Swapping bikes for heart rate training

Have I got the wrong end of this theory?

Been reading a few sites that explain a bit about using heart rate (HR) monitors for training, so I thought I'd put my HR monitor to better use than just collecting numbers.

The article I read suggests that training in Zone 2, which is between 65% - 75% of maximum heart rate for core training sessions will bring long term results and increase efficiency, so I thought I'd give it a bash.

Because I'm shallow, I didn't want to just pootle along on my road bike, so I do these rides on my mountain bike and explore tracks etc that the road bike can't handle. This means I don't go as far, so I don't have to find as many routes as I otherwise would.

I appreciate that riding a heavier bike will tend to give slower speed for the same effort. My question is does swapping to the heavier bike alter the effectiveness of the zone 2 training one way or another?

Also, like most of us, I need to make best use of my opportunities, so can I mix the zones by perhaps, starting with the high intensity, top speed interval training and then continuing straight on to the zone 2 plan for the rest of the ride or vice versa using the zone 2 work as an extreme warm up?
zone 2 is still zone 2 - regardless of what bike you are riding, and where you are riding it. Your heart is only concerned with how much work it is doing, not what bike you are riding.

The concept of 'base' training (not 'core' training) is that you build a base of aerobic fitness first, before attempting higher intensity workouts, which will be less effective anyway without a decent base. The idea is to stay in whichever zone you are in for the duration of your ride - which is why most people find that easier on the road, as it is usually easier to regulate. But if you can ride off-road without going under/over your level for the duration then that's fine...

The most important thing about HR training is that you know your true HR max, not just the fairly pointless '220-age' theory. Without that, you risk wasting a lot of time training at the wrong %.
Cheers for the reply and sorry about mixing up 'core' and 'base'. Point taken.

I've used a few different measures to work out the max, including riding uphill until my arse fell out and using the 210-half age plus 5% bodyweight + 4. and got very similar results from each, although the uphill one was a fraction higher.

My logic was that as I needed to be within the range for Zone 2, opting for the slightly lower value means I ran less risk of exceeding the zone.

I can see what you mean about roads making keeping within the zone easier, I guess I'll have to suck it and see. It's only really bridleways and footpaths I'm on, so I'm hoping it's not too much of an issue as it keeps the interest there more easily.
Sounds like you will be close enough on your HR max - it was worth mentioning though, as my own max is around 13bpm higher than my 'theoretical' 220 figure. Training by % will simplify things anyway - much simpler than training by specific numbers... :smile:
Black n Yellow talks a lot of sense El Cliche. I've just started using a HRM and I know already that it's waste of time without knowing my own maximum HR. Despite only using this piece of equipment for two rides now, I believe that my maximum is also higher than predicted for my age...either that or I've been vastly overdoing it for the last couple of years which I don't think I have.


Squat Member
The temptation to ignore the zones and go faster is probably why most people cannot get on with that style of training. A good tip is if you think you are going slow work on your pedalling technique and cadences using different gears which will give you something else to focus on whilst keeping in the right zone.

Only after a few months will you really see if the zone training is working, give it a chance and see!
zone training doesn't have to mean 'slow' - you will learn to love riding at <75% for four hours, especially when you are riding other sessions which demand 90%+ intervals for up to an hour... ;)
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