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  1. #1
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    HR differences (indoor vs. outdoor)

    how do you guys deal with the differences between indoor/outdoor heart rates?

    my self-tested outside LTHR is around 173, max-hr i've seen is 186, in past rides i've gone 8hrs with an average HR of 150. if i hop on a trainer inside, nomatter what i do...i can't get my HR up to 170. 165 feels like my max...legs on fire, sweating a waterfall, heavy breathing. ~155 feels like my LTHR. yesterday i did a 2.5hr ride inside (was watching a basketball game on tv to avoid boredom)....and was just casually monitoring my effort to try to sustain an endurance-type pace...and my average HR was around 105.

    would it be valuable to do an LT test inside, and get inside-specific zone info that way?
    or just use my perceived effort as a gauge and stick to HR based training/HR based intervals outside?

    thanks.

  2. #2
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    Yes. Do a seperate LTHR test for indoors.

    When you do the test, target an RPM and keep it there. 90RPM is a good target.

    I use rollers, cooling fan, and low temp in the room (60 degrees). Those things keep indoor PE (and corresponding power) pretty close to outdoors.
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  3. #3
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    my HR is always about 20 bpm lower inside - yes it feels harder at a lower HR. if it feels like you are going hard - you are.

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    this is a common phenomenon. people are rating much higher effort on tredmils and trainers then they do on the same effort level when they are actually moving My theory on this is that indoor training is great when nothing else would work but if you can you should really get out. Even if the conditions are not ideal your body will work harder time will pass faster then if you would do the same session inside.

  5. #5
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    You need to measure actual power output vs. heart rate ... not effort level (subjective) vs. heartrate.

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    That's really interesting - I recently did a VO2Max test (indoor on a training bike) and my max heart rate was 20 bpm lower than I achieve on the MTB. Couldn't understand it at all - assumed either that I wasn't trying hard enough or that there was something wrong with the equipment!

  7. #7
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    My heart rate is ~15 to 20 beats lower on a trainer. I also differ on road and off-road.
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  8. #8
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    Until the weather gets cooler, and the temperature in the "bike room" drops below 15 degrees Celsius, I have the opoosite problem. Even with an open window and a big fan, I'm sweating buckets and my HR is higher than it would be outside for the same PE.

  9. #9
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    According to my power meter my HR is about the same or a bit higher indoors (as HSCoach2 said, heat typically lifts your HR). However, the PE indoors is much higher.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    According to my power meter my HR is about the same or a bit higher indoors (as HSCoach2 said, heat typically lifts your HR). However, the PE indoors is much higher.
    HR is notoriously variable. If you are over trained and tired, it will not go up. If you are dehydrated or hot ... crap, I can't remember what those do. Its been a while since I have used one, and when I did, it seemed to be the consensus that HR was good for monitoring your relative fitness ... not absolute. You have to use it over time and get a feel for how your body is behaving vs. your heartrate. I do remember going on well-known rides and not being able to get my heartrate up no matter how hard I tried ... then the next time, well rested, being able to spike it pretty high.

  11. #11
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    PE at a given HR is higher indoors

    for me.

    I can get my HR up to 'outdoor' levels using the ergometer mode on my trainer. You just set the power level and the resistance on the pedals will adjust to your cadence to give the requested work rate.

    Makes me cry though.

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    Wow for me I have no problem getting my HR up to outdoor levels on my trainer (Kurt Kinetic). I find it very easy to hit my targets and maintain. I just have a hard time filling in 2 hrs of time. I have a Netflix account and try to get movies that last at least 2 hrs, but if I am doing a race pace I need to watch UFC or listen to Heavy Metal....

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    According to my power meter my HR is about the same or a bit higher indoors (as HSCoach2 said, heat typically lifts your HR). However, the PE indoors is much higher.
    +1 for me. (BTW: PE=perceived exertion)
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN
    According to my power meter my HR is about the same or a bit higher indoors (as HSCoach2 said, heat typically lifts your HR). However, the PE indoors is much higher.
    This, all the way.

  15. #15
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    inside w/o a fan causes hr to go higher. last year on trainor in storeage room the hr hit over 190. although some say its anomality, the extra heat caused increases in beats, otherwise outside on a hill my max is about 185.


    btw: rhr is actually a better indicator of health. mine is ussualy around 41 bpm and i'm 46. hence my docter says "i have an athelte's heart", but still a beer drinkers belly even though 18 months on the wagon
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  16. #16
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    followup question....assuming the correct answer to my first question was that i should do a LTHR test inside, and then base zones off that.

    if that's the case, and all my zones are 15-20 beats lower indoors....am i doing myself a disservice, training wise, by biking indoors?

    i imagine some of the concept of building a nice big aerobic base is getting a stronger heart that's capable of beating a lot, with a high stroke, for a long period of time (it is a muscle...so i assume it can be strengthened/weakened via what you put it through). but at ~130bpm inside (a ~3hr, endurance-like pace, i'd say)....my hearts not really stressed compared to the higher bpm i'd put it through at the same PE outside.

    or is that irrelevant, my heart is what it is, and its all about the leg workout?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by nomit
    followup question....assuming the correct answer to my first question was that i should do a LTHR test inside, and then base zones off that.

    if that's the case, and all my zones are 15-20 beats lower indoors....am i doing myself a disservice, training wise, by biking indoors?

    i imagine some of the concept of building a nice big aerobic base is getting a stronger heart that's capable of beating a lot, with a high stroke, for a long period of time (it is a muscle...so i assume it can be strengthened/weakened via what you put it through). but at ~130bpm inside (a ~3hr, endurance-like pace, i'd say)....my hearts not really stressed compared to the higher bpm i'd put it through at the same PE outside.

    or is that irrelevant, my heart is what it is, and its all about the leg workout?
    For most people who have already been training, your heart's stroke volume is not a limiter (because, in most situations, your heart will just beat faster to supply the blood that's needed), so making a stronger heart muscle is usually not a goal of training--it's a normal byproduct of training, but not usually a goal.

    BTW--To elaborate a bit on my prior, very short comments, I would be a bit skeptical about your HR zones being 15-20 beats different indoors to out--it's possible, but when I've tested people indoors with a power meter, I usually don't see that big of swings in HR (but I do see big swings in PE--it feels much harder indoors). As a few others and I have already said, using a power meter is the best way to decide that your HR indoors is truly different from HR outdoors. This is because the power meter doesn't lie and is not affected by temperature or by "feel"--if you can do 250 watts for 30 mins outdoors, then you can also do 250 watts for 30 mins indoors--it might feel a lot harder to do that same wattage indoors (and for many people it does indeed feel a lot harder indoors), but it's not actually more intense in terms of your actual output, it just feels that way. And, remember, your actual output (i.e. the intensity) determines the training effect/results, not your HR.

    [NOTE: I know that a trainer (particularly cheaper ones with small flywheels) produces a very even, constant load, which arguably is not the same as riding outdoors. But, I am going to ignore that issue, as I personally believe it is real issue, but a diminimus issue. Just to be clear, I do acknowledge that rollers and trainers with big flywheels will produce a more accurate outdoor, road-like load.]

    Bottom line, as long as you have a big fan blowing on you indoors and you are well hydrated (which can be hard when you're breathing dried out furnace air), I would not adjust your HR for your indoor riding unless you can do an indoor test with a power meter. In my experience using power meters indoors and testing a bunch of folks, HR doesn't differ much indoors for most people--riding indoors will often feel a lot harder, but the HR will be a better (not perfect, but better) indicator of your actual output than how you feel.
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  18. #18
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    so i got around to doing a LTHR test inside (wasn't really a priority over my other training...just sort of interested to see what would happen). did it friel style...30 minutes, taking the average HR of the last 20 minutes

    ended up with 162, and i assure you i left it all out there.
    max HR during the session was 173.

    that's compared to a outside LTHR (using same testing method) of 173 (though i suspect its a bit higher now, because i last tested 4+ months ago, and have done a good amount of hard riding since). with a max over 186.

    even if i were to create different zones based off a 162 lthr, i still feel like i'd wear my legs out in no time inside and become overtrained. zone 2 would be 130-143 bpm, which i find difficult to maintain for long periods inside. whereas outside zone 2 is 141-153 ish, and i feel like i could put in 20+ hours a week at that pace and be fine. perhaps just the effect of the constant pressure the bike inside makes me produce?

    i suppose the solution here is that the bike at the gym i've been using does show watts, and gives a wattage average at the end of each workout. so based on my CP30 power (280 watts) that i just discovered, i could come up with power zones and train that way inside...regardless of HR.

  19. #19
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    I am running in some similar issues. Outside my aerobic threshold seems to be about 150 (Hr i can hold for a steady 2 to 3 hour rides and my LTHR being 190 peaking). On my trainer inside, i'll be hard pressed to keep that and will usually have it hover at about 143. I can easily see your PE is much higher inside, but it does seem to affect me physically as well. It seems to me that there is a paradox to riding the trainer in that physically it takes much more to be on the trainer (ie never any coasting, including through your pedaling dead zones) and that my muscles are working much harder than outside. The paradox being that this should raise my hr more so than outside but somehow it does not.
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  20. #20
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    Good point -- no matter how you slice it - real world riding, even climbing will have a workload that changes -- even small -- short changes in grade, texture or wind-load, allow the legs to recover a bit even as you work forward and in-turn you can work your hart more -- the cheaper the trainer or the more consistence the resistance is, the more you notice the difference between outdoors and indoors -- my 2cents


    [NOTE: I know that a trainer (particularly cheaper ones with small flywheels) produces a very even, constant load, which arguably is not the same as riding outdoors. But, I am going to ignore that issue, as I personally believe it is real issue, but a diminimus issue. Just to be clear, I do acknowledge that rollers and trainers with big flywheels will produce a more accurate outdoor, road-like load.]
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