What is my "real" HR MAx?
Okay, this might sound like a stupid question, but bear with me.
I'm having questions about what my "real" HR Max is. I've read a moderate amount about different ways to calculate it (joel friel, etc.). But my findings are not consistent.
If I look at the maximum HR that I've had "at all" on my HR monitor in the past six months, it's 185. Twice 182. But they are standouts. Anomalies. Very consistently, my max HR is in the range of 166-175 or so. Every now and then it'll get higher -- maybe on four occasions in the past six months.
So, today I did a 38 mi ride. Very, very hilly. Several climbs are 2-7 mi continuous, with grades ranging from 3-8%. I'm giving it all I've got for a seven mi climb, pushing myself to my absolute limit to try to establish my HR Max. 170 is all I could get it to go! I just can't push myself any harder. That's it baby! On another day, I might get it up a little higher, but not much. I've only gotten it to 185 once in the last year. A couple of years ago to 187.
My question then is, which number should I use as my HR Max to calculate my zones? I've been using 182, but I don't know that that's the best, cuz my zones then all seem unrealistically high.
Do I go with 182 cuz I have hit that, and so "that's my maximum HR," or do I look at that as an outlier and maybe just compute a more realistic average of more typical maximum HR's over the last year or so?
I'm 55. I put in about 150-160 miles per week, and those are pretty consistently the types of #s
Thanks in advance,