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  1. #1
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    Why can't I get my Heart Rate up

    I have searched for this topic and can't find anything, so....I normally ride a 50km circuit with mates and we have sections where we change from our reasonable pace to sprints & hill climbs as we encounter certain sections of the course.

    This has happened to me twice now, where I have experienced that I can not seem to get my Heart rate up that high.
    For example, when we race up a kilometer long Hill, my Maximum achieved Heart rate is about 173, i can easily sit about 167 above, as I really push to keep up with them.
    However as I say 2 rides now, (not consecutively) I have not been able to get my Heart rate over 160?
    Last night, my legs and breathing indicated that I was all out, and my performance was OK,
    not at my best, but OK. I would not be concerned if my performance was at my best, as this may/would indicate I am just getting fitter perhaps, but performance I feel is down...a bit.
    My Resting HR, is pretty much where is should be, not indicating overtraining
    So I am wondering what may cause this.
    My mate reckons, not enough energy..in the muscles.
    Has any one else experienced this?

  2. #2
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    A lot of things can do that. You could be tired, or coming down with a cold, or unmotivated for some reason.

  3. #3
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    Usually when I am having problems getting HR up, and am feeling lethargic, I am either getting sick, or overtraining.

  4. #4
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    Look into electrolyte imbalance if you have increased your volume and/or intensity a bit beyond what you normally do. Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance can do amazing things to heart rate...

  5. #5
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    Being dehydrated makes my HR go up for the same power output.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Being dehydrated makes my HR go up for the same power output.
    Meaning: dehydrated=drink a lot of water=electrolyte imbalance. Electrolyte imbalance was my primary point. I got too fancy for my lack of writing skills...

  7. #7
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    Ok, Thanks for the replies. Woody, your suggestion's 1 I have been slowly less than 10% (but increasing) the work, do more Km's. I am a bit tired? and I did get cramp last night. So your suggestion of electrolyte imbalance is one I will seriously attend too.
    Overtraining? My resting HR, suggest's that I am Ok. I have been overtrained before, and believe me, I am never doing that again. But perhaps this inability to get the Heart rate up, could be a sign, that the body is getting tired. Sick? I don't think so, but I do have the "sore throat" but that's kind of a thing to live with, when pushing myself a bit to the limits. Obviously this is a fine line, but if you don't push there, you don't make good gains. Pushing enough to get adaptation, but not too much that one overtrains.
    Lack of motivation I can categorically rule out. it's my motivation that makes me push myself so hard.
    My mate had a theory that because I do not have enough energy, my muscles can't push me hard enough to get or induce the Heart to work hard enough to elevate? I pushed hard though, such that my performance was good, but then below my best efforts.
    Thanks again for the comments.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gervase View Post
    Lack of motivation I can categorically rule out. it's my motivation that makes me push myself so hard. My mate had a theory that because I do not have enough energy, my muscles can't push me hard enough to get or induce the Heart to work hard enough to elevate? I pushed hard though, such that my performance was good, but then below my best efforts.
    Thanks again for the comments.
    If you have a power meter or long hill (without much wind) you could test this theory.

  9. #9
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    Dwayne, Yes I think your right, but then, If I do not achieve the elevated Heart rate or the speed on the hill, it's presumably going to be right where I am now, ie I have pushed hard, but it won't go up. Or do you have another take on this? and how I should conduct the test. Certainly I am motivated. I have 3 mates all of a similar ability, 2 slightly better, which motivate me to beat them..
    Power meter, I would love to have. Here in NZ an SRM power meter cost's $6,000. I am waiting for the new Vector, i think it is, from Garmin-look. Which are the new pedal-power meter system, which will be compatible with my Garmin 705. Supposed to be about $800, which I could stretch too.

  10. #10
    CHT
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    The other cause you might consider is that your improved conditioning has made you more efficient. At the beginning of the season on a fixed trainer my Zone 2 (and other Zones) efforts are at a much easier gear than right now at the end of the season. I push a much harder gear (smaller tooth, since it's not as hard to push really) now to stay in Zone 2 - and my speed has correspondingly gone up in the lower zones. Also, in peak fitness it takes longer for me to warm up and get my heart rate up into the higher zones. I really need a few high intensity efforts to get going, even before doing intervals. If not, my HR on max effort intervals do not hit the same highs. For sure, my LT has gone up.
    Last edited by CHT; 09-15-2011 at 12:40 PM.
    It's better to burn out, then to fade away....

  11. #11
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    if you're interested, here's a paper on whether heart rate can be used to measure various training states (over-reaching, overtraining, etc). I believe the paper is free access. Bottom line, day to day variability makes this hard. If you want to track this more, it's good to keep a journal - note hours slept, quality of sleep, etc.

    http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/42/9/709.abstract

  12. #12
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    CHT, I considered that I may be more efficient, but then this would allow me to also Beat my mates as being more efficient at this lower level, just means when I go Hard, I would go faster. Sadly I did not. My performance, while not bad, was i felt under what I could do. The other factor in this, is that riding with my mates is a benchmark in its self, as we would not all be feeling fatigued or great, etc. so it's in comparison to riding with them also. It was a hard ride, and usually I feel like I am keeping pace with them, but on this occaision I was really working just to keep up, and well not even a contender in the final sprint home. My performance was Ok, in that I did keep up, but that i had to work so dam hard to do it, well this whole communication has made me realise more than ever, I am a bit fatigued.
    Thanks though for the suggestion, this helps me to narrow it down, and I am tending to think that I am slightly run down. Perhaps a couple of days off the bike, and some electrolytes, good food. good sleep.

  13. #13
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    Hi Steves bike, Yes I do track my Resting Heart Rate, and have done now for a year. This is following a period where I was overtrained.
    I realise that Resting HR is a great indicator as to my bodies condiition and wether I am over reaching (good) as opposed to overtraining (bad). Perhaps though, this latest thing for me, of not being able to get the HR up while going Hard is a sign too?
    I have just had a response from Joe Friel, his verdict is "many things can cause this, but the most common cause is Fatigue. are you tired?"
    Thanks for the link though Mate, I will check it out.

  14. #14
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    if you're interested in tracking your training in more detail, a power meter is very useful - for the tools an analysis package such as WKO+ provides. In particular, its performance management tools track a short-term measure of training load (acute training load) and a longer-term one, chronic training load. It calculates a 'training stress balance' that represents essentially the relation between training stress and recovery. These are great tools - more here: What is the Performance Management Chart

  15. #15
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    Thanks for that Stevesbike, I would love one, and will be watching when this "vector" becomes available in NZ.
    it's been an interesting thing this episode. One of the guys I ride with said..."why wear a Heart Rate monitor". I can see that right now, being able to see that my body did not get the Heart Rate up, is a sign, and it is something that I would most likely have missed, with out a Heart Rate monitor. So it's just moments like this that have shown me their value, let alone other information.
    looking forward to Power meters becoming affordable, like Heart rate monitors did.

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