Home Chat General Chat

Base / Heart Rate Training

I'm a hooked one season novice and am trying to get some base training in for next season. I came from a couch potato background last Christmas so this is my first off-season. I'm a bit confused with the heart rate zones thing. Every book or article I read uses different zones. I know the general idea is to go slow and long to get some Aerobic training in but I'm really confused at what heart rates:

I'm 36 and my max heart rate is 200 (It is - really!!)

I'm putting in my long runs at 75% - 85%.

For simplicity sake, say I use 80% - is this 80% of 200 which gives me 160 or should I use the formula:

80% of working heart rate + resting HR

where working HR = max HR - resting HR.

This gives me 172.

So should I use 160 or 172?

Also, on the bike I can only get my HR up to about 135-140 before my legs are burning. I suspect this is because I have really weedy legs and need to get their strength up!

I'm also doing a few tempo (fast) and interval sessions to mix it up!

Last thing! - It's normal to always want a new bike right!!


  • Options
    I'm the same. First year and hooked!

    You wouldn't believe the time I waste online oggeling bikes these days! Focus, PlanetX.... dribble.....

    Anyway, the way I understand it is, for you:

    Zone 1 recovery (50-60%) = 100-120bpm

    Zone 2 cardio (60-70%) = 120-140bpm

    Zone 3 aerobic (70-80%) = 140-160bpm

    Zone 4 anerobic (80-90%) = 160-180bpm

    Zone 5 max (90-100%) = 180-200bpm
  • Options
    Jack HughesJack Hughes Posts: 1,262
    A good site with some simple to use forms to drive the formulae is


    Cycling uses less of your muscles (only the lower body if you are doing it right ;-), so you tend to have a lower max heart rate when doing that exercise than you would for something which incorporates much more of the muscle groups, such as running.

    Generally speaking, to find your MHR:

    1) Warm up nicely - get the heart rate up to reasonable sorts of levels - spend 10 minutes or so, get to the point where you are running at a reasonable pace.

    2) Now go as hard as you can for a few minutes - up a hill would be good, if you've got one long enough - running out of road can be a problem...

    3) Rest a little bit (run back down the hill!)

    4) Now _really_ go as hard as you can. Really, really hard. As if your life depends on it.

    5) You could repeat the exercise if you felt that you hadn't tried hard enough.... or if you had forgotten to start the heart rate monitor ;-).

    Your Max HR should now be revealed - should have been reached sometime during the second sprint up the hill.

    You can do this on a treadmill - but I always worry about falling off - it also helps if you have someone to shout at you, and work the speed on the treadmill (you have to trust them!).

    Having a companion can help - both for motivation and if you do end up needing an ambulance!

    You can do it on a bike or a rowing machine too.. but the results are likely to be a bit lower than running.

    Running, my MHR is about 178-180. But I've only managed to get it up to about 172 on the rowing machines. Not tried on a bike - would guess < 170.

    Playing squash against someone who can make you really run around is also a good way of doing it (chasing that ball is great motivation!).

    I also hit my max heart rate when doing a sprint finish at the end of a running race, where the I've been really trying in the last K. And been trying hard for the first 4/9 whatever.

    [small print: In essence, you are really just trying to load the heart as much as possible - which is why, if you are unfit, or have an underlying medical condition, it can be unwise to do so. So the usual caveats apply - consult GP, don't sue me etc. etc.]
Sign In or Register to comment.