HR and comparison to years past

Hey everybody,

First time posting on the SYSTM Forum, but I see some familiar names from the old Sufferfest facebook group. I have a question:

I have returned to decent fitness recently after several years of on/off riding with not much structured training. I completed Revolver a few days ago, and I happened to compare my results to when I did Revolver in January of 2014 and January of 2015.

When I look at my workout now versus then, I have a similar FTP now as then (~295W), and my power output during the workout is similar. What is very different is my heart rate. In 2015 my HR was ~172-175 during the ON portion and recovering down to 157-160 in the OFF portion. When I did it recently, my HR was only ~160-162 during the ON and recovered down to ~136-140 in the OFF.

Is this more to do with differences in fatigue coming into the workout? (Looking at my log, I probably had more fatigue in my legs in 2015). Is this changing HR expectations with getting older? (I’m 38 now vs 31 then) Or is this something that I shouldn’t even be comparing or worrying about.

It seems that my LTHR is lower now than it was previously, although I’m able to produce similar power. I guess that’s my real question - does LTHR matter and should I worry about raising it? Or just keep the focus on power and let LTHR be whatever it is.



@Joey Welcome to the forum. It could be lots of things - hydration, sleep, diet, temperature of your pain cave, etc. I would just focus on power for now. It is tough to compare workouts sometimes because you aren’t always the same each day. Looking at trends usually is more helpful.

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“I have returned to decent fitness” = FTP ~295W…well guess I suck, then.




@CPT_A :sweat_smile: well I guess saying actual numbers may be taboo - but I’m a big guy (6’4" 190lb) so I have a ways to go to be competitive racing.

@JSampson that makes sense. So the other question - should I worry about trying to raise my LTHR? Or will that just come as I get more miles and time in?

@Joey It will come with time - it is all about getting more efficient with the use of oxygen, developing more capillaries and increasing mitochondria. Just keep with the plans and you will definitely see all your metrics improve.

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So you are producing the same power at a lower heart rate.
Assuming you are not fatigued, it sounds like you are more efficient.

Max HR goes down as you age and I can see the same pattern. Looking at 20 minute FTP tests (Rubber Glove from 2013 - 2015) and Full Frontal (since I rejoined in 2020) my peak HR is 5-7 beats lower than it used to be. I used to regularly hit mid/upper 170s peak HR but now hit 170 at most a few times a year. I think back in my 20s running hill repeats I could hit 180 which is probably my actual max HR.

For reference, I am 40 year old male. And great, now you’ve got me wondering what would happen if I did some hill sprints. :slight_smile:

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Hill Sprints! :face_vomiting: that brings back memories of high school soccer practice. Yikes.

I’ve never considered the temperature effects on HR, but that could certainly be part of it. My indoor rides always have lower HR than my outdoor rides, and my trainer is in my basement (relatively cool - mid 50’s). I looked at a MTB race I did last summer and my average HR was 171 for an hour, with peak at 183. I generally thought I couldn’t really hit those numbers any more, but I hadn’t looked back at that race data.

Looking back at a road race I did in 2014, my max HR was 191 and average 169 for an hour. So @tbronder I certainly see the decreasing with age pattern. I don’t remember ever hitting 190’s back then, but apparently I did.

I’m curious now - I will look more into temperature effects on HR.

Something on the second. If you cHTR is going up that means the point where you switch from FAT to pure glycogen is changing. If you are able to do the same efforts now as then, you are in great shape.
Yes cHTR should go up as you get more and more fit. It doesn’t mean that you can go harder, it just means that your body is using fat at a higher HR. Mine has gone DOWN. I’m on multiple drugs due to a heart condition and they may be the cause (it really sucks finding that out when you almost died due to a hiking fall).