Keeping Down in Base

I am a 41 year old who rides between 3000-4000 miles per year. I do a few local races and duathlon's and some touring. I bought a heart monitor this year to try and improve my early season fitness. I have read that you should build a base by riding at 65 percent of your target heart rate. So far this year I have struggled to keep my heart rate that low for the length's of my rides (1-2 hours rides) With wind, cold, and hills it is just about impossible to stay in that range. Any suggestions?

D. Miller

Dave Palese replies:

When you say 65 percent of your target heart rate, do you mean maximum working heart rate (MWHR)?

Usually, the heart rate ranges that correspond to the intensity zones are based on some percentage of either the MWHR or one's personal anaerobic threshold heart rate (ATHR). Both of these values can be estimated using different protocols.

The percentage you have quoted would fit with designing ranges using MWHR. So I would just want to make sure you are building your heart rate ranges using the proper percentages with the proper number. If you were to build heart rate ranges using ATHR, but used percentages intended for use with MWHR, the ranges would surely skew very low and that might be very frustrating.

But let's assume that your zones are proper.

Depending on the terrain, weather and training partners in your area, base training can be a frustrating affair. It can take quite a bit of discipline to keep your intensity in check. I sometimes have riders tape-over their bike computer screens or leave the computer home altogether, so that they won't be compelled to increase the pace when they see low speeds on the screen. My advice is to not get distracted by the numbers but rather focus on the goals of the training session and what needs to be done on a given day.