Huw Williams is a British Cycling Level 3 coach
I am 59 years old and have tried to keep fit over the years by playing football, cycling and running. Nowadays I no longer play football and I usually train using short distances in order to save time.
I have used a heart monitor for many years and worked on the rule of thumb guide of 220bpm minus age for maximal HR so now I realise I should work to around 160bpm. Most of the time I find myself at 90 per cent average when I'm running but lower when cycling.
Michael, firstly reducing the volume of your rides is no bad thing as you certainly won't be losing much endurance given your sporting background and volume of riding.
Older riders generally benefit from adding some higher intensity into their workouts as speed and strength are the areas where performance tends to drop away more readily.
You can use your heart rate to regulate this but the 220 minus age formula you're working on is not a good indicator of max heart rate in experienced riders. In your case it predicts a max of 161bpm but that is almost certainly lower than actual max.
So use your threshold heart rate to determine training intensities, find the average you can just about sustain for one hour's riding and base your longer or shorter sessions on percentages of that. If your spike of 207bpm in the event was the only time you've seen this happen then it's 99 per cent certain to be a mechanical blip in your monitor rather than your heart.
A genuine spike in heart rate going so high for a few seconds is common with certain types of arrhythmias but you'd certainly feel something, so as you didn't even notice it and didn't feel any discomfort then I can't imagine it's a genuine heart rate spike.
I generally alternate 10-mile bike rides with two-mile runs depending on the weather and try to get out between three and four times a week.
Earlier in the year I did the Great Manchester Cycle and did the 26-mile course, which I thoroughly enjoyed. My average heart rate was 122bpm with an average speed of 15mph.
It was only after the ride when I checked my maximum HR that I found it had been, at one point, 207bpm. Is this something I should be concerned about? Often when I run I will get to 170bpm before settling to a 147bpm. I have always worked on the idea of expecting some discomfort when training but I never get too distressed. Any advice?
I do advise all riders over 40 to have a health screening every few years however, so you might consider that for general peace of mind.
Chris Froome hits back at critics: ‘I’m not just going to throw in the towel’
Chris Froome has hit back at social media critics who say he should hang up his bike, responding: 'I'm not just going to throw in the towel'
By Jonny Long •
Five things to look out for at the Giro d'Italia week one
The first Grand Tour of the year gets underway with what looks to be an action-packed first week
By Stephen Puddicombe •
The strength within - three pillars of motivation
By Josephine Perry •
Sodium bicarbonate can boost sprint performance by three per cent, says new study
Belgian research group reveal results for a 90-second sprint after three hour simulated race in lab study
By Paul Knott •
Tips to help you complete the CW5000 Challenge
Top tips from a coach and CW5000 riders
By Victor Alway •
‘World Championships are decided by pacing’: How important is it to pace your ride for time trials, racing and sportives?
Geraint Thomas wowed cycling fans earlier this year with his phenomenal World Championships time trial ride.
By Alex Ballinger •
The long and the short of Covid-19 for cyclists
Dr Josephine Perry unpicks the coronavirus risks and precautions specifically relevant to cyclists
By Josephine Perry •
How to stay motivated through winter - top tips from the pros
Mountain biking, running and even chopping wood are what the pros are recommending us all to do this coming winter
By Chris Marshall-Bell •
Best energy drinks for cycling: hydration explained
Can the right drink really improve your performance or are you better off with good old H2O?
By Anna Marie Hughes •
Energy gels: what to look for and six favourites
Love them or hate them, there's no doubting the benefit of downing a quick energy gel at vital points of a ride or race. Here's our guide to what for look for, as well as a few of our favourites
By Michelle Arthurs-Brennan •