Recommended Heart Rate Zone Question


When I’m doing a workout I stay close to the power and cadence it’s asking of me, but it also shows a heart rate zone and I’m hardly ever in the prescribed zone (usually lower).

Any idea how I could be using my heart rate zone better or just keep on sticking to cadence/watts.


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Hi the simple answer is watts is the number one priority - HR just follows.
Have a look at the official guide though …

The longer answer from my point of view (TL:DR) … is a bit more complicated and has loads of ‘depends’ and confounding factors.
Some workouts can also have a tendency to exhibit lower HR response for example - many people find the low cadence ones will mean the HR is a bit lower than expected.
Equally if we’re going full in hamster cadence then HR will likely stride above or higher in the suggested range.
Then there’s caffeine, nerves, events of the day, stress that can all affect HR on a given day.
It is possible to have had a higher (than your own response average when working hard) HR on the day you tested for example … I’ve had one (of a lot) FF where my HR was 6bpm higher than normal and every workout after that therefore looked like I was working below the ‘range’.
Was a one off so I just adjusted the HR to my normal LTHR.

Some will say just switch off HR ranges or set lthr to zero, to remove the confusion as if you have a power meter it’s all about watts. Then you can still display your HR anyway if you want as an ‘interest’ thing.

I keep it on screen as as evidence mounts up over multiple workouts, I can learn a bit from it when it’s low/high fir a given effort.


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I’ll try to display my concerns using an example:

Yesterday I did one of those FTP training sessions one can find in the FTP Building Block. 5 x 8 min was it, to be precise. Well, during the workout I was given the following instruction:

“Your heart should be in zone 4. If it goes up, adjust accordingly.”

What I understand from that is that I must play with my cadence in order to keep at the target power (let’s let aside how this can affect the characteristics of the workout and the consequences low cadence has on the legs over time in terms of fatigue). This instruction leads me to think that the purpose of the session is to spend as much time as possible in Zone 4. OK then.

So how could I possibly discard my heart rate readings as some users suggest? Or, on the other hand, should I focus on hitting power and cadence targets no matter where my heart rate gets to? Is there a % cadence range around which we can move when needed?

Perhaps you are fitter than you think and need to do Full Frontal again to reset the power zones closer to what you can achieve for a given HR zone? I underperformed by about 10% in my last Half Monty compared to my last Full Frontal. I found all the workouts too easy with my reduced numbers so I entered my FTP manually and workouts since have been challenging but doable.

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@jayb7 interestingly I’m the opposite. I’m virtually always above the recommended zone (unless it wants zone 5). I’m not very fit so maybe that makes a difference for me (is that the cause or the effect I wonder). I now just ignore the recommendations as I can’t hit them