General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Biking and heart rate Rss Feed  
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2014-02-22 11:24 PM

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Master
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Subject: Biking and heart rate
Just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience:

I've started doing my long rides by heart rate using the % on Jorge's Winter Cycling program by HR. I've found it very useful in keeping up a consistent, honest effort on those rides, and not simply getting lulled into putting in the miles (since I train solo). I don't have a power meter on my bike, and it's very difficult for me to gauge effort by speed due to conditions where I train, which is a 6 km loop around a port/industrial park that juts into a tidal river (winds change as the tides go in/out). HR makes a lot more sense. But this doesn't......

I find it really difficult to bike at a low HR (below about 80% of threshold) on my actual bike (as opposed to the trainer or stationary at the gym). By this I mean my legs actually feel more tired and RPE is higher than pretty much anything until I top 85%. It's not just a matter of getting warmed up as today was a 3-hour ride and I was in that lower zone until 75 minutes. I'm not the fastest person to warm up, but presumably I should be warmed up by 30 minutes? It felt much more comfortable to ride in the 80-85% zone than in the 65-77% range. The discomfort I felt below 75% was almost comparable to when riding above 90%. This shouldn't have anything to do with wind as I was adjusting pace/gearing/cadence to keep my HR steadily "in the zone" throughout.

The workout was 15 minutes warmup (HR monitor off), 30 min. @ 70%, 30 min. @ 77%, 30 min. @ 80%, 30 min. @ 85%, 30 min @90%, 15 minute cooldown. As expected, average pace steadily increased as I moved up through those zones, though it varied a lot depending on direction due to the winds. Overall pace 17-18 mph.

I've noticed a similar trend for the past three rides since starting to do them by HR. Is this typical, maybe just something about how my body works (I'm not a fast cyclist but I do have a tendency to slow down very little between, say, a 40 to 60 km max effort, or a steady 3 hour or 5 hour ride), or indicative of some kind of problem with my bike fit/gearing/cadence?


2014-02-23 6:45 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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penticton
Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
The issue is HR isnt a great metric to us for training overall. it s a tool that can be handy in some situation but here s a few issue.

when i m training at a higher volume and have more fatigue from day to day, the HR get suppressed. it's mean that for your normal z2, the hr might be 10-15lower on that day as the body is tired. you are still pushing the proper watts and riding a honest z2 but your hr will show z1.

on the other hand, during a long ride, as fatigue build up and dehydration happen, you riding at z4 HR might only get you to z3 in watts as the hr is going higher than normal.


So in the same ride, it can end up been all over the place and using HR might have you ride in different zone than you expect.

my advice, if you cant get a powermrter....learn RPE. it s a much better metric when use with experience. HR can be there as a second set of data but you need to understand that it s not a accurate one.....lots of factor come to play to influence hr.

As for comparing outside and inside hr.... in many cases, they are very different for the same effort.
2014-02-23 7:13 AM
in reply to: 0

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Master
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Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
Yes, aware that HR is an imperfect metric. But it does seem that it shouldn't feel easier to go faster on a bike than slower. During that ride, my average speed, as well as my HR, is increasing in those 30-minute increments. Maybe it's just something about the wind changing direction or dying down as the morning goes on, or I just warm up really, really slowly. Riding by RPE is very difficult for me on that course. I tend to naturally try to keep a constant speed and end up wearing myself out fighting the headwinds, then coasting too much when I have a tailwind. A power meter would really be useful in this situation. (Visualize, basically, Kona. The winds are rarely absent, and constantly shift direction; you can ride against a headwind, turn 180 degrees, and still have a headwind; unlike Kona, they rarely pose a danger, just an annoyance.). Unfortunately it's the only safe place for me to train, especially when I don't have anyone to train with.

The weirdest thing is that I've done a few rides with HR (same monitor) on my other road bike (in the US) and I haven't noticed this pattern. RPE, speed, and HR progress pretty much in tandem, with the expected slow upward drift of HR at the same speed/RPE as the workout wears on. So it's maybe specific to this bike or to the course where I ride. Crosswinds are common on the long sides of the loop (it's about 2 km long and 0.5/1.5 km wide at the two ends)--maybe it actually IS easier to go forward (at least from RPE) once one attains a certain level of momentum?

Edited by Hot Runner 2014-02-23 7:34 AM
2014-02-23 7:35 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
I've noticed that if I switch to a lower gear and really have to spin my legs, my heart rate jumps up faster.
2014-02-23 7:46 AM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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penticton
Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
Once again, speed is the worst reference.

I think your over analysing it the first 30+ minutes of the ride are all over the place effort wise as you warm up. as you start working harder...it does something feel more tolerable. That is simply getting into the groove and getting it done.

But once again, if you focus on the pressure you put on the pedals....it make hr, speed, irrelevant.

From what you describe, you have a challenging training environement with this loop. Going with tell wind will required you often to spin much faster...that gets the hr up without doing a lot to the watts. On the other hand...in a head wind...it s relatively easier to hold a higher hr and more consistant effort.

when i was in the phillipine, i remember finding a 4km loop around a airport and doing loops over and over...up to 5h. that was the only safe place to ride so i understand your challenges... Best of luck
2014-02-23 9:05 AM
in reply to: 0

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Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
Originally posted by Hot Runner

Just curious if anyone else has had a similar experience:

I've started doing my long rides by heart rate using the % on Jorge's Winter Cycling program by HR. I've found it very useful in keeping up a consistent, honest effort on those rides, and not simply getting lulled into putting in the miles (since I train solo). I don't have a power meter on my bike, and it's very difficult for me to gauge effort by speed due to conditions where I train, which is a 6 km loop around a port/industrial park that juts into a tidal river (winds change as the tides go in/out). HR makes a lot more sense. But this doesn't......

I find it really difficult to bike at a low HR (below about 80% of threshold) on my actual bike (as opposed to the trainer or stationary at the gym). By this I mean my legs actually feel more tired and RPE is higher than pretty much anything until I top 85%. It's not just a matter of getting warmed up as today was a 3-hour ride and I was in that lower zone until 75 minutes. I'm not the fastest person to warm up, but presumably I should be warmed up by 30 minutes? It felt much more comfortable to ride in the 80-85% zone than in the 65-77% range. The discomfort I felt below 75% was almost comparable to when riding above 90%. This shouldn't have anything to do with wind as I was adjusting pace/gearing/cadence to keep my HR steadily "in the zone" throughout.

The workout was 15 minutes warmup (HR monitor off), 30 min. @ 70%, 30 min. @ 77%, 30 min. @ 80%, 30 min. @ 85%, 30 min @90%, 15 minute cooldown. As expected, average pace steadily increased as I moved up through those zones, though it varied a lot depending on direction due to the winds. Overall pace 17-18 mph.

I've noticed a similar trend for the past three rides since starting to do them by HR. Is this typical, maybe just something about how my body works (I'm not a fast cyclist but I do have a tendency to slow down very little between, say, a 40 to 60 km max effort, or a steady 3 hour or 5 hour ride), or indicative of some kind of problem with my bike fit/gearing/cadence?


Contrary to logic, I have experienced a similar phenomena, where I can bike further and longer at a higher heart rate. I try and go out in low to mid zone 2, then feel tired after 15-20 miles or 1 hour and need to make a decision to go home or gut it out. I push to higher zone 2 lower zone 3, and manage to complete a 5 or 6 hour ride. As the heart rate moves into zone 3, I definitely feel less tired. And that's at the end of the weekly cycle, when I'm fairly tired.

I've noticed the same thing when running. If I let my heart rate dip too far, I get tired faster. Maybe its something to do with getting oxygen to the muscles?

BTW, that's why I wear the Mio Global watch. Probably the best piece of equipment since sliced bread.

Edited by FranzZemen 2014-02-23 9:06 AM


2014-02-23 9:55 PM
in reply to: Hot Runner

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Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
Hmm, that's an interesting problem.

The best that I can guess - and I'm clutching at straws - is that when riding a bit harder the mental focus makes it feel less tiring. I think I've sometimes encountered this on the trainer, where riding easy can seem less interesting, as I'm simply passing the time, and hence I surprise myself at how hard the riding feels.

I disagree that pacing by HR is a bad idea; it just needs to be done with care, as you already pointed out. In particular, you probably need to learn how your individual HR is affected by variation in heat, humidity, dehydration, especially in the environment where you ride. Even in the super-controlled environment of my back porch trainer rides, I've noticed how HR can be strongly affected by cooling etc. Although I have a reasonably good sense of RPE from decades of running, I also find it really useful to have HR information as a backup, and my best long races have come in situations where I paced myself by watching the HR like a hawk.
2014-02-23 11:01 PM
in reply to: #4954001

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Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
No one has mentioned cadence. While generally a higher cadence causes a higher HR it is less taxing on the legs than a lower cadence and lower HR putting out the same watts. It does tax the aerobic system more but that is easier to recover if you have a decent aerobic base. The abilitity to change cadence throws a wrench into pure HR training on the bike. The OP could be warming up at a low cadence but putting out more watts and when he/she increases speed is spinning at a higher cadence with the same watts. There are many factors to considered but HR may go up with the cadence but yet the effort may seem easier because the the rider has a better aerobic system than pure leg strength. The better aerobic capticity and thus the higher cadence can mask the strength defeciency that is more appariant at the lower cadence. Just something else to consider.
2014-02-24 3:21 AM
in reply to: bet

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Saigon, Vietnam
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Subject: RE: Biking and heart rate
Yep, if anyone has a "strength deficiency" and a great aerobic engine, it would be me! That being said, not sure how much cadence actually varies. I'm generally in a slightly easier gear with a fairly high cadence--90-ish-- early on; in a harder one with slightly lower cadence in the middle (80ish), and generally the same "harder" gear (the one I usually use in flat races) with similar cadence to the beginning, at the end. Overall, I'm a fairly high-cadence rider; that's true for a lot of the lighter women cyclists I know, esp. those with mainly a run background. Wondering if maybe I'm "outgrowing" my bike (Trek 1.2 with a triple cassette)--I only have one gear combo left below the hardest one I push in training and races, and I'm not a power animal. Maybe I need a different/better range of gearing. Really feel like the 1.2 would be better suited for my hillier training and races in the US, and the 1.5 (my American bike) for the riding I do here. But that would cost $600 to do a switcheroo.
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