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  1. #1
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    Endurance Race HR zones

    I had a race this last weekend that I really haven't had time to train for like I needed to, but I gave it my best anyway. Looking back I think I was probably pushing too hard early on, but I'm curious to get other thoughts on this. I spent just under 5 hours in HR Z2, just over 5 hours in HR Z3, and just under an hour in HR Z4. All of the Z4 work was climbing, with my gearing I couldn't keep my HR any lower than that. My pace really dropped off dramatically the last couple of hours, and I was cramping pretty badly as well. My thoughts were that I just spend too much time in Z3. Others?

  2. #2
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    Not totally clear.

    Did you do an 11 hour race or spend 11 hours training for a race?

    What is an endurance race?

    I have only raced for more than 10 hours once - at that was about 13 hours. After 8 or 9 hours, i was in survival mode. You just do what you can do. Once central fatigue sets in, you just try to crawl along until the end.

    Everyone feels good for the first hour; don't burn your matches before you have to; go slow when you can so you can go fast when you have to; etc.

  3. #3
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    HR in a long race is going to show significant HR drift so it's not a good indication of what power zone you are in which is more important. Temperature is a big driver of HR too. Depending on the training you were doing, your time in those HR zones don't seem wrong to me really.

    Cramping and tired at the end is perhaps fueling and hydration but also muscle fatigue. Dill pickle juice or mustard helps with cramps. Just stick some of those mustard packs from a fast food restaurant in your jersey pocket, and use like a gel when you get them. For fueling / hydration you should probably due some sweat tests on 6 hour rides before as part of your training and also try to train your stomach to process more fuel at your planned pace. A coach once told me an ultra distance bike race is really an eating contest done on a bike.
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  4. #4
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    On a long ride, I feel cramping is more due to fitness, since you said you were not where you wanted to be.
    I feel that to do a long ride, you need to do.... long rides.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the replies guys.
    Crit: It was a race, strava showed ~11hr moving time, I was actually on the bike over 13 hr but I guess I was going so slow for 2 hr that it didn't show up. My garmim showed 13hr and 12 min. Endurance race is what I call it, maybe that isn't the correct term?

    Srode: Thanks for the input. I've tried pickle juice in previous years but my stomach didn't care for it. I'll have to try the mustard packs. "An eating contest on a bike".

    duriel: I did several longer rides when training, 3-4 hr in length. But I don't think I had nearly enough of them, too many family commitments, etc.

  6. #6
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    For what its worth, RBR (Road Bike Rider) had an article this week on this very subject...

    https://www.roadbikerider.com/learni...-your-matches/

    Not quite sure how I feel about those recommendations... if I were to ride hills at that RPE I'd be going maybe 4-5 mph; as it is I'm only good for ~6mph on a 6% grade!
    Last edited by sdjeff; 08-10-2018 at 12:59 PM. Reason: added last paragraph

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by davesupra View Post
    duriel: I did several longer rides when training, 3-4 hr in length. But I don't think I had nearly enough of them, too many family commitments, etc.
    doing lots of long rides as part of a training plan isn't a requirement for your build really, it's an approach but not the only approach. Lots of work with steady state intervals can work well too, with a few longer rides to dial in fueling plans and identify bike fit problems etc. The later approach fits most non pro rider's lifestyle much better.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by davesupra View Post
    Thanks for the replies guys.
    Crit: It was a race, strava showed ~11hr moving time, I was actually on the bike over 13 hr but I guess I was going so slow for 2 hr that it didn't show up. My garmim showed 13hr and 12 min. Endurance race is what I call it, maybe that isn't the correct term?

    Srode: Thanks for the input. I've tried pickle juice in previous years but my stomach didn't care for it. I'll have to try the mustard packs. "An eating contest on a bike".

    duriel: I did several longer rides when training, 3-4 hr in length. But I don't think I had nearly enough of them, too many family commitments, etc.

    Cripes, Dave, I know this isn't relevant and/or want you want to hear, but I think staying on the bike for 11, no, I mean, 13 hours is damn incredible and your HR was just going through survival-mode a few times. If I was your heart, I'd be farking up palpitations all the time after 5-6 hrs

  9. #9
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    Ha ha... thanks hammer. This old heart just kept plugging away all day. My mind was the hardest thing to keep going, it wanted to quit sometimes in the worst way.



    Quote Originally Posted by BelgianHammer View Post
    Cripes, Dave, I know this isn't relevant and/or want you want to hear, but I think staying on the bike for 11, no, I mean, 13 hours is damn incredible and your HR was just going through survival-mode a few times. If I was your heart, I'd be farking up palpitations all the time after 5-6 hrs

  10. #10
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    Good work on an 11 hour race. Serious suffering.
    Srode is correct - HR is misleading as time goes on. Fatigue, dehydration, etc. all impact hr.

    Looking back at numbers from my 13 hr race:
    HR z2 for 3 hrs; z3 for 6 hrs; and z4 for 3 hours.
    But my power zones were much different.
    Power zone 1 for 7 hours; z2 for 3 hours; z3 for 1.5 hours

    In simple terms my actual power dropped throughout the event, but my heart rate did not.

    Fwiw, after 20 years of wearing a hrm, i quit wearing a hrm b/c hr doesn't matter. It is nice to ride without that stupid strap around your chest. I do ride with a power meter.
    Last edited by crit_boy; 08-13-2018 at 11:12 AM.

  11. #11
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    Thanks crit, very interesting. How do your HR zones and Power zones relate to each other when you are fresh?

    I'd like to put a power meter on, but they aren't cheap.

    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    Good work on an 11 hour race. Serious suffering.
    Srode is correct - HR is misleading as time goes on. Fatigue, dehydration, etc. all impact hr.

    Looking back at numbers from my 13 hr race:
    HR z2 for 3 hrs; z3 for 6 hrs; and z4 for 3 hours.
    But my power zones were much different.
    Power zone 1 for 7 hours; z2 for 3 hours; z3 for 1.5 hours

    In simple terms my actual power dropped throughout the event, but my heart rate did not.

    Fwiw, after 20 years of wearing a hrm, i quit wearing a hrm b/c hr doesn't matter. It is nice to ride without that stupid strap around your chest. I do ride with a power meter.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by davesupra View Post
    Thanks crit, very interesting. How do your HR zones and Power zones relate to each other when you are fresh?
    I haven't ridden with my hrm much this year. HR has its limits - what you were doing 30 seconds ago, not indicative of anaerobic efforts, etc.

    In the past, my decoupling was negative or less than a few percent for shorter rides (2 hours and less). Decoupling goes up after several hours - dependent on atl, ctl, intensity, temp, hydration, etc.

    In general, I would not expect decoupling over 5-7%. I imagine decoupling is personal and dependent on a huge number of factors.

    HR did tell me when I was too tired. Either hr that was too low for my level of work or would not come down during recoveries. So, skipping out on using a hrm costs me that info. But, you don't really need a hrm to tell you when you are too fatigued/not recovered enough. With power, you get that same info in the form of ctl and tsb - and getting to know your body and how it responds to training loads.

    Using hrm while sleeping is kind of neat as you see the effects of fatigue and coming illness. But, i never noticed the coming illness until looking at my hr trends after I was already sick. so, i personally never avoided getting sick from hr trend info.

  13. #13
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    For comparison, a typical 6 hour endurance paced ride with a little threshold on hills has about 6% decoupling, and a long ride like an ultra endurance ride over 12 hours has been more like 8% for me (3 data points). The last one this year had Z1, 2, and 3 HR zone time 2%, 84%, 14% vs Power zones time 46%, 34% and 12% respectively.

    You're HR stats show you were pushing harder than I have on a ride that long relative to your fitness and/or conditions which certainly could increase your decoupling.
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