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  1. #1
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    My heart rate has me concerned -- advice?

    Some other teammates and I have been on a summer endurance / base kick the past couple of weeks. Mainly to prevent burnout but also to work on our CV efficiency with regards to faster recovery times. I'm the only one using power so the other guys are using HR zones as their training gauges.

    So, we've all been calling out our HRs a bit just to get a feel for where everyone is in their zones and make sure nobody is working too hard. Mainly it's out of curiosity. Some guys tool along at 125-145. One guy younger than me likes 145-160. Then my old butt is rolling along at 165-170 when everyone else is around 145-150.

    That got me thinking. I've been training for the last three years. Not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but I think it's enough to impact my HR a good bit. Especially resting or at endurance levels. But I'm not seeing the reduced HR I would expect.

    Prior to getting back into shape and training I did have high cholesterol. Never enough for meds, and I figure it has to have gone down since I started training, but I don't know for sure.

    I also had an almost deadly pneumonia encounter 12 years ago that basically plugged up the upper half of my right lung with MRSA. I assume it was MRSA at least because the docs were calling it Non Vancomycin Resistant Staph Aureous. Which, as far as I can tell means MRSA. There was definite scaring from the infection in that lung that showed up at least two years later on a follow up CT.

    I find myself hitting the redline on climbs and in fast pace lines in rolling terrain much sooner than everyone else. Maybe it's my conditioning. But my real concern is that my heart is overworking possibly due to the lagging cholesterol issues and that my lung function is possibly reduced from the pneumonia. But without a baseline I can't really compare the lung function as to what it was prior.

    My resting HR is around 60 at this point. And my jra rate is in the mid 140s. But when I push to power based endurance levels it goes to the low to mid 160s and then at FTP levels mid to high 170s. With an anaerobic peak somewhere in the mid 180s. I think I've seen low 190s once or twice in the last two years but after that I'm too fried to recover enough to get more work in.

    Now, do those zones sound reasonable or are my endurance and FTP HRs unusually close to each other? I know it depends on where in the zone I am but in general should I expect more of a delineation between mid endurance and on the FTP rivet?

    My plan is to find a cardiologist who can also do a peak flow test and stress test to monitor how everything is looking at mid to full load. That is, unless anyone has another recommendation for getting the heart and lungs evaluated performance wise.

  2. #2
    Senior Member graphs's Avatar
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    I have similarly high heart rates. Resting is around 60, threshold is 175 and maximum that goes into the low 200's. I also redline pretty easily (though I can continue pushing in the red for a while). Doing a good winter base can help a lot but I think some dudes just have a little engine that runs hot. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by graphs View Post
    I have similarly high heart rates. Resting is around 60, threshold is 175 and maximum that goes into the low 200's. I also redline pretty easily (though I can continue pushing in the red for a while). Doing a good winter base can help a lot but I think some dudes just have a little engine that runs hot. That's what I keep telling myself anyway.
    You're way younger than the OP, no?
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  4. #4
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    I'm on the cusp of 40. Gack. At least I have a cardiologist friend I can call.

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    Village Idiot
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwible View Post
    I'm on the cusp of 40. Gack. At least I have a cardiologist friend I can call.
    I think graphs is about my age.

    At my LT test a few years ago, the test stopped with an HR of 210. It was also indoors and hot even with two fans on full blast. I think I could have gone over that pretty easily if I had been outside. I wasn't close to freaking out.

    Genetics play a part too as does medical history.
    Last edited by ridethecliche; 06-15-12 at 12:04 PM.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    jwible, your cardiologist, when you find one, is the only person who can tell you whether your cycling poses a risk to your health. Your HR numbers don't sound too strange to me, but that's largely irrelevant, because HR is really not informative about underlying health issues. If your overall heart health is good, running toward the high end of your HR range is totally benign. I tend to run pretty high, myself. Of course, I'm in my late 20's. But anyway, if you're concerned about whether your cycling is endangering your health, you need to see a cardiologist for evaluation. In addition to the tests you mention, they will probably do an EKG as well. But heart rate itself is NOT informative, especially with a relatively normal RHR.

  7. #7
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    I think it's impossible to comment intelligently on what other people's heart rates mean, because the variation between equally healthy individuals is so great.

    As for "your old butt" at 57 I'm 17 or 18 years older than you but in my first season racing. I have, however, got a pretty big base from years of high-mileage touring, commuting, endurance riding. My resting HR is currently 45, LTHR 156, MHR 186. But really, this information is useful only to me, it doesn't give any basis for comparison. I have a riding buddy in his forties with a heart like a rodent. Like you, he'll be in the 170s when I'm in the 140s, but he is no more distressed than me and can outsprint me any time he likes. If you're concerned, based on your history, then you're doing the right thing talking to a cardiologist.
    Last edited by chasm54; 06-15-12 at 11:49 AM.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  8. #8
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    I think I'll go for the tests just to be safe. I doubt there's anything there honestly, except for possibly lung function. A coworker of mine did have a heart attack last fall at the ripe old age of 42. 95% blockage in one coronary artery. I just look at these other guys and they're almost always 15-20bpm lower than me. Probably just genetics, but just in case....

  9. #9
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    According to your strava you usually do less than 100 mile weeks, which could possibly account for the redlining earlier. As for the heart, everyone's is different. It's really hard to say without going to see a doctor. I have a pretty high heart rate for my age compared to a lot of people I know. I can be cruising in z1 power and be at 140 HR (Resting ~ 55, max ~ 197). One of my teammates last year could be doing threshold at 135bpm. My mom is even worse than me, she can just ride her bike and be over 160 (and her max is no where near as high as mine). She went to the Doctor and they couldn't really find anything wrong, but I do know she started taking some meds and it lowers it considerably for the same RPE, and she seems to be doing better.

    If you are really worried, I would take a trip to the doc.
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  10. #10
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    HR isn't really comparable from one guy to the next. And things like dehydration, heat, and humidity can make it go high.

    My regular training buddy is usually 20bpm lower than me. Our max es are also about 20 beats apart -- he's puking his guts out at 170 and that's just where I'm starting to get warmed up (the max I've seen this season is 204).

    What you need to be looking at is your HR compared to your power under the same conditions.
    Putting the Duh in Floriduh.

  11. #11
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    Sure, go see a cardiologist, let them run the test. If it gives you piece of mind, good. Maybe they uncover something. Maybe they find something they can't explain. Maybe they say, hey, we all die!

    No joke, that is what they will say likely. I run into the 190s, I'm 45yrs old. During races, around 170-180bpm. I can't do that for long obviously, either I need to fatigue some, so my legs just can drive my heart that high anymore, or really work on breathing and slowing my HR.

    With that said, I've had every test done under the sun by a cardiologist to investigate weird symptoms. I have an irregular heartbeat. What does that mean? They don't know, they have no history when I was 15yrs old. Maybe I was born with it? Or something that developed recently...shrug...no answers. Ok...my heart beats funny, it was a clinical finding compared to the population at large.

    Arteries are clean, tested those. Slight valve prolapse, that magically disappeared the next year. Blah blah blah.

    Their final conclusion, 3 difference cardiologist: "I'm not concerned." Everything looks fine to us!

    These guys see people with serious heart problems, they looked at me, did the test just for personal satisfaction and piece of mind, make some money and said, good luck, see you in a year just to make sure nothing has changed with your heart with a checkup!

    MMmmmm...Ok.

    Hey, maybe they find something and prevent an early death. Or maybe like me, you get some piece of mind that your heart it fine...that goes a long way I can tell you! At least for me personally.

    So why does my HR run high? Don't know. Fitness, conditioning, need to do some different training? I don't know. Still working on that issue.
    HTFU

  12. #12
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwible View Post
    I think I'll go for the tests just to be safe.
    This would seem prudent if you have concerns.

    As noted, HR is highly variable from person to person and even within the individual depending on the circumstances.

  13. #13
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    i'd only be concerned if my resting HR, or if my RPE to HR changed significantly in a short period (and not just a one or two day outlier).

    i'n not a doctor, yadda yadda.

    i do find that my threshold HR changes a lot based on my weight variation in the summer vs winter.

    interestingly, my threshold HR is higher when i'm fat in the winter than when i'm fit and thin in the summer.

    this has been the case for years. its always a gradual change over a few months of base work in the late winter/early spring.
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    A physical with EKG. HR is so across the board it really doesn't say much.

    I have borderline high cholesterol (sometimes it's high, sometimes it's borderline, 190 to 300 range, last one was 190 or so). No doc has said too much about it.

    I also have some inverted something. In a resting rate EKG it looks like I'm having a heart attack. It reverses at 113-114 bpm, based on some stress tests I had to do. Although I carry a note with the EKG and some doc's scribble on said note the "problem" is not a problem right now.

    My RHR is about 50-ish, my JRA HR is 140s, I start to redline at about 165 (last week I exploded at 164), and 175 is about the highest I'll see (post final sprint). 20 years ago I ran for a bit and I could somewhat easily maintain 198 running but maxed at 187 on the bike, and I rarely saw numbers above 172-173 in a race (this was in the pre-download days and with just one 230 bpm spike ruining "max HR" I kept looking to see what my numbers were).

    Finally when you described your quick sanity check HR thing I thought of an Allan Peiper "on the bike" interview. HR monitors were new back then so he had one as did a newer rider named Chiappucci. The field was rolling along at some good clip when Chiappucci came up to Peiper and asked him what his HR was. Peiper told him 160 or so. Chiappucci grinned and said he was rolling at 98.

  15. #15
    impressive member badhat's Avatar
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    fwiw (ie nothing)

    i'm 36, 155 pounds, smoked for ten years, now a cat3 TT podium stalwart

    resting - 45
    threshold - 160
    highest ive seen in the last few years - 175
    Your Group Ride:Your guide to getting dropped in Northern Colorado

  16. #16
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    I knew I rode with freaks....

    grrr.

  17. #17
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Oooh ooh this is fun:
    Age: 39
    Height: 5'11"
    Weight: 195ish
    Resting: 36
    Max I've seen this year 186
    Average in all training this year: 139

    I train with guys who are taller and lighter and we have the same conversations - often when I am cruising along at 140 they are in the 170s.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  18. #18
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    According to your strava you usually do less than 100 mile weeks, which could possibly account for the redlining earlier. As for the heart, everyone's is different. It's really hard to say without going to see a doctor. I have a pretty high heart rate for my age compared to a lot of people I know. I can be cruising in z1 power and be at 140 HR (Resting ~ 55, max ~ 197). One of my teammates last year could be doing threshold at 135bpm. My mom is even worse than me, she can just ride her bike and be over 160 (and her max is no where near as high as mine). She went to the Doctor and they couldn't really find anything wrong, but I do know she started taking some meds and it lowers it considerably for the same RPE, and she seems to be doing better.

    If you are really worried, I would take a trip to the doc.
    That's probably a good part of it right there. When you put pen to paper my low volume regime right now looks sad.

    Do you ever make it down this way? The Silk Sheets roads are my main training area.

  19. #19
    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    I'll play.

    age- 40
    5-11, 155 lbs.

    resting hr low 50's
    thresh- 150-160 range

    highest Ive seen in a while was 183, last Sun when I took the "sprint" at the end of our ride. I was wrecked.

  20. #20
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
    I'll play.

    age- 40
    5-11, 155 lbs.

    resting hr low 50's
    thresh- 150-160 range

    highest Ive seen in a while was 183, last Sun when I took the "sprint" at the end of our ride. I was wrecked.
    You're old...
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  21. #21
    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    youre fat.

  22. #22
    Draught jwible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
    youre fat.


    He's just big boned!

  23. #23
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    1 - the guys you're training with are in better condition than you, that's why you're getting cooked when they're not
    2 - go see the cardiologist if you're concerned
    3 - i'd only worry about my HR if it were 0

  24. #24
    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hammy56 View Post
    youre fat.
    Touche mon ami...

    I know you love me...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

  25. #25
    coffee-stained punk hammy56's Avatar
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    well I do love pork...

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