Resting Heart Rate Phoenomenon

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Klein, Apr 1, 2003.

  1. Klein

    Klein New Member

    Apr 1, 2003
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    OK. Does the following resting heart rate pattern indicate being on the brink of overtraining? I feel fine and am not going hard at all and have a very solid base. I also know that resting heart rate alone is not a strong indicator of a problem, but this pattern I don't remember ever experiencing before so it concerns me.

    3/24 - Resting heart rate = 41. I ride for ~90min at an aerobic heart rate (a moderate ride for me).
    3/25 - Resting heart rate = 50. Take a recovery day.
    3/26 - Resting heart rate = 48. Take a recovery day.
    3/27 - Resting heart rate = 46. Take a recovery day.
    3/28 - Resting heart rate = 42. Moderate group ride for 90min.
    3/29 - Resting heart rate = 48. Take a recovery day.
    3/30 - Resting heart rate = 45. Take a recovery day. Resting heart rate not necessarily bad, but have visitors in town, so can't ride.
    3/31 - Resting heart rate = 44. Moderate ride for ~90min.
    4/1 - Resting heart rate = 50.

    See the pattern? Is this normal? Should I be taking recovery days when my RHR is +6 even if all other signs are OK?

    One thing I think I'm going to consider to help is an aerobic time trial once per week to gauge fitness level.

  2. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

    Feb 22, 2002
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    Seems like you are taking a lot of rest for little training. I have two suggestions that you might want to consider....

    (1) Does the RHR increase without any other symptoms of fatique or illness? It is often a good idea to triangulate RHR data with data on sleep, feel good factor, body mass, etc. before becoming too concerned.

    (2) Many things affect the normal RHR. Particularly after a ride like yours, dehydration and glycogen depletion might have an effect. Even the fact that you 'expect' your RHR to behave in this way may cause it to behave in this way.

    My advice is therefore, after a ride eat and drink well. If your RHR is only up 6 and you have no other symptoms, go out training. Have more more caution when you have trained, but eaten and are well hydrated and your RHR goes up 10 and stays high for a number of days (even with few/no other symptoms).
  3. markfarnsworth

    markfarnsworth New Member

    Apr 18, 2003
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    For me at least the resting heart rate thing does not really work.

    I used to track my resting heart rate but don't anymore because it never provided consistent reliable results. I might have a resting heart rate of 48 when I wake up due to a bad dream or something but five minutes later it might be down at 41 bmp.

    For a while I tried taking several readings each morning and picking the lowest one but I found that I was ending up spending ten minutes in bed with the heart rate monitor each morning. The results were interesting in that I seemed to be able to control my rest HR with relaxing thoughts and I decided that the numbers were meaningless because it really was a test of how patient I was that morning.

    I went through a phase where I took my resting HR in the morning by averaging over a five minute block of time but felt this did not produce reliable results either. Now I just ignore the resting HR. I have a training plan but if I feel bad in the first few miles of a workout I just modify the plan.

  4. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

    Mar 26, 2003
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    There are so many factors that influence heart rate. Using your resting heart rate to determine overtraining can be accurate sometimes, unreliable other times. Being excited about a new job, a promotion, anything good in your life, could easliy excite you on a low level for many hours, raising your heart resting heart rate and cheating you out of a quality ride if you followed what the numbers said.

    Conversely, if you are depressed, going through tough times in a relationship, money worries, etc. can also raise your resting heart rate.

    Medications like beta blockers can lower your heart rate at all levels. Coffee and soda with caffine will raise it. So heart rate is influenced by many factors some of which may or may not be riding related.

    A better method to determine overtraining is to keep a log and make an entry every time you clip in the pedals.

    Races, recovery rides, trainer sessions, etc. should be recorded no matter how big or small, good or bad, etc. Log your performance, how much work you did, how you felt, etc. Record your max heart rate for the session, and the heart rates you hit doing specific workouts, hills, etc. Moniter your recovery and see what your heart rate recovers to after 60 seconds, etc. Log what you are eating and how well you sleep and if you have had significant good or bad events in you life recently.

    Once you have been doing this for a while it will become second nature. If you have a bad day on the bike, pedal home easily and review your logs. As the weeks go by, sometimes it is easy to forget what and when you did hard workouts.

    Reviewing your logs will show that maybe your bad performance today is because in the last 14 days, you did 5 hard interval sessions and three races.

    I use The Athlete's Diary. Free trial download at:

    Keep detailed, accurate logs at all times. Good logs will serve you well over the years. They cronicle your life as a rider and chart your progress whether you are a pro or not.

    Good Luck!!!