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  1. #1
    Lanky G-Raf
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    How do you pace yourself for a Century using heart rate?

    Hi everyone

    I am somewhat new to using a HR monitor and I know very little about using it to pace myself. I want to know, what would be the ideal HR to maintain over a long, flat century?

    I am currently in training for the Tour de Tuscon, 109 miles, 500 feet of climbing.

    I don't know if this helps, but here is my info:
    I'm 6'6" and 190lbs
    I usually put in 600-700 miles a month.
    In the two weeks that I've had my HR monitor, the highet Ive gotten my HR is 195 bpm.
    My resting HR is 70 bmp.
    I can sustain 185 bmp for 6-7 minutes.

    Also, what's the best way to determine your lactate threshold?

    Any tips or advice is welcome. Thanks!
    -Ryon
    Triton Cycling, UC San Diego (grad student)

    UC Irvine class of 2008
    Formerly of Anteater Cycling. Zot Zot Zot.

  2. #2
    sidelined
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    Keep you HR at a rate you can sustain for the the full time. Probably around 55-75% of maxHR depending on your development.

    Also, what's the best way to determine your lactate threshold?
    See the 2x20 test STICKIED at the top of the forum.

  3. #3
    Officially Foul Mouthed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryon View Post
    I want to know, what would be the ideal HR to maintain over a long, flat century?
    Fast race or social century? Pulling? Mid-pack?

    range begins at:
    zone 1 -> 65% of LTHR
    zone 2 -> 82%
    zone 3 -> 89%
    zone 4 -> 94%
    zone 5a -> 100%
    zone 5b -> 103%
    zone 5c -> 106%

    I built this table for my ranges:

    LTHR 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175
    1 109 110 111 111 112 112 113 114
    2 138 139 139 140 141 142 143 144
    3 150 150 151 152 153 154 155 156
    4 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165
    5a 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175
    5b 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180
    5c 178 179 180 181 182 183 183 186

    I can get my resting HR down to 47 with meditation techniques. HR at work in 70s. Most of my instantaneous readings were 150s-160s in the first 60 miles. Then fatigue and long hills wore me down and I was dropping into the 130-140s. I am using 170-172 as my LTHR. If I get a indoor trainer one day then I use it to help establish a number. Now that I am getting out of the city to ride I am able to find 20 minute uninterrupted rides, so I could find a 20 minute route to repeated ride as my LTHR measurement course.

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    For me ... with a max HR of 194 ... I keep my HR in a 125 to 145 range on my long rides (100 miles+). Except for hills, of course, where my HR goes up a bit.


    Wear your HRM, go for a long ride at a pace you feel you could maintain all day long, and see what your HR is. That would probably be where it should be for the century. Note: You may observe that for the first 20 miles or so, your HR is a bit high, but at some point it should drop a bit ... provided you keep riding at that comfortable maintain-all-day pace ... and should stay in a certain range for the rest of the ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Terex's Avatar
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    Does your HRM record? Can you download data? I've used one for years, both in the gym and on the bike, and I know spot on just where my sustainable HR is - 153 bpm. After you use yours enough, you'll easily be able to perceive your threshold. You probably can now, and doing a flat ride, it should be easy to settle into a pace at the sustainable level. Good luck.
    "It could be anything. Scrap booking, high-stakes poker, or the Santa Fe lifestyle. Just pick a dead-end and chill out 'till you die."

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryon View Post
    Hi everyone

    I am somewhat new to using a HR monitor and I know very little about using it to pace myself. I want to know, what would be the ideal HR to maintain over a long, flat century?

    I am currently in training for the Tour de Tuscon, 109 miles, 500 feet of climbing.

    I don't know if this helps, but here is my info:
    I'm 6'6" and 190lbs
    I usually put in 600-700 miles a month.
    In the two weeks that I've had my HR monitor, the highet Ive gotten my HR is 195 bpm.
    My resting HR is 70 bmp.
    I can sustain 185 bmp for 6-7 minutes.

    Also, what's the best way to determine your lactate threshold?

    Any tips or advice is welcome. Thanks!
    -Ryon
    Look for the field test sticky post at the top of the training forum, and do that to figure out your lactate threshold.

    Once you have that, you can figure out what percentage of your LT you can maintain over the long period. As one point of reference, my LT is around 145 BPM, and I wouldn't want to average more than about 130 BPM for a century.
    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

  7. #7
    pedo viejo
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    I've only done three full centuries (4th coming up this coming weekend), but I've done a ton of 60-80 mile rides. I generally try to keep my HR below 80% until I've got about 1-2 hours left in the ride. Then I allow myself to go as hard as I want.

    If this is your first century, the key is to go easy the first ~50-60 miles. It should feel a bit too easy and a bit too slow. When you realize there are only 40-50 miles left, you want your legs to feel like they can do the distance easily. Then you can toss caution to the wind and do your normal ride.

    Someday I hope I can do a whole century at my "normal" pace, but for now I still have to take that first 30-40 miles pretty gingerly.

  8. #8
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    I don't worry about any of that stuff, I just do the century. I don't bother with HR or lactacte threshold. Those are Fred kind of stuff ot worry about. If you are fit and in good form, why worry abot all that garbage?

  9. #9
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Ryon is at Univ Calif Irvine, Anteater Cycling. Isn't that the club?

    Heart rate and all that stuff is first nature to them. But I agree on one thing...sometimes staring at the cyclo readouts takes the fun out of cycling. A rider can be so taken with data, that the data starts to dictate the ride.

    Yet some people like data of any kind. Some keep stats on baseball, football, etc. Even at the end of the games, there will be statistics on how the team did like in basketball with percentages.

  10. #10
    pedo viejo
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    That sounds like all-or-nothing thinking. I've got a computer and an HRM. I use them, but that doesn't mean I stare at them the whole ride. They're just sanity checks -- am I really going as hard/easy as it feels?

    For some reason I find the HRM most beneficial for keeping my effort low, either on a recovery ride or at the start of a century. I've learned from experience that if I start a century too hard, I suffer miserably at the end. It's hard to enjoy scenery when the legs are seizing with cramps and you just want to get home.

    Someday I hope I can do a whole century at a moderate pace, but I ain't there yet. Call me a Fred, call me a "poopy-head", call me whatever you like, but this is what I do.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Dubbayoo's Avatar
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    For me I stay between 80-85%, with the understanding that you're stopping for breaks every 15-20 miles anyway.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Pinyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palookabutt View Post
    That sounds like all-or-nothing thinking. I've got a computer and an HRM. I use them, but that doesn't mean I stare at them the whole ride. They're just sanity checks -- am I really going as hard/easy as it feels?
    This is how I use my heart rate monitor as well. I have a tendency to push my heart rate too high over a couple of hours too, and it is just there to keep me from pushing too hard.

    For century or longer rides, I try to keep my flat-land cruising heart rate in the 75% - 85% range. I push it a lot higher on big hills, and I let it drop on some of the downhills. It all depends on how I feel that day.

    If I push it too hard on longer rides, I run the risk of a lot of misery near the end. Once during a hilly century ride, I tried riding the event with a 35+ year old race team from my town. I simply could not hold their pace for more than a couple of hours. I pushed too hard on 3-4 of the steeper hills during the first half of the event, such that my legs had no power or snap left in them, and then I bonked HARD during the last 15 miles or so. There was no way to make my legs non-rubbery, but I should have eaten and drank more than usual after blowing up on those hills like that. Those last few miles were pure torture. I was completely useless for anything but munching and napping for the rest of the day.

    Pay attention to how you feel. Make sure that you eat and drink enough, use the restroom when you have to go, and don't be afraid to back off a little bit to allow yourself to recover after a hard section of riding. It can make you faster over the entire course, and you will enjoy the event much more.

    Have fun!

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