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Question about HRM.(5 posts)

Question about HRM.mrrun2fast
Aug 11, 2003 11:59 AM
Hi, I purchased a HRM monitor yesterday, and I was shocked to see my HR while I was riding. The highest I could get my heart rate was 170, which was going up hill. While on the flats while not going too hard, I was between 125 and 150. Is this typical?
Previous to cycling, a year ago I used to run marathons and half-marathons and I used to use a HRM for running. For running my max HR was around 210 and I was typically between 150-175 on an avg. run. Is anyone else experiencing a low HR while cycling? A little background of myself: 23 year old male, I've been consistently riding for about a year. I'm physically in shape. Should I be concerned about this?
No cause for concern ...Steve Young
Aug 11, 2003 12:53 PM
I'd recommend that you get a book which discusses the use of heart rate monitors in various sports - there are several available mail order from Polar which provide a useful context against which to develop your own opinions to the questions you ask.

A very general rule of thumb is that max heart rate is 220-age. In practice however, this does is not accurate enough for many people to be useful. I'm not sure what my max is these days but I got it up to 187 last week chasing a friend up the last few hundred yards of a steep (3 mile or so) climb. My max is probably a good few beats above that and I'm 34 so go figure.

In one of the Polar books (I forget which one) there is a good discussion about HRmax for different sports. I can't remember the precise details off the top of my head but I believe that a generally applicable observation is that Heart rate max for running is higher than cycling is higher than swimming. That's certainly the case for me.

The other thing which adds some confusion in this area is that maximum heartrate is a often under quoted when people measure it in field test. In order to realise your maximum heart rate you need to warm up very thoroughly. Afte that a maximal exertion (perhaps a series of exertion recover and repeat intervals) is required to get right up there. By this time you are generally losing your peripheral vision and starting to feel distinctly odd (which is why many texts recommend that this is done under medical supervision).

Additionally, one of the comments that I recall from one of the books is that it is a mistake to compare your max with that of others - it's a highly personal parameter and comparisons are generally meaningless for anything useful.

Lastly, the best way I have found of using my heartrate monitor for training (cycling and running) is to define my aerobic threshold (AT) for each sport and then setting training zones based on percentage aerobic threshold.

Various threshold measurements can be made precisely at some expense in a laboratory. However there are cheaper approaches which basically involve the wearing of a monitor for a set distance and riding/running at the maximum sustainable rate for that distance. The average heartrate can then be used (with a correction factor based primarily on distance and competitive environment) to give a good approximation of AT.

A three mile time trial is a good way of evaluating this but if you do that think twice about posting your time ...

There is a detailed account of how to do this in Joe Friels training book (I forget the name but I am sure someone else will know it here).

Finally, another thing which makes a different to heartrate at constant effort is temperature and hydration level. I was surprised how much differece this made when I moved to a warm climate.

Hope this is useful. It's an interesting subject and there are plenty of good books about it available at reasonable cost.

Very good... thankstorquecal
Aug 11, 2003 4:13 PM
Durned useful! thanks steve
On a fast ride i will do in the 150's-170's normal for me -nmbenja15
Aug 11, 2003 8:57 PM
re: Question about HRM.noveread
Aug 12, 2003 6:46 AM
First, just keep riding with your new HRM. After a few weeks you will start to see how your body responds to effort. HRs for running and cycling are very different.

For me, I'm 31, a fast group ride has my HR usually between 165-185. I think my LT is ~175, maybe a beat or two or three less. My Max is ~202bpm.

I'm a crummy racer, but I'm willing to suffer! :)

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