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Thread: Heartrate

  1. #1
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Heartrate

    I'm sure there are folks here who are well-versed on the meanings of heartrate as it relates to training and effort. I'd like to hear from you! Here's why. My heartrate has been coming down, down, down over the past couple of months. While I am sure some of that decrease is due to conditioning, I feel that some of it also may relate to fatigue? I say that because I used to average 138 or so on long rides with peaks close to 160 (over an hour) and 145 and above on runs with peaks mid 160's (more than 2.5 miles). Now, on the bike, I average 118 with peaks around 145 (even when climbing), and the run is now 138 - 140. I can push it up to 155 on runs, but I can't sustain that for long. I can't peak anywhere near 160. On the bike, I can barely get up to 150 on peaks, and that's when I'm doing some steep climbs - and I feel like crap! Is this expected/normal? Here's my specifics - female, 5'4", 134 pounds, over 50 (umm, really close to 60!).

    Thanks, all!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    This sounds like too much fun. I suspect you need more rest.

    Here is a way to think about this... Typically, one can sustain 6 months of focused riding / running with rest weeks periodically. To extend a season longer than 6 months, there has to be a mid season rest period of easy training. With training, resting heart rate decreases. Power produced at threshold heart rate increases. The heart stroke volume increases resulting in more oxygen delivered per beat requiring less beats to produce the same power. To take advantage of the increased stroke volume one must have enough strength to push the pedals or run faster. At the end of the season, cyclists lift weights to increase strength and then repeat the training process all over again. Year over year repeating of the training cycle results in bigger legs with better cardio (greater heart stroke volume and capillary and mitochondria density) and more power at threshold heart rate. Of course there are genetic limits.

    Constantly doing the same workouts harder and harder with more volume can lead to over training. This can lead to fatigue and enzyme changes that take a longer time to overcome. So my advice is that constantly lower heart rate on efforts and feeling bad is not good. Try a rest week and ease back into it and see if the heart rate bounces back.
    Last edited by Hermes; 04-11-11 at 11:06 AM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Pat
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    Hmmmm, I never noticed anything like that in my own experience. I think I must be able to recover like mad though. I can ride and ride and ride and do it again tomorrow. I don't wear a monitor when I ride anymore. I think that my max heart rate has decreased a bit over the years. But that has been gradual.

    Now I have never had any thing like over training. I seem to always know when to ride easy on a particular day.

    Now you might just be getting more efficient. As your conditioning improves, it takes less heart rate to get the same speed. But even with that, you should still be able to hit the same max heart rate and still hold your heart rate at the same levels. So it could be over training. Of course, it could also be that you did not keep very good track of your rate earlier. If you do not keep a detailed log, it is easy to get fooled.

    A less fit rider will send their heart rate to max much faster. Once you get into shape, it takes some doing to do that. You might not really be "needing" to do this on the courses you are running.

    Hermes has good advice and could well be true. If you have a tendency to really push hard, you could well be over doing it.

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    If you monitor your resting HR as well as your HR and perceived effort on rides you can get a good idea how your body is doing at any given time. If you are unable to raise your HR on a ride and your RHR is higher than usual or trending higher you need to rest. If your RHR is low or dropping and your HR on rides is not reaching the higher ranges, you might just need to switch up you riding efforts. A body doing the same type of exercise daily gets stuck in a rut. Maybe it's time to hit some intervals, shorter duration but higher intensity.

    As Hermes said, be sure to schedule periodic rest weeks to allow recovery and adaptation.
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    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    I am considering getting a HRM this spring. I am thinking about adding intervals training for this summer.

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Wow, fabulous advice! Thank you!

    My RHR, 45, has NOT changed. It sits right there, and has for a very long time.

    I do keep a detailed workout log, over at Beginning Triathlete.com. Looking at it, I've seen my weight come up (about four pounds) and heart rate go down, and that's over a period of several months.

    I tried a little experiment just after my original post this morning - I ran 5 miles, and pushed it, running at a race pace (9 minute miles - I'm not fast!). My heart rate sat in the mid 140's and once or twice (on hills) barely broke 150. I felt FINE, really good, in the zone, and all that.

    I'm thinking I may be seeing a combination of 1) fatigue, needing a rest, and 2) a higher level of fitness.

    I am riding the Tierra Bella metric this coming Saturday. After that I'll slow it down a bit. At the end of the month I am the "run" portion of a relay team at the Wildflower Triathlon, so I will keep running, but I will use the week after the the Tierra Bella to rest.

    Thanks again, fellas!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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    Senior Member az_cyclist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post

    My RHR, 45, has NOT changed. It sits right there, and has for a very long time.

    I am riding the Tierra Bella metric this coming Saturday. After that I'll slow it down a bit. At the end of the month I am the "run" portion of a relay team at the Wildflower Triathlon, so I will keep running, but I will use the week after the the Tierra Bella to rest.

    Thanks again, fellas!
    Great RHR, sarals, and good luck on the Teirra Bella and the Wildflower triathlon. I was going to get back to triathlons this year, but, go diverted to randonneuring instead.

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    Starting over CraigB's Avatar
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    You haven't started any medication for hypertension recently, have you?
    Craig in Indy

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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    Wow, fabulous advice! Thank you!

    My RHR, 45, has NOT changed. It sits right there, and has for a very long time.

    I do keep a detailed workout log, over at Beginning Triathlete.com. Looking at it, I've seen my weight come up (about four pounds) and heart rate go down, and that's over a period of several months.

    I tried a little experiment just after my original post this morning - I ran 5 miles, and pushed it, running at a race pace (9 minute miles - I'm not fast!). My heart rate sat in the mid 140's and once or twice (on hills) barely broke 150. I felt FINE, really good, in the zone, and all that.

    I'm thinking I may be seeing a combination of 1) fatigue, needing a rest, and 2) a higher level of fitness.

    I am riding the Tierra Bella metric this coming Saturday. After that I'll slow it down a bit. At the end of the month I am the "run" portion of a relay team at the Wildflower Triathlon, so I will keep running, but I will use the week after the the Tierra Bella to rest.

    Thanks again, fellas!
    If you have been doing a block of aerobic training, at some point you will no longer make gains. At that point you need to begin more anaerobic intervals to push to a higher peak. If you continued to ride/run in an aerobic capacity, your performance would/could actually drop. I would take a short break then proceed with lower volume higher intensity training. There is lots of info in the forums/web about how to do this.

    Intervals aren't "race pace" either. They are way above race pace. They are hard and can be maintained for short periods only.
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    I have had the same problem but mine turned out to be a low thyroid count. As my thyroid gets better regulated my HR is improving dramatically. I hope this is not your problem but just saying.
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    Climbing Above It All BikeWNC's Avatar
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    ^^^ Right. My advice is based on a healthy athlete. Any physical concerns should be directed to a doctor. We should all understand that I hope.
    FS: Shimano DA 7900 brake calipers, DA 7900 Crankset 50/34 175mm and BB

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    Dan J chinarider's Avatar
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    Has you performance decreased with the decreased HRs or has it stayed the same or improved? And are the initial numbers when you just started training or after you had been doing it for a while? If your preformance hasn't decreased and the initial numbers were when you just started, I'd say you are just seeing the results of your training. If not, it could be signs of fatigue and overtraining.

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Hermes nailed it.

    My HR peaks as much as 20% low when I am fatigued and over trained.
    "Of all the things I ever lost I miss my mind the most." Mark Twain
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    Rod & Judy gracehowler's Avatar
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    +1 there cylinfool, we ride tandem (mostly) and when we are tired, we just can't get the heart rate up, don't think the 60+ years helps either, but we do enjoy riding!
    R&J

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    I think Hermes nailed it, too.

    Medications? No, except for a "post menopausal" med I'm taking. My heart is healthy, and I have no BP issues what so ever.

    My performance, as in endurance and reserves, has shown an increase in the past month. However, that seems more tied to weight gain and protein intake than anything else. In other words, if I eat right, I'm strong - umm, duh?

    As for overall gains, I have not noticed anything substantial. I can run farther, but I still climb slowly on the bike. That's really all!

    The Tierra Bella will be fun, I'm looking forward to it - thanks!
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Sarals, Here is a chance to showcase your aerobic power and climbing ability. http://www.bikereg.com/events/regist...?eventid=13088

    Each year, there is a charity race up Sierra Road for KOM and QOM bragging rights. This year, the ToC will finish a stage at the top of Sierra road. In this event, you race up the mountain and then hang out at the top waiting the for pros to finish a stage. I did it last year and we saw the pros climb it but they did not finish on the top. I think you may find that you will blow past your previous max HR if you elect to race up Sierra. I think I blew past my max when I saw the grade at the starting line.
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    Just coming back after a long winter slow down and haven't bothered with the Monitor yet. I have a route that I do that is about 20 miles with a few slopes- some long flat bits and a hill. Last autumn I could do that ride with the first 4 miles being a warmup and the HR at 135 to 140 on the flats- up to 150 on the slopes and the hill and at the end of the hill I could see 165. Time was 1hr 15 mins or therabouts unless there was a strong headwind--so I do have a marker for that ride. Last Saturday I did not push myself- got the lungs working though- and did the ride in 1 hour 16 minutes.

    I have just about retained fitness over the winter with the few rides I have done but it has been a rest from my usual riding. I think that rest has given me a good start for the year. All I have to do is get the legs and lungs working better and that is going to be the painfull bit.
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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Sarals, I think you might just be getting stronger and fitter.

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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    The charity race looks, well, challenging, perhaps TOO challenging for my small self!

    I think I'm getting stronger and fitter, too, although the way some riders blew past me at the Tierra Bella Saturday caused me to wonder ("Sara, it's a TOUR, not a RACE!"). The true test will come when I do the 10K run at the Wildflower in two weeks. I'll let it all go, there!

    Right now, my HR averaged 118 with 154 max at the Tierra Bella, and this morning on a five mile run, it averaged 144 with a max of 156 - not much difference, except it appears I work harder on runs than I do on the bike. What I have discovered, though, is how quickly my HR recovers when I lessen the stress. On climbs, when I get to a lesser grade, it goes from 154 or so to the 120's very quickly. The same holds true for runs - stop or walk, it's down to 105 and falling very quickly, less than a minute. That shows fitness, I guess.

    I am coming to the conclusion, thanks to the responses to my question, that I may have hit a plateau recently, but I'm now moving past it and have gotten stronger.

    Now, if I could just climb half way decently!
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    "and that's when I'm doing some steep climbs - and I feel like crap! "

    This is abnormal?

    One thing that crossed my mind when reading this is to get someone to allow you to put on their HR monitor strap and check your HR on another computer against yours. Stuff does not last forever.

    To me the numbers do not add up. Generally HR recovery rate is the best indicator of increased fitness. I am way more fit than 5 years ago yet my HR average and peak numbers are still about the same. Recovery from peak to average has improved.

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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sarals View Post
    The charity race looks, well, challenging, perhaps TOO challenging for my small self!

    I think I'm getting stronger and fitter, too, although the way some riders blew past me at the Tierra Bella Saturday caused me to wonder ("Sara, it's a TOUR, not a RACE!"). The true test will come when I do the 10K run at the Wildflower in two weeks. I'll let it all go, there!

    Right now, my HR averaged 118 with 154 max at the Tierra Bella, and this morning on a five mile run, it averaged 144 with a max of 156 - not much difference, except it appears I work harder on runs than I do on the bike. What I have discovered, though, is how quickly my HR recovers when I lessen the stress. On climbs, when I get to a lesser grade, it goes from 154 or so to the 120's very quickly. The same holds true for runs - stop or walk, it's down to 105 and falling very quickly, less than a minute. That shows fitness, I guess.

    I am coming to the conclusion, thanks to the responses to my question, that I may have hit a plateau recently, but I'm now moving past it and have gotten stronger.

    Now, if I could just climb half way decently!



    Small is good. Last year my wife 5' 4" racing age 60 was third for the women and beat all the Webcor pro women domestiques and was 42 out of 100 for the men.

    It sounds like you are doing great.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  22. #22
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilman_15106 View Post
    "and that's when I'm doing some steep climbs - and I feel like crap! "

    This is abnormal?

    One thing that crossed my mind when reading this is to get someone to allow you to put on their HR monitor strap and check your HR on another computer against yours. Stuff does not last forever.

    To me the numbers do not add up. Generally HR recovery rate is the best indicator of increased fitness. I am way more fit than 5 years ago yet my HR average and peak numbers are still about the same. Recovery from peak to average has improved.
    My monitor is a Suunto T1 watch with belt. I've had it about five months. I checked it, once, against a NONIN pulse/ox monitor that we use at work. It was spot on - then!

    You make a good point. I'll change the battery in the belt and see what happens.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

  23. #23
    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    [/COLOR]

    Small is good. Last year my wife 5' 4" racing age 60 was third for the women and beat all the Webcor pro women domestiques and was 42 out of 100 for the men.

    It sounds like you are doing great.
    Wow, your wife is very strong and fit! She's an inspiration, for sure. Me, I just want to finish, go fast when I can, and stay out of everyone's way! ;~)
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    Sara, seems like you are setting your sites on being a climber. You are in the right part of the country for it.
    Share you conquests with us.
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    Idiot Emeritus sarals's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclinfool View Post
    Sara, seems like you are setting your sites on being a climber. You are in the right part of the country for it.
    Share you conquests with us.
    I'm one of those people who argues with "can't". I have to try something when I'm told it's not for me, and I have to doggedly keep at something I'm not good at (but interested in) until I'm satisfied I can do it. There is no give up! I indeed do live in a part of the country where there plenty of "vertical challenges" (it's not just tall people I'm talking about), because they are there and in the way of and part of something I really love doing, I will get better at it. grr! It might take a 11/28 cassette, but, I will do it!

    Share I will, and thank you!
    Last edited by sarals; 04-19-11 at 03:21 PM.
    Racer Ex..."Don't know if the shop is under new ownership. If not feel free to shoplift stuff and break bottles in his parking lot."

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