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Training with Heart Rate Monitor at 67

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Training with Heart Rate Monitor at 67

Old 08-25-19, 02:26 PM
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Ronno6
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Training with Heart Rate Monitor at 67

After about a 2 year layoff due to knee problems, I FINALLY got to riding again.
Started out with 8 milers and gradually increased to 16 to 17 mile rides, 3x a week with a buddy.
He is much stronger than I am at this point.
Upon finishing rides with him, at speeds that averaged over 16mph, I would feel really light headed.
So, I started wearing a HRM to see what was going on.

At my age (67) the theoretical max HR is around 153 (+/- depending on the formula used)
My waking pulse is 60.

When I get ready and mount the bike, my HR is typically 90+ !
It doesn't take too much effort to raise my HR to 120, and when the work begins, 130+ is reached without too much effort.
When going up relatively minor rises, high 130's to over 140 occur rather readily, though those
seem to happen after 5-6 miles or so, so I am warmed up.I am not out of breath.

My HR will decrease when I ease up, but it seems that once I hit the high numbers, it tends to return to the high 130-140 range
with any increase in effort.
My average HR for these 11-16 mile rides has been running at 130-131.

So, the other day I was on my own. I decided to keep my HR below 130 even if I had to stop when it got close.
Strava puts this in the "Tempo" zone.
I would keep a close eye on it when it reached 127, make a concerted effort to ease up at 128 and just flat stop pedaling at 129.
I never reached 130, averaging 122BPM for a 20 mile ride @14.3mph avg.
I didn't feel light headed at all.

At this stage it appears that my HR is the limiting factor in the intensity of my rides.
I can hit the 140's and not be out of breath nor leg strength.
That's about 91% of my max.....I could keep that up for some time, but don't think it would be too wise,
and would be really light headed after I stopped.
Problem is, I am having a difficult time accepting my limitations (speed wise) after years of riding more quickly.
16mph is the new 20....

Another problem is, mot too much really flag riding around here (South Mississippi) and the hills always cause my HR to rise.....

Sounds to me like my max should be higher. Dunno, nor know how to tell.
I will continue with the lower intensity but longer rides to see if I will eventually need to step things up
in order to get the ticker up into the proper zones............

What experiences do y'all have using HRM's ??
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Old 08-25-19, 03:26 PM
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I don't know what my HR is except at rest it tends to be in the low 40s. I'd say if you've been off for 2 years it's going to take some time for your heart to get stronger/conditioned to hard efforts. I'm on a bit of a "comeback" myself and I find it very important to take rest days. I ride with people who are faster than I am and we do lot of climbing Saturdays, 25 or 30 fast miles Sunday, off Monday, 40 miles at relaxed pace Tuesday, Wednesday I do a couple hours of hard climbing then Thursday and Friday off, (some Fridays I ride easy for an hour).

I retired in April and this schedule seems to be giving me endurance and power I haven't had for a few years. Did a century a few weeks back and yesterday I did a brutal hot climbing ride which took over 6 hours. I'm 65 and over 200 pounds.

I saw some doctors last summer and they couldn't find anything wrong with my heart and suggested I was getting old when I complained I couldn't go as fast as I used to.

I don't think you can know what your max HR is until you give yourself enough time to get some of your fitness back.

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Old 08-25-19, 04:21 PM
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Work of Breathing

Starting off boldly. For us non-racing types a heart rate monitor will just ruin a fun sport. A much better metric is Work of Breathing. The effects of all the factors involved in your exercise resolve themselves to how hard it is to breath. Minimal effort equals easy breathing. Heavy effort equals difficulty brearhing. Anerobic effort equals gasping for breath.

The heart takes care of itself. You only care that it beats fast enough and with enough volume to support your activity level. When it can't it will tell you by making it harder to breath. Not directly. But that is the effect.

The exception is if you have a documented disease or malfunction that requires keeping loads on the heart low.
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Old 08-25-19, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Hawkowl2 View Post
Starting off boldly. For us non-racing types a heart rate monitor will just ruin a fun sport.................
Totally opposite for this 69yo who has enjoyed having HR visible for many-MANY years. Yesterday rode 70 miles and HR feedback was duly noted. Today I rode 35 miles and did not notice that HR was not recording until too far from house. Big Time Bummer not having it visible for the ride.

r.e. -- " ..... At my age (67) the theoretical max HR is around 153 (+/- depending on the formula used)... "

No "guesstimate formula" is really viable for a MAX HR at any age.

Last edited by OldTryGuy; 08-25-19 at 05:58 PM.
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Old 08-25-19, 06:03 PM
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Sounds about the same as my heart rate experience. My HR matches the formula for my age group (61). Around 165 is my near-maximum without red-zoning. Highest I've gone the past couple of years is 175 during an indoor high intensity interval session.

For the first two or three years back in the saddle I'd occasionally spot check my HR on rest breaks. This year I got a Wahoo Tickr, but it just confirms what I already knew. I wouldn't say it was wasted money, but it's among my lowest value exercise doodads in terms of return on investment. I could have just continued using the BP/HR arm or wrist cuffs I already had for indoor training sessions, and my phone's HR app that uses the camera steady light on a fingertip.

Mostly the Tickr is useful to logging peak intensity HR. Stopping even for a few moments to check the heart rate manually might be slightly off a few ticks.

But I've cut way back on intensity while recovering from injury and illness. I mostly stay in the so-called fat burn and tempo/cardio modes. However that doesn't match the reality of folks in my age group who claim "This will be a tempo ride" before a group ride. Usually I'm okay until around the 35 mile mark of a 50-60 mile ride and I'll fade. If I keep lagging I'll wave the group ahead and finish at my own pace.

The main difference I've noted is that I can hold 160 bpm comfortably longer, and the 145-160 much longer than I could a couple of years ago. But I haven't done any real HIIT for months so I have no idea what my current max HR is. I'd guesstimate it's still around 175.

Biggest difference I've noticed is my resting HR is down to 55-60 now. It used to be 80-90. And it still takes an hour or more for my post-workout HR to drop back below 70. But that's due more to endocrine and metabolic quirks than anything else. I finally had surgery for thyroid cancer last year after 20+ years of thyroid problems from Hashimoto's, an auto-immune disorder. And a broken neck from a 2001 wreck messed up the alignment of my C1 and C2 vertebrae. The docs say nerve impingement may be responsible for my occasional spikes in BP and HR. But other than that my heart and BP seem to be in pretty good shape.

My goal is fitness and stamina for group rides longer than my usual 20-30 mile solo workouts. No more racing, thanks. I'd like to be faster and stronger, but that's just to keep up with group rides not for setting records or anything like that. I've lost 25 lbs since resuming cycling in 2015, and I'm only 5 lbs above my optimal low-fat weight, so that's good enough.
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Old 08-25-19, 06:09 PM
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To the OP, Your situation seems to be similar to mine. I average around 130-135 on a daily basis for a 38 mile ride. Doing that 4-5 times a week, I get similar results. I do peak some in the 150 range when I go uphill (overpasses) and push to see if I can get it into that range. I figure if I push the envelope a bit, it will only make me stronger. Keep riding and it will work itself out.
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Old 08-25-19, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Ronno6 View Post
.
Upon finishing rides with him, at speeds that averaged over 16mph, I would feel really light headed.
A couple thoughts, have you monitored your blood pressure? Try twice/day and then 30-60 minutes of such a ride. Are you taking any BP meds? If so, might want discuss this with your doc.
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Old 08-25-19, 07:37 PM
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If you're seeing stars, or about to puke, you're at the max, at least that's how I gauge it. The max I've recorded this year is 183 (no stars, almost puked). Seven years ago it was 195. Like you, I've gotten serious about riding again after five years off the bike (except for occasional rides), but I don't have high BP. All the zones I mapped out years ago were apparently too high, at least by current recommendations: seems I've been pushing Z4 thinking I was in Z2! lol No wonder I'm fatigued! I'm used to thinking of 150s as endurance. Whoops. Time to recalibrate my thinking.

I've begun using a power meter to more accurately assess effort/workload. I kept my HR at 150 or lower during my "endurance" ride today, but the power meter was not on the bike I was riding, so I'll have to repeat this test another time, with the meter. It will be interesting to see how the power measures correlate to HR between 140 and 150 (what I used to think of as Z2). I'm also looking forward to using power to structure my workouts. I hope to see lower HR with higher power at some point.
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Old 08-25-19, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
A couple thoughts, have you monitored your blood pressure? Try twice/day and then 30-60 minutes of such a ride. Are you taking any BP meds? If so, might want discuss this with your doc.
My BP had been 140+/90+, even while taking 5mg of Norvasc (calcium channel blocker to treat pulmonary hypertension)daily.
Lately it has seemed to drop a bit.....135/70.
I have no explanation for this............

I would be pretty leery of presuming I could push my HR safely into the mid 150's or higher......
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Old 08-25-19, 07:54 PM
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BTW, if you try any of the HR tests in the various video and web tutorials, do it at home on a trainer, or in a gym with a coach and spin bike with all the nifty measuring doodads.

Because if you push to reach that max, guaranteed you'll be on the verge of passing out or puking. Anything short of that won't accurately test your maximum.

Found that out a couple of years ago when I was doing high intensity interval training outdoors on a nearby circuit that's popular locally with pros and serious amateurs. It's a 6-mile elongated, narrow oval loop with rollers on one side and long steady climb and downhill on the other. It's great for intervals.

But not so great in summer heat and humidity. Closest I've ever come to fainting and barfing in training or competition. Never experienced anything like it, even getting knocked down by body shots to the liver as an amateur boxer against more experienced guys with vicious left hooks.

So now I do my interval training indoors only. If I fall off the bike it's carpet on one side and a comfy sofa on the other. And well fed fluffy cats, soft to land on and probably won't eat my dead body. For a few days.

And first work your way up gradually. Sounds like you're already doing that.

And ditto the frustrations of losing some maximum potential with aging. I'm stronger than I was a couple of years ago, but, realistically, I'm getting close to my limit before age forces inevitable limitations. Every time I think I've come close to maxxing out my potential, I'll check Strava for guys my age or a little older, and I'm still generally the slowest of the best 60+ guys in my area. I finally managed a couple of 17 mph averages on my favorite 20 mile route this week. That's some improvement since 12 mph in 2015, 14 mph in 2016, then 15-16 in 2017-'18. But the other guys my age or a little older do that route at 18-20 mph.

On the other hand, if I had the money and could find an appropriate doctor and trainer for medically supervised juicing, I'd darned sure try EPO, steroids, the whole deal. Not for competition. Just curious to experience the effects and enjoy a brief period of rejuvenation before the inevitable.
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Old 08-25-19, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Ronno6 View Post
My BP had been 140+/90+, even while taking 5mg of Norvasc (calcium channel blocker to treat pulmonary hypertension)daily.
Lately it has seemed to drop a bit.....135/70.
I have no explanation for this............

I would be pretty leery of presuming I could push my HR safely into the mid 150's or higher......
I mention this because I was put on an ACE inhibitor some time ago. This year I decided to really try to lose some weight. Lost 20# and some rides this year had me feeling really faint post-ride (20-30 mi. fairly hot weather.) Monitored blood pressure twice daily and after such rides my BP plummeted. Talked to my doc, cut my Lisinopril dosage in half to 5 mg. Problem solved. My resting heart rate has been the 40's for a number of years now. The dizziness was alarming, borderline passing out, a very dangerous situation leading possibly to falls, broken bones or worse. Still recommend a chat with your doc.
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Old 08-25-19, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Ronno6 View Post
I would be pretty leery of presuming I could push my HR safely into the mid 150's or higher......
Why? If you don't have heart problems you should be able to push yourself, no?

At least once you are in some decent fitness.
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Old 08-25-19, 09:04 PM
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
Why? If you don't have heart problems you should be able to push yourself, no?

At least once you are in some decent fitness.
Methinks the last line sums it up.........I'm far from that point.
6'4", 253#, BMI 31.something..........
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Old 08-25-19, 09:37 PM
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I was getting myself into a situation in which I wasn't out of breath but felt like I just had to stop. I stop for a few minutes, then ride for 5-10 minutes and feel I had to stop again repetitively. I got an HRM (Wahoo Tickr Fit) and figured it out. I get to feeling exuberant, my HR would go to 145 for 10 minutes, and then I'd have to limp through the rest of my ride. (I just turned 75, and I'm overweight, so 145 probably isn't very far from my max. I can't imagine doing a 30 minute LHTR test.) The HRM allowed me to stay under 140 until my body could handle it.

This is the first season I've used an HRM, and it's been very useful.
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Old 08-25-19, 09:47 PM
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220-age or any of the other formulas are pretty worthless for individuals. I'm sure you could create a table that shows the correlation between age and shoe size, but would you use that to buy a pair of shoes? Or would you measure your foot?
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Old 08-25-19, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Ronno6 View Post
Methinks the last line sums it up.........I'm far from that point.
6'4", 253#, BMI 31.something..........
I see. Take your time and build slowly, maybe lose a little weight, but keep it fun. That's what keeps me doing it, having fun and enjoying the challenges.
Maybe get your riding friend to cool it a little until you are comfortable at his pace.
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Old 08-25-19, 10:03 PM
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I'm 66. I've hit 170 recently, into the 160s quite a few times and sustained 150s for some hard climbs. all this summer. My max when fit has always been higher than the 220-age formula..

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Old 08-25-19, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by philbob57 View Post
. . . .I got an HRM (Wahoo Tickr Fit) and figured it out. I get to feeling exuberant, my HR would go to 145 for 10 minutes, and then I'd have to limp through the rest of my ride. (I just turned 75, and I'm overweight, so 145 probably isn't very far from my max. I can't imagine doing a 30 minute LHTR test.) The HRM allowed me to stay under 140 until my body could handle it.

This is the first season I've used an HRM, and it's been very useful.
Yes. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that, for the majority of the time I'm on a bike, I should use the HRM as a limiter rather than to try to beat my previous high heart rate record.
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Old 08-26-19, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
220-age or any of the other formulas are pretty worthless for individuals. I'm sure you could create a table that shows the correlation between age and shoe size, but would you use that to buy a pair of shoes? Or would you measure your foot?
I'd have to agree with caloso. HR is a pretty personal and individual thing and it should be measured and viewed that way. I too started to measure my HR using some of the current wisdom and suggestions but found they were way off for my state of health and age. I slowly tweaked my numbers until the exertion I feel matches some of what I'm told I should feel like riding in that particular "Zone". I feel like I'm pretty close but still tweaking my numbers. My biggest revelation was that my max HR number was much lower (10-15 bpm) than what I had originally set it at.

Keep working on it and keep track of how you feel. Tweak the numbers as necessary. The numbers are personal to you and no one else.
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Old 08-26-19, 06:47 AM
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i have been using a HRM, cateye V3 HR, cadence, speedo, for the last 8 years.
i usually start off in the high 80's low 90's and push slightly hard until i get to 130ish and then ease up on effort a bit, shift into a lower gear or lower my cadence or both, and continue on. i watch the HR go down and adjust effort as i go. if my HR doesn't start to go down when i ease up like earlier in the ride i will stop and take a rest.
it's surprising how a drink of water can lower your HR when riding. as other noted if i push to hard i will get light headed. this is a obvious sign that you are pushing to hard so you should back off a bit.
. everyone's body is different. if i let my HR get to the high 140's my fingers get slightly tingly. if i continue on at that pace my fingers and toes get numb. first at the tips and it moves down to the hands. if i slow down the numbness goes away like it began. also if i go over 150's for long i usually get headaches.
i have a significant family history of heard disease so i have had a lot of tests and checks on my heart. every test results are good so the dock's response is that's your body telling you to slow down and i should listen to it. she also says that what i am doing is good and keep at it. i shouldn't worry about it until my HR goes up for no reason or i get unusual chest discomfort when i get high HR.
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Old 08-26-19, 08:56 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by big john View Post
I see. Take your time and build slowly, maybe lose a little weight, but keep it fun. That's what keeps me doing it, having fun and enjoying the challenges.
Maybe get your riding friend to cool it a little until you are comfortable at his pace.
He has no problem slowing when I request him to do so.
We have thought maybe I should set the pace---from the front.
I am good with that.
I just need to determine what pace to set.
Trial and error will be the key...(as well as shedding some pounds....like maybe, 35+...)

I know that any standard formula for determining max HR is not gonna be right for everyone, maybe anyone!
I am using it as a guide.
However, I have determined that averaging 130-131 BPM for 30 minutes to an hour leaves me light headed after the ride,
and pretty much spent for the day.
That 122average for 1-1/4 hour left me feeling good and and functional for the day.
At this time, I think my optimal HR lies somewhere between the 2.
As I reintroduce a few hills into my route, I'm sure the average will rise.
The trick is knowing to say "when."
After all, I AM getting older....and I wish to continue to do so........

I anticipate that the work level should increase to maintain HR, but it shouldn't get to be overly strenuous.
(My hope, anyway.)
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Old 08-26-19, 09:49 AM
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Medications can limit your heart rate making 130bpm or so your limit. The lightheadedness may be a drop in bp after exertion, I experienced this when I would come to a stop when first started back to riding.
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Old 08-26-19, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by wsteve464 View Post
Medications can limit your heart rate making 130bpm or so your limit. The lightheadedness may be a drop in bp after exertion, I experienced this when I would come to a stop when first started back to riding.
When I was in my 40's I was prescribed Norvasc 5mg every other day.
For some reason, the Dr. upped it to 5mg every day, and I felt my riding performance suffered.
When I went back to every other day, I rode well again.
That dosage seemed to work well back then.

But, now I have read that Norvasc eases the burden on the heart, lowering pulse and giving increased exercise capacity.
Dunno what to believe................

Not much history of heart disease in my family,,,maybe maternal grandfather.
He had several heart attacks in his later years, but was not athletic in the slightest.
High BP, on the other hand, is a different story.........
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Old 08-26-19, 10:48 AM
  #24  
big john
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Seems like you have it figured out. I know being patient is tough, I have been overdoing it myself but I can tell I have made gains since April.
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Old 08-26-19, 12:56 PM
  #25  
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Not sure exactly what you mean by "light headed", but if you find that your head gets swimmy when you stand up, then that's dehydration. For me, it will last for a couple hours after the ride unless I drink a ton of extra water.
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