Effort vs heart rate question

Hi all. Im relatively new to TR and structures training and looking for a little advice or experience from thise with more eperience. I just finished week 4 of sweet spot base mid volume. Prior to starting this i was mixing outside rides and rides on an analog stationary. I was using HR to train. The outside rides were probably too intense but i tried to keep the inside to zone 2. I was riding about 10 hours per week between the 2. I’m now using a wheel on trainer with my old bike. The first 3 weeks were what i expected with effort and intensity. HR seemed to match. The last 2 workouts of this week, things sort of fell apart. They were moose tooth 1 on saturday and glassy 1 on sunday. Saturday my HR seemed a little high and the workout felt a little hard. Sunday it was much higher than it should have been. I was able to complete the workouts though. I did add an outside ride on Monday but kept it easy and did some upper body weights on friday so i didnt have a day off in over a week. Im hoping i just over did it and am tired but am curious if anyone has similar experiences. Thanks

Its hard to say but if indoor workouts of the same level felt doable before but if they feel way too hard now, you may be coming down with something. If it its just a natural progression of a structured plan getting harder (levels rising) and it just feels a “little hard” its could be best to ignore HR, its max is maybe higher than you think. Some folk hide HR when they are doing a workouts so it doesn’t distract them from hitting power targets. If you are really concerned about your HR though its probably best to speak to a doctor.


Thanks. Im not concerned from a medical standpoint but it seemed out of character with what ive seen so far.

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As you progress through a block the workouts will get harder and you’ll see your max heart rate rise. You’ll have a recovery week, then start the first week of the next block at roughly the load of the second week of the first block. As you adapt your max heart rate will come down for the same workout and intensities ….

One of the reasons people train with power is that HR can be quite variable. Temperature, fatigue, anxiety, hydration, caffeine consumption, infection and much more besides can all have quite substantial effects on HR.

I’ve written on this board before that I struggle with anxiety at times, and that can push HR up 10-15 bpm in any given zone without affecting RPE. Racers can sometimes be familiar with HR being in threshold almost straight from the line (even though they’re not riding that hard): it’s stress.

Have a day or 2 off, get plenty of sleep, hydrate, etc. I went through something similar and I wouldn’t worry (I was told directly that “isolated, mild and proportionate HR elevation on exercise is not a common presentation of cardiac issues”) but if the trend persists longer than a couple of weeks (and obviously sooner if you get any other odd symptoms) it’s probably worth a check up.

Did your RPE feel about right?

At the end of a 3 week block, it sounds to me like it’s probably just fatigue. Especially with no days off the week prior.

I think fatigue probably is the answer. This morning’s ride was much closer to expected. I struggle with RPE. When i started with TR the tempo and ss workouts felt easier than what i was trying to do as zone 2 with RPE. For a little background, i previously weighed 149kg about 4 yeats ago When i got down to 127 kg I got a bike with the idea id enjou riding rail trails and fell in love with riding on the road. Because it was such a freeing feeling i just wanted to go as fast as possible. Im down to 102 kg at 191 cm. I still have some to lose but not too much based on my build unless i want to lose a lot of muscle. Ive come to grips that i need to go slower and follow a plan to get faster but its hard and my perception of what is and isnt a hard effort is way off.


Here are a few key bits that caught my attention:

You write you are new to structured training. I think for most 10 hours per week is too much, unless you e. g. come from a different sport.

Training by power is different to training by heart rate. But there is no simple relation between e. g. fatigue and heart rate. Yes, in most circumstances a higher heart rate than usual is an indicator of fatigue. But also a lower-than-usual heart rate can be an indicator of fatigue.

Here is my advice:

  • Have at least 2 days per week off. That means no sport on these two days, nothing. Just relaxing. This is when you get faster and stronger!
  • When you ride easy, really ride easy. One big factor to make sure easy endurance rides are actually easy endurance rides is route choice: go for pancake flat if you can. Do it on a mountain bike or another slower bike so that you are not even tempted to compete with your or other people’s fast times on that Strava segment. If you struggle pacing easy endurance rides by power, then try pacing by heart rate: set your self a hard ceiling, e. g. 130 bpm. If your heart rate zones are largely average, this will guarantee that you stay within the lower half of Z2.
  • If you have the time, make every endurance ride an easy endurance ride, but increase the duration.
  • Alternate between intense days and easy days. Resist the temptation to make your easy days hard.
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