Tip #25: Follow your heart
I’m not one to recommend gadgets or gear
It’s a basic principle of training: In order to improve your fitness, you need to stress your body. But how do you know whether you’re stressing your body enough? You can go by how you feel
but a much more objective measurement is your heartrate. Cyclists are notorious liars, especially when it comes to how hard they’re working. Numbers, on the other hand ...
There’s plenty of literature on the Web for how to train with a monitor, and I’m not going to pretend to duplicate it here. Conventional wisdom, however, recommends a heartrate between 65 percent and 80 percent of your maximum during your endurance training, including those long “base” hours of winter. (This is just a general recommendation. Let’s not get started on lactate thresholds and VO2 maximums.)
But what, my more well-heeled and analytically minded readers are asking, about power? Power is great! Training by power has its detractors, but there’s no denying that it’s an even more precise way of quantifying your work. But power meters aren’t cheap (yet). For the beginning racer looking to save money and spend evenings doing things other than pore over wattage charts, a heartrate monitor should be the first major purchase after bike, helmet and chamois.