Winter HR Training
The overall principle is that you don't simply hammer yourself all the time – and the HRM is a good tool which tells you in simple terms roughly how hard you're working. It's certainly more relevant than worrying about average speeds on rides at this time of the year, when weather conditions can have a major effect.
Anyway, as an example, what does all this stuff mean in my case during early January? Well I'm very much in the long-distance-low-intensity section of my training – what Joe Friel calls "Base". So I'll be generally doing rides of 2-4hrs at HR of 110-150; below is a HR graph from a recent ride. HR goes up and down a bit, but it's almost all within that range – all bar a couple of miles of it, according to the computer. So riding while keeping an eye on HR means the training gives me what I want at this stage of the year.
Needless to say there's lots more to it than that, but for any of you who are simply hammering around as fast as you can all the time, maybe this shows how easy it is to get a bit more structured about it without needing a PhD. I know there are experienced riders in the club who can measure how hard they're working just by experience, but for the rest of us.. ..you can get a lot of help for a fiver. As your training programme progresses, it gets even more helpful.