Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)
  • Strava and stats..wisdom, advice and thoughts needed
  • donslow
    Free Member

    After a long spell away from cycling, a couple of years or so ago, I bought a mtb, got back into it in a big way, bought a road bike for quick blasts on the roads and now cannot go a day without at least an hour stretching the legs so to speak

    I’ve become a big Strava user, not for the social media aspect of it, not for the competitive nature that some people adopt on there, I can appreciate both points but it’s not for me personally, I use it purely as a self motivational and improvement platform

    I can see the routes I do on a regular basis, I can see and compare how I do on each route and find where I can set myself targets to improve, but this is all based on speed and time for the most part

    Speed stats, I get,
    time stats, I get,
    elevation stats, I also get

    Heart rate stats, heart rate zone stats and estimated power stats are what I don’t get but feel, if understood, they can help me

    I understand they’re probably more for the fitness side of things but is anyone kind enough as to explain what they are, how I can make sense of them and how I can use them properly in a bid to improve / continue improving my fitness levels

    Many thanks in advance singletrackers

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Heart rate zones are a basic and relatively easy way to introduce a bit of structured training into your rides. It’s all I use as I’m too cheap to buy a powermeter but also suspect I’ll never be good enough to need a PM.

    Assuming you have a heart rate monitor then first thing is to figure out your max heart rate. If you can analyse your previous data you could see what your historic max is, or find a long gradual climb, hit is as hard as you think you can sustain, then sprint for the top as hard as possible. You need to be as close to puking as you’re willing to go! That will be your max HR.

    Or just subtract your age from 220. Everyone poo-poos that formula but it’s almost spot on for me.

    ampthill
    Full Member

    I’ll make one simple observation

    If you let Strava log your heart rate then you get an idea of total training load. Lets kids ourselves that it super accurate but it helps

    So if one week your out for 8 hours looking at the view and generally relaxing then stats for time and distance could look good

    Next week you might ride for 3 hours chasing a group that is a bit beyond you your time and distance stats will look less good that week

    But your total load score or whatever is called might be higher due to the higher intensity

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Once you’ve got your max HR you can work out heart rate zones and use them to help you train a bit better, or just track your efforts a bit e.g. if all your riding is at 80% max HR you’re headed for some serious fatigue and over-training!

    You can also use heart rate to calculate calories burned more accurately, there’s a few calculators on line. I think Strava uses the same formula for its calorie calcs so if you use an HRM then Strava’s calorie calculations will be more accurate.

    donslow
    Free Member

    @13thfloormonk Thankyou for that, has given me something to gnaw on before I start chewing as it were, power meters I never understood, heart rate monitor is on my watch which is then uploaded to Strava via garmin, not sure how accurate it is but at least your comments have given me something to look into / for


    @ampthill
    by training load, if I’m understanding you correctly, you mean heart rate over a ride?!

    donslow
    Free Member

    If I’m understanding it right (again) heart rate zones would be the heart rate fluctuations (for want of a better word) over a ride

    So as a made up example, My heart rate might hit zone 3 for climbing, but my zone 1 or 2 might be just ambling about

    Heart rate zones = average for me for that sort of riding

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    If you are already using a Garmin device for recording then you’ll find lots of useful data in Garmin Connect too. It auto-calculates HR Zones and some of the devices give other useful information in Training Load etc

    DrP
    Full Member

    Training load is kinda how hard the ride is…

    A 50 km ride on the flat, over 5 hours, with a low HR
    Will be a lower training load than:
    A 25 mile ride over 2 hours with a much higher HR average…

    I always think it’s a good idea to record HR for all rides…. let’s you compare much more accurately…

    I like a power meter too, but that’s cos I’m a fancy pants..

    DrP

    uponthedowns
    Free Member

    I can see the routes I do on a regular basis, I can see and compare how I do on each route and find where I can set myself targets to improve, but this is all based on speed and time for the most part

    Cycling performance fundamentally comes down to time and distance. Do that circuit faster, get up that climb faster, ride a century etc etc unless of course you are competing then its where did I finish and who did I beat?

    Heart rate stats, heart rate zone stats and estimated power stats are what I don’t get but feel, if understood, they can help me

    It depends what your goals are? HR and power zones are only helpful if you are going to do a structured training programme. Do any of your goals require you to get fit as efficiently as possible? If so then structured training involving HR and power zones would help.

    Ignore posters telling you to do max HR tests. They are deeply unpleasant and its really very difficult to make sure you get to your max heart rate. I’d suggest finding your functional threshold heart rate like this then using it to work out your training zones here Then pick stuctured training programme appropriate to what your goals are.

    Alternatively just ride your bike and have fun.

    n0b0dy0ftheg0at
    Free Member

    For heart zones, IMO it’s no so much about your max heart rate (once you get comfortable with it and you haven’t got any medical concerns, you may well find it’s a lot higher than you think, for example I’m 48 and regularly hit 175-185bpm in Zwift), but about what is sustainable… Your Lactate Threshold Heart Rate (LTHR).

    One way to get an LTHR estimate outside a lab is to do a fairly steady paced (power) ~30min TT-esque effort and use the average of the last 20mins.

    If you have historic heart data on Strava, https://crickles.casa/ will give you a dynamic estimate, but I find recent tweaks to their estimate for LTHR and FTP are too dynamic in that they now react to blatent easy rides rather than “proper” full-on efforts. But it’s a ballpark and it will give you zones based off that estimated LTHR.

    Purely as an example, my LTHR is ~162bpm. I have a 4iiii crank power meter on my road bike, which I focus far more on during interval/segment PB chasing rides, but heart stats are nice to look at afterwards. If I didn’t have the 4iiii, I could have used my realtime heart stats on my gps computer to pace my effort up Denbigh’s “Road To Hell” ~6.9 mile ~1200 foot climb last month, to try and not go above 162 too much. It just so happens, my average for the 34min climb was 162! 😆
    https://www.strava.com/activities/6849378724/analysis/3594/5628

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Ignore posters telling you to do max HR tests

    Well yes, but if we’re cutting corners then I did caveat by saying use 220 minus age instead 😉

    stevious
    Full Member

    Can’t say much that other’s haven’t already said about haert rate, but you did ask about the Strava Estimated Power thing as well. I don’t think it’s a metric with much value at all (it’s an estimate that ignores some important factors) so probably best to ignore.

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    220-age would, for me, give a Max HR of 157 bpm. My Zone 4 is currently 157 – 165 bpm.

    highpeakrider
    Full Member

    You could also import the data into veloviewer, it’s only £10 a year, good way to track performance and mileage.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    220-age would, for me, give a Max HR of 157 bpm. My Zone 4 is currently 157 – 165 bpm.

    When I last checked 220 – age gave me 182BPM, and I hit 183BPM after sprinting for the line at a hill climb event and almost puking, so it seems pretty accurate. Maybe it gets less accurate with age 😉

    scotroutes
    Full Member

    It’s always been way too low for me. More likely you just weren’t trying hard enough.

    reeksy
    Full Member

    The 220 – age thing just doesn’t work for everyone. I should be 177 and can just make 163 if I’m on the verge of passing out. I’ve always been like that, when I played football as a 20 year old the whole team would do tests together and my hr would always be way below the rest.

    dissonance
    Full Member

    Maybe it gets less accurate with age 😉

    No its just random. Works for some people but not for most. Which is the entire problem with it since, after all, if it reliably got less accurate with age you could make the calculation more sophisticated. As it is though you might as well just guess.

    donslow
    Free Member

    @scotroutes I never really look at the garmin stats on connect but maybe I should?! I guess what I’m REALLY asking is from all these stats how do I use them

    I’m not really on any training plans or have any goals as such and as @uponthedowns suggests, I ride bikes for the fun of it, obviously there’s the fitness aspect to it as well and thankfully, I like to think I have a more than fair level of fitness

    I guess if I had to pick goals, they would be things as simple as not getting so out of breath on occasion (mostly after big / long climbs then maybe that’s another discussion for another day or more common than I think?!


    @DrP
    Thankyou for the explanation of training loads, helped a lot


    @stevious
    I kind of figured as much

    The more I think about the questions raised in my original post, the more basic the fundamental questions are

    If only momentarily, Ignoring the power thing and concentrating on hr stats, I think, Essentially, what I’m asking is, what’s the use of knowing these things and how can I use them with regards to my riding or fitness

    So much useful information and advice so far, do keep it coming…

    donslow
    Free Member

    I’m going to try the 220-age thing on my next ride, just to see what goes, theoretically, I’m looking at about 180

    donslow
    Free Member

    Seeing all the responses I’m reading that the higher the HR Zone the higher the HR so zone 1 might be 90-110 zone 2 110-120 so each zone would depend on how hard you push yourself and is technically tailored so to speak for each individual

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    I use Strava as a way to review my efforts after a ride, swim or run. Only out of interest to be honest rather than a training tool.

    Perceived effort (RPE) is much better way to train for a beginner new to training, it’s easier to understand than the many different zonal training systems out there, including Strava’s.

    https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/article/izn20151119-Training-Plans-Supporting-Documents-Related-Rate-of-Perceived-Exertion-Scale—RPE-0

    If you are going to use a heart rate monitor then I recommend using the Garmin system. I prefer the heart zones that Garmin uses, they fit my efforts better in my opinion. Have a look at those in Garmin Connect and see what you think.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    Try a GCN Youtube indoor training session, this should help you to understand your RPE and/or heart rate zones.

    Be aware that heart rates during exercise can be higher than what you did the last time for the same effort (RPE or power) if you are:
    – Stressed
    – Not had enough quality sleep
    – Over trained or fatigued
    – Unwell
    – Other reason like medication etc

    The opposite can also happen, your heart rate can be lower than the last training session for the same effort (RPE or power).if you are:
    – Unwell
    – Getting fitter (cardiovascular system has got stronger), which is the key aim 👍
    – Other reason like medication etc

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    This article seems to cover the basics pretty well.

    Slow down to Get Quicker | An intro to heart rate training

    With training, you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of information and different plans, systems, apps and recommendations. I know I was (and probably still am).

    Keep it simple and monitoring your heart rate can help do this when comparing rides over the same distance or route and the time taken to complete them.

    mjsmke
    Full Member

    HR zones are very useful for pacing on longer rides. Its easy to go too hard too soon and bonk. Knowing how hard your heart is working is a good indicator of how long you can sustain the effort.

    ebennett
    Full Member

    heart rate monitor is on my watch

    YMMV, but HR as measured by my watch (Fenix 5x) is pretty inaccurate compared with when I use a chest strap. If you’re planning on using HR data as anything other than a curiosity I’d recommend getting one, the Garmin one is fairly comfy – I no longer really notice I’m wearing it on the bike, although it can be a little annoying when running.

    nickc
    Full Member

    With training, you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of information and different plans, systems, apps and recommendations. I know I was (and probably still am).

    Every now and then I try to follow a plan and “get fit properly” but y’know? I find all this stuff as boring as ****. I really struggle to concentrate when I reading it for any length of time, and when authors start straying into words like  “Lactate” or start using acronyms, I can feel myself zoning out.

    Nowadays I just “ride more” I’m not racing I’m not aiming to do more than a few hours at a time, as long as I can do that and not kill myself or need to take a couple of days to recover…that’s Ok.

    13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    HR zones are very useful for pacing on longer rides

    This is very true! If nothing else good comes out of all my half-assed attempts at training, it will be that I have a relatively good idea of what sort of effort I can maintain and for how long. I certainly know that if I see over 175BPM on any sustained climb then I need to back off!

    More likely you just weren’t trying hard enough

    I dunno, a Strava top ten was at stake at the top of a long steep climb, was actually quite proud (after the fact) of how hard I’d pushed, wobbly legs, feeling sick, other symptoms that don’t bear repeating here 😎

    dissonance
    Full Member

    YMMV, but HR as measured by my watch (Fenix 5x) is pretty inaccurate compared with when I use a chest strap

    Optical tends to be slower to react so for intervals/lots of short sharp hills they are dubious but for endurance I find it generally tracks well enough.
    Although for mountain biking in particular I find if its hammering the arms the accuracy drops.

    didnthurt
    Full Member

    A good indicator of getting fitter in my experience is how fast you recover after a hard effort, a heart rate monitor is good at indicating/recording this.

    I use a Garmin watch for my heart rate and it seems fairly close to my chest strap. I only use it when training on the indoor trainer and helps me match my RPE to my heart rate zones. You’re right though, if you’re looking for a very high accuracy of heart rate then use a chest strap. Or if you want the best accuracy when training then power is the way.

    I’d still say that RPE is best way for the training enthusiast, cheapest too at £0.

    But let’s be honest, it’s all about the post workout pretty graphs, everyone loves a pretty graph right? 😉

    footflaps
    Full Member

    Training load is kinda how hard the ride is…

    TRIMP or Training Impulse has been around for years – it’s the sum of heart rate x duration over a ride and various tools add different scaling factors in there for heart rate zones – effectively accounting for the fact that at very high heart rates you’re working much harder than at lower heart rates (it’s not linear). Strava seems to weight high zones higher than Polar for example (all my rides get logged on both and I notice that Strava is more sensitive to higher zones than Polar).

    A good indicator of getting fitter in my experience is how fast you recover after a hard effort, a heart rate monitor is good at indicating/recording this.

    Yep, I normally see my lowest HR when sleeping 48 hours after a hard ride which normally means I’ve recovered. NB If I don’t do any hard rides then my resting HR drifts up a few beats quite quickly (within a week).

    I’m going to try the 220-age thing on my next ride, just to see what goes, theoretically, I’m looking at about 180

    220-age is only good for describing the mean of a population, pretty hopeless for an individual, like saying average male height is 5’9″ therefore you are 5’9″ high. E.g. I’m mid 50s and my max HR is 197 at the moment (could probably see 200 if I really pushed it to the max).

    As an interesting aside one of my club rides has several cardiologists from Papworth hospital on it and I was asking about high max HRs. I assumed it was size related – ie smaller hearts beat faster to push the same volume of blood around. Apparently not, it’s stroke depth – big variation between individuals in how the stroke is formed, high beaters have shallow strokes ie not fully filling the chamber before expelling the blood. Slow beaters tend to fully fill the chamber each stroke…

    donslow
    Free Member

    Starting to work all this out now and how I can monitor and use such information, thanks so far all, hugely appreciated


    @didnthurt
    Thankyou for the input and links, have helped with my understanding a lot


    @nickc
    that’s also my kinda thinking ha ha


    @mjsmke
    makes a lot of sense, thankyou

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