Heart rate when using poles

  • Creator
  • #76149

    Hello everyone,

    I have noticed that when I use poles, my heart rate is about 10 to 15 beats per minute higher than when I don’t use them, even when I feel like I am putting in the same effort. I am currently trying to train in my base endurance zone (zones 1 and 2), and I’m not sure whether to rely on my heart rate or my perceived effort. The issue is that my perceived effort remains the same whether I use poles or not, while my heart rate tends to increase when I use them. When I use poles, I experience way less leg fatigue, despite having a higher heart rate. I have done a lot of zone 1 and zone 2 training, and I’m really familiar with how I feel / how I breathe when below Z3.

    I believe that the slightly higher heart rate when using poles may be due to increased oxygen demand in the upper body, which is added to the demand from the lower body (legs). If we assume that the upper body is “using” an additional 15 beats per minute, can we assume that the lower body is using the heart rate minus 15 beats (which would give me the zone I’m in) ?

    Recently, I ran a race with a significant amount of elevation gain and aimed for a 3-hour finish time, which I managed to achieve. However, I noticed that when using the poles, my heart rate was above my lactate threshold throughout those sections, even sometimes in zone 5. I would have lasted that long if I was really in those zones. This made me think that relying on my heart rate when using poles might not be the best approach, and that I should focus on my perceived effort instead

    Has anyone else experienced this ? What do you suggest I do to ensure that I am training in the right heart rate zones ? Should I trust my heart rate monitor or go by how I feel ? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

    Thank you in advance for your help and insights!
    Have a good day.

Posted In: Mountain Running

  • Participant
    Dada on #76164

    My two cents:

    1. Sometimes these higher HRs are temporary at the beginning of the new training (e.g., start of the skimo season). It reverts back to familiar levels after 2-3 trainings

    2. What you said about upper body involvement plus different sports have different thresholds.

    So retest your AeT with poles and then apply the different AeTs for the specific sport.


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