Question about Heart Rate (HR) Training

I’m hoping someone more schooled than me can chime in…
I’m prepping for the 70.3 in Couer D Alene Idaho. I bought an e-book Triathlon Winning at 70.3 by Dan Golding. He advises HR training. I don’t understand where he’s coming from. If I’m following a plan, how do I train to HR on TrainerRoad. It would appear to me that I would have to do long versions of Pettit-type workouts, and adjust intensity to hit the target HR.
Running: I did a 5.75 mile run, and averaged 160 bpm, which is zone-3. If I was going to target zone-2, would I just walk a brisk pace until my HR drops to Z2 (145 to 151)?? Dan Golding is obviously more intelligent than I am on this topic, and I’m not questioning him. I’m questioning how does this all work?

If you follow a TrainerRoad plan as intended, HR is not going to be your primary metric (for better or for worse).

Simply put (perhaps oversimplifying), if you follow TR you’ll be guiding workouts by power with HR either ignored altogether or as a verification of what you’re doing.

If you use HR as your primary guide, you need to make some educated modifications to executing the TR plans, or simply not use the plans at all (can of course still use the software).

Right out of the gate you’ve come across a fork in the road it seems. How and when to use HR vs power (and vice versa) draws some very differing opinions from some very capable coaches and athletes. Suffice it to say that the official party line from TR is to collect HR, but use power to guide your training.

I personally use HR quite a bit in my training, as do many good cyclists and triathletes on this forum.


Focus on power for you’re training but there’s no harm in wearing an HR monitor as they can both paint a good picture.
Also, bike and run zones don’t always match up so be careful of that.

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My brother @gb78 thinks I’m over thinking this, and I’d probably agree. From what I understand, hit the TR programs, but utilize HR for running? @Dave yes, glad you brought this up about bike/run being different. Attached is an excerpt from his book

My suggestion would be to train by power on the bike but use your HR after sessions (not during) to inform you about if you have your levels set correctly.

After a week of sessions look to see if your HR (level) is in the corresponding power level (at least 80% of time.) If it is not, my suggestion would be to adjust your FTP up or down to allow better alignment. This work well for an over estimate FTP assessment or if your fitness is improving quickly and your FTP becomes too low / out of date before your next FTP assessment. In theory it keeps you in the correct training zone to maximise your training with your improving fitness.

A caution: don’t use this method if you had bad sleep, loads of stress, overheated due to poor cooling or dehydrated badly, as that will skew everything against days when you can keep the heat and hydration controlled. This method only works well if you keep these factors constant:- Sleep, stress, heat, hydration.

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@kbeers81 If you do what @Bbt67 is suggesting (not a bad approach, basically “use power, verify with HR”), then I would add that you might want to go with Coggan HR zones, since you’ll be using Coggan power zones (these are the zones TR uses).

The HR zones you posted (from the book) are Joe Friel’s HR zones.

See the table here:

P.S. No, you’re not overthinking this.

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