I started climbing this week after 3 months riding flats, and I am wondering if the variations of my HR is normal. I know it varies from one day to the next depending on many factors like tireness and it would happen before, but now that i'm riding this hill I see a bigger difference from one day to the next. for example, I was keeping the same speed and pace, but the first day I was around 188-9 (max 200) and the next one I had difficulty going over 175! the only thing I did differently was that I used a bigger gear the second time.( 42x23 instead of 25). I was equally rested both times as I've had a recovery ride the day before the first day and a day off before the second one.
I percieved the same effort both times, giving not everything I had but close enough. I forgot to mention that I did some 20-30 secs intervals the second time that I didn't do the first time. The HR I'm reffering to is when I did 3-5 min intervals.
So could the gear be the only explanation? Anyone has an answer or can relate to a personnal experience?
"the next one I had difficulty going over 175!" yet you were "keeping the same speed and pace". Two points to be clarified:
1. If you were keeping the same speed then what do you mean by pace?, it couldn't be cadence since your speed would increase at the same cadence.
2. Does "having difficulty" mean that you were exerting yourself more than on the second day?
It would seem that riding a bigger gear constituted a lesser effort for you. If the hill grade is not substantial, i.e, 4% or less it makes sense.
If it is only your 2nd or 3rd time out then you are obviously improving in the hills.
ginger, I'm curious to know how your diet influences your HR?
berts, what I meant about my pace was that I just tried to keep a steady speed, w/o quick accelerations or decelarations. I meant that my legs were burning all the time but that I was still keeping the same speed, just trying to get up there! also, when I said that I was having difficulty going over 175 of HR, I meant that even when I gave it all I couldn't go over 175. this might be because of the use of a bigger gears, as I was using more my legs than my cardio.
we'll see what happens tomorrow as I plan to climb that hill again!
According to your descrition I can interpret pace as perceived exertion (PE). Your PE was similar on day one and two yet your HR was lower on day 2. Generally PE is closely correlated to HR, however being a subjective measurement it is subject to wide variation. A possibility is that on day 2 you were more tired thus for a similar PE your HR was obviously lower.
An interesting experiment to test the hypothesis that gear ratio (GR) may affect HR is as follows.
Go up the hill in a lower GR with a constant PE, coast down and go up again in a higher GR. Do this 3 times alternating between lower and higher GR (total six times up and down). You should keep a constant PE throughout.
Repeat this procedure on 4 different days alternating the starting GR (if you started with the lower GR on the first rep, start with the higher GR on the second rep, etc.). Finally compare the average HRs at the higher and lower GRs. This should tell you whether GR affects your heart beat.
My guess is that there is no correlation between GR and HR with constant PE.