103% of max HR

I rode about 53 miles this weekend, 32 on Saturday and 21 on Sunday. The Saturday ride sucked, for lack of a better term. There never seemed to be any warm up…we hit the road and next thing I know, we’re doing about 17mph, which is a really fast start for me. It was catch up and hang on from that point forward.

The interesting thing is at one point I noticed that my heart rate hit 185. This is a new record, but I’m not really sure what it means. According to my heart rate monitor, that number is 103% of my max HR. In case you’re interested, I use a Polar CS300 so my max HR is based on the formula used by their software.

When I started going to the gym about 2 years ago, 174 was about as high as I could go comfortably, and that was for a very short duration. And by comfortably, I mean not throwing up or falling over dead. I have noticed, however, that I’m able to hit higher numbers without dying. My previous high was 182. If I hit 174 on a ride, it doesn’t feel like my heart is going to leap out of my chest and I know I have a few more beats in me if I need it. I’ll be honest, Dear Reader, when I looked down and saw 185, I got a bit worried. I’ve never, ever had a number that high…but I’m still here. 🙂

So…Can I assume that hitting 185 and not dying means that my heart is getting stronger and/or more efficient?