This is an archive of the old forum

News | Gear | Ski Areas | Hiking | Mountain Biking
Powered by Google™
The red zone
Posted: 28 July 2011 04:20 PM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

How far into the red could and should you go when cycling or skiing?

I’m talking heart rate here.

I’ve just turned 47 (omg) so in theory my max heart rate is 220 - 47 which gives 173. I guess the red zone is that less 10-20% depending on who you listen to. So we are talking about the 145-173 bpm range.

Well that’s fine and dandy but I did my usual training ride the other day but strapped on a heart rate monitor (Polar) which showed I climbed 45 minutes at a pretty constant 193 bpm (I don’t think my heart can beat any faster) then dropping down to 15 minutes at 170 bpm.

Seems a bit dumb but the problem I had was gearing, with the bike I was using and the hill grade (all the hills out of the valley are steep) in order to pedal reasonably efficiently I had to put out that kind of effort, hence the heart rate. Of course I’m about to change the gearing on this bike to keep a more reasonble cadence/hr when climbing.

Of course my polar may have been misreading.

Posted: 29 July 2011 08:09 AM   [ # 1 ]  
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  543
Joined  2006-01-24

you can probably just find a better formula grin there’s plenty to choose from, odd though I’m not aware of one that includes altitude which is weird given that resting and exercise heart rate will elevate.

nothing like an HRM to worry you though. My resting rate is pretty low but I can really quickly get to a high bpm particularly on the the bike then it drops, on average on the bike I’m at 130 on average. I’m sure someone told me, or I read, that you add 10 or20 bpm to the formulas for fitness but I can’t recall a reference for that.

 Signature & B&B L’Epicéa, Leysin, Switzerland

Posted: 29 July 2011 09:53 AM   [ # 2 ]  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  31
Joined  2005-02-06

Any formula to work out max heart should be taken with a pinch of salt as we are all differant. 

For instance I’m 42 max HR 196, this was measured in a lab at the end of a ramp test so pretty accurate, my skiing, cycling and drinking buddy same age similar weight and fitness, same test had a max of 181.

Your max HR is only relevant to work out training zones, the max on its own is just a figure and prettty irrelevant.

Posted: 29 July 2011 12:47 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

I’ve noticed my max HR dropping off with age, a few years ago and I could easily go over 200 on a hard climb, now impossible to push over 195.

Like Ian the HR monitor thing scares me, I find my HR increases very very quickly with exercise.

The training zone thing is important for what kind of fat/sugar is burned. Seems like a moderately hard workout is best, say HR of 120-140bpm, which would probably be doing the garden for me grin.

Posted: 04 August 2011 04:53 PM   [ # 4 ]  
Total Posts:  17
Joined  2005-07-28

Have a look at the Polar Forum, you’ll find lots of discussions on this and other subjects like this one for example:
If you are not familiar with it I’d recommend the diary where you can log all your fitnes data etc. Also the 220 - your age formula is a very general rule and varies considerably depending on fitness levels (I’m no expert but this is what I’ve read from several sources) I’m 50 and my HR max is around 196 so I don’t think you’re unusual for someone who is fit. Hope this helps.

Posted: 05 August 2011 11:16 PM   [ # 5 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Interesting stuff, this thread had some more information, related to cycling

anyway rear casette has changed from an 11-26 to a 13-28, 28 is the max my Campy short cage mech will take. The x28 lets me climb my local hill just about in the comfort zone, the loop goes from 235m to 1001m with the main climb from 260m to 960m (this takes me 40 minutes - which gives me a climb rate of 1050m / hr, ok I’m more Panini than Pantani).

Posted: 09 August 2011 12:41 PM   [ # 6 ]  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  34
Joined  2005-05-26

While a HR of 196 may seem like you are fit its maybe the opposite, a good training plan will get you faster and stronger and paradoxically hitting HR max becomes, much, much harder.  HR is too variable a measure at any rate as “HR Drift” makes it inaccurate and its best to some extent to go on how you feel as perceived effort say on a scale of 1:10 and relate it to HR On a regular basis.  If using HR to monitor effort, take your waking resting HR and also (if not suffering from any medical conditions and healthy) on a day when well recovered, exercise to HR max. That then gives you a more accurate HR zones to train with. This has to be repeated as your heart muscle changes with increasing stroke volume which will change the HR most noticeable as a lower resting HR.  The polar zones are very rudimentary so try something like the simple one at although if really serious there are even better ones.  I wouldn’t get hung up on HR but make a plan and ride often with enough recovery, and on a regular basis go into the orange zone maybe even touching the red briefly as intervals like 1min ON/2OFF x 6 and also go for quality miles as well as ones when you need to recover.  This is assuming you are trying to get fitter/faster/Stronger.

I race a lot and these days (even as a Vet) we train more on power as its more accurate.  You will hear a lot more talk these days of an athletes “numbers” which relates among other things to their watts per Kg weight, and the power they can deliver in sprints or sustain in a time trial (which are very different).  This can be very roughly correlated to HR but its not that accurate. I certainly find that skiing and mountaineering wise a good training plan on the bike (running buggers the knees) gives you a very good engine that allows hard days when younger men seem to be slobbering wrecks, and the old guys are fine.  Maybe more like a Landrover than a Ferrari, but still going strong at the end.