's Forum Archives - Racing

Archive Home >> Racing(1 2 3 )

Heart rate question for those in the know.(14 posts)

Heart rate question for those in the know.Benjamin
Mar 30, 2001 8:21 AM
I'm in pretty good spring shape, but I noticed something odd the other day. I was working indoors on my trainer doing some tempo intervals over an hour workout. Each interval was about 5 minutes in length @ 85-90% with periods of 7-10 min of work @ 65% inbetween. Here's the strange thing: during the first interval, my HR was up no problem, during the second one, I couldn't get my HR up above 180, and on the third no matter how hard I pushed, 175 was my max. On the third, getting frustrated now, I'm pushing at 100% percieved effort and I'm only getting 172 on my Polar. What gives? Over training? Not enough water? Not enough sleep? Am I hopelessly stuck as a Cat 4? What?
Mar 30, 2001 8:34 AM
I'm a strong 4 and I notice the same thing when training and racing. Particularly towards the end of a long hilly circuit race I notice I can't get my HR as high as early in the race. Same thing with interval training. There's much more scientific discussions of this, but I think it's due to fatigue. Generally when doing max interval training, if you can't get your HR up you should stop the interval workout as you won't get the results you are training for and may actually do more damage.

I just recently started tracking my resting HR first thing in the morning and definitely notice a correlation between fatigue, resting HR, and the ability to get my HR up. Essentially when I'm well rested my morning resting HR is 46. I can easily hit 174 up my regular lunch training route. On the high side, after a long hilly 4 hour ride, my resting HR could be up to 54 and sure enough, I'm hitting only 168 on the same hill although it seems to hurt more.

I don't know where you live, but I'll assume you're just beginning some structured intensity work. It may take awhile to get your anaerobic system tuned.

Hope this makes sense.
too much for nowmarvin
Mar 30, 2001 9:58 AM
You're going too hard. Whether it's from overtraining or from not moving gradually up slowly (meaning that perhaps you should start with fewer /shorter intervals where you CAN finish the workout at the high enough heart rate), your body is not ready to do THAT workout right now. If you had been able to do it before without trouble hitting your max zone, then overtraining seems more like it. If not, then start smaller and work up so that you can get the MOST out of the workout...

Good luck
re: Heart rate question for those in the know.Bruno S
Mar 30, 2001 10:55 AM
Its true that the more tired you are the more difficult it is to get high heart rates. Do the first intervals easier or shorter so you can make your last or second to last interval the most difficult. Another thing you should evaluate is your max. HR. You say that you can't go higher than 180 to get to 90%. Do you have a max. HR of 200 or more?
re: Heart rate question for those in the know.Benjamin
Mar 31, 2001 12:32 PM
I've never tested my Max HR properly. I've been going from the 220- age= max rule of thumb. I'm 23, so my max should be 197. How would I go about testing for max?
finding max ratemondo mike
Mar 31, 2001 6:29 PM
i have a 1 mile loop i do, i keep uping my speed 1 to 2 miles
per hour untill my hart rate stops going up.

being 34 years old, the 220-age is off a bit


i found my max to be 198. my race rate is allways about 186.

hope this helps.
finding max rate... I second thatPeter
Apr 2, 2001 3:33 PM
I'm 35 and I regularly see 199-200 in my "peak" workouts. OK, not regularly, but I do see it.

Regarding your inability to "get it up." I hammered on Saturday and had my heart between 165 and 185 for over 3 hours. Yesterday I went to do hill repeats and try as I might, I couldn't get over 170.

This is what happens when you're not recovered from the day before. Don't worry about it. Use it as a recovery day or do a little strength work.
Max Rate is also genetically determined.runstevierun
Apr 5, 2001 11:59 AM
I second the posts above that encourage you to
test for Max HR. But know that Max HR isn't the end-all-be-all,
it's your HR reserve, the range between your max and upperend that matters. I have a low Max HR (172) but also a low resting HR (32). I do fine in local crits and other pain fests.........
re: Heart rate question for those in the know.Bruno S
Mar 31, 2001 7:57 PM
There has been a lot of talk about this topic in this forum. I think the general rule of 220 - age works fine, especially for people in their 20 and early 30s. Older fit athletes maintain their max heart rate and the formula seems not to work for them since its too conservative.

The important thing to realize is that max. heart rate is sport specific. If you would like to know what is your absolute max. heart rate you should do the test running. When you run you use more muscles than your legs and you will get your HR higher. Run for 30 to 40 min. and then do a 5-10 min sprint until you are exausted.

When you are cycling your max heart rate will be lower, my max is 193 running, 183 on the bike. By now you should know what is your max heart rate for you when you are cycling: the max you have seen in your monitor.

The intervals you were doing seem fine but they should be done between 168 - 183 which are zones 4 and 5a. Expect to spend only a few minutes during the whole interval session in zone 5a (180-183) and work most of the time in zone 4 (168-179).
re: Heart rate question for those in the know.Peter
Apr 2, 2001 3:35 PM
A five to ten minute sprint???
MHR sport specific?Hap
Apr 3, 2001 5:54 AM
Do others agree that Max HR is sport specific? I'm not a HR epert but I assume that this is not true, at least for aerobic activities. Anyone else?

Heart rate is sport specific for metommyb
Apr 6, 2001 6:58 AM
My heart rate at max effort on the bike is lower than my max heart rate in other activities. The highest I get is cross country skiing. There's nothing like skating uphill using every muscle and ounce of energy to max out quickly. Although I've never measured heart rate while swimming, I get a lot closer to puking while swimming intervals than cycling intervals. Granted, I do more cycling than any other sport, and maybe my body is just more used to it, but I just can't get that huge anaerobic blast on the bike.

What is it about us that makes us seek the pain?
It depends of what the meaning of "maximum" is...Bruno S
Apr 6, 2001 5:52 PM
There is an absolute MHR but it cannot be achieved by doing every aerobic exercise. Exercises where you must carry your weight or that use legs and arms will take you to your absolute MHR. These sports include: running, rowing, cross-country skiing, etc.

During the other sports, like cycling, you will have a MHR specific to that sport.

Personally, I calculate my target zones to my running MHR and use them for cycling training. I just do not expect to see very high HR while doing intervals.

I can back up this from experience but I did find some info on the web that states that MHR is sports specific and I will post the link below. I do not know about the author and haven't read her book.

I also would expect that fitter the cyclist, and the more his/her body has adapted to the sport, the closer his MHR on the bike will be to the absolute MHR.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to find info about MHR and different sports.
Agreed ...Humma Hah
Apr 9, 2001 11:46 AM
In my case, at 47, if I use the popular but horribly inadequate 220-age formula, I get a MHR of 173 bpm. But I've done interval training recently to 175. 2.5 years ago, my cardiologist did a treadmill stress test on me and said I'd hit 188, in a memorably strenuous effort I'd be unlikely to duplicate on my own.

Yesterday, I was doing a workout at the lake. I was alternating between a "high cruise" at my own rate and a little rabbit-chasing and keeping up with the rare person trying to pass (I did a lap with a really fast rollerblader -- we're talking mostly MTB's here, I still can't hang with a decent roadie).

I was wearing my HRM, something I rarely do when not interval training, and was surprised to see the changes. Used to be I'd cruise at 148 bpm or lower, hitting maybe 155 on steady climbs and 163 briefly on hard climbs or sprints. Yesterday, in 50 miles, I was rarely below 150, cruised for entire 5-mile laps up in the neighborhood of 158, did several stretches of 163-ish for maybe 3 miles at a time, and peaked at 167. This was just cruising, not interval training, and I was surprised how easily I got the HR up. 163 bpm would be something like 94% of age-predicted MHR, 87% of what the doctor measured (and so about right for going just a little past AT, where it felt like I was).

By comparison, in the gym I use several pieces of equipment, including a rower, XC ski machine, treadmill, and stairclimber. The XC ski machine is hard to get high HR readings on -- it depends on arm power a lot and my arms are not nearly as strong as my legs. The XC ski machine is similarly limited by arm strength and the use of muscles having little to do with cycling. I don't run much, preferring to use the treadmill for a fast walk on a steep incline, and the machines I use don't allow me to approach MHR unless I break into a run. I can do VO2 intervals on the StepMill stairclimber reasonably well.