I recently received a Garmin 305 as a gift, a very nice computer indeed. One of the functions is heart rate - when I'm riding I can see the current rate and when I get home I upload the data and can see my rate on various parts of the ride, my average BPM & what zones I'm in. This is nice, but I'd like a better idea of what I'm looking at and how to target my ride for optimal performance. I know there is a simple way to determine your maximum heart rate - take 220 and subtract your age. I'm sure like many simple methods this is not applicable to all people w/ different goals, conditioning, etc.
If I take the above formula, my max. is 220 - 53 = 167.
I found a method to calculate my target training rate on the web called the Karvonen method:
220-53=167 (same max). 167 - my resting heart rate (which is 64) = 103 (HRR). The training range % is the HRR x 60 to 80%. So in my case it is 61.8 - 82.4. Then the final target range is the resting heart rate + the training range %. So in my case my target is 126 - 146 BPM if you go by this method.
Well in my case, I'm in good shape, but certainly not in the ultimate shape. I usually ride 1x a week 60 miles & ride during the week maybe 20 miles or so. I don't work out much more but since doing this level of activity I've lost 15 lbs. (now at 165 at 6') and have significantly increased my endurance and speed.
So what I'm curious about is: Am I'm pushing it a bit too much (assuming the above can be followed)? On yesterday's ride I did 47 miles in rolling terrain with 3,200 feet of climbing done in 3 hours for a 15 mph ave. speed. My average heart rate was 152 bpm, certainly above the target range if that is to believed. During a particularly hard climb (4 consecutive hills) my BPM got to 184, in theory well above my max. rate. I have to say at some point in that section, I all of a sudden felt ill - kinda like a flu. But that passed after a few seconds & didn't return. Iíll keep an eye on that and try not to push that hard.
So should I be careful about not exceeding my max? I've been cleared by a doctor (EKG done before recent surgery was fine) to do this & there's no major family history of heart disease. I eat well & watch fat intake.
Iím also curious about my time spent in zones. The Garmin tracks 5 Zones, here's how they are setup & what % of time I was in each of these:
Zone 1: 50-60% of max. Ė I spent 0%
Zone 2: 60-70% of max. Ė 1% of my time was in this zone
Zone 3: 70-80% of max. Ė I spent 14% of the ride here
Zone 4: 80-90% of max. Ė 42% of my time was in this zone
Zone 5: 90-100% of max. Ė 43% of my time was in this zone.
So it looks like Iím spending way too much time in Zones 4 & 5, though I donít feel like Iím pushing it too much (except in that one section). In contrast, last week I did a similar ride with my wife at a slower pace, my Zones were as follows:
Zone 2: 17%
Zone 3: 57%
Zone 4: 19%
Zone 5: 6%
So according to the Ďstandardí zone methods, Iím doing better when I ride with my wife, a significantly slower pace. I enjoy these rides, but I seldom feel like Iím pushing it, I like to go out at times and push harder and if Iím running with the big boys, Iím sure Iím maxing out much more.
So I feel better than I have for years and for the past 18 months, Iíd guess that 50+ % of my riding is more like the first example shown Ė pushing it more. Any cause for concern? Any comments on zones, max or other affairs of the heart?