Same Power Metrics As Last Year But Lower Heart Rate

Just did a hour of power Tuesday nighter last night. Training Peaks said I set some 2020 heart rate PR’s which got me comparing to last year. Overall, heart rate this year is down like 10BPM or more while peak power for 5 second, 30 second, 1 minute are all the same as last year. More bizarre my 5 minute and 20-30 minute power is up this year yet heart rate is still down.

Most of you might be thinking this is a good thing but, at 52 I’ve been watching HR slide over the years and 10-15BPM compared to 2019 seems huge. Being able to do the same power but, not have as much “buffer” until I max out the heart rate leads to more blow ups/going in the red sooner it seems.

EKG and other tests were all normal this past April in routine checkups. Anyone have any insight or similar experience?. More intrigued than worried.

edit: same PM, same HR strap.

1 Like

Sounds like a good thing, unless you feel like crap. The whole blowing up on hard efforts may be from a lack of doing those efforts and focusing more on steady state power. I had a similar experience this year, and also blew up quick on a hard ride. Then I went back the week after and hung on longer. And longer the week after.

1 Like

Its called getting fitter. Enjoy!

1 Like

Can you still hit the same max HR and is your threshold HR the same? (shameless plug) has a nice chart for investigating this sort of thing. For myself when I saw that I could do 10w more at the same HR compared to 3 months ago I was quite happy :slight_smile:

1 Like

@davidtinker I can not. From last year the highest HR I recorded via TP was 190. This year it’s 178. Threshold last year I was doing 175 BPM for an hour and this year it’s maybe 160 for the same time. However, 20 minute power tests were 20 watts higher this year compared to 2019 but, similar to previous years.

I totally get how some would say you’re getting fitter but, this being decades into it and similar training year after year I just don’t agree. I do a ton of fast rides with guys in their 20’s through 40’s who train to race and some have been doing so for decades as well. I’m getting dropped more easily on these rides compared to last year and previous years with the same power? How can I be fitter?

Put another way…on climbs doing slightly above threshold edit: (similar threshold power as years past) trying to hold a wheel I reach a “red line heart rate” at a much lower HR. Therefore, I am blowing up sooner. If I was fitter I would guess everything would scale the same but, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Probably just over thinking it maybe…

1 Like

if you figure it out let me know, it has happened to me from time to time. Usually I chalk up reduced HR on similar efforts to fatigue.

@bbarrera yeah that’s what i was thinking back in like February. But since then I’ve built and peaked with similar metrics.

1 Like

It’s strange to want to have a higher HR. Or at least know you have another 10-15 to go before red line…

1 Like

Have you been working on those threshold efforts or have you been mostly doing SS and tempo and endurance work? Reason I ask is if you don’t train that part of your motor you’ll blow up when you redline.

Not good structure recently no. But, I did back some months ago and had the same results.

Can you compare your HR with ( hour of power ) between 2018 and 2019 ? Then compare those to 2020. Is there any consistent drop in HR or has it been the same for a couple of years or minus a beat or two due to age then all of the sudden you’re 10 beats lower this year?

Is this hour of power outdoor or indoor? Because for me personally, holding an absolute steady mid zone 30 to 45 minute effort indoor seems juuust a little harder than seeing the same power number outside. But I’m talking more on rolling terrain and not a straight 45 minute climb. I believe cadence changes and the feel of terrain change helps alleviate some of the constant pedal push I experience indoor on the fluid trainer.

My point is, can you verify you are comparing outdoor to outdoor and or indoor to indoor.

Are you thinking about going out next Tuesday and repeat the same 1 hr effort to compare?

Don’t get discouraged and keep working at it if you don’t feel like you’re ill. There’s a Tuesday night practice crit by my house, first week I went this year I hung in the fast pack for 2 laps before my HR blew up. Next week I sat in for the entire event. The following week I did better and sprinted to 3rd on the finish. The week after some Cat2s came and really upped the pace and I felt better each week. It definitely takes practice to train that motor and you can do what those guys probably cant: case and point the kid who usually comes in first on those crit sprints took over 7 hours to finish a century this weekend that normally takes me 5:20 because he’s not tuned for that but can blow me up in an hour race pace ride if he attacks enough times where I can’t respond

1 Like

I’ll look later today, but, going back to 2007 when I started with power, I remember threshold HR at 175 and the highest max was around 190-192 IIRC. My threshold power has always leveled out around the same amount all these years. Prior to '07 I used HR but, didn’t really follow a training plan.

All rides outside.

I’ve had similar before, not to the same extent. In my case I’m pretty sure it was mild overtraining or over-reaching. Did a 70.3 and then piled almost straight into SSB HV 1 and 2. Struggled through most of them when I should probably have pulled the plug or at least cut it back. I think I was actually building a bigger base but my ability to express that fitness in PRs was masked by the amount of fatigue I was carrying, which was also suppressing my HR. Was seeing no improvement in tests other than the fact that I was doing them at lower HR. RPE was up at any given HR. E.g. normally a ~92% SS interval would see me at HR of low 160s. During this period my HR would be more like mid 150s, but the RPE was just as high as normal, if not a bit higher. Similarly, normally a hard sprint effort at the end of a race or hard group ride would spike me up to maybe 180bpm, then I was struggling to get above 170.

I ended up having a month of not much bike training including a 10 day holiday with no cycling or any vigorous exercise at all. Freshness gradually came back, and when it did I hit some of the best cycling form of my life. Hit quite a few power PRs including highest FTP test result, and my HR was also hitting some higher numbers than I’d seen for a few years. Got to 188 at one point.


OK thanks that is interesting. I took a full week off but, perhaps a couple more is needed. Appreciate the feedback.

Have you done more base this year? Thinking greater aerobic foundation

Through September basically 20% increase in TSS, 21% increase in Kj’s and 23% increase in hours compared to 2019. I looked at aerobic impact score on some other software and added up the number of aerobic sessions scoring 4 or higher (basically induce adaptation) and 2020 was 97 sessions compared to 79 for 2019 or an 18.5% increase…not sure if this is a part of it but, it’s interesting.

Further, looking at the same software for anaerobic training impact score I am down 43% for the same period compared to last year. 49 sessions of a 4 or higher compared to 87 sessions for 2019…Perhaps this is more telling.

So, more aerobic sessions and fewer anaerobic sessions. Builds a bigger aerobic base, at the cost of some high-end punch. Not enough info to say for sure, but it seems consistent with the evidence. Do you track resting HR?

The good news is that lack of high end punchiness is quickly remedied, as typically the body responds faster to anaerobic training than aerobic.

1 Like