General Discussion Triathlon Talk » okay HR Gurus...answer me this??? Rss Feed  
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2014-02-04 5:35 PM

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Subject: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
So I like to use heart-rate training when I am working on lactate threshold. I have been taking the same test (recommended by this website and multiple other sources) for years now. I do a warmup, then an all-out 30 min time trial and take my average HR over the last 20 minutes as my lactate-threshold heart rate. I even do the exact same route on my bike! I have used this test for running and cycling since I know your HR can differ between these two sports.
Here are some examples of recent test results:
May 2013 - my LTHR was 168
June 2013 - my LTHR was 174
Nov 2013 - this time it has jumped up to 178! I was riding my mountain bike for this one in full winter gear and I did it early morning on my
way to work.
Jan 2014 - this was my most recent one and it was 181! I also did this one on my mountain bike in full winter gear in early morning.
Now I know that your HR statistics can vary depending on weather, level of fatigue, time of day, etc. but it seems like my LTHR has seriously increased a lot! I am 29 years old by the way, male, in good shape. These results just seem a bit high to me.
Today I went out in the afternoon (on mountain bike in full winter gear) to do some sub-lactate threshold work. Heres the thing...during my intervals my HR was in the 160s (which should be in my zone 3 with a LTHR of 181), but I felt like I was riding at a lot higher effort! I felt like I was riding in zone 4 as in a time trial!
So what I am wondering is, can this difference be just because I rode in the afternoon? Or maybe I am just getting really good at my 30 min TT test and my results are higher than they should be. Like, maybe I am just good at bearing through the pain of an all-out time trial and so this 30 min test isn't working for me.
I realize that I could just be getting in better and better shape, but isnt a HR of 181 pretty high? Should I try a different test? Is it just because of the morning vs afternoon time difference? What is going on here? Thanks a ton for the replies!!


2014-02-04 5:46 PM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???

Are you using the generally accepted LT field test as described on this site?

If you are, I'm guessing you didn't go hard enough on your earlier tests and have learned how to push yourself more.  Your LT should not change that much, IMO.

The field test calls for a 15 min warmup, then 30 minutes "all out" and you record the last 20 minutes of that.  Your average HR for that last 20 minutes is your LTHR.  If you perform the test and your "all out" was not really all out, then your HR will be too low.  You may have learned that you can go harder than first thought.

2014-02-04 6:14 PM
in reply to: Kermat89


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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
The two mountain bike "tests" had a HR difference of all 3 beats per minute.

The two running "tests" had a HR difference of 6 beats per minute.


For determining biking HR use results from bike test. For determining running HR use results from a running test.


These field tests are not 100% accurate. These shorter tests can be done more anaerobically than predicted and what the formula states. A one hour test would likely produce different results. You have to use your head, how your feel during and at the end of the test and with other data (repeated testing) to ensure greater accuracy.
2014-02-04 6:17 PM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Are you also tracking pace when you do these tests?

I ask because LTHR will increase with fitness, but your pace will too.

But there are lots of other things that can affect heart rate on a given run: prefatigue (that is, how fatigued you are from previous days' workouts and/or sleep, etc.), possibly illness, hydration to name a few. Time of day can also make a difference, mostly because of these other factors.

Also keep in mind that your bike LTHR and run LTHR are not necessarily the same.
2014-02-04 6:31 PM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
HR can vary a lot as a function of heat and humidity - for your recent rides, it was probably hot and humid inside your biking gear, even if it was cold outside.

One controlled way of seeing how much difference this can make is to do a bike trainer ride with and without the assistance of cooling fans. My HR goes way higher when the ventilation is less good.
2014-02-04 8:35 PM
in reply to: Kido

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Yes, I do perform the test recommended by this website. I think you are right about learning to push yourself harder, but I think (or thought) that I had plateaued so to speak when I was around 174 bpm. So now after doing the test twice in the past few months I am shocked to see a LTHR (average of last 20 minutes) of 181! I have also read that your LTHR is often defined as a HR or effort that you could theoretically maintain for one hour in a race. So I don't see how I could maintain that for an hour when that is what I achieve when going all out for a 30 minute TT. I know I tend to do better in a race because I am well rested and there is adrenaline etc, but can it really make that much of a difference?


2014-02-04 8:37 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Maybe I just need to do this test once a week for a month or so under lots of different conditions to see how my body tends to vary (ie. times of day, indoor vs outdoor, etc.)
2014-02-04 8:46 PM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Originally posted by Kermat89

Maybe I just need to do this test once a week for a month or so under lots of different conditions to see how my body tends to vary (ie. times of day, indoor vs outdoor, etc.)


Yikes - I would advise against doing something so hard so often, especially in running. That sounds intense.

I was able to learn about HR fluctuations thanks to hours and hours (and hours) spent riding the trainer in all kinds of conditions. I could control the speed and other factors pretty carefully, so I could see the effects of small changes on HR. I remember being shocked at the change in my HR readings right after I bought a more powerful fan. I've also spent a fair amount of time watching my HR during steady runs, generally watching it as a way of checking that I don't go too hard. Learning when to trust the HR values has proven very useful to me in races, especially for helping me to keep my effort in check early on. In my most recent marathon (in '12) and half marathon (2 days ago) that served me really well, and helped me to take some of the guesswork out of pacing.
2014-02-04 10:20 PM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Originally posted by Kermat89

Maybe I just need to do this test once a week for a month or so under lots of different conditions to see how my body tends to vary (ie. times of day, indoor vs outdoor, etc.)


You definitely don't want to be doing a LTHR test that often. In fact, I was going to advise doing it monthly as you had for a few months last year.
2014-02-04 10:20 PM
in reply to: colinphillips

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Yes, LT test once a month is plenty. Perceived effort can really impact how high you can get your hr in a workout. Also fatigue will impact HR for workouts. The shorter your effort the less accurate HR will be for that segment of your workout. So like a 30 second hard effort will not raise your HR fast enough to stabilize. Even during your LT effort your HR probably drifted up 5 to 10 beats during the hard effort. So just use it as a general guidline along with your perceived effort, really hard is still really hard even if HR is lagging due to fatigue.
2014-02-05 12:39 AM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
the problem with using HR to establish your Lactate threshold is just a very unreliable way to do it. To start with HR is not a very good metric to do those kind of mesurement.

there is a million factor that can have play in the variation that you see.

coffee in moring? hr goes up a few beats
Tired from big week of training, HR goes down suppressed
Bad night sleep, HR goes down...
dehydrated, HR respond funny
MTB vs road bike....hr variation
Full winter gear, no cooling effect of the wind on the skin...hr change it s response

HR is a data that can be look at for a ''second'' opinion knowing that the second opinion isnt grea to start with.

As a athlete get more experience, RPE would be a better metric. You said you rode and felt like you were going harder than z3 in your intervals...well perhaps you were....dont let the hr make you think otherwise. A well developped RPE will be superior to hr feedback.

on the bike, the best metric...powermeter...it dosnt lie... it s always telling you the true.... if you dont have one, RPE and using races as your ''test'' is superior to Hr

for running...pace become one of the best metric there is...unless on a hilly run..then move to RPE

best of luck


2014-02-05 7:19 AM
in reply to: Kermat89

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???

Originally posted by Kermat89 So I like to use heart-rate training when I am working on lactate threshold. I have been taking the same test (recommended by this website and multiple other sources) for years now. I do a warmup, then an all-out 30 min time trial and take my average HR over the last 20 minutes as my lactate-threshold heart rate. I even do the exact same route on my bike! I have used this test for running and cycling since I know your HR can differ between these two sports. Here are some examples of recent test results: May 2013 - my LTHR was 168 June 2013 - my LTHR was 174 Nov 2013 - this time it has jumped up to 178! I was riding my mountain bike for this one in full winter gear and I did it early morning on my way to work. Jan 2014 - this was my most recent one and it was 181! I also did this one on my mountain bike in full winter gear in early morning. Now I know that your HR statistics can vary depending on weather, level of fatigue, time of day, etc. but it seems like my LTHR has seriously increased a lot! I am 29 years old by the way, male, in good shape. These results just seem a bit high to me. Today I went out in the afternoon (on mountain bike in full winter gear) to do some sub-lactate threshold work. Heres the thing...during my intervals my HR was in the 160s (which should be in my zone 3 with a LTHR of 181), but I felt like I was riding at a lot higher effort! I felt like I was riding in zone 4 as in a time trial! So what I am wondering is, can this difference be just because I rode in the afternoon? Or maybe I am just getting really good at my 30 min TT test and my results are higher than they should be. Like, maybe I am just good at bearing through the pain of an all-out time trial and so this 30 min test isn't working for me. I realize that I could just be getting in better and better shape, but isnt a HR of 181 pretty high? Should I try a different test? Is it just because of the morning vs afternoon time difference? What is going on here? Thanks a ton for the replies!!

Being fully dressed in winter gear, your forcing your body temp up and your cooling system is working harder than you think regardless of how the wind in the face feels.  Also in the early AM you are typically more dehydrated than you think as you just fasted for many hours overnight.

So are the summer tests also performed on a MTB, etc?  If not you basically have apples vs oranges comparison and you are becoming more adapted to bike training.  Long time ago when I decided to do my first HIM and use HR training method, my 1st bike LT test was 7 bpm lower (and pace slower) than my bike test ~7 months later on the same, time of day route and conditions.

IMHO, for now it would be fine to use 178 as a LTHR and when spring comes around or you change bikes redo the test.

Just out of curiosity, how much higher is your run LT?

Originally posted by Kermat89 ...I have also read that your LTHR is often defined as a HR or effort that you could theoretically maintain for one hour in a race. So I don't see how I could maintain that for an hour when that is what I achieve when going all out for a 30 minute TT. I know I tend to do better in a race because I am well rested and there is adrenaline etc, but can it really make that much of a difference?
Yes it can!

Originally posted by Kermat89 Maybe I just need to do this test once a week for a month or so under lots of different conditions to see how my body tends to vary (ie. times of day, indoor vs outdoor, etc.)
Yeah, I wouldn't advise that either!

 

2014-02-05 7:59 AM
in reply to: Kermat89


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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Originally posted by Kermat89

Maybe I just need to do this test once a week for a month or so under lots of different conditions to see how my body tends to vary (ie. times of day, indoor vs outdoor, etc.)



Woah!! I may be wrong, but I would NOT do that, if you're doing it right. My last test I truly felt that I was on the verge of death, and struggled mightily to just walk to my car. I tested at 191 and I'm 35, so not much older than you. I don't know how you felt when you finished, but I really had to will every last step to get to 30 minutes, and as soon as it clicked 30, I collapsed. My legs hurt so bad, for several days. But I knew I had given the test everything I had.
Point being, if you do it right, do NOT do this every week. You won't be able to go all out each time.
2014-02-05 8:07 AM
in reply to: TriDadinAsheville


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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Also, that number isn't "magical." If you find your z2 feels too hard, or too easy, you can move your LTHR up or down a couple beats and reset your zones. Ultimately, it comes back to what others have said, it comes down to feel. If you're huffing and puffing and your HR says your in z2, well, you're not. Make the adjustments.
2014-02-05 2:16 PM
in reply to: TriDadinAsheville

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Subject: RE: okay HR Gurus...answer me this???
Just the thought of having to do the test every week made me wince. If I were required to do the test every week, not sure how motivated I would be.
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