This week’s playlist has four effort blocks: one minute, 2 minutes, 5 and ten.  We’ll look to maintain an appropriate intensity for each duration.  We’ll pay attention to our recovery rate, this week’s metric.

2) Recovery Heart Rate (RHR) measures how quickly heart rate decreases following exercise.  The healthier the heart, the faster it returns to its normal heart rate.  A less healthy heart takes longer.  According to Heart rate expert Sally Edwards, a decrease of 25 - 30 beats per minute is considered a good recovery rate.  Recovery is strongest during the first thirty seconds following vigorous activity.

When we perform intervals in class, the varying recovery times challenge your recovery heart rate.  Yes, everyone can perform following full recovery, the ability to push after a surge is a different story.  The below chart from eNotes provides a guide for recovery heart rate.
Check out this article from Scientific American if you want to geek out on RHR.

3) A few years, back, I shared the story of Kristin Armstrong.  At 42, Armstrong was looking to become the first person to win gold in the same cycling event in three straight Olympics. Prior to the race, a reporter asked her why she came out of retirement after starting a family to ride in the Olympics.  Her response, a simple one, “Because I can!”

 4) After winning the time-trial by four seconds, the New York Times ran a story on Armstrong, focusing on her ability to compete beyond 40.: “[S]ports like cycling and rowing are far more ideal for aging athletes than something like the 100-meter dash. Explosiveness isn’t as important and aerobic capacity—the ability to move oxygen through your bloodstream when you’re working hard—doesn’t deteriorate that much as you age.

5) Maximum heart rate is one heart metric that does deteriorate as you age.   Intensity is best measured as the percentage of max heart rate.  The body knows the difference between pedaling at 90% of your max heart rate versus 50%.  A recent New York Times article (can y’all tell which paper I subscribe to?) spoke about the willingness to be coached and how it impacts your fitness:  “ . . . the beneficial effects of exercise may depend to a surprising extent on whether someone exercises at her own pace or gets coaching from someone else.” 

According to Iowa State kinesiology professor Jacob Meyer, “being coached and supervised leads to different impacts on our bodies and minds than working at our own pace, whatever that pace might be.”  He concludes: “It may be that our brains recognize when a workout’s intensity is not one we would voluntarily choose and prompt the release of substances that make the effort more tolerable.”

 6) We introduced Max HR last week (blog entry), but did not mention a protocol for finding it.  You won’t find your maximum HR during a sprint.  It’s more of a time-trial for 10-15 minutes followed by an sprint until you hit exhaustion.

 There are less strenuous, though inexact,  ways to find Max HR.  The old formula of 225 minus age is just that, OLD.  A study by the Journal of Medicine in Sport and Excercise determined a person’s body mass increases with age, thus making age-related Max HR formulas less reliable.

 If the manual approach is too much effort, try one of these Max HR formulas based on your age/gender. 

         208 - (0.7 x age) Tanaka

         206.9 - (o.67 x age) Gellish

         208 - .80 x age (men) Or 201 - .63 x age (women)   Fairburn

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Source: Polar

7) Congrats to Slovenian Primoz Roglic for winning the Vuelta España. His rise to cycling prominence began in 2012 after he quit ski jumping to pursue a new sport.  His slight build is perfect for cycling, though it takes time to learn the nuances of the sport. 

8) There’s an interesting book called Late Bloomers which highlights societies’ obsession with early success in life, often shunning those who find their stride in their 30s, 40s and beyond.  Perhaps you are a cycling late bloomer?  Are you willing to make a change or will indoor cycling in 2020 look much like it did in 2019?   The heart rate series is one way you can redefine how you ride.

Research from Polar, a leader in heart rate monitors, shows athletes who train with heart rate increase their fitness levels without increasing their quantity of training.  In essence, the more efficient your workout, the better the results.  All without increasing the amount of time you spend in the gym!

9) The late bloomer concept certainly applies to the prolific artist, and former hairdresser, Mark Bradford.  He creates art using paper, not paint.  It’s kind of amazing.  60 Minutes recently interviewed him.  It’s worth the fourteen-minute watch.  An abridged version is below.

Please note that the information provided i does not replace advice from a licensed health professional. C Consult your physician before starting a new fitness program.