My heart rate problem

Hello Trainerroad,

maybe somebody has an advice for me.

When i am doing Vo2Max Intervals i struggle to get my heartrate up in the desired zone. Before this happens i’m already flooded by lactate and it gets a crazy tough effort.

I’m rested enough when i try to do those intervals and also they are properly fueled.

I did a lot of Base work in the past months. Can it be possibly that i clear the lactate “too” efficient? Thats my feeling somehow that my body is not able to process enough “fast fuel” via glycolosis . But i also know that i produce quite a lot of lacate normally.

I hope somebody can help me with this.


I’m the same way, the shorter more intense intervals don’t get my HR up enough and my legs get blown out and heavy breathing doesn’t last for too long.

I have two semi-related changes I made:
1 - 120% is too high for me for VO2max intervals. There is more individual variability in power zones above FTP and 120% just doesn’t work for me. Switching to 95% of my 5min maximal power has been a better target for me (I think this is also about what WKO would recommend.) and is more like 117%.
2 - Longer is better for me as it gives time for HR to get up and heavy breathing to kick in. I have switched to longer supra-threshold intervals (5-7min @105-112%ish) to get me in the right place.

I think it would be interesting for you to do a ramp test and compare the FTP estimate to a longer 20min test or other long protocol and see how FTPs compare. I would hypothesize that your FTP from a longer test is higher ran your ramp test (i.e. FTP from long test is more accurate and higher percentage of your MAP than the ramp test assumed value of 75%).


What is your indoor setup like? If you’re recovered, fueled and cooling really well then that could be what is keeping HR lower than expected. I tend not to look at HR too much when doing indoor VO2 sessions because it can be real dependent on external factors. Meanwhile, my legs are begging for mercy.

If the effort doesn’t feel like a solid RPE 9-10 then it might also be an indicator of improved fitness and time to retest!

How have you determined “the desired zone?”

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Do a lot more of Z2 - seems as a contradiction but it helps massively (personal experience). Also try sweetspot/tempo with bursts to target bigger muscles and help with clearing lactate. It wold be something like 85-90% for 2 min and then 30s power around your map power (last min from ramp test).

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What TR workouts are you doing that fall into this bracket?

90% of max Hr or 90% of power @ vo2max

The cooling & setup is really good.

Yep the effort feels like an 9 - 10 but the heartrate is rising super slow. And it feels like that there is a lack of fuel for my aerobic system somehow. I can’t describe it better. :confused:

Like i said i did a lot of z2 work in the past months and the more i do the more i feel like in high intensity efforts the heartrate is harder and harder to get up and i’m lacking more and more this top end punch.

The SST + bursts sound interesting, i’m gonna try that.

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Thanks for your reply.

Actually in the past i did better at a ramp test then at a longer protocol.

It’s really all messed up :frowning:

If you’re cooling well then that’ll help to keep your HR down. HR is so dependent on external factors. A stressful day outside of training can put your Z1-power ride in a Z2-HR zone.

Power is the ultimate governor! Sometimes I don’t even show HR on the screen while training just so it doesn’t get in my head.

Hm ok i see.

But the problem is not the variety of it. My problem is that it is more and more reacting slower to intensity and i’m loosing more and more topend power cause i can’t sustain the harder efforts as long as before.

With a lot of Z2 work i wanted exactly to achieve the opposite.

How do you know your max Hr?

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They helped me also. They are great as transition between steady work and high intensity vo2 max. Treat them as threshold work in terms of progression. You can regulate a little how often do you do bursts- you can start every 3 or even 4 minutes and make them denser as part of training. I have recently done 1x60@80% and added bursts as nice distraction from quite boring interval.

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i’m talking about my max hr on the bike. established over the years at a lot of max efforts & ramp tests.

Have you tried high cadences yet? What I’ve learned about VO2 max work is that it’s more about the sensation rather than a power or HR target. I don’t hit max HR with VO2 max efforts but they somehow feel more painful than in situations where I do hit a max HR.

I also feel like VO2 Max workouts take the most time to learn how to do properly. If people started out with 3 min 120% intervals we’d all quit them. If you haven’t already, make sure you’re progressing slowly with these. I did Brasted last week (30/15s) and while there’s a lot of opinion that says that’s not even a real VO2 max workout it just exists to get your body and mind prepared for the longer intervals. If I’m targeting actual VO2 max improvements, I concentrate more on a high spin and less so on a HR or power target.

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Thanks for your reply. Yes i try to stick to 110 rpm as long as possible :wink:

But it’s really weird, SST pace it feels like i can go forever but even already at FTP and even more at VO2 i miss the punch. It feels like there is a lack of fuel somehow … :confused:

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I’ve noticed that while getting fitter, it also take more time for me to reach max HR. I know it’s around 185 on the bike and I used to hit this easily. Now on a vo2 workout it goes to 170 quickly but I need a lot more time to reach max HR.

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I do quite a lot of volume too, maybe i have to reduce this a little bit to get the punch back.

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It was said to me when I went with coach.