Starting heart rate training

After getting over the Nottingham to Edinburgh bike ride (here and here), which didn’t take as long as I thought it would (was back out on the bike on the Tuesday for 40 miles). I decided I wanted to work a bit more on performance as it would appear that my general pace and feeding habits will survive a 600km reasonably well, but a bit more pace or a little more in the engine for climbing would probably bring a bit more time for refueling or sleeping.

Over the last few weeks I’d been managing to get some decent mileage in (averaging about 100 miles a week), so it seemed like a good time to add some structure. As much as I love my gadgets I couldn’t justify the cost of a PowerTap at the moment (one day, though), so I though I’d better investigate how simple it was to use my Garmin Edge 800 as a HR monitor. That bit seemed nice and easy as I’d bought the chest strap at the same time and occasionally used it for some nice stats. One thing that caught me out the first couple of times was forgetting to wet it before putting it on, so it would be intermittent unti I’d got a bit of a sweat on, d’oh.

Next trick was trying to work out my maximum heart rate. Not really being able to think of any long hills that I’d want to try a ‘ramp’ test up due to their traffic volume, and getting no response to an enquiry to a testing centre I decided to use this HR calculator. Not the most accurate method, but it’ll do for now. I’m thinking that I’ll try one cycle (about 12 weeks) of training, see how it’s gone and then try to chase down a proper test. That said a ‘spiritied’ blast up the hill at the end of my commute hit 100% and I don’t think there was much if any left in the tank. So I’ve entered all that info in the 800, though I’ve condensed Levels 5+6 as there’s only 5 on the Garmin and I don’t think I’ll be exploring that territory for a bit:

For the next 2 weeks I’m going to concentrate on trying to ride in Zone 2 for all my rides, just to get used to it. Tried a couple of commutes so far and it’s been a bit hit and miss. Some hill I only have to look at and I hit 80%+, and then occasionally I’ll see someone in the distance and some unwanted ancient instinct to chase them down takes over.

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