Anybody racing on beta blockers?

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Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby nickobec » Sun Jul 08, 2012 11:34 pm

Almost 3 years ago, had a myocardial infarction, got a cornary stent and a cocktail of drugs to take for the rest of my life, including beta blockers (currently Atenolol-GA).

Beta blockers slow the heart rate, the effects vary depending on the time of day (time since taking the tablets) and amount of exercise I have done.

Best explanation is my maximum heart rate:
1 hour after taking my tablets, my max HR is 140
After riding for an hour my max HR is 150
8 hours later my max HR is 160

This has been fairly consistent for the past couple of years.

I have just started racing this season, 8 races so far, and have noticed my HR in the final sprint, getting higher, it hit 175 yesterday, which is getting close to my pre heart attack max HR of 182. The only time my HR has been above 162 in the past 30 months, has been at the end of races.

My cardiologist is happy with my riding, but does not know I race (unlike my GP) but would probably encourage me, as long as I didn't beat him.

I would like to know if anybody else is racing on beta blockers and what their HR is like sprinting at the end of the race.
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by BNA » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:04 am

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Re: Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby twizzle » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:04 am

I thought the purpose of beta-blockers was to lower BP by reducing the HR. Racing doesn't seem to meet that goal, my BP increases from ~120/75 to ~170/90 at max effort (stress test just last week).

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Re: Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby greyhoundtom » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:10 pm

In your situation the heart recovery rate is something that I would be checking, as this provides a reasonable indication of heart health, and would provide some indication whether or not a hard sprint home in a race is likely to be causing problems.

As far as I'm aware the goal is a reduction in heart rate of at least 20 to 30 beats one minute after stopping strenuous exercise..........30 to 40 would be better.
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Re: Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby nickobec » Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:51 am

greyhoundtom wrote:In your situation the heart recovery rate is something that I would be checking, as this provides a reasonable indication of heart health, and would provide some indication whether or not a hard sprint home in a race is likely to be causing problems.

As far as I'm aware the goal is a reduction in heart rate of at least 20 to 30 beats one minute after stopping strenuous exercise..........30 to 40 would be better.


I have data from the two minutes after the three races where my HR exceeded 170 in the sprint, my HR drops 25 in the first minute, and then another 20 in the next minute. At this time I am still out on the bike turning the legs over at decent cadence but low power to clear the lactic acid out of my muscles.

My post race ride homes are back to my regular afternoon, max HR.

I am interested whether the increased heart rate i experience at the end of a race, is "normal" for beta blocker users.
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Re: Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby petie » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:10 pm

I don't take beta blockers, but I would say that your findings are normal. As someone else mentioned beta blockers lower BP or regulate Heart rhythm by slowing down your HR. They rely on your dosage and time of dosing. Have your races been later in the afternoon? (that could explain higher max HR) otherwise the return to normal HR in such a short time is good. If it takes a long time to return to resting HR then you need to be worried. This would mean something/where in your body isn't getting enough O2 and your heart is trying to compensate by going harder for longer. It's good to give your vascular system a workout with short periods of high HR and increased BP. (Within reason of course)

As far as your increasing max HR is concerned, if there are no other causes (different times etc) then flip it to your GP. I'm sure they'll have fun trying to figure it out :lol:
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Re: Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby master6 » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:32 pm

I had a stent in LAD artery in 1996 at age 48. I had no symptoms, but was referred for a stress test due to family history. A 95% blockage was rectified with a stent. I have been taking Atenolol (APO) 25mg since that time. I resumed cycling in 2002, and used a HR monitor for a couple of years. The only use it served was to amuse my mates by displaying a heart rate considerably lower than they had. They might be recording HR 150, and I had 120. I got sick of wearing it. I have a stress echo every year as a precaution.
Cycling wise, I have been competitive with almost every one of my age, and lots of younger people, and completed the Grafton to Inverell at ages 58,59,60,61,62. Plenty of long steady miles , and plenty of hills has suited me.

To complete the picture, I take prednisone and celebrex to counter PMR, and crestor with ezytrol to control cholesterol. Half an aspirin daily.

I had a TUE from CA for the Atenolol, a banned substance, but that is another story. I'm not sure what they were doing, and I'm sure they did not know either.

Any questions, feel free to ask.
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Re: Anybody racing on beta blockers?

Postby nickobec » Sat Jul 14, 2012 11:45 pm

master6 wrote:I had a TUE from CA for the Atenolol, a banned substance, but that is another story. I'm not sure what they were doing, and I'm sure they did not know either.

I checked before I started racing https://checksubstances.asada.gov.au/, Atenolol is only banned for sports that involved shooting and other sports were a low heart rate would be an advantage. So I assume it was some time ago or CA got it completely wrong.

Yes it does freak out fellow riders, out riding one day friend
him "I saw an interview with Robbie McEwen, his training rides are at 35kmh with a HR of 120"
me "So how fast are we going"
him "35kmh"
me "what is your HR"
him "155"
me "mind is 120"
note it was in the morning and we did have a slight tailwind

Ignoring all other factors, during a race my max HR is around 160, my average HR is 140-145, my HR maxes out at 155-160 when attacking/chasing a breakaway/hammering a hill. But after an hour of racing my HR lifts to around 175 for the final sprint (or when I chased down an attack on 5km out)

My question is do other people who race on beta blockers, get this "extra boost" as I see it?

Because when I discuss it with my doctor, I would like to say if this happens with other people.

I am not worried about it, as once I finish a race my HR returns to normal and if I ride home and attack my usual hill sprints, my HR is typical afternoon HR for those climbs.
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