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Do you monitor heart rate?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway
View Poll Results: Powermeter, HR, or nothing?
I constantly watch my power
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I monitor HR and do zone training
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Forget it, I just ride!
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Voters: 100. You may not vote on this poll

Do you monitor heart rate?

Old 07-23-13, 09:13 PM
  #1  
RFEngineer
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Do you monitor heart rate?

Those of you who can't afford a power meter, do you do heart rate zone training?
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Old 07-23-13, 09:20 PM
  #2  
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I have an HRM, but I train by calculated power on a trainer and view the HR data on rides and tris as a point of academic interest.
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Old 07-23-13, 09:23 PM
  #3  
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I just ride.
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Old 07-23-13, 09:29 PM
  #4  
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A few years a ago I did. Once I learned my zones, wasn't necessary. Probably should double check though.
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Old 07-23-13, 09:37 PM
  #5  
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I don't own a PM. I do own a HRM. It did change the way I train and ride. I do monitor it closely. I do not participate in closely defined HR Zone training. I do base most of my training zones on RPE.

The HRM helped me learn more about my body and how it reacts to efforts, how to judge efforts and how to maximize my performance. I still wear it, monitor it and use it. But, it doesn't really define my rides.
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Old 07-23-13, 09:46 PM
  #6  
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In Zone: 130 - 169

The computer beeps at me when I'm below or above.

If I'm falling low, it's my recovery and I'm typically back in the file and doing a fair bit of coasting being pulled in a draft.
If I'm above, I'm pushing hills harder than I should... or on a rare occasion staying far to long at the front of a group.

I work hard at keeping in the zone, I find that it helps endurance. I only push above the zone if I'm riding short distances, ~40 miles. If the ride is 60+ I just try to build endurance.
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Old 07-23-13, 09:47 PM
  #7  
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Before power I used a HRM. I usually focused on Max and Avg HR. I don't train in a structured way but I wanted to get an idea of how hard my body thought I was riding, and I'd try to align that with how hard I felt like I was riding. Max HR, if I didn't get a spike of 230 bpm, usually only applied in races, the only time I ever go that hard.

The bad part with ride avg and ride max is that you don't know when they happened. I really like the downloadable units where the computer saves the readings based on time/miles. This way you can see that, oh, I spiked my heart rate when I went sprinting after that truck. Or that when you did that one section at high cadence your heartrate also skyrocketed. It's much more useful than a one time value.

With the downloadable GPS type units available nowadays if I didn't have power I'd use a GPS computer with HR and combine it with Strava. This way I could relate Strava's power guesstimate (wildly optimistic except on climbs where it's reasonably accurate if you're going steady) with route features. If there are route features that you consider "benchmarks" then I'd make them into a Strava Segment. I made three segments for myself so it's easier to compare my last ride with my prior history (of course some KOM hunters have blitzed them but that's okay, that's not why I made the segments). You'd have a record of what you did, how fast you went up certain sections, and you can even look up history.

Strava is nice that it summarizes some stuff for you. I use it as my training log now, I even upload all my trainer ride data. I can see in a glance that I ride about 3 hours a week (2 rides a week for a total of 48 miles so just over 15 mph), 1670 miles, 110 hours. This includes most (all?) of my races. I didn't note some short (3-5 minute) warm ups and such. To see this I just click on any rider I'm following and it brings up a comparison of the two of you.

Local pro Ben Wolfe (first year contract with Jelly Belly), when I click on his name, I see that he's done 8800 miles, 6 days a week, 19 hours a week!, 464 hours.

Using Strava, which is free for basic, along with a downloadable GPS unit would be the best. If it's power compatible then you can upgrade to a power broadcaster (pedals, hub, crank, whatever else they think of) without having to change your GPS unit.
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Old 07-24-13, 01:45 AM
  #8  
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Heart rate is just as important as power, perhaps more so if you're riding in high temperatures -- above 90 degrees. A higher than normal heart rate or a heart rate that won't recover when you are resting is a sign that you may be in trouble with the heat.

While I agree that power meters are better for monitoring your training efforts, monitoring your heart rate is still important. They go hand-in-hand. Your heart-rate to power ratio is a good indicator of fitness.
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Old 07-24-13, 01:52 AM
  #9  
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Yes, I train with HR and RPE. Too miserly to buy a PM, so far, and I'm experienced enough with HR to make a fair stab at aiming off for its limitations.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:11 AM
  #10  
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Many, many years using a HRM but not as a "training tool" but more of just a FMI device.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:22 AM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by bikepro View Post
Heart rate is just as important as power, perhaps more so if you're riding in high temperatures -- above 90 degrees. A higher than normal heart rate or a heart rate that won't recover when you are resting is a sign that you may be in trouble with the heat.

While I agree that power meters are better for monitoring your training efforts, monitoring your heart rate is still important. They go hand-in-hand. Your heart-rate to power ratio is a good indicator of fitness.
This.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:39 AM
  #12  
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No, but I should. I don't like wearing the strap especially when I am sweating like a pig.
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Old 07-24-13, 09:33 AM
  #13  
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Yes.. in fact I prefer to ditch the speedometer entirely and just base my workout off of heartrate and perceived exertion level... but I don't ditch it because I like to track miles biked. Just put a piece of tape over it during the ride.
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Old 07-24-13, 09:43 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by awsimons View Post
Those of you who can't afford a power meter, do you do heart rate zone training?
I can afford a power meter, but if I bought a bunch of things I don't need because people on the internet said I should, I wouldn't be able to afford one for long.

I have an HRM that works with my Garmin, occasionally I'll use it (can be good on recovery days to set an alarm to nag me when I push too had) but most of the time I just want to ride my bike. Plus, after you've used one for a while, you get to know what it feels like to be in different zones.
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Old 07-24-13, 09:44 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by awsimons View Post
Those of you who can't afford a power meter, do you do heart rate zone training?
What are you "training" for?
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Old 07-24-13, 09:49 AM
  #16  
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have a HRM, used to have a quarq. I got tired of paying attention to all the data, so i just ride by feel. I will look down every once in awhile if it feels like my HR is to high on a long ride. I'm not training for anything. Just logging miles w/some random intervals thrown in to win some MUP races.

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Old 07-24-13, 10:14 AM
  #17  
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I don't have a PM or HRM. I'm asthmatic, so I ride by feel just below the level where I'm not getting enough air and get tachycardia.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:18 AM
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HRMs are for the serious trainers/riders, I am not that serious. I ride for the joy of riding, the benefits are a great side effect.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:20 AM
  #19  
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I just make sure that I'm at a comfortable heartrate. Sometimes it means I'm up at the 160s, on easier days, i'm at the 145s.

I'm more concerned with overexertion that might lead to trouble on the bike than anything else.
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Old 07-24-13, 12:21 PM
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I use a powermeter for training and riding and I monitor my HR but don't really do anything with the HR data. I have enough power & HR data over the past 4 yrs that I could use HR to track training load as effectively as power if my powermeters went out of commission.

I look at power when taking a pull on group ride just to keep it steady and during intervals or TTs but mostly I just record it and look at the data after. When riding I probably ride more by RPE than holding to a specific power number. I'll look at my power which tells me how I'm doing on that particular day. During a race I don't look at anything on the computer unless I'm in a break but I do enjoy reviewing my data and that of others afterwards.
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Old 07-24-13, 12:38 PM
  #21  
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HRM - yes, but I turned off the zone beeping many years ago...now just use it to anticipate the arrival of pain

Power - I got the cycleops powercal (combined HRM and power estimator) thingy a few months ago...just to have a vague notion of average power (which is all that thing is good for)...
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Old 07-24-13, 12:39 PM
  #22  
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Tried wearing a HRM for a week or so, saw no point in it, haven't worn it since.
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Old 07-24-13, 12:49 PM
  #23  
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I got one a few years ago, did a few workouts with it (running, elliptical as well as biking) and found it another piece of information about how hard I was pushing myself. Then the battery died, and I just did without.

Just checked my resting HR for the first time in a while; 56bpm. I'm happy with that.
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Old 07-24-13, 01:57 PM
  #24  
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I use it on my trainer mostly. Excellent way to gauge fitness by riding in a set gear at a set cadence to check cardiac drift.
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Old 07-24-13, 03:31 PM
  #25  
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I use a HR Monitor, however I don't really train. It's useful for knowing when I'm going so hard I'm going to blow up, or how much more effort I can put out when the road gets steep.
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