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Old 05-31-09, 12:55 AM   #1
Beaker
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Help interpreting my HR data

I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to riding with a HRM, but I'm getting accustomed to responding to the numbers I'm seeing and am looking for some feedback on a ride I did today from those in the know.

This was a climb I did up the South gate road of Mt Diablo today - I put in a personal best time which I'm very pleased with. My HR plot is shown below for the climb - I settled into a groove of 175-180bpm for most of the climb which seems comfortable. What I've learned from climbing with my HRM so far is that when I sustain HR's of >180bpm for several minutes I am clearly going anaerobic and this tends to lead to fairly rapid fatigue. Keeping my HR at or below that level seems quite sustainable - as witnessed below.



So two questions - firstly it's not too scientific, but is what I've mentioned above consitent with a LTHR of 180?

Secondly, the last couple of minutes are the pure ecstasy of the wall at the top of Diablo - 18%-ish for a few hundred yards. After my pacing up the previous 11miles of the climb, I was up out of the saddle for this and peaked my HR at 192bpm. I honestly couldn't give any more effort and was just focused on finishing during this period. Is all out effort for 2minutes at the end of a sustained climb a good way to estimate my max HR? 220-age is useless as I'm 38, giving me a too low value of 182.

Any thoughts/opinions would be most welcome

thanks - B
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Old 05-31-09, 04:29 AM   #2
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Your Max HR is probably around 195. Your lactate threshold is probably 175 - 180. I have found Heart Zones Cycling by Sally Edwards to be an excellent source of information for understanding and training using an HRM.
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Old 05-31-09, 07:53 AM   #3
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Well as to interpretation, your conclusions sound valid to me. Like you, I try to get in a groove on steep climbs where I am just below my anaerobic threshold.

So you have obviously figured out how to pace yourself well.

As to the zones and what not, they are guides. What is really important is what WORKS FOR YOU. You seem to have found that. Congratulations.
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Old 05-31-09, 09:07 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies - rodrigaj - any reason you pick 195 for my max HR?
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Old 05-31-09, 11:46 AM   #5
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Your LTHR looks right and that's the most important number to have. To get your MaxHR you need an all-out sprint when your HR is already close to your LTHR. At the top of the hill you didn't really do an all-out sprint as it lasted for a couple of minutes so your MaxHR would probably be a little higher than what you saw. In any case MaxHR is not very useful for training.
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Old 05-31-09, 11:49 AM   #6
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Great, thanks. I take it that you measure HR zones as % of LTHR as Joe Friel describes, rather than % MHR?
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Old 05-31-09, 02:12 PM   #7
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I'd take the average HR from the junction or from after the flat parts at Rock City to just below the final pitch and use that at LTHR. Visually estimating it looks like about 178.

I think that the final wall is not good for getting your max. You have spent too much time climbing by the time you get there and won't be fresh enoug to really go all out.

It's more accurate to set zones based on LTHR than max HR. The way the max HR zones are calculated is to apply a standard percentage to obtain an estimate of the LTHR and then the zones come from that. But the standard percentage, while based on studies, is only an average number for the people in the studies. While I don't think it is as inaccurate as 220-age, it's not all that accurate- your LT moves as you get fitter or less fit, while your max stays the same relative to fitness but decreases with age.
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Old 05-31-09, 02:54 PM   #8
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Thanks Eric. Currently I'm using motion based or GTC for my data processing - I don't think that either one would let me excise a portion of the data to calculate and average, unless you know differently.

I know very little about how LTHR changes with improved fitness. I've been riding seriously for about 18months so think I've probably missed some of my more significant changes. If you're doing a climb like Diablo or another of the local hills, do you try to keep your HR at or just below your predetermined LT, or do you look for a certain amount of anaerobic feedback to let you know when you're at your limit? i.e. if your LTHR goes up, you can presumably push harder without going anaerobic and climb faster.
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Old 06-01-09, 05:18 PM   #9
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Thanks for the replies - rodrigaj - any reason you pick 195 for my max HR?
Your peak of 192 lasted more the 15 to 45 sec that you would be able to sustain max HR. Therefore, I bumped it up a bit.
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Old 06-01-09, 09:49 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
Thanks Eric. Currently I'm using motion based or GTC for my data processing - I don't think that either one would let me excise a portion of the data to calculate and average, unless you know differently.

I know very little about how LTHR changes with improved fitness. I've been riding seriously for about 18months so think I've probably missed some of my more significant changes. If you're doing a climb like Diablo or another of the local hills, do you try to keep your HR at or just below your predetermined LT, or do you look for a certain amount of anaerobic feedback to let you know when you're at your limit? i.e. if your LTHR goes up, you can presumably push harder without going anaerobic and climb faster.
I can generally calibrate LTHR with how my legs feel - when I start to get at or slightly above it in constant efforts, my legs start to ache.

As you train, your LTHR reaches a higher percentage of your maximum rate. You can put out more power without going anaerobic and you will burn a higher percentage of fat at a given heart rate.

As for climbing, it depends on what my goals are. If I'm trying to go as fast as I can, that's one thing, but if you are training, you want to spend the bulk of your time either above LHTR or below, and not a lot of time near it.
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Old 06-01-09, 10:14 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaker View Post
If you're doing a climb like Diablo or another of the local hills, do you try to keep your HR at or just below your predetermined LT, or do you look for a certain amount of anaerobic feedback to let you know when you're at your limit? i.e. if your LTHR goes up, you can presumably push harder without going anaerobic and climb faster.
I mostly go by power instead of HR, but the question is the same.

It depends on my goals for the ride- if it's a group ride I am usually trying to ignore the numbers. I have to do what I have to do in order to keep up or get ahead. Same in most races. When its going real hard I tend to look at the computer and think "I can't do that" and back off.

Other times in solo training I am either doing a lot of climbing, like three Diablos, in which case I can't get too close to LT for too much time. If I spend too much time there on the first two I'll be significantly slower on the last one. Or I am doing intervals where I am riding at a predetermined power output for the intervals. I re-estimate my threshold power periodically to try to keep it accurate.

At first as I got fitter over the years I was going faster because I could push a higher HR for longer. But the last three or so years I have been getting faster at the same or lower HR. That's one of the reasons why I think that HR isn't a very good perfomance measurement tool. It's not telling you how fast you are going, it's telling you how hard you are working to do it.
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Old 06-01-09, 11:27 PM   #12
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Thanks Eric (M, and ericqu).

I'm just starting to think about/understand HR data and how to overlay that with speed/cadence/grade etc. which I've been concentrating on up until now. I think it'll be a while till I'm plugging power into the equation, but I'm very interested to see how HR data will affect this years' riding for me.
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