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Old 04-09-08, 09:16 AM   #1
te2009
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Heart rate monitors

I just started riding a bike after a twenty year hiatus.

Although I'm taking it real slow, my goal is still to get a good aerobic workout,
or at least as good as my body can take

I 'm thinking of getting one of those Heart Rate Monitors,
so that i'll be able to better gauge my workouts.

anyone here had any experience with the HRMs?
and what is the difference between "Target Heart Rate"
and "Maximum Heart Rate?" And what is a "Zone?"
I've read some articles online that try to explain,
but i still don't get it.

thanks

Last edited by te2009; 04-09-08 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 04-09-08, 09:52 AM   #2
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Yes, I use a heart rate monitor early in the season to keep from over training.

"Target Heart Rate" - This is the heart rate you are attempting to reach and hold for a given workout. Hence, during a hard workout where you are pushing the aerobic limits, the target heart rate would be higher than on a rest day ride where you were recovering from more strenuous workouts.

"Maximum Heart Rate" - This is the upper limit of where one should allow the heart rate to go. That is, once you hit this, you should probably be backing off, because you could be doing damage or putting yourself at risk.

"Zone" - This term is used to delineate different training levels. For example, in the lowest zone, my heart is not working all that hard. In a mid level zone, my heart is working harder, but not at it's peak. In a higher zone, I'm now pushing much harder. Zones can be useful to control your workouts. I might start my ride in the lowest zone and stay there for 15 to 20 minutes until I've warmed up adequately. I might then tailor any number of different workouts using the zones. I could do interval training where I ride in the highest zone for five minutes, allow my heart rate to drop down to zone two for three minutes, and the push back up to the highest zone again.... and repeat this 8 or 9 times. Or, I may ride a long distance and/or time in zone 2 just to build up endurance.

You'll note I haven't discussed how to determine these zones, or heart rate thresholds. Typically the literature that comes with a heart rate monitor will do a better job of that than I could.
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Old 04-09-08, 10:13 AM   #3
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I use one. Here is a site with links to a boatload of articles that will educate you.
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Old 04-09-08, 11:34 AM   #4
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I'm just starting with an HRM myself.

I found this online Heart Rate Training Zone Calculator. Also available as a Windows version for offline use.

Having been cycling for two years now, and having a pretty good sense of my internal limits, I'm finding the advice that maximum heart rate is very personal seems to be true.

I started with the conservative 220 minus age method and came up with 169. The method used on the site I linked above said 173. Using 173 and those calculated zones, well, they feel low and too easy to me.

My average has been running 146 and that feels like a nice, comfortable aerobic pace. The chart says I should be really feeling it and going anaerobic at 146. That doesn't seem to be happening for me until close to 160.

Looking through the stuff Don linked to above, I found a different Max Heartrate formula that takes body weight into account, and it puts my max at 180. Plugging 180 into the chart gets really close to how I feel when I'm out on the bike. I think I'm going to reprogram my HRM based on 180 and see how that works for a few days.

So the advice that formulas are a starting point and only guidelines seems to apply for me. But that could also be because I've been working at for a while to begin with, and am in better shape than I thought.

Other advice that seems to be well taken is that zones for runners are different than zones for cyclists. If I used the 220 minus age method and runner's zones, I'd fall asleep in the saddle from boredom.

Edit: One more thing. I'd seen my doc and had an EEG before I started cycling. Except for a fairly common sinus arrhythmia, my ticker seems fine despite the high risk of coronary artery disease in males in my family. I must take after Mom.

Last edited by tsl; 04-09-08 at 11:45 AM.
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Old 04-09-08, 12:12 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I use one. Here is a site with links to a boatload of articles that will educate you.
Yes, lots of good information there and several ways to determine MHR. If you want a book that will help you determine MHR and what the zones mean AND is for those of us who are old enough for this forum I'd suggest "Cycling Past 50" by Joe Freil.
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Old 04-09-08, 02:20 PM   #6
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Thing about a Heart rate monitor is -"What do you want it to do?"

All singing and dancing- downloadable to the computer and working out how efficient you have been up against the data you have put in

Or the basic one that tells you your current heart rate- Your Max you have achieved on the ride and possible Audible warnings that tell you that you not working hard enough or that you have just put yourself into Orbit.

I have the Singing version- But just use the basic functions.
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Old 04-10-08, 10:32 AM   #7
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If the HR minus your age was true, I'd be a whole lot younger than I really am!!
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