HR zones - New to forum

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jRip48
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HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

Hi all.

I've trained in fits and starts on an erg over the last 15+ years, often with several years' break in between! When it comes to exercise I've always been the 'anaerobic' guy - doing mostly short sprints on the erg (100 - 1000m). I'm now of an age (72) where I feel I should try to boost my aerobic fitness by introducing some longer erg pieces.

I see a lot of people make use of heart rate training and have some fairly tight tolerances on where they want their HR to be in a particular session. I have an HRM and would like to take advantage of that.

My RHR is about 60bpm and MHR about 160. However, I'm a bit confused over this business of HR training zones. For example I saw elsewhere on this site two ways of estimating the UT2 zone, viz.:
  1. 55%→70% of MHR which, for me, is 88→112
    (100 avg.)
  2. 55%→70% of reserve HR, which is 115→130
    (123 avg.)
I understand these are only estimates but for a guy like me who only has a 100bpm difference between resting HR and all-out maximum, training at an average of 100bpm is vastly different from training at 123bpm!

Would appreciate people's thoughts on which formula is more aligned with what actually does constitute UT2 and why there is such a discrepancy in the two definitions. Any general advice also welcomed.

Thanks!

John
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by JonT »

Hello John,

Welcome to the forum and to Free Spirits. There are a lot of people on here who have some very deep experience of this kind of training. I’m not sure which I do you have seen on the site - there is a lot on here! But I always rely on our HR zone calculator which you can find here - https://www.freespiritsrowing.com/foru ... calculator

I checked, and that calculator gives you the second set of results.

I wouldn’t get too hung up on the exact zones, but I would be very focussed on making sure your HR doesn’t creep up and up during a session. This can be quite hard mentally because you may find yourself going extremely slow, especially if you are more focussed on anaerobic training normally, and find yourself asking if this is doing any good. Believe me, it is.

I would start with a 30 minute session at 115-120 at 18-22 strokes per minute and see how that feels.

I look forward to the views of some others and also to hearing how you are getting on.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

Thanks for the welcome and advice Jon. The calculator link is exactly the one which led to my confusion. The calculator bases the zones on %ages of reserve HR, then immediately below that is a table based on the same %ages - but of MHR (which one assumes means maximum HR). This is my very point - it can't be both and in my case, as I said, the two calculations for UT2 are very different. I really want to get this clarified first. Which one of these (or some other?) do people who claim to do a piece at UT2 use?
Last edited by jRip48 on Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

One more question: Do we have to wait for every post to be approved before it's released? It said I would be advised when it was approved but that never happened.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Grobi »

jRip48 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:30 am One more question: Do we have to wait for every post to be approved before it's released? It said I would be advised when it was approved but that never happened.
Hi John,

welcome to Free Spirits! Only if you are new to the forum (e.g. your first two posts) your posts have to be approved (to avoid spam).

From now on you are good to go without any post approval.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by JonT »

jRip48 wrote:Thanks for the welcome and advice Jon. The calculator link is exactly the one which led to my confusion. The calculator bases the zones on %ages of reserve HR, then immediately below that is a table based on the same %ages - but of MHR (which one assumes means maximum HR). This is my very point - it can't be both and in my case, as I said, the two calculations for UT2 are very different. I really want to get this clarified first. Which one of these (or some other?) do people who claim to do a piece at UT2 use?
John,

You have spotted an error that must have been there since the calculator was built, many moons ago. The column heading is incorrect. The values generated by the tool are based or reserve HR not Max HR.

There are actually a few views on what UT2 should be defined as, but if I take the British Rowing definition of 65-75% max HR then I think your values look like the image below.

Image

There is still a difference, but there is also quite a bit of overlap, which is where I would be aiming.

I hope that helps. Fixing the column heading has now gone onto my “manage the website to-do list”. Image


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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by plummy »

Welcome to the team and to the forum John. I should do far far more heart rate restricted rows and there is a training scheme called the Maffetone Method (or plan). It's a bit of a big read I'm told and I've never had the dedication to want to try and decipher it but I know a couple who've used it and lauded its results.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

Grobi wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:28 am...
From now on you are good to go without any post approval.
Sweet. Thanks!

Edit: Hmmm ... Seems not. Still getting the pending spproval message. Never mind.
Last edited by jRip48 on Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

JonT wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 11:29 am... There are actually a few views on what UT2 should be ... if I take the British Rowing definition of 65-75% max HR ... there is also quite a bit of overlap, which is where I would be aiming.
Thanks again and I see what you did there :)

Yes, I realise these ranges can only be a general guide for the population. Nevertheless the Karvonen approach for measuring intensity always made more sense to me than %ages of HRₘₐₓ.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by jRip48 »

plummy wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 5:31 pm Welcome to the team and to the forum John. I should do far far more heart rate restricted rows and there is a training scheme called the Maffetone Method (or plan). It's a bit of a big read I'm told and I've never had the dedication to want to try and decipher it but I know a couple who've used it and lauded its results.
Thanks mate. Lots of questions after trying to limit my HR in a 5k piece. HR inevitability rises at least through the first part of a constant pace row. So should you aim for it to peak in the range you're supposedly aiming for, for the average over the piece to be in the range, or what? In my one experience of this it looked fine for the first half. Then as it approached the upper limit of the range I was aiming for I chose to slow the pace to keep it there. Consequently I found myself having to progressively peg my pace back from an initial pretty terrible 2:20 down to an embarrassingly pathetic 2:50 :(
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Iain »

Welcome to FS, bare with my long reply, but I don't think this is a question with a single answer.

I have historically really struggled with restricted HR training. I have only been moderately fit for about 1/4 of my life and only after 17 (hence my modest PBs despite serious training in my early 40's). Recently I have persevered on trying to find a pace I can maintain for long (60-105 min) without breaching 75% HRmax. This has been painfully slow, but over the last 4 months I have seen my HR drift slow, so while I needed an average HR of about 68% in August to keep below 75%, I can now manage an average of 70%. I hope that this isn't largely due to cooler conditions! Also this is at 2k pace +30S now (dropped about 2S since May in addition to 2S knocked off 2k pace). Initially I struggled to row slow enough without allowing my stroke to become sloppy (this is now 17SPM, was less than my initial 16SPM pace!). As a result, I am a long way from being able to follow Jon's suggested stroke rate. Some plans suggest ignoring HR and just go by rating. I used to do my "slow" sessions at 10k pace + 10S, but always had relatively weak threshold rows (5 & 6k), so I think that the HR directed rows are useful. In addition, as we get older, we either need more days of rest or to make the easier rows easier, UT1 rows no longer suffice for me.

Sorry for the long pre-amble. I have long sort a definition of Aerobic Threshold. Cyclists have defined it for fit cyclists as the pace you can maintain for about 8 hours! This does not convert to rowing. Anyone who has attempted a 100km row knows that this is not limited by theoretic physical fitness but by mental endurance and the limiting factor is enduring the pain in your glutes, hip flexors and quads. I have seen people advertising to measure aerobic threshold in a lab, I would really like to know what they measure and whether this is universally accepted. Joe Friel (author of the well respected "Fast After 50" as well as leading 70+ cyclist, coach and triathlete) defines it as 60% of the Watts of your anaerobic threshold (broadly 2k pace), but he goes on to use 30 BPM less than anaerobic threshold. Given the wide range of HRmax, this would mean it is proportionally much lower for those with a lower HRmax that is unlikely. Still others use the proportion of energy from fat rather than carbs (couldn't find a definitive definition, but probably where fat >50%). So I have assumed that this is a relatively vague divide. Personally I think the importance of the HRcap used is that it allows you to recover sufficiently from hard sessions to do the next hard session. Clearly the hardest sessions take full rest days to recover from, but regular sessions for those doing >4 sessions a week need to be possible after a day or 2 of slower rowing. As a result, I would monitor how well you feel you have recovered. I think this depends upon how often you wish to row and how long you are happy to leave between hard sessions. Call this UT2 if you wish, but it is only a label. The important point is that it is right for you.

Going back to the question, HR capacity is affected by BPM and stroke volume. Both increase as we increase exercise intensity and the way they do varies between individuals. As such "%HR zones" are only a guide. For example, Anaerobic Threshold is where the body starts to struggle to avoid acidosis and accepts a decrease in blood pH before starting to increase the rate of blood circulation. For most it is also where a larger increase is from stroke volume than HR so there is an inflection in the curve measuring how HR increases with workout intensity. I have not come across a clear physiological marker for the Aerobic threshold. Many fit endurance athletes can have an anaerobic threshold at >90% of HRmax, so the assumption of 80% often used is not universally applicable. I suspect the same would be true of any of the aerobic threshold limits. I believe the top of UT2 is the aerobic threshold as the top of At is the anaerobic threshold, so it is not worth getting worked up over the precise numbers of the zones. More important is that HR varies with stress, illness and tiredness so an HR limit is a better way to limit training than a particular pace.

Hope that helps. For any of the more knowledgeable, please let me know if I have misunderstood anything or they can help reduce my confusion.

As for how to use the zones, Joe Friel recommends training at a constant speed on slower sessions (or possibly speeding up), so you should aim to row at a pace at which you can row for the required duration to finish approaching but not exceeding the limit. I find my HR increases markedly at a point where I start to sweat freely (7-15 min in depend on temperature and intensity for slower sessions). I would think this should be within the band (ie above the minimum). I allow 2SPM for a few beats as this is transitory and allow a bit of leeway if a non-exercise factor causes it (eg being disturbed by something going on, sneezing, needing to go to the loo etc.) No idea whether this is the norm.

Let us know how you get on.

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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by JonT »

Grobi wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:28 am
jRip48 wrote: Sat Jan 09, 2021 9:30 am One more question: Do we have to wait for every post to be approved before it's released? It said I would be advised when it was approved but that never happened.
Only if you are new to the forum (e.g. your first two posts) your posts have to be approved (to avoid spam).
I just checked, and the limit is three posts. So, fingers crossed, all should be good now.

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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Iain »

Saw the below with a different take on heart rate zones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgLNIYJlrw8

In short the coach recommends starting at a pace that feels right and allowing HR to drift well into the zone above while slightly increasing pace while maintaining the RPE. I am not convinced that my regular 105' rows trying to stay <75% HRmax throughout are being effective given my limited training. I think I will try and use this approach of a faster "UT2" row probably initially for an hour or so. What do others think?
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Mike Channin »

Some things that correlate with my experience:

The 70% of HRR (Heart Rate Range) is a good marker for where the Recovery Zone ends
(training much above this for any length of time means you're not recovering; recovering here means rowing/training gently enough to be able to train hard the following day)
Before I learned to train by HR, and prioritise active recovery, I used to over-train on the recovery days, and end up losing performance over time.
When I learned to recover properly, I could sustain far more overall distance, still train at least as hard on the hard days, and improve over time, and I set a load of PBs as a result.

I tend to row at constant pace, unless I've got the pacing totally wrong. For me, when I'm doing HR capped, I try not to exceed the cap, but resort to Av HR staying under as a last resort.
But I'd avoid 'pushing it' too much, as it's obvious you might fail to recover properly.
I also quite often will use stepped paces, (row at higher, then step down) and if my HR is high (exceeding target), I'll step down earlier. This way makes it easy to adjust on-the-fly.

There's a limit to how far you can go, even at recovery or below and still count as recovering. When untrained, rowing a HM or FM will obviously not work as recovery, even if you keep the HR lower.
Once you get trained/conditioned, it can be surprising how far you can row and still be recovering OK, but clearly you don't want to be right on the limit all the way.
When conditioned, I will use HM distances at lower intensity as recovery day sessions, just won't push it too much.
Sometimes I might even use a HM at near threshold on a recovery day, especially if the HARD days are relatively short distances.
Sometimes I might do a minor short sprint (at the end of long steady state) on a recovery day just to mix it up, but you have to be careful.

Listen to your body (although be prepared to ignore it, if the HR is nice and low and telling you you're OK, even if your head doesn't think so)

Consistency is everything for me.

When doing long steady state, you get a lot more HR drift when it is hot - it is an obvious side-effect of dehydration. If you see a relatively sudden increase after a long period, it usually tells you you're getting low on fluid (or possibly carbs).
When well conditioned (and it's not too hot) I can sometimes do long distances without any HR drift. I sometime even get an inflection (drop in HR between 20 mins and 60)

The anaerobic threshold does seem to be moveable (for me, anyway), rather than linked to a specific HR %age; if I train at high intensity a lot, I become a lot more tolerant of high HRs, and able to sustain them a lot longer before having to back off. Conversely, if I haven't done any high intensity, I'm unable to tolerate the high-end anywhere near as well (although it also tends to mean you hit higher Max HR in sessions). I've also seen a lot of HR data suggesting that high-end athletes can sustain very high HR for amazing lengths of time.

There's probably more, but I have to finish now...
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by duffyoz »

Seems like a good thread to throw out a query around lactate threshold. :?:

I have had a LT test done and while coach has adjusted training accordingly the understanding of it all is doing my head in. I have read around a little and it makes sense but then when I look at the actual numbers of pace / rate / HR combination it just feels illogical. He has had me doing a LOT of 80% HR work at R18. This ended up in the range of 2:16 to 2:18 over a 3 x 20' session. Now he wants me to do the same style session but the HR for each band T1 to T5 is different from before as it is based on the LT test results, and the pace is faster. So the first session is supposed to be 2:09 to 2:14 pace range @ R18 and HR stay <132 (76% HR). My head says this is blue zone and equals recovery, my head also says that is a fast pace at that rate and will take a lot of power in each stroke to hit that pace therefore the HR will rise. :?

Happy to share the actual report if anyone has some real knowledge in this area. Of course I will be chatting to Mr V (coach) next time I see him in person.
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Re: HR zones - New to forum

Post by Claudius »

I like it that way: Keep it simple stupid. Nevertheless, we need to look at some important details in our big brain. One of the best books to look at these details is Training and Racing with a powermeter. For Cycling. But rowers can learn a few things from it as well. If you look at the power based training levels - there are 7!- then some confusion can quickly arise. But if you just look at it with 3 colors - green for slightly below LT1, yellow for the middle between thresholds, and red above LT2. If you are focusing on base, endurance, polarized training - then LT1 can be even more important than LT2 because ~80% of your training should then be below LT1. And you can determine LT1 accurately enough for a basic non-professional athlete, which we all are, with the simple talk test. I already addressed this in the thread about peak strength/avg force: Low intensity training below the first lactate threshold LT1 ~75%Hfmax is highlighted where you can just say your ABC without faltering. This is the conversational test. Use it. Train with it. Develop a feel for this threshold. Let that feeling, to train around LT1, emerge from your unconscious shadow. That feeling can then tell you where you are - even without a heart rate monitor. I still use heart rate - but only as a number for clarity. Now LT2. Also important. Because when you're well recovered, you want to load your body with some really hard efforts. Heart rate at threshold is also used to set guidelines for heart rate-based training. For indoor rowing, the 10-km distance is a perfect distance to establish your threshold power and threshold heart rate (the average in that TT). In my case, it almost perfectly reflects the time to exhaustion. With these easy to determine numbers, you can determine your heart rate based zones. Remember, this is an individual approach. The 10k works for me - for others it might even be less like the 30 minutes or more like the 1 hour time trial for indoor rowing.
Now I don't get around the crazy part. We are all free spirits- and that means we should be free in many ways. To be really free- says my "Friend"- means to train only with your feeling, beeing free means to feel that fitness in yourself, moment to moment, without analyzing it, without wanting to keep it or wanting something else from it, there is then no difference between beeing fit or beeing free. That is not easy. This means...to let the ego complete go. I am far away from that. I just can feel the truth behind that.

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