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Should Max HR be getting lower?

Started using HR Zone training in January. Did a bike / turbo based test to establish max HR which came out at 182. Been training all summer using HR Zones and feeling fitter & stronger. Decided to do another test to check max HR (same test, same bike & turbo combo but slightly warmer garage than in January) and max hr is know 175?


  • How have you been training ?

    In what zone ?

    What type of training have you been doing ?
  • Started with base training in Z2 for long rides & runs before upper intensity with intervals mixed with Z1 recovery sessions> Mostly using programmes from Triathlon Plus. Intrigued rather than concerned as endurance, speed and recovery all improved.
  • Yes. Studies show that from the start of base training through to race day, MHR normally drops on by ~5%. So your 182 becomes 172, making your 175 feasible

    So many factors effect HR, caffiene, chronic and acute fagiue, nerves/adrenilin etc that maybe the 175 wasn’t a true representation of you current MHR. We've all had day where no matter how hard we push, we can't seem to get our HRs up, even if we're feeling strong and good.

    MHR change doesn’t really give you much. As we get fitter and our MHR drops, should we drop our zones and train at a lesser intensity?? Or maybe, we're training at an intensity that is too high at the start of base training, and we should be training to zones based on our MHR when we're at our fittest which we will rise (?) to meet???

    My opinion is that testing and training to Lactate threshold Heart Rate (LTHR) is much more meaningful. Unlike MHR, LTHR is related to current fitness and is a performance limiter in endurance racing and there are some great LTHR tests.

    LTHR is the point at which our bodies are unable to flush lactate faster than it is building, mainly due to the lack of oxygen available, and our output has the drop to stop the build up. As we get 'fitter' our bodies become better at flushing lactate and we also become more economical with oxygen. This allows us to work at a higher heart-rate before being limited. So LTHR is a figure that directly relates to fitness and is therefore a much better figure to base training and racing zones on.

    As we move through base training and towards race day, we get 'fitter', we re-test and we change our training zones, ensuring we continue to progress. If we did this with MHR testing, and changed our zones accordingly, we would regress our training as we get 'fitter'.

    If you had done a turbo test to determine your LTHR before and re-tested now, you would have seen a rise and this would be a figure you could do something with, unlike your confusing and pretty meaningless MHR figure
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