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Sigh - another heart rate question(11 posts)

Sigh - another heart rate questionBiking Viking
Apr 16, 2001 9:50 AM
Attached pic shows my altitude and HR during the Sea Otter Classic XC MTB race (yeah, wrong forum, but MTBR doesn't have a racing forum). I am 34 years old and placed 15th in sport out of almost 200 - so I didn't do that bad. However, I believe my heart rate is extremely low compared to other athletes of my age. I logged a max of 164 - and yes I WAS PUSHING! I've never tested myself, but from training experience, I estimate my LT to be 155. My resting heart rate is 42 when I'm in racing shape. Is there something wrong with me?
Wow, cool graph...Kyle
Apr 16, 2001 10:42 AM
but the answer is no, there is nothing wrong with you. A coach (can't remember who) once said 'some people's hearts are like sports cars and some are like diesel trucks." Yours is in the latter category.

LT heart rate and resting heart rate are useful to know, but you can't compare them to others. In the end, it's all about power.

Congrats on the finish--impressive.
I'll give this a chanceMarlon
Apr 16, 2001 10:46 AM
From what little I know about max heart rate, the (very) rough guide to max heart rate is 220 - (your age), which would put your max at around 186. Taking your max heart rate attained during the race (164), if 186 is your ultimate max, then during the race you were at around 88% of max. That's pretty good, and about par - I know that around 90% of my max (around 178), I start to feel some serious pain. At 95% (around 187), I just want to die. Then again, I'm only 23.

You say you estimate your lactate threshold at 155? Using the rough formula, that would put your LT at around 83% of max. Sounds about right.

Resting heart rate certainly shows why you placed so well - good aerobic system, that's for sure!

That's my take on your heart rate - hope it helps.

re: Sigh - another heart rate questionhugh balls
Apr 16, 2001 12:49 PM
Similar condition to me. I am a Cat 2 roadie, 29 years old, but I have an abnormally low max heart rate. Even in a race with full adrenaline It has never gone above 181 - and the problem is that I am a great climber, but not at race tempo with the accelerations and attacks. My HR averages about to the same - 164, just about my LT too - for a 4 hour torture fest will my teamate is outclimbing me at 192 beats per minute. I have been told that it is just a fact of nature, and there is some variability through training, but not more than about 10 beats. Your thoughts?
re: Sigh - another heart rate questionJon Billheimer
Apr 16, 2001 2:03 PM
Maximum heart rate is genetically fixed. Although resting heartrate ultimately is also genetic--that is it's maximal response to training--it reflects one's state of training. The higher the training state the larger one's stroke volume, the lower one's resting heartrate. More importantly, lactate threshold and power at lactate threshold are the most meaningful indicators of performance and are also the most trainable. The age-predicted formula for max. heartrate is next to useless. You need to determine your actual, individual max. heart rate. There's lots of ways to do that, from submaximal testing to a ramp test in a lab. The important thing is to train yourself to ride at as high a rate of intensity as possible.
Hold on a sec...Marlon
Apr 17, 2001 1:03 AM
I agree with most of your post, but I'd like to make a rebuttal on a few points:

The age-predicted formula, like most formulas out there for gauging fitness levels, is an average. Having said that, I don't think it's completely useless: even allowing for statistical variation, I think it could still be used to some effect, especially by beginners. Of course, if you're training for the Tour de France, then that's a completely different matter...

Next, I'd question "training to ride at as high a rate of intensity as possible". Sure, you have practice going fast in order to go fast, but you're neglecting so many other aspects of racing as well - the flexibility needed, core strength, technique, and mental skills just to name a few. Not everyone is an Eddy Merckx...

Last but not least, I think consideration has to be given to the fact that numbers (as represented by LT and wattages at LT) don't always fully represent the human body. Numbers will vary at times, even daily, and following too closely the "numbers game" has often been a major reason for overtraining. Me? I like to race, but I also like to feel good and listen to my body.

Just a few points to consider.
unrelated - how did you get that graph?Duane Gran
Apr 17, 2001 3:47 AM
What hardware/software did you use to produce that graph? It is pretty cool.
unrelated - how did you get that graph?must_pedal_harder
Apr 17, 2001 6:12 AM
Excel + HRM w/ altitude and you can draw something like that.

I have a Spec P-Brain and it will draw the same w/ speed (in it's own program, but you can carry the data over to a spread sheet). Very useful for comparing progress, etc.
It's from a Suunto AdvizorBiking Viking
Apr 17, 2001 7:32 AM
One of these "wrist top computers" with compass, HR, altitude, thermometer, barometer, stopwatch AND it also tells you time of the day ;-) Unfortunately, unlike the Polar S-series, it doesn't have a link to the PC, so I had to go through the memory manually and enter the data into Excel.

No advice, but...Old Guy
Apr 17, 2001 4:08 PM
I'm 35 and I regularly see high 190s during racing conditions. I'm probably not QUITE as fit as you (I place top 5 in Masters 35 4/5 crits and short RRs), but I frequently spend an entire hour over 175.

I don't know how much stock I place in the formula out there for figuring your max hr. If you're getting 15th in a Senior 4 (or faster) race (oh wait, you guys are "experts"), I'd say you're doing pretty damn well and damn the naysayers.

But 164 DOES sound pretty low. 164 is deep recovery for me. I did the Copperopolis RR last week and I think I only went below 164 on the descents... And I was out there for almost three and a half hours.

One thing: if I'm pedaling slowly, I can't get my hr up as fast as when I'm spinning fast. I know it should be load-based, but if I'm under 70 rpm, I pretty much can't get over 180. I'm guessing your cadence off road is a lot slower. Hmmmm....
max heart rate could be from overtrainingTexas racer
Apr 17, 2001 5:58 PM
I agree with most of the posters here. Max heartrate is genetically determined. So if you, yourself, have never posted a substantially better max...then... But if you have, and you're just seeing lows right now...during your race is possible that you might be overtraining. I've seen other athletes overtrain and not able to repeat their max heartrates until they took some time off.