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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 07-09-14, 03:52 AM   #1
dleccord
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riding @ 170bpm ?

i ride about 3 times a week. roughly 2 hours each ride. is there such thing as heart failure if i keep it up like this? to be exact, when i ride im usually in the 171-178 range, and i typically back off just to get down to 171.

background: 26 years old recreational rider.
goal: just to be able to pace @ 20mph over 30 flat miles under 150bpm preferably.


thanks
jacob

Last edited by dleccord; 07-09-14 at 03:56 AM.
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Old 07-09-14, 06:31 AM   #2
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I think it all depends on what your max HR is. At your age I suspect it's 190 or higher but everyone is different (your real max may be higher or lower than typical 26yo).

I'm not a doctor but I'd say if heart failure while exercising is a serious concern for you (family history of heart issues?) then you should get a real fitness/stress test from your doctor. Find out what your real max HR is and discuss the appropriate HR to target for sustained efforts over multiple hours.

Personally I target ~75-80% of my theoretical max for long sustained efforts (4+ hours) at a good pace mainly so I don't feel completely spent at the end of the ride. For shorter efforts I feel fine pushing ~90% of max but my legs typically say uncle before the rest of my body does.
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Old 07-09-14, 06:38 AM   #3
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most "heart failure" is a result of a long history of uncontrolled high blood pressure. Heart attacks are usually the result of clogged arteries. If you have electrical issues you can have a bout of ventricular fib and that can kill young people. You do not say how long you have been training. As you become fitter and your vascular system becomes more developed and your stroke volume increases (and it will) your heart rate at a given power output will get lower. Of course when this happens your power output will increase.

Just to be safe you should have a cardiologist do a treadmill stress test to make sure there are no EKG issues. At 26 you are probably ok but young athletes have dropped dead due to undiagnosed issues.
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Old 07-09-14, 07:41 AM   #4
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That is a reasonable range for your HR and if you keep it up, it will go down as you get more aerobically fit and you and your heart become more efficient. I am 40+ and routinely maintain an average HR higher than that on long runs and bike races. I usually start to suffer at 185bpm but can go for long times at 175bpm and hard sprints, running or biking, get me to 200+bpm which is pretty much my maximum. All this varies greatly from person to person but once you get to know your heart, it can be a very effective tool to gauge how you are feeling and what you have left in the tank. Sounds like you are gaining that understanding and backing off a little to recover.
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Old 07-09-14, 07:42 AM   #5
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Well its hard to know without knowing your Max HR. Let's say yours is 194 for the sake of discussion (220-26); then you average 170 / 194 which is 88% max HR. That's a good, hard workout. How do you feel after it? Tired? You should; if 194 is your max anyway.

In my case, I had a Max HR of 203 at 32 years old. So in my case, at 32 yo, (170 / 203) -> 84%, its a good, well paced workout. Now I'm 36 and I don't know my Max HR anymore, I figure it must be somewhere around 195 from the stats I see.

The only way to get your Max HR is to test it, indoors! (so you don't hurt yourself and others) and preferably with a trainer pushing you to go at it more and more and more and more and more (and more, and more, and more) until you almost collapse. Your HR, at that point, is pretty much maxed.

If you are worried about heart conditions for some reason, DO NOT DO THIS ALONE or without medical support.

That said though, until you know your max HR, you cannot infer anything out of a few sessions, you'll need to see how it evolves over time and gauge how you feel.

By the way, the biggest thing I saw wasn't how fast my heart rate kept going; if I exercise hard, it goes high, my body needs oxygen! The important thing is, how long does it take to recuperate? When at 170, how long does it take to go down to 90? The more in shape you are, the faster you'll drop from high to low HR, and likewise, your HR will soar much quicker.

And for the record, young athletes may have died with undiagnosed heart issues but in general, if you DO NOT KNOW about a special condition (family, or past) then, statistically, you'll have a better life expectancy when exercising than if you do nothing because you are afraid of a potential possibility of something bad maybe happening. So if you do not know, ride.
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Old 07-09-14, 08:13 AM   #6
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Yes. Back before heart rate monitors were commonly available (retail availability started in the early '80s), athletes were dying like flies from maintaining too high a heart rate.
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Old 07-09-14, 10:12 AM   #7
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Thankfully the theory of evolution correctly describes how we got here. When I first started cycling, I had the same worry. My cardiologist said no, you can't hurt your heart by pushing too hard. If you could, your distant ancestors would not have passed on their genes as successfully. We now know that it is possible to overstress the heart by long, extreme efforts, but this mostly by a competitive marathoners and elite Ironman level triathletes.

IOW, don't worry, just ride. Some people naturally have higher HRs than others.
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Old 07-09-14, 01:16 PM   #8
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Max HR isn't important. If you're interested in HR training look at the sticky in this forum that shows you how to determine yout lactate threshold, and use it to determine your HR zones for training purposes.
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Old 07-09-14, 10:56 PM   #9
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i've ridden a little over 2000 miles and i started group riding recently.

this is my profile for a every ride and its pretty steady and HR hasnt dropped much.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Number400 View Post
That is a reasonable range for your HR and if you keep it up, it will go down as you get more aerobically fit and you and your heart become more efficient. I am 40+ and routinely maintain an average HR higher than that on long runs and bike races. I usually start to suffer at 185bpm but can go for long times at 175bpm and hard sprints, running or biking, get me to 200+bpm which is pretty much my maximum. All this varies greatly from person to person but once you get to know your heart, it can be a very effective tool to gauge how you are feeling and what you have left in the tank. Sounds like you are gaining that understanding and backing off a little to recover.
when im out doing my 4.5 mile time trial stretch (goal of keeping 20 mph pace), my heart rate range is any where from 170-178 (im pretty comfortable since im used to riding at this rate). and it usually goes over that when i try to keep 22 mph. so then i drop down to 19 mph to get my HR down to 168 in order to go back to pacing 20 mph.

however, sometimes on really long rides, i cant seem to recover (is it fatigue?).

at that point, im having trouble keeping my heart rate under 130 riding back @ 10 mph

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Originally Posted by DunderXIII View Post
Well its hard to know without knowing your Max HR. Let's say yours is 194 for the sake of discussion (220-26); then you average 170 / 194 which is 88% max HR. That's a good, hard workout. How do you feel after it? Tired? You should; if 194 is your max anyway.
thanks for bringing up the max heart rate situation. i've probably seen 197 on a ride a few months back, but that's a very rare number.

what i've learned and discovered about myself is that, when im doing the group ride and my HR reaches 193 the third time, even after allowing myself to bring it down to 180, i blow up and pretty much my ride is over.
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Old 07-11-14, 12:59 AM   #10
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Quote:

however, sometimes on really long rides, i cant seem to recover (is it fatigue?).

at that point, im having trouble keeping my heart rate under 130 riding back @ 10 mph


.
Yes it's fatigue.

From your description I'd say you're spending too much of your riding time at or close to your lactate threshold, in HR zones three and four, without necessarily having built the aerobic base that is required to sustain such efforts. I'd reiterate the advice I gave above - do a test for your LTHR, work out your HR zones, and put in some time in zone two. You may think this is a bit tedious, because to start with you'll be going slower. But over time you'll find that your speed will increase while maintaining a HR that is well below your threshold, so you'll be cruising during your group riide and better able to recover from the high HR efforts when you have to make them.
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Old 07-11-14, 08:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dleccord View Post
however, sometimes on really long rides, i cant seem to recover (is it fatigue?).

at that point, im having trouble keeping my heart rate under 130 riding back @ 10 mph
I mostly agree with chasm, except that my experience is that fatigue drops my HR. When I'm wasted, I can't get a HR over some number and find myself climbing in low zone 2. High HR toward the end of a long ride is always dehydration IME. Try drinking a lot more.

There's a big difference between 170 and 178. You seem to be saying that you can't maintain HRs over 178 for your TT test and 178/197 = .9, so that's probably near your LT.
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Old 07-11-14, 03:10 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
Yes it's fatigue.

From your description I'd say you're spending too much of your riding time at or close to your lactate threshold, in HR zones three and four, without necessarily having built the aerobic base that is required to sustain such efforts. I'd reiterate the advice I gave above - do a test for your LTHR, work out your HR zones, and put in some time in zone two. You may think this is a bit tedious, because to start with you'll be going slower. But over time you'll find that your speed will increase while maintaining a HR that is well below your threshold, so you'll be cruising during your group riide and better able to recover from the high HR efforts when you have to make them.
chasm54, is this base miles you speak of? Besides reducing the likelihood of injuries and improving my aerobic base, what are the consequences of riding anaerobic throughout the week?

i started out around 12 mph early this year going slow and maintaining a HR under 125bpm, and now i can do 14 mph under well under 125 bpm without too many zone 2 ride training.

thanks for the input

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I mostly agree with chasm, except that my experience is that fatigue drops my HR. When I'm wasted, I can't get a HR over some number and find myself climbing in low zone 2. High HR toward the end of a long ride is always dehydration IME. Try drinking a lot more.

There's a big difference between 170 and 178. You seem to be saying that you can't maintain HRs over 178 for your TT test and 178/197 = .9, so that's probably near your LT.
i will pay attention to my hydration next time im out riding. when im doing the rotations/paceline, i tend to not go for the bottle because im not yet comfortable riding in a pack, dont want to spring side to side and causing accidents. thanks for the input
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Old 07-11-14, 03:18 PM   #13
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There's a big difference between 170 and 178. You seem to be saying that you can't maintain HRs over 178 for your TT test and 178/197 = .9, so that's probably near your LT.
i see your point, i've narrowed it down between 176-178 bpm over there 4 mile stretch i've been working on to maintain that 20 mph pace.

check out my full ride segment and the 4 mile segment; heart rate seems to be in that range of 176-178 bpm.



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Old 07-11-14, 03:20 PM   #14
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i will pay attention to my hydration next time im out riding. when im doing the rotations/paceline, i tend to not go for the bottle because im not yet comfortable riding in a pack, dont want to spring side to side and causing accidents. thanks for the input
In the paceline, after you take your bottle out, hold it out to the outside of the line to show riders behind you that you're drinking. I think that's polite.
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