A Tired Heart

Out on yesterday’s ride in the wind and hills I experienced something Coach and I have talked about in the past, but don’t think I had ever had the pleasure of seeing myself: a pooped heart.

imagesMy normal ‘zone 4’ (anaerobic threshold) is around 160 bpm, something I usually have no trouble getting myself into on climbs and big efforts. Well, yesterday I just couldn’t….um…get it up. My legs were feeling the week of training, no question, but I was still climbing alright, I think. I just couldn’t get the heart to get above 145 or so on the few sustained hills I climbed.

Today is a rest day, so I assume the ticker will bounce back tomorrow. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, has anyone else out there experienced this sort of thing? I am guessing ‘yes’, since the heart is a muscle, after all, and probably should get fatigued once in a while.

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18 thoughts on “A Tired Heart

  1. Indeed, this is I think a well known effect (this is why heart rate can not be used to precisely measure power output – being more tired, you might still be able to maintain the same power, but your heart rate will be lower -, and why TSS estimates based on heart rate are not always so trustworthy…), and I experience it relatively often. The following two rides I have done on two consecutive days:
    http://app.strava.com/activities/19199022
    http://app.strava.com/activities/19199021
    On the second ride, I was climbing at ~10 BPM lower… But there is a very steep and short power-climb near where I live (http://app.strava.com/segments/2404232), and when I am fresh, my HR flies easily to >195 BPM, but when I had a harder training on the day/days before, then I never reach anything above 190 BMP. (I am 28.) So this is normal, it’s your body telling you that you had a lot of training recently.

  2. Hi Gerry, sounds like overtraining. Seems to me I came across an article recently. I’ll see if I can find it later on after my deutsch class.
    Take care

    • Thanks for the article. Sounds like it’s pretty common. I find it hard to believe I’ve been overtraining recently, though. If my body considers this to be overtraining, I dread the thought of how it will react at Haute Route!

  3. I got the overtraining problem right now. Took one week off and then rode 30 at a medium pace and then bonked. Two weeks ago 60 at a hard pace was okay. I guess I’ll rest till “ride the rockies”

  4. After riding 1200km, 17,000 ft of climbing in 35C to 41C temperatures over the past 8 days, I would tell you what my HRT is doing these days. Needless to say, it’s not hitting zone 4. As my Olympic friend used to say, “Lower the valley, higher the Peak”. Hope he’s right.

    • Hope he’s right, too. I’ll take this as a good sign then. I’m coming off a rest day (I think you might have heard of these, Rob. It’s when you don’t ride your bike. No? Doesn’t ring a bell?), so am looking forward to higher beats today.

  5. Hey Gerry,

    From page 15 of “Base Building for Cyclist” by Thomas Chapple:
    “A lower heart rate for a given effort of power level does not always mean increased fitness; however. You many also experience a lower heart rate or even an inability to get your heart rate to increase regardless of how hard you try. This is usually the result of accumulated fatigue and an indication that you need more rest. Your body may actually be inhibiting your heart rate from increasing to protect you from potential harm, sort of a built in speed limiter.”

    As you know my prescription would be take two beers and get plenty of rest. I seriously suggest you do the rest part. I also suggest you take the cautious route and listen to your body and perhaps see a doctor. Asking a forum for an answer regarding your health is really throwing your fate to the wind unless you hear from a sports physician who would probably tell you to see one in person.

    • John, thanks for the quote. I actually had all sorts of tests late last year on my heart (for a different issue) and it’s pretty healthy. Seeing as it bounced back today I’m sure it’s fatigue. I’d love to take your suggestion on the beer, but I’m supposed to be going dry this season…good thing there’s no beer cooler after every ride to add to the temptation.

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