heart rate vs. cadence

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by gigemaggs99, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. gigemaggs99

    gigemaggs99 New Member

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    I have a quick question. I know the heart rate vs. cadence debate has been talked about a lot, but if you are starting out training, which is more important? I'm riding for fitness, not to compete. I have a book that gives me a work out plan, i.e. ride 1 hour in zone 2 (65-70%) at 80-85rpm. I have a heart rate monitor and cadence on my bike. However, I cannot keep my heart rate that low if I am pedalling that fast. 65-70% for me is more like 70-77rpm, if I pedal 80-85rpm I'm closer to the 70-80%. Can someone enlighten me, which one is more important for now? Heart rate or cadence?
    I assume as my fitness improves, so will my heart rate and my ability to control my cadence, but for now which one should I focus on?

    Thank you!
     
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  2. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    I'd say stay in your HR zone with less emphasis on cadence. In theory, though, you should be able to shift to an easier gear to accomplish your goal (ie, to pedal at the desired cadence without causing your HR to rise above your target). If you're already in your easiest gear, then just stay in zone for a couple weeks until your fitness comes up a little. Good luck.
     
  3. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    You could always downshift and ride slower in order to keep your HR and cadence in the ranges you want. You may be riding at 12 MPH but eventually you'll not be working hard enough to have a HR above your target zones.

    Ric Stern has covered the cadence issue dozens of times. He basically states that one should pedal at a cadence that produces the most power and is comfortable as long as it's between 80 - 100 RPMs.

    Well, something to that effect anyway. A quick forum search will clear it up.



    Note to self: I hope Jan wins the TdF this year so people will quit over-hyping spinning! ;)
     
  4. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    LOL...good question! Here's the response that I got from my coach when I asked the same thing back in the day. My question was a bit more specific, as I was having troubles with maintaining my Foundation Period target ranges due to the impact of rolling terrain in the area where I typically do my rides.

    "We recommend that you spend 95% of your time below the prescribed heart rate ceiling. So if you find that your heart rate is raising above this range for prolonged periods of time and you are unable to control it, I would suggest one of two options. (1) Change out your cassette to allow for a lower gear, even go so far as to have a 27t sprocket in the rear for the winter time. (2) change up the ride routes to not include the hills...though if this is unavoidable and you have no choice but to ride the hills, then go with the first option.

    If you are riding at 27 now and don't want to change anything on your bike, then I would say that as long as you aren't going too far above the ceiling, its not necessarily a negative effect on your training, as we sometimes need to open the throttle once in a while on a ride to keep us sharp. This is why we prescribed Power Starts, Stomps and Fast Pedals during the Foundation Period. While we were looking for an aerobic adaptation in efficiency from the long rides spent below the heart rate ceiling, we still needed to train other aspects of your fitness.

    If you are riding below your ceiling for the majority of the ride, then you are doing it right. No worries!

    Take Care, Train Hard!"


    Over the long haul though, my personal experience has been more along the lines of what Ric usually points out. I found that heart rate was not always the best training indicator. There are too many variables that can affect it from one day to the next - stress level, diet, weather conditions, terrain, etc. The smartest thing that I ever did was to switch to training with power. Once I did that I began to really understand how to use cadence and gearing to get the most efficient production of power. At times it meant that I had to train at a higher heart rate than expected, which in turn meant that at times I had to adapt aspects of my training program in terms of intensity or duration and to allow for proper recovery. Once my fitness and technique improved though, I found that my heart rates began to fall in line with the anticipated targets. Using that ability to achieve power efficiently and get the most out of my conditioning I was able to add intensity and duration without leaving anything on the table. The physiological adaptations that I experienced from there have been more than I ever would have thought possible, especially if I had just been focusing on heart rate.

    Hope this helps. Good luck with it! ;)
     
  5. gclark8

    gclark8 New Member

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    I recently did 15 months of cardio training in a gym. I was taught speed is irrelavent, static bike!

    A target cadence of 90 was set from day 1.

    A target heart rate of 120-130 was also set. (I was age54).

    A time duration of two 5 minutes sessions was set at the begining, this was increased by 1min each week untiil 2 x 30min was achieved, then the time became irrelavent.

    To achieve the required HR and cadence, effort was controlled by a changing the load, the gear lever.

    If your HR is too high and cadence too low, reduce the effort by using the little lever on the right, it changes the gears. :D

    PS: I lost over 50kg this way. And NO road riding until I reached 23 BMI!
     
  6. yitzk

    yitzk New Member

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  7. Triumph

    Triumph New Member

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    Hi! I'd like to know a bit more about this cadence meter you talk about. Where do you buy them and do they incorporate a heart monitor as well? I've never wired myself up before and having ridden for the last two or three years various distances up to 125kms at a go - but generally rides of around 70 kms for charity and personal fitness - am now wondering if I would benefit from this monitoring in order to improve my fitness and endurance further? Current average speeds over these distances on west country roads would be around 16mph so my personal challenge would be to increase speed and also distance...

    Steve (49+ yrs young!)
    28,24,21,18,16,14 with 52,42 and a wheel diameter of 25
     
  8. edd

    edd New Member

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    Heart rate will vary depending on numerous factors not just how hard you are working, 65% to 70% sounds like recovery to me.

    I train mostly around 80% ( that is 70% if you work on working HR )

    ( Working HR is calculated by subtracting the resting heart rate, do the %, then add it back on )

    Book sound to me to be a little on "we don't want to get sued if you have a heart attack" side

    Depending on how fit you are … your perceived max HR will gradually go up then back down. But more importantly you will feel more comfortable at a higher HR

    I try to climb out of the saddle at a cadence of 75 and maintain an in saddle cadence of 95. However this is not always possible because of terrain and at times the need for short burst of speed to catch a bunch of riders will mean big gear low cadence.

    I would really take this book with a grain of salt. if it feels quite comfortable and you can sustain it for hours then what ever that HR maybe is probably what is good for you for the 70% thing they are talking about.

    if you worked out your max HR by 220 minus your age etc. then this could be really a long way out. This formula is BS as everyone is slightly different. I trained with a 30 year old women who could sustain a HR of 213 for over 30 min. that wasn't even her max HR, not by a long shot.

    as for cadence, roll out figures show higher cadences are more efficient in terms of road speed v fatigue. 70 to 110 is the general range, 90 is a very popular cadence for endurance
     
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