Heart Rate Training and Bands

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Post by Mike Channin » Fri Sep 08, 2006 1:47 pm

Hi BigWaveDave,

Re: HRMs, I've always used Polar, and they've generally been very good (apart from hassles of getting battery changed in the older models, and the AXN700 getting moisture inside it when I went skiing). As Stan says, the polar strap is elasticated (the old one has a plastic bit across the front, and the newer wearlink one is almost all elasticated). Never had a problem with the old style one, except for it rubbing a few pressure sores by the end of the 7 x 50k week.

I believe you need a polar compatible strap to work with the C2 heart rate adapater (and the older coded polar belt I have doesn't play, but the newer one does).

Personally, I'd go for a HRM which can record your session data for charting later as that can be quite useful when seeing how hard you were working. S625X/S725X are good here. Been following a thread on the main UK forum where people are comparing the S625X from Polar against the Suunto top of the range model. As Eddie Fletcher points out, the Suunto watch is a pro-level HRM and features HRV (Heart Rate Variability) checks, which sounds like the next level for me to look at, but is certainly more than is needed to follow the 'Mike' plan, as in the HRTFTCI book.

As Jainser says, having the HR on the monitor in front of you is a godsend. Previously used to row with the HRM round the handle, which works but is no where near as easy, and you tend to hit yourself with it at the finish!

Re: how people talk about HR splits - it's either in the software they're using - RowPro/e-Row/ErgMonitor (not certain on that last one) - if they have the C2 HR interface. Or, the watch itself records readings (mine does every 5 seconds) and then you can view these on the HRM software. I take both sets of data, personally, and they can show differences as they use different mathods - I think the watch averages over 5s, whereas the C2 split/stroke is an instantaneous reading. As I said above, you need a watch with a memory function, and preferably a PC interface to get the data somewhere useful without hassle.

Your HR calculations are spot on - don't be put off by the WHRR seeming low, yours is actually quite normal - see the other team values in the HR values thread (and add your own). My WHRR is unusually high because I've been training a long time and have a very low rest pulse and a slightly high Max for my age.

As you correctly say, accurate values of RHR and MHR are invaluable in getting this right. I'm still trying to work out a way of working out MHR without hitting it, and can see that certain pieces produce a curve that 'points' to max, which you could then cut short before actually reaching it, but this is a work in progress!

I've been hitting very high HRs in even short pieces lately, which implies I'm limited by my cardiovascular system at the moment, so need to force more adaption on the Heart and Lungs.

So, in summary, get something like an S625x (OR 725X if you cycle rather than run), get the C2 HR interface, and buy that book (I should be on commission!)

So concludes another missive from Uncle Mike (thanks Stan!).

Seriously, hope this answers your questions, and feel free to ask more if anything isn't clear.
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Post by johnglynn » Fri Sep 08, 2006 5:05 pm

Mike on a 70% recovery row

Would you
(A) Find your 70% heart rate and try to average that over the row
(B) Have your 70% as your ceiling, leaving your average around the 68% mark
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Post by Mike Channin » Fri Sep 08, 2006 7:10 pm

I tend to go for (B) rather than (A), although if the session gets a bit hard, it may end up close to (A).

I tend to allow a bit of leeway on the Maximum side, say up to 5 beats over to cope with the odd spike on the HR, but back off if it gets up there consistently.

The point to remember is that the 70% is supposed to be a maximum ceiling for the effort, so being a bit below it is fine, but being significantly over it means you won't have had adequate recovery when you do the next Hard piece. Err on the side of caution.

(I do end up doing the occasional 75% piece when I get the pacing out, or if it is significantly warm, but try to keep these to a minimum).

As the book says, it feels strange to cap your effort at such a low level, but I can honestly say that it works and allows you to train harder and smarter in the long run.
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Post by Thomas W-P » Fri Sep 08, 2006 9:11 pm

I am working a little javascript function to tell people their bands. I will put it under the "Tools" section.

I am planning to use the Concept2 descriptions of the bands as follows.
Concept 2 wrote:
  • UT2: Utilisation 2. Light aerobic, low intensity work. Sustainable and fat burning.
  • UT1: Utilisation 1. Heavy aerobic work using more oxygen.
  • AT: Anaerobic Threshold. Harder work. On the aerobic limit. Pushing into anaerobic area.
  • TR: Oxygen Transportation. Working hard. Unsustainable for long periods.
  • AN: Anaerobic (without oxygen). Short bursts of maximum effort. Unsustainable. Burning carbohydrate.
Would you add anything?
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Post by Thomas W-P » Fri Sep 08, 2006 10:38 pm

I have now done this. I just used the whole C2 table and referenced it.

http://www.freespiritsrowing.com/conten ... e=hr_bands
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Post by jainser » Fri Sep 08, 2006 11:18 pm

Mike, figures so far

Max HR: 203
Resting: 58

85% - 181 - Threshold Floor
70% - 160 - Recovery Ceiling

Brain picking time!! That 70% recovery ceiling seems high to me, I have to row around 2:00/500 to get that, now after a while a can still hold a conversation but I feel like I'm going hard certainly not on a recovery session. Please don't get this wrong I'm not giving it the big man I'm so fit lark but it just seems high. Puddles of sweat on the floor etc (too much detail I know but trying to make a point!)
I rowed a fast 10k today and most of the row I was at around 180, only towards the end the old HR crept upto 190+
Now on my large days I don't always want to do a fast 10k or similar rows to get my HR up to around 180 - what else can I do? I Know this is the right way for my training.
New to this HR training and your brain seems like a good target!! Book is good but no subsitute for a good brain picking!!!!
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Post by BigWaveDave » Sat Sep 09, 2006 11:00 pm

Thanks to all for the posts and information, will be buying the heart rate monitor for the PM3 and take it to the next level.

cheers

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Post by Mike Channin » Sun Sep 10, 2006 12:35 am

Ok Jainser, I'm assuming your Max value was from an actual reading. This looks accurate, as the rates you report in your 10k would probably point to a max of about that. And the RHR must be from actual readings too.

Your calculations are correct, so the values you have are good.

Now to using them. If you feel the 70% value is too high, remember that it is a maximum. If you feel uncomfortable at that level, there is no issue in reducing it - it is a maximum to prevent overtraining. You may well be sweating a fair bit, even at/below recovery threshold - it is a good fat burning level, so feeling warm is just a sign your metabolism is doing its thing and providing energy to use.

Similarly, you don't HAVE to get up to 85%+, you just have to ensure that you have worked hard. If you read the book, you'll find he's quite brief on this, and says (not a direct quote)'most people don't have a problem with training hard, it is NOT training hard and allowing recovery which is the difficulty'. It also says you can miss hard sessions altogether (convert them to recovery) if you're not feeling up to a full on workout. Or you can work somewhere in the middle (over recovery, but not necessarily flat out). If you look at my log book, you'll see I don't always blitz it. Listen to your body and see how you feel. Of course, if you NEVER do 85%+, you can't expect to improve. (Again, the longer you row, the lower the required HR/intensity/effort level required to force adaptation. If you row a marathon every day, you don't need to be at 85%! In fact, unless you keep your HR very low, rowing consecutive marathons would quickly lead to overtraining, even at recovery levels)

So, Jainser, use the figures as guidelines, not absolute rules. You can go EASIER than the recovery threshold. You don't HAVE to go up to the high intensity all the time.

Thomas - could you do me a favour, and add the 70% and 85% values to your calculator.

Also, for everyone, be careful not to read too much into the HR band value for AN. The Anaerobic Threshold can move with respect to the HR as a consequence of training. Repeated high intensity training can improve lactate tolerance, which effectively moves the AN point to a higher HR. In my opinion, you're better to use the calculated pace values for AT, TR and AN, rather than HR bands. For UT1 and UT2, I think HR is more useful.

And for anyone paying attention, I don't do UT2 at all (only UT1 for recovery days), and I tend to aim to go at least into TR (by the HR bands) on any hard/high intensity days. And it hasn't done me any harm so far, and I'm at quite a high level of training compared to my maximum potential. This isn't to say that wouldn't gain by using more complex training plans, just to point out that I haven't had to yet.
Last edited by Mike Channin on Mon Sep 11, 2006 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by jainser » Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:08 am

Thanks Mike :D
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Post by Rita » Mon Sep 11, 2006 12:43 am

Thanks Mike!

This is my 3rd attempt at replying to your response. The other 2 attempts were late at night after rowing and I crashed on my couch with my computer on my lap and my head and neck in unnatural positions.
Mike Channin wrote:

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.
Unfortunately, I do not have nap time during the day and in the morning I have 5 alarms going off and I snooze through them. I'll try and get a resting HR on a weekend when I'm not rushed to be somewhere by a certain time.
Mike Channin wrote: 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.
At the end of a 60 min time test my HR got up to 174. In my 5K attempt on Saturday it got to 177 and 179 in my 4K "sprint".
Mike Channin wrote:
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.
These numbers seem to pretty good. When I do a 15 k easy row, my heart rate is around 145-150. If I do a harder row or sprints, my HR gets to 165-170. My pace on the "easy row" is ~ 2:25/500 m, spm 26-27. On the harder rows the pace is closer to 2:15/500 m and spm 28-29.

Right now, my main goal is still weight loss and fitness, thus my preference for long (1 hr +) rows. I got the heart rate monitor to make sure that I was in the "fat burning zone". I will be doing some more sprints and interval work so that I can 1) vary my work out and 2) increase my cardio fitness in case I decide to do something crazy like enter an indoor race this winter.

During the summer I was doing a lot of outdoor work (outside in the heat and sun from 10 am til almost 8 pm), thus I reasoned that getting up early in the morning to go to the gym and row was good. However, since my legs were tired, I would just do long rows at a steady pace (or do some power strokes every 2-3 K) rather than sprints/intervals. All things being equal I would rather row for 15 km than do 8 k worth of sprints/interval. :wink:

Thanks Mike (and everyone else who has posted on this thread) for advice and tips.
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Post by Stan » Tue Sep 12, 2006 10:59 pm

I have just received my copy of Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot. A fascinating read Mike so thanks for the tip.
The interesting fact to me was that max heart rate is not a measure of your potential as an athlete - i.e sombody with max heart rate of 205 is not necessarily going to be superior to somebody else with a max rate of 170. Its unique to the individual.
Using the 205- half age formula my max would be 184. Taking my resting heart rate of 46 then my recovery ceiling would be 143. For me personally that seems high as I know I am working hard when my heart reaches that rate. If however my max heart rate is more like 170 then my recovery ceiling is about 132 which is within my comfort zone. Obviously to get this right I do need an accurate measure of my max heart rate but I am sure its going to be closer to 170 than 184.
I would really recommend to anyone getting hold of this book.
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Post by Mike Channin » Tue Sep 12, 2006 11:40 pm

Glad the book works for you too, Stan. (typed that as Satan initially - interesting!!)

As I said, it revolutionised my training. If there is sufficient interest, I will produce a provisional 'mike' plan, based on the principles in the book, but applied to indoor rowing.

Let us know how your HR max measurement goes. And remember, the recovery threshold is a MAX. You can always reduce it if you feel it is too hard. Once you get used to the training, you will be able to feel where it is, but until then, err on the side of caution. It is better to undertrain than to overtrain. We all go too hard naturally, as the great book says.

Best of luck and let us all know how it goes. All training feedback from everyone is invaluable!
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Post by Stan » Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:12 pm

Mike Channin wrote:Glad the book works for you too, Stan. (typed that as Satan initially - interesting!!)
:twisted:

Been reading the book avidly during my coffee breaks at work.
At the moment the maximum I have got my heart to 168 during last weeks ctc 4k. On that basis, and my resting heart rate of 46, then my 70% threshold is 131 and the 85% level is 150. Now I may have to adjust those figures if I see a higher max but I suspect this figure is close to the true one.
Did a recovery row today at 60 - 65% but even that was a bit of a struggle so I suspect the 2 previous days where I have been at close to pb pace have taken a fair bit out of me.
Had I not read the book, then this would have been one of those days where I may have just handled down because I wasnt going fast enough. This time though, the aim was simply to keep my heart from exceeding 131 which I managed too well perhaps but I was just going with the way I felt. Its going to be really interesting to see if this training method works - I am pretty convinced it will work. I will keep you posted.
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Post by johnglynn » Wed Sep 27, 2006 11:03 am

I got my Suunto T6 heart monitor 2 days ago and have used it on 1 row .

Initial impressions
- Quality piece of kit (but you'd expect that with it's very high cost)
- The PC software you get with it is a bit on the ameturish level (like my speeling :D )
- All the graphs are pretty cool
- I have a LOT to learn about using it correctly, I think I will need a few weeks rowing to get a decent number of examples so that I can compare myself to myself properly, and build up an understanding of what are my "normal" values
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Suunto T6

Post by johnglynn » Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:55 am

The Suunto T6 software analysted my yesterdays 8*500m session last night . I was surprised on a few fronts

- I was still only at level 3 out of 5 (Suunto T6 rating), I thought the 8*500 would definitly be a 4 or even a 5 . I'm doing a race pace 2K tomorrow so maybe that will get to level 5 .
- My breaths per minute (bpm) are about 30 bpm during the race but spike to 45-50 bpm after I stop for a few seconds
- Because of the faster breathing I take in more air (higher ventilation) AFTER I've stopped
- My Oxygen consumpution VO2 is actually ~5% higher the ~5 secs AFTER I finished also !!! .
- My EPOC (Excessive oxygen in my blood) level is highest approx 10 seconds after I stop .
- My 2 minute rest is probably too long . My heartbeat was slightly lower starting my second interval then my first Interval !!!! , then it got higher and higher (as you'd expect) in the following intervals

In the above I count when my heart beat starts going down as when I have stopped, so my above could be conservitive

I'm begining to really like my new toy
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Post by Mike Channin » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:04 pm

Very interesting, John. Can explain some of it for you (I think) but keep this coming. May get TWP to move this to a Suunto thread.

When the Suunto rated it 3 out of 5, what was the scale supposed to mean. Short sprint stuff may come out low as it is not as continuously nasty as long high intensity stuff (like being over 180 for the last half hour of a 60mins).

Your breaths per minute when rowing will be the same as your stroke rate (or double it if you go to quick breaths front and back of stroke). For this reason, it is sometimes best to row at a rate that suits the breathing for a particular intensity, and maybe one of the reasons why there is a rate 'sweet spot' for each intensity/distance.

After you've stopped you can hyperventilate a bit to recover. I was gasping for 40 seconds after the blitz finish to my 30 mins the other day. And your breathing is no longer limited to your stroke rate. (Also, in the end of a sprint, you can almost get away with not breathing for the last 10 strokes, but you pay for it after the end)

The 2 minute rest is fine. Try reducing it too much and you won't be able to sustain the effort in the later pieces. It's only too much if your HR is coming back down across all the intervals.

But fascinating stuff. Now I want one!!!
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Post by johnglynn » Thu Sep 28, 2006 2:26 pm

Mike Channin wrote:When the Suunto rated it 3 out of 5, what was the scale supposed to mean.
The Training effect levels are

1 - Minor Effect
2 - Maintaining Effect
3 - Improving Effect
4 - Highly Improving Effect
5 - Overreaching

My first 2 rows where 3's, both on the high end of 3
- The first was a recovery row where I started playing around with technique and sprinted flat out at the end
- The second was a 8*500m

I've done a 30 min true recovery today, I'll get the details tonight when I get to my home PC (You have to connect the watch to your PC to get all the graphs and training effect levels), It's through a USB connector

Important thing's I still need to figure out with the watch

1 - What my actual fitness level is (I read people saying that there fitness level in the software is going up/down) . I've yet to find how to get this

2 - How to tell when I'm overtraining/under_recovering, I'm guessing I will need weeks of rowing to get a base for this

3 - How to integrate this properly into my training, so that I can build a good training plan using it
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Post by Mike Channin » Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:12 pm

Answer 2 is easy. When the watch tells you you're at level 5, you're overtraining! If you do something that should be easier and it says level 5, you're under-recovering.

Dunno about the rest. Try posting on the C2 UK forum - I'm sure someone on there will know the answers.
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Suunto T6

Post by johnglynn » Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:57 pm

Mike Channin wrote:Answer 2 is easy. When the watch tells you you're at level 5, you're overtraining! If you do something that should be easier and it says level 5, you're under-recovering.

Dunno about the rest. Try posting on the C2 UK forum - I'm sure someone on there will know the answers.
I'm not sure Q2 is that simple :D , If rowing something that would normally be a 3, but it turns into 4, that would indicate problems also .

I'd like to have some sort of detailed form indicator (rather then doing a race pace race), so I could plan when is the right time to try for that PB, and also how much damage thing X (Lack of sleep, Flu, Alcohol) does to my form . After a while I would then be able to know that thing X would need 4 recovery days to get into average form etc. I'm hoping this watch will allow me to get this information.

Overall with the watch there is a LOT of stuff out there that I need to read, a little on the C2 uk+us sites and some more on Suunto forums, and a lot of white papers and similar on reading HRV (how the watch/software calculates all the graphs) . And I think Eddie Fletcher is going to write some guide on it also (Hopefully this year) .
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Post by Mike Channin » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:10 pm

Erm, if what was a 3 turns into a 4, you're right in that it indicates a loss of form (assuming everything else stays the same), but it would also show that you're still training optimally, so you don't have to back off yet.

It is VERY difficult to get a full indicator of absolute current form. I calculate one off maximal pieces, but even that (which has a very clear upper boundary - not being able to go any faster!) tends to vary around quite a lot. I guess the watch will give you an instantaneous view of how hard you worked in absolute terms, so plotting comparisons of pieces with identical intensity values should give a form indicator curve.

Lack of sleep doesn't do too much harm, as long as it isn't massive lack (lots of lost hours).

Flu is the nightmare of the endurance athlete and can take ages to get over. Even a cold can be pretty disasterous - I had one earlier this year that took 4 weeks to clear and 2 months further to train back up from.

And lack of alcohol doesn't tend to make too much difference to me ;-) Seriously, alcohol can be pretty scary in its effects - take your rest pulse morning after to see what I mean!

(Oh, and I corrected Eddie's surname for you - hope I got it right!)
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Post by johnglynn » Thu Sep 28, 2006 5:29 pm

I tend to be a little bit of an insomniac, so the sleep one is a biggish one for me.
Mike Channin wrote:And lack of alcohol doesn't tend to make too much difference to me
:lol: :lol:
About a year and a half ago I had my bigist drinking session since college (I woke up with blue lips, due to dehydration I think) . Several days later I went onto the rowing machine and was absolutly patetic . It took me at over 2 weeks to fully recover .

Thanks for the spell checking :wink:, sorry Eddie
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Recovery Rate

Post by ReducingFB » Fri Oct 13, 2006 5:40 pm

Can any of you guys enlighten me on optimum rest times. I guess that means, what is an appropriate recovery rate? Current programme (still trying to lose some weight :( ) for the harder bit is 5 x 6 min at AT. As an old fart, my AT rate is about 150, so I can do a 1609+ m for each 6 min at 28-30 SPM. I am using 3 min rests, and my heart rate hits about 127/8 after 1 min, about 110/112 after 2 min, and close to 100 when I set off on the next interval. (I uses rest 65, and max 165 for a bit of lazy long brain maths)

Question is, is the recovery time too long? is the recovery rate reasonable? Should I order the coffin ?

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Extra data

Post by ReducingFB » Fri Oct 13, 2006 8:42 pm

Did tonight's 3 x 18 min at UT1 (about 140-145 for me).

Pulled the following :-

1. 1:56.6 at 23 SPM, reaching 141
2. 1:57.8 at 24 SPM, reaching 142
3. 1:58.5 at 27 SPM, reaching 144

3 mins recovery between and at the end. HR dropped to under 120 in 1 minute, 105 2 mins, and under 100 in 3 mins.

Any input on performance and tips for improvement gratefully received.

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Post by Thomas W-P » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:28 pm

RFB - the concept 2 plan says you should go again when your heart rate reaches 2 x resting. For me that is 45 seconds in a UT1 piece. You can increase the intensity of the session by going earlier.

All in the C2 training plan!
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Post by ReducingFB » Fri Oct 13, 2006 9:49 pm

Thomas W-P wrote:RFB - the concept 2 plan says you should go again when your heart rate reaches 2 x resting. For me that is 45 seconds in a UT1 piece. You can increase the intensity of the session by going earlier.

All in the C2 training plan!
At my age and heart rates - Why stop at all ? :? You are going again in seconds - What's the purpose? I'd be rowing again in 30-35 seconds.
65; 6'-4" 20 stone (aug 2014) - looking forward to a healthy retirement, when I recover the Equitable losses
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