heart rate intensity for racing ?

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12 years 10 months ago #3967 by adman1
I am a 45 year old (78kgs) and have been paddling regularly for about 3 years.I consider myself moderately fit and paddle 3 times a week year round.
So heres the thing...I raced on the weekend here in Perth Western Australia in our bay to beach race (17kms)and according to my forerunner 305 my heart rate averaged 191 bpm for the duration of the race. Is this too high ?
I feel very comfortable at 185bpm but at around 190-195 feel as if I don't have much left in the tank.
Should I be concentrating more on technique rather than pure physical output?
Does this mean I need to improve my fittness as other paddlers around me don't seem to be doing it as tough for the same race position??

Any feedback would be appreciated.....

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  • StuartXpat
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12 years 10 months ago #3969 by StuartXpat
Replied by StuartXpat on topic Re:heart rate intensity for racing ?
Hi, please take this free advisce for what it is - I don't claim to be a sports scientist.

Heart rates are very personal - what is good for one is way too high for another. You need to find out your own maximum through testing - not from some formula. Then train in various zones and get to know how it feels to be going 50%, 80% etc. I would say you need to be able to race at about 80% of your own personal max.

The true value of a HRM during an event is to give you an objective view of how hard you are going. If your HR is at race pace but your speed is down, perhaps you are in a bad current and need to adjust your course for example.

Use your HRM for all training and races to record a profile of how your body reacts to different paddling - long slow paddles, race pace intervals, sprints etc. This way you can also gauge how your training is goint and possibly pinpoint overtraining and sickness before they hit too hard.

Good luck.

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12 years 10 months ago #3970 by nell
Adding to Stuart's good reply:

As this is (or should be) large muscle mass sport like running and cycling, your HR while paddling should approach the HR you see when running or cycling, so you can use that as a baseline for what your aerobic racing HR is.

"Should I be concentrating more on technique..."

Always concentrate on technique first to make yourself go faster. In the end, you'll be in the same situation if you're racing, i.e. high HR either with good technique or poor technique. A good measure, I think, is to compare your speed on water with how well you do in other aerobic sports. If it's pretty similar, then you're likely fairly efficient on water. For example, if you're an olympic level swimmer but a very slow paddler, then you're likely a technically inefficient paddler. It's tough to ever know where you are on the "flailing arms with high HR vs. efficient technique with high HR" curve, but boat speed is a good measure.

Long term, the objective is to go faster for the same HR or "cost". You can train that best (arguably) by spending most of your time at LSD pace, some time at just-under-race-pace, and minimal time at above-race-pace.

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  • AndyN
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12 years 9 months ago #3971 by AndyN
Replied by AndyN on topic Re:heart rate intensity for racing ?
Adding to Stuart and Nel's good replies the HRM really comes into it's own when working on efficiency and technique.
If you can maintain a steady HR but think about technique in order to make the boat move more efficiently then that is where I've personally made the best gains.

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  • AndyN
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12 years 9 months ago #3972 by AndyN
Replied by AndyN on topic Re:heart rate intensity for racing ?
Also worth adding for me personally my max HR is higher when running than I can achieve in a boat by about 10BPM.
I always believed this is pretty normal because of the seated position for paddling?

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12 years 9 months ago #3973 by nell
The complete answer to why HR might be a tad lower while paddling as opposed to running, cycling, etc. is pretty complicated - from what I've read, there are several considerations. However, I believe the primary factor is the amount of muscle mass involved in the aerobic activity. The less muscle mass involved means that the heart and lungs are not rate-limiting (the muscles are), whereas in a sport like swimming, XC skiing, cycling, running, the heart and lungs ARE the rate limiting factor, i.e. how much oxygen get get delivered to the working muscles. When paddling, the rate limiting factor oftentimes is because of the lower volume of muscle mass being utilized. One caveat, though, is that a novice paddler might be using quite a bit of muscle mass, but not efficiently - lots of bobbling and such - but still have a super high HR. A top paddler, on the other hand, will be able to utilize their legs, torso, upper body and thus, shift the rate limiting factor from the muscles back to the heart and lungs and so be able to attain a higher HR.

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12 years 1 month ago #5090 by wannagofast
Hi Nell! Jim Heinlein form Wenatchee. I'm back Kayaking after about 10 yrs of recovery. In the Columbia or any river paddling. Speed is difficult to use as an improvement measure. How long I can sustain 90% may be better measure of fitness improvement? What are your thoughts?

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12 years 1 month ago #5100 by Rightarmbad

I am a 45 year old (78kgs) and have been paddling regularly for about 3 years.I consider myself moderately fit and paddle 3 times a week year round.
So heres the thing...I raced on the weekend here in Perth Western Australia in our bay to beach race (17kms)and according to my forerunner 305 my heart rate averaged 191 bpm for the duration of the race. Is this too high ?
I feel very comfortable at 185bpm but at around 190-195 feel as if I don't have much left in the tank.
Should I be concentrating more on technique rather than pure physical output?
Does this mean I need to improve my fittness as other paddlers around me don't seem to be doing it as tough for the same race position??

Any feedback would be appreciated.....


Care to post your HR data as has been done in balance to your training thread?

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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12 years 1 month ago #5101 by Robmobius
Answering as a sport scientist, Heart rate is a very useful but rather complicated tool, excellent for use in training. But the simple answer to the original question is that heart rate is a rather poor measure of exertion and expected performance in a racing scenario.

There is a vast body of peer reviewed literature showing the psychological factors on race day throw heart rate data completely out of line. Its very typical for a resting heart rate to to be 10 or even 20 beats higher than normal on race day. Anyone who has raced knows the nervousness before a start and this can really get the heart pumping long before any exertion starts. Measure you avg rate in training compared to race day and you'll notice a much higher avg in a race (controlling for speed and distance of course).

This race affect does start to ease as the race goes on, but a typical surf ski race is too short to escape the psychological effects on heart rate.

Leave the HR monitor at home on race day or just use it for post race analysis but listen to your body when racing, it will be far more informative than the HR.

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12 years 1 month ago #5104 by Rightarmbad

But the simple answer to the original question is that heart rate is a rather poor measure of exertion and expected performance in a racing scenario.


There is a vast body of peer reviewed literature showing the psychological factors on race day throw heart rate data completely out of line. Its very typical for a resting heart rate to to be 10 or even 20 beats higher than normal on race day. Anyone who has raced knows the nervousness before a start and this can really get the heart pumping long before any exertion starts. Measure you avg rate in training compared to race day and you'll notice a much higher avg in a race (controlling for speed and distance of course).


The only rise in HR avg measured during a race just mirrors the extra effort that being in a competitive situation allows you to push to.
And most of that difference is simply that the athlete went out too hard and then struggled for the rest of the race.

The only thing that has ever shown an increase in HR for racing for me or people I trained, was elevated temperature and then never more then 2 beats offset at racing speeds..
If it is hot then you know to expect this.

Some effect could also be seen with an elevation change of around about 600m and up.
Again, totally predictable.

Being in a racing situation also allows a bit more speed at the end to be found for some, but the bulk of racing is well predictable by the use of a HR monitor once the athlete's HR data is known.


If you are talking a less than 15 min event, then HR monitor is optional.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5126 by AndrewN
Wow I still think that 191 is VERY high to hold for any period of time - do you find that your breathing gest very quick and almost hyperventilate when racing?

I am the exact opposite - racing I hold about 135 to 150 so I cannot imagine 190 plus but even if you have a naturally high heart rate that still seems very very high.

What is the highest that you can recall achieving recently?

Cheers
Andrew

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5127 by AndrewN
Wow I still think that 191 is VERY high to hold for any period of time - do you find that your breathing gets very quick and almost hyperventilate when racing?

I am the exact opposite - racing I hold about 135 to 150 so I cannot imagine 190 plus but even if you have a naturally high heart rate that still seems very very high.

What is the highest that you can recall achieving recently?

Cheers
Andrew

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5129 by AR_convert
I agree Andrew it does seem very high, and as you say especially if it can be held up over a race.

The only thing I could put it down to is carrying a lot of upper body/core body strength but having little aerobic fitness/capacity, so while the muscles are not fatiguing the cardio vascular system is being pushed. Be interesting if you could tell us what your respiratory peak flow is...do you know any asthmatics with a spirometer?

It's usually the opposite with us Adventure Racers, we cant put to use our CV system as it's capacity for running/cycling is more than sufficient for paddling, hence why I struggle to go above 155bpm over a 15km course and couldnt even maintain that over a longer distance lest my shoulders/arms/torso give out.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5131 by adman1
As a point of interest I have noticed that before a race, even before I put the boat in the water, my heart rate will be sitting in the 120-135bpm range. This is before I have pulled a single stroke through the water.After a bit of research I have discovered this is called an antisiputary rise, which is the heart rate rising in anticipation to workload.
Another interesting point is that if I go mountain biking,as I often do in the off season,my quads will burn out before my h.rate hits 175bpm.

Adam

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12 years 4 weeks ago - 12 years 4 weeks ago #5133 by yhomas
Here is a relevant article: www.duathlon.com/articles/1460

The basic point of the article is that training at a deliberately lower heart rate can help you to make performance gains in the long term. As I understand, the top Ethiopian/Kenyan marathon runners do most of their training at low intensities, so there would seem to be a connection here.

The downside of the article is that it uses magic heart rate formulas which may work for an "average" person, but obviously will not work for people with abnormally high or low heart rates.

The 2nd downside of the article is that this is an article for running. The best training strategy of running/biking may not work as well for paddling, because running is a sport mostly limited by aerobic capacity and (at the marathon distance) available glycogen reserves whereas paddling performance is generally going to be limited by muscle strength/endurance.

----

My take on the high heart rate is that heart rate is highly variable from one individual to the next. I have been in a race paddling with ~175 BPM side by side another paddler who was moving exactly the same speed while paddling at ~155 BPM.

However, from a simplistic viewpoint, you can't keep pushing your heart rate higher and higher as you train from year to year. To have a hope of making long term speed gains, you must move faster at lower heart rates. So it makes intuitive sense to do some training at deliberately lower heart rates, or otherwise do some sort of training intended to achieve improved performance at lower heart rates.
Last edit: 12 years 4 weeks ago by yhomas.

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5136 by AR_convert
As soon as I started reading your post I thought "Mark Allen", the guys a legend in Ironman circles.

I trained with a friend for about 6 months who had signed up to a training programme with Mark Allen, cost him $35 a week US (back in about 2000). The idea of the programme was to get him up to speed for a 1/2 ironman then 6 months later a full ironman. And yes the programme had us going out on 10km runs, 90km rides etc keeping our heart rates below 155bpm. Got to the point we had to walk up some hills to keep it below.

I lost interest when he started doing the really long stuff (I liked sprint distance tri's more) but he reckoned it worked for him and a search of Mark Allen on the net will unearth legions of fans who have completed Ironman races as a result of following his methods.

For those without the time to follow the link and read :huh: this is a excerp from the article

That means that I was now able to burn fat for fuel efficiently enough to hold a pace that a year before was redlining my effort at a maximum heart rate of about 190. I had become an aerobic machine! On top of the speed benefit at lower heart rates, I was no longer feeling like I was ready for an injury the next run I went on, and I was feeling fresh after my workouts instead of being totally wasted from them.

Always looking for the next boat :)

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5137 by Rightarmbad
191 is not high at all.
I know of runners who run an entire Half Marathon up around 210.

That's just what your born with.
I think that this is generally a body wide phenomenon, high HR people also tend to be the ones that like to spin more as well.
I believe that it all comes down to the general body wide refractory period of your muscles.
This is something you cannot fight. You are a high HR spinner, a low HR thumper, or somewhere in between.
I've never seen anybody that goes against this.

Once you have a basic level of fitness your heart rates will not change.
Your stroke volume will increase or decrease to keep step with demand, hence the change in resting pulse. The heart will always be in step with the body.
It's fundamental that it can always supply enough or healthy people would drop dead from exercising too hard.
You will also get an appropriate increase or decrease in red blood cell levels and overall blood volume.

Your heart rate merely shows that you are pretty well built for the sport you are doing.

The high HR prior to starting a race is of no consequence other than showing that the appropriate stress hormones are in action, it will have no effect on your HR levels during the race, apart from making it seem a little easier to go too hard for a while, hence the problem of people starting out too hard and then dying.
They think they are controlling their pace, but have been fooled by this.
Funnily enough, I don't see this rise in a lot of people, many, including myself, are quite relaxed at the start of a race, and the HR stays quite normal.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5138 by Rightarmbad

That means that I was now able to burn fat for fuel efficiently enough to hold a pace that a year before was redlining my effort at a maximum heart rate of about 190. I had become an aerobic machine! On top of the speed benefit at lower heart rates, I was no longer feeling like I was ready for an injury the next run I went on, and I was feeling fresh after my workouts instead of being totally wasted from them.


Mark Allen had a quite unusual HR curve.
His fat burn threashold, from distant memory, was only 6 beats below his AT.
Most athletes are at least 15 or more.
Once he began training at a slightly lower level, he was pretty much injury free and I have no doubt that this was a result of training without high lactate levels for a substantial amount of his training.

So when he trained at a reasonable pace, most of his training was in the fat burn zone.
He also was quite muscular for the distance he was covering.
Rob De Castella was quite similar.
Quite heavily built for a runner.
It meant that he could get up around 220 km a week for a period of time without destroying himself.
Most runs were done with vanishingly low levels of lactate.

May not work for those that are not blessed with a high fat burn threashold, as the pace is far too slow for them.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5139 by Rightarmbad
When you look at a properly conducted HR test graph, people that have done a lot of slower endurance training show a quite pronounced shape to the graph at fatburn threashold.

Those that haven't usually just show a barely discernible wriggly line.
When all you see is a wriggly line, then these people will always show a huge shift up in their fatburn threashold when low intensity training is undertaken.

If you see a well defined curve, then that HR will probably never change.
A lot of endurance training will steepen the shape of the overall curve, but the HR will never change.

Follow the path of the independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that are important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.--- Thomas J. Watson

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12 years 4 weeks ago #5144 by latman
I agree Heartrates are a very individual thing ,Years ago i kayak raced with a HRM, and it was 183 -185 max whilst paddling 500 and 1000m races (I was not quite 20),it generally went up very quick in the first few seconds of the race and VERY slowly went up after that . It was much more interesting to sleep with the HRM and see the rise and fall of the rate every few hours (REM Sleeps?) between 40 and 120 from memory.

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