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Old 06-14-13, 04:55 PM   #1
ethan.g75
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Heart rate peculiarity?

Howdy,
I recently got a garmin and HR monitor. I am 14 (about to turn 15), am in really great shape, and can not only keep up with all the fast rides my team has, and can kick some serious ass on them. Anyway, i got my monitor, and i first used the standard 220-age or whatever thing and let the garmin calculate my zones. I then went out for an EASY little ride, and was amazed to see that the minute i started moving and even after i was thoroughly warmed up, that even pedaling would shoot my HR high and put me in some ungodly high zone. I went home and did research and used the karvoran or whatever it's called formula to calculate my zones, and rode some more, and still, even the slightest movement would shoot me into a high zone. I then decided that my monitor could be off so i counted my pulse as i was wearing the monitor, and the numbers matched up. I rode more and just the other day, I did a fairly easy 34 mile ride, and i averaged a heart rate of 180bmp!!!! Does anyone have any suggestions of how I should make my 5 zones?

resting HR= 54 i think, will check again tomorrow morning
age= 14, almost 15
weight= 105.5 lbs
and apparently according to training peaks, my threshold is 184bpm

any suggestions on how to get an accurate MHR, explanations as to how i am in good shape yet my hr is so damn high, or whatever, would be great!

Thanks, Ethan
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Old 06-15-13, 03:28 AM   #2
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In the first place, training systematically with HR probably doesn't matter much at your age. You are changing physically so fast that just riding lots in the way you describe is going to be enough for you to see rapid progress in your performance.

As far as HR is concerned, formulae for max HR are junk, they are based on little scientific evidence and take no account of individual variations. Forget about them. If you really want to know your max HR, sprint uphills repeatedly until you puke.

No, don't do this. Max HR is an unimportant number. Having a high max tells you little or nothing about your state of fitness. It is much better to figure out your lactic threshold heart rate (LTHR) and base training zones on that. I don't see how training peaks can tell you that number witthout a test. There's a test described in a sticky at the top of this forum. An alternative method is to warm up, then go as hard as you can for 20 minutes and take the average HR for the 20 minutes. Then Z1is 65%-80% of LTHR, z2 is 81-88%, z3 89-93%, z4 94-99% and z5 100% and above.

Setting your garmin to these levels will make the data it is giving you more realistic. But I repeat, don't worry too much about HR measurements at this stage. Just ride lots, start entering races if you have the opportunity, (there's a junior racing forum here) and keep getting faster.

Last edited by chasm54; 06-15-13 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 06-15-13, 07:03 AM   #3
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HRMs often show erroneously high numbers until there is enough sweat on your skin for the electrodes to make good electrical contact. I often see numbers like 220 when starting out and I know I'm really doing 120. You can wet the electrodes with a little spit and see the numbers drop right down.

Max HR formulas are useless. It varies quite a bit between individuals.

Chasm is correct about LTHR being more useful. In order to set zones from HRmax, they first make an assumption of what percentage of HRmax LTHR is, and go from there. But LTHR can vary with training while an individuals's HRmax is pretty much fixed (but decreases with age). So setting zones from HRmax is less accurate than setting them from LTHR. (keeping in mind that the zones are just a rough approximation of a complex system that we only partially understand, so even LTHR based zones are just rough guesses)

BTW, if you are not using junior gearing switch now so you get used to it. Developing your spin now will make you faster for the rest of your life.
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Old 06-15-13, 09:03 AM   #4
ethan.g75
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Thanks guys. And eric, I am already using junior gearing, I race. Spinners are winners .
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Old 06-17-13, 10:28 AM   #5
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Averaging 180 doesn't seem out of line for a teenager. I'm 28, and I average around 175 during a 2 hour half marathon. Some of us just have higher heart rates than others.

I find the important part is knowing your own reasonable ranges. I know that if I'm above 180, it's not sustainable, and if I'm below 150, I can push it a bit more. If I struggle to raise or lower my heart rate, I figure that something isn't quite right today (nutrition, sleep, etc) and I know to take it easy.
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Old 06-17-13, 10:37 AM   #6
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+1 to charbucks.

My normal running HR is the low 170's. I can sustain that, anything below it is push a little. 180+ is pushing it for me.

Most importantly, find out what works best for you. There is no set HR as everyone is different. If it matters my resting HR is 42, while sleeping I go down to 31 - the dr had me on a holter monitor just to see if my heart rate was ok this low.
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