Maximum Heartrate and Excercise


New Member
Jan 31, 2002
I recently started using The Cyclist's Training Bible (written by Joe Friel) to (hopefully) get my cycling into the next gear.

The one statement that he makes that had me wondering is using your Lactate Thershold Heartrate (LT) as a measure of your Perceived Rate of Exc. (PRE). To get to your LT is quite easy, do a time trail (5, 10, 40km or 8-10miles). By taking your avg. heartrate during this and then multiplying it by a value given, you get a heartrate value which is the Super Threshold (Zone 5a). After this you are given a table with the heartrates for all levels. The test is done during every rest phase.

I have thought about this and would like to know if you agree with the following. My Max Hr is 195 (tested during a race). A friend of mine, has a max hr of 202 (also tested) but when doing rides, my HR stays on 170 where his stays on 180. If we look at it using the max HR method, we find that our % of max HR is about the same. His PRE is however much higher than mine. After having done the TT, we found that his LT level is lower than mine, thus solving abovementioned scenario.

Is this a logical (and good) way to work or should I resort to the old 220 - age (or the other 300 ways) way of calculating and using my max hr? Any thoughts?

P.S. Sorry aboutn the acronyms, a lot of typing if I don't :D
This is logical, riders riding at the same intensity but with different LT's will have different RPE's. This is particularly true if one is riding above the LT and one is riding below.

TT's are riden slightly above LT level, and so are a good indicator of where this occurs.

Applying a standard percentage of HR and racing at this is not very good practice as it will be too high for some and too low for others. Try riding on feel and not on HR and power output. It takes experiance/time to learn how to pace yourself though.

The 220 - age prediction is quoted as being typicaly +/- 10 beats out. So use your 'tested' MHR (you will probaly find it falls within this 20 beat margin of error).

I'm not familar with these levels of training, as I use British Cyclings 6 Zones and also Zones based upon VO2 max/LT tests in a lab. Perhaps the others (VO2) can comment on your Zones.

Oh, and to quote 5000m winner at the Commonwealths, Paula Radcliffe, the 'racing is never easier or harder, the times just seem to go up and down'.

Not sure what you mean by using 'LT as a measure of PRE', normaly it would be the other way arround. PRE or RPE in the UK, is pretty much individual and is subjective therefore not the most reliable set of data.
I agree with 2LAP when he says that "applying a standard percentage of HR and racing at this is not very good practice". The reason here is that, as you become fitter and stronger, your Lactic Threshold (LT) moves closer to your MaxHeartRate (MHR). During high intensity training or competition, when we reach high values of Perceived Rate of Exercise (PRE), most of us glance at the reading on our Heart Rate Monitor, making mental notes of our heart rate during that period. Each time your heart rate reaches that "mental heart rate", you tell yourself that your'e burning out, and then you ease off. Can you see the problem here, ewep? I try and fine tune my PRE to tell me when I'm near or on my LT (or at least I try to most of the time). I know that when I take an involuntary deep breath, I'm close to LT. I've tried not to take this breath, but I do.
Ah, the ventilatory threshold (VT)! This often occurs at a similar time to the LT, but can be dissociatd from the LT by some factors, like dehydration.

As VO2 points out VT is very useful indicator of LT, use it along with other measures to triangulate and confirm the possition of your LT.

You can also ride along using breathing rate to guide performance. Staying arround your VT during TT's.

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