Training with Atrial Fibrillation

Are someone that following the programs training with Atrial fibrillation?
If you do, do you do and modificatons or are you able to follow the programs 100%? Are you doing VO2 Max workouts or are you holding back on high intensity workouts?

I got atrial fibrillation last summer and stoped for some time doing strucktured training but are now back and have startes using Trainerroad. Beror this happening I had some hjelp from a coach but I feel I get the help I need with training from TrainerRoad

I don’t have AFib but do have svt and multiple pvc’s. I do VO2max sessions and I’m happy to do so. However I believe AFib is more serious than svt.

What does your cardiologist say about intensity? As someone with heart disease as well, cardiologist gets the final word and that dictates how to modify TR workouts


Before I got this I did long Gran Fondo and other long races. This I have to stop doing mostly to avoid to get dehydrated. I am allowed to do shorter race under two hours. This races is of course more intense then the longer I did before and I have not got any restrictions regarding intensity , just to avoid long races. I have just read that many is told not to do to high intensity. I will talk to the cardiologist next time I see her.

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Have you heard this: Fast Talk podcast: Too much of a good thing? Heart arrhythmias in endurance athletes -

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No, but I am listening now. Thanks for the link…

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i get episodes of Afib possibly one or twice a year. So to minimise these i build slowly and dont go mad in a race when my brain says go, i say whats my HR, and if near threshold I’ll sit tight. Same goes for VO2 workouts, if pushing high end of Zone 4, i’ll back off the gas till im “comfortable”, mid Zone 4. As for intensity I believe my setting for FTP is about 9 watts lower than my best tested value. This gives you a safety buffer to complete the work outs on the lower target. Hope this helps.

I was diagnosed with Afib when I was 25. By the time I was 32 I had been hospitalized for it 3 times and had two re-boots (cardioversion) to put me back into rhythm. After my first cardioversion I stopped exercising all together. Very seldom did anything to get my heart rate elevated at all mostly out of fear. At 34 I had put on 40+ pounds and did not feel like myself anymore. I started cycling as a recreational thing and to help shed some of the extra weight. As the weight fell off and my enjoyment grew I started talking to my cardiologist about training. He changed my meds and gave me some guidelines.

Fast forward to today. I’m 41. I race mtb and CX. I train 3-5 days per week. I do all of my workouts. When I go see my cardiologist every year we have a little talk about heart rates, resting heart rate, and my training. It’s funny being the youngest person in the office. He always starts the conversation with “how’s your activity level?” When I tell him I raced a 20+ mile mtb race the day before he just rolls his eyes.

All that said, I do find Vo2 stuff the hardest by FAR. I did Bird +2 this morning and started it at 95% because I just can’t get my heart rate high enough to do it full strength. My resting HR is ~39, and the highest I’ve ever seen in a race is 180. The cardiologist says my medicine is keeping my top end low. It’s almost like racing with a governor. I’ve never felt like it holds me back in a race. My legs still get just as cooked as the guy in front or behind me.
Most definitely have a talk with your Dr. If he’s not used to dealing with athletes you may have to fill him in on exactly what you’re talking about with your training. Show him the app or better yet show him some heart rate data from a ride or workout, so he can visualize what you’re wanting to put yourself through.


Do you mind sharing a) what type of heart disease and b) how the workouts are modified?

Had two episodes of Afib the last one was about four years ago. I modified my lifestyle to ease the pressure on my heart. I don’t drink caffeine drinks or take any stimulants and I never train when I’m dehydrated and always have water with me.
My doctor knows I ride bikes but after reading a few other posts I think I need a more in depth conversation with him.
I really restricted my max heartrate for years afterwards. These days I’m not as cautious because I keep getting the thumbs up from the cardiac guy and I’ve dropped weight.
Not on any medication although used to take aspirin.

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I also have AF and have no problems racing, but I do have heart medication to control my HR ( which is a bit of a draw back ) but you make do with what you have. My cardiologist doesn’t bat an eye lid when I discuss my training schedule with him. Managed to grow my heart by 10% though over the years (I’m over 50). But do get professional opinion, all AFs might not be the same.

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Since I stared this tread I can tell a little about my story.
Last June was the first time I had it and it was in an MTB race.
I thought it was something wrong with my HR monitor and did not understand
What is was when my Garmin showed that my HR was 220.
I thought it was a little strange that so many people were passing me but still could not understood.
After that I have had it 4-5 times but it always go over by itself, so I do not take medicine for it.
I was told by the my cardiologic that it would be best for me not to duo long races any more but
that I should still do training. I lost a little of my motivation after that. I was thinking, what is the point of
doing intervals when I can not race? I start working more and added a lot of extra stress at work and
that of course made me feel worse and I got an elevated HR at work. I have now been back in structured training for two months and are feeling much better and have not had any problem since.

I have found out that for me the biggest triggers are Alcohol, stress and heat. So, the day before training I do not drink and I also paying more attention to hydration then I did before.

I live in Norway and many of the most known study regarding AF and endurance athletes are done in Norway and Sweden so I know about them. It is also done a study for “Aerobic Interval Training Reduces the Burden of Atrial Fibrillation” where they found that doing high intensity interval workout reduced the burden for people with AF. Link to that study:


I’m a fellow A Fib sufferer, I was on the last Zwiftcast talking about it.

I was first diagnosed 3 years ago when I saw similiar things to you, ie HR spiking over 200 on hard workouts, hill repeats etc.

I saw a cardiologist and did some tests, and we concluded as I had no other symptoms to carry on. However end of 2018 I started to get more breathless, even walking the dog up a small incline, and struggled to keep HR low during steady running. He had me wear an ECG holster (I think it’s called) for 3 days, that showed I was more in A Fib than out of it.

So I had a catheter ablation done on the 7th Feb, the first month after I was still getting frequent cases of A Fib ( I bought a Kardia ) which I use to check myself 3 times a day at the moment. Since then it’s really improved, I now get a real short episode once a week, and have come off the Flecainide this week. I am still on anti coagulants.

I just started a TR plan to ease myself back into training, I’ve slowly been increasing my HR and now allow it to just tip over 160bpm, but have done no max HR work at all. I hope to by about July/August.

I’m also keeping a sharp eye on my HR during exercise, to watch for the sudden blips.

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Mitral Valve Prolapse with regurgitation. I also have (apparently unrelated according to the cardiologist) have a high max heart rate (>200 @51yrs old). Fortunately for me, the cardiologist says no modifications required - and I ask repeatedly. The last time I was there in December, he said that I should be looking at repair/replace within 2 years before it starts to deteriorate because once it causes damage, you don’t recover it.

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It’s crazy to think of how many people out there with damaged/ill-functioning parts (known and/or unknown) are participating in sports.

I recently read a paper where a bunch of Olympians were tested for heart problems, somewhere around ~5% had heart conditions.

I ran a 5k w/ an athlete that was going for the age group club record at the time. He said he didn’t have it that day and dropped out. Saw him in the pavilion and he said he still didn’t feel right & plus his heart rate monitor battery needed to be changed because it was still reading 205.

On his drive home he felt so bad he became distressed…pulled into a firestation…called 911. EMTs came out to check him, became alarmed, and defibbed him while he was still conscious.

The moral of the story as he told it was this: you don’t want to be defibbed while you are still conscious. The pain of that experience ‘transcends mortal perception’.


Zwiftcast episode that was mentioned earlier in thread Zwiftcast Episode 63 | Zwift Insider by Kitenski.


A free sample of 400 watts straight to your heart wouldn’t be fun at all.
And you think VO2max intervals are rough! :scream::scream::scream:

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I should add that I consume no stimulants. Haven’t had caffeine in over 10 years. As a rule I only drink water and Tailwind. On rare occasions I’ll have lemonade. Besides my heart meds, my cardiologist has me on a 325mg aspirin once a day as a blood thinner.

I’ve been defibrilated for afib while knocked out. They hit me three times before it came good and I had doms for four days.