Rory Sutherland reporting lower avg HR

Jul 10, 2010
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Rory Sutherland is reporting a lower avg HR and max HR going into the 3rd week of the Giro.

. . . for the data junkies, the difference between the first and the second week (for someone like me) is about a 15-20-percent drop in average and maximum daily heart rates. . .

I am surprised. I have no recollection of hearing this before. What's up physiologically here? Is the body just morphing to cannibalizing to repair and maintain performance levels over such a time period? Is it "giving up" on recovery? Or is it adjusting to a new performance paradigm? [I can't imagine it could be this last possibility, or else riders wouldn't have any problem doing the Giro-Tour double.]
 
Sep 30, 2009
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This is systemic fatigue setting in. Although the body wants to repair itself, it does have to rest as well. Repairs are metabolically active. If there is a huge, unrelenting strain put on the body, then the repair process and metabolic processes slow down.
 
Sep 23, 2010
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hiero2 said:
Is it "giving up" on recovery?
Let's presume the weather played no role in this. My guess would be that there is simply insufficient recovery between days and a poorly rested body simply cannot perform at the same level a fully (or better) rested one can. It is why people taper before big races. There is no tapering in a grand tour.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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twothirds said:
This is systemic fatigue setting in. Although the body wants to repair itself, it does have to rest as well. Repairs are metabolically active. If there is a huge, unrelenting strain put on the body, then the repair process and metabolic processes slow down.
I don't recall ever hearing before that the body went so far as to lower the avg HR and max HR when under the "unrelenting strain" of a GT. I suppose it makes "common sense" if one thinks about it, but it is not one of the impacts I would have expected.

Thanks
 
Apr 11, 2009
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Hi Hiero,

Inability to raise HR to normal workout levels is a well-known sign of overtraining. I think pros when training would usually back off when this happens and ride a recovery ride or nothing. Think I've read Lizzy Armistead does this, for example. Could be wrong.

GT=gross over-"training"=they're worn out way before the end. Look at how haematocrit is driven down in a GT. The red blood cells, oxygen transport mechanism, getting hammered.

A race, so no choice but to continue.... Good, but bizarre analogy is a 100m sprint. Sprinters hit top speed midway: the guy who wins will be the one whose running slows/degrades the least thereafter, relatively speaking, to the end.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Parrot's reply got me to thinking - it has been more than two decades since I have "overtrained", but now that I am thinking about it, I do think I recall the bit about it being hard to get the HR to max, allthough I remember over-riding fatigue even better! :D

I just guess it surprised me for Sutherland to notice such a large difference, and in his avg HR. And, in his max HR, too, since he is still racing, and not recovering. I hadn't thought of a GT as overtraining, but I guess it would be, wouldn't it!
 
Jul 19, 2009
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hiero2 said:
I don't recall ever hearing before that the body went so far as to lower the avg HR and max HR when under the "unrelenting strain" of a GT. I suppose it makes "common sense" if one thinks about it, but it is not one of the impacts I would have expected.

Thanks
I think two effects are occurring here.

Plasma volume expansion occurs during stage racing which would be expected to lower avg HR....

Haemoglobin mass in cyclists during stage racing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17614021

whereas the decreased max HR is likely a reflection of accumulated fatigue (as mentioned already by others)....

Is heart rate a convenient tool to monitor over-reaching? A systematic review of the literature
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18308872


btw overreaching and overtraining are defined as separate phenomenons. Overreaching is a temporary decrement in performance resulting from accumulated fatigue, but performance is restored upon freshening up. Overtraining is a state where performance does not return to baseline levels despite adequate recovery.
 
Feb 10, 2010
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King Boonen said:
This is very interesting, makes me think more about really paying attention to my HR during training.
I've read a number of forums where a post author is convinced "heart rate doesn't matter any more." Well, now you know it does.

If you can't reach near max, then it's probably a sign your body isn't recovered enough. Back to the regularly scheduled programming.... "Heart rate doesn't matter!!!!"
 
Apr 21, 2009
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Probably find if your ave heart rate is lower and your maximum HR is lower then there will be a corresponding drop in the power you can attain.
 
Jul 10, 2010
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Krebs cycle said:
I think two effects are occurring here.

Plasma volume expansion occurs during stage racing which would be expected to lower avg HR....

Haemoglobin mass in cyclists during stage racing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17614021

whereas the decreased max HR is likely a reflection of accumulated fatigue (as mentioned already by others)....

Is heart rate a convenient tool to monitor over-reaching? A systematic review of the literature
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18308872


btw overreaching and overtraining are defined as separate phenomenons. Overreaching is a temporary decrement in performance resulting from accumulated fatigue, but performance is restored upon freshening up. Overtraining is a state where performance does not return to baseline levels despite adequate recovery.
Overreaching / overtraining - interesting point. I'll venture a guess that "freshening up" would be roughly defined as a time period of one month or less? Or are we talking about 24-72 hours?

Update: the last study you link mentions this:
An arbitrary limit of 2 weeks was chosen to make the distinction between short-term and long-term interventions
 
Apr 20, 2009
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hiero2 said:
Overreaching / overtraining - interesting point. I'll venture a guess that "freshening up" would be roughly defined as a time period of one month or less? Or are we talking about 24-72 hours?
I would say 5 days or less. If someone doesn't recover in that time while only doing recovery rides, then they are probably overtrained.
 

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