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1st day of HRM Training.(23 posts)

1st day of HRM Training.aet
Oct 22, 2001 5:31 AM
Saturday i went out and got a max heart rate (that was unpleasant) then sunday i went for a ride a 65-70% of my max. that was super hard. i was going so slow and i really had trouble managing to stay in that zone on the hills. I have a program to follow and i hope it wokrs because it seems like it will be hard to get faster incorporating such slow rides.
It's tough to go slowlyMcAndrus
Oct 22, 2001 5:43 AM
I got an HRM a couple of weeks ago myself. I established my max rate at 185 by climbing a tough local hill a couple of times and I think I was darn near unconscious on the second climb.

By the way, the books say my max should be 170 (220-50; yes, I'm a geezer) but at 170 I can still hold a conversation - not even close to topped out.

I've made a couple of rides lately trying to stay in the recovery zone. I'll probably get some criticism for saying this but I was much more fatigued after those rides than a normal, faster ride.

Also, one trainer I read up on says there is a "dead zone" between 80 and 85 percent of MHR to be avoided. For me that 148-157 heart rate. Another trainer says I should be right in that range for lactate threshold training. Go figure.

If I try to stay in the 65-70 percent range I just get stiff legs and back. There are also hills around here that simply cannot be climbed with my heart rate there. Going up with a 120 bpm rate would probably stop me dead and I'd be rolling backwards.

So, until I find compelling evidence, I've decided to work at two levels: base aerobic and lactate threshold. Let's see how much heat I get for having that opinion. ;-)
glad i'm not the only one.aet
Oct 22, 2001 5:56 AM
i bought that carmichael book. i am gonna try to follow his 7 week deal and see where that gets me. hopefully i will be faster at that heartrate by the end.
What's "aet" stand for? nm.javagenki
Oct 22, 2001 9:25 AM
Andre E Thompson (nm)aet
Oct 22, 2001 9:51 AM
Whatta ya knowDelia
Oct 22, 2001 6:39 AM
I just got an HRM Friday. I went running with it Saturday and just about threw it out the Window. First, it just did not want to stay on. It kept sliding down as I ran. So here I am, in the gym, trying to readjust it and getting all these strange looks (that was humorous). Also, I felt like I could not keep my heart rate 'in range'. I would be running at the same pace (at a snail's pace) and my heart rate would go from 153 to 195 in no time. I mean the whole reason I got it was because I wasn't getting any stronger or faster. I usually go all out all the time. For this reason, after a whole hour of running (if you can call it that), I didn't even feel like I worked out. I'm gonna stick to it but it's gonna be tough. Hey, does anyone know of a book on training with HRMs? The only thing I know is that it is frustrating!
basic bookJack S
Oct 22, 2001 6:59 AM
"The Heart Rate Monitor Book" by Sally Edwards is pretty basic. Do a search on Amazon, she's written lots different books (cycling-, triathlon- spinbike-, women-specific, etc.) and there are plenty of other basic ones out there as well as more "technie" ones like "Training, Lactate, Pulse Rate".
Whatta ya knowvanzutas
Oct 22, 2001 9:48 AM
If you were on a treadmill then it was probably interfering with your HRM. I have had that problem with treadmills that have a built in HRM mine doesn't work in that situation.

I don't have a problem with it falling down, but I am a guy. they make sports bras that are made to insert a chest strap so everything stays in place. But I don't have any experience with them.
re: 1st day of HRM Training.cioccman
Oct 22, 2001 6:51 AM
I've been training with a heart rate monitor for a long time. Yes, it is hard to go that slow. Just remember your entire goal is to be able to do what you were doing at 185bpm, only now at 150bpm. Best *newbie* article for this work is a shorty by Mark Allen. I'll return with the URL if I can find it. Delia, I've never known anyone to have much trouble keeping the thing on. Matter of fact, I'm not a large guy, but I've got the elastic strap almost completely extended because it can get so tight. Heck, with a just a little sweat the thing would almost stick on without elastic at all! Second note, the transmitter must have good contact. Jumping around rates are a sign of bad contact or faulty goods. When I do 2+ hours of endurance work I can keep my rate rock steady! Only five or so beats total deviation for the entire trip. Good luck.

Sorry, can't find the URL for the article, but if you'd like me to email it to you, please let me know at
url for Mark Allen's article..dotkaye
Oct 22, 2001 12:36 PM
Addendum - Friel's Cyclists Training Bible. nmcioccman
Oct 22, 2001 6:53 AM
Addendum - Friel's Cyclists Training Bible. nmLen J
Oct 22, 2001 8:08 AM
I agree on Freil's. One of his quotes: "The difference between a Pro & an Amateur is not the intensity of thier hard workouts but the ease of thier easy (recovery) workouts. The pros go much easier on easy days" The essence of training is overstressing your body and then allowing enough rest/recovery so that your body can overcompensate for the stress. (by building.repairing muscle & blood networks). The most valuable thing you can do for your training is to go easier on easy days.

A comment on FrielMcAndrus
Oct 22, 2001 8:20 AM
I've read excerpts of his stuff. If I had time to create such elaborate training plans I might find it useful but I don't have such time.

In fact, the concept of recovery rides seems related to both intense race-level riding and the ability (having the time) to ride every day.

I suspect most of us recreational riders (even recreational racers) do not ride every day of the week. If I do an intense group ride on Sunday it would be best if I did an easy 2-hour recovery ride on Monday. But most likely I won't ride at all on Monday. That's when I do yard work with my wife, or go to Wal-Mart with her or some other honey-do kind of thing.

So I'll ride usually four days a week: hard, fast group rides Tuesday, hard hill group rides Thursday, easy long rides on Saturday and hard training rides on Sunday.

Guys like Friel would have me doing recovery rides on Monday and Wednesday with a day off on Friday.

I agree that recovery rides would be better but what can I do? I recover by hacking weeds out of the garden.

I wonder if y'all think this helps or hinders my biking form? (In case you couldn't hear the accent in my typing, I'm from South Carolina.)
Responses for aet and Delia.nigel
Oct 22, 2001 8:24 AM

Congrats on getting a HRM, first off. You've purchased what may be the best thing (next to your bike) for getting yourself into great--or better, if you're already in great--shape. I've seen wonderful results by using mine all the time on rides. Carmichael may suggest 65-70%, but I feel (based on Sally Edwards' "The Heart Rate Monitor Book for Outdoor and Indoor Cyclists") that riding anywhere from 50-70% of max would constitute a real recovery ride in the lowest two zones (which burn more fat and build muscle endurance). Limiting oneself to a 5% window seems awfully difficult; it also sounds a bit hazardous, since it means that you're constantly looking down at the monitor instead of on the road in front of you and your surroundings. I set my monitor to beep (I have the Sigma Sport PC14--$69 at when I'm out of the 50-70% range, so I don't have to constantly stay within such a tiny window and look at the thing every second or two.

Going THAT slowly is tough at first; the first REAL recovery rides I've ever gone on have been since I've gotten my HRM, and I've actually seen more concentrated fat loss since going on these necessary easy rides. For those with lots of tough hills, I'd strongly suggest riding on a trainer indoors. Put the t.v. on or a Tour video, and just go according to your HRM--nice and easy, for an hour or two (as possible). Don't work up too much of a sweat; just pedal pretty easily and keep within these numbers.

One more thing: These super-easy rides won't get you faster, but they'll allow full body/muscle recovery between faster/harder rides, priming your body for the next tough ride and by chasing out all of the toxins (and lactic acid) from your muscles and bloodstream. Real recovery is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for top performance. By being able to give the tough rides EVERYTHING you've got, you WILL get faster--no two ways about it. Try to enjoy these rides to the fullest. Bring a friend/family member/wife/hubby/g- or b-friend, and chat, chat, chat. Or, practice your no-hands riding by sitting up, folding your arms, and just going nice and easy. Take in the view! Don't sweat it. You won't regret it.

Wisdom. A coach I used to know had this theory: You should ride one of two ways--EASIER than you think you SHOULD, or HARDER than you think you COULD. (This ensures full recovery and full-on efforts.)

Delia: I just (ironically) ran into (not literally!) an ex-girlfriend of mine the other day--we were both riding in a local park--and she mentioned that she always rides with an HRM on the bike, but has stopped running with hers, since it always falls off and slides around, giving her erratic readings. I suggested a "Heart Bra" (I think Polar makes them), and she hadn't heard of them. They're sports bras made with an opening at the bottom (a tube of material) to hold one's HRM strap snugly in place. I've seen them in catalogs (check,, et al.), and they seem like they'd really do the trick. Must be very frustrating, and a bad intro to HRM use. Check 'em out!

Best of luck to all,
Responses for aet and Delia.aet
Oct 22, 2001 9:58 AM
i may try that. 50-70% would be much easier because i do have a tough time with that narrow zone. i am going to stick with it, though.
slow rides will make you faster..dotkaye
Oct 22, 2001 12:05 PM
and the reason for that is mentioned in the article by Mark Allen that cioccman already referenced, find it here..
Can't believe more people don'tjavagenki
Oct 22, 2001 9:28 AM
use HRMs. I started using one in 1993. I dropped my resting hr from 65bpm to 38bpm in 8 months. Unbelievable!
can you raise your max rate as well? nmaet
Oct 22, 2001 9:54 AM
Why would you want to?cioccman
Oct 22, 2001 10:25 AM
Stated generally and simply, great cardiovascular fitness will allow you to exert more energy while your heart rate stays low. This will allow you to burn more fat, thus using up your carbs a bit more slowly so you retain more fuels for longer periods of time. Secondly, at this same time, you'll be creating less lactic acid and your body will be able to flush more acid. Thus you'll have great endurance. In the end you'll have a much better cardiovascular base. You need not worry about raising your max heart rate because when you're in an upper anaerobic zone, you'll not be able to sustain it very long. That's a fact. Sprinters are a classic case of this fact.
Nope (long ramble)Flava
Oct 22, 2001 10:41 AM
Max heart-rate isn't trainable. Ideally, your HR zones would be based upon your Lactate Threshold since this is trainable. Max HR is a pretty nebulous term and is 'hard wired' at birth.

There is a dead zone that should be avoided - but it varies based upon your own individual physiology. The reason to avoid it is that you are training the same energy system (aerobic) but at greater effort. You're therefore working harder than you should for the same benefit. This is inefficient.

BUT, for the average recreational cyclist there's no need to be too pedantic with regard to HR. You'll get better by working on specific aspects of your cycling at different points of the year (periodizaton). This takes some general knowledge of your appropriate target zones and adherence to them. The shot gun blast approach to training doesn't really work in that you don't fully develop any aspect of your training.

Start with your building blocks: strength, speed (your pedal stroke, not all out sprints), endurance.

Add Tempo work next, then work on your LT, finally work on your anaerobic engine which includes sprinting.

It's a progression in intensity that can only be effectively undertaken if you've built your aerobic engine properly.

The ability to produce power at/near LT for extended periods of time is what separates the front of the pack from the folks that are off the back. If you can do this, you'll find that you aren't working as hard in the lower intensity zones as other people.
does a higher max heart rate mean you are...aet
Oct 22, 2001 12:35 PM
a better potential cyclist or runner? or does it not really matter?
Nope - no correlation whatsoever n/tFlava
Oct 23, 2001 5:39 AM
re: 1st day of HRM Training.mackgoo
Oct 23, 2001 12:59 PM
I was just curious, for those of you that do the low HR "fat burning" rides. What is your carbo intake on these rides? Do you decrease it? Do you go to straight water? Or not think about it.