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Heart rate based training.

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Does anyone have any links to resources which explain the theory, benefits, structures, concepts, etc of proper heart rate based training.




For instance, I'm looking for information on




1) Accurately determining your zones.


2) What each zone means (eg, aerobic is where your body can efficiently metabolise energy for long periods of time based on oxygen intake, anaerobic is where your cardio-vascular system can no longer produce your body's energy requirement based on oxygen intake, at which point you start utilising more rapid burning fuel reserves, and so on)


2) What your body does in each of these zones


3) Why it's necessary to train in these respective zones


4) How does training in X zone enhance Y aspect of my cycling experience.




I'm a bit of a pedantic prat sometimes, which means I like to find out a lot about things that I'm busy with. Normally out of idle curiosity, just to know why I'm doing something (like intervalssmiley5.gif), but sometimes (like this time) I like to be educated and understand because I can make better use of training techniques by knowing the WHY.




Heck, if you have no links, but can directly answer me, then go ahead ... I'm not picky on that issue smiley4.gif   

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The Heart Rate Intensity Zones are divided as follows:

  • Zone 1 65% of MHR (recovery rides)
  • Zone 2 65-72% of MHR (endurance events)
  • Zone 3 73-80% of MHR (high level aerobic activity)
  • Zone 4 84-90% of MHR (lactate threshold(LT,AT); time trialing)
  • Zone 5 91-100% of MHR (sprints and anaerobic training)
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this link is a very basic way of working out your zones by using your age

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The more I ride my bike, the more I'm convinced that the best training is to ride your bike. Of course this is absolute heresy. As bike geeks we ought to have some form of heart rate monitor, ideally coupled to a GPS and preferably a power monitor too. Most of us really don't need all the other cr_p...just the bike.




If you have a knowledgeable coach who is able to tailor a personalised training programme for you, they may be some real benefits to be had to HR based training, but for most of us, not so much.




Most of the time, we go riding with our buddies. We ride the way the ride works out that day. Sometimes we try and make each other suffer, other days we pedal along shooting the breeze. Sure, it's kind of interesting to know whether we are at 73% of max or whatever, but if you ride for fun, chances are you ride at the pace that the bunch is riding at. If the pace feels too gentle, kick it up a notch. If you are bleeding from the eyeballs, slack off a bit.




Now, all the other cr_p is fun and interesting, but I am heartily (see what I did there?) sceptical that the gadgetry can make a difference to our training because of the social and sociable way we weekend warriors ride and train.




One more thing, and this is in no way aimed at the guy who posted the link, but age-based HR zones are about as accurate as horoscopes, and as useful. There is just too much variability from individual to individual.




The only use that I can see for a HRM for a weekend warrior, is as a rev limiter for a noob, to ensure that (s)he takes it good and easy until they get used to cycling.




Heretical, I know, but I do believe it to be true, certainly for me. If you want to use the gadgetry, go ahead, fill your boots. It's just that I honestly believe that unless you are prepared to abandon the very things that make bike riding fun, there are very limited training benefits to HRM training for reg'lar peeps.





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