As I originally posted, z2 is more like 81%-89% of LTHR, a pretty narrow range. That's 146-161 bpm for me, at least based on what I think my LTHR is at the moment.
The truth is the vast majority of guys are never going to do anything more that 45-90 minute crits. There's a certain wisdom in training for what you actually do, at the level you're at. I have no doubt the Chris Horner, of Phil whateverthe****hisname is should be doing 6-7 hour off season rides. They're probably going to be doing a bit more than Z2 mixed in considering their season ends in the fall and starts in the winter.
I'm not sure but base to me feels pretty darn goon on the legs. I tend to enjoy z2 rides with a few z3 efforts in between. Then again I am a noob. I did my FTP Test yesterday and let me tell you there ain't nuttin functional about that power level for that amount of time... more like disfunctional threshold power, I was about to lose control of my bowels and go delusional at T minus 4 minutes...
My max varies, but usually around 185. I guess it's still "wide" at 65%-77% for z2. Anyway, worked for me.
Your max HR doesn't vary. You vary.
When I was 14 I probably hit 200HR. I should keep using that then?
Max achievable HR, I tend to update it with whatever highwater mark I hit in the past year on a relatively rested day.
I feel like I'm way faster at 185 HR than I was when I rode at 200. Trust me there have been a few moments where I went so far into the red I almost fell off the bike, and the highest I've seen is 185.
holy 41 batman
For me personally:
I can't use HR for training because my HR varies so much depending on which phase of a block I'm on. Week 1 I may ride at 155 avg hr for a z2 ride, and Week 3 I may be at 135 avg hr for a z2 ride. Some of this is fatigue, some plasma expansion, some dehydration, etc, but either way it wouldn't be effective for me to train by it.
My $.02 on general base:
There are many phases and differentiations of base. The general idea for a lot of people is LSD. However, the general point of the base period should be just to get in a solid workload, as much as they can, at lower intensities (not necessarily z2). All other times of the year you have races, group rides, vacations, etc that all interfere with you riding schedule. How often do you get months at a time where you can devote a solid 7 days to training, especially a 2 day weekend of long rides. Without having a whole bunch of high intensity like during most other parts of the year, you can spend more time on the bike to develop endurance, without creating too much fatigue. Most people will see a significant increase of fitness during the "base" period, just by riding more. For most people, up to a point of diminishing returns, there is not better way to increase fitness than to add additional time into their schedule. It's up to the rider or the coach to determine if z1, z2, or z3 needs to be used during this time to build that endurance, based on their individual needs and training load.
For those a bit more committed to the sport and/or organized, they should have a training schedule built to their needs. I have already put my thoughts in about this in other threads. There are different ways of doing this as well, but I'll just add my thoughts on what I've seen proven year after year. Starting with the underlying endurance, or z2 mileage, as most people would consider as "base." However, after that phase, they need to keep developing off of it. Start incorporating "force" (using friel terms) workouts, either at tempo, SST, subthresold, and possibly even threshold intensities that are in addition to those z2 hours you built up to in the first phase. Often, work in the gym is associated during this time as well. This phase is much longer, as you want to keep pushing that muscular endurance high as you can, before you start having to bring in that top end work near the start of the season, which usually causes a decline in overall endurance hours and time in z3/z4, because of the increase of fatigue.
Any work you do during this time will have a significant impact on your results the rest of the season. If you truly build a great endurance base during the offseason, you will be able to develop a greater top end once you incorporate that work/those intervals, you will be able to use that top end power for a longer portion during the race (ie, not just the first hour, but all the way to the finish), you will be prepared and recover from race/intensity efforts significantly faster (ie, handle stage races or sat/sun races better), and you will lose less fitness during times off the bike or bad training weeks as that base will hold up longer and allow you to get back to that level sooner.
interesting tidbit on heartrate from a recent friel blog post:
In other words, a high max HR is not a good predictor of how highly fit you are. It’s just the opposite. You want a low HR. This is especially true during aerobic exercise. The lower your HR is relative to your power or pace, the more aerobically fit you are. " -friel
I will be doing a bit more "cross training" during my base to help with calcium and bone mass. Most of my base though will be 4hr+ rides to target RR
You live in the 'Duh, you should know about early-season racing!
I honestly don't know why I bother wearing a heart rate strap at all ever since I bought a power meter...If it's actually working(lately I've been lucky with the hard plastic strap) then its telling me I'm working hard when my power is up and I'm recovering when my power is low. Kind of interesting data but I don't use it to train, just stick to power.
About the only useful time is if I'm riding a MTB or one of my bikes that doesn't have power then it helps gauge effort to some degree.
You didn't really answer though, just exposed a bunch of ignorance around being faster and max HR.
This stuff really isn't rocket science.
HR is most useful for determining recovery at a given work load.
I haven't done base yet(didn't do it last year, was just focusing on getting back on the bike and losing 20lbs) so I have no data to go off of, but in the build+peak phase I didn't use it at all.