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Low heart rate = efficiency or lack of fitness?
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Dale Cannonman




Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 2633

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 8:56 am    Post subject: Low heart rate = efficiency or lack of fitness? Reply with quote

I am now into the second week of my "crash" 6 week lead up to the vitruvian and having coasted, in training terms, for much of the year, I am now putting in some solid work. Last night was a 10min warm up followed up with a straight 10 mile time trial on the turbo, as close as possible to road conditions. The session took me 21min 45s and on a scale of exeetion, I would say that I opereated at about 8/10. But whereas I race (running) at a heart rate of 170-175, the highest rate I recorded on the turbo last night was 152. My max rate is about 182 and a few minutes ago having sat quietly at my desk for a few minutes (working of course) my heart beat registered 44. A few years back, I recorded a Vo2 max of 52, but this was taken using a running, rather than cycling test. When I do a recovery run, I try to stick to a heart rate of 150bpm and, for me, this equates to about 7m 30s miling, ie, very, very easy for me. So why is it that at 150bpm I am baraely jogging but on the bike, I am almost flat out? Is it, as I suspect, that I haven't developed a decent top end threshold on the bike and that I need to concentrate more on "red-line" interval work? If it helps, I was averaging about 240 watts and looking at my finishing time, I think I need to notch up the resistance one setting because in real life, I think my 10mile time trial time would be more in the region of 24/26 minutes.

When I was last tested, my lactate threshold (running) was 165-170bpm and up until recently, I could run a 10km at that rate, if not slightly higher. But at the end of last night's session, I was pushing over 300watts (don't laugh Hywel) and wasn't too far off seeing pink elephants and passing out, yet heart rate was still only 152!

So, is it time to jump into the turbo "hurt box" and do some lactate tolerance intervals to try and increase my lactate threshold on the bike. Or would I be wasting my time given that over the next 12 months, my focus is going to be on going long?

Dale Cannonman Cool Cool
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Shaggy.




Joined: 08 Dec 2005
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Location: Weybridge

PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 11:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DC,

The turbos a funny thing when it comes to heart rates. Some people claim to experience higher heart rates on the turbo then on the road, putting this down to increased cardiac drift, whereas others claim to experience lower heart rates on the turbo.

I'm in the latter camp, and find that I can easily average 155bpm on the road for 3 hours, but struggle to average that for 30 minutes on the turbo. Why this is I don't know?

I also have quite a difference between my estimated LT when running then when on the bike. Compared to my aforementioned heart rates on the turbo I can run for an hour in a race situation at just over 180bpm. I believe that on average one should expect between 10 and 15 bpm difference between cycling and running heart rates at LT.
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AndyS.




Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When this happens to me I assume my CV and muscular system have gone out of sync and I spend some time targetting the one that isn't working as well. So in your case I'd do some leg strength work to bring their power up to match that of your CV system. But then since when have I done anything that made any sense. Wink
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JMH




Joined: 27 Feb 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you had some decent base miles in your legs you would be able to push your HR closer to your theoretical max during a TT.
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cm1047




Joined: 05 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

being able to run fast and/or generate very decent wattage (e.g. 300 !) at a low HR is a definite sign of efficiency and very good aerobic fitness.

However, there is no point in having a very efficient engine if you can only access 70% of its power because your LT is so low. might be worth looking into some higher end zone 3 reps (e.g. 10-15mins per rep) and some zone 4 LT stuff.
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Etruscan_Tim




Joined: 13 May 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DCM, I agree with AndyS - leg strength-endurance is the limiting factor here. Fatboyonadeit just started a related thread ("my cycling is c**p"), myself and IShaggy linked a few threads in that which might help you. Time to make those legs burn! Twisted Evil
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SolarEnergy




Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Low heart rate = efficiency or lack of fitness? Reply with quote

Dale Cannonman wrote:
I was pushing over 300watts (don't laugh Hywel) and wasn't too far off seeing pink elephants and passing out, yet heart rate was still only 152!
There is nothing to laugh about, in pushing over 300watts for 21 minutes.

How do you measure the power values? With a power meter installed on the bike, or on the trainer ?
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Joxster




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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also if you are tired you can't get your HR up near its max.
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mdot




Joined: 21 Sep 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the clue may be in the question. You've gone into an intense period of training. When I'm fatigued from back-to-back sessions I sometimes experience a "heart-rate suppression" and cannot hit targets, normally achievable, set by my coach.
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Dale Cannonman




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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all this advice guys. It's very helpful and tells me what I suspected! Oh, and by the way Solar-Energy, I was only pushing 300 watts for the last burst over the line - I reckon my average was around 240 watts, as measured on my Tacx Basic. To try and get a bit more evidence about what is going on, later in the week, I'll do a RAMP test, something I haven't done for about 9 months now. My scores in the past have been pretty usless, usually maxing out at about 280 watts at a heart rate of 152-156. The test involves 3 minute continous intervals with increments of 20 watts, starting at 100 watts after a 10 min warm up, and continuing until I can now longer hold the output for a full three minutes. Although I struggle on the turbo to get over a heart rate of 155, looking back on my heart rate profiles, I see that I maintained a heart rate on the bike of well over 165 at several sprint events in 2004/05 and at Longleat, recorded 178 - but that was going up The Mere!

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SolarEnergy




Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dale Cannonman wrote:
Thanks for all this advice guys. It's very helpful and tells me what I suspected! Oh, and by the way Solar-Energy, I was only pushing 300 watts for the last burst over the line - I reckon my average was around 240 watts
OK then.

I am affraid that you might not like the following lines...

We have no evidence, with the protocol that you use, that you actually push as hard inside as you do outside (on the bike of course).

Let me clarify my thoughts.

Yesterday was rainy here. So I did turbo. The session felt difficult, but yet my HR response was fairly low compared to what it is outdoor. My avg HR for yesterday's session was around 156.

When doing a long threshold set outdoor (30 to 60min), I start at over 170 right from the start, finishes at around 178, for an average of 173-174. That is roughly 92-94% of my max. I am out of breath from begining to start, and near the end I get out of legs too. But that's because I have intrinsic motivation for feeling of speed. I just like to go fast, and so the effort doesn't seem as big.

Due to lack of motivation on the turbo, I wouldn't be able to do the same indoor.

So as long as you don't install a powermeter on the bike to correlate with the one on the trainer, my guess would be that you just don't work as hard on the turbo, as you do outside, even though from a perceived effort point of view, the 10miles TT felt like hell.


Last edited by SolarEnergy on Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mdot




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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm no expert Shocked but have been told that you're more likely to hit the higher heart rates using test protocols where you back off the power and then step it up again; sort of "one step backwards, two steps forwards". Can't give you a specific test protocol though, sorry Crying or Very sad
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Dale Cannonman




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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solar Energy - the truth should never hurt. But the strange thing is that I really do work my socks off on the turbo, despite reaching my "collapse point" sooner compared to a ride outdoors. As its time for home truths, I wonder if my low LT on the bike is simply down to the fact that for the past two years, apart from racing, all my bike training is down on the turbo. I seem able to log some respectable times on the bike in triathlons, despite my preference for the turbo, but I have this nagging feeling that I could nick another 5 minutes or so over a 40km bike split by getting out on to the roads more often. I will certainly need to do so with my first IM attempt looming next year!

Dale Cannonman Cool Cool
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....




Joined: 28 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Itís not very accurate to pin-point lactic threshold (LT) with your heart rate (HR). HR is a measure of cardiovascular strain. This cardio-strain can be affected in various ways - like many of the athletes with pacing issues at ironman Austria would have found - for example : environmental conditions, hydrations levels, glycogen levels, and in our case, the activity (given that the bike is not weight in comparison to the run). Cardiovascular fitness (V02) is basically a measure of how much oxygen is consumed as a whole; metabolic fitness (LT) is essentially what fraction of that that oxygen the muscles can use. Cardiovascular fitness can plateau long before metabolic fitness, indeed, metabolic fitness can be improved for many years. One of the adaptations that occurs with endurance training is a reduction in cardiovascular drift.

While itís not possible to accurately identify what you're experiencing without having viewed your past training, Iím guessing you will have not improved your LT to the maximal ability that time allows. So, as the others have said (Tim said strength endurance for LT I think?) itís worth sticking to time-efficient protocols that will help you develop this quality. Such sessions could be made up by hitting an intensity for 40í - 50í @ 60í TT pace and/or 70í - 80í @ 90í TT pace. Such sessions, approached correctly, will help you develop your metabolic fitness.

Does this help you understand what some of the issues surrounding what you have experienced are ?

(Edit : while 10TT's will help improve metabloic conditioning, they are not, in my opinion, the best use of your time for improving this quality.)

Stuart


Last edited by .... on Tue Aug 01, 2006 4:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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SolarEnergy




Joined: 18 Sep 2005
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2006 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dale Cannonman wrote:
Solar Energy - the truth should never hurt. But the strange thing is that I really do work my socks off on the turbo, despite reaching my "collapse point" sooner compared to a ride outdoors. As its time for home truths, I wonder if my low LT on the bike is simply down to the fact that for the past two years, apart from racing, all my bike training is down on the turbo.
Any reason for this?
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