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Old 01-14-07, 11:12 AM   #1
bobby c
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Talk to me about my heart rate....

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?

Thanks!
Bob
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Old 01-14-07, 11:37 AM   #2
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I'll bet you a dollar you're max heart rate is above 167. If you really want to get into HR training, you should do a stress test.

I got my max heart rate when I was first starting out and I was in pathetic shape. Any time I'd get after a hill, the heart rate would zoom up to the max. It's now very difficult for me to get to the max.

Check your ride in training center, it'll tell you the max heart rate you reached. I doubt it'll be your max, but if it's above or near 167, you'll know 167 isn't your max.
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Old 01-14-07, 12:36 PM   #3
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The 220-age formula is essentially useless. IIRC, it was a formula derived through statistical regression of maximum safe heart rates for old heart patients, or something like that...

My max HR is 182, but this method would have it at 193 (220-27), which clearly is wrong...
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Old 01-14-07, 01:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by CdCf
The 220-age formula is essentially useless. IIRC, it was a formula derived through statistical regression of maximum safe heart rates for old heart patients, or something like that...

My max HR is 182, but this method would have it at 193 (220-27), which clearly is wrong...
So how is your max HR determined? Stess test or just based on your own experience?
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Old 01-14-07, 01:24 PM   #5
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Set up a test that will allow you to reach your HR limit. I found mine by riding up a 350-ft 15% hill five times, with a few minutes of high-cadence "rest" between each run. My HRM got up to 182 each run, but never higher, so I think I can be confident that's my max HR.
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Old 01-14-07, 01:48 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by bobby c
So how is your max HR determined? Stess test or just based on your own experience?
Ideally you'll go out and test it. Once you start getting close to your max heart rate, it's really going to suck. Part of what you need is motivation. I had pegged my max heart rate at around 180. But last year during a criterium with a 400 ft climb each lap, I got my heart rate to 190, and I was really hurting then.

Try the hill thing mentioned above. But be honest with yourself, and really, really go as hard as you can.
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Old 01-14-07, 03:25 PM   #7
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Max HR as a training number is useless, so there's really little reason to know what it is. The number you want to test/learn is what is commonly called Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR). Do the 2x20 test stickied at the top of the Training forum, or purchase Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible and use any of the methods he uses.

Max HR is a genetically defined (and oft unreachable) number. For instance, I can reach a higher "max HR" doing running sprints than I can riding - ever. But my LTHR for biking is pretty easily defined (though this time of year the cold tends to push your HR down, which will increase your perceived exertion sometimes more than just a little while still not reaching a "target heart rate.")

Welcome to training guided by HR. Do your research, start with Friel's Cyclist Training Bible and go from there.

VW
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Old 01-14-07, 04:07 PM   #8
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hey - I've been getting inot hear zone training just recently. Check out a boodk called "Heart Zones Cycling" by Edwards and Reed. It goes into great detail about using a heart rate monitor to plan workouts, including how to find your max HR. It is maybe a little too involved for me, but has a lot of really good info

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Old 01-14-07, 08:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CdCf
Set up a test that will allow you to reach your HR limit. I found mine by riding up a 350-ft 15% hill five times, with a few minutes of high-cadence "rest" between each run. My HRM got up to 182 each run, but never higher, so I think I can be confident that's my max HR.
If you got tunnel vision and started seeing stars and felt tingly, then I'd say yes
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Old 01-14-07, 09:47 PM   #10
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OK - since I hit 184 BPM, I'll assume that is my max heart rate until I prove otherwise. I was really putting out, the 4 hills had a 12-16% grade, plus I was 20 miles into a hard ride when I hit them.

By bumping my max up, I see:

Old Max:
Zone 1: 0%
Zone 2: 1%
Zone 3: 14%
Zone 4: 42%
Zone 5: 43%

Now with a higher max:
Zone 1: 0%
Zone 2: 0%
Zone 3: 34%
Zone 4: 53%
Zone 5: 13%

That makes more sense, though I still may be low on my max.

Thanks all for the feedback!
Bob
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Old 01-14-07, 09:56 PM   #11
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During a particularly hard climb (4 consecutive hills) my BPM got to 184, in theory well above my max. rate.
Well keep playing around, but obviously you understand that your "true" maximum heart rate must be some amount over 184.

For the short term, if you must play with "zone" ideas, then use 190 as your Max HR.

What's more important, and I think you might understand this - the key to using HR as a training stress indicator has to do with consistency and discipline. Understand this, to support hard workouts, a certain volume of recovery and sub-maximal work is necessary.
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Old 01-14-07, 11:34 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bobby c
OK - since I hit 184 BPM, I'll assume that is my max heart rate until I prove otherwise. I was really putting out, the 4 hills had a 12-16% grade, plus I was 20 miles into a hard ride when I hit them.

That makes more sense, though I still may be low on my max.

Thanks all for the feedback!
Bob
If you're in pretty good shape, it's hard to hit your max without really feeling serious amounts of pain. As Rich suggested, bump it up to 190.

I also recommend the Parker book on Heart Rate training:

http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Monitor-...e=UTF8&s=books


It can be summed up thusly:

During hard workouts, workout really hard.

The day after hard workouts, do recovery workouts. On recovery workouts, keep your heart rate under 70%, even if that means toddling along on a MUP barely peddling.

I like this technique because it works and it's really simple. There are more advanced techniques for racers, but I'm improving, having fun, and not worrying so much about the numbers.
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Old 01-15-07, 09:12 AM   #13
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i hit what i consider my MHR 191 very early in my riding career, which just started in 2006. i was out of shape and 240 lbs. now i am in shape, fit, and eat healthy. at 175 lbs i rarely top 170 when riding or running now matter the effort. later.
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Old 01-15-07, 09:33 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ronjon10
It can be summed up thusly:

During hard workouts, workout really hard.

The day after hard workouts, do recovery workouts. On recovery workouts, keep your heart rate under 70%, even if that means toddling along on a MUP barely peddling.

I like this technique because it works and it's really simple. There are more advanced techniques for racers, but I'm improving, having fun, and not worrying so much about the numbers.
Ron - What is this technique achieving? Is it improved cardio health? Improved endurance? Increased strength? Increased speed? I'm not a racer, but am interesting in all-around improvement.

Thanks all!
Bob
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Old 01-15-07, 12:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by NomadVW
Max HR as a training number is useless, so there's really little reason to know what it is. The number you want to test/learn is what is commonly called Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR). Do the 2x20 test stickied at the top of the Training forum, or purchase Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible and use any of the methods he uses.


VW
this is what you want. NomadVW is hitting the nail on the head. forget all about your max HR and find out your LTHR and base your zones off of that.
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Old 01-15-07, 01:18 PM   #16
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Ron - What is this technique achieving? Is it improved cardio health? Improved endurance? Increased strength? Increased speed? I'm not a racer, but am interesting in all-around improvement.

Thanks all!
Bob
It teaches you about your body. Sometimes we just gotta learn how it feels. First though, understand the diference between a hard workout and a race simulation. Going out and hammering 50 miles with the guys is a race simulation. Doing 3 minute intervals at 85-90% of your MHR is a hard workout. Do the hard workouts first and always recover the next day. Do the race simuls once a month to gauge your fitness.

So first things first.

1) Hammer up a hill as hard as possible and then go a little harder. Recover on the way down. Don't start up again until you're down to about 50% of MHR. Recover the next day.

2) Find your LTHR

3) Repeat (1) using your LTHR as a guide.

4) Start increasing intensity and volume as "race" season comes around, three weeks increase, one week rest, with one long ride each week.

5) Start your tapering a coupla weeks before the big one.

Keep in mind that during training you should never be totally fresh and performing at your highest level, but you should be well physically and mentally rested enough to be able to complete that final interval. If you feel like taking the day off, and putting your helmet on doesn't change that feeling, then take a day off.
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