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Differences in Heart Rate

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I've become well-acquainted with my heart rate at different levels of exertion while running. I've read that different activities elevate the heart rate to different levels, but I can't seem to wrap my head around that fact, even though I see it to be true.

I narrowed down my lactate threshold while running at around 158-160 bpm. When I get to that point, I'm working pretty hard, but still can sustain that level of effort for 20 minutes or so.

On the other hand, I did a spin class yesterday, and I start to feel the agony when my heart rate breaks 150 and can only sustain that for a few minutes. It's a similar story on the row machine, where anything over 150 is only for a minute or two during an interval before I have to slow down to recover.

It's almost as if my heart rate zones shift downward for cycling and rowing from what they are when running. Swimming is probably even lower; though I don't wear a heart rate monitor, when I finish a sprint and am near exhaustion, I'll take a quick 15-second pulse count and my heart rate will be barely over 140. That might have something to do with the prone position of the exercise and the heat-dissipation nature of the water.

I don't know, but it is obvious that heart rate training zones are different for different activities. Just another variable to make things more confusing.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Something I might treat myself to eventually is a more sophisticated monitor that will record more data and let me download to a computer for analysis. At present, I'm relying on a simple Polar A1 that displays current heart rate and only saves the last recorded average HR. I've loved its simplicity, but as I learn more I want to know more.

    I'm still working on learning to correlate HR with RPE. I've gotten pretty good at estimating my HR based on how I feel when running. Not so good with other cardio activities...yet.
    4280 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/19/2009 2:30:27 PM
    Your observations are bang on.

    The general consensus out there is that cycling LTHR is between 7-10bpm lower than running LTHR. Mine hovers between 7-8 historically (2 years of data). This is simply because you're sitting on a saddle when you cycle so you're not bearing an weight. Thus those muscles that you sub-consciously engage when you're running to keep you from, e.g. falling over are not recruited as much. Swimming is even lower as it's the water that's keeping you up.

    I have separate HR zones for cycling and running. I test both LTHRs on a 4-6 week basis and adjust as necessary.

    You're becoming quite the physiologist!

    4280 days ago
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