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Heart Rate Query

CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
I have just got myself a Garmin 305 with the included Heart Rate Monitor. I have used this for the last couple of days on my commute to work and was a bit surprised by the results.

It seems that I am spending most of my commute (8-12 miles) at between 80 - 100% of my calculated max heart rate. Now my commute is in West Yorks (into Halifax) which i normally pretty hilly. Unless I go really slow up the hills my heart rate gets up quite high. Is this what is expected or am I pushing too hard and therefore not being effective in the way I am riding and therefore not getting the most benefit (fitness wise)?

I do find it hard not to ride at what I would say is about 90% effort most of the time. Will this infact hinder my fitness gains? Would I be better spending more time at 80% and then, probably on the hills, doing intervals at 90 - 100%?

Anny advice is appreciated.

Thanks

Ben

Posts

  • jhopjhop Posts: 369
    Are you sure your 'calculated max HR' is accurate?

    It sounds as if you may be capable of a higher maximum than you have currently worked out.
  • The Garmin does it for me. It claims my max heart rate should be 192. I'm 26 years old so that seems to be roughly right?
  • The Garmin will initially set your HR zones based on your age which may not be accurate. Over time it will get an accurate measure of you max HR from the information on the rides. When I first used a monitor I found that my HR was a lot higher than expected.
    Andy
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    This is a bit like getting an ultra accurate Rolex and then setting it by the sun.

    If your levels arent right to begin with - then the info you will get from the HRM wont be useful.

    Getting up to 90% of MHR is hard to do - it takes a lot of effort. At 100% of max - you'll be about to pass out/vomit/lose vision.

    So to me - your Calculated MHR will be wrong - you need to do a proper test.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    This is a bit like getting an ultra accurate Rolex and then setting it by the sun.

    If your levels arent right to begin with - then the info you will get from the HRM wont be useful.

    Getting up to 90% of MHR is hard to do - it takes a lot of effort. At 100% of max - you'll be about to pass out/vomit/lose vision.

    So to me - your Calculated MHR will be wrong - you need to do a proper test.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    This is a bit like getting an ultra accurate Rolex and then setting it by the sun.

    If your levels arent right to begin with - then the info you will get from the HRM wont be useful.

    Getting up to 90% of MHR is hard to do - it takes a lot of effort. At 100% of max - you'll be about to pass out/vomit/lose vision.

    So to me - your Calculated MHR will be wrong - you need to do a proper test.
  • benji90benji90 Posts: 114
    To give you an idea I have a Garmin 705 which calculated my Maximum Heart Rate to be 185.

    Imagine my surprise when I read 210, as my maximum, when I got home from a hard, hilly ride!

    Heart rate is very individual, and varies alot from person to person.
  • Thanks a lot Chaps. How do I go about testing my Max heart rate? I tried amending it on my Garmin last night (using the 220 - age method) but it didn't seem to let me? Is that the case with Garmins?

    Thanks

    Ben
  • pbt150pbt150 Posts: 338
    AAAAAAARGH!!! 220 - age is about an accurate a measure of MaxHR as your shoe size. Your max is whatever number it happens to be. See if you can get it tested at a local Uni sports science department (always consult GP first), or find a workout on your bike that'll let you find your max.
  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    There are some suggested MHR tests on this website:
    http://www.timetrialtraining.co.uk/S6Ma ... eTests.htm

    But be aware that it may not that easy to reach your absolute max as it will depend on how willing / able you are to really go into the red.
  • HarpHarp Posts: 79
    cougie wrote:
    This is a bit like getting an ultra accurate Rolex[/u] and then setting it by the sun.

    I

    Is there such a beast ? I thought they were roughly accurate at BEST.
  • DaSyDaSy Posts: 599
    Harp wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    This is a bit like getting an ultra accurate Rolex[ and then setting it by the sun.

    I

    Is there such a beast ? I thought they were roughly accurate at BEST.

    Accuracy is over rated, mine is accurate enough to get me to and from work on time, but I wouldn't use it to time an Olympic 100m sprint final....
    Complicating matters since 1965
  • BenBlyth wrote:
    Thanks a lot Chaps. How do I go about testing my Max heart rate? I tried amending it on my Garmin last night (using the 220 - age method) but it didn't seem to let me? Is that the case with Garmins?

    Thanks

    Ben

    When I had a Garmin (which was a few years ago) you did not have to do a HR test as the monitor works your zones out for you. It calulated maximum HR by identifying your lactic threshold (apparently it can find this as your heart beats differently at this point - not sure of the technical details).

    I would expect the new Garmins to do the same as technology must have moved on a lot since they days of my old Garmin Forerunner 305.

    I agree with the other comments that 220 - age can be inaccurate.
    Andy
  • landrew wrote:
    BenBlyth wrote:
    Thanks a lot Chaps. How do I go about testing my Max heart rate? I tried amending it on my Garmin last night (using the 220 - age method) but it didn't seem to let me? Is that the case with Garmins?

    Thanks

    Ben

    When I had a Garmin (which was a few years ago) you did not have to do a HR test as the monitor works your zones out for you. It calulated maximum HR by identifying your lactic threshold (apparently it can find this as your heart beats differently at this point - not sure of the technical details).

    I would expect the new Garmins to do the same as technology must have moved on a lot since they days of my old Garmin Forerunner 305.

    I agree with the other comments that 220 - age can be inaccurate.

    Thanks landrew. Like you say, it somehow worked out my heart rate for me but I'm not sure that I spend most of my time at approx 90% max heart rate as this seems to be saying. Sure, I push it a bit but not total eyes bulging effore for most of the time.

    It has actually recorded that I did 101% of my max heart rate which clearly can't be possible! If I am riding at 85-95% most of the time (which I'm still dubious about) is this a good/bad thing for improving my fitness?

    Thanks

    Ben
  • obob Posts: 36
    Hi Ben

    I'm seeing the same sort of thing on my Garmin 705 - I go for an hour ride and maintain 180 to 185 BPM, with my MHR supposedly being 193 (I'm 26 as well). This is well into the range which I'm only supposed to maintain for a short period of time. it could be that it's being measured incorrectly, but 3 different HRMs all agree.

    In terms of how it affects your fitness, IMO the only risk is overtraining. Assuming that you don't overtrain, there will be positive effects on your fitness. It might not be the *best* way to train, indeed, you should probably try doing some longer distances a lower effort levels if that takes your fancy, but I wouldn't worry about your fitness getting worse with what you're doing!

    Olly
  • I'm glad this has been brought up, because my heart rate doesn't seem to fit in very well with the 'normal' training zones either. The highest I've ever seen is 172 hammering it up a long steep hill, and I did very nearly collapse! I figure if an axe murderer had been after me I could have gone a bit quicker, so 175 seems a reasonable estimate of my max (I think?). But...over a 2 hour hard ride I'll typically average about 155 (i.e. a % in the high 80s), which seems a lot. When I'm running it can be even more pronounced - very rarely do I see over 170, even when pushing very hard, but I'll average in the high 150s over two hours.

    Do I have an extra 10bpm I can somehow access, or am I just weird (due to my heart rate)?!
  • grantusgrantus Posts: 690
    Interesting to see someone else post a similar question I was thinking about.

    I struggle to get my HR over 165 bpm. I'm 32, 5'10" and around 12st 9lb but this HR seems quite low in comparison to a lot of posters on this and other forums as well as other guys in my club.

    At 165bpm I pretty much have to back off or else i'll be sick or keel over so I reckon I wouldn't even get it up to 170.

    I'm not getting too hung up on it - it is what it is - but I am a bit curious given the old 220-age thing would put mine at 188
  • Strange things heart rates! I only started using a HRM last year when i started cycling again, and did the 220- age thing (ime 42), then frightened myself to death when i did a max test on some hill sprints and registered 195! I even went to the local doctor to make sure everthing was ok.
    I did a hill climb last year and registered 191max. And doing intervals on a hilly route today i showed ave. 148 (normally 145-155) and max 188. On a 10 TT last weekend i paced at 175 which i know i can sustain. The rates are fairly consistant with the occassional spike which i ignore so the HRM must be working ok. Anyone got any reasons for such a high heart rate regarding age or is this normal.
  • alp777alp777 Posts: 211
    Ben

    Are you training for anything specific or are you just aimimng to get fitter?

    If it's the latter then i would take no notice of your HRM, just use commen sense, if you feel tired, rest etc.

    If you are planning on doing some sportives or racing then you need to look at training in specific zones. There is plenty of info. regarding this that has been posted on this forum before or search the net. I bought a good book a few months ago, Elite Performance Cycling - Successful Sportives which is full of very good info regarding training, nutrition etc

    Whatever your goals just make sure you enjoy!
  • I am sure someone has posted this before, but the actual formula for age predicted heart rate from that particular study is:

    Max HR = (220 - age) +/- 15 beats.

    That is to say one standard deviation from the predicted value is 15 beats. Therefore 90% of the "normal" population should expect to be within 15 beats of thier age-predicted max. The other 10% of the population will be more than 15 beats (higher or lower) than the age related max.

    So, as most have pointed out, age-related maximum is a complete waste of time calculating when you are trying to determine accurate training zones.

    Hope this helps

    Garry
    Dr Garry Palmer
    Exercise Physiologist

    http://www.sportstest.co.uk
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