Heart rate concerns

I’m a 58 yo male and I have been active my entire life but just started cycling about 3 years ago. I started doing zwift workouts about 18 months ago and then switched to TR about 8 months ago. My main training goal is to keep up with the other old geezers on our weekly group rides and just have fun. My question is this. I have a max heart rate of about 180 ( based on that’s as high as I’ve ever seen it get on my wahoo tickr). I train only to power and just watch my heart rate because I can. I do a blend of low/mid volume plans and my heart rate is usually in the 140s-170s depending on my workout. My wife is concerned that this is too much for my heart and maybe I’m over training.(have no cardiac/health issues) My response is that I feel great, and other than being tired after my workout for about 10 minutes my body is handling the load well. Anyone have any thoughts on this. I don’t want to be found dead on my trainer but I also don’t want ease off and miss my chance at being called up by team INEOS


Does your doctor have any concerns? If not, press on.

I’ve had similar experience with my wife who is not an endurance athlete who doesn’t like sustained cardio efforts because she thinks they’re unsafe. I’ve been doing this stuff for 35 years. Not planning to stop until a doc says so. My guess is your doc would applaud your exercise so long as you don’t have underlying conditions.


See a doctor is the only answer


But if you are looking for comparisons, my max heart rate is around 185. My rest valley heart rate sits in the 120’s- low 130’s, but I spend a lot of time in the 160’s and on the hardest work outs the 170’s. Ramp tests, I try to hit my max heart rate. I’ve always thought it normal to be at your threshhold for threshhold and higher workouts.

Your wife sounds like she needs some gentle education.

Does she work/educated in healthcare? Other than her opinion (based on…?), why is she concerned?

You should be getting regular physicals anyway, but agreed, unless there is a professional opinion against what you are doing (which is all fine FYI), enjoy your fitness and health.


Agreed with the above comments; at 58, I do suppose having regular physicals and having a doc sign off on strenuous exercise would be a very smart idea. But again…in the ABSENCE of information, assuming exercise is bad for the human body seems the wrong approach…

1 Like

If you been active your whole life MOST LIKELY not an issue, but im not a doctor.
58 is not old, but neither young. You could go to a cardiologist and make sure you get your heart examine and see if there is an undiscovered condition. Most people who die during an endurance sport is because they have undiscovered hart problems.

Best of luck!

I’m 62 and in races I routinely get my HR into the mid-190s. Your HR may be entirely safe; but as others have noted, you have to see a doctor to be sure. I took a stress test once after I had chest pains on several winter rides. The doc ramped up my HR to about 170 then just stopped the test. He said he didn’t need to go farther and that I had almost no risk of heart attack (from any cause). Chest pains were probably breathing too much cold air. All hearts are different.

As others have said, you should consult your physician.

For another data point, I’m 56, have a resting HR of 45, and last week reached 186 BPM during an under/over workout. I stopped racing when I went to college at age 18 and only started cycling regularly again 4 years ago, for exercise and to participate in group rides. A few years ago, when I asked my doctor about my max HR, he ran an EKG and said I could do whatever I felt comfortable with, including 180+.

When I was in high school, I had a sadistic cross-country skiing coach who had us run sprints up a hill until our HR was 210. He’d then let us rest until it dropped to 195 and then had us run back up again. I remember not having to put a finger to a vein to determine my HR; bent over with my hands on my knees I could feel my heart beating throughout my body. I also remember guys vomiting and another passing out. The coach was dangerous old school and an Olympic competition (Lake Placid) judge.

+1 on seeing a heart specialist and getting an EKG and Stress Test done.

There’s a lot of misinformation regarding HR and the latest TR podcast does talk about this topic so it might be worth a listen.
I expect your wife is using the 220 - age algorithm which basically doesn’t work and should be ignored.
On the assumption you’re fit & healthy then crack on with training and have fun on your bike. Of course, if either of you are worried about any health conditions then go and see the doctor.

1 Like

I am 49 and hold 160 on Sweetspot workouts. Racing I have held 192. Got a friend over 10 years my senior and he still hold 199 racing.

My resting rate is low enough that nurses freak when they check me in (along with the low BP).

Why are you worried? Because she is? Ok. Why is she worried?

+1 but also -1.

Last year I had 2 stress tests — 1 ECG, 1 nuclear — and wound up with 2 false positives, leading to exactly 12 months of undue stress and anxiety (and unneeded drug use, if I had chosen to take the prescribed meds).

After my ‘gold standard’ heart test, the attending doc said there are limitations and errors with the previous tests, both with the tests themselves and with the interpretations of the test results, basically a double whammy.

There is also a condition referred to as ‘athlete’s heart’ which displays several similarities to that of a diseased heart. If you are going to go see a heart specialist, either find one who has experience with athletic patients, or ask a million questions.


This is provided that the specialist you’re seeing is actually decent and doesn’t want to get you out of the room ASAP. :rage:


She probably have read things like this…


Runner and doctor who saved her during New York City Marathon reunite

Kristie Elfering had a heart attack during the New York City Marathon – just as Dr. Ted Strange was fatefully running by


As rare as they are, our significant other read about them and worry about us.

Sounds just like myself (41 year old)

I’m 51 - my resting HR is between 32-36bpm, my max is 179bpm - I see low 170’s in time trials and sometimes my max in a VO2 max session. Yes my doctor thinks I’m nuts…No he doesn’t tell me to stop! :laughing: