heres why i dont use a heart rate monitor

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by ewan52, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. ewan52

    ewan52 New Member

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    i dont use a heart rate monitor for any of my training. i can see the logic in using a heart rate monitor for lower intensity rides and i think that it could be a good idea for some people. however on occasions i have been riding with people and when they have reached a hill they have made an effort to ride slowly up the hill just to maintain their zone. i dont agree with this at all. i believe in varying the level of effort even on my long rides is preferable to staying within the confines of zones. this doesnt mean i put the hammer down on all of my rides but it means that i utilize changes of speed and effort sensibly and appropriately.

    when you watch professional cycling you often hear the cyclists talk about a lack of racing and race miles, the elite cyclists that i know just race and include easy rides inbetween. obviously racing is completely unaffected by a heart rate monitor yet this is where the professionals get all of their in season fitness from, i think this proves that you dont have to use a heart rate monitor to experience fitness gains from cycling and as races are treated by elite cyclists as the most important source of fitness it also shows that training with a heart rate monitor is not the best way to improve when attempting 'quality' training sessions. attempting to simulate a race effort is the best way to improve fitness outside of racing itself and this is best achieved through interval sessions and other efforts where a heart rate monitor is not used, after all you wouldnt slow down in a race if your HRM told you too. i think restricting intensity may be an issue for the regular racing cyclist inbetween races but for those who dont race and want to experience fitness gains through intense training sessions i see no reason to use a HRM for these particular sessions. if you dont know your body then it might be a good idea too use one to prevent yourself from going too hard in easier sessions but i know mine well and am able to ride with discipline when it is needed.

    i am a 15 year old youth cyclist who rides for a basque team called Fonorte. when i get older and my training volume increases i may use a a heart rate monitor to ensure my easy rides are easy enough but i dont think i will ever use one for high intensity efforts.
     
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  2. GatorTrek

    GatorTrek New Member

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    I certainly wouldn't try to talk anyone into using a HRM if they didn't desire to use one. I know some good triathletes that train almost exclusively by PE or perceived effort.

    I, however, am a gadget geek and like to use one. I don't however, take it easy going up a hill to maintain a zone unless it is a recovery ride.

    Here is the kicker. There are some days when I am riding up an inlcine and feel (PE) like I am going all out. Then, I look down and see that my heart rate is not that high. Other days, I feel the same way and look down and see that it is really the case, as my heart rate is high.

    As I said, if you want to train by PE, that is fine and many do. I enjoy seeing my numbers and especially the way they vary according to PE on a given day.

    To each his own.
     
  3. ebola

    ebola New Member

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    I was just about to post a question about HR and adrenaline.

    Is it the case that adrenaline can affect HR ? -e.g. going faster downhill... or mentally focussing on trying to catch another rider)

    These are things i notice when watching my HRM when i ride i.e. HR will rise with less perceived effort in those situations
    - but the question is, does the adrenaline make you work harder (i.e. lower the perceived effort) , or does it artificially rase the HR such that it's no longer related to effort.
     
  4. GatorTrek

    GatorTrek New Member

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    In my humble, yet non-scientific opinion - Yes. Just check it after a dog has chased you!
     
  5. graf zeppelin

    graf zeppelin New Member

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    This is also why I, imho, see the need for some sort of training gadget as well. I usually dont let a HRM determine flatly how I will ride unless I am strictly limiting myself to a recovery ride. PE is a bit unreliable for me. Hard to determine just how much of an effort to exert during a training interval without some sort of feedback. Its also pretty rewarding to glance down at the HRM while climbing a hill and realize that your HR is in a great range. Having the data on graphs to look at back at home is also fun as well as useful. I ride with a HRM every ride. Not that I would try to convince someone who didnt want to use one that they should. It adds another level to cycling and some just want to ride and arent concerned with these sorts of things, though its beyond m how they train that way. Me on the other hand - looking to also add a power meter system soon. Mmm. Gadgets. :p
     
  6. li0scc0

    li0scc0 New Member

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    I am not a great cyclist by any means. But a little example from 2005 will explain why I swear by the Heart Rate Monitor.

    In March, a teammate and I had practically the same level of fitness. We had both trained diligently in the offseason and had good spring form. From April through August we trained practically the same number of hours each week. He trained without an HRM, I trained with one.

    He used to give me a hard time in March and April because he would send me information on how he was averaging 20, 20.5, 21 miles per hour on his training rides and I was only averaging, say, 19 or 19.5 mph. However, he treated each ride like a mini time trial while I did intervals in certain heart rate zones, and kept my average heart rate around, say, 128-130 BPM.

    By August he was still averaging 20-21mph and going all out, but I was averaging 21-22 mph at 130 BPM.

    Again, this is a very simplistic example and is not necessarily apples-to-apples. But by using a Heart Rate Monitor I was able to monitor my training and my intervals in order to achieve greater success than if I did not use this tool.
     
  7. ewan52

    ewan52 New Member

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    i can see your point and your training was obviously more effective than your friends. this was because you did intervals and undertook a variety of training sessions. but did maintaining a certain heartrate increase the benefit that each interval session had to your condition? when you were doing short intervals did you ever hold yourself back because your HRM told you to? intervals should be performed at different intensitys but i dont think that a HRM is needed for pace judgement.
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    It artificially raises the HR in anticipation of an increase in effort. Most of the benefit of training occurs in the muscle cells and the amount of work they do, rather than how fast the heart beats in response.
     
  9. li0scc0

    li0scc0 New Member

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    Perhaps I was not clear enough. For example, we both did 'Tempo' intervals, but I was able to determine an intensity for my tempo interval. So yes, I did hold myself back if my 'Tempo' was turning into Steady State or a Power Interval!

    The Heart Rate monitor was integral to the workout and interval session as a device to keep me within the proper Heart Rate Range.
     
  10. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    I don't use an HRM for intervals anymore. But for base miles, recovery rides and even some Tempo rides I'll use one. They're especially useful to let me know when I've recovered from an interval.

    Here it is in mid July with the temps in the low-to-mid 90's and my heart rates have jumped an easy 5 beats per minute for the same level of output as a few weeks ago when the weather was 10 degrees cooler.
     
  11. helmutRoole2

    helmutRoole2 New Member

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    They're good for time trials. Of course, you've got to train with one to know where your limit registers on it. Most guys have a magic number they can maintain for 5, 10, 20, and 30 mins. It's also helpful on long road races if you're planning on an early break.
     
  12. Trekrider4812

    Trekrider4812 New Member

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    I like to use a HR Monitor because it keeps me easygoing on my recovery rides, lets me know if I'm fully recovered and ready for a hard workout, and especially for how many calories I burn (polar Owncal calorie counter). When you train 2-3 hours a day at varying intensities, calorie counting can easily become guess work. My hunger is curbed after hard rides and I didn't use to eat much--if anything--afterwards. I figured I was fine because if my body needed food I would feel hungry. However, I ended up losing 15 pounds (from 160) in 2 months and realised alot of the time I was in a 1000 calorie deficit or more everyday. My body fat percentage at 160 was 9% by the way; I ended up losing muscle and lowering that number to 6-7%. Figuring my basal metabolic rate in summation with my calories burned during exercise, I now eat a lot more and feel better too.

    HR Monitors are useful for moral boosters as well (being able to hold what was once a hard pace with a low HR). Oh yea, they are also a good indicator of telling if you're dehydrated, since HR will increase if PE remains the same. I am sure there's a bunch of other uses, I'd just have to do the research.

    Are they essential? Of course not. The world's greatest cyclists don't stare at their information and numbers like they are the law of their training regimen. I do however think they are very useful and are a wise tool to use in conjuction with a PM or with using PE.
     
  13. MY02_STi

    MY02_STi New Member

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    I only pay attention to my HRM (its a Polar S625X so it gives me speed, time etc etc as well as HR) on recovery days outdoors, on long group rides where I can use it to stay as 'relaxed' as possible ;) and long aerobic/endurance type rides (also because my road bike doesn't, and won't have, a power meter fitted :p - see my avatar and signature for the reason)

    The majority, if not all (except for some spirited group races...my bad, that should be group rides ;) ), of my interval work is done indoors with a power meter.

    I've found that for long (10:00 to 30:00 lets say) 'hard' (L4 Coggan, L5A Friel)) efforts that by holding power constant, my HR drifts upwards, sometimes well above what would normally be my upper HR limit for that particular effort.

    For shorter (3:00 to 5:00) more 'intense' efforts (L5 and L6 Coggan, L5B and L5C Friel), again by holding power constant, HR is initially slow to respond to the effort and then rapidly overshoots the upper limit.

    In both these scenarios, if I focus on maintaining a strict HR level this would mean dropping the power output, which really is not the aim of these sessions :cool: After all, its power that drives the pedals, not your HR

    I've trained exclusively with a HRM for over 15 years and they have produced some good results in the past.

    Training with a power meter (for the past 6 months) takes training to a completely different level :D but armed with a power meter indoors, a HRM outdoors and 15 years of RPE 'experience' I'm ready for anything :cool:

    Like any trainig tool, used sensibly and with an open mind, there really are no limits :D :D
     
  14. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Yep. This is the exact reason I don't use one for intervals anymore.
     
  15. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    This may sound backwards but I have been basing my intensity on how long it takes me to reach the piont where I have to stop. If I can go three hours at a given intensity thats tempo zone 3 right:confused:. Decrease the load a little and your in zone 2 increase it and your in zone 4. Based on the Morbius Labs Ultimate Heart Rate Zone Calculator.
     
  16. sparkywowo

    sparkywowo New Member

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    I would toss in my 2 cents and say I find my HRM is great for maintaining a constant intensity (70-80% MHR) during longer steady 60-90 min efforts, as well as during harder 20-40 min (80-90%) efforts on my trainer.

    However, I have gotten so used to using it that it isn't that necessary anymore.
     
  17. ewan52

    ewan52 New Member

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    no. its better to use a heartrate monitor than to do whatever your doing. you need to learn some more about training.
     
  18. wiredued

    wiredued New Member

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    I've tried 3 different HRMs and none were helpful my three hour tempo ride is a mix of cadence and resistance that would baffle an HRM and make it useless.

     
  19. FloydLandis

    FloydLandis New Member

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    yeah i can see the advantages of both sides here. Just recently my chest strap battery died while riding. I noticed after not having the chest strap i could ride so much harder than i thought. I think when you see your heart rate rise while riding sometimes you may back off a little without even realizing it. On the same thought it helps to let you know when your body needs rest or when you are inproving or when you are getting sick. I would just say rotate your usage on and off. see how that works out
     
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