Adjusting for new Heart Rate or Power Threshold

It is generally a good day when I get an email about a client getting a new peak heart rate or power
BUT!!!  the work doesn’t end with those hard pedal strokes.
Here are a few considerations and tasks after setting a personal best.

new threshold

 

Generally a new personal best is good sign because: 

 

a)  you have pushed harder then you have before, or at least then we recorded
OR

 

b) Your zones/thresholds aren’t set accurately so it bugs us to update the values (max heart rate, threshold heart rate, and threshold wattage to ensure our charts are accurate. Mainly the TSS / Performance Manager chart is of concern here. With new(er) hrTSS (training stress score based on Heart Rate) these charts are relevant for most clients now.
OR
c) we have errors in files (windy flapping vests or bad HR strap) or power-meters becoming mis-calibrated. This is good indication we need to spend some time on our technology to make sure we have accurate data. Inspect batteries/cleaning/tightening and calibration functions.

 

2) What to do with new Max or threshold values ?  

 

Short Answer = Knowing your max heart rate and Cp3 and Cp20 help you do training prescribed – remember them !

 

Long Answer = 

 

Firstly ensure the value is not an error. If you were not maxing out in some capacity on the day it is likely you did not set a new personal best value but one of the (ABC) above situations may be relevant.

 

If not a ‘premium’ Training peaks* subscriber, you can go in and do this under ‘zones’ in your settings in training peaks. ( instructions to check/update zones  – use ‘threshold’ ‘coggan’ when asked if changing zones)
   * I don’t generally recommend premium for most clients but it does have perks including more access to charts, auto-update of zones, ability to put in future workouts and
  * I update zones and get the update email for Weekly and Daily Coaching clients

 

If it is new Max heart rate you may have to update you Garmin values (heart rate HERE  /// Power here)  or double check the same to keep data reading the same AND make sure you are riding in the prescribed ranges. With Smart Athlete clients we use 65-75% MHR for endurance often and so if max is set too low your % max heart rate will be off.

 

For those with new threshold heart rate values the main change is that training peaks will calculate training stress (TSS) with that new value. Some athletes will use the threshold value to guide race pacing or intervals as well so indeed knowing your usual ‘threshold’ or ‘race pace’ is valuable. My believe is that this does not vary much as we become experienced in endurance training and so the value is largely in knowing your usual ranges for training easy/hard as absolute and/or percents of max.

 

As example for Heart Rate  my max is 184 bpm, and my races average 165-175bpm usually, 20 minute tests are in similar range for averages. Knowing this I can do intervals in training in the 160-175bpm range and over 170-175bpm is dipping into vo2/anaerobic . 
For those with new power threshold there is a TSS calculation affected by setting in correctly but you also might see intervals based off of threshold power. Knowing threshold helps you motivate and track progress in intervals.

 

A Power example If I have Cp20 of 300 watts. 5% would give us an approximate FTP (60 minute power) of 285 watts. Knowing this I can be pretty sure I am doing threshold when I am +/- that FTP. If I am over the cp20 value we are into VO2/Hill interval territory and 75% of that number. This helps me set goals for a given workout set (e.g. 3 x 10 min threshold) and also see progress as, in this example, if I did 2 x 20 minutes at 300 watts it would indicate my cp20 is higher ( 1 x 20 should be greater then 2 x 20 ! ) 

 

I hope this explanation helps you work through the steps needed after your next Personal Best. I hope you won’t wait too long for the next email announcing a ‘new threshold’ !

 

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