Correct heart rate for Pump Up the Base intervals?

Hi Lee !

I am now in week 4 of your awesome Pump Up the Base program. For the last couple of years i’ve got some concern about target heart rates, that gets me confused. I am 46 so my 85% heart rate should be around 148bpm ( 220-46X85/100). But here’s the thing, at this heart rate i can sing “we are the champion” at full volume and i can spin that for days, barely sweating. I’ve followed you guide lines, and shoot for an effort that let me talk only in short sentence, and that bring my heart rate value around 162bpm.Wich is more like what i am used to. That value is around 95% of my maximum HR for my age ! that gets me nervous, am i pushing too hard ? I’ve been ridding for 25 years and feel better than ever, i ain’t no world class athlete but not definitely not your average forty something guy either. Any thoughts ?


Hey Eric!

Thanks for the note. 46 … oh man that seems pretty old from this youthful place of 44.

I track most of my Pump Up the Base and Prepare to Pin It workouts using wattage. Sometimes I use heart rate as a measure of fatigue, illness or over reaching. If my HR won’t get as high as normal, that’s a sign I need rest, water, etc.

Indoors, I use a LeMond Revolution trainer, which has been discontinued, or an old Performance trainer. Both have power/HR meters. My fantasy trainer is the Wahoo KICKR.

Outdoors, which is funnest, I use a Stages Power meter. This unit attaches to a crank arm, fits almost any bike and is way less expensive than the crank- and hub-mounted monitors. I love to run PUTB intervals up and down the Valmont Bike Park slalom course.

OK, heart rate:

Heart rate is not the most accurate gauge of effort. It varies with individuals (some are just faster or slower), fitness, fatigue, health, length of interval and even hydration. The classic charts and equations work for most of us, but not all of us.

Here’s a simple approach for PUTB:

• Warm up like a fool. 15-30 minutes with a gradual and thorough buildup. At the end of your warmup, you should be going time trial pace, with a time trial heart rate.

• Churn out a 20-minute time trial at a consistent effort level. By now you should know what that feels like. Go as fast as you can maintain for the entire time. Give ‘er!

• Note your average heart rate for the time trial. This will be close to your threshold heart rate.

• Do your sweet spot intervals at 90-100% of this number.

When you bang out the sprints, your heart rate will spike big time. After each sprint, settle in and try your best to maintain sweet spot pace. This will keep you busy!

Cool? Lemme know how it goes!

— Lee

Know more. Have more fun!

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