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Interesting heart rate anomaly; Joint support; Poison ivy.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I had an interesting indoor cardio session yesterday. I kept the same cadence/RPM as I usually do when I do fasted LISS cardio, but my heart rate was much lower than normal.

On August 29, 2012 I did 14 miles in 46:31, and my average heart rate on that ride was 136 BPM. That’s a pretty normal LISS cardio session for me. Yesterday I did 14 miles in 46:43, but my average heart rate was just 122 BPM.

By the way, my Garmin Edge 500 heart rate monitor matched the built-in heart rate monitor on my recumbent bike, so the data is not an error.

Here’s the August 29, 2012 session compared to yesterday’s session:

Average heart rate comparison: August 29, 2012 (L) vs. September 4, 2012 (R).

Average heart rate comparison: August 29, 2012 (L) vs. September 4, 2012 (R).


I’ve done about a million fasted LISS cardio sessions on this bike, and so I’m very familiar with what cadence I need to ride at a particular level of resistance to get my heart rate where I want it. Specifically, a cadence between 90-100 RPM on resistance level 5 will reliably produce an average heart rate between 135-140 BPM.

So what was different about yesterday’s session? The only thing I can think of is Sunday’s 42 mile ride, during which my average heart rate was 171 BPM (~85% of my max) over a period of more than 4 hours (moving time).

While 42 miles of mountain biking is a distance personal record for me, for a long time I was doing 26-30 mile mountain biking rides an average of 3 times per week. My average heart rate on those ~30 mile rides was generally about the same as it was this past Sunday, perhaps even higher. I was not doing any indoor training at that time, and so I have no way to make the comparison. I wonder if I would have seen similar reduction in heart rate on the trainer during that time?

I’m not really going anywhere with this, I just thought it was interesting. Any theories?

As regular readers know, my supplement intake is very, very limited (for an in-depth look at what I think of supplements and the supplement industry, please check out my March 14, 2012 article “My Take on Supplements“). Right now pretty much the only supplement I take is a multi-vitamin, but I’ve decided to start taking Glucosamine/Condroition/MSM again. I used to take that combo for many years, but at some point I stopped taking it to see if I noticed any difference. I didn’t notice any difference at all, and so I never resumed taking it. Well, after Sunday’s ride I noticed a lot of joint pain, and so I’m going to see if the Glucosamine/Condroition/MSM combo helps on future long rides.

I picked up a little poison ivy on my right leg over the weekend. Thankfully it’s just a small patch near my shin, and it’s not too bad at all. I must fell into a little of it during one of my, um, graceful dismounts. :p

John Stone Fitness Comments

6 Responses to “Interesting heart rate anomaly; Joint support; Poison ivy.”
  1. I’m not sure in your case why your avg HR is lower that usual, but I also see that your max HR is much lower than last time. Personally if I train very hard for many days in a row with high avg HR over a long time, then I can’t reach my max HR anymore, my heart need to rest a few days to be able to get up to my usual max HR.

    If you want more detailed HR analysis I recommend that you try out any product that uses Firstbeat Technologies, I have been using a sports computer called FRWD for many years (it is not sold anymore, but both Garmin and Suunto now got devices that supports Firstbeat Technologies)


    One good thing once you get all parameters setup is that you can measure your training effect (TE), if you over do for many days in a row (TE > 5) then you sure notice that you can’t get up to max HR anymore.


    With this software you can also get lots of other analysises based on your heart rate, like:
    Oxygen consumption
    Energy expenditure
    Respiration rate
    Fat utilization
    % of VO2Max


    Have a look at the free trial version!

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    • Hey Skeen, thanks for the insight and information. That Firstbeat stuff looks really interesting. I’m going to dive into it a little more after work today. Thanks very much.

      With regards to max heart rate, that’s an interesting observation you made. This morning I went mountain biking and set a new speed PR on a segment. My maximum heart rate only got up to 190 BPM on that segment, but when I set the old personal record my maximum HR hit, I believe, 196 BPM.

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  2. I remember reading somewhere that it is a sign of over training and fatigue. That being said, I have lost about 4 bpm of my mhr this season, I used to be about 183 max in an all out effort, now I am at 179 , could also be a sign of better fitness?

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    • My initial instinct was that my body has simply adapted to the increased cardiovascular load and become more efficient. In other words, exactly what you said: better fitness.

      On this morning’s ride I felt incredible. I beat my existing personal record on a segment by 31 seconds (I said 20 seconds on FB, but that was a mistake), and both my average heart rate and maximum heart rate this morning were significantly lower than they were when I set the PR I just beat. My recovery was also faster.

      Pretty interesting stuff.

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  3. I did a race in early June as part of a two man team. We took turns running 12.5 miles laps. Each lap was about 80 minutes. I don’t know the exact numbers but my last lap, while the second fastest was the lap with the lowest heart rate. I also felt the best on that lap. I don’t know how to explain it.

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