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Sudden max HR drop

Old 06-10-20, 01:32 AM
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Amt0571
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Sudden max HR drop

Hi,

I've noticed that recently, I'm having issues reaching my usual max HR when cycling. I'm 35 y/o and have bradychardia (that doesn't cause me any problem, except that I have a resting HR around 40bpm, and go around 30 when sleeping). I'm totally fine according to my cardiologist.

Usually, when cycling and doing a big effort, my HR reaches around 175bpm, this happens usually on really steep climbs or when going really fast. If I keep pushing I have seen 185bpm, but it's not usual for me to go so high. On most rides, I usually reach something between 170 and 175 in several moments.

However, in the last 2 weeks, I noticed that my HR refuses to go higher that 165bpm. Even if I pedal as hard as I can, with my legs burning, it just seems to top out there. I don't feel bad, nor slower than before. I ride mostly at the same speed and my average HR is the same as before (usually around 140bpm), but in the course of a few days my HR simply stopped going higher.

What could cause this? I'm thinking about covid confinement, but I did 2 spinning sessions per week during that, and on my first rides after confinement a month ago this didn't happen.

Last edited by Amt0571; 06-10-20 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 06-10-20, 05:41 AM
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It's been an extremely stressful year since March. It affects all kinds of things -- sleep, diet, exercise, etc.

I'm retired, kind of a sociable hermit, so self isolating throughout the early phase of the pandemic was just my normal daily thing. But I still noticed some stress symptoms.

And with the recent civil rights demonstrations, I've felt a lot more stressed. It hasn't affected me personally, but it's important to friends I care about so of course my empathy also stresses and exhausts me.

And it's suddenly hotter here in Texas. I'm not a morning person so it's much hotter now during my preferred afternoon and early evening rides.

Combine it all and, yeah, my rides show the effects. My heart rate has been somewhat erratic. I tend to have a rapid HR regardless of conditioning, partly due to an auto immune disorder. With treatment my resting HR finally dropped from 90 bpm to 60. But the past month it's been closer to 72 bpm. My max is 173 and I set my bike computer alarm to 160 bpm to warn me I'm close to redlining and gassing out. During the past week or so I'm redlining much more quickly and finding it almost impossible to ride an easy zone 2 - no matter how easily pedal my HR is still 140-150.

So you may be experiencing some stress. And if not, I'll have whatever you're having. In fact, share some with the rest of the country.
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Old 06-10-20, 08:35 AM
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I would suggest a rest interval off the bike. Let everything including hormones, enzymes and etc normalize. Also, try some deep breathing / meditation focusing on your breath. Let everything calm down. If you want to ride while “resting” it has to be very easy and short.
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Old 06-10-20, 01:02 PM
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Been having a very similar experience and posted about it recently (scroll down a bit in this forum). Don't know the answer, but I don't think anyone mentioned Covid-stress overtraining as reasons!
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Old 06-11-20, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by drewguy View Post
Been having a very similar experience and posted about it recently (scroll down a bit in this forum). Don't know the answer, but I don't think anyone mentioned Covid-stress overtraining as reasons!
Yeah, I've just seen your post. I'm not overtraining for sure. I rode around 120km a week with 3000m of climb before covid. Now that I'm working from home I have less time to ride as I have to take care of my son while my wife works, and I'm riding around 80km per week and 2500m of ascent.

That can't be be overtraining even if I ride the whole route like I have stolen the bike.
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Old 06-16-20, 06:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Hi,

I've noticed that recently, I'm having issues reaching my usual max HR when cycling. I'm 35 y/o and have bradychardia (that doesn't cause me any problem, except that I have a resting HR around 40bpm, and go around 30 when sleeping). I'm totally fine according to my cardiologist.

Usually, when cycling and doing a big effort, my HR reaches around 175bpm, this happens usually on really steep climbs or when going really fast. If I keep pushing I have seen 185bpm, but it's not usual for me to go so high. On most rides, I usually reach something between 170 and 175 in several moments.

However, in the last 2 weeks, I noticed that my HR refuses to go higher that 165bpm. Even if I pedal as hard as I can, with my legs burning, it just seems to top out there. I don't feel bad, nor slower than before. I ride mostly at the same speed and my average HR is the same as before (usually around 140bpm), but in the course of a few days my HR simply stopped going higher.

What could cause this? I'm thinking about covid confinement, but I did 2 spinning sessions per week during that, and on my first rides after confinement a month ago this didn't happen.
Parasympathetic overtraining.

Overtraining is relative to your current fitness level. You could ride 200 miles a week every week, but have problems increasing from 40 to 60.

As a rune of thumb you shouldn't add more than 10% each week, and need a low volume week out of every 3-5 for training adaptations to occur.

Fitness has a half life of about six weeks. If you've been doing two spinning sessions a week since COVID-19 started, that's all the riding you can handle now.

Yeah, I've just seen your post. I'm not overtraining for sure. I rode around 120km a week with 3000m of climb before covid. Now that I'm working from home I have less time to ride as I have to take care of my son while my wife works, and I'm riding around 80km per week and 2500m of ascent.

That can't be be overtraining even if I ride the whole route like I have stolen the bike.
80km a week with 2500m of climbing is a significant increase from two spinning sessions and could definitely be overtraining.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 06-16-20 at 06:30 AM.
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Old 06-16-20, 01:52 PM
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Are you eating enough carbs?
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Old 06-18-20, 11:14 AM
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Yes, could be eating, but more probably overreaching a bit. It's not "overtraining" that's a very serious problem. A little overreaching is good, that's how you know you're training at your limit. Ride short easy rides for maybe 3 days, then have at it. Your HR should be normal again, and you should be stronger.

Uh, I don't know where you live, but in my area, converting to Imperial, 53 miles and almost 8000' of climbing is impossible. Try riding courses with more like 800m in 80k. It's more fun and you'll be faster on the climbs from the rests in between.
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