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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been following the Carmichael Training System (CTS) for the last two years (extent of my cycling experience). As many of you may know, the CTS uses HR "zones" based on the average HR determined from a 3-mile "field test". Most of my winter riding is done indoors on a Computrainer. The problem I have is that when I do the field test indoors, my maxHR and my averHR are about 10 beats lower than when I conduct the field test outdoors on the road even though the perceived effort is the same (I want to puke in both cases). I max out at 176 indoors, and 186 outdoors (I'm 45 yo). What could be the reason for this? To check if there was a problem with my HR monitor, I wore my outdoor HR monitor while riding my computrainer, which has an integrated HR monitor, and the numbers matched up. My question is, should I be using two sets of averHR numbers as the basis for my training, one for outdoors and one for indoors, or should I just be using the higher of the two for all my training? I don't want to overtrain (by using too high a number indoors), but I don't want to undertrain either. Thanks for your input.
 

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Curious

Often, riding inside will result in higher HRs because the temperature is higher. I suspect that your lower HR at the same perceived effort may be heat related as well - since your body can't get rid of the heat, your perceived effort is higher. Have you got a couple of box fans set up to provide some cooling for your trainer workouts?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Kerry Irons said:
Often, riding inside will result in higher HRs because the temperature is higher. I suspect that your lower HR at the same perceived effort may be heat related as well - since your body can't get rid of the heat, your perceived effort is higher. Have you got a couple of box fans set up to provide some cooling for your trainer workouts?
Yes, I've got a large box fan going and I usually open the basement door (daylight basement) a crack to let in the frigid air. It may have something to do with it, but a 10 beat difference? Regardless, I'm still left with deciding which set of numbers to use. Am I getting the same effect from the workout if I use the lower averHR while indoors, and the higher averHR outdoors, or should I just use the outdoor numbers for everything?
 

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Hmmm...this is a good question for your coach if you have one. But if you don't have one, my CTS coach has told me the following when I raised the same question. Keep in mind this may not apply to you or anybody else, even though it works out for me. ;)

I have pretty much had the same experience with my field tests, right down to the same max heart rates as you. Even so, I can dork around with my pre-ride routine (like drink some coffee or take a couple of double caffeine gels) and get higher heart rates from an indoor test. Generally though, my road field tests produce the higher max and average interval heart rates than the same (man I am so going to puke after this) effort indoors.

I ride with power too and have noticed that even with all other factors being kept scrupulously equal, the dynamics of an on-the-road ride where I field test will typically mean that I am utilizing more of my body and muscle groups than I would in a static ride on any indoor trainer. If nothing else, chalk the difference up to the effects of dealing with wind resistance and terrain variance. So an all out effort indoors typically for me does not ever quite equate to an all out effort on the road at the same power output. I have noted too that I get the same degree of heart rate variance from my every day outdoor training rides to what I can get indoors at the same power output. It is just easier to spot when comparing the max effort field tests results.

If you are really wanting to make sure that you dial in your training rides properly, just account for it. Use indoor field test-derived heart rate targets for your Computrainer sessions and use heart rate targets derived from a road field test for your outdoor training. There is nothing wrong with having different ranges for each to better dial in your intensities, but trying to consistently match your outdoor field test heart rates indoors may have you over-reaching. That probably wouldn't be too bad, but if you keep it up you can end up over-training. That is the situation that I ran into that led to my coach's suggestion to use this dual target approach. I was doing a lot of indoor training with a young kiddo in the house and my wife on the road. I had some great efforts, but over the winter began to struggle with over training. Once I dialed the efforts back to reasonable indoor targets, I began to show normal recovery and improvements.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
rule said:
Hmmm...this is a good question for your coach if you have one. But if you don't have one, my CTS coach has told me the following when I raised the same question. Keep in mind this may not apply to you or anybody else, even though it works out for me. ;)

I have pretty much had the same experience with my field tests, right down to the same max heart rates as you. Even so, I can dork around with my pre-ride routine (like drink some coffee or take a couple of double caffeine gels) and get higher heart rates from an indoor test. Generally though, my road field tests produce the higher max and average interval heart rates than the same (man I am so going to puke after this) effort indoors.

I ride with power too and have noticed that even with all other factors being kept scrupulously equal, the dynamics of an on-the-road ride where I field test will typically mean that I am utilizing more of my body and muscle groups than I would in a static ride on any indoor trainer. If nothing else, chalk the difference up to the effects of dealing with wind resistance and terrain variance. So an all out effort indoors typically for me does not ever quite equate to an all out effort on the road at the same power output. I have noted too that I get the same degree of heart rate variance from my every day outdoor training rides to what I can get indoors at the same power output. It is just easier to spot when comparing the max effort field tests results.

If you are really wanting to make sure that you dial in your training rides properly, just account for it. Use indoor field test-derived heart rate targets for your Computrainer sessions and use heart rate targets derived from a road field test for your outdoor training. There is nothing wrong with having different ranges for each to better dial in your intensities, but trying to consistently match your outdoor field test heart rates indoors may have you over-reaching. That probably wouldn't be too bad, but if you keep it up you can end up over-training. That is the situation that I ran into that led to my coach's suggestion to use this dual target approach. I was doing a lot of indoor training with a young kiddo in the house and my wife on the road. I had some great efforts, but over the winter began to struggle with over training. Once I dialed the efforts back to reasonable indoor targets, I began to show normal recovery and improvements.
Thanks. That makes a lot of sense. I overtrained last year and peaked 6 weeks before the event I was training for. Maybe it's time to throttle things back and use the dual approach as you suggested.
 
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