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Old 08-30-12, 05:36 PM   #1
Yen
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Garmin data reports a new max HR

I was organizing my Garmin data from this year's rides. I didn't ride at all last year, and this is my first year with the Garmin. I began riding again in late January after getting clearance from my elbow doctor.

Anyway, on March 19 it recorded a max HR of 187 at the very top of a steep hill we climb on the Monday ride. This was news to me; I thought my max was 182!

Five months (and 1400+ miles) later (not including miles on the spin bike at the gym ), my HR at the top of that same hill, with a faster group, on warm summer mornings, is now 177. And I expect to see it much lower next year.

I am a data junkie and one of the things I like most about the Garmin is watching my HR drop as I put on more miles. I don't have to wonder or guess or stop to count my pulse. I don't let it interfere with my rides, I just let it record so I can check the data later.
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Old 08-30-12, 09:57 PM   #2
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Hey Yen... good job!

I think you are getting what is called "fit". I've had the same experience, i.e. hills that used to spike my HR don't anymore. Most of my rides now tend to be more limited by leg pain/fatigue than inability to process oxygen.

Watch out now, that you don't begin to lust for a powermeter!
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Old 08-31-12, 06:41 AM   #3
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I just got a Garmin 500 without the bundle, but a friend gave me his heart rate strap and it showed 245. I gave it back and ordered another one. My max use to be 170. I cant wait for my new one to come to see what it really is.

Anyhow Yen, your numbers sound pretty good. I guess everything is working the way it should, good job.
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Old 08-31-12, 08:22 AM   #4
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It sounds like you are a quintessential data junkie. You would love a power meter. The real time data from the Garmin is great and the post mortem analysis fun and interesting.
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Old 08-31-12, 10:57 AM   #5
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Absolutely agree. Got a PowerTap G3 wheel in mid-June and 1500 miles later I've learned a bunch about how hard I really work. Not a cheap investment but for a numbers geek a powermeter is great!
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Old 08-31-12, 02:22 PM   #6
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I had the same thing happen to me. Two years ago, I started with the formula, 220-age, which gave me a max at the time of (220-62)=158. Within a month, I knew that was too low, because I often spent 30 minutes or more above 158. So I raised it to 165. After a year, I routinely exceeded that. Now I often hit 171 to 173, so I've reset my max again.

My admittedly unscientific explanation for this is: HR is a "lagging indicator". That is, you first exert yourself, and then your HR "catches up". It may take a minute or two to do that. When you're not in the best shape, you reach what you think is you max, and then you get tired out immediately, so you back off. Consequently, your HR never really reaches the max. But when you get in much better shape, you can sustain a maximum effort for longer, so your HR catches up.

Some people say that getting to your max is bad for you, but everything I've read says it's OK, as long as your heart is in good shape. And once you reach your max, it won't take more than a minute or so before you have to back off, whether you want to or not.

As I said, just my opinion based on a sample size of 1.
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Old 08-31-12, 02:46 PM   #7
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billydonn: I think that's my current experience as well. My aerobic capacity has significantly improved: After yesterday's and today's HOT rides, my HR has quickly recovered, whereas previously it would stay elevated until bedtime! My legs are what gives out first, so muscle endurance is still my weak area. Fortunately, I do love hills.

George: my husband has noticed heart rates above 200 and then noticed that happens when his loose club-cut jersey flaps around and hits the chest strap. When he holds the jersey against him, his HR returns to normal. Of course, he does not need to do this for the entire ride and I can't explain that. You might try that if it happens again and see if it works.

Chaco: Your unproven theory makes sense to me.

To the others: Not sure a power meter is for me.... I'm not that obsessed with data!
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Last edited by Yen; 08-31-12 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 08-31-12, 04:28 PM   #8
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Looks to me as if you're a poster girl for the benefits of long, steady distance riding to build a good aerobic base, Yen.
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Old 08-31-12, 10:56 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Looks to me as if you're a poster girl for the benefits of long, steady distance riding to build a good aerobic base, Yen.


My rides yesterday and today were fast, led by a couple of faster riders. Today, I was able to keep up until about 3/4 of the way back (at about 30 miles, but it was hot and my legs were feeling the fatigue from the previous 2 days of challenging rides) when my legs got pretty tired. A brief stop in the shade and a few glugs of water restored me and I pressed on but arrived later than the others. Oh well, I'm stronger than a few months ago and will be even stronger a few months from now. Yesterday and today were "fast and steady" training rides, and the next two days (Saturday/Sunday) will be very welcome total rest days.
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