High HR for same intensity workout-after illness

Dear TR members,

As the title suggests I have been experiencing lately some considerably higher HR.

Let me give you the complete picture: I am 35y-old, 66kg with good fitness. As sports I only do cycling, last year covering 12k km. I cycle both outside and indoor on TR and Zwift
My latest FTP figure from 1 month ago was 250W.

3 weeks ago I was diagnosed with a mild bacterial pneumonia on my left lung. After 5 days of antybiotics and another 7 days of complete rest, I restarted slowly on TR doing mainly Pettit workout. During this mild intensity workout, my average heart rate is aprox +14 (141bpm) more than my previous best when perfectly healty (127bpm). Moreover max HR during the workout went as high as 157bpm at 180W, while my best max HR when healthy was 140bpm at 180W.

Now I know that 2 weeks off,combined with ilness would see the HR increase, but I have been doing the same workout (Pettit) 5 or 6 times already (during the last week since jumping back on the bike) and I see no improvement in HR. Can this be considered normal? I would have expected that after a week of mild training, my HR would go down by a few bpm. I do not cough, nor do I have chest pain and generally I feel fine. When asking my GP about when should I restart training (when revisiting him a week after being diagnosed), he told me I should simply listen to my body and jump on the bike whenever I feel ready body-wise. That is why a week ago I restarted training but taking it easy, by doing Pettit which is a 1h workout mainly targetting the endurance zone.

I would appreciate your feedback if you had similar experiences with ilness and how was your recovery.



Sounds like youve answered your own question.

Keep your training intensity low until you see more familiar HR readings and then you can consider restarting more intense work

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I’ll give you a different example. Last year I went on a holiday for 10 days, spent lots of time walking around, not that much time sleeping and I got 4kg in that period coz I ate everything in my path.
My RESTING heart rate is usually 36. After I got home it took my resting heart rate 2 whole weeks to normalize from 60 to 36.
So if a week of enjoying life can put that much “stress” and have that impact then I guess it isn’t really strange to see similar things after bacterial pneumonia. So just take it a bit easier and go by the feel. We aren’t that frail to fall apart easily, it’s just body trying to find that balance again.
good luck

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The podcast talks about exactly this. High HR after a break due to reduction in blood plasma volume forcing the heart to work harder. It’s episode 251.

Add in your medical issues and it makes sense that it will take time.

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When I was young I had a bacterial pneumonia in right lung. During that time I have lost 10kg and recovery to the point I could exercise without any problems in school took 2 months. So I am not surprised that your HR is elevated, because it is very serious strain to the body.

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Thank you guys: onemanpeloton, bLah,SeeEl and jarsson.

I will go by feeling and do regular light workouts like Pettit or maybe even lower, and when the numbers are more close to what it used to be I will consider raising the intensity. By the way my resting heart rate is normaly 52 and quite constant, however nowadays it fluctuates between 50 and 64, and when finishing now the workout Pettit I really feel that it took a lot from me and for the next hour or so I feel tired, I guess it s a sign I should take it easier.

Many thanks again to all of you for sharing your experience!

I guess I am too eager to see my stats closer to what they were before. I never confronted with a severe illness in my life, except accidents such as broken hand, apendicytis…

I will take a look over episode 251 from the podcast, thanks!

Thanks @bLah and @jarsson !For me regarding weight, in 3 weeks time, I nearly lost 2kg and I can see my muscles smth more frail… I will take it with caution and be more patient!

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Hi again,

I started doing free runs at low intensities. Yesterday I saw and especially today that there are big sudden fluctuations in my HR response, either up or down. Yesterday, I replaced the battery of my HR monitor (a wahoo tickr), but nonetheless today the behaviour was even more erratic.

E.g.: on flat power segments with constant cadence the HR was either going up or down in sudden increments of 5 to 7 bpm in one second; after one short sprint the HR stayed at the same level for aprox 1 min and then it suddenly dropped; while on the last sprint the HR it merely moved up and then it did not bulge after the sprint for almost another minute showing a flat line.

My question: do I have a faulty sensor or could my heart actually behave like this. My intuition tells me that the heart could not respond in such a way, so therefore could I have a faulty HR monitor? Before the increase in intensity always showed a linear increase in HR, while a decrease in intensity would show a linear constant decrease, and not this kind of discrete values as the graph reflects, kind of like sharp square stairs.

PS: when I was in hospital when they discovered my bacterial pneumonia, they did 2 ecographies, an electrocardiogram, an upper body X-ray, blood analysis and there have been no heart issues or other vital organs, except for a bacterial infection shown in blood (where the CRP-reactive protein value was 98) and by X-ray a mild left lung bacterial pneumonia.



I would think so. A bacterial infection in your lungs plus a regimen of antibiotics plus time off the bike will lead to significant declines in fitness.

I experienced the same thing after going through the flu+strep w/antibiotics for 10 days. I’m on my second week back and saw ZERO improvement in power or HR after one full week (340 TSS / 6 hr) of training. I haven’t seen any improvement so far this week as well. I fully expect it will take 3-4 weeks to get back to “normal”.

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