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  1. #1
    FormerBadDog luludog's Avatar
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    Age & heart rate

    Okay here's a question for all you ( and me ) old farts who've slacked off training for a
    number of years and then tried to recover fitness. I used to train quite hard doing hill
    repeats, and sprints for training usually trying to hit my max heart rate of around 190 bpm.
    I ended up switching jobs to a dot com and because of the hours, my training went to hell.
    That was about 8 years ago. Now when I try to do the same workouts, I have difficulty
    getting past 170 bpm. Question is, have any of you guys slacked off for a number of years
    and been able to get back most if not all of you original fitness? Did your max heart go
    down, up, or back to the same level? Did it even matter if your max was different if you
    could ride just as fast as in the past.

    I ask this because I'm really irked by losing my conditioning and wondering if aging is
    against me.

    -John

  2. #2
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    I would say it probably does not matter if your performance is the same or better. I never measured my HR in the past so I can't tell you if it went up/down but I have had 1-2 year periods where I was not doing much for exercise. My MHR has been steady for the last 3 years at 197 bmp, but I don't care to hit it very often
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  3. #3
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    What counts is your recovery rate and your performance. I have trouble pushing my heart rate much above 150bpm, but my resting pulse is still in the low 40s.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
    Capo [dschaw'-poe]: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324; 1960 Sieger, S/N 42624
    Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
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  4. #4
    BikeCoach RonRico's Avatar
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    Mhr

    According to what I have read, your MHR can stay the same or and it can drop. For example, if you have a blockage in your arteries or you develop diabetes, etc. I suggest getting a physical and asking for a stress test before you swing your training into high gear (pun intended).

    There are several ways you can test your MHR and, over time, determine if it is improving, which I've seen happen (anecdotally).

    I would also suggest you get a Heart Rate training book to help you back to fitness. There will be many training exercises for both stationary bicycling and road/mountain biking.

  5. #5
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    As you age your maximum recommended heart rate comes down. You probably shouldn't be doing 190 any more. Someone will likely have the chart and add it to this thread.

  6. #6
    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    Here is a good website: http://www.americanheart.org/present...dentifier=4736

    I copied this from that site:

    Your maximum heart rate is about 220 minus your age. The figures above are averages, so use them as general guidelines.

  7. #7
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    When I turned 50 I could, max-effort, hit 200-201 BPM. Now, seven years later, and under max (perceived) effort, I can't get any higher than 187.

    There was no "slack-off" period, however . . . back when I was 50 I did more high-speed events and club rides, whereas now (since 2003) I've been riding double centuries; so that may be part of it too, i.e. not as much high (max) effort training and riding.

    So, to the OP, I guess for me, riding double centuries is "slacking off" based on your parameters.

    Rick / OCRR

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Generally, your max HR declines with age. I read somewhere that even Lance Armstrong's max HR declined over the 7 years he won the TDF.

  9. #9
    FormerBadDog luludog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR View Post
    When I turned 50 I could, max-effort, hit 200-201 BPM. Now, seven years later, and under max (perceived) effort, I can't get any higher than 187.

    There was no "slack-off" period, however . . . back when I was 50 I did more high-speed events and club rides, whereas now (since 2003) I've been riding double centuries; so that may be part of it too, i.e. not as much high (max) effort training and riding.

    So, to the OP, I guess for me, riding double centuries is "slacking off" based on your parameters.

    Rick / OCRR
    It sounds like in your case, your max heart went down due to training and increased pumping
    ability. ie your heart is bigger and stringer so it doesn't need to go as high. In my case I haven't
    maintained conditioning. Someone did mention that it took 3 years or so to reach your potential
    so maybe I just need more time.

    Also the comment the other poster made about max rate being 220 - age is totally worthless. It is not
    used for anyone in decent condition, and irrelevant for athletes. It would mean your max when you
    were 50 should have been only 170, but you sure proved that "rule" wrong. I've never been able to
    get to 200.

  10. #10
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    That 220 has worked for me-Currently treat my Max as 160 at age 61-----But at that I will not be pushing it for long. And I do find that once I am fit- normally around April or May- I can push higher than that for the last bit of the hill- without falling off the bike.

    We have an offroad hill called Killer Hill. Not Long and only about a 25 to 30% at worst but Traction is bad. Most of the youngsters fall off about 2/3rds up but I take it steady and only put power in when needed and when all the others have fallen off. Last year I only attempted it once and got to the top and got off the bike and laid down- before I fell down. Then I watched the HR rise to 172 before it starting dropping. But as to calling my "MAX" as 170- never. At 170 I am not able to do anything except breath and that is only because I have to. If it was going to save energy- I wouldn't be doing that the way it hurts.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  11. #11
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    I don't know about heart rate but age does make a difference. Earlier I could sustain 30 mph on the flats for a longer period of time. It seems to get shorter as I age.

  12. #12
    FormerBadDog luludog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    That 220 has worked for me-Currently treat my Max as 160 at age 61-----But at that I will not be pushing it for long. And I do find that once I am fit- normally around April or May- I can push higher than that for the last bit of the hill- without falling off the bike.

    We have an offroad hill called Killer Hill. Not Long and only about a 25 to 30% at worst but Traction is bad. Most of the youngsters fall off about 2/3rds up but I take it steady and only put power in when needed and when all the others have fallen off. Last year I only attempted it once and got to the top and got off the bike and laid down- before I fell down. Then I watched the HR rise to 172 before it starting dropping. But as to calling my "MAX" as 170- never. At 170 I am not able to do anything except breath and that is only because I have to. If it was going to save energy- I wouldn't be doing that the way it hurts.
    Yes but that is exactly what max heart is - your max. It isn't a sustainable rate, just the highest you can
    hit. I used to be able to sustain 170 and I could go forever at 160. 190 was when I sprint the last
    few feet to the top of a hill during repeats.

  13. #13
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    Max heart rate as a guage of fittness is a non starter. Recovery to normal rate from max is a much better guage. Also resting heart rate below 60 bpm is more to do with your genes than fittness. I researched this when the docs were touting President Bush's fittness with a resting hr of 45 bpm.

  14. #14
    FormerBadDog luludog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    Max heart rate as a guage of fittness is a non starter. Recovery to normal rate from max is a much better guage. Also resting heart rate below 60 bpm is more to do with your genes than fittness. I researched this when the docs were touting President Bush's fittness with a resting hr of 45 bpm.
    Good point. I forgot about this. Do you have any links I can look up? I might try this as part of a
    workout and recover strategy.

    As for resting rate, I wondered about this. Someone like Miguel Indurain had a resting rate near
    death yet I remember reading Viatcheslav Ekimov's resting rate was 60. That seemed high for a
    cyclist of his caliber.

  15. #15
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    Take a Cardio Test

    I am over 50, 5'10, 164 lbs. I never ran or rode in my earlier days. I played adult hockey in my 30s. I started cycling about 5 years ago after breaking my ankle snow boarding. It was the only exercise I could do that didn't stress my ankle. I got hooked and now do about 2000 miles a year. I had a cardio test done last year. My cardiologist tested me to 175 bpm. She said the max she tests with most people my age is 155. She monitored my recovery carefully. She gave me the green flag to put the hammer down when I am riding. I can get up to 178, 180 going up hills. She told me that if I could set a red zone alarm on my bike computer I should. I can't. Looking a Polars at the moment. Sounds like you are in good shape for your age given what my cardiologist told me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by hass View Post
    ...She told me that if I could set a red zone alarm on my bike computer I should. I can't. Looking a Polars at the moment. Sounds like you are in good shape for your age given what my cardiologist told me.
    The Garmin Edge 305 (GPS) with HR monitor has this capability.

  17. #17
    FormerBadDog luludog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hass View Post
    I am over 50, 5'10, 164 lbs. I never ran or rode in my earlier days. I played adult hockey in my 30s. I started cycling about 5 years ago after breaking my ankle snow boarding. It was the only exercise I could do that didn't stress my ankle. I got hooked and now do about 2000 miles a year. I had a cardio test done last year. My cardiologist tested me to 175 bpm. She said the max she tests with most people my age is 155. She monitored my recovery carefully. She gave me the green flag to put the hammer down when I am riding. I can get up to 178, 180 going up hills. She told me that if I could set a red zone alarm on my bike computer I should. I can't. Looking a Polars at the moment. Sounds like you are in good shape for your age given what my cardiologist told me.
    Yes I suppose I am in decent shape, but it's that qualification 'for your age' that really bothers me.
    I suppose I'm not the only 50+ who's wondered where the time went.

    Glad to hear you're enjoying cycling though. It's one of the very few things which has held my interest
    for such a long time.

  18. #18
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    I notice as I continue to ride that my speed is getting faster but so is my heart rate. I expected that my heart rate would decrease, or at least stay constant, as its capacity increased. Is this normal?

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