Heart rate in cold

I would like to ask if there is any expectation of higher HR during rides in cold temperatures (around 0 degrees celsius). I had trainer and outdoor power/hr ratio at pretty similar level (good cooling inside, but on the other hand higher HR outside stress because of cars/other cyclists I need to overtake, pretty crowded place). But now maintaining my Z2 inside is around 140-145 bpm, but outside its 150-155bpm. This difference is even more evident in Z3, where inside I keep 155bpm but outside its around 170bpm. My Vo2Max and higher, where I approach my limit, is pretty similar out and inside. Values inside are pretty similar to what I had during summer, outside is way too high for myself. There may be a possibility that one of my powermeters started to measure more/less, or is it possible that cold is responsible for that?

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In the cold, your veins will be smaller (tighter ) so the heart has to beat faster to push around the same amount of blood. So a higher HR is normal in cold weather.


Thanks for the response. That may explain why my HR was dropping so fast at the same power during spring :grin:

Heart rate is such a fickle thing; my HR seems to be lower in minus temperatures outdoors but I don’t do anything too intense outdoors when temperatures are low.

I get a much lower HR in the cold…in early season TT I can’t get my HR above about 150bpm…by mid summer on a warm Saturday afternoon it’s up in the high 160s :grinning:

+1 for me. Cooler temperatures = lower HR, unless I screw up my clothing (too hot)

Maybe it has something to do with weight as well? I’m really light, and I’m freezing much sooner than my friends wearing less clothing. And I also see lower HR during mild temperatures, like 10-15 degress. Actually, 15 degrees celsius is where I perform best. This kind of troubles started when temperatures got to around 0.

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Yes it does, body fat is a factor. If the body is using a lot of energy to keep warm heart rate general goes up, the lower the body fat the more likely your are to notice this fact.

Higher heart rates while training in the cold do not normally occur until well into the negatives in Centigrade.

In running peak performance is normally seen between 5 and 8 degrees which is lower than cycling probably because there is more cooling in cycling due the higher speeds, slow speeds in running equals less air cooling.

The temperature which HR is at its lowest for a given effort depends on the individual.

You can’t just say “Cooler temperature = Lower HR” for me, because there is a tipping point, if you’ve never seen a higher heart rate at low temperatures you probably just haven’t trained in low enough temperatures to reach the tipping point where you are cold enough for your HR to rise.

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could be I weigh 61kg so I notice the cold much more than the er…more robust TT riders I race against! :laughing:

Hi, I don’t know what the expectation is. But for me is quite the opposite. Cold weather helps me keep my HR low and the opposite with heat.

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Same as others, the colder it is, the lower my h/r is

Testers don’t wory about weight so much. It’s why I used to be a tester not a triathlete… I’m still a fatty.

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yeah I’m an ex runner - my w/kg is pretty good - doesn’t help me on a flat TT though!

but it will help you with wind resistance if you’re small !!

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yep 5’7’’ tall …just had a TT bike fit - would like to do a 10m TT at 30mph…managed 20:32 last year off 264W which is 29.2 - my position has completely changed so I’m hoping its 33s quicker! :laughing:

I’m 59kg but one of the best TTers I know is smaller than me. Lol he’s also 15 years younger than me :grinning:

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Hmm…not Matt Smith by any chance?..he spoils all my excuses for being small :grimacing: :grinning:

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James Gelthorpe. I remember a few years ago he turned up to our hill climb on a bike with a pannier rack and mud guards and comfortably won it. I then found out he was a TTer too :+1:

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yep - not quite Matt Smith level but getting there - and from what I’ve seen from some results he runs pretty quickly as well!

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Hi, I have had exactly the same problem recently and last weekend on a century Z2 ride it was so bad that I reckon I dropped 25-30W for the same indoor HR :frowning: I wouldn’t have said it was really cold about 7C so it has me flummoxed.