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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
When I usually ride I go out and push as hard as I can from beginning to end trying to be as fast as I can, beat my PRs on Strava segments, etc... My heart rate monitor shows that I spend my time going from zone 4 to 5 as I encounter hills and my climbing is slow and very tiring.

After a couple of great, but hard, rides earlier in the week, Friday I decided to do some zone 4 training and just try to stay in zone 4. Speed, etc... didn't matter. The goal was to stay in zone 4.

You know what? My average speed was only about .5 mph lower, but I rode for 45 miles instead of my typical 30. Had I not run out of water I would have gone 50 or more. The whole thing felt great, and I always had something in reserve rather than being completely spent and dragging my carcass home.

I always knew to keep the cadence up, shift early on hills, etc... but knowing it and actually doing it are 2 different things. I liken this to the day on the race track years ago that I got my car crossed up in a corner and instead of lifting, I hit that gas and
brought it back. I always knew not to lift, but had never unconsciously done it.

This ride opened my eyes to a change in technique. I will do an all out Hammerfest now and then, but I think backing off just a tad will help me stretch my endurance and improve as a cyclist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Sounds like your zones aren't accurate. How did you determine threshold (Z4/5 boundary) and calculate the rest?

I've been going by what my Polar HRM has for a 47 year old. I agree that the zone thresholds are probably "off" for me, but the point of backing off a bit and having a much better experience holds true regardless.

Any suggestions for calculating things to more closely represent my actual zones?
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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I've been going by what my Polar HRM has for a 47 year old. I agree that the zone thresholds are probably "off" for me, but the point of backing off a bit and having a much better experience holds true regardless.

Any suggestions for calculating things to more closely represent my actual zones?
The default formula is 220- your age to set max heart rate.

Your zones are then set off that. I suspect that is what Polar is doing.

The problem is that each individual in a population will have different values. As an example, I'm 57. 220 - my age is 163, ...but here is the deal. I have seen 198 this year when I was digging as deep as possible, my tested zone 2 upper limit is 160..... I can ride at that level all day.

There are a few guides for having your zones tested, but, please do it w medical supervision, pushing to the max can be dangerous. Get cleared by your MD, then get a trainer to test you with a ramp test.

Len
 

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When I usually ride I go out and push as hard as I can from beginning to end trying to be as fast as I can, beat my PRs on Strava segments, etc...
Where did you ever get the idea that this is an effective way to train, or a good way to improve performance?
 

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Your zones are definitely off. Never take what the computer says for "your age" and expect it to work well.

You would do well to do some kind of TT effort to determine what your threshold heartrate is and set zones from that.
 

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i dont know where you could get it done locally. but i work out at lifetime fitness. they do a cardio point test, where they hook you up to a machine via face mask and put you through the paces. via bike, treadmill etc.

it gives you all of your zones, and most importantly vo2 max. best part is its only $80.00.
probably the most accurace u will get besides some professional sports medicine/ training camp etc..

the numbers are way off and imho its not even worth using unless its calibrated.

also, my numbers were way different from doing the test on a treadmill to on the spin bike.....
 

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i dont know where you could get it done locally. but i work out at lifetime fitness. they do a cardio point test, where they hook you up to a machine via face mask and put you through the paces. via bike, treadmill etc.

it gives you all of your zones, and most importantly vo2 max. best part is its only $80.00.
probably the most accurace u will get besides some professional sports medicine/ training camp etc..

the numbers are way off and imho its not even worth using unless its calibrated.

also, my numbers were way different from doing the test on a treadmill to on the spin bike.....
First of all, what's the point of knowing your VO2 max (ml/kg/min) numbers anyway?

Second, why pay $80 when he can do a simple field test that will get him close enough to be effective in training for the cost of a day's ride time?
 

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I've been going by what my Polar HRM has for a 47 year old. I agree that the zone thresholds are probably "off" for me, but the point of backing off a bit and having a much better experience holds true regardless.

Any suggestions for calculating things to more closely represent my actual zones?
Simply plugging in your age doesn't necessarily work, you should really determine your true threshold and start from there.
 

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The older I get, the more time I spend going a snaillike 14 or 15 mph. Which feels like a zone 1, or even zone zero (yawn).

But, even at age 52, my fast rides are as fast as they've ever been.

You're not doing it right.
 

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When I usually ride I go out and push as hard as I can from beginning to end trying to be as fast as I can, beat my PRs on Strava segments, etc... My heart rate monitor shows that I spend my time going from zone 4 to 5 as I encounter hills and my climbing is slow and very tiring.

After a couple of great, but hard, rides earlier in the week, Friday I decided to do some zone 4 training and just try to stay in zone 4. Speed, etc... didn't matter. The goal was to stay in zone 4.

You know what? My average speed was only about .5 mph lower, but I rode for 45 miles instead of my typical 30. Had I not run out of water I would have gone 50 or more. The whole thing felt great, and I always had something in reserve rather than being completely spent and dragging my carcass home.

I always knew to keep the cadence up, shift early on hills, etc... but knowing it and actually doing it are 2 different things. I liken this to the day on the race track years ago that I got my car crossed up in a corner and instead of lifting, I hit that gas and
brought it back. I always knew not to lift, but had never unconsciously done it.

This ride opened my eyes to a change in technique. I will do an all out Hammerfest now and then, but I think backing off just a tad will help me stretch my endurance and improve as a cyclist.
congrats to you. i am discovering that humility is one of the keys to improving as a cyclist. sometimes you need to go slow to (eventally)go fast.
 

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The default formula is 220- your age to set max heart rate.

Your zones are then set off that. I suspect that is what Polar is doing.

The problem is that each individual in a population will have different values. As an example, I'm 57. 220 - my age is 163, ...but here is the deal. I have seen 198 this year when I was digging as deep as possible, my tested zone 2 upper limit is 160..... I can ride at that level all day.

There are a few guides for having your zones tested, but, please do it w medical supervision, pushing to the max can be dangerous. Get cleared by your MD, then get a trainer to test you with a ramp test.

Len
Uh,,, NO. Everyone is different. That formula is a statistical mean. For something like 85-90% of the population, it's very wrong.

My suggestion is to warm up, do a steady 20 minute TT effort and leave it ALL on the road. Then a cool down while "stumbling" back to your start. Average your HR over that effort and you'll be really close (or right on) threshold. That's the number at the border of zones 4/5. From there, there are several formulas you can use that will provide a reasonable guesstimate for the rest of the numbers.

I did this a few years back and came up with some numbers to use. Finally went in and got an actual test done last week and my numbers were all very close, and my threshold number was dead on.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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Uh,,, NO. Everyone is different. That formula is a statistical mean. For something like 85-90% of the population, it's very wrong.

My suggestion is to warm up, do a steady 20 minute TT effort and leave it ALL on the road. Then a cool down while "stumbling" back to your start. Average your HR over that effort and you'll be really close (or right on) threshold. That's the number at the border of zones 4/5. From there, there are several formulas you can use that will provide a reasonable guesstimate for the rest of the numbers.

I did this a few years back and came up with some numbers to use. Finally went in and got an actual test done last week and my numbers were all very close, and my threshold number was dead on.
Why don't you read my entire quote before you say I am wrong. Len
 

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Slightly Opinionated
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the vo2 max is one of the programmable parameters needed to set the hrm up correctly.
60 minute TT average heart rate = LTHR.

You don't need anything other than that in order to set your zones.

I'm not referring to any of Polar's garbage. Keep it nice and simple.
 

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Slightly Opinionated
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What? No one is going to suggest doing some rides in zone 3?
Sweet spot training would be very beneficial to the OP. However he needs to have his zones set reasonably close to reality in order to do such a thing.
 
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