Heart Rate Training and Bands

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Heart Rate Training and Bands

Post by Mike Channin » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:22 am

I'm a big advocate of training to heart rate bands. It allowed me to train better and more efficiently and improve all my PBs by a significant amount.

But what does it mean, exactly?

To discuss heart rates, you need to know two important numbers:

Resting Heart Rate (RHR). This is the lowest your heart rate goes to under normal circumstances. Best time to take this is first thing in the morning before you get up (provided your alarm didn't wake you up with a start!) before you have any caffeine in the system.

Maximum Heart Rate (MHR, HR Max). This is the maximum rate your heart can reach during exercise. There are various formulae for predicting this (220 - age - general population, 205 - half age - trained veteran athletes), but there is a lot of variation in the population, so don't be surprised if your number is significantly different to the prediction. The only real way to find your max is to take yourself to the limit.

WARNING - Finding your HR Max by actually reaching it is a pretty serious undertaking. Obviously don't try this until you're confident you're up to it, and if you haven't trained this hard before, or have any known heart problems, best to speak to your doctor/specialist first!

HR Max Notes:
1. Your HR Max will decline by 3-4 beats once you've trained up for a while. This is because your blood will thicken slightly owing to extra red blood cells as a consequence of training.

2. Your HR Max will be lower for rowing than for running by approx. 4 beats, and higher than swimming or cycling max by about the same amount.

3. HR Max declines gradually with age, but training can stave off the effects of this to a reasonable degree. Use it or lose it.

4. You cannot INCREASE your HR Max. However, once trained up, you may be more confident about reaching it and your Max may seem to increase.

5. Reaching HR Max is not inherently dangerous, provided you don't have a heart condition. It isn't quite the same as hitting the rev limiter in your car. It _is_ a very high intensity to work at, so you shouldn't spend much time up there anyway because of the stress it puts on your system, and the time it takes to recover.

6. For me, the best way to hit HR Max is to do a long piece 10k, 60mins, HM at full PB rate high intensity. This results in an extended period at very high HR, and then the sprint finish is usually enough to see the really high numbers. Always remember to do a low intensity cool down after this kind of effort.
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So I have RHR and MHR - now what?

Post by Mike Channin » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:28 am

Once you have your Resting Rate (RHR) and Max Rate (MHR) you can calculate your working heart rate range (WHRR), which is (predictably) your max minus your resting rate.

WHRR = MHR - RHR

Using my current numbers

MHR = 196, RHR = 38, so WHRR = 158.

(Note the 196 was set about a year ago, when coming back from injury, so my Max now may be 3-4 beats lower. Have hit 188 within the last month, and think I had a little more left on that occasion.)
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So what use is the Working Heart Rate Range (WHRR)?

Post by Mike Channin » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:39 am

When working out your heart rate training bands, you work out percentages based on the WHRR and then add your rest pulse back on(and NOT as a direct percentage of your Max HR, as people often do). The percentages are of your working range, not of your total maximum. This allows the effect of your rest pulse becoming lower as you adapt to training to be reflected in your training bands.

The two important %ages to know are 70% and 85%.

70% is the recovery rate maximum. Below this, your body will recover relatively quickly unless the distance/time done is long (over 60-90 minutes as a sweeping generalisation, but dependent on your training and condition)

85% is the high intensity threshold. You want to aim to go above this for maximum positive effects in terms of adaptation to exercise. High intensity work creates a significant stress on your system, and usually takes over 24 hours to recover from (again depending on condition, but I personally would recommend allowing at least 36 hours to recover).

So to calculate these figures for me (RHR - 38, WHRR - 158)

70% is 70% of 158 (= 111) + RHR (38) = 149
85% is 85% of 158 (= 134) + RHR (38) = 172
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Things to bear in mind when discussing HR numbers

Post by Mike Channin » Sun Aug 13, 2006 12:48 am

When discussing HR numbers with other people, remember that unless their RHR and MHR are similar to yours, their actual exertion level (intensity) may be VERY different for the same absolute HR figure.

Example.
Rower 1 has a MHR of 170 and a RHR of 35.
Rower 2 has a MHR of 195 and a RHR of 50.

Both have an average HR of 130 during a specific piece.

For rower 1 (WHRR 135) this is 70% exertion (approx recovery ceiling).
For rower 2 (WHRR 145) this is 55% exertion (not really breaking sweat!)

I have a friend who has a max HR of 235+. Even during moderate exercise she shows some fairly scary absolute HR readings (190+), but in fact she is still operating well below her HR max.
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What are the effects of high intensity training on my heart?

Post by Mike Channin » Sun Aug 13, 2006 1:00 am

This bit is from my personal experience, but seems accurate against official/medical articles I've read.

The main effect of high intensity exercise is that your resting heart rate will drop as your heart becomes more powerful and efficient (and hence has to work less hard when 'idling')

Mine went from 55 to 38 in approx. 3 months the first time I trained really hard. (It does similar when coming back from a long lay off).

Your heart rate slows slightly when breathing out, and speeds up as you breathe in. This can be a variance of about 4-8 beats, which makes taking an instantaneous RHR figure difficult. I use a blood pressure monitor which averages over approx. 30 seconds. (It also gets upset if I go much below an averge of 38 and stops giving a reading!)

You will scare your anaesthetist if you have any form of hospital/dental treatment. Remember to warn them that you exercise a lot. Even your doctor/nurse will probably look worried the first time they take your pulse.

You can become more prone to altitude sickness - this one seems to affect me. I think it comes down to becoming so adapted to sea level that I forget to breathe enough at altitude. I am particularly sensitive to this anyway - on a recent skiing trip I was reading 130 RHR at 2000m altitude (from sea level RHR of 40) at the start of the week, but had adapted down to RHR of about 75 by the end of the week. I hit as high as 150 RHR on the lift up at 3200m on the first day. :shock:

And obviously don't try to get on a rower at altitude and pull the same splits you do at sea level - it will be an unpleasant experience!
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Post by PaddlePressure » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:35 am

Mike . . .

I just wanted you to know that I read your postings on this thread, and thank you for them.

I have rowed off and on, with varying degrees of regularity, for about 4 years. But, since a knee injury has prevented me from running since April, I've begun rowing 3 x 10k every week. In early June, I began using a HR monitor with my erg, and digging through the literature available on this subject.

I don't really have anything to add, other than to say that I find your personal observations on this subject to be an interesting supplement to the more general type of information available in published literature on the subject.

. . . Todd

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Post by Mike Channin » Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:43 pm

Cheers Todd,

All the above is my personal findings and experience, based on my reading of various literature and trying to apply it to erging.

The life-changing moment for me was reading "Heart Rate Training for the Complete Idiot", which is actually about running, but I decided to apply it to rowing and see how it went. He claimed that his system would have you PB'ing within 6 months. I was pretty skeptical, as I wasn't in great shape at the time, and had set my PBs 3-4 years earlier on the back of a fantastic training run when I had my rest pulse down to low 30's.

But he was right, I trained smarter, not as hard, covered more distance than ever, used my heart rate monitor properly, and mashed all my PBs within the next 6 months, improving most even further in the following 6 months. And more than that, I realised I hadn't even got close to my full potential if I could keep training.

The basic trick is not to overtrain. Don't EVER do two hard days running - you don't allow yourself adequate recovery and eventually you'll break down. But make sure you do the recovery pieces (< 70% WHRR) and you improve more than if you rest instead, plus you cover more distance, burn more calories, and improve your technique. As the book says, most people overtrain without realising, and the HRM is the tool to tell you if this is happening before it's too late.

So that's it - the secret is out. (You also need to warm up and cool down properly, and pay attention to making sure your body is fueled for the workouts (* I'll try and post some info on these subjects too when I get time*), but that's the gist of it). So go chase those PBs!

Good luck fellow Free Spirits...
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Post by PaddlePressure » Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:35 am

Mike . . .

I think my issues, as far as overtraining, are somewhat different than many younger rowers. I am 52 years old, and like many in the Concept2 online community, am a refugee from running injuries. I began running road races regularly in1999, but always told myself that I was in it "for the long haul," being an admirer of the writings of Dr. George Sheehan. I also found guidance in "The Running Formula," by Dr. Jack Daniels, who is a leading advocate of the importance of balancing stress and recovery in order to optimize your training program. Interestingly, Daniels does not emphasize heart rate monitoring, but instead relies upon some fairly elaborate charts that use your actual historical race times to estimate your VO2max and to scale your pace for particular training zones, for specific purposes (lactate threshold training, recovery, etc.).

I never ran more than 4x weekly, and always tried to make sure I devoted sufficient time to cross-training and recovery. But, still, I ended up losing significant training time to injuries, more seasons than not.

Since April, I have put running aside for the indefinite future, and am working out a training program that is based upon the recommendations of the authors of "Younger Next Year," Chris Crowley and Harry Lodge (which I highly recommend to all those in my age bracket). It was initially my hope that this program would enable me to maintain a high level of fitnesss while avoiding the impact of running in order to rehabilitate my knee. But, the goal of returning to my earlier pursuit of running PR's has increasingly become secondary to the goal of just optimizing my general fitness in a way that avoids the recurring injuries that bedeviled my running.

Currently, I am rowing 10K 3x weekly, with each session consisting of a 2k warmup, 6k at maximum sustainable steady effort (about a 2:08 pace right now), and finishing with a 2k cooldown. Two of the other four days are devoted to 30 minute sessions of strength training (emphasizing free weights), with the other two days devoted to brisk hour-long walks for active-rest/recovery.

What I've learned just recently, from a test administered by Declan Connolly, of the UVM Human Performance Lab, is that I have an HRmax of 148 (about 20 bpm slower than predicted by the formula of 220-age). Applying this knowledge to the 10k rowing workout I had designed before acquiring a HR monitor, disclosed that what I had thought was a very prudent and sensible workout is actually taking me above 95% of my HRmax every session, with several minutes above 90% HRmax. This feels fine, and I seem able to recover reasonably quickly. But, none of the literature on heart rate training for general fitness recommends this level of intensity. Should I care?

I'd be interested in your thoughts on this, as someone whose goals seem to be focused on the relentless pursuit of improved rowing performance. I don't think I have the ability to improve a lot, but even the pursuit of modest improvement helps keep my motiviation up.

. . . Todd

Mike Channin wrote:Cheers Todd,

All the above is my personal findings and experience, based on my reading of various literature and trying to apply it to erging.

The life-changing moment for me was reading "Heart Rate Training for the Complete Idiot", which is actually about running, but I decided to apply it to rowing and see how it went. He claimed that his system would have you PB'ing within 6 months. I was pretty skeptical, as I wasn't in great shape at the time, and had set my PBs 3-4 years earlier on the back of a fantastic training run when I had my rest pulse down to low 30's.

But he was right, I trained smarter, not as hard, covered more distance than ever, used my heart rate monitor properly, and mashed all my PBs within the next 6 months, improving most even further in the following 6 months. And more than that, I realised I hadn't even got close to my full potential if I could keep training.

The basic trick is not to overtrain. Don't EVER do two hard days running - you don't allow yourself adequate recovery and eventually you'll break down. But make sure you do the recovery pieces (< 70% WHRR) and you improve more than if you rest instead, plus you cover more distance, burn more calories, and improve your technique. As the book says, most people overtrain without realising, and the HRM is the tool to tell you if this is happening before it's too late.

So that's it - the secret is out. (You also need to warm up and cool down properly, and pay attention to making sure your body is fueled for the workouts (* I'll try and post some info on these subjects too when I get time*), but that's the gist of it). So go chase those PBs!

Good luck fellow Free Spirits...

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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:11 pm

Todd,

I've not read the Jack Daniels running book, although I think it is mentioned in HRTFTCI. It is a well respected book, but I think what he is doing with his zones and race times plan is trying to simulate the same result to train maximally but avoid overtraining, but with formulae rather than an absolute tool like a HRM. It is vulnerable to error, because you may not be on the same form you were when you did the race times, etc. whereas a HRM is always your CURRENT form. Just my opinion though.

I'm curious as to the format of the Max HR test you took. Presumably it didn't involve an actual maximal effort? It may also be that they erred on the side of caution.

The reason I'm saying this, is that, from my experience, you would certainly know you're up at 95% of HR max, and even over 90% tends to be somewhat strenuous. I hit the same sort of figures/percentages as you do doing a maximal 10k, but I certainly know I've been up there.

As you can see from the HR max calculations, even a relatively small error in your HR max would mean you might be at 85%/90% rather than 90%/95%.

Does your HRM record the values for charting afterwards? If so, and you can send them to me, I can have a look and see if your HR values follow a similar curve to mine during a maximal 10k. The shape of the HR graph tends to be quite characteristic during a very high intensity piece, and can give a good clue as to the HR max. Certainly, when I go off too hard, it is fairly obvious from the shape of the curve and the speed of the rise why I blew up, because you can see I would have been over my max to complete.

If it doesn't record, even getting someone to take the reading every 500m (or less if possible) would do fine, as that's give enough points to look at.
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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Aug 22, 2006 12:21 pm

Here's some example figures to chuck into Excel to see what I mean.

First is a (maximal) 5k done about 4 weeks back. Went off at 1:48 for first 1000m, then backed down to 1:50ish - end time 1:50.1 Av Split.

500 - 164
1000 - 170
1500 - 174
2000 - 178
2500 - 179
3000 - 180
3500 - 183
4000 - 184
4500 - 185
5000 - 188 (sprint at end)

Next is a maximal 6k done a few weeks later. Went off at 1:49, but held it steady all the way through.

500 - 159
1000 - 166
1500 - 171
2000 - 174
2500 - 176
3000 - 177
3500 - 179
4000 - 180
4500 - 181
5000 - 182
5500 - 183
6000 - 187 (sprint to end again, bring split down from 1:49.3 to 1:48.9)

If you plot these, you'll see they both have a similar shape (albeit with a slight complexity as the pace wasn't constant in the 5k).

See if your plots are similar in shape.

Note that these are a bit short to get full HR max, and although they were maximal effort, I was limited by other factors than HR, hence not hitting full max HR.

I'd use the split figures for last week's maximal 10k piece as that should have been a better distance/pace to hit max HR, but in that one I was limited by muscle soreness and had a wobble in the middle. (may post it up sometime anyway - every HR chart tells a story!)
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Post by jainser » Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:26 pm

Hi Mike,
Read this thread with great interest. I've been thinking about buying a heart rate monitior and this tipped me over the edge! It arrived today so I chucked it on and went hell for leather on a 6k. Haven't done the 6k for sometime and battered my PB but with some interesting (and some what scary heart rate readings!)
Based my max HR on 220 - age (know its not that accurate but I was very keen to get started) Max HR = 186
Did a 7 min warm up with a HR at about 130. Then set off for 6k. Set up the Pace boat and went off a little too fast with a 1:47.4 split for first 1200m, heart rate at this point was already 185. Next 1200m saw split rise to 1:48.3 and HR up to 193. (Still felt strong at this point) 3600m came in at 1:49.7 HR now 195. Then 4800m with 1:51.3 and 197bpm then the final effort (by now I'm shattered but the end is near) Split still going up to 1:51.8 but the scary bit was my HR max'ed out at 201 :oops: .
Went straight into a cool down and after 5 mins HR dropped to 130.
I know from this I set out far to quick and should have paced myself and this is what I'm planning to do over the next few months is more control and not just gunning it.
Have you ever gone over your theorectical Max HR by this much. It's now about 1 hour since row and I feel OK
I will look out for the book you mentioned 'Heart rate training for the complete idiot' or is there any other good reads?
Pete

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Post by Mike Channin » Fri Aug 25, 2006 7:54 pm

My theoretical hr max is 185. I've hit 196 in the last year, and suspect I could still go over 200 running as I'm such a bad runner. Your HR max is the max you see. Don't worry if it's higher than predicted.

Like I said, I have a friend who has a HR Max in the 230s for a predicted 185ish.

Sounds like the workout you did was great for determining a much more accurate HR Max than the predictions. Well done. Good luck with the training and let us all know how you get on.
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Post by jainser » Sat Aug 26, 2006 10:00 am

Well I found the book you were talking about and ordered it off of Amazon. Getting very excited (I'm such a kid!!!)
:D
Do you use your monitior all the time Mike?

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Post by Mike Channin » Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:00 am

Hope you enjoy it when it arrives. Let me know if I've summarised it correctly as it is a while since I read it (and I loaned out my copy ages ago and never got it back). Think I've got the general concepts right anyway.

Always do my training with the HRM. If nothing else, the Polar s/w keeps track of all my workouts that way. Is useful both to see the HR readings and figure out how this means the training is going currently, and also to look back at the values when trying to reach similar levels of performance later on.

The instant feedback on how hard I'm _really_ working is invaluable to me.
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Post by Stan » Sat Aug 26, 2006 12:04 pm

Mike this is an absolutely fascinating thread so thanks for sharing your wisdom with us. I think I will have to go and get this book as well.

Its interesting how different we all are. Several people seem to be able to readily achieve some very scary sounding heart rates. On the otherhand I have not exceeded 166 yet (ctc 500 yesterday). I have never actually trained at these high intensities, preferring steady fat burning rows of 30mins or more. Hence most of my training is in the mid 130s rising to low 140s at the end of really long rows.
My background in exercise is at best intermittant (lots of running in the late 80s early 90s) followed by general gym work (mid90s to 2000), followed by nothing (2000-2004), followed by gym/rowing (2004 to present). As I have never trained at very high intensity then maybe I cannot achieve even my theoretical maximum based on 220-age (yes I know thats entirely reliable). Or maybe I could if I trained that way.
On the otherhand maybe I should not be trying. I still have slightly raised blood pressure and am still on beta blockers (which I know will slow the heart rate). My doctor knows I exercise and thoroughly approves - or at least he does if I am training in the 120s/130s - not sure he would approve me trying to max it out! Something I should discuss with him perhaps at the next appointment. Assuming its not an issue though, would I be able to approach 180 ish or has that ability been lost through too many years of being a couch potato. Your opinion welcome
Would be interesting to hear from others who do not acieve such scary heart rates!
pb times
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Post by alistairkbs » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:18 pm

Stan

Thats really interesting as I do pretty much the same in terms of mostly long stuff and get HR up to 130's to low 140's. Theoretical max = 173 but spent a dark 15 years doing nothing.
I d love to see opinions or data on what the effect of down time is on HR max.

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Post by Mike Channin » Sat Aug 26, 2006 1:44 pm

HR max gracefully declines with age, but the effects are less so if you keep exercising. Something to do with the heart muscle losing elasticity I think I read, but could be utter bollocks...

Hence 220-age (general population) but (205 - age/2) (trained individuals).

In theory, downtime would allow the gradual decline, whereas exercising would lessen it. I wouldn't worry about it too much - just exercise to what you have now and know you're doing yourself good. (although I would check with your doctor re: maximal intensity, Stan, just to make certain)

Remember scary is only RELATIVE as well. Your HR only means something in context to yourself, unless you go through the % WHRR calculations. Going 10 beats over what you were pretty certain is your Max would be scary. Getting up near it just shows you were reaching your cardiovascular system's limits and pushed yourself hard.

Think I'll start another thread where people can post their HR figures, so people can compare.
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Post by Mike Channin » Sat Aug 26, 2006 11:56 pm

Just had some quite odd behaviour of the HR during a 500m PB. HR basically shot up to 188 and stuck there for 45 seconds. (The trace from the C2 meter shows some higher peaks (190, 193) but think that might be just problems with the reading, or dodgy averaging. The polar HRM shows a flat 188 for 20 seconds.

Looks like you'd expect to see with a HR Max test, although it's very unusual to get it that high in such a short piece. Was going for it, that said. And definitely wasn't lactate limited til last 80m and lungs held out til end (just - not happy afterwards though!)

(Of course, the high HR may have been a consequence of my secret preparation technique :-) see PB thread for the details...)
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One mans love for his HR monitor!!

Post by jainser » Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:17 pm

Only done a couple of sessions with my HR monitor on and I already love it. Following a weight loss plan from C2. Rowed harder than I would have done normally trying to keep my heart rate in a certain band. Wasn't even looking at the metres. Love it!! Made the rowing even more fun :lol:

My youngest birthday today so off to cinema, then Fatty Arbuckles (DOH!) All I can think about though is I hope I get enough time to jump on the rower after it (also depends on just how large I give it at Fatty A's - I'm so weak and they have Bud on tap........Oh stop it you naughty boy!!!!!!!!! :oops: )

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Post by Rita » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:58 am

I too just got my heart rate monitor/chest belt and have been using it for ~ 1 week. Right now I'm mainly recording numbers and trying to figure out what it all means. I'm 38 thus, if I did the math correctly:
85% = 155
75% = 137
65% = 119

Unfortunately, I do not know my resting heart rate (my brain does not function in the morning, even with 5 alarms going it takes all that I can muster to get out of bed, never mind find out if I have a pulse!).

After about a 4 week break of just doing long steady rows and racking up the meters, I'm back to doing some interval work using the programs on the PM3. In July and August I do a lot of work outdoors and that just wipes me, so I took a break from sprints/interval work.

I did some "suicide-sprints" yesterday, 1 min hard, 1 min rest, 2'/2, 3'/3', 4'/4', 3'/3', 2'/2' and 1'/1'. At points my HR got up to 175. average for the set was 168 (2:03.3/500 m, 32 spm). By the end of the rest period my HR was around 110.

I did some 15 k rows with hard rowing for 2 minutes every 3K. On Saturday HR ranged from 152-165 and my pace was 2:21.3/500m, 27 spm. The day before it was between 160-173 (avg 168, 2:20.0/500m, spm 27).

Then today I did an "easy" 10k with the goal of keeping my HR below 155. Avg HR 151, 2:25.8/500 m, 24 spm. I didn't include any power strokes. I definitely could have gone faster and increased my spm, but for this row I was aiming for a HR ~150, thus the low spm. A good fast, but comfortable pace for me is ~ 27 spm and ~ 2:20/500 m (with some power strokes thrown in to keep me alert and variety).

As far as I know, I don't have any issues with my heart and I am getting in better shape since I started rowing 3.5 months ago. I'm mainly rowing for weight loss, but might be tempted to enter an indoor rowing race this winter, and I am planning on doing the marathon in April. I much prefer the long (15 k) rows, but know I need to do interval work to mix things up.

From reading these threads and a few on the C2 forum, it seems like HR is really individual and the 65% - 85% range guidelines don't work for everyone. Any advice on what I should aim for or watch for while rowing would be helpful.

Also, does anyone have the link to the "pete plan" that has been discussed recently?

Thanks.
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Post by Mike Channin » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:50 am

Rita,

Taking your resting HR is EASY. Just stick your HRM on record and go and lie down for half an hour. Helps if there is no caffeine in your system (or anthing else which might affect your HR). If you don't know what it is, assume 60 to start with, but bear in mind that if it is significantly different to this, all your HR bands will be inaccurate as a consequence.

HR Max is tougher, because it is a very demanding workout to push up to it. You probably won't see a HR Max in short sprint work (unless you use my secret preparation technique - see PB thread :) ). Best time to get it is in the finishing sprint on the end of a 10k or 60 min PB attempt. Again, you can use an estimate, but again if this is inaccurate your bands will be out.

HR _is_ very individual. The HR Max is quite variable in the population and many people significantly differ from the formula predicted values. Rest HR varies a lot too, and depends on your level of training, so it will change as you get fitter and you may need to adjust your bands accordingly.

The position of the bands is NOT variable, once your HR max and RHR are determined. They _do_ work for everyone, at all times and this is the value of them. They accurately reflect the amount of effort used to actually do something against the condition you are in at the time. Therefore they _do_ cope with off days and improvements in form without you needing to do anything. They are the best feedback you can get, BUT they do have to be accurate to start with.

re: your calculations.

No!
You've worked out percentages of your (predicted) HR Max. You need to work out percentages of your WHRR. See above for details and PM me if you can't work it out.

My calculations show your ranges to be: (using MHR 187, RHR 60)
70% - 145
85% - 164

Don't go over 145 two days running.
Make sure you get up around 164 if you're on a hard training day.
Keep below 145 on an easy day.

If any of these feel difficult to achieve, your bands are probably wrong and you need more accurate RHR and MHR figures. (And you need to keep reviewing them anyway, so keep an eye on the current values and how they affect your thresholds)


A recent thread on the Pete Plan on the UK forum, started by no less than Pete himself can be found here:

http://www.concept2.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5409
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BigWaveDave
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Post by BigWaveDave » Thu Sep 07, 2006 8:15 pm

Mike,

I have read this with avid interest and realise that now after 10 weeks of just doing my own thing on the C2 I need to follow a more structured plan that includes HR to get to the next level. My times/distances have improved but this is down I feel to improvment in general fitness, reduce weight and hopefully a slightly better technique.

I do have some probably simple and basic questions though which I'm hoping that you or any other Free Spirit will be happy to answer.

1 - What is a good HR monitor? I do have a Welby with chest strap but do not find it very comfortable. It seems that to get a reading the chest strap needs to be quite tight and I feel this doesn't help the breathing!

2 - Through this thread and others, people are constantly relating to their HR at different splits during a row - how do you do this? Is it the HR monitor itself (can't see anything on mine that would do this) as I have to say I normally am focused on time/distance and couldn't remember the HR for each split.


My simple calculations at the moment are

RHR = 58ish
MHR = assume 220 - 42(age) = 178
so WHRR = 178 - 58 = 120 (seems low?)

then for the training bands of WHRR

70% = 120 x 70% = 84 + RHR 58 = 142
85% = 120 x 85% = 102 + RHR 58 = 160

Are these right? I realise I will need to get an accurate MHR and some how get a true RHR first thing in the morning. I am wearing my HR monitor while writing this and accoriding to it I'm dead - no HR whatsoever!

Any help will be greatfully received and I can then start to follow one of the plans with a degree of certainty.

Thanks in advace
BigWaveDave
52 yrs, 6' 14st 11lb
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Post by Stan » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:13 pm

Hi Bigwave,
You are probably going to get a very professional response from Uncle Mike before too long but I thought I would mention this anyway. I use a polar heart rate monitor which also has a chest strap - however it is elasticated and does not feel at all tight - I barely notice it. I believe there is a way of connecting a heart rate monitor to the rowing machine but I am not sure how that is done - no doubt Mike or Paul can enlighten you.
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Post by Thomas W-P » Thu Sep 07, 2006 10:29 pm

You can bite the bullet and buy the polar receiver for the PM2/3 (it is over £30) at http://www.c2shop.co.uk/products/heart_ ... erface.php. It is worth it though because the HR is right there in front of you. I don't regret spending the money.

The reciever plugs in the back of the PM2/3 and then can be velcro'd under the slide.

You do need a polar chest strap too though I think! So that might be another £30 odd quid!

They never said rowing was cheap did they.
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Post by jainser » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:31 am

I got the interface thingy for the rower and it's well worth it. Seeing your HR on the same screen as everything else is a real bonus.
I also brought the Polar chest strap which incidently is compatible with my (now very old) YORK heart monitior watch. Which is right 'andy for checking my resting HR first thing in the morning.
The book that Mike recomended 'Heart Rate training for the complete idiot' tells you to check you HR before you get out of bed. Warns you to right it down in case you fall asleep after, and it's good advice :!:
Book by the way is very good.

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