The Heart Rate Thread

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The Heart Rate Thread

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Jul 26, 2010 11:42 pm

I've seen a lot of differing views on heart rates. It seems that some see the measurement of heart rates as an essential part of their training while others don't consider it all. Some believe in zones, some know their max rates but how do they know if its truly their max rates.

So let the debate commence
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by BNA » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:54 am

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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby philip » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:54 am

I've never ridden with a HR monitor, just train hard I say! The only time I thought an HRM might be useful is during a TT where it would be good to know that I'm riding at a high but sustainable pace.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby arkle » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:16 am

I ride with a heart rate monitor and I've found that it actually has a negative effect on my performance if I watch it. Maybe it's psychological but when I see that my heart rate is getting high (say 160+) it just makes me feel tired. If I cover the display up so I can't see my heart rate I find that I don't feel anywhere near as tired, even when my HR nudges 170.

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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby BarryTas » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:29 am

i ytrain with one. It has its pros and cons. I like knowing my max and average heart rate. Also after doing some races i know how hard i can push it when i am training, ie if i can do a 100km race with an HR av of 153 - that means i can push my HR above that when i am doing a long ride. Also if i do a 20-40km TT my HR av is about 177, so if i do a short ride i can push it to 177 to 180, etc.......i also keep i close eye on my cadence, HR and average speed.

I also like to see how much tiem i have spent in each zone
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby silkishuge » Tue Jul 27, 2010 8:50 am

I don't really monitor my HRM while I ride. I spend some time analysing my ride after the ride by downloading the data on to my PC. I like to see that I am performing well and that I am on track to meet some of my training objectives. For example, I take each commute to and from work as a 30km ITT. For this distance, I would like to be able to sustain >83% max HR for 9 consecutive rides or 4.5 consecutive days.

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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Strawburger » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:52 am

I use the HR readings to know when i am slacking off and when i'm pushing too hard - during training rides and post training rides (once downloading the data).

I also use the average HR over the week to see if/when i need a rest or can allow myself to go hard on commutes (that sometimes double as a loose interpretation of interval training).
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby ft_critical » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:21 am

Uses for HRM, for me:
1. Avg HR allows me to rank my rides both group rides and training rides. I use that as a measure of intensity. I ignore those where I feel poorly. I can compare this to the race level data and determine which rides provide the closest race simulation and over what time period. E.g., MWCC BA ride exactly replicates a EC race but only for 40min.
2. When I am riding a fast race, after an attack, after a bridge, I use it to monitor my recovery, e.g., I know that I can sit on around 180+ for 5min or so but need to recover back to 155 or I blow up.
3. Recently, I have been trying to maintain a higher speed in a higher gear at a lower heart rate. This is personal to me because I have been spinning to maintain contact in hard races rather than developing more power. This has been so useful. This is the combination of speed, cadence and HR on a known climb or over a known distance (i.e., so that the efforts are comparable.)
4. I use the max HR to know whether or not I am controlling the effort. I want to stay under max HR. My max is 190 +/- 3bpm when healthy. Generally, if I am hitting that I am not riding efficiently IMO. So it is a danger sign to analyse later. It is usually pretty easy to determine where it happened, why and how I should have compensated for the situation at the time.

HRM alone is not that useful. But used in conjunction with the situation, PE, Cadence, Speed and a history of monitoring your HR patterns, I think it is quite useful. Mine cost me $50 on eBay: so if it has even a 30% impact on your understanding of yourself or focusing your training it is a good investment. It is a bit of a subtle point I am trying to make, the HRM will not by itself improve your training/riding/racing but using it might push you towards more disciplined and focussed training which is again worth the small outlay. Like any tool it is only as good as the person using it. If you don’t have a training discipline and a disciplined training it is of no benefit.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby ft_critical » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:22 am

philip wrote:I've never ridden with a HR monitor, just train hard I say! The only time I thought an HRM might be useful is during a TT where it would be good to know that I'm riding at a high but sustainable pace.


Philip, this discussion is probably more aimed at people without prodigious natural talent :wink:
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Sweeper59 » Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:58 am

philip wrote:I've never ridden with a HR monitor, just train hard I say! The only time I thought an HRM might be useful is during a TT where it would be good to know that I'm riding at a high but sustainable pace.


But how would you know what HR to sustain during a TT, if you hadn't done a considerable amount of training with a HRM? :?:
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby mikesbytes » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:47 pm

Good writeup Alex

Are you saying that heart rate monitors are for those who can't afford power meters? (which includes me).

I'm interested in the comment "some are response indicators (HR, blood lactate)" What does response mean?

"HR can be a useful guide, particularly for general aerobic level riding" (assuming you don't have a power meter) I see the point there.

Assuming I've understood the term "response", what happens in intervals, of length 30 seconds to 1 minute?
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby ni78ck » Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:53 pm

for me its the best thing i have to measure intensity of a ride :wink:
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jul 27, 2010 7:51 pm

ni78ck wrote:for me its the best thing i have to measure intensity of a ride :wink:

Not really, rate of perceptive exertion (RPE)is as good a measure as any. I think of HRM's like fancy toys; getting a feel for your zones and your own engine will be endlessly more beneficial than the measurement, which may tell you when somethings wrong, but wont tell you why.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Jul 27, 2010 9:28 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Good writeup Alex

Are you saying that heart rate monitors are for those who can't afford power meters? (which includes me).

I'm interested in the comment "some are response indicators (HR, blood lactate)" What does response mean?

"HR can be a useful guide, particularly for general aerobic level riding" (assuming you don't have a power meter) I see the point there.

Assuming I've understood the term "response", what happens in intervals, of length 30 seconds to 1 minute?

All I am saying is that HR is one means to gauge intensity and can be helpful when used sensibly, but one needs to understand its limitations. Far too many people read more into HR than there actually is.

Physiological parameters such as heart rate, blood lactate concentration amongst other things are a response to what we are doing (as well as a response to other factors, e.g. environmental conditions, drugs, hydration etc).

Power on the other hand is measuring what we are actually doing.

HR is relatively slow to respond to actual rate of work being done, such that it is a useless for guiding interval work above threshold (time trial) power levels.

As an example of what HR response is like when doing intervals, here is a pic showing HR response when doing 20-min threshold tolerance work, and also when doing 4-min aerobic power interval work:

Image

As you can see, if your HR response shows this kind of shape for longer TT intervals, then you've probably got it about right.

However if your HR shoots up quickly to "zone", and then plateaus, then it is highly likely that you have started way too hard and your power will have faded all the way through the effort. A bit like this example showing power output fading:

Image

As you can see from the first pic, there's no way you could use HR to guide the shorter harder 4-min efforts. You need another means to gauge intensity for that sort of work.

For efforts even shorter and harder, then HR response is, well, irrelevant.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby ni78ck » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:48 am

Wayfarer wrote:
ni78ck wrote:for me its the best thing i have to measure intensity of a ride :wink:

Not really, rate of perceptive exertion (RPE)is as good a measure as any. I think of HRM's like fancy toys; getting a feel for your zones and your own engine will be endlessly more beneficial than the measurement, which may tell you when somethings wrong, but wont tell you why.


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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby brendancg » Wed Jul 28, 2010 4:57 pm

I agree with Alex's summation. However, you don't need to throw away your HRM if you haven't got a power meter. The problem with rate of perceived effort is the perceived part. If you think you are going hard then maybe you are, but then maybe you aren't. Your perception of what is hard varies from day to day plus many other variables, such as whether you fueled properly prior to the exertion. I would suggest until you could afford a power meter I would stick with the HRM to give you assistance in your guide but don't rely totally on it.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 7:21 pm

brendancg wrote:I agree with Alex's summation. However, you don't need to throw away your HRM if you haven't got a power meter. The problem with rate of perceived effort is the perceived part. If you think you are going hard then maybe you are, but then maybe you aren't. Your perception of what is hard varies from day to day plus many other variables, such as whether you fueled properly prior to the exertion. I would suggest until you could afford a power meter I would stick with the HRM to give you assistance in your guide but don't rely totally on it.

That's correct. a posh princess with high heels and makeup on a bike perceives 10km/h on flat to be 'very hard', but as you get better, you understand how hard you're actually pushing, without being limited to heart rate and physiological adaptations; ie, your perception of 'hard' becomes constant, and you can differentiate from day to day, and know when you're not able to haul your usual 'hard'. The other variables (such as fuels, sleep, mood, and wind) also affect heart rate, and may not let you get to/maintain the level you want, in which case you'd just go by perceived exertion anyway. Which is why you don't need a machine to tell you what your body already can :)
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby mikesbytes » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:31 am

Thanks Alex, that's kinda what I suspected, that heart rate doesn't give you particularly good info on the 30 second to 1 minute intervals that I do in indoor spin classes.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby mikesbytes » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:43 pm

Ok next question

Heart rate used to measure calorie burn
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby puffdaddy » Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:16 pm

I wear one on all my endurance training rides,7hr,,9hr,,and an 11 hr coming up,While perceived effort etc is ok my monitor helps keeping in a comfort zone that is sustainable,,,K 4 end of October see you there ;)http://www.arcevents.co.nz/k2cycle/content/?page_id=44
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Aug 02, 2010 3:50 pm

puffdaddy wrote:I wear one on all my endurance training rides,7hr,,9hr,,and an 11 hr coming up,While perceived effort etc is ok my monitor helps keeping in a comfort zone that is sustainable,,,K 4 end of October see you there ;)http://www.arcevents.co.nz/k2cycle/content/?page_id=44

You mean you cant tell? Whose fault is that? :) If you ignored the thing and went by perception, you'd probably get the same result, if not better!!

(then again, if not worse..)
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:21 pm

mikesbytes wrote:Ok next question

Heart rate used to measure calorie burn

What's the question?

If it's whether you can use an HRM to estimate calories metabolised? Yes, you can - but badly. Most non-power meter devices that attempt to estimate calories metabolised I've seen get it wrong by 25-100%, almost always over estimating, inconsistently.

Power meters don't even do it - they just tell you the mechancial work done. If you want to estimate calories metabolised, then you have to make an assumption about your gross metabolic efficiency*, something you'd need lab testing to do to find out.

* although that number is reasonably stable for an individual over the years, hence the power meter will give you are far more consistent and accurate picture of calories metabolised.

usually Calories (kcal) metabolised ~= 1.05 - 1.2 x kJ of mechanical work done
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby mikesbytes » Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:41 pm

What are the assumptions that the heart rate monitor manufacturers make for the calculation of calorie burn?
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby trailgumby » Mon Aug 02, 2010 9:10 pm

I find my HRM useful for two things:

1: judging how much work I did, in terms of % intensity. It's not something I judge well, especially as most of my midweek cycling is in peak hour traffic when I have things other than pacing myself on my mind (like staying alive by knowing what is going on around me).

This helps me adjust my workout plan to achieve the volume goal for the rest of the week.

2: Providing an objective assessment of how hard I'm going, and using that to pace myself - again, not something I'm particularly good at judging as I tend to go too hard when I should go easy, and too easy when I should go hard.
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Re: The Heart Rate Thread

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Tue Aug 03, 2010 7:25 am

mikesbytes wrote:What are the assumptions that the heart rate monitor manufacturers make for the calculation of calorie burn?

You'll need to ask them that question. Usually a generic formula based on gender, body mass and measured heart rates.
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