I often get asked about riding and training with a heart rate monitor. My answer probably isn’t what those people want/expect.
I had one nice guy who had been recommended, to improve his fitness, to go on rides and keep his heart rate at X percentage, lets call it 65% because I forget the exact number, of his resting heart rate (RHR).
He was getting nervous that his rides weren’t helping him…he was going out and hitting the hills and getting really out of breath and his heart rate was going sky high…WAY above 65% of his RHR.
He was wondering whether he should start doing flat rides at a slower pace instead of the hills because he was worried they wouldn’t be helping him improve his fitness.
I’m sure you see the irony in this.
Going out and pushing until you can’t ride anymore on the hills is EXACTLY what you want to do to improve your fitness.
This leads into my views on Heart Rate Monitors for your average rider like you and me :
A small minority of people riding this will want to optimise every detail of their training. They will want the tiniest increase in performance. They will weigh every meal out.
Never drink beer. And be completely on it. They are
athletes in their own right. These people will absolutely benefit from using a heart rate monitor to get better results and they should do.
For me and you?
Like the chap hitting the hills, if you want to get fitter go out
and BUST YOUR BALLS on the climbs until you can’t breathe
anymore. Then carry on.
Go ride an extra 2 or 3 miles at the end of your normal ride.
Do intervals 1 or 2 times a week on a static bike
Start lifting weights 1-3 times a week
Lose some weight
Start eating better.
These things will do far more for your fitness than using a heart rate monitor.
The harder and more complicated you make things, the less likely you are to stick to them.
If you have to wire yourself up every ride and check your HR monitor every 2 minutes in my view you are :
A) Taking the fun out of it
and B) Making it so much more complicated than it needs to be.
Just go and ride and push yourself as hard as you can.
Then do it again.
I promise you will get fitter.
I’m not aiming to help the 1 or 2% of my followers who want to win Cross Country races and live life like an athlete.
I want to help the riders like you and me.
Those who want to be fit on the bike. Who want to be slim. Who love riding and want to carry on doing it into old age. And who want to really push themselves. BUT, those who still want a pint on a weekend…
Who don’t want their whole lives to revolve around training and
And who don’t want to measure every tiny detail of every ride.
Make it simple for yourself. Don’t overcomplicate things. Just work hard.
p.s. I know some people will be triggered by this email and have seen fantastic results using a heart rate monitor. I absolutely do not dispute that doing heart rate zone rides and training sessions is a good thing. My point is that the MAJORITY of people don’t need to worry about over complicating things. The simpler something is, the easier it is to stick to. I like simple. Those who like it complicated would probably be better getting advice from someone who likes it complicated.