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  1. #1
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Heart Zone Training - Some basics please

    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!
    Bob

  2. #2
    Banned. ModoVincere's Avatar
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    Just to clarify some of what you posted.

    1) You don't burn more fat at a lower heart rate. At the lower heart rate, the burning of fatty acids makes up a larger % of the calorie burn, but at a higher exertion level (higher heart rate) you will burn more calories in total for a given amount of time.
    2) Riding above your LT will increase your aerobic capacity. This will allow you to ride faster for longer.
    For most people, the LT is somewhere between 85%-95% of MHR.


    My advice, and this is very basic advice, is to ride alot and try to mix it up. Do some intervals, do some sprints, and do some hard tempo riding along with 1 day a week of long steady distance riding.

  3. #3
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    1) I want to increase my speed over distances and climb hills faster with less fatigue.
    You need to increase both aerobic capacity and strength. It takes strength to climb and ride fast, but you have to have the aerobic capacity to keep it up for more than five minutes.

    You're not primarily interested in fat burning, but a fat-burning metabolism is a side effect of a good aerobic base. As Modo notes, your caloric output is related to your level of effort, not to your heart rate, so don't think in those terms.

    For strength you want to drive your muscles to exhaustion, then let them recover. Feed them protein and they will grow. In the context of a ride, do intervals of maximum effort. Your heart rate will spike since you're driving the muscles into oxygen debt. After the interval let your heart rate come back down under 80% (The aerobic range is roughly 65-80% MHR, and since the upper limit is defined as the rate at which you can supply O2 to your muscles, it will also be the point at which you recover your breath.) Do this several time during the ride. Then take a day off or use other muscle groups. (With your schedule that doesn't look like a problem.)

    You don't want to ride your whole ride with your HR above the "aerobic" range. That means that your limiting factor is your base, not muscle exhaustion, and you'll have a hard time building strength. One of the best measures of aerobic fitness is how quickly your heart rate drops when you back off an interval.

    If you need to develop a better cardio-vascular (aerobic) base, then riding in the aerobic range (below 80%) is the more efficient way to develop it.

    Given that we don't know where you need the work, Modo's advice about mixing it up is about the best we can do.
    Last edited by DMF; 01-29-07 at 02:53 PM.
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

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  4. #4
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Cool - thanks for the info all. As I recall some of the Spinervals led to muscle exaustion, I'll try to work that into my routine. If I'm taking a 50 mile ride below the 70% range, would working intervals be counter-productive (since I'll be doing intervals during the week)? And if I work some of these in during my ride, my guess would be to do this during hills - hard attack up a hill for a few minutes, then a cool down, right?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c
    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!
    Bob
    I'm a fair bit like you in goals.

    Basing ranges off your perceived max doesn't really work that well. Most of the training programs use some sort of on-bike test to set the training levels. I've used the carmichael one in the past, which uses two 3-mile time trial efforts to get an average HR, and then calculates the ranges from that.

    In general, the lower ranges improve the aerobic system, doing intervals improves your anerobic power and ability to cover. There is also work that you do near the lactate threshold to improve your ability to buffer lactic acid.

    Most training spends the vast majority of the time training the aerobic system, and less time on intervals and lactate threshold. That's not because they're less important, but because it's easy to overdo them.

    If you haven't read "the ultimate ride" by carmichael (or one of the other books), there's a lot of good training stuff there. It would help you to understand training philosophy.

    As for weight, you're in a reasonable range, and you may find it hard to drop below that. The longer rides you're doing are the right thing to do there, as long as you use a good sports drink on the rides and practice good recovery when you're done. I've been really happy with Endurox for that.

    That's assuming you have good nutrition to start with...
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
    Like climbing? Goto http://www.bicycleclimbs.com

  6. #6
    Elitist Troglodyte DMF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobby c
    If I'm taking a 50 mile ride below the 70% range, would working intervals be counter-productive (since I'll be doing intervals during the week)? And if I work some of these in during my ride, my guess would be to do this during hills - hard attack up a hill for a few minutes, then a cool down, right?
    No, not counter-productive in terms of building strength. 70% is aerobic, too.

    Since 70% implies that you're riding with your wife, attacking on the hills may be counter-productive in terms of demoralizing your wife...
    Stupidity got us into this mess - why can't it get us out?

    - Will Rogers

  7. #7
    Senior Member rule's Avatar
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    Yep...The Ultimate Ride is a pretty good place to start for what you have described as your goals and particulars.

  8. #8
    Bike Curious.... bobby c's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the input, I have a much clearer understanding. I'll look for Carmichael's book (or some other) to get a better sense of things.

    My wife's a good sport - she doesn't mind me jumping ahead on hills & other sections. I'm going to get her a HR monitor, I'd be curious to see what her ranges are when we ride together. Hopefully if she targets 70% we won't be going any slower...

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