Higher heart rate - fitness improving or decreasing?

I’m a bit confused about something perhaps you can help.

I’ve been training over ten years, I’m upper end of M45-49. Steadily gained a few kilos (on average) for the last five years.

I tend to use a Garmin Dual HRM for the last three years, got a new one this year as the old one became erratic.

Also started high dose ramipril last year for long term untreated high blood pressure.

My exercising heart rate is definitely higher this year. Cycling and running. My power is not higher, yet anyway. EDIT: My average resting heart rate is unchanged.

But I’m holding a higher HR for longer in cycling than I ever have before, eg 171 for an hour rather than 166 which should mean my heart is more capable than before…


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According to the Swedish drug database FASS increased heart rate is one possible side effect of Ramipil. According to the same source it is adviced to consult your physician if that’s the case.


Interesting - I’ll check that out.

I think my OP was unclear, I’ll update it - I’m concerned about HR during exercise, my resting HR has not changed year to year based on my continual wearing of a Garmin watch.

Assuming there is no short-term depressed HR due overachieving, I would expect lower HR for same power shows improved fitness in general. But you have to be careful drawing conlusions in your own situation, HR can be skewed even in long term with various environmental conditions.

On my own example, here are two power/HR graphs, indoor vs outdoor over last 4years.

On first graph, 2022 stands out as big improvement: due leg injury, had to switch to high volume very low Z2 approach. Obviously, it is magic and I actually needed it indeed to build proper base:

But if I switch outdoors → indoors only (i.e. more controlled variables environment), picture becomes different: it shows steady slow improvement and injury year was actually lower as expected.

To explain seeming improvement in 2022, I’d recall it be relatively cool summer, helping to keep HR lower.

So, this is one side. Your OP was more oriented on ability to hold relatively high HR over longer period. I’d say it shows improved TTE. A la when I started, I was able to hold Z3 for less than 2h, after 1y ~2h and now, 5y later, ~6h.


Holding a higher HR for longer means your lactate threshold has increased, this a sign your muscular metabolic fitness has increased. Your muscles are able to work harder for longer by using more oxygen pumped by your heart beating faster.


IOW, ceiling is higher and it creates opportunity to push FTP higher?

The ceiling is probably the same you’re just able to sustain a higher percentage of it for longer.

But he says it’s higher for the same power. That doesn’t tell me he’s raised his threshold. I agree with @svens. His HR should go down for the same power if he was fitter OR there is something else going on, such as stress, lack of sleep, caffeine, etc.


Hey @JoeX !

I think this variable makes it difficult to weigh in on without a medical background. Especially given you haven’t seen any changes in your power output. I think it would be best to consult with your doctor, so that you can at least rule it out.

Let us know how if you do, and how you get on!

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Can’t speak to the first point, as it could be for several reasons as outlined above.

On the second point, if your fractional utilization (FTP as % vo2max) increases, then your LTHR - or HR at FTP - will also increase.

So if “171 for an hour” was roughly around FTP, and last year it was 166bpm, then it’s possible your fractional utilization increased (say from doing a lot of SS or threshold work).

Or it’s something else.

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Thanks all.

Even undecided responses tell me that I’m not mad in being a bit confused.

I’m enjoying cycling and setting PRs so not overly concerned, more curious.