After reviewing my heart rate stats from my little blue machine (Garmin) I was wondering if there was any way to work on lowering your heart rate. I know I could lose 10kg, cycle slower, stay away from hills etc, however I like my food too much, love the hills and figure I may as well push myself (for fitness sake) to try and keep up with some other cyclists I ride with so they don't have to wait too long for me at the top of the next hill.
Too often I see my my heart rate above 90% of max (this morning topped at 104% with an average of 85%). I haven't had any official test to see what my 'real' maximum actually is but anything above 90% and I'm feeling pretty stuffed so I don't think its too far off in calculations.
My original motivation for starting cycling 18 months ago was to get fitter and lose some weight - both have been achieved to some/good degree. I am now just loving being on the bike - its addictive.
Any help would be appreciated.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
Lots of wise words here
My experience is not one of lowering the maximum via increased fitness, but being able to maintain close to maximum for longer and longer.
EG. Last year I tested and reckon my max is around 180-182. (absolutely smashed myself on a trainer, then repeat, then repeat, then repeat.) On our climb up to Forest Range this morning my HRM seemed to be locked on 174 and it didn't move for about 15 minutes. The difference from 12 months ago is that I seem to be able to maintain that for longer before the joints start to burn with lactic, and you 'hit the wall'. I think the Lactic Threshhold - the classic 'red zone', creeps closer to your max as you become fitter.
The change you'll see is a lower resting HR when idle, and a faster return to resting, not a lower max.
A very interesting discussion and some very wise points, especially by Belinda re adequate rest. Something many miss !. I know this was a discussion re Justin, but what are your thoughts on bicycle fitness, once you get to your 60"s ?
Hey - i did a few spin sessions with Nick Wood (Mega Bike - Unley Park). He takes you through a HR zone test, technique and a few other training programs which was excellent.
One thing he mentioned though, was that a good way of managing your HR, or keeping it as low as you can during a push - is to get down on the drops. im no sports scientist, but i think he said it had something to do with the heart not having to pump the blood as high as it would if your head was higher.... Works for me :)
I try not to focus on my heart rate unless it drops when riding. If it drops I pick up the pace a bit.
For a while we were comparing heart rates when at the top of a hill and everyone seems to be different even though we have similar ages and fitness. Max heart rates varied by 30BPM. The biggest variation was in recovery time. My heart rate drops under a hundred within a minute while some of the others are at 160 for minutes. Same fitness but really different recovery rates.
Heart rate recovery - i.e. the difference between where its at at the immediate end of a sustained effort, and where its at 1 minute later - is the key to measuring 'fitness'. Given that everyone's genetic maximum heart rate is unique, there's no point comparing maxes between people, or the actual heart rate a minute later. What's important is counting how many beats its dropped in that minute. Dropping 60bpm is better than 30bpm. So, technically, 'fitness' is not the same within a group of people if there are really different recovery rates - you may all climb at the same speed, but that's not just about heart rate - you could be an exceptionally aerobically fit individual getting the maximum efficiency out of your unique physiology, and be climbing against someone who just by pure higher strength alone is climbing at the same speed as you, but is technically less aerobically efficient (and has pretty of potential to still train their body to become much more efficient (and therefore faster).).
As tempting as it is to compare numbers with people, its often counterproductive. Compare yourself to yourself, over time, and through repeatable 'tests'. That's the way to measure improvements in fitness.
Talking to many fast riders, it doesn't matter how fit you get the cycling mentaliity is to continue to push faster/further/higher, so mentallyand physically it is still as tough, just your horizons change :)
Also being an ICU nurse I see a huge variety of people (admittedly very sick) hooked up to continuous ecg machines. Peoples resting heart rates can be from 45 to 90 beats per minute. Yes fitness has something to do with it but it is mainly your own physiology. I too have just started doing megabike spin classes and while I prefer to be outside on my bike, it has taught me a lot aboout HR zone training and they test you at the start to work out what your hear rate zones are. Not cheap at $185 for 8 weeks, but very useful.