I know there is not consensus on using a HRM as a training tool, especially when it comes to analyzing data and what is best for each person. But for me it is a simple tool, it's not costly or invasive and I'd like to start maximizing my riding - or targeting my HR - for the best results.
So some basics:
1. I am not a racer, never will be. I want to increase my speed over distances and climb hills faster with less fatigue.
2. Most of my riding is on weekends, with my average ride being about 50 miles with about 3,500 feet of elevation. My average speed is 12.5 - 15.5, depending on who I am riding with.
3. During the summer I can squeeze in a ride or two during the week. In winter I setup a trainer, though I haven't done so this year. I have a bunch of Spinerval DVDs.
4. My most enjoyable riding is at 40+ miles, I'll do a couple of centuries per year but want to increase that.
5. I'm 53, 6' and weigh 165 lbs. I hope to be down in the low to mid 150's some day.
6. My MHR is probably around 190, I've gotten as high as 185. Resting is around 60.
So from what I understand, riding at 70% or below MHR burns the most fat. After that, the body burns more carbs than fat. So if this is correct and I wanted to burn off fat, I'd be wise to stay at 133 or below. Burning fat isn't a huge deal for me, I have some, but it isn't bad. When I ride with my slower wife (as I did over the weekend), my ave. HR was at 68% - maybe she's holding me back so I lose some of that paunch! However when I did a solo a couple of weeks ago (same route), my ave. was at 80%, with a spike or two at 97%.
Another thing I've heard is that staying below 80% is the best way to improve aerobic conditioning, which translates into stronger riding over distances. 85% and above leads to faster sprinting, etc. Does this sound correct?
Again, I'm not in training for a local crit, but I want to ride as fast as I can over distances in excess of 25 miles. With this in mind, what would you recommend in terms of:
1. Type of training (assuming I'm doing these 50 milers once a week on the weekend), and
2. Should I be targeting my HR for particular zones? If so, would that vary depending on what type of training I'm doing (sitting on the trainer vs. riding 50 miles)?
Thanks for any input!