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  1. #1
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    Is my heart going to explode?! Z4 majority of the time.

    Well the title may be a little dramatic, I do wonder if my training is a little out of whack?

    I've been riding on the road for 1 year. I'm 35 years old. 5'11" and 172lbs. Max HR of 195 (but I've seen 202 once on a difficult climb). I get out on average twice a week (about 130km avg/week). I love it, my road bike has become my best friend. I road mtb my entire life, bought the road bike to get faster on the mtb and now... well I never mtb now. Road cycling is my new 2 wheeled love.

    Heres the question. I'm using a Mio wrist HRM and I've found that 90% of my rides I'm riding in Z4 for well over 50% of the time. If not Z4 then the upper side of Z3. It's fairly flat where u live. Over a 80km ride I MIGHT see 400m of elevation gain? We aren't going super hard, averaging 26-27km/h. My hear rate is routinely in the 190's.

    Is is this bad? Is the HRM wrong? I don't honestly think it would be possible for me to ride in Z1 - ever. My resting HR is 58 BPM.

    Do I just have some freakishly high HR?? Is that a thing?

    Here an example of a recent ride on Strava. Check out the HR graph!

    https://www.strava.com/activities/393615649
    Last edited by quikcolin; 10-02-2015 at 07:35 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Something is off here...but I think it is how you are riding.

    So you did a 74.4km ride in 2:43:07. That's 27.45 KM/H (or, for english guys like me, 17mph). A nice pace, but nothing insane...

    It seems you HR is an average of 170 on that ride with a max of 202. The average is more important than the peaks, truth be told.

    You hit 202 on a climb around the 23 min mark, then the data gets all wonky until the 29 min lark where your HR is in the 130's. I'm guessing you took a breather at the top of the climb. While I've never been over the 190's on a climb, I could see 202 on a hard effort, especially if you're slightly smaller than me.

    I'm 38, 6' tall, 175 lbs...my rides average in the 150's give or take. I did a ride a few weeks back with some dirty little grinders, my average HR on that route was 153 bpm. I spent the past few years building muscle strength so I can run a lower cadence with more power -vs- spinning at higher RPM and driving the HR (which it does for me).

    I see your average CAD on that ride was 89 with a max of 106...I'm often more like 83-86 with max in the 115-120 myself. I do this because the high RPM drives my HR too much...so I slow it down and use more muscle.

    This works for me, not for everyone...but by what I'm seeing, your HR meter is working fine. If you find you're spending too much time in Z4, try using more umph and less spin. I was having the same issue as you, so I dropped the high CAD and it got me down to the Z3 range.

    Here's a 100K I did recently for example:

    https://www.strava.com/activities/375065734/heartrate

  3. #3
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    I think of heart rate of being like a gas pedal. How far your gas pedal goes has nothing to do with how big your engine is. If a prius had a heart rate of 190 - a z28 would still kicks its a$$. HR is personal and doesn't mean much by itself. You can use it as a indication of how hard you were going 20-30 seconds ago. If you ever add power measuring, you will be blow away at how detached your hr is from present reality - but that is another story.

    With that - on group rides, you do what you have to do to not get dropped. If you can do rides and have high average hr that's fine. In my 20s, I did races and ended with average hr of 185-190 (at that time my max was just over 200). Now, I might touch on 185. Don't let your hr mess with your head.

    If you want to follow a training plan, then hr can be a metric used to follow intensity for a given workout.

    I got my first road bike to get more fit for racing mtbs. I ended up liking road biking more. For years, I have been way more roadie then mountain biker (I'd rather hang out for plbs with mtbers b/c roadies have a much higher chance of being a-holes). With that, keep your mountain bike and keep riding it. The bike handling skills you get on your mountain bike will pay dividends on your road bike. Plus, riding the mountain bike helps to keep you from getting burned out on the road bike. And as you get stronger on the road, you will lay a hurting down on your mtb buddies.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by crit_boy View Post
    I think of heart rate of being like a gas pedal. How far your gas pedal goes has nothing to do with how big your engine is. If a prius had a heart rate of 190 - a z28 would still kicks its a$$. HR is personal and doesn't mean much by itself. You can use it as a indication of how hard you were going 20-30 seconds ago. If you ever add power measuring, you will be blow away at how detached your hr is from present reality - but that is another story.

    With that - on group rides, you do what you have to do to not get dropped. If you can do rides and have high average hr that's fine. In my 20s, I did races and ended with average hr of 185-190 (at that time my max was just over 200). Now, I might touch on 185. Don't let your hr mess with your head.

    If you want to follow a training plan, then hr can be a metric used to follow intensity for a given workout.

    I got my first road bike to get more fit for racing mtbs. I ended up liking road biking more. For years, I have been way more roadie then mountain biker (I'd rather hang out for plbs with mtbers b/c roadies have a much higher chance of being a-holes). With that, keep your mountain bike and keep riding it. The bike handling skills you get on your mountain bike will pay dividends on your road bike. Plus, riding the mountain bike helps to keep you from getting burned out on the road bike. And as you get stronger on the road, you will lay a hurting down on your mtb buddies.
    Yeah and no...

    A high HR will take its toll...all the pumping will just flat wear you down. If someone's goal is endurance riding, they'll have to get to the point where they're not blasting away at 175bpm for hours at a time.

    As your overall fitness goes up, your HR will drop, no matter how old/big/what sex you are. You'll be able to do the same effort with a lower HR.

    Now...how many here do the "same effort"? LOL. The saying of "it doesn't get easier, you just go faster" really does apply to most of us.

  5. #5
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    I'd just ride and not worry that much about it. More riding will improve your fitness which will drop your hr. It's not an overnight thing. It takes a long time. If you're getting out there consistently it'll come down. May take more than two rides a week, though.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikcolin View Post
    Well the title may be a little dramatic, I do wonder if my training is a little out of whack?

    I've been riding on the road for 1 year. I'm 35 years old. 5'11" and 172lbs. Max HR of 195 (but I've seen 202 once on a difficult climb). I get out on average twice a week (about 130km avg/week). I love it, my road bike has become my best friend. I road mtb my entire life, bought the road bike to get faster on the mtb and now... well I never mtb now. Road cycling is my new 2 wheeled love.

    Heres the question. I'm using a Mio wrist HRM and I've found that 90% of my rides I'm riding in Z4 for well over 50% of the time. If not Z4 then the upper side of Z3. It's fairly flat where u live. Over a 80km ride I MIGHT see 400m of elevation gain? We aren't going super hard, averaging 26-27km/h. My hear rate is routinely in the 190's.

    Is is this bad? Is the HRM wrong? I don't honestly think it would be possible for me to ride in Z1 - ever. My resting HR is 58 BPM.

    Do I just have some freakishly high HR?? Is that a thing?

    Here an example of a recent ride on Strava. Check out the HR graph!

    https://www.strava.com/activities/393615649
    How did you determine your max HR? You hit your max HR about 3 seconds before you vomit - usually in a race or chasing someone stronger up a hill. It's actually pretty hard to determine your max HR solo -you have to be very fresh and very motivated. If you haven't gone that hard, then you don't know your max and you described HR zones are meaningless.

    And I just looked at your strava ride and you're from London where there are no hills making the task of determining max HR even harder;)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by quikcolin View Post
    I'm using a Mio wrist HRM[/URL]
    How accurate is the Mio unit? If it's one of those chest-strapless models it could be the unit itself. Ever tried a traditional chest strap unit for comparison sake? Or manually check your pulse and compare it to the Mio's reading? (e.g., count BPM's over 6 seconds then multiply x 10). I read some Amazon reviews for a couple Mio units and there are many complaints about inaccuracy. 170bpm for a flattish 3 hour ride at 17mph sounds pretty high, even if you do only ride a couple times a week.

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    I am 32 and I race regularly. I average 22-24 mph on a solo ride. My resting HR is 54 and my max is 220. When I race I am normally chatting with people at 170 bpm. I average between 168-185 in a race or fast group ride. HR is sensitive to outside factors like anxiety, heat/cold, effort, sleep, dehydration ect. If you are really worried about it ask a doctor. My bet is that you are probably ok. Someone with SVT (an electrical problem in the heart) can have a heart beat of over 300 for brief periods of time. Your heart is not going to explode.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctormike View Post
    I am 32 and I race regularly. I average 22-24 mph on a solo ride. My resting HR is 54 and my max is 220. When I race I am normally chatting with people at 170 bpm. I average between 168-185 in a race or fast group ride. HR is sensitive to outside factors like anxiety, heat/cold, effort, sleep, dehydration ect. If you are really worried about it ask a doctor. My bet is that you are probably ok. Someone with SVT (an electrical problem in the heart) can have a heart beat of over 300 for brief periods of time. Your heart is not going to explode.
    Care to share a few strava/wko files? What pro team do you ride for?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by vetboy View Post
    Care to share a few strava/wko files? What pro team do you ride for?
    Don't really want to get in the middle a debate about averages here but, 200w for me on a flat road, no wind and in the drops = about 22mph. 24 would probably be close to 300w or so. Obviously, a sustained effort with no stops signs etc...point is I'm nothing/nobody. I think mike might be saying he can do 22-24 (200-300w) on unobstructed open roads which is easily believable to me for an amateur doing a solo ride for a few hours. Again, flat no wind.

    If I include the 15-20 stop signs/lights I nav to get to open roads the average definitely falls a few mph which is why avg speed is such a touchy and annoying subject. jmo

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodys737 View Post
    Don't really want to get in the middle a debate about averages here but, 200w for me on a flat road, no wind and in the drops = about 22mph. 24 would probably be close to 300w or so. Obviously, a sustained effort with no stops signs etc...point is I'm nothing/nobody. I think mike might be saying he can do 22-24 (200-300w) on unobstructed open roads which is easily believable to me for an amateur doing a solo ride for a few hours. Again, flat no wind.

    If I include the 15-20 stop signs/lights I nav to get to open roads the average definitely falls a few mph which is why avg speed is such a touchy and annoying subject. jmo
    I suppose if the good doctor shares some files we'll settle the debate.

  12. #12
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    https://www.strava.com/activities/293940330
    Haven't raced or really ridden much since getting hit by a car this year but this was the third race of the day.

    I don't race for a pro team and honestly I would need to be a lot faster to make a pro team around here.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/280019375

  13. #13
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    I don't have the files on strava of my max HR. I can look on my computer at home. Racing in 110 degree weather pushes your HR. The OP asked about his HR being too high, my point was that it was not abnormally high.

    I do average prefer to ride roads with few stop signs so my average speed may be higher than what you may think @vet. Obviously when I go climbing I am averaging between 18-20 for the whole route.

    Average speed really doesn't mean a whole lot. Doing intervals will drop your speed overall. There is a hill I can regularly descend at 50+ on and have hit 61mph on that will change your average speed.

  14. #14
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    I ran the LA marathon two years ago and my HR never got below 170, the average HR was 181 for the 4 hours and 15 minutes. If you are concerned then it wouldn't hurt to check with your doctor. It's not out of the range of normal though.

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    Cycling to extremes - VeloNews.com

    Exercise is good for the heart… but is there a limit? | CyclingTips

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/0...od-thing/?_r=0


    Been having this convo elsewhere. Particularly as it pertains to heart health down the road.

    15 years ago when I got serious about TT, @ 44 years old for a 20k I would keep my HR within a few beats of 175 for my best times. Under 30 minutes, which pales in comparison to a few 2-3 hour rocket rides I managed to keep the front guys in view mostly in that same time. @ 58 I have non threatening arrhythmia, the non run away type. I also drink way more coffee that I should FWIW.

    The more solid spans of times in zone 4 [marathons and stage races?] the more likely your later years will include this luxury is what I got out of the reads.
    Last edited by robt57; 10-23-2015 at 08:09 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Robt57/Me!
    Everything you read that I post is just '1' guy's opinion, try to sort it all out best you can. ;) I will try to add value in my posts, if I miss the mark please let me know using a little decorum.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctormike View Post
    I don't have the files on strava of my max HR. I can look on my computer at home. Racing in 110 degree weather pushes your HR. The OP asked about his HR being too high, my point was that it was not abnormally high.

    I do average prefer to ride roads with few stop signs so my average speed may be higher than what you may think @vet. Obviously when I go climbing I am averaging between 18-20 for the whole route.

    Average speed really doesn't mean a whole lot. Doing intervals will drop your speed overall. There is a hill I can regularly descend at 50+ on and have hit 61mph on that will change your average speed.
    Obviously;)

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctormike View Post
    https://www.strava.com/activities/293940330
    Haven't raced or really ridden much since getting hit by a car this year but this was the third race of the day.

    I don't race for a pro team and honestly I would need to be a lot faster to make a pro team around here.

    https://www.strava.com/activities/280019375
    I was looking for the solo 22-24mph rides. Everyone races at that speed

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by robt57 View Post
    Cycling to extremes - VeloNews.com

    Exercise is good for the heart… but is there a limit? | CyclingTips

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/0...od-thing/?_r=0


    Been having this convo elsewhere. Particularly as it pertains to heart health down the road.

    15 years ago when I got serious about TT, @ 44 years old for a 20k I would keep my HR within a few beats of 175 for my best times. Under 30 minutes, which pales in comparison to a few 2-3 hour rocket rides I managed to keep the front guys in view mostly in that same time. @ 58 I have non threatening arrhythmia, the non run away type. I also drink way more coffee that I should FWIW.

    The more solid spans of times in zone 4 [marathons and stage races?] the more likely your later years will include this luxury is what I got out of the reads.
    I was actually part of a research team that studied this. There was a theory that a heart had a preset number of beats before it would stop. We tested that theory by stimulating neurons that cause the heart to fire repeatedly and found this not to be true.

    From all the research articles that I read to prepare for that research, and based on our findings I do not believe that spending extended times in Z4 CAUSE heart problems.

    Arrhythmias are very common in the general population but are often not reported because people do not push their heart hard enough to know there is a problem. If you get into an endurance sport later in life, you are at risk for a heart attack (even though you are reducing future risk) because you could dislodge a partial blockage from years of unhealthy habits.

    The articles you posted are people who likely were genetically predisposed or had mild cases previously but were recently diagnosed. If there was a causal relationship you would expect to see higher numbers of arrhythmia in endurance athletes than the general public. Increased heart health campaigns, the availability of EKG's at PCM locations and pharmacological interventions have brought light to valve and node problems in the heart.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctormike View Post
    The articles you posted are people who likely were genetically predisposed or had mild cases previously but were recently diagnosed.

    FWIW, I find your post dismissive generally, and especially the quoted portion/comment.

    As to being generally dismissive [if my perception is correct], I dunno if that is bad or good or neither of the above.

    I recognize studies without predisposed trends of the subjects is not the best baseline. ;)
    Quote Originally Posted by Robt57/Me!
    Everything you read that I post is just '1' guy's opinion, try to sort it all out best you can. ;) I will try to add value in my posts, if I miss the mark please let me know using a little decorum.

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    Quote Originally Posted by robt57 View Post
    FWIW, I find your post dismissive generally, and especially the quoted portion/comment.

    As to being generally dismissive [if my perception is correct], I dunno if that is bad or good or neither of the above.

    I recognize studies without predisposed trends of the subjects is not the best baseline. ;)
    I am not trying to be dismissive of the articles that you posted or of your experience. As a member of the scientific community, it can be frustrating when articles are posted to the general public without the appropriate context or background information. This is something I regularly encounter with people who believe that diet and vaccines cause autism. People write stories about how the number of cases have increased with mandatory vaccines and GMO food. However, our ability to diagnosis autism was previously lacking and as knowledge and screening devices continue to trickle out, we will continue to see the number of cases diagnosed increase.

    As for heart conditions, an article was just published that found that running triggered arrhythmia more often than walking. The study used individuals with arrhythmia and had them either walk or run a certain number of times per week and record when they thought that had an arrhythmia. In the study, running led to more self-reported arrhythmia but it was not statistically significant. The WSJ wrote an article trying to summarize the findings and came back with running causes arrhythmia. There have been several studies that have found that spending time in higher training zone triggers the body to release antioxidants and is ultimately a protective against future heart disease.

    If that came across as dismissive, I apologize. I know that even non-fatal arrhythmia is annoying and can be disruptive. It is something that should be monitored for endurance athletes to ensure that you are donot causing damage.

    If it is not prying too much, were you diagnosed with A-fib or A-flutter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by robt57 View Post

    The more solid spans of times in zone 4 [marathons and stage races?] the more likely your later years will include this luxury is what I got out of the reads.
    Zone 4 as in AnT/threshold zone 4?

    No one is running a marathon at anything close that. Elite dudes doing a sub 1 half marathon will be. Because...max 1 hour...

    Stage races are also unlikely to be much z4 except for long mtn passes and long time trials. Lots and lots of time above and below, though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doctormike View Post
    Average speed really doesn't mean a whole lot. Doing intervals will drop your speed overall. There is a hill I can regularly descend at 50+ on and have hit 61mph on that will change your average speed.
    My fastest solo training rides (avg. 20-21 mph) are always interval rides. Not sure why doing a hard workout would drop your average speed unless you're barely pedaling the recoveries. A bit weird.

    Also, a 50+ mph descent requires at least one climb. So that would likely average out for the most part.

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    Well for me my Max HR is 163. I am 68 years old. However according to my Doctor the chances of sudden death while riding increase with age. Even though my health is excellent and have no heart issues he told me to keep my HR less then 150 (zone 4 for me Is 140 to 154 using Strava parameters). Since death is not my goal I do as he say's. It's hard to do that on shop rides when I get dropped on a climb and I know I could hang on. It's just the way it is.

    The last ride we were talking after the ride and a young guy was asking what happened to me as I was riding so well. I told him about sudden death with older riders and his eyes got big and his jaw dropped and I decided that I would just say I got tired next time.

    Sorry for the ramble as it has nothing to do with the original post. But in general from my experience with Garmin and HR monitors I think they work very well. If it shows a number and the strap is in place I accept it as accurate.
    Last edited by BikeLayne; 10-26-2015 at 03:31 PM.

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    First time I rode up a tough hill I thought my heart would go through my throat. If you are in good health and maintained an active life-style it should not be an issue. As you train more in a given activity, your body will acclimate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by turbomatic73 View Post
    How accurate is the Mio unit? If it's one of those chest-strapless models it could be the unit itself. Ever tried a traditional chest strap unit for comparison sake? Or manually check your pulse and compare it to the Mio's reading? (e.g., count BPM's over 6 seconds then multiply x 10). I read some Amazon reviews for a couple Mio units and there are many complaints about inaccuracy. 170bpm for a flattish 3 hour ride at 17mph sounds pretty high, even if you do only ride a couple times a week.
    'pretty high' is an understatement. I remember when I was at my fittest and racing, I would have my heart rate at 170+ for an hour, max. But that was craziness, as per needs of racing. Usually could not sanely sustain much over 155 for more than an hour or two on training rides.

    maybe there is effedrine or worse involved?? kidding

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