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  1. #1
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    Racing Average Heart Rate - Too high?

    Just got back from a short XC race that took me 53 minutes to complete. My max heart rate was 205 and my average heart rate was 197. I felt fine after. Last week I averaged 186 for 1hr 40 min. I am 17 years old and have a good endurance base. Is such a high HR normal?

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    If you averaged 197 for almost an hour, I don't think 205 is your max. This is just rough estimation, but most people's LT is around 90% of max. Obviously the more fit you are that percentage could be a little higher, and you will be able to maintain that output a little longer, but I don't think you can hold 97% of max for 53 mins. Being 17 years old, your max is probably a bit higher than 205. I'm 41 and mine is 194.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  4. #4
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    A high heart rate can be normal for some people, it all depends. I'm 37 years old and my max heart rate is 201 (while my resting hr is about 50), statistically (a lot) higher than the norm for the age bracket. A medium to hard workout for me has me averaging about 160 bpm over three hours. At the Leadville 100, my gps/hrm lasted for a little less than 8 hrs but logged that I was averaging 167 bpm for the nearly 8 hours.

    I've gone to a cardiologist and had a stress test and an echo cardiogram just to be sure. It ends up I am just part of the small percentage of people with super duper strong hearts (just wish the rest of me was as efficient and strong).

    It would be best if you got checked out by a doctor.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirthead
    If you averaged 197 for almost an hour, I don't think 205 is your max. This is just rough estimation, but most people's LT is around 90% of max. Obviously the more fit you are that percentage could be a little higher, and you will be able to maintain that output a little longer, but I don't think you can hold 97% of max for 53 mins. Being 17 years old, your max is probably a bit higher than 205. I'm 41 and mine is 194.
    My max is no higher than 210, the highest I have ever reached is 207 three times.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by EthanDM
    My max is no higher than 210, the highest I have ever reached is 207 three times.
    Well then you might be the next Lance Armstrong. I doubt if there are many pros that can hold 97% of max hr for an hour. You might be one of those that have an extremely strong heart and a huge engine for cycling, or there could be some inaccuracy in your numbers. I'm just saying that's way out of the norm. How did you calculate your max hr? Did you get tested or is that just the highest you've seen?
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  7. #7
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    It is the highest I have seen. Today in the race it felt like I was really working it at 205, yet mid to upper 190's felt comfortable. (for an intense race)

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    I would suggest you get a Lactate Threshold test. From this, they will establish your hr zones, LT, and your true max. If your numbers are correct, you have an incredible future ahead of you in cycling. Your numbers are in the "freak" zone, so make sure they are actually correct first, then if they are, get a good coach that can help you maximize your ability.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  9. #9
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    Last week's race, my average was 190 for 2.5 hours, max was 206.

    Week before that at the Laurel Classic, average was 180 for 2.25 hours, max of 196.

    Today... I don't know, because my HRM wouldn't stay on during the race.

    I typically post high heart rate numbers though. Everyone's different.

    The highest HR I've ever seen was 211 while doing some intensity training on an indoor spin cycle.

  10. #10
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    Was it hot out?

    My avg HR is ridiculously high when it's really hot out; much higher than I can usually hold in training or in other races.

    I raced yesterday also in pretty insane heat, and the course is fast to begin with, so not many long descents to recover.

    Everyone is different. I could never do an hour XC race at 197avg, but you obviously can!

    Maybe have your parents take you to the doc to get a physical? If your performance was good and you feel fine otherwise, could just have been random conditions (temperature, humidity, hydration level, nutrition).

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    Was not hot out, mid 70's. Also, the course had no sections for recovery. It was a flat course, so I was basically pedaling the entire time.

  12. #12
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    I reread your original post and think I might have misunderstood what you were saying. I thought you meant your established Maximum hr was 205, and you averaged 197 for the race. You would be superhuman if you could do that. I think you meant you averaged 197 and hit a high of 205 during the race. Is that correct? If so, that's on the high side but not out of the ordinary, especially for a 17 year old. My wife is 39 and regularly hits 195 - 200 in races. Having said that, I think your true Max hr is higher than you think. If you feel like you are "working" at 205, then your max is a bit higher. I'll guess it's somewhere around 215-218, even if you've never actually hit that number.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

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    Did the course go under any over-head high-voltage powerlines? I ride next to an airport a couple times a week and get screwy 200+ bpm numbers from electrical interference.
    That aside I've hit some crazy high numbers during races. 188bpm average for the first 50 minutes of a 2 hour race, my max is 192. That was my best race result to date which leads me to believe it wasn't a bad thing.

  14. #14
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    Relax, Pal....

    I agree with dirthead...your recorded rates and max HR are not normal (i.e. not part of the distribution of HRs for 95% of people), and neither are other posters who have recorded near 200 HRs in early middle age. But I seriously doubt there's anything to be alarmed about (saying that with my MD hat on). You said you felt fine after the race...I'm presuming during the race as well or you would have commented about it(?). I'm also guessing you get an annual physical for sports participation. Next time request that your doc do a simple resting EKG and review your history for thyroid problems....as part of the physical. Slim chance for anything out of the ordinary. He is very likely to be completely reassuring.

    In medical school, while studying cardiology, a favorite trick of the profs was to throw a very troublesome-looking EKG in the mix and then pimp us on it. It usually looked horrible.....super fast runs of abnormal beats, skips, etc, the EKG of what must have been a very sick old man. Nope. That EKG invariably turned out to be one from a 17 year old jock. Among medicos, this is common stuff. So relax, Ethan, and prepare yourself for a marvelous biking career!

    It would be neat to see your physiologic numbers, though...VO max, lactate threshhold, etc....you other guys with wierd numbers, too.

    C'est la!

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    My VO2 max was somewhere in the 60's last time it was checked (end of April of this year), although it wasn't the most accurate test, it at least gave me a ballpark figure.

    I'd really like to get my LT measured.

  16. #16
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    Hmm my last race I averaged 187 and maxed at 205 and it was a little over an hour. I was huffing and puffing though.

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