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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In Friel's Power Meter Handbook he says to do Z2 training based on HR rather than power. when i did my last 20-minute test i came up with a threshold HR of 158. but TP wants me to set my Threshold HR at 175 based on a CX race. my max HR (highest i've seen over the last 2 years of riding) is 186. Last year i based my Z2 rides on the lower threshold, and had pretty good results, but i'm getting ready to start a new training plan and i'm second-guessing whether i should be using the higher numbers. i've never been able to maintain such a high number except in races (and i generally average at or above that number for a 40-minute race).

so my question for the community: should i be using the Threshold HR i get from my fitness tests or from my races?
 

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I set my heart rate max at something I can reasonably attain and maybe maintain. I had a somewhat higher heart rate also from a CX race last fall, but I'm not going with that. It's only 5 bpm higher anyways.

You could, and I may be pilloried for this, do the old 220 minus your age and see what that aligns with. It's only an approximation. You could also choose one and then change the settings based on your perceived efforts.
 

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You are never going to get accurate information about HR zones until you determine your maximum HR on the bike. The only way to find out the max is to achieve it and to do that you would want to do several max efforts on different rides as your max HR will vary from day to day but typically no more than BPM. Also, it's will establish that people of the same age and fitness have a wide range or variance of what on an individual basis their max HR is.

The best way IMO is when fully warmed up do a climb of several miles long with a hearty effort and then do your max effort near the end.
 

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The best way IMO is when fully warmed up do a climb of several miles long with a hearty effort and then do your max effort near the end.
I've never reached my max with anything like this - for me max has only been seen when I am warmed up and fresh then an all out effort of not more than a few minutes. If you do it on a longer climb your legs are probably going to be the limiter.

To the OP, I would use 20 minute test for your FTP, not your CX race.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i'm not using Max HR for anything more than a reference. 186 is definitely my MAX on the bike. i cited my max only because my HR from my CX race was so close to it. i'm looking for opinions on which number to use as my threshold to base zones on. i'm not going off of max HR for zones.

Srode thanks for the feedback. last year thats the number i used but there's always a measure of doubt as to whether i'm doing the right thing with training. i think we all want to get the most out of our training, so every year i'm looking to tweak it based on last years' results.
 

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I'm surprised by the big difference between your max and your threshold but I don't really have anything to go on other then my own experience.

The highest I've ever seen for myself is 184. I've seen this in both races and super hard efforts when climbing. Multiple tests (based on 20 minutes) have shown my threshold to be 172-174. This has been fairly consistent over several years. I do find that it can be really difficult to push myself hard enough on a solo 20 minute effort to get a true reading. I thing I remember Friel or someone saying that the way to judge your effort is to continually ask yourself "am I going as hard as I can?".

For reference, I'm in my upper 50s and ride 5,000 to 7,000 miles/year for the last 8 years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm surprised by the big difference between your max and your threshold but I don't really have anything to go on other then my own experience.

years.
tbh this is part of why i'm asking. it felt a bit on the low side last year when training, that and the difference with race numbers. i'm still not sure to what extent adrenaline is contributing to the race numbers. i'm sure it's some of it, but i'm not buying that it's accounting for the entire difference.
 

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Have you tried the 20 minute test more then once? If not, I would suggest you try again and see if you can hold a higher effort for the 30 minutes.

I just did another one yesterday. 30 minute warm-up, 30 minute TT, 15 minute cool-down. My average HR for the first 10 min (of the 30 minute TT) was 170 and my average HR for the remaining 20 minutes was 170. And that's with lumbar arthritis (spinal stenosis) that results in pain that gradually increases over time with hard efforts. Over 30 minutes the pain becomes more and more of a limiting factor and I have to really focus on my efforts to achieve my max.

hth
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do one about every 6 weeks or so. It’s pretty static even when my power number steadily increases
 

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In general, your threshold HR and or threshold HR " training zone " is roughly 82 to 89% of your MAX HR.

So, if your max HR is 186, you can be doing threshold intervals like 3 x 10 minute reps with your heart rate around 153 to 166 BPM. And this makes sense in relation to what you said when you did a field test your Threshold HR was 158 BTM. That's good!

If you are seeing your HR above the 166 BPM then you are starting to work into your VO2 max zone.


Us armature athletes are actually pretty damn good at riding a solid amount of time with our HR even above our actual Threshold HR. TP wants to put your THR at 175 because that's what it was during your CX race. BUT you actually dont want to do all of your TH training with your HR over your " ACTUAL " TH heart rate level which again falls in the 82 - 89% range. You just cant sustain enough training time in the proper " POWER " zone related to that HR zone to see adaptations long term. Meaning after some time your HR will be up in the 175 VO2 range but you wont be putting out enough actual VO2 power at that HR zone to really see a strength benefit.

Typically, from what I have discovered, and this is related to a limited amount of time we amateurs have for training in a week We try and cram a lot of time on those hard threshold efforts and a lot of time we creep up into the VO2 max HR zone but we then dont put enough power to the pedals to match power at vo2 max zones. SO we are actually training in a VO2 max state thinking we are in Threshold level state. HR is in VO2 max state but our power numbers are still down in the threshold level but maybe creeping slightly in the lower vo 2 level but that just robs you the next days training when you wanted to actually focus on vo2 training you sort of zapped yourself the day before in your too high HR " threshold intervals "

This is why when training in the higher zones, Power should override HR. For example, doing a 3 minute VO2 effort, focus on your power range. HR will naturally go up. Of course with experience you start to figure out what power numbers you can hold for what duration. This helps to know obviously.

And that leads us to the next part of your post, Friel suggests focusing on HR in the lower zones because in the zone 2 range you are more focused on your bodies " aerobic " fat burning capacity and nothing else. And this is where HR is really important. I find for me Im very " aerobically " unfit. Meaning I can put out decent high level power and hold it there but if I try and keep my HR in zone 2, the smallest slightest bit of incline will have my HR creep way up into high zone 3 or even zone 4. Because we train so much " anaerobically " at least I have that im very " aerobically " inefficient.

It seems like you probably already know a lot of what I just spewed and could debate it some if you wanted to but I find it has been working for me.

I think your first paragraph is spot on and you're in the correct mind set. Id agree to keep your training to the lower threshold HR level even though our pride and determination tell us to push it higher because we feel we can. Push it higher the next training day and try and eck out that one extra VO2 interval with the power you conserved keeping your HR in the proper THR training zone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I guess i’m Still hung up on using max HR to base zones off. From Friel’s book

http://a.co/frtYYPZ

If I’m holding it for 45 minutes doesn’t it by definition mean it’s my threshold hr? The idea being it’s the hardest you can go for an extended period?
 

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I guess i’m Still hung up on using max HR to base zones off. From Friel’s book

http://a.co/frtYYPZ

If I’m holding it for 45 minutes doesn’t it by definition mean it’s my threshold hr? The idea being it’s the hardest you can go for an extended period?
I would think that whatever you're holding for 45 minutes is somewhat lower then your threshold.

I'm referring to LTHR. Is this what you're referring to?

Different thresholds explained here: https://www.joefrielsblog.com/2014/06/common-but-confusing-training-terms.html%20
 
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