HR low in bike - should I use pace/power? | 80/20 Endurance

HR low in bike – should I use pace/power?

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    Hi there,
    I’m using Peloton for indoor training (I know but I can’t let it go to waste) which gives me power, but I’m too cheap to buy power meter for bike on outdoors. This time around on my plan I tried HR instead of Power because I needed something to guide me outdoors too. But I had a terrible time getting to Zone 4 HR on indoor trainer for intervals/hard workout. Not to mention keeping heart rate in zone for nonflat outdoor riding was nearly impossible.
    Should I switch to Power and then what would I use for outdoors without power meter? Is there a way to have workout in both power and hear rate so I can switch back and forth for indoor to outdoor?


    David Warden


    Nothing wrong with using a Peloton, we have many successful athletes that use one. Whatever makes training more convenient/enjoyable is a good idea.

    A few solutions to this situation and some comments:

    – We’ve all gotten a bit ensnared by the technology, allowing it to become a rule instead of a tool (just made that up, it rhymes, I like it will use it again.) Pause for a moment and remember that 5 years ago, this was not a problem because there were no structured workouts. Your coach would just say, “20 minutes Zone 2” and you would choose to measure Zone 2 by Pace, Power, HR or RPE. You didn’t have your device restricting you to Power or HR, you could choose every time you did a workout to use any or all methods to measure intensity. And guess what, you still can! If you have the Bike Power plan, and then you go outside without a power meter, and the workout says “Zone 2: 170-190 watts” you ignore the watts and use your Zone 2 HR instead for that ride.

    The point is, the structured workouts are convenient, they are not required. When the workouts asks for Zone 2, even if it pushes power zones to you, use whatever intensity measure you want that day.

    – But, there are still a couple of ways to switch between HR and Power structured workouts. You’re entitled to both versions of the plan (HR and Power) with out Level Guarantee. Take one copy (let’s say HR) and load it on your calendar for the current event. Take the other copy (let’s say Power) and load it for the same period, but exactly one year later so that the two plans do not overlap. Then, when you want to workout by power, you just copy and paste the Power version of the same workout from the same week in 2022. Not elegant, but it works.

    – Our 80/20 Subscriptions provide all 4,000+ of our workouts in all formats conveniently within TP. You can just drag and drop the HR or Power version of the workout onto your calendar. Super easy.

    – You’ll rarely achieve Zone 4 and 5 by HR, there is just not enough time in the interval. That’s the delayed nature of HR, and you’ll often have to use RPE for Zone 4 and 5 workouts when not using Pace nor Power.



    Thanks @David – this is very helpful. Part of problem is I don’t know my proper zones for HR for bike I think too. Just looked back at my last CT ride for estimate and Zone 3 looks much lower HR on bike than Zone 3 for run. Maybe time for a real FTP test update that I look at not just power but HR on bike too?

    Also, I did just submit for the power plan, so I can have both to remind me of, as you suggested.

    David Warden

    Heather, you can get both FTP (power) and LTHR (heart rate) from the same 20-minute test time trial. Next time you perform that test, capture both HR and Power at teh same time. Your FTP is 95% of that 20-minute TT, and your LTHR is the peak 15-minute BPM of that 20-minute test.


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