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  1. #1
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    How to NOT max out my HR so easily?

    I searched for a bit, and can't seem to find what I'm looking for...hoping for some help, or a point in the right direction.

    What can I do to train so that I'm not hitting such a high HR so easily/soon? My Garmin claims my max is 185, but I suppose it could be off by a bit. I'm 27, 5'11, about 185lbs.

    So far this year, since the end of February, I've logged about 3200 miles, usually ride in groups 3-4x/wk, keep about a 19-21 average. I've done a few solo rides, and can keep a mid 17 or so average.

    Today, I did a century ride. Started with 5 of us, but 3 split off to do a shorter route after 20 miles, so it was just 2 of us for the rest of the ride. We did about 4300' of climbing, and during the day, I hit my "max" at least 22 times. My average HR for almost 6 hours was 171bpm. Maybe I'm wrong, but this can't be good, can it? Going off that 185 number, that's 92% of my max, on average, for the entire ride.

    So what can I do so I can go out and ride, and not have to push myself so hard and have an easier ride? I was hoping getting out a lot more this year and putting in seat time would help, and it seems like I'm still pushing myself to the edge.

    I don't know if it matters, but I have had asthma my entire life, but since I've been an adult, it hasn't affected me too much. Normally it's just when the seasons start changing, but even then, I would say I've probably only used my inhaler a few times (if that) in the last year.

    Heres my data from today-
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/220840929
    Last edited by evan938; 09-09-12 at 08:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Donsell's Avatar
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    This is something I'd take to a doctor.
    Donsell
    Lincoln, Ne

  3. #3
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    The only way that I know of to find your maximum heart rate is to ride for about 30 minutes and then ride as hard as you can (sprint) until you puke and then see what your heart rate was. If you don't die during the effort you still didn't reach your max heart rate but you got close. Then you can use this full out effort heart rate as your max. From what I have read some have very high max heart rates and some have very low max heart rates. Age does not give you an exact number as far as your max heart rate.

    I am just a dummy and not a doctor so don't take any of my advise. Maybe others will be able to point you in a more scientific/medical direction.

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    Again don't listen to me but you are carrying about 30 lbs of extra weight for your height. The extra weight may be 100% muscle. But unless you need the muscle then ditch it. I base this on the fact that muscle has to be supplied with blood just like fat. Any thing extra is just more work for the heart.

    Now you know that I am totally crazy and that nothing that I say should be listened to.

  5. #5
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    Sadly, its not all muscle, and its all in my midsection. My goal was to ride enough to change that this year, but so far, im only down about 10lbs. I know the more i drop, the less weight i have to carry around with me, but these numbers still seem high to me.

  6. #6
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    The first question to ask yourself before getting overly worried is how you felt during the ride. If you truly did record an average HR of 171 BPM, you should have been so winded that talking was quite difficult. Also, the terrain for that kind of HR should have been relatively difficult as well. If either of those situations were true, you should probably talk to your doctor about a stress test, as an average physical just includes an EKG that's designed to detect abnormal rhythms.

  7. #7
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    Your "max" isn't really your max. No one stays at 92% max heart rate for 6 hrs.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by hyhuu View Post
    Your "max" isn't really your max. No one stays at 92% max heart rate for 6 hrs.
    +1. At your real max HR, you should be about to puke or black out.

    How do you feel during and after your ride? That's what's important. And when you say your garmin says your max is 185, what do you mean? Do you mean that's the highest HR it has recorded?

    I just got exercise induced asthma this year after an episode of bronchitis, and found that my HR was really high compared to my power output while I was ill/having asthma attacks. So, it's possible you are seeing high HRs due to uncontrolled asthma - maybe time to revisit a doctor about that? I dunno.

    In any case, no matter what the numbers are, it would be worth learning a bit more about HR training and getting on an actual training plan, to increase your speed and endurance. Training plans help a lot more than just putting in miles - at least, that is true after you have some miles under your belt. There are tons of books and training plans out there, if you are interested & analytical Friel or Hunter/Coggan (powermeter) are good book resources, if you just want to know what to do and not spend a ton of time planning and analyzing, Carmichael is a good resource.
    ...

  9. #9
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    Asthma does all sorts of wacky things while riding. I've had it spike my HR and other times make me think I had blown up when I hadn't.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by evan938 View Post
    What can I do to train so that I'm not hitting such a high HR so easily/soon? My Garmin claims my max is 185, but I suppose it could be off by a bit. I'm 27, 5'11, about 185lbs.
    First of all I would suggest you read the Garmin manual and learn how to set the maxHR manually. The Garmin has zero idea what your MaxHR is. The 185 is just an initial default value.

    Your HR sounds normal for a 28 yr old. If you want to learn your actual Max find a decent hill that will take 2+ min to ride up. Ride the hill at a hard pace and then sprint all out for the final 30 seconds. Your peak HR will occur a few seconds after you stop.

    See a doc if your worried, but nothing you've written would indicate you need to see a doctor.

  11. #11
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    It's highly variable. My "age-calculated" max would be about 165, which what Garmin would pick for me, but in that case I'd be 95%-100%, 100% of the time! Don't believe it. It has nothing to do with how good shape you're in, how strong the heart is or anything like that. Some people's hearts max out at a higher HR than others, sometimes a lot higher. You have to find out what your's is specifically.

  12. #12
    Senior Member kingfishr's Avatar
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    Not sure you have granted public permission to view your training on Garmin Connect. All I got was You do not have sufficient privileges to view the activity with id 220840929
    I have a similar problem at age 54, I was hitting my max HR too often, and finally realized that whenever my legs got tired I would shift into an easier gear and spin at a higher cadence which immediately raised my pulse. In other words I shifted the load from my legs to my heart. Well this was fine back when my max pulse was 225, but today I just can't do it anymore. So this last year I have concentrated on increasing leg strength and reducing my cadence.This meant lots of training and intervals gradually reducing cadence and increase speed by using a larger gears. So after one year I have increased my average speed by a couple of mph while still running around 155 avg pulse when pushing hard on 100km or so, and now doing about 22-24mph with an average cadence of 72 (down from 76 last year).

  13. #13
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    Ride more, especially longer rides where your HR rarely gets above 150. Train that part of your metabolism to take on a greater load. Mix it up, too. Riding all the time at 19-20 mph, always on the edge of running out of breath, just gets you good at riding 19-20 mph just about to run out of breath.

    But mainly, ride more. Because 3200 miles since Feb is only about 500 miles/month.

    Yes. I said "only".

    As you ride more, your HR will start to drop for a given effort.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    It's highly variable. My "age-calculated" max would be about 165, which what Garmin would pick for me, but in that case I'd be 95%-100%, 100% of the time! Don't believe it. It has nothing to do with how good shape you're in, how strong the heart is or anything like that. Some people's hearts max out at a higher HR than others, sometimes a lot higher. You have to find out what your's is specifically.
    Forget about "max HR". Better to determine your threshold HR.

    Get Joe Friel's book and read it. Or just Google "cycling lactic threshold heart rate".

  15. #15
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    thanks for the replies. as for the 185 number, yeah, thats what garmin set it at after my first ride. I've done some sprints for fun with some of the guys i've ridden with, and i think ive gotten up to 200-201ish, and i couldn't go anymore...but even off that, a 171 average is 85%. during the ride, i would say i felt ok. obviously starting to feel it as the ride got to the later stages, but the hills were from mile ~35 to mile ~75 or so. there was about 4300' of climbing on the whole route, which around here, is quite a bit. i do tuesday and wednesday night rides, and in 30-40 miles, we might hit 900' where those routes take us.

    i think what kingfishr posted is kind of how i was thinking in my head, if i could strengthen my legs, and was keeping a bit lower cadence, that using my legs would be better than spinning at 87-90 RPM to keep the same speed.

    I know what you're saying about "ride more", but i do what i can. for reference, 2 years ago when i got into cycling, i MIGHT have done 450 miles, and this was on a bike 5cm too big for me. last year, 1200 or so miles, same bike. this year i decided to get into it a bit more, bought a bike that fits me, getting out more than just weekends, and am on track to do 3500 miles by the end of this month, and much more after that we're gonna get cold weather and i'll be moving indoors to a trainer or a spin class. maybe im expecting too much too soon?

    i want to get to a point where the effort i feel that im putting in now, im keeping an average a couple mph more than im at now. if i was riding as hard as it feels like i am on some rides i do, i'd like to keep those speeds but feel a little better during the rides. i'd also like to be able to do some sprints, even if it is just for fun with friends, and not be ready to keel over after 10-15 seconds, if that, and be able to climb some hills without feeling like i want to walk my bike from 1/4 of the way up the hill.

    maybe i just need to develop more muscle in my legs so my legs are doing the work and not my heart? i guess i thought getting in more miles would be the best way to develop those muscles, maybe i need to look into other strength building exercises not on the bike?

    and since some seemed to have issue seeing my info on garmin connect (which its unlocked, so im not sure why), here's sunday's ride on strava

    http://app.strava.com/rides/21429051

  16. #16
    Senior Member kingfishr's Avatar
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    Evan you will develop the muscles for the activity you are performing. So even if you are riding 2000 miles a month, if you are spinning at a cadence of 90 with max speed of 18 mph you will not develop the muscles that will allow you to do 22mph at a cadence of 70. Focus your riding/training on the right activities. Do intervals, including low cadence/high power, but increase gradually. Even if you can quickly increase leg strength, you can ruin your knees if done to quickly. I have been riding/running for many years, and it took me at least 6 months to begin to see measurable results. The first 3 months of training were only about getting my body used to the changes to avoid injury. I used a personal trainer who set up a custom training plan. If it had not been for his plan and experience, I would have given up after a couple of months and said I don't see any results.
    As a comparison to your strava ride, I can share my latest ride: http://app.strava.com/rides/21293730 where I rode at 85% of my max pulse (186) for 3:54 with 1300 meters of elevation with an avg speed of 31.2kph . If your max pulse is 200, you rode at 85% for 5:46 at a cadence of 80 and avg speed of 28.3 kmh.
    Good luck.
    /Michael
    Last edited by kingfishr; 09-11-12 at 12:29 AM.

  17. #17
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    OK, so basically, you are doing great, you did a medium-hard century in a nice time and you want to improve. Great!

    You are misinterpreting/overinterpreting your HR numbers. 200 may not even be your max, even if it's the highest you've ever seen. You need to do an LT (lactate threshold) test and find your HR at LT and base your training around that number.

    If you have limited time, I would recommend getting the Carmichael Time Crunched Cyclist book and do the training plan. Basically, that's going to be intervals. Intervals drive up your power at a given heart rate, meaning you can go faster for the same perceived effort. This particular plan is for people who don't have a ton of time to devote to training, but want to get better. It is not high mileage but it is very high intensity - expect it to feel hard, you will be tired. You will get faster.
    ...

  18. #18
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    /\ I used that training plan earlier this year and it worked well. Less thinking involved.
    I am unsure what I am doing next year. Maybe more of a traditional plan or maybe not.

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