Question about high heart rate

Hello all,

I am a 45 y/o male, been riding for a while, FTP when in shape hovers around 300 and when untrained it sits at about 260-270.

I have trained in a quite unstructured way but constant, and have clocked about 500 hours a year on 2019 to 2021.
However , the last two years I have had less training, I have been partying, got Covid on 2022 (the one time that I know of)… so I am not sure if I have been back to an FTP of 300 again.

After almost a month without touching the bike and with about two weeks of festivals, partying, etc, I came back home and did what would qualify for a Z2 outside ride, which is trying to stay between 180 and 200 watts.
Much to my alarm, my heart rate would go up to the high 140s when I strayed to 210-220 watts. I remember having done 210 watts at 120 bpm not so long ago, when I was more trained. Also, hitting 300 watts for a minute or two would send my heart rate to 160, which is my SST heart rate. I am used to hitting 450 / 500 for a minute without my heart rate going so high. I settled for 150 watts to let my heart rate recover if I hit 150 bpm or above for a moment, I did not want to let my heart beat too fast.

My question is, is this just being untrained in a way I am not used to anymore, or could there be something like accumulated fatigue or a mild virus going on? I think I would like to keep on training without letting my heart rate go above 145-150, but I am not sure if I would be doing myself a disservice. Maybe I really need rest.

HR is all very individual but for me (a 47 yo male) that is a low HR during exercise and only about 75% max. I’m no expert but if it was constrained before that was a sign of fatigue and you needed a rest (which you did for a month) and now its unconstrained you’re less likely to be fatigued and need a rest. But as I say HR is very individual and if you’ve any concern about your HR (family history of heart problems etc) you should speak to a medical expert.

You had a month off, you’re probably going to need at least a few weeks to get ‘back into it’. I seem to remember reading detraining doubles or worse the time you take off, so 4 weeks off will take around 8-12 weeks to get back to the level of fitness you were before your break.

Personally I would train Z2 to HR and start adding some intensity to feel out your FTP, then after a few weeks do a proper FTP test and see where you are.

Obviously if your heart is causing you real concerns ask a doctor!



My "constrained ’ HR was my normal HR for the last 10 years. Also, I checked my activity monitor after opening the topic in here, and I see that my resting HR is about 5 to 10 bpm higher than normal…

I don’t feel bad, I’m trying to make sense of the signs…

HR numbers are really individualistic you need to speak to an expert around you but generally the inability to raise HR suggests overtraining your raising it. A higher resting HR however, which you never mentioned before can be a sign of over training but it can also be a sign of something really different. As I said I’m no expert and if you’ve concerns you really need to talk to one. Good luck!

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No bike means lower blood volume, so your heart has to contract more to pump the same volume - hence higher hr. It starts after 3-4 days of no activity. It will come back to norm after 1-2 weeks of riding.

After 3 months off I have achieved hr max while doing tempo workout without any other sign of fatigue, two weeks later hr was in normal range.


The other thing is that if you are training hard, your heart rate tends to be suppressed due to fatigue. So you probably are seeing both ends of the spectrum. Comparing your fatigued “highly trained” heart rate versus your “fresh” but “detrained” heart rate. I know that if I am doing a block, sometimes by the end it’s really hard to get near max heart rate. However, if I take a few days off, my heart rate can rise again to where I want it. And honestly, I think you want it to be higher. It’s a sign you are recovering well and working at a higher percentage of max heart rate for the same perceived exertion, I think, leads to more adaptations. It might be a reason you will adapt quickly once you start training again.


Update: a week with 11 hours of easy aerobic exercise later, and some solid sleep, I’m seeing now my heart rate stay in the 130s when doing 200 watts, and I can do 280/300 watts for a couple of minutes without the heart rate going up like a rocket. The heart rate I get for a given effort has been lowered in about 10 to 15 bpm. I feel good, I think this is closer to the numbers I am used to seeing. It’s quite remarkable what difference a week did…