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* Francesco Moser, an Italian bicycle racer of legendary status, set out to break the Hour Record. The Hour requires an all out effort for exactly one hour using a single-gear track-racing bicycle. The object is to cover the greatest amount of distance in that time. In 1984, at the time of Moser's attempt, the record of just over 50 kilometers set in 1972 at Mexico City belonged to five time Tour de France champion Eddy Mecrkx. Many in cycling considered Merckx's record unbeatable. But Moser employed new aerodynamic technology exotic materials for his bicycle and the latest in training methodology--heart rate data.
Moser worked closely with Dr. Francesco Conconi of Italy's Ferrara University Dr. Conconi studied training programs available at the time. He theorized that heart rate could be correlated with perceived exertion to enable Moser to ride at the absolute maximum of his capability He discovered a point at which aerobic efficiency was overcome by accumulation of lactic acid. At this "threshold" level, Moser's ability to sustain a maximum effort was compromised. Conconi then set about developing a method to extend the "Anaerobic Threshold." The result? Moser shattered the Hour Record (51.151 kilometers per hour) once again at the Olympic Velodrome in Mexico City.
Since Moser's Hour Record, heart rate training has become quite commonplace. Almost everyone who has investigated a training program for endurance sports has heard terms like"Conconi Method," "Lactate Threshold" and a host of other words to describe heart rate methodology. Today, heart rate monitors enable both professional and recreational athletes alike to use heart rate data for training.
Often in my coaching practice, I hear, "Pierre, I finally went out and bought a heart rate monitor. Will you write me a training program?" For all of these athletes, the answer will usually tend toward "Well it's not quite that easy." The technology is helpful and impressive; however, a monitor only displays numbers. It is critical to a successful fitness program to interpret properly what the …