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HR and Power Zones interplay

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    • #27615
      AvatarNick Magowan

      Hi Lynda

      I’d like to understand more about how HR zones and PWR zones relate to each other. I’ve set my zones per your calculator – I’ve noticed HR Z1 is a wide zone in that at PWR Z2 for example my HR will be 15 beats below zone 2. Is this typical? I train to power zones but if I wasn’t it would follow that I would be riding at a higher power zone to get my HR into zone 2.


    • #27616

      Hi Nick,

      That’s a great question and your perceptions are spot on. Heart rate and power do not track in a linear manner. They are different.

      – Power is a measure of work done.
      – HR is a RESPONSE to work done PLUS hydration status, fatigue, excitement, anxiety, temperature, caffeine/stimulant intake, altitude and more.

      When you put power to the pedals you will immediately be in the target power level. HR is a response that power thus has a time lag of 30-60 seconds to rise up into the zone. Depending on how far into an interval and how steady state your power output is, power level may or may not match HR zone. At the end of an interval you see lag also when power drops immediately and HR gradually comes down. Training with power is more accurate. HR is a fuzzy pacing metric.

      I bet you can increase your HR simply by thinking about a race start, without any power being put to the pedals at all.

      Coach Lynda

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