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Need help with heart rate data - what does it mean practically?

Old 02-26-23, 05:17 AM
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Need help with heart rate data - what does it mean practically?


Could someone help translate what this means? Just got a heart rate monitor strap and need help interpreting the data. Im 35 years old.
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Old 02-26-23, 06:18 AM
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Unless this was from a Criterium, it means you got dropped.
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Old 02-26-23, 06:22 AM
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This looks good.

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Old 02-26-23, 11:23 AM
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Just guessing, but I'd say you might be new to performance cycling. New riders tend to have high heart rates for the effort. The slowest thing to condition is one's heart. Otherwise, it'd be otherwise. No one runs that much high end who doesn't know what that means. Another guess is that you don't know your max HR and so your zones aren't appropriate.

If you are relatively new to riding for performance, just ride lots. Pay attention to your breathing. If you start to pant, that's usually the start of zone 5. At the other end, you'll notice a point where you start to breathe faster, that's usually the start of Z3. Notice your HRs at these points and your speeds on the flat. As you get fitter over the months, these numbers will all change..
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Old 02-26-23, 12:02 PM
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How can you tell? I did leave about 7 miles in bc I couldn’t hang on

Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Unless this was from a Criterium, it means you got dropped.
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Old 02-26-23, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dimago123
How can you tell? I did leave about 7 miles in bc I couldn’t hang on
I am an old dog.

No warm up. You hit the start button on the device at the start. SO, right into threshold w/o time for the slow component to kick in. The 30% above threshold indicates pure desperation that is hard to mimic in training. You did well and worked hard. Congrats. Just keep working at it.
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Old 02-26-23, 02:37 PM
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Can't give advice but I thought it was pretty cool when the Nurse put the ECG Electrodes on my chest for my 2015 pre-op ECG for my Bilateral Orchiectomy and when she turned on the unit she's like -- *We have a problem. Your pulse is 32bpm and too low for a recording* I had to carefully get up, move around and get back down after my pulse hit 39bpm. Almost 65 back then and was feeling great. Almost 73 now and feeling pretty empty most of the time with ZERO *T* but still getting out and riding.

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Old 02-26-23, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dimago123
Could someone help translate what this means?
Assuming your max. heart rate is set correctly, it means you had a very hard ride. 79% in and above zone 4. Was this a race or a fast group ride?

Whatever it was, now is a good time to follow that up with some slower paced days.
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Old 02-26-23, 08:50 PM
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This is impossible to interpret without knowing why you are recording HR in the first place and what you set out to do on that ride.
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Old 02-26-23, 09:17 PM
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As I has indicated, it means you got dropped in a race or hard ride. I would make sure you really warm up to be able to hit the start so hard.

At 35 years of age, my heart rates were higher than yours but we are all different. To note is zone 4, this is a power/HR that most can do for 40-70 minutes or thereabouts and Zone 5 is around VO2 max (ish). I suspect you got into something too hard. Or, you are a top amateur punking us. In zone 4, you really cannot talk. Maybe a few words. It is a quasi steady state of a very hard effort as in uncomfortable. Zone 5 is brutal.

If you are looking for several hundred different training approaches, you have come to the right place.
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Old 02-26-23, 11:09 PM
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Also, the more fit you are, the faster your heart rate will recover. So the average for a ride will be harder to maintain because every time you slow down, encounter a stoplight, coast, etc...You'll recover immediately. The flip side to that is your heart rate will be very responsive to the work load at the moment.

With more training, the other heart rate zones on your graph during non-training specific rides will tend to fill. Unfit people tend to have lag in heart rate response that then redlines & stays redlined for the duration of the activity.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is the metric some fitness devices use to make training suggestions. If/when you over train, you lose variability & resting rate tends higher & often your muscles can't place enough demand to reach peak heart rate even if your heart wanted to go there. IOW: Take a rest for a day or 3.

For myself at age 45, (not that it applies to you in any way,) but I can cruise along on a hill climb, roller, sprint, whatever, comfortably at 180bpm and sustain for as long as is needed & not even feel out of breath, but as soon as I hit a stoplight or coast down a roller my heart rate drops immediately to 80-100bpm. If I can manage above 150bpm average outside in the real world, I know I had a decent training ride. I look at & expect a much more even distribution of bars on the graph.

220-(your age) is a rule of thumb, back-o-the-napkin, wives-tale for untrained sedentary persons. Dubious but not with out value. Conventional wisdom puts your max at 185bpm. Absent other factors that would be a reasonable number to set your zones by. Look for trends and time to recovery, actual heart rate, etc... in the post ride analysis.You'll get a feel for the number ranges that are appropriate to you based on your actual fitness & current training goal, assuming you have one.

Your graph looks like a dedicated training session. So, that's what it means.

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Old 02-27-23, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by base2

220-(your age) is a rule of thumb, back-o-the-napkin, wives-tale for untrained sedentary persons. Dubious but not with out value. Conventional wisdom puts your max at 185bpm. Absent other factors that would be a reasonable number to set your zones by.
Problem is that could be miles out for any individual. For me it would indicate a max HR of 165 bpm, while my real max is actually 193 bpm.
There's only one reliable way to set your max HR and that is to go out and hit it!
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Old 02-27-23, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Problem is that could be miles out for any individual. For me it would indicate a max HR of 165 bpm, while my real max is actually 193 bpm.
There's only one reliable way to set your max HR and that is to go out and hit it!
Absolutely true. That's how I know my real max is much, much higher & I can sustain above the 220-age for an more than an hour and still be conversational & not winded.

I brought it up because at first glance the OP's zones seem to be set low/improperly set for a healthy someone who is 35. But graph pattern of bars look consistent with a dedicated structured training ride. Since it wasn't, it offers a clue as to his actual cardiovascular fitness.

My guess is the OP is a fairly new first or maybe second year cyclist discovering fitness is not a thing you do but a thing you are.
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Old 02-27-23, 11:06 AM
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Zones are dictated at the working muscle

The relatively lower HR in OP could indicate a high level of aerobic fitness. HR at threshold declines with increasing fitness, not the other way around. It is not unusual for a TdF stage racer to have an average HR in the 130-140 range for an entire stage. Sometimes lower. Although the power level at those HRs is possibly more than us mere mortals make in an hour.

The only thing clear to me is OP blew up.
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Old 02-27-23, 11:31 AM
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One snapshot is worthless. Especially when we have to guess the ride conditions and what your motivation may have been for what you were doing.
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Old 02-27-23, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Problem is that could be miles out for any individual. For me it would indicate a max HR of 165 bpm, while my real max is actually 193 bpm.
There's only one reliable way to set your max HR and that is to go out and hit it!
Is setting your zones based on max HR that useful, any way?

I like to set mine based on LT (lactate threshold), which I try to place in the middle of zone 4. Seems more practical.
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Old 02-27-23, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Is setting your zones based on max HR that useful, any way?

I like to set mine based on LT (lactate threshold), which I try to place in the middle of zone 4. Seems more practical.
I suppose it depends what zone system you are using. Haven't given it that much thought. Mine seems to take both values into account.
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Old 02-27-23, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Is setting your zones based on max HR that useful, any way?

I like to set mine based on LT (lactate threshold), which I try to place in the middle of zone 4. Seems more practical.
Like you, I peg mine to my (measured) LT2, but basing zones on max allows you to use percent of HR reserve, which is the range between resting and max. Some authorities think that’s more meaningful.
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Old 02-27-23, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Is setting your zones based on max HR that useful, any way?

I like to set mine based on LT (lactate threshold), which I try to place in the middle of zone 4. Seems more practical.
I set mine by breathing. Seems to me that the top of Z4 should be just below where one starts to pant when gradually increasing intensity on a long climb. I take it up to panting, then back off to holding fast belly breathing and have a look at heart and power readings.
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