Heart Rate

Devon Lad
Devon Lad Posts: 75
edited March 2013 in Road beginners
Just got a heart rate monitor for the first time as I thought it would be a good tool to work out how hard I was actually working.

I assumed it would be a better indication than average speed as weather and numerous other factors play a part in that.

However, on it's first outing, it kept beeping at me which I have later found meant I was outside my "safe zone".

I was out for 2hrs and did just over 50k averaging 25.4km/h. The thing would not shut up. Apart from being annoying, it worried me as it calculated my zones based on my measurements. Does this mean I am tremendously unfit? Or am I missing something? No idea how HRMs work so any input would be greatly appreaciated.

Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • jibberjim
    jibberjim Posts: 2,810
    No, it means that its calculation is garbage. Turn off the feature.
    Jibbering Sports Stuff: http://jibbering.com/sports/
  • blackhands
    blackhands Posts: 950
    A hart rate monitor does not indicate how hard you are working - it shows how fast your heart is beating. Heart rate can be influenced by many things apart from your physical effort - for example ambient temperature, your general health, etc etc. So, do not take every reading as gospel, but having said that it is a good general indication and average HR over the same ride on a number of occasions will give a good indication.

    As jibber has said, ignore the zones until you have a bit more experience of using it.
  • Bobbinogs
    Bobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    As above, most 'out of the box' zone settings rely on some old fashioned nonsense calculation about what your max should be. In reality it can vary a lot between individuals. I agree with the advice about switching off the zone alarms for now. Just ride and then look at the monitor when you feel you are working hard to get some idea of what this means in terms of HR. After the ride, see what your max was and note this. Then, when you have ridden a lot and want to work on HR zones and max your riding, plug your real max figure (from your notes) into the various online calcs for zones and use that.

    For instance, I use zones when trying to ride certain zone rides in training (e.g., recovery, zone 3, etc.) and set the zone just right for me. Some folks also use them for TT's, etc.

    The thing is, for long rides your legs will tire long before your HR says that you are struggling so you do need to learn to feel your way as opposed to just looking at the stats.
  • pride4ever
    pride4ever Posts: 510
    The only measure of HR you can rely on is the talk test. If you can talk your running at anything up to 60% of HR. If you can talk but only in short gasps your running from 60% to 85%. If you cant talk at all your near or on/over your MaxHR.
    the deeper the section the deeper the pleasure.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,540
    You need to perform a ramp test whilst wearing the HR monitor to establish something very close to your maximum and then set your zones from that. Formulas don't work. As Blackhands points out there are other factors that affect heart rate but I'd disagree that it doesn't show how hard you are working, unless you are carrying a bit of illness / fatigue or there are extremes of temperature it will be a good guide. Power will give you a better measurement but is very expensive.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    pride4ever wrote:
    The only measure of HR you can rely on is the talk test. If you can talk your running at anything up to 60% of HR. If you can talk but only in short gasps your running from 60% to 85%. If you cant talk at all your near or on/over your MaxHR.

    This is how I test what effort level my wife is riding at ... just ask how she's doing and listen for the response ... no response either means she's dropped off, in a strop with me or just working too hard to answer ! I hope it's the last! ;)
  • Team4Luke
    Team4Luke Posts: 597
    Just switch off the "sound" and you can reset the high and low zones so it won't bleep when your beating in those zones. Good advice from Pross above, your BPM will not be effected by anything other than extremes of illness and temperature and is generally very stable particulary at cruising speeds. If your not near a decent level of fitness also likely your efforts will be bouncing around up and down the zones, riders who are very fit will show constant bpm with little response changes to intensity. Your heart is your Red Line just like a car, doesn't matter what effort or power you put down, once your close to that red line you can't keep the effort up. And bar reaching your best level of fitness through all possible means of training your red line will be where it was when you were born.
    Team4Luke supports Cardiac Risk in the Young
  • pride4ever
    pride4ever Posts: 510
    Slowbike wrote:
    pride4ever wrote:
    The only measure of HR you can rely on is the talk test. If you can talk your running at anything up to 60% of HR. If you can talk but only in short gasps your running from 60% to 85%. If you cant talk at all your near or on/over your MaxHR.

    This is how I test what effort level my wife is riding at ... just ask how she's doing and listen for the response ... no response either means she's dropped off, in a strop with me or just working too hard to answer ! I hope it's the last! ;)
    Lol awesome but seriously try this its fool proof.
    the deeper the section the deeper the pleasure.
  • 1964johnr
    1964johnr Posts: 179
    A sudden rise in heart rate to over 200 BPM under excercise stress is not normal. The increase should be steady and in line with the increased exertion. It could have been a blip with the machinery but if no there are numerous possibilities for the cause, most of which will not be dangerous, but in a small number of cases it could signify something that needs investigating. If you felt flutters, bumps etc this may be PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) which can come on with excercise stress and are usually benign in a healthy heart. I have had these for thirty years and they have never caused me a major problem. Your family history would suggest that you need to get some tests done. If you have a good GP they will refer you for a holter monitor and a stress test as well as an ECG. Everyone has irregularities in their heart beat, often under stress. Some people feel them and many do not. If I ride on the flat or up small inclines I have no problems. As soon as I head up a steep incline I know the PVCs will strike. I limit the climbes for this reason. I to have the family history of heart problems and take a 75mg asprin in the morning and the evening to thin the blood. I hit 50 next year. Get it checked out.
  • Devon Lad
    Devon Lad Posts: 75
    Thanks for all the replies everyone, if it makes any difference my average HR was 177 while maxing at 196 bpm.
    To me this seems high and although it was tough on some climbs, at no stage did I feel like I was over any sort of limit.
    Do height and weight play a part? I'm 191cm weighing 83kgs, granted it's heavy for a cyclist but I do not consider myself out of shape in the slightest.
  • bianchimoon
    bianchimoon Posts: 3,942
    pride4ever wrote:
    The only measure of HR you can rely on is the talk test. If you can talk your running at anything up to 60% of HR. If you can talk but only in short gasps your running from 60% to 85%. If you cant talk at all your near or on/over your MaxHR.
    +1 says it all.. or doesn't if you're near max :)
    All lies and jest..still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest....
  • philbar72
    philbar72 Posts: 2,229
    consult a gp. those numbers seem a bit high.... to me at least.
  • Devon Lad
    Devon Lad Posts: 75
    I'll gauge it next time I'm out via the talk test, and will trun off the annoying sound. However what is moderately worrying is that this is from a steady flat ride in London a few laps of richmond park averaging around 21 minutes. Then back off home.
    Hate to think what it's going to do on Dartmoor :/.
    Thanks for the help guys, it's put my mind at ease somewhat!