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Old 02-23-09, 12:21 PM   #1
esatel
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heart rate drifts high

Hi,
I am 43 years old. My LT heart rate was measured at about 170 two years ago. My maximum heart rate is about 193-5 depending on the day.

When I do high intensity workouts, say 3min intervals or hills intended to be just above LT, I notice the following pattern. I'll use intervals as an example, but a time trial on a hill would involve the same pattern.
1. I don't make the intended heart rate in the first interval, but my power is fine.
2. I can do about 2 more intervals with my HR growing healthily to about 170-174 and recover OK.
3. I can do 1 or 2 more where my heart rate gets higher and higher. I might do an interval at 184 and one at 190. I may or may not recover into the aerobic/recovery zones from these. My power is fine. My perceived exertion is quite high, but not ridiculous.

It is as if my body's ability to regulate heart rate just goes away and it keeps creeping up. My perceived exertion is merely "very high" during these efforts -- once I get in this mode, I can ride for 10-15 minutes at 188-192 on big hills, which is certainly a long way from my LT!! My heart rate won't get back to normal for the rest of the workout.

I don't get a lot of other 43 year olds with this problem or read about it much. Most posts here seem concerned by their low maximum heart rates, I'm worried about having a high one that I visit regularly. I have had an EKG and apparently no one is rushing me to the hospital. Anyone ever heard of this?

Thanks!
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Old 02-23-09, 01:12 PM   #2
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Perhaps my reading comprehension is off like usual but my HR does the exact same thing.
Every interval results in a slightly higher heart rate at the same perceived exertion until my final rep. It usually ends up topping out close to my max heart rate.
It was my belief that this was a result of working my arse off without adequate recovery time. *shrugs*
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Old 02-23-09, 01:34 PM   #3
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I believe that is completely normal, and is known as cardiac drift. Also, your LT HR is likely higher than it was 2 years ago.
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Old 02-23-09, 03:03 PM   #4
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It's cardiac drift. It will get less as you get more conditioned, but even elites have it to some extent.
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Old 02-23-09, 09:43 PM   #5
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I think the formal definition of "cardiac drift" involves longer time frames.

HR is slow at responding to changes in effort so you need to give it time to catch up, and in a short interval it's all over before HR can match up with the effort.

For shorter intervals like the 3 minutes in the OP, don't even worry about HR - just go "flat out" for the interval. Use cadence and gearing to gauge your output if you don't have a powermeter.

I only use HR on intervals that are 5 min's or longer. That gives it time to settle down.
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Old 02-24-09, 08:58 AM   #6
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One cannot judge the meaning of a particular HR or series of HRs by knowing only age, and generalities of a situation.

Heart Rate has never been an exact indicator of exertion or anything, really.

Depending on one's fitness level and outside variables (air temp, evaporative cooling, presence of autos), various activities will result in different HRs for the "same" person at different times.

HR is meant as a general gauge for exertion but can be interpreted more specifically if the user understands principles of exercise science and is abreast of the running conditions of a particular individual.


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Old 02-24-09, 10:05 AM   #7
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^^^ true that. Absent a full-blown VO2 series, RPE is probably the best indicator of cardiopulmonary work, even though it's subjective.
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Old 02-24-09, 10:09 AM   #8
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better than me, Im 36 and at 170, I blow up! No power, burnt legs etc.

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