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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys question. I've been doing intervals primarily with one 2.5 hr base ride per week for a while (6-10 hrs total/week). I've steadilly been increasing wattage as I improved so that I continue to push myself. The last couple weeks, however, my HR has plummeted. Normally during a 6 minute building interval my HR gets up to 195 (6'0" 158 lbs 20 YO). Since about Wednesday last week though I've been unable to get it above 180. Normally during my recovery spins I'd be at about 165-170, and now I'm down 145-160. I've been increasing the wattage to where my legs just can't take any more to try to compensate but still can't get my HR up.Recovery has been phenomenal too, dropping from 180 to 150 45 seconds in to a recovery spin. I'm pretty new to this but this makes me think I'm missing out on my top end of power by not getting my HR up. Any thoughts on why my HR is down?

Thanks,

Ryan
 

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It's been my experience over the years that the better shape I get in, the lower my HR becomes for any given power level. Seems like when I first started training with HR, I was always well above my zones, and my HR was easy to spike. Not any more.

When I start becoming a little fried, then my HR will be one zone below range, but power will still be in proper range.

When I can't get HR or power in the proper range, then it's time to go home.
 

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If your cycling heart rate has plummeted it's probably a sign that you've been doing quite a bit of training. It's just one of the reasons why using heart rate for your training zones isn't always a good guide to how hard you're trying.

Your power output can be improving and you're still working hard, even when your displayed heart rate suggests that you aren't.

http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?p=7718822&postcount=96

If you have a week or two of recovery then your heart rate should return to its previous higher levels again.:)
 

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I'm also voting for "you need some recovery time." If you are upping your power and your heart rate still won't get up there, overtraining is the most likely culprit. Either that or illness (but you haven't described any symptoms of illness other than that one so that is not as likely the cause).

Do you monitor your a.m. heart rate? It might actually be a few beats higher than normal if overtraining is in fact your problem.
 

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OK, lets back up a bit here.

1 - You are new to training? How much base do you have?
2 - How often (per week) are you doing these intervals?
3 - What sort of testing did you do to establish your HR zones and also what testing to establish Power Zones?
4 - How often are you recovering (days per week? Weeks off per months etc?)
5 - How do you FEEL? Do you feel run down, tired, grumpy? If you feel "off", time to recover. Listen to your body.


Just a few notes.

Your "recovery" HR is really high, most go much lower for true HR recovery between intervals (like 120-130 BPM). So I don't think you are really recovering between intervals like you should.

Your new HR during the interval (180) sounds more in line with what a fit racer will be at, usually really high HR is normal in less fit people. So if you used to hit 190s at a certain wattage, but now only can hit 180, it might be your fitness has improved.

You don't need to go to your MAX HR, go to your max effort, no matter what your HR does.

Lower HR can be many things. Overtraining is one, I am guessing you are probably reaching too far, too early, specially if you are new to this. I've been training and racing for 10 years and only do 2 or 3 high efforts per week, usually 2. All other time is spent at a pretty moderate/easy level and I see improvements every year.

Dehydration, lack of rest, illness. All other options.

But I would suggest, the best thing you could do it probably take a recovery week. Recovery is the time where your body actually adapts, JUST as important as the training, specially if you have been doing lots of hard efforts.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Newtrailhead-

1. I started riding in august, and mid November I started training once I decided I wanted to race. Since the start of the year I've put in 350 miles.
2. Mondays and Tuesdays I do 3x6 minute building intervals, 30 min 80% fpw watts, and 5x30 second intervals, plus 10 min warmup and cooldown. Total time 96 mins. Tue and thurs I do 3x6 with 10 wu and cooldown, 50 min total. Fridays I do a 2 to 2.5 hr base ride. Saturdays I might go ride some trails or jog, and Sunday is my day off. Last couple weeks the snow has closed my gym so I didn't get to ride the last 2 Tuesdays.
3. No testing. What do I need to do for this?
4. I take every sunday off. Last couple weeks I've also gotten tuesdays.
5. I feel great. I've been pushing hard with my wattage to get my hr up but it just has been peeking at 180, which is new for me.

I'll try lowering my recovery hr over the next week. I've been feeling great on and off the bike so I don't feel like I'm over exerting myself.

Thanks!
 

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ryguy135 said:
Hey guys question. I've been doing intervals primarily with one 2.5 hr base ride per week for a while (6-10 hrs total/week). I've steadilly been increasing wattage as I improved so that I continue to push myself. The last couple weeks, however, my HR has plummeted. Normally during a 6 minute building interval my HR gets up to 195 (6'0" 158 lbs 20 YO). Since about Wednesday last week though I've been unable to get it above 180. Normally during my recovery spins I'd be at about 165-170, and now I'm down 145-160. I've been increasing the wattage to where my legs just can't take any more to try to compensate but still can't get my HR up.Recovery has been phenomenal too, dropping from 180 to 150 45 seconds in to a recovery spin. I'm pretty new to this but this makes me think I'm missing out on my top end of power by not getting my HR up. Any thoughts on why my HR is down?

Thanks,

Ryan
Over training syndrome...You need to include more rest days, and may need to take a week or two off to get back at it properly.
 

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You are better trusting your power and RPE in junction rather than HR.

Usually I experience higher HR on bad days and half a zone lower on good days. With that said, I've developped "tricks" to raise my HR.
1) Do bursts (sudden pace changes)
2) Pedal standing
3) Spin faster cadence

It's completely irrelevant to training, they are just situations where I know my HR will rise so I'm not worried if I see my HR reach 175+ on rolling hills where I sprint uphills with fast pedaling on the other side. Basically I use these as guidelines to race intelligently (and I know I need major improvements in that regards).
 

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OK, a couple of people have already hinted at this (and I'll temper my own statement below) . . . . but . . . . Who Cares? . . . . If you can still put out the power (which you said you can) and you don't feel ill, it usually doesn't matter what your HR is. You don't win a race for having the highest HR.

Now, that's not the whole truth, and it's overstated. But, I think it's an important thing to remember, namely: a high HR doesn't win races and it doesn't make you go faster. People are sometimes unduly concerned about hitting a high HR, without a strong reason to worry about it.

Maybe (a big maybe) your suppressed HR indicates that something is amiss (such as maybe it's time to rest--as someone already said), but not always. It could just as easily mean that your heart is stronger and it can pump more blood per stroke (as someone else already said). It could also simply mean that you're in the middle of a strong training block, during which HR can be suppressed and there is not necessarily anything wrong with that. Also, most people can hit their HR max (or nearly so) the easiest when they are very rested (a week or more of easy riding and rest).

In the end, usually if you're still able to put out power and don't otherwise feel ill, you can probably not worry about it. If it continues for a couple of weeks (even after some rest somewhere in that time) and you aren't ill, then maybe you should adjust your HR training zones (because your heart is stronger).

My two cents. Good luck!!
 

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I think it is smart to train with power, but monitoring your heart rate can be really useful for many reasons even if you have a power meter. In this instance, an inability to get your heart rate closer than 15 beats to your recent maximum when you are putting out max efforts is something that deserves some attention.

I think most concur you should get some rest. As pointed out, you adapt when you rest anyway. A recovery week is the most sensible thing. I would say that is especially true given you are relatively new to training. Your body is more likely to need rest if it isn't used to consistent training.

Have you read any of the excellent books out there? The Mountain Biker's Training Bible and Racing and Training with a Power Meter would be excellent. They will give you a much better idea of the intensities at which you should train, especially since you've got the power meter. Intervals where you hit a max effort really ought to be a very small part of most everyone's training plan, especially new riders.
 

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Text book case of overtraining. I'm not going to be the one to tell you approximately how long it will take to recover because you won't listen anyway. Enjoy the view from the long, low plateau you've built.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'll be doing a little rest. Took today off and will follow suit tomorrow and Sunday. Get back at it Monday and see if I can get above 180 then. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
 

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ryguy135 said:
I'll be doing a little rest. Took today off and will follow suit tomorrow and Sunday. Get back at it Monday and see if I can get above 180 then. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
You shouldn't be trying to max out your HR, that's not the point.

You should be doing a "field test" to determine your LT (lactate threshold) and be using percentages of that to determine your training heart rate zones. Since it seems you're really serious about training, I suggest you pick up a copy of "training with heart rate" or "mountain bikers training bible" both written by Joe Friel.
 

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GlazedHam said:
Text book case of overtraining. I'm not going to be the one to tell you approximately how long it will take to recover because you won't listen anyway. Enjoy the view from the long, low plateau you've built.
haha, my new signature :thumbsup:

I believe I read that when your doing max effort intervals, your heart rate is irrelevant anyway. That may be in the training bible, or time crunched cyclist, or both.
 
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