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HRM - Hardly Relevant Measurement?(15 posts)

HRM - Hardly Relevant Measurement?Biking Viking
Sep 23, 2002 4:00 PM
I have a very low heart rate for my age (35). I have guesstimated my AT to be 155. At around 162, I really start hurting. I race mountain bikes mostly and hardly see above 164 in a race. I'm a consistent top-five to ten finisher in Sport and will upgrade to Expert next season - which is about right for the amount of training I'm able to do.

I've seen though, that after I've been off the bike for a week (travel or vacation) my heart rate increases 3-4 bpm for the same effort. The day after a strenenous ride, it will typically be 5 bpm under normal at easy efforts and 10-15bpm under if I push (even if I feel OK)

For the first time since I started racing four years ago, I have been off the bike for six long weeks. I broke my collar bone in a Cat 5 crit and did my first real ride since the injury this weekend. Of course I felt slower than usual, but it wasn't terrible. However, I was really surprised when I looked at my HRM. Naturally, the loss of fitness should give an increase in HR for a certain effort, but what I saw was ridiculous. I was consistently seeing 10-15 bpm over what I normally see, and on a short, steep climb, my HR jumped to 162 and I wasn't even breathing hard. Normally at 162, I am pushing 500W and my eyeballs are about to pop.

So what is the explanation and why even bother using HR as a measure for intensity. It seems kind of worthless for me.

I wouldn't call it worthlessweiwentg
Sep 23, 2002 6:11 PM
well, you have seen that IN THE PAST, heart rate is a valid indicator of impending death.
as to the change in your exertion at a specific heart rate, I have no explanation. this certainly didn't happen for me. did you get your heart rate over 162? how long do you sustain 162, or did you just peg it at 162 for a few seconds? could you normally sustain 162 for 5 minutes, 10, or more? has your resting heart rate changed? could you have been overtrained before injury (chances were you weren't THAT overtrained, of course)?
incidentally, my RHR is in the low 50s. however, I can actually sustain rates in the low 170s for somewhat extended periods. 192 is the highest I've seen. I also saw my life flash before my eyes.
finally, not to blame you for breaking your own collarbone, but should you not be in a Cat 4 race?
Some answers. I felt like I was on a sustainable...Biking Viking
Sep 23, 2002 9:28 PM
heart rate, but climb wasn't long enough that I had the chance to find out.

Under normal conditions, I can sustain 162 for two minutes.

I do not think that I was overtrained. I suffered none of the other usual symptoms.

I will measure my RHR tomorrow morning. Good point. It used to be 40-42.

I once saw 175, but that was before I really got in shape.

I thought you had to do a number of Cat 5 races before they let you do Cat 4. I certainly have the fitness and group riding experience to do it. It was a squirrel who took me out.
Some answers. I felt like I was on a sustainable...weiwentg
Sep 24, 2002 8:21 AM
well, I thought by now you'd have done the requisite number (10?) of races. I suppose you could talk to the organizer about it, maybe showing them your MTB liscence?
no clue on the heart rate stuff, though.
re: HRM - Hardly Relevant Measurement?Jon Billheimer
Sep 23, 2002 6:15 PM
BV, The difference you note is due to loss in heart stroke volume during your layoff. So the heart has to beat much faster to meet your body's O2 demands. It is said, too, that at peak condition one's functional maximum heart rate will be slightly lower than it otherwise would be, due to its great stroke volume.

Interestingly, because of the unreliability of heart rate as an indirect measure of work, elite level cycling coach Dean Golich only recognizes three zones, all of which are determined without a heart rate monitor!: easy, medium, and hard. Easy is recovery, no pressure on the pedals at all. Medium is 40K TT pace. And hard is all out, balls-to-the-walls. His training methods are crude, but effective!
That's some of the explanation, but can't be all of it.Biking Viking
Sep 23, 2002 9:34 PM
The AT isn't supposed to change with your level of fitness, is it?. The power output at AT does, though - of course. As I was not breathing hard, I don't think that I was above my AT. The perceived exertion was moderate. Under normal conditions, I am deeply anaerobic at that HR.

That's some of the explanation, but can't be all of it.Jon Billheimer
Sep 24, 2002 7:01 AM
Yes, AT will vary according to fitness level.
I've always assumed that, when rested and well-recovered,bill
Sep 25, 2002 12:08 PM
the wider swings I see in my HR (goes higher, faster when pushing, lower faster when recovering mid-ride) is because everything is LESS stressed and more efficient when I am a bit rested. When I've been riding a lot, it just all seems like a lot more work. When more rested, I have this image of my muscles just more responsive, so that they actually use up more O2, quicker. I know that I feel better and am usually faster -- so that getting to x mph seems easier, with a higher HR paradoxically correlating to less perceived exertion.
Interesting subject.
After good rest the HR tends to sky rocket...Bruno
Sep 24, 2002 2:33 PM
The heart is a muscle and when is rested it works harder. After a long good vacation I did a training race and had my HR at 176+ for about 15 minutes. That is way more of what I can do normally while I am training consistenly.
I have found that trueJames Curry
Sep 25, 2002 9:35 AM

My heart does that. It will sky rocket after a good night's sleep. BUT! The power is lower per beat increase! Some days I have hit 206 during up hill sprints without even breathing heavy. SOme days I ride tempo at 181 with no pain at all. Some days, like this past weekend, I am in excruciating pain sprinting at 24 mph and the HR won't go over 177!

You think having variance in a range of 40-164 is difficult to train, try having variance of 50-206! Sometimes I don't even know if I should ride a bike. So HR in my regards is not an accurate tool unless a cumulative look at training is taken: diet, temperature, humidity, stress, caffeine intake...IT's not a one-instrument band!
My experiencehayaku
Sep 25, 2002 3:04 AM
I seem to have a very high heartrate. The maximum I have seen is 204 bpm(26 years old). I'm not sure what my resting heartrate is, I recorded data while sleeping one night and saw a variation from 45 bpm to 85bpm. Is that strange?

While in training, a little fatigued from the overall workload I can manage 180-182 bpm for sets of 20+ minutes. When rested for races however, my LT heart rate jumps to about 190 bpm. I have maintained 195ish for over 15 minutes. (It hurt) When at deep fatigue levels and about to die from overtraining it is hard for me to average 165 bpm.

I am learning lessons about how I can best use my heart rate as a measure of effort. I think that HR, when understood, is the best way to estimate workload. Heart rate is variable but I think you can track and predict that variability quite accurately.
Don't discount HR.

I just posted above youJames Curry
Sep 25, 2002 9:39 AM
then read your stats. I am similar. 24 yrs. Old Max = 206. Resting however is still in the 50's. Low 50's.

How did you record your sleeping HR?

Are you a sprinter?

Can you climb well?

I wonder if I know the answers to the last 2 questions and if they are the same as me?
Hmmmm, am I a sprinter?hayaku
Sep 26, 2002 5:07 AM
I have no idea sorry. I did a crit on the weekend and placed 3rd(Not enough track to take 1st;p) I climb pretty well but I think I'm too hevey to be a really good climber. I have won TT's, maybe I'm a good TTer.

My sleeping heart rate was recorded using my HR monitor, set to record data every minute. My HR seemed to go up and down in waves, rising significantly in the hour before I woke.
Hmmmm, am I a sprinter?Lactate Junkie
Sep 26, 2002 11:01 AM
Your heart rate will change quite a bit overnight--REM sleep vs. Wet Dreams.

Tracking your sleeping hr may be interesting, but it really isn't very useful. Track your resting hr in the morning always at the same time. Over time, this will allow to make some judgements on your fitness and state of rest. Over time, as you use the monitor, you will learn more and more about how your body operates and deals and adapts to stress. After a while it will tell you much more than just how hard you are going.
My experienceclintb
Sep 25, 2002 10:15 AM
I'm right there with ya. 31yrs old, about to be 32 in a couple of weeks and it's nothing for me to sustain 185bpm for 20min. My max that I've found so far this year was 206 and I normally average about 165 to 175. Funny thing is, I never feel like my heart is really working all that hard. No crazy, uncontrollable beating, just deeper breating. Haven't done the RHR for a while though.

I still feel as though a HRM is a valuable tool, but it still is just ONE tool of many.