Tailor Your Winter Cycling Training Plan Via Heart Rate Zones: A Brief Overview
Heart rate (HR) monitoring is becoming increasingly popular among cyclists. HR monitors are worn on your chest or under your armpit and record your heart beat every few seconds while you ride. You can then compare these data with what’s been logged at home to see if you’re getting better results from different workouts.
The problem with using HR monitors is that they don’t accurately measure your actual heart rate during exercise. They only give you an estimate based on the number of beats per minute (bpm). For example, if you average 150 bpm, then your HR will be around 160 – which isn’t very accurate since it doesn’t take into account any changes in breathing or other factors.
In addition, some people have trouble interpreting their HR readings because they don’t always match up with their own experiences. If you’ve ever had problems keeping track of your HR while exercising, then you’ll understand why this is a problem.
If you want to get the most out of your winter cycling training program, then it makes sense to tailor your training plan according to your individual needs. Some people might benefit from doing longer rides at lower intensities than others.
The problem is, the vast majority of training plans are based on averages and don’t factor in individual needs. This means that some people will find these plans too challenging, while others won’t get the most out of them.
A Tailored Training Plan Based on Your HR Zones
A good way to solve this problem is to use your heart rate zones to create a more tailored training plan. Your heart rate zones can be determined using this equation:
220 – Age = HR zone #1
Age x 0.85 + 85 = HR zone #2
Age x 0.75 + HR zone #1 = HR zone #3
So, for example, a 40 year old athlete would have the following zones:
220 – 40 = 180 bpm (HR zone #1)
180 x 0.85 = 153 bpm (HR zone #2)
180 + 153 = 333 bpm (HR zone #3)
Using this information, you can create a more personalized training plan that takes your own needs into consideration. For example, let’s say that your maximum heart rate is 200 bpm and you want to do intervals that are truly challenging for you. To do this, you can pick a HR zone to base your intervals on.
Let’s say you pick zone 3 since this is the highest (and therefore most challenging). Now you can work out how long you need to exercise in zone 3 in order to reach 200 bpm.
For example, if you cycle at an average of 160 bpm, then you need to exercise for 2 minutes and 40 seconds in zone 3 in order to reach your target heart rate of 200 bpm. This means that your interval should last for a total of 3 minutes and 20 seconds (since 2 minutes and 40 seconds equals 160 bpm and you need to cycle for a further 40 seconds at 200 bpm).
The next step is to split this interval into portions that take into account how hard you can realistically push yourself. This is known as the target heart rate range (THRR). The THRR is the range that falls between your resting heart rate and your maximum heart rate.
For most athletes, the THRR is between 60% and 90% of their maximum heart rate.
For our example athlete, this means the following:
Resting heart rate = 50 bpm
Maximum heart rate = 200 bpm
THRR = (60% x 200) + 50 = 130 bpm
This means that in our interval, we need to cycle at 130 bpm for between 2 minutes and 40 seconds and 3 minutes and 52 seconds. In other words, our total interval needs to last for a minimum of 3 minutes and 52 seconds and a maximum of 4 minutes and 32 seconds.
One way to make sure that you’re hitting the right HR targets is to use an online interval timer and set it ahead of time. So, for example, if you know that your cycling level is going to be at 160 bpm after 200 seconds, then you can start the interval timer as soon as you start your exercise. When it reaches 160 bpm, you know that it’s time to speed up and get into that 130 bpm range.
Using this type of strategy, you can create very specific and individualized training plans that take your own abilities and needs into consideration. By using the information provided here, you can ensure that you’re able to get the most out of your training and stay healthy and injury-free while doing it.
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