Recovery HR during workouts

I did my 20 min FTP test a few weeks ago. This isn’t the first time I’ve done this test, however, I either tested very poorly (which I don’t think was the case b/c I was dry heaving at the end) or my HR as I age is getting substantially slower.

I naturally have a very low HR. In the past 5 years or so I’ve been training endurance rides at 120-130 bpm and Tempo at 130-140 bpm. Currently, the power zones that are set for me have me in an endurance zone of about 117-125. Even during the muscle tensioner portions of the rides, I’m barely breaking 120 bpm. My average HR over a long endurance ride isn’t coming close to 120 bpm but I’m hitting my power targets.

While I do feel my peripheral system working, I’m wondering if my cardiovascular system is being stressed enough with the current power targets?

Did I just test very poorly or is my ticker slowing down even more?


How was your power during that 20 minute test? Did your FTP stay similar, drop or even go up? It could also be your heart rate that particular day you tested was stressed so it was lower giving you a lower threshold heart rate even though you tested fine.

I know with muscle tension work and any lower cadence riding your heart rate will be lower than normal. So that could be part of it. Though doesn’t explain the longer endurance rides unless you are riding at a lower cadence. That can happen if you have been doing muscle tension work.

If power feels right for the zone and perceived exertion does you are probably ok and just have a lower heart rate. Have you done any harder efforts or group rides where the heart rate does come up? When is your next field test planned?

Thank you for the very quick response!

The test on Oct 27, my power started out at about the average, increased a bit for the 2nd 5 mins, dropped a bit the 3rd 5 mins and then increased a bit at the end. My HR went up as the test went. Started at 143 bpm and went up to about 165 bpm.

I haven’t been able to do any group rides outdoors since starting this training plan, but I’ve done 1-2 on Zwift. I’m able to get my HR up to about 130’s during those rides and keep power at about 150 watts which is about 15 watts greater than my endurance zones. I’m definitely working, but I can only sustain it for about 1:15ish.

My next field test isn’t until March 16.

Thanks again.

Just sounds like you have a lower heart rate. Sometimes sleep, temperature, caffeine and etc can effect that. So there are some variables there.

I asked about the Zwift rides because usually those push you pretty hard and will get your heart rate up. But does sound like it is responding similar to your FTP test.

Use power, heart rate and perceived exertion. If two of those seem in line you should be ok.


I’ll give it a few additional weeks. Maybe I’ll think about RPE a bit more during my rides. If I feel that the efforts are lower I may increase my power targets by 5 watts and see how I do.

All summer long I wasn’t following a training plan and I didn’t have a power meter and I was buzzing around 125-130 bpm for long solo rides. So to see my HR lower when I’m am following a training plan has me a bit concerned that I’m not working hard enough right now.

I was definitely beat up at the end of my 3 hr ride this past Saturday where there were 3x 12 min muscle tensioners sprinkled in. The last hr got my legs! But my avg HR over the ride was only 116 bpm (Wahoo chest strap) while hitting my power targets. I’m just wondering if I a bit out of shape as I hadn’t done a 3 hr ride in about 1-2 months.

I’ll see how it goes. Thanks again!