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Old 10-27-10, 07:41 PM   #1
Irvent
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Heart Rate - Everyone is different, but how high is too high?

About 18 months ago I purchased a bike. Before that I basically didn't get any exercise in all my years of living (besides school mandated physical ed classes, which consisted of very little). Since then I've increased mileage from about 9 miles in 45 minutes and being completely bonked to riding 50-60 miles on long days, average days ~30 miles. Solo rides all flirt around 16.5mph +/- about .5 based on how much climbing there is (from 0 to 3000 feet on average).

All this sounds fine and dandy, it's improvement, it makes me happy. However, in May I got a heart rate monitor and have since been watching HR on my rides. Now, I know everyone's heart rate numbers are different, but I feel I have very high numbers and wonder if it's from training incorrectly, not training enough, if it's just how my body is, or if there may be something wrong. On average it seems as though my rides average ~170HR +/-10 (I've had 2 hour rides average to 181bpm, max 205bpm). This seems pretty high to me, especially for extended efforts. Also the zone break down Garmin tends to give is about 60% of the ride in zone 5, 30% in zone 4, and the rest in zone 1-3.

Also, at the end of August (after 15 months of riding) I tried 2 20 minute steady HR efforts as high as possible indoors on a trainer. End result was holding 182bpm for 20min both times. This again surprised me as pretty high, especially when I hear others who I feel are more trained have their 20 min efforts ~160bpm.

I guess I just want someone to tell me it's ok that some people go on rides at 20mph and have an average of 145bpm, while I can't seem to move on the bike without my heart rate going up to at least 160.

Plus any comments on HR training and what represents improvement would be greatly appreciated

(Resting heart rate is ~90 for a 23y/o 175lb male)
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Old 10-27-10, 09:00 PM   #2
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It's OK. You're doing great. Improvement is going faster at that 182HR. And good for you to hold it the same both times. Improvement is also going within 1 mph the same average speed both times.

Your resting HR is high. That will come down with time and more riding. Your average HR on rides will also come down over the next couple of years, assuming you keep riding lots. Don't worry about it.

I see you're Type 1. Biking will help keep your BS even. It's a challenge to figure out exactly what works best for you.
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Old 10-28-10, 07:24 AM   #3
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your resting heart rate is REALLY high. Abnormally high in myexperience. your training rides are probably okay for someone who never worked out before but now if your looking to actually train properly you will need to get more specific. you are working too hard too often. you need to get more of a base level built up and then look to start getting specific to your goals. The cyclists training bible by joe friel was recommended to me and was cited here often. Its a bit technical but not too much so. What you really need to do is give yourself a lactate threshold test. Find someplace relatively flat where you can really ride hard unobstructed for 30 minutes. for me it's a 6mile loop in central park. You need to ride as hard as you can for 30 minutes. 10 minutes in hit the lap function on your hr monitor and then the average of your last 20 minutes of the ride are an estimate of your lactate threshold. you shoudl do this test then report back to us.
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Old 10-28-10, 09:01 AM   #4
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Measurements correct?

Did you do all your heart rate measurements with the Garmin?

If so, do a sanity check on that resting heart rate using finger on pulse and watch with second hand.

Hennie
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Old 10-28-10, 09:01 AM   #5
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First, everyone is different so don't compare yourself to others. A 90bpm resting rate seems a bit high based on your level of fitness but you may just have a genetically high resting rate. Same is true for maxHR. I'm 53 and my maxHR is 200bpm on the bike my resting is around 70bpm. My average runs around 160bpm when I am working out. As long as you have had a physical and your Dr is good with your HR just set your zones and work against them. That is why you use zones rather than absolutes
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Old 10-28-10, 09:12 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by cappuccino911 View Post
your resting heart rate is REALLY high. Abnormally high in myexperience. your training rides are probably okay for someone who never worked out before but now if your looking to actually train properly you will need to get more specific. you are working too hard too often. you need to get more of a base level built up and then look to start getting specific to your goals. The cyclists training bible by joe friel was recommended to me and was cited here often. Its a bit technical but not too much so. What you really need to do is give yourself a lactate threshold test. Find someplace relatively flat where you can really ride hard unobstructed for 30 minutes. for me it's a 6mile loop in central park. You need to ride as hard as you can for 30 minutes. 10 minutes in hit the lap function on your hr monitor and then the average of your last 20 minutes of the ride are an estimate of your lactate threshold. you shoudl do this test then report back to us.
He already did a LTHR test. It's in his post. He even did the full-on 2 X 20. 182. Good for him.
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Old 10-28-10, 10:40 AM   #7
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Hennievn, the zone break downs were what was automatically decided by my garmin after I put in my weight, sex, age, etc. I'm really not even sure how it comes up with them. However, for resting heart rate I took that myself with a stopwatch and fingers on pulse. Granted, it was after an hour of sitting around, not directly after waking up in the morning, which I guess I could try tomorrow and see if it's any different.

cappuccino, thanks for pointing out I may be going too hard too often. I hadn't really thought of that but now that you mention it I can recall back-to-back riding days where by the 3rd day I felt like I was giving all I could, but I just couldn't get my HR up to where it usually is.

CBF, Over the next couple years? Alright, guess I've had my expectations set a little high. Thanks for that grounder
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Old 10-28-10, 11:09 AM   #8
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You need to determine your zones, and input them into your garmin properly so that if you're training by zone you're using the right values. Find an online hr zone calculator to help you. You really shouldn't be doing zone 5 efforts multiple days in a row, esp. If you have type I DM, I would think.
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Old 10-28-10, 11:22 AM   #9
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He already did a LTHR test. It's in his post. He even did the full-on 2 X 20. 182. Good for him.
my apologies, I'm not familiar with the 2x20 test I didn't realize it was a formal Lactate threshold test but I just stumbled on the sticky and read through it.

OP, I don't have my copy of friels book with me, it's at my gym but what I can tell you is my threshold is 165 and that means my zone 1 recovery zone is something like 106-132, zone 2 is 132-140 ish. The bulk of building up a base is done in zone2 so as you can see, it's well below my threshold. You will be surprised how fast you still find yourself able to go when you are noticeably holding back a bit.
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Old 10-28-10, 12:36 PM   #10
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I'll have to check out friels book. It seems as though I've finally found an interest where just trying harder, pushing harder, working longer isn't going to be the best way to improve, so I better get some idea of what holding back means and how to implement it correctly.
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Old 10-28-10, 12:51 PM   #11
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Hennievn, the zone break downs were what was automatically decided by my garmin after I put in my weight, sex, age, etc. I'm really not even sure how it comes up with them. However, for resting heart rate I took that myself with a stopwatch and fingers on pulse. Granted, it was after an hour of sitting around, not directly after waking up in the morning, which I guess I could try tomorrow and see if it's any different.

cappuccino, thanks for pointing out I may be going too hard too often. I hadn't really thought of that but now that you mention it I can recall back-to-back riding days where by the 3rd day I felt like I was giving all I could, but I just couldn't get my HR up to where it usually is.

CBF, Over the next couple years? Alright, guess I've had my expectations set a little high. Thanks for that grounder
Not really a grounder. "They say" that it takes seven years to go from zero to full aerobic fitness - to reach your potential IOW. IME, that's about right. So you just keep getting faster, as long as you never slack off and ride and work out year round. Getting faster is fun. So you have a lot of that to look forward to! The trick is the not slacking off part. That means not overdoing it and getting tired and bored with being tired, etc. You have to find out how to make it fun. You'll start to lose fitness after 3 days of not riding. After 3 days, every day more you miss equals a week of the training you did to get you to where you were. Something like that.

Which isn't always bad. I figure I start from scratch every October after taking a few weeks partly, but never completely, off. So I start in October to get fit for the next summer. That's about how long it takes. You don't want to try to stay at a high state of fitness. That just tires you out. You want to go up and down a bit, just never all the way down. So I'll work on base and the fundamentals until maybe February, then start with the early intervals.
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Old 10-28-10, 01:55 PM   #12
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I'll have to check out friels book. It seems as though I've finally found an interest where just trying harder, pushing harder, working longer isn't going to be the best way to improve, so I better get some idea of what holding back means and how to implement it correctly.
Yes. Don't worry too much about your MHR. It varies. If you can hit 200, or 210, or 220 without dropping dead that's fine. My own MHR is at least 25 beats per minute higher than the age-related formulae tell me it should be. As others have said, your resting HR seems high but that may be temporary if you have only recently taken up exercise.

More long, steady rides in HR zone two is what I would prescribe. Intensity is great, but you need an aerobic base on which to build. A couple of times each week, try spending > 2 hours on the bike while keeping your HR below 140. Don't worry if that means you're going slow. You'll find that you build stamina, and that your resting HR falls as your lactate threshold rises.
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Old 10-28-10, 05:35 PM   #13
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If it hasn't been made clear from the other posts, your maximum heart rate is WAY higher than the default values the Garmin calculated for you. Mine is as well, although not as extreme as yours. So the computer is saying you are in Zone 5, when in reality you are likely in Zone 4. Based on what you've provided, your max is at least 205, maybe a bit higher. So your 181 average for 2 hours is near the top of Zone 4. Holding a high Zone 4 for that long is a hard workout.

If you haven't already, create an account at garminconnect.com. There is a zone calculator you can use, or you can enter your own custom zones (like from Friel's book). Either way, you then download them to your computer, and from then on, your zone data will be more accurate.

I've done the self testing, but am still not sure I have my zones nailed down, so I'm having a metabolic test done to be sure I have it right.


Edit: I just noted your age, so your max isn't that far off the formula calc - but you still need to get accurate zones into your computer.
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Old 10-28-10, 05:43 PM   #14
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Based on a LT heart rate of 182, here are your zones per Friel's book. Note that Friel's zones are not the straight percentages some people use:

.....<152 Zone 1
152-163 Zone 2
164-171 Zone 3
172-182 Zone 4
183-186 Zone 5a
187-193 Zone 5b
194+..... Zone 5c

Friel would have you focus right now on Zone 2, as has been recommended by posters. Then add Zone 4, with brief forays into 5. Friel minimizes Zone 3, as it provides little additional benefit over Zone 2, which can be maintained longer. When I venture into Zone 3, I just push a bit harder to get up into 4.
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Old 11-02-10, 01:44 PM   #15
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Not really a grounder. "They say" that it takes seven years to go from zero to full aerobic fitnes
And that's to reach some sort of "peak" fitness. You will get faster and/or fitter over shorter periods of time. So, don't worry about it. It's not like you have to work for years without any showing any progress.
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Old 11-03-10, 06:15 AM   #16
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Irvent, eventually you'll discover what various HR levels equal good training zones. But as you already know, you are not normal. I would assume you have had a physical and you have normal blood pressure etc and no family history of heart disease......

If the numbers you supply are accurate, you may find using zone workouts to be much more difficult that most people. (actual zones would be narrower)
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