I'm a big fan of using heart rate monitors during runs since it'll tell you your exact effort level. If you're sick or not well hydrated, that info will reflect in a higher heart rate compared to a typical run.
My resting heart rate is average: 65-75 beats per minute (bpm). But, my max heart rate has always been high - well over 200 bpm. Today, on the long, steep, uphills around mile three of my four mile run I pushed my heart rate up to 207 bpm, yet I still kept falling behind my running buddy. I had built up a solid one tenth of a mile lead at the beginning of my run knowing that the uphills were coming, but I ended up giving back all of my lead, plus I fell behind my running buddy by a tenth of mile. Luckily, the last three quarter miles of the run were down hill and I managed to sprint it and beat my running buddy by about 75 feet.
When I first started using a heart rate monitor in 1995 I was concerned that my high max heart rate was an issue. But, it turns out that it's not. Just like a person's height, your max heart rate is mostly a factor of hereditary. Statistically, your max heart rate will drop about one bpm/year as you age throughout adulthood. However, your resting heart rate is a factor of fitness - so, the better shape that you're in, the lower your resting heart rate. Less heartbeats equals a longer life - all things being equal.
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