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Now That You Have Power Are You Still Running HR?

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Now That You Have Power Are You Still Running HR?

Old 03-24-20, 12:13 PM
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colnago62
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Now That You Have Power Are You Still Running HR?

I have had a power meter for awhile now and since old habits die hard, I would always run my heart rate monitor also. This winter, my strap died and it took me a couple of weeks to buy another one. What I noticed in the interim, was that HR data isn’t that useful most of the time. Winter being mostly zone 2, Heart is so low that the number is inconsequential. Even threshold work, I am more concerned about power numbers than HR. Now doing work in zone 5 and up, I find HR valuable in analyzing after the the fact it helps me in determining how close to my limit I actually was. The plus side of my new habit is I won’t have to buy a HR strap for a long time.😂😂.
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Old 03-24-20, 12:30 PM
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I use both. I agree that HR isn't as useful in the cooler months for most, but I'm dumb enough to manage to dehydrate myself when it's 60º outside, so HR is valuable to me year round.
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Old 03-24-20, 01:09 PM
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I still wear my HRM because it's useful to track fatigue during a ride. My threshold power has been fluctuating wildly as I've had extended periods off the bike since last fall and I haven't followed a steady training schedule, so just having power wouldn't be enough for pacing.

​​​​​​There are other uses of HR too. Garmin will give me a recovery estimate using HRV, although I've found they're always inflated. I only care about extreme outliers that would suggest pushing too hard.
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Old 03-24-20, 01:30 PM
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Yes, it's actually quite useful to see a biometric data point you can cross-reference with a mechanical one.
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Old 03-24-20, 04:03 PM
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I am of the mind that more data is better. I use the power meter, and HR strap, but I also have a Humon Hex to measure % O2 saturation in my quad muscle. this, paired with HR tells me that i can push harder. It is mostly a toy the way i use it, but if i ever want to geek out and push y limits, it can be useful information, I do know I can use it during a TT to tell my complaining quads to shut up, you have all of the oxygen you need to create more power.
I love the tech and the toys, and as long as i can afford them, why not!
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Old 03-24-20, 04:11 PM
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Mo data mo betta.
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Old 03-24-20, 04:27 PM
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I use both. The aerobic decoupling (HR to PWR ratio) is a good metric for me, especially in a build phase.
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Old 03-24-20, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I use both. I agree that HR isn't as useful in the cooler months for most, but I'm dumb enough to manage to dehydrate myself when it's 60º outside, so HR is valuable to me year round.
how does HR change when dehydrated? I’ve only had my monitor for less than a month so have no guidance here.
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Old 03-24-20, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by spelger View Post
how does HR change when dehydrated? I’ve only had my monitor for less than a month so have no guidance here.
Any decrease in muscular, cardiovascular, or respiratory efficiency will increase the cardiac rate demand for a given power output. Dehydration or diversion of blood to skin for cooling cause decreased effective blood volume and a resulting decrease in heart efficiency. Therefore rate has to go up.
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Old 03-24-20, 05:37 PM
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I'm 75, name something that doesn't slow me down. Higher humidity is heavier air. Just think of what you have to look forward to.
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Old 03-24-20, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by RiceAWay View Post
I'm 75, name something that doesn't slow me down. Higher humidity is heavier air. Just think of what you have to look forward to.
Humid air. Water vapor is less dense than nitrogen and oxygen at any given temperature, so humid air is lighter.
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Old 03-24-20, 06:52 PM
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I still feel a little naked without my chest strap, but we're talking 1880s naked. If I make any decisions (pacing etc) it's going to be from power. But the w:hr ratio is interesting to me, and I use a heart rate model off fatigue because I enjoy a lot of off the bike stuff too.
​​​​​​
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Old 03-24-20, 07:16 PM
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Absolutely use both.

Last week I thought I noticed a crack on one of my HR strap's chest pads and I was ready to order a new strap that day even though I'm on a self imposed spending freeze due to the COVID-19 economic uncertainty. Turns out it was nothing and the old strap is fine but I would feel lost without it since I keep an eye on both HR & 3 sec. power (among others) when I ride and review my rides afterwards.
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Old 03-24-20, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I still feel a little naked without my chest strap, but we're talking 1880s naked. If I make any decisions (pacing etc) it's going to be from power. But the w:hr ratio is interesting to me, and I use a heart rate model off fatigue because I enjoy a lot of off the bike stuff too.
​​​​​​


2020s confused...
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Old 03-25-20, 12:57 AM
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I just barely got my power meter (Stages gen 3 L/R), as in last week, but I'll definitely keep using the HR data during a ride. My current riding plan is informed by what I've read from Dr. Phil Maffetone. According to this, the vast majority of my rides are designed to maintain my average heart rate in a specific zone, which based on my age and current physical status is around 125-130 bpm. I'll keep the HR in that range no matter what the power output is.

Laying down a lot of miles in this HR zone should give the maximum benefit toward building my aerobic capacity and efficiency. I'm just ramping up my miles again, but I did the Maffetone method for several months the year before my last deployment (why I'm having to ramp up miles again...), and I cut a bunch of minutes off a particular 32-mile route I rode a bunch, even with average HR remaining the same. I didn't have a power meter back then, but it stands to reason my power output was going up since my average speed was higher for the same heart rate. I'll keep this as my goal for the next couple of months while I build my legs and aerobic capacity back up, and this time around I'll have power data I will be able to compare across rides of similar distances, similar route, and very close to the same average heart rate. I'm expecting to see the average power output climb even while the HR stays the same.

Once I feel I've built my aerobic endurance and capacity back up as a good base I'll consider other goals and change things up a bit. One really handy thing about my Maffetone-inspired rides is that maintaining that target heart rate also very close to maximizes my fat burn. It's very close to my ideal level of effort that I can maintain largely (not exclusively of course) on burning body fat. When I was doing these Maffetone rides before I could do my 32-mile route without eating or drinking calories during the ride, and without having eaten anything before the ride. I'd just drink water, maintain that heart rate, and I could do that route. If I rode much further I'd need extra calories, or if I rode much harder (higher heart rate) I'd also be pushing it on energy. I firmly believe that doing a lot of these rides at that heart rate without additional calories eaten or drunk really fired up my fat-burning engine. It's still early days on getting back into heavy cycling, but I fully expect to see my power output climb for the same heart rate as I get more miles behind me.

I'm pretty stoked to have the power meter. That's going to be some great data. So far, in three rides where my heart rate was +/- a couple bpm from 130 bpm I've averaged approximately 200 Watts over 18-22 miles (rides were in the 18+ mph range, so an hour to an hour and ten minutes or so). I'll be very interested in doing the same exact ride at the same heart rate in a month from now and see what the power is at.

One exception to my heart rate zone ride goal is that in the very near future I intend to do an approximately one-hour ride at about the highest power I can maintain over that hour, to get a feel for what my threshold power is at. All I had to go by in the past were Strava power estimates, and I have no idea how close those were to what I'll now be measuring for real.
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Old 03-25-20, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I use a heart rate model off fatigue because I enjoy a lot of off the bike stuff too.
​​​​​​
My wife said the strap was ruining the mood.

Actually, I do too—invervals.icu—but it seems consistently to overestimate TSS. Which model do you use and where is it implemented?
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Old 03-25-20, 07:44 AM
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I keep mine (Apple Watch) for statistical purpose. Like other said, mohhh data mohhh betta.

I hear you all coming with the ''huhhhh, an apple watch is not aerodynamic, you'll lose 0.5watts buddy'' argument.

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Old 03-25-20, 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by SethAZ View Post
According to this, the vast majority of my rides are designed to maintain my average heart rate in a specific zone, which based on my age and current physical status is around 125-130 bpm. I'll keep the HR in that range no matter what the power output is.
Sounds like you don't need a power meter at all.
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Old 03-25-20, 10:07 AM
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HR is a better indicator of how your body is doing. Power is an indicator of how your training is going. Using both together you can use one to help explain the other.
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Old 03-25-20, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
HR is a better indicator of how your body is doing. Power is an indicator of how your training is going. Using both together you can use one to help explain the other.
Power also allows you to "dose" training stress prospectively.
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Old 03-25-20, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Power also allows you to "dose" training stress prospectively.
...and HR over time and afterwards tells you whether you were right or wrong.
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Old 03-25-20, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
My wife said the strap was ruining the mood.

Actually, I do too—invervals.icu—but it seems consistently to overestimate TSS. Which model do you use and where is it implemented?


I use the Firstbeat software for training load. It doesn't equate to TSS, so I can't compare to what my PM says, but it generally works pretty well (unless I'm ramping up or down, like coming back from an injury). I spend my winters skiing cross country and BC. In the summer I do a lot of hiking, a little swimming, and some paddling.
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Old 03-25-20, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by RChung View Post
Sounds like you don't need a power meter at all.
I've just gotten the power meter, but I've ridden a lot over the years with heart rate, so I know more about what heart rate means for me and how I'm doing, how my body performs in various heart rate zones and the implications for recovery time, the need for additional calorie input before and during my rides, etc. It's early days for the power meter, as in literally today at lunchtime I'll do only my fourth ride ever with measured power, so there will be a lot of learning for me as I gain experience with this data. Also, I know there is a lot of written material on training with power that I've never really paid attention to because I didn't have a power meter. That's changed, so I'll dig in and start reading.

My gut feeling and scientifically inspired wild-assed guess is that Psimet2001, quoted below, nailed it with his short and pithy summation.

Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
HR is a better indicator of how your body is doing. Power is an indicator of how your training is going. Using both together you can use one to help explain the other.
Subject to potential modification as I learn more and gain experience, my gut feeling is that this is right on the money. I'm expecting that my measured power will rise for a given maintained heart rate with training, as my body becomes more efficient, my endurance increases, etc. Thus, planning my rides according to a target power output will be planning against a moving target. If I were to plan to do a given ride at, say, 250 Watts, what impact this is having on my body might not be the same two months later after a ton of riding when my endurance, strength, and efficiency have increased.

I expect the effects of riding in a given heart rate zone to change much less in terms of the stress my body feels, the need for recovery, probably whether a given distance in a given heart rate zone can be done on primarily bodyfat energy or whether I'll have to eat or drink extra calories before or during a ride to support the energy requirements, etc. In the context of planning out a weekly schedule of rides, I think the heart rate will be my primary planning tool, as it always has been, and the measured power results will give me good data over time on the effects of my ride on my overall cycling fitness. As I learn more about using power data in planning my rides, I may learn about or develop my own strategies for integrating targeted power outputs into my rides. We'll see. At the very least, though, the geek part of me likes having measured data to geek out on, and that part of me is jumping for joy that I finally got the power meter.

One interesting little thing I noticed in my first rides after installing the power meter was that I found myself pushing a little harder, giving me an average heart rate several bpm higher than I'd planned on riding, because some basic animal part of my brain wanted to see that power number get higher. I didn't fight it, but that impulse will have to be controlled if I'm to do daily rides 5 or 6 times per week that I can sustain and recover from. I have a lot of experience knowing what levels of effort I can go out and ride 3 or 4 days in a row, and what levels of effort (using heart rate as a proxy for the vaguely defined term "level of effort") will require either a full recovery day or at least a next-day ride at a much lower level of effort.
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Old 03-25-20, 12:25 PM
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Many (most?) riders use their power meters exactly like they used their HRMs. For them, a PM is just a supplement to what they're already used to doing, so they use power data in that context -- as a supplement, not a replacement.
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Old 03-25-20, 12:35 PM
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I still use my HRM. As someone else posted, old habits die hard. Out of habit I just grab the HRM before heading out for a ride. Plus I am a bit of a numbers junkie. I like correlating the increase in power with the increase in heart rate. Always interesting to overlay the two graphs and see what's going on.
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