few minutes into a run.
I investigated this a bit and read that a hiatal hernia can press on the vagus nerve as well as cause the feelings of tightness and burping.
So, I started to do a couple of exercises to alleviate the hernia symptoms (quite common over 40 yrs) which included massages and also jumping off a step with nothing but a pint of warm water in your stomach – at the end of which I would burp a lot.
Almost immediately I stopped feeling the tightness when running – and now when I do get it, I don’t make it worse with anxiety.
I do still have bouts of skipped beats, but it affects me far less now that I know a possible cause.
Please look into this – it might help.
David Smith says
I am a 65 year old male. I have been running since my mid 20s but mainly sprint sessions.
At around 62 I realized was missing beats occasionally so I went to a cardio. He said your heart is in good shape (as a pumping device) but you’re heading for a pacemaker as you have sick sinus syndrome.
I had very little trouble with missed beats over the next 2 years. About 1.5-2 years ago I had 3 respiratory viruses over about 6 months and after that my running capability dropped quite noticeably. Could not run as fast and could not do as many reps.
In Sept 2016 (just before my 65th birthday) I suffered a condition known as Ventricular Tachycardia and had to be shocked out of it. I was hospitalized for 9 days and they said you have good coronary arteries, very low cholesterol but there is a “tiny” scar on your left ventricle and this is has generated a dangerous arrhythmia. They were going to put me on amiodarone but since my pulse was low (45) they decided to hold back. Then without warning I went into a VT storm event which lasted about 15 hours and nearly killed me. I had a pacemaker/ICD installed in Sept 2016 and was placed on amiodarone and beta blockers. Amiodarone makes me feel bad but it saved my life and probably still is. I was also found to be low in Magnesium and now take a supplement and have regular “red blood cell” magnesium tests (as opposed to serum tests). I now get bigeminy and trigeminy beats every day. My message is; take magnesium, be careful and don’t ignore missed beats. I was 1 Klm away from a hospital and ambulance station when I got the VT attack. I might easily have been somewhere else.
Thanks David, all very useful information. It seems we have a wide variety of heart conditions, and as always, the message is: if in doubt, get checked out.
dr mike buck says
A shade off the age of 70 years, I have exercised all my life and until my fifties used to run 10K regularly. More recently, on a declining spirometry, my excursions are more of a modest trot to blow the tubes out. Recently, exercising on a stepper to achieve 120 bpm, on occasions I experience a storm of PVCs (one in three) resolved by a brief period of rest (BP 115/70). I have had a long history of occasional periods experiencing PVCs at rest (one in ten beats) in the evenings, declared “fit” by a cardiology consultant 5 years ago. Nonetheless recent developments give concern. Wondered what the group might think of this (BTW – I am a doctor of biochemistry).
Interesting Mike, your history seems similar to mine: missed beats at rest in the evening.
I too have been checked out and passed ‘ok to run’ by a consultant after extensive tests.
My own skipped beats are less frequent now, although my training levels are lower than previously. Ironically, the phenomenon seemed always more pronounced when my fitness levels increased.
(PVC: Premature ventricular contraction)
I found this site via Google and am glad to read that I am not the only one suffering from this. I’m a male 54 YO runner, not the elite type of runner but someone who would run at a 9:00-10:00 pace. My first episode occured when I was 20 around Christmas time. I had just finished finals and was watching TV when I noticed that I would get a head rush feeling. I then noticed that my heart was skipping beats and then seem to try and catch up, which caused the head rush. I went to the emergency room and was given digoxin and my heart fell into rhythm. I met with a cardiologist that week and he told me that I had probably stressed myself out with too little sleep and partying after finals. He told me that if it ever happened again that I should stay home and rest. Inevitably it happened again several times and staying on my back seemed to help. Thirty years later, I started to get skipped beats once a month and now at 54, it is happening almost once every week. I too have gone to hospital to be told that my irregular heart rate was fine. I have also noticed that if I don’t exercise for that day but then go out for a run on the next day, my heart rate will return to normal mostly. I was getting ready to call my doctor again but what I think I will do is to start keeping a heart diary and wait until January, during my physical, to talk with my doctor. I’m learning to live with it but it still bothers me when it happens. Hopefully, someone will find a way to fix this without drugs or surgery. On a side note, my brother suffers from this too. He is not a runner but does regularly hit the gym for weight training. So maybe it is genetic?
That’s all really interesting and helpful Joe. I think keeping a ‘heart diary’ is a great idea; we all think we can remember this info reliably, but often forget the details when we speak to the medics.
Keep us posted.
Joe Garcia says
I posted earlier about having atrial fibrillation and that it was occurring weekly. Finally, I had enough and decided to push to see a cardiologist. Turns out that I officially have AF and that I can still continue to train. I have been given a prescription of Metoprolol (beta blocker) and told to cut back or cut off alcohol (a trigger of AF). The prescription seems to be working but the beta blocker does make me a little winded while keeping my heart rate down. My doctor recommended that I read, The Haywire Heart by Chris Case, John Mandrola, and Lennard Zinn. The book is a fascinating read and is dedicated to athletes who have develop heart arrhythmias. My doctor said that at this time I am not a candidate for ablation, which I am thankful for since it seems to be hit or miss. I am hopeful that I can control my AF and hope that it may disappear. Time will tell!
Thanks for the update Joe, and thanks for the book recommendation, I’ll check it out.
Good luck in the future.
I know this is long but bear with me here, I might be able to help someone out
I’m a 26 year old male runner. I’ve been running (and occasionally cycling) my entire life. I’ve been experiencing these skipped beats or ectopic PVCs/PACs which doctors call it for the past 5 years. Sometimes they happen during a run while the heart is under significant stress and sometimes after while at rest. When I’m running, they usually happen when I’m really exhausted say the final mile of a 5k run when I’m really pushing it. More so than that, they happen as soon as I’m done running. They’re pretty scary and at one time my heart skipped every other beats for 2 minutes straight that forced me to call 911. Funny enough, as soon as I started talking to the paramedic over the phone, they were gone. I’ve visited several GPs and had numerous ECGs, Echocardiograms, Stress tests, Holter monitors and even Event monitors done in the past few years and nothing came up. The only thing my doctor saw was that I had an average of 35 PVC beats during a 24 hour period which is pretty normal. He said he would only be concerned if I had around 20,000 ectopic PVCs or more within a 24 hour period which would make me a perfect candidate for ablation (a procedure in which they zapp a certain region of the heart to make palpiations or SVTs or PVCs/PACs go away. Although this procedure is risky and only has a 70-80% success rate. Patients who fail this procedure are usually implanted with a pacemaker). In fact, my doctor even encourages to run for as long as I like since my GP believes its strictly anxiety related (I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder several years back). Its really hard for me to believe that skipped beats are anxiety related because on some days when the weathers bright and sunny and super nice outside, I’m totally happy and in a good mood to go out and run they STILL occur. I used to be able to run 10 miles straight in a single run ok with no problem, but now I can’t even run the final mile of a 5k without suffering from these skipped beats, PACs/PVCs or whatever you call them. I kind of live in fear from these skipped irregular heart beats now because the last time I ran a 5k, I ended up calling the paramedics. I really felt like I was going to have a heart attack. I’ve been scheduled to meet one of the top cardiologist/electro-cardiologist in my area but I’m on a 3 month waiting list. should mention also as a few other writers have mentioned, is that I’ve noticed certain foods/drinks trigger them. I would encourage anyone out there reading this to definitely get tested for any food allergy by a certified Allergist physician in your area. For me, the main triggers are caffeine (coffee, tea or EVEN decaff tea/coffee, chocolate, etc.) and onions. Yes I know, really crazy but its true. I’ve experimented with various foods and found onions to be a significant factor in these ectopic skipped beats. One final point I should mention is potassium and magnesium deficiency are one of the common minerals/nutrients that are lacking in most people who suffer from these. There was a study done in Brazil in a medical journal which stated that people who started taking magnesium supplements had a reduction in skipped beats by more than 77%! Foods highest in magnesium are green leafy vegetables such as Spinach, Kale, Swiss Chard, Broccoli, etc. I’ve visited the ER at many hospitals for this numerous times and at one visit they gave me liquid potassium which looked like yellow colored Gatorade but tasted like crap. The potassium king out there is Bananas. I have a 3 month waiting list so until then, I’m following a whole foods Plant based diet (vegan if you want to call it) and halting my exercise regime in the time being.
Good luck to anyone out there and I hope doctors can figure out what’s wrong with us!
That’s really interesting Adam, thanks.
Keep us posted, and good luck along the way.
Kate Hilliard says
Thanks for sharing. Very similar story to yours and also doing a plant based diet x
I’ve read your post and it’s really a big help.
Well for me, I have a different situation.
I’m doing triathlon before, been riding long distance on weekends, and insert run on weekdays.
Joined half-marathon, joined 2 short distance triathlon, and i’ve never experienced skipped beats ever.
But when i try to sell my tri-bike and slow down on my activities, i just got palpitations randomly then here comes
the skipped beats.
I got labs, ecg, 2d echo, executive panel, stress test, and nothings wrong.
So what i did is get back to my activities and train again, but my heart rate rises up pretty quickly and when i bike
and climb some uphill, my heart rate rises up and skip beats happen.
Also when i swim, just a slow pace, im getting skip beats in a while.
I have magnesium+calcium supplement , and take up Usana Essentials, well it does show progress, but skip beats is still there. I guess i need to slow down on my training and maybe build up endurance again.
Tom Porretta says
Hi I’m a cyclist and ride 100 – 150 miles a week most of the year. I also go to the gym for strength/cross training. I’ve been experiencing a lot of what appear to be skipped heart beats while exercising and for a few hours afterward. I don’t seem to have any symptoms and I don’t feel anything. I can only tell my heart is skipping when I stop and check my heart rate. HRM shows nothing. I’ve been seeing my cardiologist and had the whole range of tests. Last week he ordered blood tests and results showed my potassium levels as marginal. The common thread actoss all the commentators here is we all workout and sweat a lot. This can lower potassium levels. From what I gather potassium is a major factor in conducting electrical singles in the body and in the heart. Electrical signals regulate heart rate. Could this be a cause for the skips?
That’s interesting and useful info. It is certainly worth investigating further for anyone with this experience.
Anyone who sweats a lot should be aware of mineral levels, so that covers most athletes and anyone else works out regularly. Obviously, skipped beats are a signal to get checked out by a health professional, and maybe it’s worth confirming that potassium levels are as they should be.
I was chatting to another runner recently who had just had a health check. He doesn’t smoke (but drinks a bit), and is quite a useful runner, so is in generally very good shape. The doc said he had high blood pressure (which low potassium can also affect). He was surprised by this news.
It’s easy to assume that just because we exercise regularly — and even train quite intensively — that we are in fine physical condition. It’s seemingly not always the case.
As ever, if in doubt, get checked out.
Aaron David Screaton says
Dear fellow runners,
I have been running consistently for about 3 years now, and really making and effort to run at least 5 times a week in the last 3 month. After about a year of practice I am now able to run 5k at 21 minutes. I have also been able to lose 8kg of body weight, which is the main reason I run. All my life I have suffered with extra/missed beats. I am 29 now and started getting them when I was 15. They used to scare the hell out of me. However I was checked out with an ultrasound of my heart 24 7 monitor and the normal regular cardiologist stuff. That was at age 19. Getting back to more recently, I have been running crazy amounts and doing it in a really short time. My heart rate has gone from 80 – 90 BPM when I was 19 to now sometimes being 45 BPM at rest. I never have any dizziness or pass out this far. Basically when running like others in here I wil start to get the missed/extra beats in the last 1k of my run. They don’t seem to happen in a row but occur until I slow my running down. I want to know, can we continue to just run through them? They happen to me nearly everytime now and always when I’m really tired! Can they be dangerous? What advice were you given? Do they occur because we are allowing our heart to go about 180bpm? Anyway I’m glad to be somewhere we all share the same problems!
Personally, I can’t detect missed beats whilst running; I’d need to stop and be still for a moment or two to be able to feel the pulse (I’m assuming you are not relying on a HRM for this info). Having said that, my own missed beats are always experienced in a relaxed state (although I don’t really know what’s happening when I’m running hard).
It’s seems quite common in trained athletes to experience missed beats at rest. I would think that irregularity under stress (i.e. hard running) is something rather different. I know you’ve been checked out in the past, but the recommendation would certainly be to get a review.
We are all different and it’s impossible to obtain a proper assessment without personal examination by someone who is qualified.
sandy macaulay says
This is all very interesting.. I have been feeling irregular heartbeats while I’m running! into about my 5-7th mile lately.. I’m not a fast runner my any means.. 9ish min pace.. I’m 57, 5’3″ 110lbs great shape have been a runner/racer for 33+years.. It happened again yesterday into mile 6.. I had to walk, felt nauseous.. I have walk a to bring my heartbeat back to where I feel ok.. then pick up my running again.. I’m thinking it could be the heat, but its never bothered me before (live in Atlanta) sometimes it wakes me up when I’m sleeping too. Feels like my hearts going to burst outta my chest?? post menopausal maybe? Would love to hear from other woman runners out there… I also lift 3-4 days a week and ride1 day a week.
Thinking I need to make an apt with a cardiologist?
Certainly worth getting checked out Sandy.
I know it’s not uncommon for people who train reasonably seriously to experience missed beats at rest. Not sure about during exercise sessions though.
Let us know more detail when you have it.
I have had skipped beats for the last five years. When I first noticed it I got a full work up up by a cardiologist- ultrasound, ECG, nuclear stress test, and 1 week 24/7 with a holter heart monitor. The doc said my heart is fine and this. Is something that just happens. He told me I could excercise (I’m a cyclist) as long and hard as I wanted without any restrictions whatsoever.
My polar HR monitor couldn’t interpret the irregular beat correctly. It often showed rates that were way too high or too low. By the way, my Apple watch does show the correct rate.
The other day I did a long, hard, and hot (I live in TX) ride and upon checking my pulse during and after learned I wasn’t skipping any beats. The next day, a rest day, It was skipping every third or fourth beat as it is right now.
I can’t predict when it will skip beats nor can I tell if it’s skipping or not without feeling my pulse. Though I don’t notice a negative effect on performance I can’t help but think missed beats have to have a negative effect.
I think this all may have started after drinking too much whiskey one night. What I thought initially was just a hangover was accompanied by heart palpitations I could feel. That was the first time I’d ever noticed skipped beats.
That’s interesting, thanks.
Not too dis-similar to my own experience: apparent following hard training, and skipping 3rd or 4th beats.
Although I can very definitely feel the missed beat and the thump of the next one which is much more obvious than a normal heart beat.
To date, no other symptoms, and like you, the doc says it’s nothing to worry about.
I’ve not come across the alcohol association, but I guess it is a toxin and maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised if it has other effects on the body aside from those we all know.
Personally, it’s not been present for a while, but I’ve not sustained hard training for a while either.
That’s interesting Anthony, thanks.
It seems to be something that even the health professionals don’t fully understand, and the advice we are given varies according who we consult. Unsurprisingly many doctors lean to the side of caution. I’ve never experienced loss of consciousness, but still occasionally experience missed beats especially if I’ve been training hard over a few days or more (which doesn’t often happen these days). I’m not sure if it’s the increased stress of the training that causes my skipped beats or the state of being in a fitter condition.
Always worth recording these experiences in the training diary to see if any pattern is evident.
Anthony Johnson says
I have also experienced several episodes of syncope associated with skipping heart beats. In 2010 a temporary pacemaker was tried but not implanted. I was given the green light to continue running. In May 2015 I was hospitalized for four days associated with syncope and skipped heart beat. I was given all the test including not to implant the pacemaker. My fitness has declined significantly. I formerly ran 10-12 miles easily but now struggle to run 3 at 2-3 minutes slower pace.
I’am a 43 year old fanatic of exercise and I could only say that i am some what relieved that I am not the only crazy person feeling these skipped beats. I do feel that at times I wonder if the heart is made to work so hard ( let’s not forget that its the only muscle that is still functioning at all times of the day even as we sleep) so do we really need to exercise it as much as we do ?????
I question that.
I would strangely feel my skipped beats after 2 or 3 days after a hard cardio workout. I had all the test done and they all said that the skipped beats are happening at places that are no danger to me and so I could go on with my regular exercise program. I disagreed to that so I have decided that I will focus more on my muscular training then my cardio.
Again I think society is being brainwashed about cardio exercise and lets not forget the hole economic effect and down turn if they come out saying that cardio is not necessary, could you just imagine ( NIKE,ADIDAS, REEBOK and big tread mill equipment companies would just freak out )
So my believe is that the human heart is made for spurts of intense workouts accompanied with several minutes of rest. So I have decided to walk everyday and do more muscular training and I have been feeling much better then when I was training cardiovascular.
I too have been having some heart beat problems During training. I play basketball but not on a high level. In fact I haven’t been training regularly for years. I get to play around 3-4 times a month from autumn to summer and the on summertime I play as much as I can. And as Im on the court I occasionally start noticing that my heart is pounding so strongly (weird is that I haven’t been running around that intensily but rather been quite cool and then suddenly swooping around) and get a dizzy feeling. When I get on a bench to sit and try to rest a bit my heart keeps on going at the same insane pace for a while (a whole minute maybe even) and then when it starts to slow down it goes something like . . . . O .. . O . . . . This episode was just today. Thankfully the irregular beats were gone 30 minutes later but even after 30 minutes my heart beat was at 114. EKG showed up fine. Anyway I have to wait in line now for a month to see a cardiologyst and don’t know if I should skip training until all the necessary tests are done. If anyone who reads this and recognizes themselves in it then please be a good fellow write about your experience.
Tough Mudder Erinn says
Like you I too have had skipped heart beats post runs, I was fine at my last marathon, however while training 2 months back I developed the arrhythmia that seemingly has no pattern, besides happening a day or two after a run. I have been seen by my GP who gave me the all clear, however it still scares me a little from time to time. Glad to hear of other runners that have experienced this. I just ran an 11 mile mud run the other day & have had 2 skipped beats since then. Hoping it goes away again soon! Thanks for posting this!
Hi I was a marathon runner until I was experiencing presyncope prevasovagal episodes and irregular heart beats, usually after a run. I never passed out but I was concerned. Having all the test and resulting needing a pacemaker. I haven’t trained like I did in the past because usually 2 hours after a run I have an irregular heart beat again and feel kind of weird. The Cardiologist said I could run, hoping I can in the near future. I love the training, never felt bad during, just hours after. So now a new recipient of a pacemaker I am slowly getting back to walking, running and biking. My suggestion to you to get all the tests done to check your heart. My fear was sudden death, like you hear in some runners.
Look forward to hearing from you,