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Old 09-04-11, 10:47 AM   #1
Badgerjohn
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Heart Rate Monitors

hey all, I'm sure this has been covered and I did a search, but I am curious how many of you use them? My brother says I should start. I hammered it pretty good today and I figure I was way over my threshold. I don't know much about the subject and am going to learn. He said to go out and just hammer the crap out of it doesn't get it at my age of 51. And are there any monitors I should look at, or they all about the same? Thanks.
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Old 09-04-11, 11:31 AM   #2
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I can only speak on what my wife and I use. We bought two Bontrager Node 2 bike computers Bontrager. They came with heart monitor straps. Once we paired them up they work great!! The heart rate strap once on is comfortable and I forget about it almost immediately. Always remember to get the two sensor pads on the strap wet before putting it on. It won't work right if the sensors pads are dry.

I agree with your friend. At our age (50 something, or greater) I see no personal need to drain our internal battery slaying that hill up there. I always try to measure out my resources over a given ride. Sure I like to get out there and push and get my cardio up but I try to keep it below a heart rate of 160 beats per minute.

The above mentioned bike computer let's me see speed, cadence and heart rate all at once. This is hugely helpful in gauging how hard I'm working. Cadence is just as critical as heart rate. Taking both into consideration helps me decide if I need to bump down a gear or not as I slog up a hill. I like my cadence to be at least 60-70 going uphill. And my heart rate below 160 for sure.

I am a hopeless geek. I love data as I'm riding. It helps me keep it real without outright hurting myself.

One other thing I'm still working on is strong rhythmic breathing as I'm climbing. I sometimes get so focussed on "the climb" that I stop replenishing my engine!!! Breathe Ricky breathe!! Deep rhythmic breathing is so critical to a successful slaying of that climb!!! One more bit of hill climbing advice - stop looking up! Stay in the moment and forget about how far ya still have to go. Take care of the moment and the moments will get ya over the top!
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Old 09-04-11, 11:53 AM   #3
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I use one occasionally but not on every ride.

Two ways of looking at them--

You can get the all singing dancing version the works every thing out for you and rings a bell when you are not working hard enough

Or you can go basic and just have one to tell you what your HR is currently and the max you reached on a ride.

I have had both and all I want the monitor for now is my current HR. That is only so I can judge if I am working hard enough or working too hard.
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Old 09-04-11, 12:01 PM   #4
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I use one occasionally but not on every ride.

Two ways of looking at them--

You can get the all singing dancing version the works every thing out for you and rings a bell when you are not working hard enough

Or you can go basic and just have one to tell you what your HR is currently and the max you reached on a ride.

I have had both and all I want the monitor for now is my current HR. That is only so I can judge if I am working hard enough or working too hard.
Is there a basic one you can recommend? I hate bells and whistles
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Old 09-04-11, 12:31 PM   #5
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Is there a basic one you can recommend? I hate bells and whistles
Polar make some basic models that aren't too pricey, you can google for them.

But why do you want one? Are you training for something specific? If not, there's really nothing wrong with just riding as hard or as easily as you want to ride on any particular day. I disagree with your brother, there's no particular reason why a 51 year-old should monitor their HR more than say, a 31 year-old.

Of course, if you are aiming to train systematically, then a HRM is very useful. If you get one and want to make maximum use of it, there is a workouts sticky in the road bike racing sub-forum that is full of intervals, reverse pyramids, information on SST sessions and other ways of giving yourself a hard time.
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Old 09-04-11, 12:33 PM   #6
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Garmin 705, for the GPS info, speed, cadence & HR. I use it to determine proper intervals when training, how hard to push on climbs during events, go back & re-ride event route for training purposes, etc. A Power Tap, Quarq, any type of power measuring device is a "better" more accurate measure of effort, but at my level the HR information works best and is most cost effective.
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Old 09-04-11, 12:48 PM   #7
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Polar make some basic models that aren't too pricey, you can google for them.

But why do you want one? Are you training for something specific? If not, there's really nothing wrong with just riding as hard or as easily as you want to ride on any particular day. I disagree with your brother, there's no particular reason why a 51 year-old should monitor their HR more than say, a 31 year-old.

Of course, if you are aiming to train systematically, then a HRM is very useful. If you get one and want to make maximum use of it, there is a workouts sticky in the road bike racing sub-forum that is full of intervals, reverse pyramids, information on SST sessions and other ways of giving yourself a hard time.
I never gave much thought to one to be honest. I hammered really hard this am and the climbs almost kicked my ass. I am not training, just staying fit. Or trying. He is my older brother and is always concerened for me. He has been a high mileage runner for almost 40 yrs and is freakin fit as hell. He said over doing it is not helping my cause and suggested one. Target range etc... I am sure I was way over my target heart rate on this ride. Don't want to get out and keel over. Although I was always a runner and cyclist and have kept my heart strong. Just not as fit as I would like to be.
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Old 09-04-11, 12:59 PM   #8
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The basic Polar model is what I started with and it was perfectly good enough. BUT there is the Garmin Factor. I have an Edge 305 and it is a cyle computer that gives me all the information I need. As a computer it is marvellous and will also give extra readings that are usefull. Gradient of slope- elevation climbed- aswell as the usual computer functions. You can also get a cadence monitor and a heart monitor as extras aswell so if you want or need a good computer aswell as a heart monitor- Then the garmins do take some beating.
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Old 09-04-11, 02:05 PM   #9
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He said over doing it is not helping my cause and suggested one. Target range etc... I am sure I was way over my target heart rate on this ride. Don't want to get out and keel over. Although I was always a runner and cyclist and have kept my heart strong. Just not as fit as I would like to be.
Well, if by "not helping your cause" he means that going too hard, too often is not ideal, he's right. But it isn't because you might drop dead - that's possible, but very unlikely - but because you can't recover fast enough between rides, and ultimately you overtrain. A couple of really hard sessions a week, separated by at least a couple of days, is enough, and the rest of your riding should be more moderate. The coaches say that the mistake most people make when they are training is to make the hard rides too easy, and the easy rides too hard. Variety, and recovery time, is important.

If you have doubts about your ability to judge how hard you are going, a HRM will certainly help. But you need to take care when setting it up, because many of them ask you to enter a maximum heart rate, and that MHR is used to calculate which training zone you are in. The formula for MHR is usually given as 220 minus your age. It's important that you ignore this. I'm 56, so the formula says my MHR should be 164. Today I hit 170 and I wasn't going that hard, it isn't unknown for me still to see numbers in the 180s. So if I went by the formula I'd end up training at lower rates than I should. If your brother's a serious athlete he'll know all this stuff and can sort it out for you.
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Old 09-04-11, 04:13 PM   #10
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I'm paranoid so I wear one. My bro-in-law dropped dead at 43 on a run. I've worn one since and just keep it in the zone for peace of mind.

-Bob

Last edited by b4lini; 09-04-11 at 04:15 PM. Reason: Added name.
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Old 09-04-11, 04:14 PM   #11
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Well, if by "not helping your cause" he means that going too hard, too often is not ideal, he's right. But it isn't because you might drop dead - that's possible, but very unlikely - but because you can't recover fast enough between rides, and ultimately you overtrain. A couple of really hard sessions a week, separated by at least a couple of days, is enough, and the rest of your riding should be more moderate. The coaches say that the mistake most people make when they are training is to make the hard rides too easy, and the easy rides too hard. Variety, and recovery time, is important.

If you have doubts about your ability to judge how hard you are going, a HRM will certainly help. But you need to take care when setting it up, because many of them ask you to enter a maximum heart rate, and that MHR is used to calculate which training zone you are in. The formula for MHR is usually given as 220 minus your age. It's important that you ignore this. I'm 56, so the formula says my MHR should be 164. Today I hit 170 and I wasn't going that hard, it isn't unknown for me still to see numbers in the 180s. So if I went by the formula I'd end up training at lower rates than I should. If your brother's a serious athlete he'll know all this stuff and can sort it out for you.
Yes he is a hardcore runner. He is well versed in the field. I am quite sure my heartrate was up there pretty good. I have a hard time just going out and spinning easy. Lots of climbs where I live. Thanks for the input
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Old 09-04-11, 04:49 PM   #12
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I used to use one, but don't any more. But I don't "train" - just try and stay a bit fit. I guess I figure if I am going too hard - and I think folks may limit themselves by being scared of that - then my body will slam me down and tell me to back off. So far, it hasn't, and I do push pretty hard up some steep hills.

I've never worried about that. But, lots of folks do.

I used just a basic - current and max.
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Old 09-04-11, 05:28 PM   #13
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I have a Sigma that I use every few months for a ride or 2,just to see where I am at during a ride.average in the mid 150;s,and have the alarm set at 160, which I ocasionally set off...the sigma was very cheap, and the battery is still good...
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Old 09-04-11, 05:56 PM   #14
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You don't need an HRM to tell you how to pace yourself up a climb. You can do that just as well by feel. I ride with a bunch of 50+ guys, none of whom use HRMs, and they often win masters 55+ road races. Not having an HRM hasn't kept them (or me) from doing well. Unless you have a heart defect you can't go hard enough to make your heart explode. There's too many fail-safes that prevent that from happening. Your legs will give out, you'll puke, you won't be able to breathe enough air, all before your heart gives out.

Get an HRM if you want to train in an organized way. Otherwise, you don't need it.
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Old 09-04-11, 05:58 PM   #15
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You don't need an HRM to tell you how to pace yourself up a climb. You can do that just as well by feel. I ride with a bunch of 50+ guys, none of whom use HRMs, and they often win masters 55+ road races. Not having an HRM hasn't kept them (or me) from doing well. Unless you have a heart defect you can't go hard enough to make your heart explode. There's too many fail-safes that prevent that from happening. Your legs will give out, you'll puke, you won't be able to breathe enough air, all before your heart gives out.

Get an HRM if you want to train in an organized way. Otherwise, you don't need it.
thats kinda how I figured it too. I was sucking wind like hell on a few climbs.
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