Elevated heart rate levels during training

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Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby open roader » Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:27 pm

I've been riding again for exactly 3 years after a 25 year hiatus.

The past 2 years I've had road bikes and an MTB and have really raised my work rate on the bike.

I've have observed many cycling related improvements in performance, speed etc but my relatively high HR whilst training has not lowered much at all.

Sure, my cold resting HR is now below 60 BPM and my HR recovery lag has dramatically improved whilst on the go but I'm still unable to ride at a guestimated 80% output level without running at 175 to 185 BPM.

I know a power meter is the only quantative measure of work rate or output, however, to consistantly achieve +/- 30km/hr over distances of 30/40/50/60 km I'm working in that 175-185 BPM zone at what I feel is around 80% of my capacity - this has not altered a bit in 3 years of riding. I can go as high as 195 BPM for 2/3 minutes but after that the bod. tells me to stop or else.......

I'm 40 years old, weigh 75kg and am an outdoor worker / labourer so I'm not coming at cycling from a super low fitness level. I speak to as many riders I can on the road who look like they are training for fitness on a bike and all too often I freak them out when I mention that I'm riding 50km distance today and virtually all of it at 175-185 BPM.

My local GP is clueless as to wether my high HR during training is for better or worse but after 3 years of improved training and fitness I'm beginning to wonder if I'm over doing it in the HR dept.??
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by BNA » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:06 pm

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Re: Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby sogood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:06 pm

Training does not lower your HRmax. High HR is not a bad thing and 170-180 is not unusual during high intensity work.
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Re: Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby vander » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:15 pm

Train at the same relative workrate that is % of your VO2max (max output) then your heartrate will be the same % of your max heart rate. As you train your HR at Absolute power is decreased. So just doing rough figures but at the start your HR would of been 175-185 at say 25km/h and now it is that at 30km/h that is your improvement as you said you have seen improvements in speed. If you went back to doing 25km/h now then it would be a lot less. It just means after all this time you are still training as hard as you were at the start, which is a good thing. Also HRmax general formula is 220-age which for you should be about 180, however there is +/- 15% error in this formula so nothing to be alarmed about.

@Sogood: You may be surprised but HRmax actually does decrease with training often. However this is only seen at the elite level. There has been studies to prove that elite athletes cant actually work at their predicted HRmax this is generally due to another factor that makes up ones VO2max is the limiting factor.
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Re: Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby sogood » Thu Aug 11, 2011 11:47 pm

Thanks Vander. I should be more specific and qualify that statement. Basically saying that our training won't really alter the HRmax, but HRresting can alter significantly. HRmax alteration is not our training objective.
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Re: Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby ft_critical » Fri Aug 12, 2011 7:03 pm

Hi OpenRoader,

I am a similar age to you and weight.

In Dec I smashed my shoulder and collar bone in an accident. For the first month I was back on the trainer pushing out intervals. The doctor indicated 3mth min before I would be on the road and 6mth min until I could race again. I dropped both the regularity and intensity of my training. At the time of the crash I was very fit (own estimate) and at a level to win in A grade Masters. Not putting tickets on myself, just saying I was well trained.
I train on about 10 rides and have extensive data on the rides.
First road rides after 3mths, resting heart rate was higher, average heart rate was higher, max heart rate was lower.
For me the interesting thing was my heart rate spiked easily, but I was unable to operate long at high intensity when measured by heart rate, and I couldn't get my heart rate up to peak. In terms of levels I am talking 5 to 7bpm higher or lower.
After another 4mths training I am back to normal ranges. As in, I can again sustain higher heart rates and can sustain higher output an relatively lower heart rates.

I have also raced twice with a cold; just at the start of the cold. I noticed that my average, peak and resting HR were all 5 to 10bpm higher.

A lot of words. But addressing your question, you shouldn't be looking at your peak or max HR but at other things. How much power you can output at a certain HR, how long you can maintain high HR etc.

Another, 'opinion' I have is that you can't maintain performance indefinitely. So when I say 'how long you can maintain a high HR', this is not a permanent change. Backing up what I said about the injured period where all that 'fitness' fell away and quickly. That is, you can peak using your training.
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Re: Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby open roader » Fri Aug 12, 2011 8:31 pm

Thanks for the replies.

After a year or so of riding a road bike I paid more attention to my HR and re-set my bike computer HR zones according to what I felt were useful ranges for the type of riding I typically do.

The past three rides have been 62km, 58km and 39km, all three have involved some prolonged hill climbs (minimum 5km's of constant climbing often much more) For these three rides my HR has remained and average of 91% of the time in zone 3 which is set at 169BPM to 199BPM. In the three previous rides which were much flatter affairs over shorter distances my HR remained in that zone 3 range for an average 84% of those rides. Yet another (respected and experienced) MTB rider today was a tad surprised at how long my HR remains in that high bracket..........

When I'm riding at 175-185 BPM I can feel the efforts and slackenings aerobically but I never push into the 190's for more than a few mins. max as i start hitting the wall very quickly. I can dismount immediately after a 40km hilly ride holding this sort of HR and I feel fine, by the time I have my helmet off and the back of the car open I'm back to strong breathing but def. not gagging for air.......

At present I feel (read 'guestimate') that I'm 10% off my best ever fitness / recovery levels which I achieved in mid autumn last year after a summer of riding regularly and before spending a whole month holidaying in the U.S. slamming on weight and losing aerobic fitness etc......... I was breaking through into the 31km/hr and 32 km/hr average speeds for the same rides back then. I'm interested to see if I can perhaps regain that peak fitness feeling a little earlier this spring / summer......
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Re: Elevated heart rate levels during training

Postby vander » Fri Aug 12, 2011 9:18 pm

It is quite different but I wouldn't really be too worried about it. Your resting HR is a little high for someone that is as fit as you seem to be. Therefore i would guess that you don't have the biggest heart but it has a good ability to beat fast. Every person is different and has their own was of achieving their best power outputs (or VO2max) I think some more eccentric hypertrophy of your heart will come as you train and you will see your resting HR drop. I would be watching that and your increased speeds or increased power as your way of measuring your fitness.
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