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  1. #1
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    Racing with HR Monitor, Useful?

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    Race with a HR Monitor?
    Good day,

    I am new to this forum so forgive me if this has been asked before. Do people usually race with a heart rate monitor or leave them at home. I am conflicted between the two. When I race, I usually place in the top 25% for my group. There are a few ahead of me that are significantly faster (tier 1 of my group). Often when I try to hang with the tier 1 guys I sometimes get excited/adrenaline and redline over the climbs. This leaves me feeling week for a few minutes after the climb and therefor slower. Note I am weight training and planning a winter of alternating long rides to drop fat, and intervals to build top end speed and climbing. I was thinking that if I used my HR monitor I would know to back off a bit. On the other-hand, do I want to back off?

    Your input would be welcomed and appreciated

  2. #2
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    I think there's a role for HRM in training, but for XC racing I think it's just one more gadget and might even psyche you out at just the wrong time.

  3. #3
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    HR can be very variable for different reasons, and so it is tough to rely on it as a true measure of energy expenditure. One usually unmentioned benefit is on downhills -- not the steep just hangin' on downhills -- but perhaps flatter, rolling sections. If you notice your HR is sinking down towards L2 (endurance level) and L1 (recovery level), push yourself harder. Rather than just coasting into your next turn, push yourself & then brake prior to the turn to gain speed through the straight section.

  4. #4
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    I race with my HR monitor, but don't really look at it during the race. I only wear it so that I can see my stats after the race. It also allows me to see the difference in actual "race" intensity and "race pace" intensity during training. Two totally different things. I've never been able to duplicate race effort outside of a race, but with data from both, I can gain a little perspective of the difference between the two.
    "Confidence is the feeling you have before you fully understand the situation".

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamW
    HR can be very variable for different reasons, and so it is tough to rely on it as a true measure of energy expenditure. One usually unmentioned benefit is on downhills -- not the steep just hangin' on downhills -- but perhaps flatter, rolling sections. If you notice your HR is sinking down towards L2 (endurance level) and L1 (recovery level), push yourself harder. Rather than just coasting into your next turn, push yourself & then brake prior to the turn to gain speed through the straight section.
    None of this requires an HRM. It's also unclear whether you should be gunning it on the flat smooth sections; these are places where extra effort yields not much time gain, you might be smarter saving your energy for the climbs and technical sections. An HRM or powermeter can't optimize those tradeoffs for you.

  6. #6
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    Use the heart rate monitor when training to become familiar with your heart rate zones. Take it along for the race but don't depend on it. With all the adrenaline and excitement of a race it seems you can push higher heart rates than you can while training, so trying to keep them exactly the same is going to be nearly impossible. I use it as more of a redline indicator, if I'm feeling about to blow up I can look down and see what my heart rate is doing. One thing I really like is being able to analyze what my heart rate did during the race after the fact. This way you can compare efforts across different races and find what you can realistically handle in a race situation.

  7. #7
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    The most useful data from races is your placing.


    I've had average HR rates 5-10 bpm higher than my LTHR. Excitement, heat, and HR lag seems to be the biggest culprit for high HRs.

    I'd love to have MTB power data, but don't want to spend any more $$$.
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  8. #8
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    I use a HR monitor for racing. Late in the race when things start to hurt I will use the HRM to let me know how much I am dogging it. More of a motivator to keep the pressure on the pedals.

  9. #9
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    I usually use one. I also like to see what kind of effort I put in during a race. Also, like Perry said, it's good to make myself go faster later in the race when no one is around to chase and I'm getting tired and lazy.

  10. #10
    gunslinger
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    I don't race, but as a SOP (standard operating proceedure), I ALWAYS train w/ my HRM; in my gym, riding MX (before I retired), and now MTBing.

    I'm so in tune w/ it, I can review the data coupled w/ the activity and know where I need to improve. The HRM won't tell me to work harder on a certain climb, but if a certian climb is a stand-out, when I stop and see the max figures I can, over time, use that push me harder.

    Probably not much help, but I'm all about HRMs.

  11. #11
    g3h6o3
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    For endurance racing, it helps to pace!
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  12. #12
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    i race better WITH. makes me go harder.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirthead
    I race with my HR monitor, but don't really look at it during the race. I only wear it so that I can see my stats after the race. It also allows me to see the difference in actual "race" intensity and "race pace" intensity during training. Two totally different things. I've never been able to duplicate race effort outside of a race, but with data from both, I can gain a little perspective of the difference between the two.
    .

    +1

  14. #14
    mutaullyassuredsuffering
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    Nope

    I find HR data to be useless during a race. After a race, the file is entertaining, but not all that useful either as I cannot duplicate that effort again until the next one. Race intensity is a whole different level that cannot be quanitified by training zones. If you race enough to know where your zones can be during a race, that's fine, but if there is someone in front of me that I want to pass, I'm not letting some number on my handlebars hold me back. I have a friend who insists on wearing his, and he races by going no harder than the HR monitor says he can sustain. He gets killed, and then comments on how he still feels fresh at the end of a race... He's too afraid to let it go.
    Free will is an illusion, people will always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.

  15. #15
    Lusus Naturae
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    Used to use mine but have not used it in at least a year now. It was a novelty at the time I guess and good to know initially what kind of HR I was hitting during races. Now I can just know where I am by feeling the exertion and pain, no need for the Edge to beep at me telling me I'm at the max HR I preset.

    I do also get slow and HR rate goes down a bit late in long races but knowing this fact does not ever convince me to go faster as at that point I don't really have anything left, which is why I can't even bring up the HR anymore.

  16. #16
    LMN
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    It is useful to analyze you HR data after a race.

    When an athlete says to me "I felt really good but then I blew on lap 4" I will take a look at their HR data. Below is a common trend.

    Lap Time Average HR
    1 15:20 178
    2 16:10 172
    3 15:50 180
    4 17:30 160
    5 16:40 165

    Looking at the data I can say "The problem was you went too hard on lap three. You had to slow down and recover on lap 4 and then were able to get going again for the final lap."

    The data allows us to look and see what went wrong in the race. Was it a pacing issue or was it a training issue?

    I have a couple of athlete who wear HRs for data collection but put them in their pocket so they can't look at them while racing.

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