Author Topic: HR monitoring - not got power meter  (Read 2949 times)

HR monitoring - not got power meter
« on: March 27, 2017, 11:05:33 am »
Basically I'll probably never have the spare cash to put towards a power meter so I'm left with RPE or HRM.

With this in mind I'm curious as to obtaining maximum HR. The rather basic 220 minus your age gives me a figure that i regularly beat. Today I was back on my bike after about 4 months off my bike. On my commute up the one easy hill I got 2bpm over my theoretical maximum according to that formula and I had something left to give. I'd been pushing it considering the length of time off a bike and doing very little exercise in those months.

So the question I have is whether there's an easy calculation or adjustment I can use? I reckon the only way I can get a meaningful figure for my MHR is by doing a test. Is it the ramp test? What's the best way of doing this?

The other question concerns equipment. I use a Garmin premium strap with a Garmin edge 25 (basic but I'm not a serious athlete and at £45 it's enough for me). The Garmin edge 25 gives HR zone. This I don't really get. For example i was 2bpm over my theoretical MHR and it was reading 5.5. I got up to 5.8 I think at one time. I thought they had 1 to 5. What's with the decimal point?

Just out of curiosity, I'm mostly running comfortably in the 4.4 to 4.7 range with brief drops to 3.3 and a couple of spikes as high as 5.7. Using RPE as a guide, 4.4 to 4.7 seems like a sustainable pace. To me it feels more like zone 3 IIRC that's the pace you can comfortably maintain for some time. When i used to run i used the holding a conversation or singing/humming a tune test to keep myself at that level of effort. Zone 4 should be a bit harder right?

Basically i need to get a better idea of my zones. Any sneaky trick to get this information?

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2017, 11:23:13 am »
Don't know the answer to your question but (a) Have a look at Decathalon HRM etc stuff for value and (b) the 200-age gives me around 160 where my actual is 185 andunchanged for a few years, so it deffo doesn't always work.

PaulF

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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2017, 11:36:58 am »
220 is a guideline or a starting point, not an absolute rule, you need to do a test to work yours out. And it will change over time...

Karla

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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 11:46:46 am »
Basically, yes it's a ramp test.  You want to get throughly warmed up and accelerate your heart up to its max before you get tired.  The maximum I've seen is 197 (about 10 over the number predicted by the formula), which was at the end of one of our club time trial loops that finishes with a fairly steep hill - so I'd had maybe 40 minutes ride out, 15 warm up, 30-35 TT with the maximal hill effort at the end. 

A Garmin strap is about as good as you're going to get - you can always validate it against holding your finger next to your wrist/neck if you really want.  The Edge isn't the machine doing the counting so that won't affect the accuracy.

Zones: can you just turn them off?  They're just converting one number into another by some scaling factor.  Rather than thinking Zone 4.3 or 4.7, you might as well just thing HR 150 or 160.

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 12:46:16 pm »
Years ago with a cardiosport hrm i got to the 220-age figure. It felt like i was at my limit. That was when i was late 20s i guess and it was going up a steep hill after about 30 minutes at an average of 18mph over a few hills (one downhill regularly got me up to +50mph). Now at mid 40s i think I'm slightly fitter for my age compared to late 20s. I think that could be why the 220-age no longer seems to work.

There's different fields you can choose on the hr screen. I just thought reading and zone were the most useful. Only two fields on the edge 25 hr screen.

T42

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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 12:54:31 pm »
A Garmin strap is about as good as you're going to get - you can always validate it against holding your finger next to your wrist/neck if you really want.

Just don't press too hard. A couple of years back I took my pulse on the carotid and suddenly the world went kinda swimmy.

Re Garmin straps, I found last week that they work best if you change the batteries occasionally.  :-[
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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 05:40:18 pm »
mhr can be found out by doing a ramp test (a very tough test), otherwise it's only guesswork. another meaningful number is lthr (lactate threshold hr) - the intensity you can sustain for one hour.
when training with power meter and hr belt i always see big inconsistencies with the heart rate - it's good to know for the sake of knowing, but i wouldn't rely on it for training. it's better than nothing though to give a rough idea.

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 06:59:37 pm »
220-age for me was off by 25.   Maxed at 205 at age of 40.   This was during a ramp test.

If you can't do a ramp test then do a decent warm up.   Find a steep hill and sprint up it.   When you feel like you have nothing left to give push on for a few more seconds.   It'll give you a good idea.   For me ur still underestimated a bit.

Once you have this number there's a zone calculator on the British Cycling website.

I don't have a power meter and do the majority of my work by HR/RPE.   You can make a decent amount of progress this way.

I'm on my second Garmin HR strap.   The first one gave me a few random readings after about a year.   The current one drops connection to the Garmin now and again.

Pedal Castro

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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2017, 07:26:24 pm »
As said above, the 220-age or the other supposed more accurate formulae, is only a ball park figure. Also i would say that knowing it is not as useful as knowing your anaerobic threshold HR. Although there are any number of test protocols initially if you just keep an eye on your HR during a range of rides (particularly hilly) you will be able to work out the HR value that sends you into the red. This will give you a starting point. To set zones from that value just Google heart rate training zones.

I recently wrote a blog post on training with HR having decided that I find HR a better training aid than a power meter most of the time unless doing intervals shorter than 10'. http://www.nrtoone.com/home/?p=1137


Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2017, 07:32:59 pm »
I recently wrote a blog post on training with HR having decided that I find HR a better training aid than a power meter most of the time unless doing intervals shorter than 10'. http://www.nrtoone.com/home/?p=1137

Useful piece.  That's in line with what I was told when starting to work with my coach.   I asked if I really needed a power meter and was advised, based on my target distances, that we could manage without.   I do shorter intervals on the turbo using speed/cadence.

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2017, 08:14:45 pm »
This might sound a bit of a stupid question, but if a ramp test is basically a warm up then going as hard as possible until you have to give up. How can you tell if you've given everything?

For example, today i decided to start a wind up leading to the mid point little hill. In was looking at the HR screen on the edge 25 watching the bpm and zone go up as I gradually raised the effort levels. Then after that flat wind up I went hell for leather as the hill hit. It's a hill with an easing off then another little moderately steeper bit towards the top. I got to zone 6.0 and just decided "sod this for a lark" and sat up. That was at the 220-age bpm. So if that was everything then the formula is right.

The reason for my question about maxing out is because i felt another day I'd have more. I think it was my mind not being up for it not the body. Mind you i felt like I'd run out of energy straight after. Either the effort was maximal or nutrition wasn't enough before the ride so I ran out of energy.

Anyway I'm not convinced 220-age is right, today wasn't a good test for me. BTW just now the only opportunity for testing is at this midpoint hill on my 30 minute commute. At 15 minutes warm up and ramp up. Not very good but could it give me a better idea of MHR for the HRM zones.

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2017, 08:20:22 pm »
So if that was everything then the formula is right.

The formula isn't going to be "right" for individuals.

Taking the general population as a whole, and a formula of the form:-

    HRmax = x - age

Then the best fit for the general population is with a value of x = 220. Any other value gives a worse fit for the general population.

There are 'better' fit formulae that are more complicated, but 220 - age is the best fit for the general population involving nothing more complicated than age and subtraction.

As others have said, do maximal efforts (with a warm up) and if you see a bigger number then that's your new HRmax. Also don't rely on a figure from years ago.

FWIW the max I can see when cycling (even doing similar tests to those described above) is about 15bpm down on what I can get playing 5-a-side football.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2017, 09:41:42 pm »
the simplest would be to book in a gym with wattbikes, and to a 3-minute test one time, and a max ramp test another

JJ

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2017, 11:20:56 am »
the simplest would be to book in a gym with wattbikes, and to a 3-minute test one time, and a max ramp test another

+1 to this, or a rowing machine, or a treadmill
By the very nature of HRmax, testing for it is best done in a safe environment where it won't matter if the world turns a funny colour and you can't see to steer.

However, as I think others said upthread, it's not the most useful training value for (most forms of) cycle sport.  Clever watches like to use it, and sometimes HRrest to set zones, but those zones are pretty arbitrary unless you set them explicitly in relation to your aerobic/anaerobic threshold.  Some watches let you do that.

Joe Friel is good on the subject https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/joe-friel-s-quick-guide-to-setting-zones/

For those who haven't got a HRM or a power meter.  Z1 = can sing, Z2 = can chat away, Z3 = can speak sentences, Z4 = can speak words, Z5 = Foxtrot Oscar and leave me alone

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 10:36:26 am »
Bit of an old thread, and only just spotted this, but the 220 BPM minus your age to determine max HR is flawed and was recognised as such as soon as it came out but it was never challenged and remain to this day so do not even use it. If you read up on it, they carried out trials on another 43 methods all similar and concluded that no acceptable formula works, but it might for the odd individual person, just like astrology, 12 birth signs, a daily prediction for each what will happen that day, for some it comes true but for the majority it does not. How often does 1/12th of the World get rich in one day if that was the prediction. To show how innacurate it is, I am 62, therefore using the formula, my Max HR should be 158BPM, but it is way out, my max HR is 196. As my doctor says to me"You have a very unnatural healthy heart" and even the nurse who does my medicals can only accept the figures after I tell her that I do a lot of cycling and keep fit.

Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2017, 05:28:37 pm »
If only two or three people had already posted that information in this thread...

</grumpy>
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mattc

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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #16 on: May 16, 2017, 08:19:02 pm »
If only two or three people had already posted that information in this thread...

</grumpy>
;D

To be fair, I think you'll find that almost half the posts in this thread DONT include that information.
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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #17 on: May 16, 2017, 11:40:08 pm »
Ah, do some people only read the dark grey posts rather than all of them?

Woo: Dark grey post win! Fail.
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Re: HR monitoring - not got power meter
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2017, 10:40:35 am »

For those who haven't got a HRM or a power meter.  Z1 = can sing, Z2 = can chat away, Z3 = can speak sentences, Z4 = can speak words, Z5 = Foxtrot Oscar and leave me alone


THIS.

Also Z6 = Can't even tell someone to FO.

Heart Rate lags so far behind power/effort that it's really only useful for long efforts of several minutes in a zone.  For short, high-intensity, intervals then the "how hard is it to speak?" perceived effort above is as good as anything.

I go to Wattbike classes and, as someone mentioned already, it's a good way to map actual Watts/Zones to perceived effort, even just once.  Do you know anyone with a Wahoo Kickr or similar that you could use?
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