Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Heart rate monitors

Old 04-09-08, 09:16 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Heart rate monitors

I just started riding a bike after a twenty year hiatus.

Although I'm taking it real slow, my goal is still to get a good aerobic workout,
or at least as good as my body can take

I 'm thinking of getting one of those Heart Rate Monitors,
so that i'll be able to better gauge my workouts.

anyone here had any experience with the HRMs?
and what is the difference between "Target Heart Rate"
and "Maximum Heart Rate?" And what is a "Zone?"
I've read some articles online that try to explain,
but i still don't get it.


Last edited by te2009; 04-09-08 at 09:29 AM.
te2009 is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 09:52 AM
Senior Member
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: S.E. Pennsylvania, USA
Posts: 1,737
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yes, I use a heart rate monitor early in the season to keep from over training.

"Target Heart Rate" - This is the heart rate you are attempting to reach and hold for a given workout. Hence, during a hard workout where you are pushing the aerobic limits, the target heart rate would be higher than on a rest day ride where you were recovering from more strenuous workouts.

"Maximum Heart Rate" - This is the upper limit of where one should allow the heart rate to go. That is, once you hit this, you should probably be backing off, because you could be doing damage or putting yourself at risk.

"Zone" - This term is used to delineate different training levels. For example, in the lowest zone, my heart is not working all that hard. In a mid level zone, my heart is working harder, but not at it's peak. In a higher zone, I'm now pushing much harder. Zones can be useful to control your workouts. I might start my ride in the lowest zone and stay there for 15 to 20 minutes until I've warmed up adequately. I might then tailor any number of different workouts using the zones. I could do interval training where I ride in the highest zone for five minutes, allow my heart rate to drop down to zone two for three minutes, and the push back up to the highest zone again.... and repeat this 8 or 9 times. Or, I may ride a long distance and/or time in zone 2 just to build up endurance.

You'll note I haven't discussed how to determine these zones, or heart rate thresholds. Typically the literature that comes with a heart rate monitor will do a better job of that than I could.
BSLeVan is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 10:13 AM
Senior Member
donheff's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Posts: 1,427

Bikes: Specialized Tricross Comp

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I use one. Here is a site with links to a boatload of articles that will educate you.
donheff is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 11:34 AM
Plays in traffic
tsl's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,969

Bikes: 1996 Litespeed Classic, 2006 Trek Portland, 2013 Ribble Winter/Audax, 2016 Giant Talon 4

Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 66 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm just starting with an HRM myself.

I found this online Heart Rate Training Zone Calculator. Also available as a Windows version for offline use.

Having been cycling for two years now, and having a pretty good sense of my internal limits, I'm finding the advice that maximum heart rate is very personal seems to be true.

I started with the conservative 220 minus age method and came up with 169. The method used on the site I linked above said 173. Using 173 and those calculated zones, well, they feel low and too easy to me.

My average has been running 146 and that feels like a nice, comfortable aerobic pace. The chart says I should be really feeling it and going anaerobic at 146. That doesn't seem to be happening for me until close to 160.

Looking through the stuff Don linked to above, I found a different Max Heartrate formula that takes body weight into account, and it puts my max at 180. Plugging 180 into the chart gets really close to how I feel when I'm out on the bike. I think I'm going to reprogram my HRM based on 180 and see how that works for a few days.

So the advice that formulas are a starting point and only guidelines seems to apply for me. But that could also be because I've been working at for a while to begin with, and am in better shape than I thought.

Other advice that seems to be well taken is that zones for runners are different than zones for cyclists. If I used the 220 minus age method and runner's zones, I'd fall asleep in the saddle from boredom.

Edit: One more thing. I'd seen my doc and had an EEG before I started cycling. Except for a fairly common sinus arrhythmia, my ticker seems fine despite the high risk of coronary artery disease in males in my family. I must take after Mom.

Last edited by tsl; 04-09-08 at 11:45 AM.
tsl is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 12:12 PM
Senior Member
RockyMtnMerlin's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Laramie Wyoming
Posts: 2,970

Bikes: Merlin Extralight Topolino Wheels Campy Record

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I use one. Here is a site with links to a boatload of articles that will educate you.
Yes, lots of good information there and several ways to determine MHR. If you want a book that will help you determine MHR and what the zones mean AND is for those of us who are old enough for this forum I'd suggest "Cycling Past 50" by Joe Freil.
RockyMtnMerlin is offline  
Old 04-09-08, 02:20 PM
Time for a change.
stapfam's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Posts: 19,914

Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thing about a Heart rate monitor is -"What do you want it to do?"

All singing and dancing- downloadable to the computer and working out how efficient you have been up against the data you have put in

Or the basic one that tells you your current heart rate- Your Max you have achieved on the ride and possible Audible warnings that tell you that you not working hard enough or that you have just put yourself into Orbit.

I have the Singing version- But just use the basic functions.
How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.

Spike Milligan
stapfam is offline  
Old 04-10-08, 10:32 AM
Let's do a Century
jppe's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 7,354

Bikes: Cervelo R3 Disc, Pinarello Prince/Campy SR; Cervelo R3/Sram Red; Trek 5900/Duraace, Cervelo P2C/Duraace, Cannondle Tandem/Ultegra, Lynskey GR260 Ultegra

Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 331 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 19 Posts
If the HR minus your age was true, I'd be a whole lot younger than I really am!!
jppe is offline  
Related Topics
Thread Starter
Last Post
General Cycling Discussion
06-11-19 06:37 PM
General Cycling Discussion
04-23-12 08:21 AM
look566 rider
Classic & Vintage
03-12-12 05:41 PM
Track Cycling: Velodrome Racing and Training Area
04-20-10 12:29 AM
04-13-09 12:01 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.