Confusion on cycling LTHR results


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    Hello everyone! Been lurking here for a while but finally getting around to posting. I start my Level 0 70.3 training plan tomorrow, which I’m excited about. I spent this past week doing my cycling power & HR tests to confirm zones. I plan to use power on my indoor trainer but HR for outdoors.

    Following the intensity guidelines, I conducted a 20-minute time trial indoors on the trainer and I also tracked HR during the test. I got 95% of my average power for the full time trial as my FTP result. Then I got the peak-15 minute HR for that test (average BPM for the last 15 minutes of the time trial). It was 167 BPM which should be my LTHR.

    Today, I decided to confirm my LTHR using another method discussed in the intensity guidelines. I cycled for 10 minutes easy (on my indoor trainer) then cycled up to my FTP and waited until my HR leveled off, which was at 159 BPM.

    I’m confused what to do with these conflicting results. There’s a good 8 BPM difference between the tests and I don’t want to choose the wrong result. Which test is most accurate?

    Since I plan to only use HR outdoors anyway and outdoors HR tends to be 5-10 BPM higher, should I just go with the original (higher) number? Any help would be appreciated.

    David Warden

    C, thanks for lurking and posting!

    It’s a normal phenomenon for different types of tests to result in different values, particularly with HR. The plateau test is a “ballpark” test, the full 20-min TT is the more accurate test. I’d use 167 for sure.



    Hi David,

    Thanks for the response, I will use 167 then!


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