When to start running again?

Had PM installed on July 22nd 2008. Needed due to low pulse rate from time to time and pulse pausing and passing out. Had first check up a week after installation and all was good. I have been walking almost every night about 2 miles and no problems. Looking foward to start running again. Normal runs are 3 to 4 milses 4 times a week. Anyone out there who can tell me when I can start running again? What issues if any can I expect? Should I limit my miles at the beginning? Thanks for the help. Rick Warren



by ElectricFrank - 2008-08-04 08:08:48

It sounds like you are having no problem walking. The only things that might limit running is any pain from bouncing on the surgical sight, and the cardiovascular demand from running. As long as you don't move your pacer side arm above shoulder level you should be able to judge the rest by how it feels. As with any exercise it is a good idea to work up to to it over a few days.
Did you get a print out of the pre and post check up? This is a good idea and provides information for you and some of us here to use to make suggestions. At this point one of the important settings is the upper HR limit. Often after an implant the docs will be conservative with this setting and for someone used to exercise it is a problem. All will go well until you hit the limit and suddenly your heart starts to skip beats. A common setting is 120BPM which can support most walking, but is too low for running. If you don't have the printout I suggest calling the office and asking for the upper limit. While you are at it ask for the printouts.


When to start running

by rwarren - 2008-08-04 10:08:22

I did ask about the upper level and I was told there was not one set on my unit. I told them I was a runner and I had heard issues when the upper setting was to low. I guess I will find out in the near future. I plan on a short run next Monday. That will give me a little over 2 weeks. Only one way to find out. Thanks for the information. Rick

I agree

by tripastor - 2008-08-04 10:08:27


I agree with Frank, you need to move back into running slowly and guard your shoulder activity on the PM site. Also, your upper limit should be given attention...I ran tri's before and now after implant and my upper limit is set at 170. Normally high enough, but at times I go over that threshold.
Also, as your cardiovascular conditioning returns, you may find that your lower setting will need to be adjusted due to a slower resting rate.
Hope this helps, feel free to post back or send a private message if I can give you advice on your training.

Thanks Chris

by rwarren - 2008-08-04 11:08:31

You posted the same time as I answered Frank. My PM is set at 50 due my natural PM runs around 56 to 58 when I am not working out and a little slower when I sleep. My problem was my pulse was going into the low 30 area and then my pulse woule pause for about 3 seconds causing me to faint from time to time, I hope this will be the fix. My wife does not like picking me up off the floor. It will be 2 weeks Tuesday when I had the install. I do realize you have to be carefull with the arm above the head as I have been doing a little more then I should and I have been paying for it later at night. I know the Doc saids 4 to 6 weeks. Take care and thanks for the reply. Rick

Let Me Know!

by LIVE_STRONG - 2008-08-05 12:08:31

I had mine implanted July 25th. My Pm is for SSS or Sinus node dysfunction...depends on the day..what they call it.
But pretty much for the same reason as you minus the fainting.
Mine is also set at 50...and I was told I do not have an upper limit...all though the report says 170. So not sure..I guess I will find out the hard way also. I started walking yesterday...I will wait to run for another few weeks. I had mine implanted very deep as I am active.
One thing you might want to be cautious of..is your lead and pm are still "settling in". I would not care to run if it were only about the pain. From my understanding...we have to be careful not to dislodge the lead.....and let the pm adhere so we don't end up with problems down the road...but since I am new too..I could be wrong.
Best Wishes,

Upper Limit?

by axg9504 - 2008-08-06 06:08:00

I waited 6 weeks before running - fast walking till then.

Seems like a good time to ask about upper limit. My doc set it at 140 for me. I'm some 15-20 lbs heavier than when I could run years ago so I'm not fit, but I feel that the limit is holding me back as I try to get back into shape. I can't do sustained effort for very long and get out of breath. My Beta Blocker, I feel, is not letting me lose weight fast enough to improve my stamina, I feel that would help. The doc said this was an appropriate limit, he said raising the limit would not help. He didn't explain fully but said something about the heart adapting. I didn't press it because I felt I was not in shape and that things would work out when I exercised more and lost weight. Now it's like a Catch-22, I feel I need the beats to do better and lose weight so that eventually I will manage with 140.

I don't know what my rate was before I needed a PM, but since my natural conduction does work at times, I have seen spikes to 160 on my HRM (briefly).

Any comments? I'm 64 and the upper of 140 was I believe partly in deference to my age. I have never had any problems with high heart rates. Why have an upper limit at all?

No upper limit

by ElectricFrank - 2008-08-07 01:08:34

My take is that we need to pay attention to the upper rate we exercise to whether or not the limit is from the pacemaker. I am 78 and 150BPM is a bit high for me. I didn't have any intention of going that high, but wanted to handle it myself. The problem is that the way the pacer enforces the upper limit is to skip beats, which I don't see as a good thing when we are at a point where we need the blood flow. I have found that when I exercise to maybe 130 and then back off my HR will overshoot to maybe 135 before coming down. By having mine set to 150 I can easily limit myself to 140 and have head room for overshoot.
I had to convince the cardiologist that I wasn't some irresponsible jock who was going to try to operate at 150.


Frist run

by coketbone - 2008-08-18 01:08:40

I'm 8 weeks post OP for SSS same as you. I have no upper limt since my heart has no issue on the upper side. My Dr released me to start running after 6 weeks. I was jogging 25 to 30 miles per week at about a 11min pace before the surgey. The thing for me was how much I had lost as far as endurence. I also gained 25 lbs while I was not running. When you do start back start slow and know that you will back to were you were at with time. For me I have to remember I'm not 25 anymore I'm 52 it is going to take a little while to make it back. Good luck, run slow and you will get there. Thomas

Return to Running

by tjkirk - 2008-09-04 05:09:00

Hi Rick,

I'm 43, am an avid runner and cyclist, and had my first PM implanted about 6 weeks ago on July 21st. I resumed running 2 weeks after the implant (with my doctor's OK) and haven't experienced any major problems with running. (Other than the heart block/syncope problem, I don't have any other known heart disease or issues). I've been training about 15 miles a week, and have even thrown in speedwork, as I'm preparing for some 5Ks in a few weeks.

One thing I did notice when resuming running is that I was a lot slower then before the syncope (July 17th) episode which led to my PM implant.I have always trained with a Polar HRM, so am pretty attuned to where my HR should be at at a given pace. This is gradually getting better though.

My advice is resume running when you're doctor says its OK, and take it easy at first and gradually work back up in terms of mileage and pace. Good luck!


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