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Heart Rate Question re: Threshold

Old 02-13-07, 06:12 PM
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grebletie
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Heart Rate Question re: Threshold

Although heart rate is a bit more irrelavent, now that I'm training with power, I saw some interesting numbers with regard to my threshold heart rate today. So today I did my 2X20 at L4, and before doing the intervals I also did an effort at L5 for 5 minutes. From previous training with a heart rate monitor, I had pegged my threshold heart rate at around 172, with a max heart rate of 189. But that was in a different life, in terms of fitness.

So today, I did my first L4 interval, at around 92-94% FTP, and I saw my heart rate climb to somewhere I had never seen it before. For almost the full session, after my heart rate responded to the effort, it held between 175-180, with most of that at 179-180. Now, on the second 20 minute interval, I saw a slightly more depressed heart rate, but still higher than I would have expected it relative to my presumed threshold heart rate.

Also, during the L5 effort, I was at about 185, and didn't feel as if I were only a couple beats away from max.

I'm wondering if it sounds like my threshold heart rate is higher than I had pegged it, and thus my max heart rate is also higher than I had pegged it? In terms of fitness, it might be because I'm able to sustain efforts in the higher range longer. It also might be that I was self-limiting myself mentally, and not pushing myself to my true limits.

My next 2X20 session might be illuminating. If the new numbers pan out, it means the heart rate zones I had been training at were easier than the intended training effect

Anyone have similar experiences with regard to HR?
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Old 02-13-07, 06:57 PM
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DrWJODonnell
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Yeah, but there are many variables here from temperature, to hydration status to fitness. I don't know what your age or fitness levels are, but I would guess that 189 was low for a max HR guess in any case. If your fitness were worse, and your LTHR was still 90% of your MHR, that is fairly impressive. However, running a TT at 98% of MHR is so unlikely that I will call it wrong.

By way of comparison, My LTHR is 181, though I have pushed some TTs to about 193 at the end, it was probably a symptom of heat/dehyrdration that ran it up there. My average for the TT was 187, but that was at peak performance time...no chance I could do that now. My MHR? 200 and YES, it DOES feel like you are only a few beats fro MHR (Think dizzy, tunnel vision, nausea, ringing in the ears).

Your HR will vary quite a bit, but it is not unlikely that you have moved the LTHR upwards. Just rethink the MHR.
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Old 02-13-07, 10:07 PM
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I've pretty much stopped watching heart rate also. On top of that the colder weather certainly makes it harder to do high heart rate work outside, so I rarely see zone 5 outside in the heart rate world. For this month I have like 5 minutes in zone 5 out of some 35 hours of riding, and those all came in one MAP test.

I would say that I'm a believer that you're never really going to SEE max HR on your HR monitor, especially cycling. And as you get more fit, the chance that you can exert your body closer to max HR improves. As far as LTHR goes, if you're doing 2x20's already you can take the appropriate HR values from there and call them LTHR.

Just be sure it's a consistent number over multiple efforts to rule out hydration, fatigue, caffeine, etc...
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Old 02-13-07, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell
Yeah, but there are many variables here from temperature, to hydration status to fitness. I don't know what your age or fitness levels are, but I would guess that 189 was low for a max HR guess in any case. If your fitness were worse, and your LTHR was still 90% of your MHR, that is fairly impressive. However, running a TT at 98% of MHR is so unlikely that I will call it wrong.

By way of comparison, My LTHR is 181, though I have pushed some TTs to about 193 at the end, it was probably a symptom of heat/dehyrdration that ran it up there. My average for the TT was 187, but that was at peak performance time...no chance I could do that now. My MHR? 200 and YES, it DOES feel like you are only a few beats fro MHR (Think dizzy, tunnel vision, nausea, ringing in the ears).

Your HR will vary quite a bit, but it is not unlikely that you have moved the LTHR upwards. Just rethink the MHR.
98% seems very high and I'd be inclined to believe that the max HR numbers in this case are off.

However, some people have naturally high LTHR. I may suck at crits, but I know I can run my engine closer to LTHR than a lot of others. For example my Max HR is 179. I've seen the same number within +/- 1 bpm in both cycling and on an exercise stress test with a cardiologist. I also see the same numbers in finishing sprints in races. I typically average at least 165 bpm during TT's and usually the last 10-15 minutes is 172 bpm. So that's between 92 and 96% of max HR.

On a related note, what's going on physiologicall that enables one person to redline their engine so to speak more easily than someone else. I know that one reason I suck at crits is because I am more slow twitch than fast twitch. But regarding the HR during TT, now I have no idea...
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Old 02-14-07, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by grebletie
I'm wondering if it sounds like my threshold heart rate is higher than I had pegged it, and thus my max heart rate is also higher than I had pegged it?

How did you determine your max HR? It sounds like you calculated it from your LTHR. The best way to figure your maximum HR is observe it. Assuming you have no medical issues, get warmed up, find a a hill that takes a couple of minutes to climb, go 90% perceived effort until you're 30 seconds form the top then ramp it up until your eyeballs are going to pop out, that will be pretty close to your Max HR.

Better yet, do a hard group ride, and contest the sprints with everything you've got, or take a flyer on a short hill breaking away from a strong group. Those may give you heart rates you haven't seen before.

And even better yet, forget about your max HR, because it doesn't tell you anything of much use for training.
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Old 02-14-07, 12:29 PM
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I determined the heart rate in a crit last year - Coyote Creek for anyone familiar with NorCal races. It certainly felt like I was going hard during the time, and it was up a 250-300 ft hill that we had been charging up every lap. It was the highest I had seen my heart rate in a race, or in training.

Now that I'm in Chicago, going up a hill to test it is out of the question. Next time I'm doing some vo2 max intervals next week, I'll ramp it up during one of the intervals and see how high the heart rate reaches. Considering I'm 22, I'd expect higher than the previous 189. I would have done it during the last intervals, but I didn't want to compromise the threshold workout.
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Old 02-14-07, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by grebletie
Considering I'm 22, I'd expect higher than the previous 189. I would have done it during the last intervals, but I didn't want to compromise the threshold workout.
HR varies per individual. I saw 199 on Saturday while pulling away from a group at 30+mph up a hill into a headwind (I'm 38).
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Old 02-14-07, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Snicklefritz
On a related note, what's going on physiologically that enables one person to redline their engine so to speak more easily than someone else.
Muscle mass activated and degree of capillarization. Try to reach max HR using only a few small muscles (eg bicep curls) and you will find it impossible. Many light cyclists have a hard time reaching max HR on the bike because the activity is not recruiting enough muscle mass. For these athletes max HR testing is much more easily done running on a treadmill, as it activates more muscle mass.

Originally Posted by grebletie
I determined [my max] heart rate in a crit last year - Coyote Creek for anyone familiar with NorCal races. It certainly felt like I was going hard during the time, and it was up a 250-300 ft hill that we had been charging up every lap. It was the highest I had seen my heart rate in a race, or in training.
I really doubt that was your max HR. To do a good max HR test I suggest getting your HR nice and high (and drifted upwards) by riding at around LT intensity for ~20min then going balls-all-out for as long as you can.
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Old 02-15-07, 08:56 AM
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Just when I thought I had my MHR set at 202, I got up to 224 going up a long steep climb. I wonder how long this MHR is going to last.

Last edited by mike9903; 02-15-07 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 02-15-07, 10:07 AM
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You better hope the 224 was a hrm malfunction.
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Old 02-15-07, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by dutret
You better hope the 224 was a hrm malfunction.

Why, should I be dead with a HR that high?
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Old 02-15-07, 11:05 AM
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I know some people with HR's that high, but they all have heart problems. I'm guessing it was a bad reading.
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Old 02-15-07, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by branman1986
I know some people with HR's that high, but they all have heart problems. I'm guessing it was a bad reading.
+1 a lot of HRM's will display readings like that if you pass by an electrical substation or other place with an opportunity for electromagnetic interference.

Mine will do that if I pass within close range to the government lab that's near where I do a lot of my rides.
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