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Old 12-07-08, 04:55 PM   #1
Austinite
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Confused about Friel's HR stuff

I only just started measuring heart rate on the bike and I'm reading Friel's book. I'm confused about the lactate threshold vs max HR thing. I did a ride today in the hills where my max HR on the computer was 180. Assuming I was going uphill at that point about as fast as I could have, would 180 be my *max* or would that be my "lactate threshold"? It matters because his zones are based on % of lactate threshold and other zones I find elsewhere are % of max HR. No, I'm not gonna use my age in the math.

Also, his zones don't take any account of resting heart rate. Isn't that important, since my resting HR will likely drop as I get more fit?
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Old 12-07-08, 04:58 PM   #2
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I only just started measuring heart rate on the bike and I'm reading Friel's book. I'm confused about the lactate threshold vs max HR thing. I did a ride today in the hills where my max HR on the computer was 180. Assuming I was going uphill at that point about as fast as I could have, would 180 be my *max* or would that be my "lactate threshold"? It matters because his zones are based on % of lactate threshold and other zones I find elsewhere are % of max HR. No, I'm not gonna use my age in the math.

Also, his zones don't take any account of resting heart rate. Isn't that important, since my resting HR will likely drop as I get more fit?
if you're going to use friel, read the book and test using the methodology prescribed. your 180 is neither your max hr nor is it your LTHR
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Old 12-07-08, 05:25 PM   #3
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Lots of training plans use %MaxHR because it's relatively simple to find your MaxHR. But they have to make assumptions about where your LT is based on that max. The problem with that is that your LT HR as a percantage of MaxHR can vary, both between individuals and with a given individual as they get in better condition. When you get fit your LT goes up but your max stays the same. If the assumed LT is off by too much then you will wind up doing too much intensity (if your LT is lower than assumed) or not enough (if it's higher).

Basing training off LT is more accurate... the problem is that it's hard to measure LT. Different tests will give different results for the same rider. That is why you should use the LT test that's prescribed by the author of the plan/methodology that you are using. If their test tends to estimate LT low or high, they will presumeably have accounted for that in their definition of trianing zones or some other part of their plan.

RHR isn't needed for training zones... it doesn't make any difference since it's in zone 1 (recovery).
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Old 12-07-08, 05:26 PM   #4
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if you're going to use friel, read the book and test using the methodology prescribed. your 180 is neither your max hr nor is it your LTHR
Well, he suggests a 30 minute time trial and taking the average HR of the last 20 minutes. Wouldn't that 20 minutes be an all-out effort, with my heart basically going as fast as it can (short of having someone shoot at me)? How is that lactate threshold and not max? If I'm REALLY applying myself on his 30-minute TT, how could my heart possibly go any faster? His zones 5b and 5c are *above* lactate threshold. How do I *ever* ride in those zones?

Therein lies my confusion. Maybe I don't really understand "time trial".
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Old 12-07-08, 05:56 PM   #5
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OK, you do the lactate threshold test as hard as you can, but at a consistent effort level (i.e. the highest level of effort that you can *maintain* for the 30 mins). The average HR over the last 20 mins is your lactic threshold HR.

Your max will be higher, as it is possible to go even harder. For example, a 1 minute all out effort. That will result in a much higher heart rate than your lactic threshold, and will probably be getting close to your max.
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Old 12-07-08, 05:57 PM   #6
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Well, he suggests a 30 minute time trial and taking the average HR of the last 20 minutes. Wouldn't that 20 minutes be an all-out effort, with my heart basically going as fast as it can (short of having someone shoot at me)? How is that lactate threshold and not max? If I'm REALLY applying myself on his 30-minute TT, how could my heart possibly go any faster? His zones 5b and 5c are *above* lactate threshold. How do I *ever* ride in those zones?

Therein lies my confusion. Maybe I don't really understand "time trial".
Your max heart rate occurs during anerobic exertion with lots of lactic acid being produced. It's not possible to sustain that level of effort for 30 minutes. Your LTHR is the highest heart rate you can sustain for 30 minutes. You are riding at an effort level where the lactic acid production is below a threshold. Going above the threshold will cause your body to naturally back off and lower your power output.
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Old 12-07-08, 06:15 PM   #7
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I did that friel test and found that my LTHR was 195 bpm. is that even possible? its the highest LTHR that he lists in that chart! maybe my HR monitor was effed up? i have not been training based on that because i assume its wrong. what do you guys think?
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Old 12-07-08, 06:23 PM   #8
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^^ that's highly suspect.
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Old 12-07-08, 06:25 PM   #9
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i am 19 years old so my estimate max would be 201. i'll have to do the test again.
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Old 12-07-08, 06:35 PM   #10
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i am 19 years old so my estimate max would be 201. i'll have to do the test again.
Oh, for crying out loud. 220 - age has absolutely ZERO basis in reality. It does not even make for a good estimate of your actual maximum heart rate. Your max heart rate could well be 195 BPM. You are correct that your LTHR will certainly be lower than that. For example, if your max HR is 195 BPM, your LTHR could be about 170 BPM.
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Old 12-07-08, 06:40 PM   #11
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Oh, for crying out loud. 220 - age has absolutely ZERO basis in reality. It does not even make for a good estimate of your actual maximum heart rate. Your max heart rate could well be 195 BPM. You are correct that your LTHR will certainly be lower than that. For example, if your max HR is 195 BPM, your LTHR could be about 170 BPM.
oh ok. i saw 220 bpm on a climb once, but again i assumed my HR monitor screwed up. and 195 is what i got for my LTHR.
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Old 12-07-08, 07:02 PM   #12
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Oh, for crying out loud. 220 - age has absolutely ZERO basis in reality.
Not quite. It's been shown that 220-age does a very good job of predicting average max heart rate in a large population. As so often happens, people have taken a well founded result and extended its application beyond the intended use and verified accuracy.
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Old 12-07-08, 07:11 PM   #13
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Well, he suggests a 30 minute time trial and taking the average HR of the last 20 minutes. Wouldn't that 20 minutes be an all-out effort, with my heart basically going as fast as it can (short of having someone shoot at me)? How is that lactate threshold and not max? If I'm REALLY applying myself on his 30-minute TT, how could my heart possibly go any faster? His zones 5b and 5c are *above* lactate threshold. How do I *ever* ride in those zones?

Therein lies my confusion. Maybe I don't really understand "time trial".
I think you just need to ride around for a while and learn how your heart rate responds to different types of efforts on the bike.

About the LTHR test, you're riding at the hardest pace you can sustain for half an hour, your heart should not be going as fast as it can, because then you'll explode after a couple minutes. It's not a maximal effort, it's the maximal effort you can hold for a certain amount of time. Understand the difference now?
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Old 12-07-08, 07:24 PM   #14
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My two cents. Max HR is the fastest your heart can beat. This definition means that you will rarely, if ever, see this value. People who do approach it or reach it report tunnel vision, visual spotting, blackouts, nausea, vomiting and the feeling that death is preferable. In a nutshell, the finishing sprint in a crit.

Your LTHR is a maximum "sustainable" HR, and of course sustainable does not mean for 4 minutes. The definition in this case will be the HR you could ride at for an hour assuming normal drift and averaging. You don't obtain this value by sprinting as hard as you can and then going as fast as you can until you topple over. you assume that you are going to be riding for an hour and you pace yourself as best as you are able. you will find that your legs will tell you when you are at LT. If you maintained a steady pace for the entire hour, your HR would start low, and slowly climb, crossing your LTHR until it would be a few beats over that in the end. However, the average would pretty much zero in on your LTHR.

Should you not want to ride for an hour "all out" then a more feasible thing to do is to ride a 30 minute TT (as Friel suggests) and take the average HR of the last 20 minutes. This will bring you within a beat or two quite handily.

Is it possible to run at 195bpm for an hour? You are young, possibly untrained (lower stroke volume thus higher HR), and with HR variability, I would say it is possible to be 195. Having said that, I doubt it. It would certainly be among the outliers.

Say you understand now.
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Old 12-07-08, 07:39 PM   #15
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Not quite. It's been shown that 220-age does a very good job of predicting average max heart rate in a large population. As so often happens, people have taken a well founded result and extended its application beyond the intended use and verified accuracy.
"trained" athletes are not part of the large population that it *may be* accurate for...so as it relates to most of us, it's essentially useless.
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Old 12-07-08, 07:41 PM   #16
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It's not a maximal effort, it's the maximal effort you can hold for a certain amount of time. Understand the difference now?
Ah yes. Thanks! So if I'm really going to use the zones as specified by Friel, I'll go do that test. And how would I know when I need to refigure my ranges? When you get in better shape, your heart ranges go down, don't they? Or maybe the heart rate I could tolerate for 30 mins would *up*? Hm...
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Old 12-07-08, 07:42 PM   #17
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"trained" athletes are not part of the large population that it *may be* accurate for...so as it relates to most of us, it's essentially useless.
Do you believe "ZERO basis in reality" and "useless" are synonyms?
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Old 12-07-08, 07:45 PM   #18
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Ah yes. Thanks! So if I'm really going to use the zones as specified by Friel, I'll go do that test. And how would I know when I need to refigure my ranges? When you get in better shape, your heart ranges go down, don't they? Or maybe the heart rate I could tolerate for 30 mins would *up*? Hm...
my LTHR has not changed significantly in 2-3 years...
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Old 12-07-08, 10:51 PM   #19
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I performed this test myself 5 weeks ago and obtained 187 bpm for the last 20 of a 30 min TT-but I did it on the trainer.

I was skeptical of that number but I have just accepted the fact that my heart is like a little v-tec engine.

4 hrs w 156 bpm avg (low zone2), 70 min tempo blocks (167-173) and recenetly 2x20's right around 180 +or-2 are regular for me. Everything feels difficult but doable. Can't wait to start doing high intensity stuff in a month or two.




Just do the 30 min TT test. After this, do some base training workouts he has in the back appendix. If you find them too be much too difficult or too easy after a few attempts, re-test. But I find it hard to believe that you could ride a significant amount over LTHR for 30 min.
It produced some great training numbers for me and i've been running with them.


It has also been very interesting to see the magnitude of hot things like calming your mind or focusing on breathing/pedal stroke can lower your HR if you feel stressed in a given situation.

Last edited by TMonk; 12-07-08 at 10:55 PM.
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Old 12-07-08, 10:55 PM   #20
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Ah yes. Thanks! So if I'm really going to use the zones as specified by Friel, I'll go do that test. And how would I know when I need to refigure my ranges? When you get in better shape, your heart ranges go down, don't they? Or maybe the heart rate I could tolerate for 30 mins would *up*? Hm...
Shouldn't change much
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Old 12-08-08, 01:33 AM   #21
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Shouldn't change much
But your power should....right?

This is an assumption that us confined to training with an HRM have to deal with
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Old 12-08-08, 07:34 AM   #22
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But your power should....right?

This is an assumption that us confined to training with an HRM have to deal with
Yes.

October '07 my LTHR was 183 and my (lab tested) power at LT was under 300w. After 6 months of suffering on the computrainer we did a re-test and my LTHR was (surprise) 183 while my lab tested power at LT had improved by 20% to well over 300w.
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Old 12-08-08, 08:18 AM   #23
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I'll be happy when my 1hr LT is over 200W!!
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Old 12-08-08, 08:27 AM   #24
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HR monitors can pick up different signals, I've got one jersey that will jump my HR if it flutters in the wind. Something to keep in mind if you're seeing crazy numbers.
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Old 12-08-08, 09:35 AM   #25
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HR monitors can pick up different signals, I've got one jersey that will jump my HR if it flutters in the wind. Something to keep in mind if you're seeing crazy numbers.
so 195 is crazy for a LTHR? i dont know if i should start training based on this.
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