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  1. #1
    Riding, always Riding fore0121's Avatar
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    Heart Rate Training / LT Training

    Hi all.

    I've finally started using a HR monitor during my riding and would like to get some input on some of the results I've been getting.

    Beginning to mid year I had reached a plateau in my weight loss at 193-195 lbs (down from 230) and still want to get rid of another 25 lbs. I felt I was just 'out for the ride' too many times without really having a focus, so I wanted something to focus on to bring the intensity up a bit. I had an HRM, but never had a proper test to see what my max HR was. If I was to go by the generic 220-age, I should be dead according to my HR on the bike. I have a high max HR for my age. One of the trainers at my gym put me through a couple of tests on the spinning bikes, I was able to get to a max of 190 bpm. We are using that as my Max HR.

    So, I've been working in these zones:

    65%-75% = 123-142 bpm
    75%-85% = 142-161 bpm
    85%-95% = 161-180 bpm
    95% - Max = 180-190 bpm

    When I say 'working in these zones' I really mean I have been monitoring my heart rate, not really structuring a workout to work in the zones. My last three months have been about seeing where it goes, trying to raise it, and feel how hard am I working to get it there.

    For the first month or two I would do an endurance ride keeping my HR between 170-175 bpm for about 50 minutes and it would be a struggle. As that got easier, I was able to get up to and sustain 180 for about 30 minutes. Now, my last few spin classes I am able to get to and sustain 185 for 30 minutes. The thing is, I don't feel tired (well I don't feel I need to back off, not that I'm not tired) when on the bike, but after a week on the trainer and on the bike (2-3 spin classes for 1 hr, 2-3 outdoor rides for 2-3 hours) I'm whipped.

    So, questions. Some admiditly are basic but I have never really done any structured training before, so bear with me:

    1. Is the goal of HR training to be able to sustain a higher HR level for a longer period of time? Is this training to "raising your Lactate Threshold (sp?)"
    2. How do you calculate your LT? By feeling when it builds up in your legs and checking your HR?
    3. I seem to be able to get my HR up really quick now, and subsequently bring it back down to 75%-95% pretty quickly, Normal?
    4. I feel it is really difficult to work below 75%, it seems way too easy. OK to stay above that level? if not, how do you back it off (I even start off slow and can't stay there, my legs just want to go).
    5. What different workouts could be tried (endurance, sprints, etc.) to structure the week a bit more?

    Any other HR training would be great too. Once I get an understanding of this, I might be able to step up to some real training with a power meter (just can't justify the cost of one for my purposes yet!).

    As always, thanks in advance for your input.
    f
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    - Event Services

  2. #2
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fore0121
    1. Is the goal of HR training to be able to sustain a higher HR level for a longer period of time? Is this training to "raising your Lactate Threshold (sp?)"
    2. How do you calculate your LT? By feeling when it builds up in your legs and checking your HR?
    3. I seem to be able to get my HR up really quick now, and subsequently bring it back down to 75%-95% pretty quickly, Normal?
    4. I feel it is really difficult to work below 75%, it seems way too easy. OK to stay above that level? if not, how do you back it off (I even start off slow and can't stay there, my legs just want to go).
    5. What different workouts could be tried (endurance, sprints, etc.) to structure the week a bit more?

    f
    Hmm...
    1. It depends on your goal. One school of thought is that if you keep your heart rate down during low-intensity exercise you're burning the most fat and by keeping the intensity low you can do it all day. If you're looking to get faster/stronger on the bike, i.e. training for racing or something, then yes, you need to work at or near LT to first raise your LT, then maximize your power output at LT.

    2. Joe Friel, author of the Cyclist's Training Bible, does it like this--go out on a flat course and do a 30-minute, all-out TT effort. Your average HR for the last 20min of this is roughly your LTHR.

    3. Being able to get your heart rate up is a good thing, as is quick recovery. If your HR is shooting up and your legs feel tired or you're lacking energy, though, it may be a sign of stress/dehydration/whatever. That's where some of the confounding factors of using HR to measure workout intensity come in.

    4. Again, this depends on your goal. If you want to spend the day burning fat, stay below 75% and enjoy how easy it is. If you want to push harder you certainly can, but when you're training you need to balance easy days, hard days, and rest days. Going as fast as you can every day isn't really a great way to train if you ask the big names in the field.

    5. This totally depends on your goal. Sure, you can throw in some intervals, tempo, whatever you want, but you need to decide what you want to do on the bike. If you want to race crits, your training focus will be different than if you want to finish your first century. "The Ultimate Ride" and "The Cyclist's Training Bible" are good places to start if you're more into the racing thing.

    Another thing I would recommend to you is to count the calories you take in every day. That's the other critical part of the equation if you're trying to lose weight. A lot of times riding, especially hard rides, will make you really hungry and you use the ride as an excuse to pig out--at least that's what happened to me when I started racing. You do need to keep an eye on what calories are going in, just as much as the ones you're burning on the bike.

    I hope this helps.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  3. #3
    Riding, always Riding fore0121's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight DrPete. Some additional information your questions raise:

    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    Hmm...
    1. It depends on your goal. One school of thought is that if you keep your heart rate down during low-intensity exercise you're burning the most fat and by keeping the intensity low you can do it all day. If you're looking to get faster/stronger on the bike, i.e. training for racing or something, then yes, you need to work at or near LT to first raise your LT, then maximize your power output at LT.
    My goal is to be a stronger rider, with race possibilities in the next year or so. I feel like a strong rider (Currently do my solo efforts of 50-80km at 30kph average) but have been stuck at this performance plateau also. Weight loss is important, but I would say is secondary (only by a hair) at this point. I feel the weight loss would also improve my riding (obviously) and that is the goal.



    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    2. Joe Friel, author of the Cyclist's Training Bible, does it like this--go out on a flat course and do a 30-minute, all-out TT effort. Your average HR for the last 20min of this is roughly your LTHR.
    I will keep an eye on this on my next endurance spin ride. In recent rides like this it seems like my sustainable HR has gone up from 170 to 175 to 180 for this length of ride, am I to take this as my LT is rising as my endurance improves?

    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    3. Being able to get your heart rate up is a good thing, as is quick recovery. If your HR is shooting up and your legs feel tired or you're lacking energy, though, it may be a sign of stress/dehydration/whatever. That's where some of the confounding factors of using HR to measure workout intensity come in.
    I would say some days it shoots up, but not tired legs. I feel when I have tired legs my HR is generally low and it is difficult to raise it.

    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    4. Again, this depends on your goal. If you want to spend the day burning fat, stay below 75% and enjoy how easy it is. If you want to push harder you certainly can, but when you're training you need to balance easy days, hard days, and rest days. Going as fast as you can every day isn't really a great way to train if you ask the big names in the field.
    Two to three of my days are short 1hr spin classes, going easy on these days seems like a waste for the short time period. The outside rides, hey I just want to go!


    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    Another thing I would recommend to you is to count the calories you take in every day. That's the other critical part of the equation if you're trying to lose weight. A lot of times riding, especially hard rides, will make you really hungry and you use the ride as an excuse to pig out--at least that's what happened to me when I started racing. You do need to keep an eye on what calories are going in, just as much as the ones you're burning on the bike.

    I hope this helps.
    Great advice, I take this liberty far too often. Especially since I go so hard (for me) on all my rides. That begs the question, how many calories should a 195 lb guy be taking in during the day?
    Last edited by fore0121; 08-17-06 at 09:21 AM.
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  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    1) your Lactate Threshold HR is much more relevant, and a better measure to base a program off of than your max HR.
    2)If you're regularly doing an hour at 97% of your max HR (which I honestly doubt, not that you are doing what you say, but rather that's somethings off in one or more of the measures) you're training at too high of an intensity.
    3) this is more complicated than anybody can explain in a single post. Buy either Friel's or Carmichael's book.

  5. #5
    Riding, always Riding fore0121's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    2)If you're regularly doing an hour at 97% of your max HR (which I honestly doubt, not that you are doing what you say, but rather that's somethings off in one or more of the measures) you're training at too high of an intensity.
    Agreed, I think the calculation may be off, or I just have a hugely high LT .

    Thanks for the book references.

    f
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  6. #6
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    I personally got Friel's book and thought the info was good, but got a little overwhelmed when piecing together a training plan. Their website, www.trainingpeaks.com, has some great features that make it easier. For instance, there's a "Virtual Coach" feature where you enter info about your strengths/weaknesses, tell it how much time you want to devote to training per year, and enter your racing schedule, and poof! out comes a training plan. The training log is very valuable, and I might start using their online nutrition tracker as well--haven't gotten that hard-core yet.

    At $20/month or $119/year it's a steal compared to the low-end CTS packages which don't let you build around more than one event per 5 weeks, though I will admit that the TrainingPeaks user interface was daunting to learn at first.

    If you're looking to race next season, I would consider a training race or something this fall, then use a good, structured program like CTS or trainingpeaks to really build over the winter months.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  7. #7
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    If you're regularly doing an hour at 97% of your max HR (which I honestly doubt, not that you are doing what you say, but rather that's somethings off in one or more of the measures) you're training at too high of an intensity.
    Yeah, 97% of my max lasts a minute or two, tops. Then it quickly becomes 100% and that's the end of that.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  8. #8
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    Another thing I would recommend to you is to count the calories you take in every day. That's the other critical part of the equation if you're trying to lose weight. A lot of times riding, especially hard rides, will make you really hungry and you use the ride as an excuse to pig out--at least that's what happened to me when I started racing. You do need to keep an eye on what calories are going in, just as much as the ones you're burning on the bike.

    I hope this helps.[/QUOTE]

    +1


    Yeah on the weight loss thing...I lost most of my weight in the off-season when I was doing a lot of long rides at low to medium intensity. Once I started racing, hit a plateau. I didn't come off that plateau until I started incorporating some longer rides into my training. It can be difficult to balance the fueling needs of high intensity exercise with weight loss. Right now I have some very hard days of Vo2max/AC training and then some easier days to recoup. So I'm not putting in as many hours as in the base building phase.

    Also, I find like Dr. Pete that high intensity exercise drives my appetite through the roof. It can be hard to control that. I can put out say 1000kJ of work over several hours of moderate riding and not get hungry. But if I take the same amount of work over a very short period of time via high intensity intervals or racing, then I get hungry much more often.


    You'll lose the weight pretty quickly in the fall. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just try to eliminate any snacking you might be doing, reduce # of trips to starbucks for latte/mocha/whatever and stuff like that. Make it a point to have a small recovery meal after a hard ride to replace glycogen stores. This may help with the hunger issue after doing intervals.

  9. #9
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    Make it a point to have a small recovery meal after a hard ride to replace glycogen stores. This may help with the hunger issue after doing intervals.
    +1 to that. I've started drinking Endurox after hard rides and I find that I'm not quite as hungry afterward. Chocolate milk does the trick too if you're on a budget.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  10. #10
    Riding, always Riding fore0121's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input.


    Quote Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
    Also, I find like Dr. Pete that high intensity exercise drives my appetite through the roof. It can be hard to control that. I can put out say 1000kJ of work over several hours of moderate riding and not get hungry. But if I take the same amount of work over a very short period of time via high intensity intervals or racing, then I get hungry much more often.
    I totally feel this. Apetite spikes after hard efforts, but a longer ride or even a group ride where there is less effort on the whole I don't feel that bad.

    Anyone have any input as to how many calories a 195 lb guy should be taking in?
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    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fore0121
    Thanks for all the input.

    Anyone have any input as to how many calories a 195 lb guy should be taking in?
    You know, that's the big question. There are a ton of calculators available online for basal metabolic rate, etc. Since I'm right at 200# right now, I think I might be able to help. Mine is right around 2700 kcal/day for my level of activity during the day, and this is the big "fudge factor." My true RESTING metabolic rate is around 2000 kcal/day, but this doesn't take into account the fact that I do things other than bedrest throughout the day.

    For me, I settled at about 2700kcal/day and use the OwnCal calorie-counter on my Polar S725X to measure calories burned in my workouts. This has helped me keep my energy up for racing and still keep my weight stable. In fact, I'm losing about 1/2lb per week now.

    BMR + calories burned from exercise = number of calories you need to maintain weight.

    To lose weight, most sports nutritionists recommend no more than a pound per week from my reading. So, since 1lb of fat equals about 3500 calories, the number you really want is:

    BMR + calories from exercise - 500 = number of calories to eat every day to lose 1lb/wk.

    Like I said, find a BMR calculator on the web that takes into account your level of activity during the day, underestimate it if you're not sure, and start there. If you're still gaining weight (or not losing it), you may need to dial back that BMR number.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

  12. #12
    Coastal NC oneradtec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPete
    Hmm...
    1. It depends on your goal. One school of thought is that if you keep your heart rate down during low-intensity exercise you're burning the most fat and by keeping the intensity low you can do it all day. If you're looking to get faster/stronger on the bike, i.e. training for racing or something, then yes, you need to work at or near LT to first raise your LT, then maximize your power output at LT.

    2. Joe Friel, author of the Cyclist's Training Bible, does it like this--go out on a flat course and do a 30-minute, all-out TT effort. Your average HR for the last 20min of this is roughly your LTHR.

    3. Being able to get your heart rate up is a good thing, as is quick recovery. If your HR is shooting up and your legs feel tired or you're lacking energy, though, it may be a sign of stress/dehydration/whatever. That's where some of the confounding factors of using HR to measure workout intensity come in.

    4. Again, this depends on your goal. If you want to spend the day burning fat, stay below 75% and enjoy how easy it is. If you want to push harder you certainly can, but when you're training you need to balance easy days, hard days, and rest days. Going as fast as you can every day isn't really a great way to train if you ask the big names in the field.

    5. This totally depends on your goal. Sure, you can throw in some intervals, tempo, whatever you want, but you need to decide what you want to do on the bike. If you want to race crits, your training focus will be different than if you want to finish your first century. "The Ultimate Ride" and "The Cyclist's Training Bible" are good places to start if you're more into the racing thing.

    Another thing I would recommend to you is to count the calories you take in every day. That's the other critical part of the equation if you're trying to lose weight. A lot of times riding, especially hard rides, will make you really hungry and you use the ride as an excuse to pig out--at least that's what happened to me when I started racing. You do need to keep an eye on what calories are going in, just as much as the ones you're burning on the bike.

    I hope this helps.
    I agree with practically all of DrPete's advice here...but making a detailed science out of counting calories is a little 'hard core' for me. Hard training does make you hungry...and for very good reason. You have emptied your tank, and the body will need a good infusion of nutrition to restore glycogen stores, support protein synthesis, and other factors related to recovery. I am much more at ease if I 'pig out' after a hard training session than if I pig out while watching football all day. The food will be utilized in an entirely different manner under each scenerio(football and pizza versus recovery meal after hard training). You burn a lot of calories and energy when doing a long hard ride...and thus you stimulate the need for additional calories during the recovery period which takes place in the following hours..and even days after the intense training.

    This is not to suggest that I eat pizza and cheeseburgers after a hard session. That said, I don't believe that it is too counterproductive to take in increased loads of protein, some fats, and complex carbs.

    The things I most avoid at all costs are the sugary garbage..such as ice cream, milk shakes, cakes, puddings, cookies, etc etc. But if I train intensely enough, and long enough, I don't feel at all guilty about having a 16 oz prime rib with baked potato. There is something about intense riding that makes me crave red meat.

    I notice that when I take my weekly mileage up to 170 miles or above, I am able to pay much less attention to my diet. I seem to lose weight no matter when my mileage hits a certain level. I also think that the higher your mileage goes...the hungrier you will be, and the more calories you will require for recovery and maintenance. What is more...let's not forget that it's not just about muscles and fat cells either. Your brain needs food too.

    Just my thoughts.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Snicklefritz's Avatar
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    If you have hit a plateau and you are also wondering how much to take in, consider doing a test for RMR/BMR. There is this thing, I think it is called MedGem, where you breathe into a tube for 10 minutes, while sitting extremely still. The number you get back is a good indicator of BMR/RMR. I think there are differences between the two but I forget what exactly it is.

    anyways, I found that the BMR calculators underestimated my caloric needs. I was several hundred calories over what they all estimate. So I guess I have a fast metabolism.

  14. #14
    Long-time Curmudgeon DrPete's Avatar
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    Please understand I'm not suggesting that you not recover properly. Recovery drinks, a high-carb meal, whatever--It's just been good for me to be aware of how much I burn during a ride because I'll almost always be able to eat WAY more than I need to after a ride if I'm not careful.
    "Unless he was racing there was no way he could match my speed."

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