Heart Rate Training and Time Trial

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by flh, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. flh

    flh New Member

    Feb 24, 2010
    Likes Received:
    HI guys,

    I would like to start training for a time trial next year 2012. I am located in frigid Canada so I will be indoor from November until probably March-APril and weight traiing.

    My question is easy:
    Is it possible to create a good training plan based only on heart rate monitoring (no power meter) for such an event?

    Also, if the answer is yes, Do you know a heart-rate based training program that I could chew on.

    Many thanks


  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    Likes Received:

    Regardless of whether you're monitoring heart rate, perceived exertion or power to give you training feedback the training itself is really the same. If you plan to specialize in time trials your key focus should be on aerobic fitness, which basically comes down to pure Threshold work, as well as Tempo and Endurance pace work to fill out most weeks during the winter and perhaps some focused short interval VO2 Max work as important races and especially shorter time trials approach in the spring. Search these forums or the web in general for information on Sweet Spot Training (SST), yeah most of it is described in power terms but you can reference the same levels to heart rate terms relative to your Threshold heart rate which you can estimate a lot of ways but taking your average heart rate for the final 20 minutes of a full out 30 minute effort is a very good starting place.

    Once you have Threshold heart rate you can map that to VO2 Max (L5), Threshold(L4), Tempo (L3), and Endurance (L2) zones with a little help here: http://home.trainingpeaks.com/articles/cycling/power-training-levels,-by-andrew-coggan.aspx

    Basically SST boils down to accumulating as much 'quality' time as you can manage while still balancing overall workload and recovery so you can stay on the program for the extended periods of time it takes to see results. There's not a lot of magic to it, just a lot of relatively long, relatively hard sustained intervals typically in the 15 to 45 or even 60 minute range. A lot of folks do these indoors on a trainer and it's not a ton of fun but it does yield results if you stick with it. These are good for many road cyclists looking to build sustainable power and lay down a solid base for more race specific work in the spring but are really good for time trial specialists as basically you're training via sustained mini time trials backed off just enough to get through the sessions and to get through the weeks and to recover reasonably well on your moderate or easier days. They do a great job of developing not only the physiology but also the mental focus and pacing skills essential to time trialing.

    In the end it doesn't really matter how you measure your efforts, what counts most is that you make the efforts and do the training. The real data is stored in your legs but yes you can track this sort of training just fine with a HR monitor and levels based on Threshold HR.

    Good luck,
  3. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

    Nov 25, 2010
    Likes Received:
    In addition to knowing where my HR should be for a given duration I know what my average speed should be over that duration on a fluid trainer. Doing this is second best to using a power meter to provide your average power output, as it should take the same power from one interval to the next to maintain the same average speed. I also use this to determine how prepared I am to complete an interval, for example my average HR over my 20 min interval on my trainer is 167-168bpm and my average speed is around 24.3mph, if I am at 169bpm and am not able to hit 24.2mph it is best to scrap the effort and allow for a longer recovery before I give it another go.....My speed vs. your speed is meaningless even using the same trainer, it is all about your speed on the specific trainer you use..

    You can always find some relation to power training zones and HR training zones and basically do the same workouts using HR, however there are a couple of things to remember:

    -HR is always a bit delayed meaning that it will take around 30 seconds for your HR to reflect the power effort, both increasing and decreasing power.

    -HR and PE will not pick up if you are over training or are not in the right form to complete the effort, this is where knowing what speed you should be at on the trainer comes in handy.

    -HR and PE will not pick up some environmental aspects such as temperature, hydration, etc., again this is where knowing what speed you should be putting out will come in handy..

    With regards to the actual TT knowing your HR is important, just keep in mind that your effort will take time to reflect in your HR, so start easy and let your HR climb and stabilize then evaluate what more you can put out (if you are evaluating how much less you should be putting out you started to hard). If you are holding your threshold HR and still feel good at the halfway point of the TT increase your effort a bit and reevaluate how you feel. The last 1/4 to 1/8 of your TT, especially a short TT don't be afraid to really increase your effort and really focus on PE, as sometimes you will be able to hold a higher HR in a race than in a training effort. After the TT look at your average, if it is higher than your training HR over the same duration then use this for the next TT effort. This is not as ideal as having a wattage to focus on, but if you are like me and most others who don't have the $ for a PM then it is as good as it gets.....