Made it to the top BUT?

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MartAstur
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Made it to the top BUT?

Postby MartAstur » Mon Jan 21, 2013 09:41 am

I started cycling last October and have done quite a lot of climbing as it's pretty unavoidable where I live. Up until the other week I had made it to the top of every climb I had attempted without stopping but finally nature won. I tried a new route that has a climb averaging 6.6% but it has two stretches that are between 15 and 18%. I managed the first part but just couldn't find the energy to finish the second.
I was a beaten man but considering I am 46 have smoked for 30 years and not touched a bike for over 25 years before last October I took the fact that I made it up the first (and steepest at 18%) part as a positive and came away knowing I could conquer the hill in the future.
I'm proud to say this week I gave it another shot and made it to the top without stopping, improved my time by 3 minutes and even got the KOM (only 2 other riders) on the section that doesn't include the first part of the climb. I must admit I nearly keeled over at the top of the second section I was going so slow but I just made it in time and the sense of achievement made the suffering worth it.
Anyway, that's enough of blowing my own trumpet and now to the but;

1. I was giving it everything to get to the top but my Max HR was only 160, in fact the highest my heart rate has ever got to when riding is 163. Is this very low? If so, is it a problem having a low Max HR? I know I should try and establish exactly what mine is but the thought of running (which I believe is necessary to establish your Max HR) has put me off doing it so far.

http://app.strava.com/activities/37808297#611237633

2. Why on Strava is my power always much lower than everyone else's? I think on every single segment I have the lowest watts even though I might be mid table. On one climb I had a VAM of 1003 yet it still showed only 160w. I presume the way Strava calculates it is far from accurate if you haven't got a power meter but I would be interested as to why it calculates mine a lot lower than everyone else's.

Any thoughts on these 2 points would be much appreciated.

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Grill
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby Grill » Mon Jan 21, 2013 09:47 am

1. No, everyone's different. My HR pegs at 160 during climbs and TTs and rarely sees higher unless I'm doing specific turbo work.

2. Strava power estimates are clownshoes. Only way to tell true power is with a PM.
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DaxPlusPlus
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby DaxPlusPlus » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:38 am

MartAstur wrote:2. Why on Strava is my power always much lower than everyone else's? I think on every single segment I have the lowest watts even though I might be mid table. On one climb I had a VAM of 1003 yet it still showed only 160w. I presume the way Strava calculates it is far from accurate if you haven't got a power meter but I would be interested as to why it calculates mine a lot lower than everyone else's.


Your weigh less than the other riders your comparing yourself with?
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DaxPlusPlus
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby DaxPlusPlus » Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:39 am

Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail

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Pross
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby Pross » Mon Jan 21, 2013 13:53 pm

1. No, you don't need to run to establish your maximum cycling heart rate. Heart rate maximums differ for different sports and you probably never reach your maximal heart rate in any of them. To establish your cycling max HR you need to do a ramp test. This is best done on a turbo but can also be done on a long, steady road climb. It basically involves regularly increasing your effort until you reach exhaustion and logging your HR as you progress. You should get a curve (with a brief plateau at your lactate threshold) and at your max it will flatten off.

MartAstur
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby MartAstur » Mon Jan 21, 2013 21:52 pm

Thanks for the feedback. It's good to know I needn't worry about low Max heart rate but best unpack the Turbo and try and establish exactly what it is.
I thought my low watts on strava may be a weight thing but unless everyone around here is very fat but very fit it just didn't add up. Anyway, today I changed my settings on Stava. I changed my bike weight from 8.25kg to 9 to compensate for the extras I have added (saddle bag & tools, two waterbottles etc) and then went for a ride. Bit strange but when I got back and downloaded the ride my Watts were, for the first time, in line with everyones elses and much higher than when I had the bike set at 8.25kg which seems strange for such a minimal change but I'm not complaining.

Thanks again

M

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elderone
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby elderone » Mon Jan 21, 2013 22:27 pm

Well done on the good effort.hard to believe riding a bicycle could be so addictive.
Also where in strave do you change your settings for bike weight etc.
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MartAstur
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby MartAstur » Tue Jan 22, 2013 08:24 am

elderone wrote:Well done on the good effort.hard to believe riding a bicycle could be so addictive.
Also where in strave do you change your settings for bike weight etc.

Thanks @elderone . Yeah it's amazing how you can become addicted to something that is so painful at times but I seriously have the bug.
If you go into settings (drop down menu top right where your name is) and choose 'My Gear' you can add and edit your bike spec. :)

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Bobbinogs
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby Bobbinogs » Tue Jan 22, 2013 13:29 pm

As others have said before, your max heart rate may be actually higher than what you see but that often means that your fitness levels are preventing you from reaching the max. AFAIK, I don't think you can actually increase your HR through exercise, more a case of getting closer to it (happy to be proved wrong).

For reference, I am 48 and fairly fit and have only maxed at around 170ish in the last year or so, more often though it maxes at 165-168 but I figure the variance is probably due to device tolerances.

HR is very useful when used a lot in training so that you understand what is and isn't sustainable. You can use this to train your body so that it learns the feel of sustainability on rides without a HRM... or you can use your HRM to track/manage it all the time. I have improved my performances quite a bit over the last year using this method and to good effect when out with the club a few weeks ago when I was climbing in a very fast group but my stats were way too high despite some climbing to go. So, I did the sensible thing and backed off a bit and went out the back of the group like a pea from a pod...but kept my rate sustainable all the way and then caught/passed several of the group (who had exploded and were peddaling in treacle) on the way to the top. Still a minute off the KOM from the group though. Note to self, more work less beer Bobbinogs :)

nawty
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby nawty » Wed Jan 23, 2013 07:50 am

A rule of thumb for max heart rate is 220 minus your age (there are other rules of thumb too but this is easiest to work out).

It is only a rule of thumb and will vary depending on a few factors but it is generally close enough to work with ONCE you're in a reasonably fit condition (obviously there will be a few outliers but I'm yet to actually meet someone where this isn't roughly correct).

What you can do is to use your HR as a motivation technique - you will see that your average heart rate per given speed will get lower the fitter you get, which is nice. Of course, what you should then do is speed up to account for your improved fitness.

Have a Google for HR zone training - it really is a great way of getting to know your body and knowing how far you can push it.
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g00se
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby g00se » Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:25 am

Rather than max heart rate, a more useful one may be to calculate your Lactate Threshold Hear Rate (sometimes called Functional or Anaerobic Threshold Heart Rate). It means more in terms of training and heart rate zone calculations.

Exercising around this heart rate is great for improving your general power and fitness.

Your max heart rate shouldn't change (apart from a slow decrease over age) which means your heart rate training zones calculated from this are static too. However, as you get fitter, the lactate threshold heart rate increases - which means training zones should change too - to be most effective.

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MartAstur
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby MartAstur » Wed Jan 23, 2013 16:08 pm

Thanks for the comments. I guess my main problem was that I was very unfit when I started cycling in October and my legs would give way before the heart got to speed up much. Since then my times have tumbled on Strava but the inevitable Plateau has now been hit. One encouraging point is that when I reached 163 max hr it was just trying to get to the top of a local climb regardless of time. Now I can climb the same hill faster but with a lower heart rate so all seems to be going in the right direction.
Up until now I have just been riding as much as possible (about 130km per week with 2000+m of climbing) just to build up some base fitness but haven't done any interval training or tried to establish HR, lactate values but I guess I should start doing that now. Because where I live is so hilly, would it be better doing intervals and HR testing on a turbo?

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Grill
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby Grill » Wed Jan 23, 2013 16:12 pm

MartAstur wrote:Thanks for the comments. I guess my main problem was that I was very unfit when I started cycling in October and my legs would give way before the heart got to speed up much. Since then my times have tumbled on Strava but the inevitable Plateau has now been hit. One encouraging point is that when I reached 163 max hr it was just trying to get to the top of a local climb regardless of time. Now I can climb the same hill faster but with a lower heart rate so all seems to be going in the right direction.
Up until now I have just been riding as much as possible (about 130km per week with 2000+m of climbing) just to build up some base fitness but haven't done any interval training or tried to establish HR, lactate values but I guess I should start doing that now. Because where I live is so hilly, would it be better doing intervals and HR testing on a turbo?


Yes for HR test, and it's up to you for intervals.
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MartAstur
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby MartAstur » Wed Jan 23, 2013 19:13 pm

To do an HR test I was thinking of doing 10 min warm up and then 2 full on intervals of 5 mins with a 10 min recovery in between and then a 10 to 20 min warm down. Does that sound OK? or should I just go hell for leather and see what I peak at?

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Grill
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Re: Made it to the top BUT?

Postby Grill » Wed Jan 23, 2013 20:13 pm

No it doesn't. You need to push yourself harder than you've ever thought possible and then a little bit more. Do it on a day you feel really good and do 3 10-20 minute intervals with 5-10 minutes recovery. My advice is to find a good friend to shout abuse at you and also to hold the sick bucket (not a joke). You shouldn't be able to stand afterwards.
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