Matt Moran

Heart rate comparison between Wattbike and Road Ride

Posted by Matt Moran on Dec 19, 2011

Heart rate comparison between Wattbike and Road Ride

Ryan Scott got in touch recently to send us an interesting comparison between his heart rate when training on his Wattbike and when he is out on a road ride.  Ryan is working hard this winter on his Wattbike, following the Winter Triathlon Plan and is looking to improve his TT times in 2012.

Here's what Ryan had to say, including some nice screenshots of his data:-


I wanted to find a way to display how training on the Wattbike allows me to have complete control over my heart rate zones. I used my Garmin 310XT to record two separate sessions. The first was a 2 x 10KM time trial attempting to reach race pace on both 10K’s. The second is the 20KM bike leg of a duathlon 11 days later.


For the above work out I completed a 10 min warm up with “rev outs” at 5, 7, and 9 minutes respectively before completing 10KM at race pace. As you can see my heart rate increases progressively during the 10KM. I was aiming for a negative split between the two. Unfortunately I went a bit hard on the first 10K and missed the negative split by a couple of seconds.

In complete contrast is the trace for the bike leg of a duathlon. The course was relatively flat with a few rolling climbs but nothing that involved the small chain ring or out of the saddle pedalling. As you can see I went off too hard, nearly reaching my maximum heart rate in the first 5 mins! For the rest of the 20K my heart rate peaks and troughs, but there is a general downward trend.

So, this proved to be very interesting. Firstly you can see that during my training sessions on the Wattbike I’m able to produce a constant sustained effort during 10KM time trials. But, when it comes to race day I get a little carried away and set off too hard, too early. Secondly, when trying to build strength for events such as duathlons and triathlons involving 20 plus kilometre bike legs the Wattbike is able to offer me a constant resistance that allows me to remain in the higher zones as experienced during races.

I’m now back following the Triathlon winter training plan and sessions like the 2 x 20min zone 2-3 should really help me with my pacing for next season.

Thanks for the update Ryan, look forward to seeing the improvements from your winter training on a Wattbike!

Further Reading:

How to ride a sportive 40 minutes faster than last year!


cycling, training, triathlon