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Old 08-11-09, 01:02 PM   #1
BikeWNC
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Training Smart or Training Wimp?

So today I went out during lunch to do some short 3 min hill repeats. You know the kind, zone 5 with equal recovery. I didn't have a lot of time as usual but I've done these before on days like today. Anyway, I started my ride, a nice little 3 mile low grade climb of 600' as a warmup and my legs were dead, dead, dead. I had a hard time getting to a tempo pace after the first ten minute easy spin. It just felt hard today. Maybe the weather had something to do with it as it was warmer and more humid than I'm used to riding or maybe it was the three good rides I had last week. All I know is it was not happening.

So I got to where I was supposed to start the intervals, a 3/4 mile 8% grade and I just turned around and rode back to the car. Wimp? Smart? As fortune would have it a T-storm hit the area just a short time after I left. I'm trying to listen to my body more but sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between a lack of motivation and really needing to take an easy day. When I had a coach I can tell you I would have tried the intervals best that I could whether it was wise or not. Sometimes they went well, sometimes I bombed. Today I took the easy day option.
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Old 08-11-09, 01:34 PM   #2
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All I know is it was not happening.

So I got to where I was supposed to start the intervals, a 3/4 mile 8% grade and I just turned around and rode back to the car. Wimp? Smart?
Smart! You know your body better than anyone else and you know what a hard effort takes and feels like. Sometimes taking a rest will do more good for the body than riding. I've done the same thing this year at a Z5 hill workout, my coach was there and he also told me to bag it. If after warming up you can't get the HR to the zone you want, or need to be at, you are too tired or may be getting a cold or have other issues limiting your performance. Pushing yourself and not reaching the workout expectations is physically and emotionally draining and can start a downward spiral.
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Old 08-11-09, 01:39 PM   #3
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I don't use the "T" word.
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Old 08-11-09, 02:03 PM   #4
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Smart again. If you don't feel right- then don't do it.
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Old 08-11-09, 02:17 PM   #5
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Save it for Brutal!! You'll have plenty of ops to do intervals. It looks like it might be cooling off a little late this week. I know how much you enjoy the heat and humidity!
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Old 08-11-09, 02:53 PM   #6
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I bet the heat is a big part of the problem. We're in the dog days now and its hard to get motivated in these conditions. I find myself all too often riding for survival, in lieu of tempo.

Jppe, you should come ride the 75 miler with us. Save the heavy routes for cooler times. Hope they have a nice lunch at the finish.
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Old 08-11-09, 03:12 PM   #7
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By definition, you are not a wimp since you went out with the intention of doing them. Now if you always have intentions but never pull the trigger then very wimpy.

Smart is another question to answer. My question is if not today when? Also, you must have determined ahead of time that this was a good day for Z5. What is your criteria? We know you have a power meter, you know all these climbs very well and how much recovery you need.

For example, I plan to attend a high intensity session with a number of my team mates this evening. I will be doing some Z5 (VO2 Max) intervals which are above my threshold power. My Saturday ride was a TT workout with a TSS of 91. Sunday was 51 miles of climbing with a TSS of 207. Monday was a rest day so Tuesday is typically a tough day. I need a rest day after a TSS of 207. So, in my head, I am ready for today and I will execute. If I feel sick or my legs are completely dead, then something is wrong and I will bail.

Smart is knowing you should be able to do it but bailing if something is way out from what you expected.
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Old 08-11-09, 03:43 PM   #8
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Some days you just need to take it easy.
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Old 08-11-09, 03:49 PM   #9
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Htfu.
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Old 08-11-09, 03:50 PM   #10
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Just kidding. I would have done the same.
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Old 08-11-09, 05:27 PM   #11
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Heat and humidity can really suck the life out of you. Smart move, though depends on what kind of schedule or program you are on.
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Old 08-11-09, 05:42 PM   #12
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Save it for Brutal!! You'll have plenty of ops to do intervals. It looks like it might be cooling off a little late this week. I know how much you enjoy the heat and humidity!
Yes, but if I told you the actual temperature you would think it was cool compared to what you are used to.

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By definition, you are not a wimp since you went out with the intention of doing them. Now if you always have intentions but never pull the trigger then very wimpy.

Smart is another question to answer. My question is if not today when? Also, you must have determined ahead of time that this was a good day for Z5. What is your criteria? We know you have a power meter, you know all these climbs very well and how much recovery you need.

For example, I plan to attend a high intensity session with a number of my team mates this evening. I will be doing some Z5 (VO2 Max) intervals which are above my threshold power. My Saturday ride was a TT workout with a TSS of 91. Sunday was 51 miles of climbing with a TSS of 207. Monday was a rest day so Tuesday is typically a tough day. I need a rest day after a TSS of 207. So, in my head, I am ready for today and I will execute. If I feel sick or my legs are completely dead, then something is wrong and I will bail.

Smart is knowing you should be able to do it but bailing if something is way out from what you expected.
The when is tomorrow. I plan to get them in during my daughters 3.5 hour gymnastics session. Dang kid at 8yo is already training 10 hours a week!

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Heat and humidity can really suck the life out of you. Smart move, though depends on what kind of schedule or program you are on.
I'm just coming out of a base/early build session. I'm intending to add intensity over the next two months to hopefully peak in late Sept. early Oct. I've gotten my weight down to an even 180 (6'3") and my Tanika scale reads 9.5% body fat. I've been to 7% on that scale but not in a few years. My riding is ok but because I've not done any structured intervals I lack a top end and jump.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:00 PM   #13
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Smart. It's supposed to be fun, isn't it? If it isn't fun, it isn't smart to do it.
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Old 08-11-09, 08:10 PM   #14
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Smart. It's supposed to be fun, isn't it? If it isn't fun, it isn't smart to do it.
Yes it is supposed to be fun. When I had a coach, the need to get in specified workouts became as stressful as the workouts themselves. Trying to balance life with a busy kid and a wife with a demanding job while getting the workouts in was tough. I had to finally back off and retire the coach, relax and ride when I could, not when I had to. Family first.
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Old 08-12-09, 03:38 AM   #15
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family first.
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Old 08-12-09, 11:00 AM   #16
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Trying to balance life with a busy kid and a wife with a demanding job while getting the workouts in was tough. I had to finally back off and retire the coach, relax and ride when I could, not when I had to. Family first.
As you state, life needs balance - for some of us that can be challenging at times.
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Old 08-12-09, 11:14 AM   #17
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Smart again. If you don't feel right- then don't do it.
+1. Smart.

I'm anal-retentive, so I know what you mean. But I suspect building fitness is more about consistency over a period of months/years than following any specific weekly schedule.

And just think -- the ride to the hill and back is more exercise than many folks get on any given day.
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Old 08-12-09, 06:05 PM   #18
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Different day, different result. After a setback with rain this morning, I got out this evening to get these intervals done. It was immediately apparent I was doing better as I was riding at tempo from the get go. My intervals went ok given these were the first formal short intervals in a long time. I set a few new points on my power curve for this season but that is no surprise because I've not tried at this length this year. So I guess it all worked out in the end!
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Old 08-13-09, 12:42 PM   #19
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I did the HIT session with my racing club. We had about 20 racers show up and after warmup we started with 3X3 minute VO2 Max intervals up a slight incline. We gathered at the top and rolled down to the bottom for another. There was about 5 to 7 minute rest between intervals for complete recovery. We went off in waves versus a peloton but the group dynamics made it more fun.

The next part was an 8 mile section of slightly rolling road where we did 30 seconds at VO2 Max and 30 seconds at recovery. Once again spread out along the road. This was definitely tougher than the first one. I do not know how many we did but it seemed like a lot.

TSS was 130 and total mileage including warmup and cool down 30 miles.

Many of the racers who showed up were the younger P/1/2 and a couple of older guys but i still had them all by at least 15 years. The only thing that saved my @ss and allowed me to keep up is that this workout, as a trackie, is in my sweet spot. This was my hardest workout this year and I have a great mean maximal power curve that may hang around as a high water mark for some time.

I got out yesterday with my wife for a 30 mile ride and tried to keep my TSS below 70. I could still feel the intervals from the previous day on the ride. I let my wife drag me around. I ended up achieving my goal. Tonight is a roller workout. We will see how much is in the tank.
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Old 08-13-09, 01:26 PM   #20
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Last night was hill intervals. Just outside my subdivision is a 1.1 mile hill with an elevation gain of 160'. Not a big hill by most standards but in the right gear it is as steep as necessary. The workout was two sets of 3 reps with a recovery between reps of the ride back down the hill, with 12 minutes between sets. The instructions were to ride thru Z4 then maintain a high- Z5a to mid- Z5b HR. I was hitting the target HR well before 1/2 the hill was done and continued to ride in the Z5's the rest of the way. Two hours in the little ring tonight will be nice.
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Old 08-13-09, 05:00 PM   #21
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Last night was hill intervals. Just outside my subdivision is a 1.1 mile hill with an elevation gain of 160'. Not a big hill by most standards but in the right gear it is as steep as necessary. The workout was two sets of 3 reps with a recovery between reps of the ride back down the hill, with 12 minutes between sets. The instructions were to ride thru Z4 then maintain a high- Z5a to mid- Z5b HR. I was hitting the target HR well before 1/2 the hill was done and continued to ride in the Z5's the rest of the way. Two hours in the little ring tonight will be nice.
I hate to say this but you must get a power meter. You have had a lot of racing success. However, with your motivation, track record and skill, IMO, you will go farther training with power. Trust me on this one point... you do not know if you were at Z4 or not. You may have been there. My power and HR are very seldom connected and certainly not in short efforts. It is expensive but worth the price especially for athletes as serious as you who want to work hard and monitor progress. Tell Mrs. AJ it is cheaper than a mistress.

Edit: For example, on my VO2 Max intervals, the first one was hard but I was 60 to 80 watts over threshold. The second interval was similar. The third interval, my HR was high and my level of effort was very high, I was dying and my power was just slightly into VO2 Max. My HR data would have indicated my last interval was the best. My best interval was the first. And I had to work really hard on the last interval to hold VO2 Max. Food for thought...

Last edited by Hermes; 08-13-09 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 08-13-09, 08:06 PM   #22
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I hate to say this but you must get a power meter. You have had a lot of racing success. However, with your motivation, track record and skill, IMO, you will go farther training with power.

It is expensive but worth the price especially for athletes as serious as you who want to work hard and monitor progress. Tell Mrs. AJ it is cheaper than a mistress.
Well,.. since we both retired this spring, and I went back to work 3 days a week I do have some "play money" and I haven't been supporting a mistress. I agree the science behind a PT is better than PE and HR. Maybe I'll put the PT ahead of the Ti bike on my wish list.
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Old 08-13-09, 08:24 PM   #23
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As a former couch tater, I consider it a privilege to even read about wimp and hill intervals in the same thread.
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Old 08-14-09, 11:06 AM   #24
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Well,.. since we both retired this spring, and I went back to work 3 days a week I do have some "play money" and I haven't been supporting a mistress. I agree the science behind a PT is better than PE and HR. Maybe I'll put the PT ahead of the Ti bike on my wish list.
I would not know what it costs to support a mistress. It just sounds expensive.

I suggest getting Allen / Coggan's book Training and Racing with a Power Meter. It is on Amazon and pretty cheap. It has a lot of great material with emphasis on racing. There is a very good discussion on the various benefits and shortcomings of different power meters.

I think a Ti bike with a crank based power meter is in order.
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Old 08-14-09, 11:19 AM   #25
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For some reason, I like the title of this thread and seems like a good place to discuss and post training. I understand BikeWNC's basis for the title but it is more on point than he may have imagined.

Last night, I went to the cycling gym to do a roller workout. My legs seemed to have some residual from Tuesday's carnage. I did a 4X10 interval workout with the second interval at tempo (Z3) and the others at endurance (Z2). These intervals always have different mixes of cadence / power / HR to yield the result. The warmup and the first one felt like my legs did not have anything in them. After the 2 minute rest, the second interval at tempo was fine. The last two were easy.

It was a little wimpy but considering the previous two days, pretty smart. Friday is a day off.
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