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I cycle 3 times a week,twice outdoor and  and in the interest of matrimonial bliss indoor at weekend.

My heart rate zones are as per strava

I'm 34 Resting heart rate 42bpm

zone 1 -116

z2 116-153

z3 153-172

z4 172-191

z5 191 til whenever I am sick or pass out have seen 197.

What I am finding is that when I ride outdoors solo or in a group I can sustain a rate of 170-180 for the length of a sportive. Indoors I can barely reach 170 going all out let alone sustain it.

Anyone got ideas why I am seeing such a big difference?

17 comments

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CXR94Di2 [2729 posts] 2 years ago
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You're young and obviously very fit. What turbo trainer are you using ? If it's a dumb trainer or rollers, then it doesn't have enough resistance.

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HLaB [278 posts] 2 years ago
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Motivation I guess, you can see a target outdoors and go for it but perhaps your struggling with seeing that target on a turbo. 

I'm the opposite this year I've pushed 201bpm a few times on the turbo where outside I don't think I've been higher than 197bpm.  I use power as a target on the turbo, virtual power (through Trainer Road) before and this last few months the LIMITS power meter.

Good Luck  1

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Danno [19 posts] 2 years ago
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Using a dumb trainer. Elite chronic mag. I can overwhelm it in short bursts (sprints) but not for longer intervals. I've no idea what my power output is.

Some club mates use Zwift and say it makes things more fun. I don't mind the turbo so much so that's not really my concern. What I'm concerned about is that if I can't get into zone 4 for meaningful periods then I'm not being efficient with my time.

maybe It's worth asking to try a smart trainer and see if helps.

I do overheat, and figure that may have some effect on my lack of performance but in near freezing weather in a garage surely it can't be that great?

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CXR94Di2 [2729 posts] 2 years ago
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I do overheat, and figure that may have some effect on my lack of performance but in near freezing weather in a garage surely it can't be that great?

Yes it can be,  I use a small fan when doing tempo rides and a huge 3ft fan when racing in bkool, even though its only a few degrees above freezing.  Warm up with no fan, until toasty and beginning to bead sweat, then put fans on.  

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 2 years ago
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My effort levels are always out of line with my usual roadwork heart rate on a trainer. I can be holding 120bpm on the trainer and my legs feel like they usually do at 140+ outside.

I remember once going hard up that Zwift mountain and I thought I was going to pass out but my heart rate still wasn't maxed out.

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davel [2723 posts] 2 years ago
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Danno wrote:

maybe It's worth asking to try a smart trainer and see if helps.

Book it, Danno.

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fenix [1205 posts] 2 years ago
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How long are your sportives ?  If you can sit all day at that level - that's quite impressive. 

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Danno [19 posts] 2 years ago
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I've ridden both 50's and 80's maintaining levels around there.

For longer/ harder it's more around 160-170bpmhttps://www.strava.com/activities/716584733

will buy a fan and try a smart trainer to see if the competition element and stronger resistance make a difference.

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madcarew [1002 posts] 2 years ago
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It's almost certainly due to lack of heat loss. Heat loss limitation is the primary limiting factor in endurance activity across all land based species. You need a fan that moves a lot of air in area to make a significant difference (I use a bouncy castle blower sat 6m from me).  Some of the difference should be able to be reduced simply by getting used to it over repeated sessions (habituation).

Near freezing conditions in a garage... the most important thing in heat loss via sweat is air movement. You need a breeze.

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madcarew [1002 posts] 2 years ago
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Separately, on your HR, do you average over 170 for a 50m sportive? That would be extraordinarily high, just wondering if Strava's algorithm isn't fluffing your heart zones a bit. Typically threshold (max 1 hr effort) is 82 - 85% of max HRR (Heart rate reserve) which puts yours at around 170 - 175. Going by your HR, your zones are more likely:

Zone 1 < 135 (recovery)

Zone 2 135 - 155 (endurance)

Zone 3 155 -  170 Tempo

Zone 4 170 - 177 Threshold

Zone 5 177 - 197 Anaerobic

Having just looked over strava, it sets your zones based on a max HR estimation based on age, which will put them completely out of whack.  The British cycling series ( https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/izn20140808-Understa... ) is a really worthwhile resource. 

Just note, HR zones are a variable stab in the dark developed for performance development before we had power meters. There are a lot of different ratings systems which all give different HRs to different zones. The BC 7 zone system is better for critical use, but those zones above match reasonably well across the board for general use.

The upshot of this is, on an indoor trainer, with heat stress going on, yes, 170+ beats will be difficult to sustain.

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madcarew [1002 posts] 2 years ago
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And on a different, different note, looking at that strava sportive link, I'm writing from New Zealand, but lived for 5 years on the corner of Morton Lane where your sportive started. Small world and all that.

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Colin Peyresourde [1844 posts] 2 years ago
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I think you need to limit the factors involved. Purely from what you've indicated the 170-180 HR appears high and so I would say that your equipment maybe malfunctioning outside, or maybe getting conflicted with other equipment. What is the HR device?

Basically your HR can fluctuate due to hydration, caffeine, salt intake, activity in the previous day/week and illnesses (including anemia). Some people talk about temperature having an effect, but this comes down to hydration and salt intake, and I would expect your heart to be more stressed in hot conditions.

If you are using one of those laser readers (they bounce a little green laser off the skin) then this may be the issue as I understand they are less reliable that heart rate straps (which work off the impulses on the heart, not the referred impulses that the wrist monitors work off). I would imagine a loose band bouncing around on the wrist my cause it to read extra beats - I don't really know, I just imagine that to be an obvious failing in the design.

 

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MinusNothing [18 posts] 2 years ago
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Yea, my heart rate is always lower for the same effort indoors.

Last year I was going off perceived effort so wasn't sure, but this year I have a power meter and can assure you that most of the time my heart rate is lower for same power. I suspect it's because of the heat thing stated above but also adrenaline and your brain asking for more oxygen to be more alert.

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Danno [19 posts] 2 years ago
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Small world indeed Madcarew. I ride with Wensum Valley from the Parsons Woodforde pub. It was our sportive. Nice pub only problem is its on top of a hill so end of rides are always hard.

I use a wahoo tickr strap monitor. I think based on what most of you are saying is.

a my zones maybe a little out

b I really need a fan. Will pick one up this weekend and see what happens.

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BeatPoet [83 posts] 2 years ago
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Your heart rate definitely seems on the high side for the pace you're doing - especially when it's only 42 at rest. Mine is around 140 at that pace over 100 miles and although I'm 15 years older than you my max is about 195 (let's not worry about those scary spikes in the 230's sometimes!)

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Acm [44 posts] 2 years ago
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Some clothing does seem to affect a chest strap HR monitor; I always assumed this was something to do with the clothering flapping and producing some static electricity (I once saw a HR of 230 while descending and not pedalling). As with some others, my HR is generally lower on the turbo; my legs seem to go at what would appear to be less effort based on HR. I think it could have something to do with the terrain you ride on the road, as with a lot of climbing it's surprising how much effort you can put in without realising (especially on a 10kg winter bike!). You just don't get that sort of I-have-no-choice-but-to-work on the turbo, where all you can think about is the fact your legs are hurting

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djepayne [1 post] 4 weeks ago
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My heart rate on Zwift indoors is 15-20 bpm lower than on the road, so I'm also puzzled by this phenomena. Tonight on Zwift we were doing group intervals and during the maximum efforts my heart rate was only 153 bpm, while outdoors I peak at 172 bpm.

Also outdoors I can hold 153 bpm for five hours straight while averaging 20 mph, but on Zwift I can hold that heart rate for only 3-5 minutes.

Indoors I'm using a Wahoo TICKR heart rate monitor, while outdoors I use a Garmin heart rate monitor, but I'm assuming that both units match in measurements.