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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need a little help with using target heart rates for a couple of scenarios. First, during the main riding season on group and other higher effort rides. How do I calculate a general heart rate zone that I could set to let me know when I am going into a state where my body is using its glycogen stores? I am hoping this would help me know how to conserve energy on these rides and when certain efforts are debiting my energy account. I have heard of lactate acid thresholds and don't know if this info is needed to answer my question; however, for now all I have to work with is heart rate info. Second, I have been advised to set a high limit of 65% for recovery or base mile rides in the off season. Any thoughts on heart rate for recovery ride hear rates and heart rate zones for extended base mile or weight loss riding? Please forgive in advance any ignorance of the right terminology. I look forward to any insight from the folks on the board who can help me meet some of my riding goals.
 

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In group rides, you need to do whatever it takes to hang in with the group. Unless it is a very slow group, assume that you'll be burning glycogen and fuel accordingly. I eat the same on all rides. Even at an endurance pace (average HR about 75% of MHR) I'll bonk after three hours with no fuel.

The 'fat burning zone' is a misintrpretation. At lower intensities, you do burn a higher percentage of fat. At higher intensities, you still burn that same amount of fat or more, along with some glycogen. But when you stop riding, your body replenishes the glycogen from your body fat. So either way you're using up body fat.

What is useful for losing weight is lots of miles, which you can do better at a moderate pace. But there's no advantage to keeping your HR under a certain value as long as you pace yourself so that you can finish the ride. An upper limit of 65% of MHR sounds like a recovery ride to me. I can't imagine going that easy otherwise.
 

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exactly the training downside of group rides is that you don't have a lot of control over what level of intensity you're laying out. in some ways it's good -- you can find yourself digging deeper than you otherwise might have; in some ways it's bad -- you can find yourself sitting in and never really laying it out, or laying it out for long enough, but you're making yourself good and tired, anyway.
I guess lots of good riders, anyway, do nothing but group rides, picking the days when they intend to really lay it out and the others sitting in. Makes you wonder what they'd be if the worked with a program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the feedback! I wasn't sure if there was a way to gauge when I was dipping into glycogen stores more than other times. Is this related to lactate threshold? Maybe I am asking about something that doesn't even make sense. Is glycogen being used to some degree with any physical effort? Just thought if I start to get over zealous at the beginning of some group rides and even solo long rides, I might be able to pace where I put the effort in. What I found on a 50-miler last weekend is I may have unnecessarily burnt too many matches in the first 20 miles on relatively flat parts of the ride, when I could have gotten more return by going harder on the hills where I am at more of a disadvantage.
 

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I don't know that I can tell if I fade from lack of glycogen stores or fitness or whatever. you dip into the glycogen for fast energy when you really, really need it. But really, really needing it is when your normal aerobic pathways are insufficient, etc., etc. So, is it glycogen that's failing you, or what? Who knows?
I think you may be thinking too hard about this. On a group ride, dole out your energy as you think you can. If you know the group will wait, give it all, if you're up for really hard training. If you know they won't, then dole it out more slowly. If you know you did hills the day before, go hard on the flats. If you did sprints the day before, hit the hills. Just spread it out.
 

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cazdrvr said:
Thanks for the feedback! I wasn't sure if there was a way to gauge when I was dipping into glycogen stores more than other times. Is this related to lactate threshold? Maybe I am asking about something that doesn't even make sense. Is glycogen being used to some degree with any physical effort? Just thought if I start to get over zealous at the beginning of some group rides and even solo long rides, I might be able to pace where I put the effort in. What I found on a 50-miler last weekend is I may have unnecessarily burnt too many matches in the first 20 miles on relatively flat parts of the ride, when I could have gotten more return by going harder on the hills where I am at more of a disadvantage.
A HRM is useful for gauging your effort. I'll be using one for that on the Death Ride saturday. But I don't think there is a magic formula that you can plug your max HR into and get a hard limit that, if you stay below it, will keep you from blowing up early. For one thing, blowing up early isn't just a function of using up your glycogen. If that were the only factor, you could hammer all day as long as you took in enough calories. But I know from experience that isn't the case. Even with plenty of calories, my legs will get tired. When you use up your glucogen you "bonk". The brain runs only on glycogen, unlike muscles which can also burn fat. So when you bonk, you get both slow and stupid. You'll certainly go slow when you're bonked, but bonking isn't the only kind of problem you can run into when you go too hard.

I have figured out what limits I should set for myself for different rides from experience. Those have changed over the last few years as my condition has improved. I can now maintain a higher endurance pace HR for longer, and the speed I go at the same HR is higher as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
bill said:
I think you may be thinking too hard about this. On a group ride, dole out your energy as you think you can. If you know the group will wait, give it all, if you're up for really hard training. If you know they won't, then dole it out more slowly. If you know you did hills the day before, go hard on the flats. If you did sprints the day before, hit the hills. Just spread it out.
Actually, that sounds like what I am trying to accomplish. It's easy to overanalyze these things. I am doing this more for fun, fitness, and the possibility of some CAT 5 racing in the future. I guess the heart rate monitor is best for keeping me in check for recovery rides and such. I am more interested in some of my current fitness numbers, and possibly doing some rides based on certain training principles, but the majority of the time I am out there for the ride. Thanks again for taking time to respond! :)
 
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