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Heart Rate Trouble

I'm doing my first long distance triathlon this year and within my training plan I have a few long bike brick sessions and a middle distance race. I've chosen to follow the Don Fink training plan which uses the heart rate training method, which is great and has been working very well. The issue I have is that whilst I can keep my heart rate in Z2 during either my long bike or my long run, whenever I put a 60 minute run on the end of a 4 hour or more bike I cannot get my heart rate to stay in Z2 even when I slow my pace right down. I raced at the weekend and on the run my HR shot up to Z4-5 and was rarely seen down in Z3! Not sure if I will make a full marathon like that. Am I doing something wrong?


  • BlinternBlintern Posts: 3

    similar happens to me. I find it very hard to keep my heart rate in z3 when I run, let alone z2!! Different when on the bike. i have however found that it has become easier recently as I've done several very long lower intensity rides which makes me think it is building my fitness so maybe with a few more I'll be down nearer z2??

  • James8011James8011 Posts: 44

    I have the same problem with my heart rate dropping out of zones in exercise. It is all down to your heart "relaxing" with the rhythm.

    Only way really to boost and keep it in the higher threshold is to increase your cadence and include fartlek sprints, O2 depletion will increase your heart rate (high altitude training)


    Good news though your getting fitter, and hope this helps.  

  • moleseeemoleseee Posts: 6

    Glad I'm not alone. So the solution is either long, low intensity rides to raise bike fitness, which will therefore leave me more for the run. Or, a bit of vO2 max training to allow my heart to cope better with the effort.

    The long, low intensity training has worked well for my running (without a bike ride in front), but then I have also been including the vO2 max training, high cadence, sprints on bike and fartlek and hill sprints on run.....so I will try the long and low, see how I get on.

    Thanks for the responses.

  • Nick DFNick DF Posts: 8
    I used fink last year and found it made complete sense one message I got. That no matter how slow you go you've got to stay in that hr. It could be a matter of you feeling so good off the bike you go too hard at the start? I have always found that if you go running too hard at the beginning heart rate doesn't come down when you slow down and you actually feel a bit leaden. Go slow because as you get fitter you will increase speed. My first oly tri I was doing 7 minutes miles but for IM I aimed got 9 minute (ie 4 hour marathin) miles. Either way keep doing the bricks especially long runs after long rides. We could all probably do 10k after 100 miles if we had to 42k is completely different!
  • Nick DFNick DF Posts: 8
    Btw your middle distance race will be a perfect opportunity to practise race strategy. I remember doing the run and just saying 'stay in z2' over and over eventually I got into a very nice rhythm (it was. Flat) and. Managed a negative split and that boosted my confidence no end.
  • moleseeemoleseee Posts: 6

    Thanks msx98, my middle distance race was the weekend just gone and I'm hoping that I did fall foul to feeling great off the bike and going out too hard, in fact my first mile was in the 7 min mile range, after that HR spiked to Z3, then Z4 and never really recovered until the last few miles after a walk and a gel.

    I will keep on with the long brick sessions and force more control running off the bike and see how I get on. Only 4 more big weekends to do this in so hopefully can work something out and get my confidence back in time, otherwise could be messy.

  • jonEjonE Posts: 1,113

    How did you decide on the HR ranges, did you use the magic 220 minus you age, and then percentage it, ? a ramp test?, a Conconi test? or a sports Lab test, each one would provide different results.

    Heart rate drift is natural, head off at 7 min miles at 145 BPM, and by the end you are doing 9 min miles at 145 BPM, no big issue, the more efficient you get the longer you stay in the zone at a faster pace.

    The problem with these ready made plans is that they are generic, you need to look and use them, but tailor them to your own unique physiology.

  • moleseeemoleseee Posts: 6

    I used the 10 min warm-up followed by 20min max effort to determine max hr. Not sure what that method is called.

    Since training in HR zones I have become more efficient and understand that there will be drift in pace, what I couldn't understand was why my HR didn't behave the same way after a long bike. Hopefully it's just down to being too keen to run after the bike and to take it easier on the bike.

  • HarryDHarryD Posts: 425


    Did you do your HR max tests for both run & bike separately? Max HR is usually 8-10 higher for run over bike & bike is usually 8-10 higher than swim. 

    The test recommended by Joe Friel is a good warm up followed by a 30min time trial of which only the final 20min is logged for HR max purposes. The reason I think is that no amount of warm up gets you performing as a during a TT or race

  • moleseeemoleseee Posts: 6

    HarryD - Yes I did do both HR tests seperately. Can't remember if I did the test in the "Be Iron Fit" book or the Jo Friel one - it sounds similar.

    As an update I've been out for a small brick session and eased off the bike, came to the run and my HR was lower than usual, but maintained normal pace - the stay in zone2 mantra helped! Got my long ride brick session today so will see how it works when I go long.


  • moleseeemoleseee Posts: 6

    Update on my issue.....been out of 5hour 30min bike with a 45min run and this time eased off when on the bike, ensuring that I was in Z2 all the time (only spiking when on some of the tougher hills), then ran and again made sure I remained in Z2 and it worked a treat. Even when I ran up a hill, my HR went into Z3, but dropped again once the effort was over.

    My confidence is back. Bring on Ironman UK! Thanks all.

  • Glad to hear you feel ok with your zones now molseee.

    I have the same problem you had ie going from a long bike to run my heart rate would always be really high (it hit 197bpm when the 220 method says it should be 176!) but I felt ok and could keep going at a normal easyish pace c.9.30 min/mile.

    My question is should my heart rate zones be based on this high brick figure or should I just ignore it as an aboration/ outlier for max heart rate?


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