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Old 07-04-05, 09:27 PM   #1
simplyred
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Training Intervals OR Ride Long... To become better?

Greetings All,

I just need some e-opinions on what I should do for training...
I would love to be faster and climb hills better...

I've found a great stretch of road [about 10 miles] that's hilly and flat... one set of lights throughout...

Should I just go around & around & around on this road keeping check of my times?
OR
Should I just ride myself somewhere far far away at a high pace?

Personally, I would like to do the former as this road is right near a relative's house I can use as home base.. just in case I bonk... because I plan to hover around this level...

Any input is good input..
Thanks,
-Peter
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Old 07-04-05, 10:03 PM   #2
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I would suggest timing yourself around the 10 mile loop, but keeping your heart rate constant and fairly low, at most about 70% of max. This will train your body to ride faster at a lower heart rate, which will help you on both hills and flats.

It's called building an aerobic base. You should see your times improving every month.
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Old 07-04-05, 10:40 PM   #3
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It sounds like you want to know riding on a flixed course vs getting long distance miles... at a give intensity level... IT DOES NOT MATTER... but if the intensity changes it does matter. It sounds like what you want to know is to do short higher power intervals vs longer distance rides.

You need a good base milage program before you are ready to go onto higher interval training. Base miles (at 80 - 90% of lactic acid threshold) will build a few things, it will get your body ready for higher intensity work, it will build your ability to go long distances and it will allow you to build greater speed at lower intensity levels... i.e. when you do LT work and other intervals you will go faster...

Lactic acid intervals (LT) push your body to ride at the point of pain for longer distances and raise your LT level so you can produce more power at LT (PLT) and therefore go faster. Depending on your base you may or may not be at that level yet. You will notice with base work your "crusing speed", speed you can hold aerobically for more than 45 minutes to an hour + will go up... mine has.

I would advise going out and getting a book by Joe Friel, A cyclists training bible and check out what he says about HR zones...
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Old 07-04-05, 11:01 PM   #4
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What Javaman says, keep doing the same moderate effort until your times stop decreasing. Then it's time to start adding intervals to your training. Once a week to start with.
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Old 07-05-05, 05:30 AM   #5
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Thanks guys for all your input...

I usually ride my bike everyday... so in a 7 day stretch..
I'll cruise for 6 and option a weekend day out for hammerfesto...

When I do that one day of intervals... how much should I be doing? Miles-wise...
Should I also think about adding weight training to this mix?

I have built up a lot of hours at the jim for core and leg groups... so I don't know if I should keep that up...

Thanks again,
-Peter

Last edited by simplyred; 07-05-05 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 07-05-05, 05:44 AM   #6
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I would also consider getting a heart rate monitor. I subscribe to the theory that one should train in either the 65-70% MHR zone or the 90%+ MHR zone. The fomer zone allows recovery and enhances base building and the latter increases lactate threshold which is vitally important for going faster with less effort. The inbetween zone accomplishes neither. You mention "training intervals" in the subject of this thread. Once you build a base of a few thousand miles, interval training is one of the best ways to force the body to adapt to higher levels of fitness and prepare one for the vigors of racing if one is interested in racing. Intervals, even if you have no racing ambitions, will make you a stronger, faster rider, and train the body to ride with an oxygen deficiency (anerobically) and with lactic acid buildup. Through interval training, I have trained my body to ride for reasonably long periods at 97% of my maximum heart rate, and my body has learned to not only clear lactic acid (it either learned to clear it, or it would suffer), but mentally I have adapted to the fact that I can ride not only anaerobically, but with heavy lactic acid buildup (when the body can no longer clear the LA). Bottom line: If you want to be fast, you have to train fast. If you want to be a good climber, you have to climb often. There is no free lunch.

You will find proponents of LSD (long slow distance). That will train them to be long, slow riders. When I was a competitive runner, I used to run (no pun intended) into the LSD philosophers all the time. On race day, they never seemed to be on the podium. A good example is a friend of mine. He is always doing centuries and double centuries. We had a planned 24 mph training run last Saturday. We dropped him early on. He was last heard bleating, "I have to do some interval training!"

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Old 07-05-05, 09:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyred
When I do that one day of intervals... how much should I be doing? Miles-wise...
When doing intervals, think of time instead of distance. Warm up for at least half an hour, do your interval session, cool down, go home.

The length of an interval ranges from as short as 30 seconds or as long as 20 minutes. The short ones increase VO2max and anaerobic power, the long ones raise your lactate threshold. Some folks advise using interval lengths of 5 to 7 minutes, which is short enough to let you work hard but long enough to accumulate the training time needed to cause improvements. That's probably a good starting range.

Start with just a few intervals and work up gradually. I think most people work up to about 40 minutes of interval training per session. You'll probably want to start with half that much, or less.

Regarding skydive69's "go easy or go hard" training philosophy, that's one way to train. However, there is a training "sweet spot" a few beats below your lactate threshold where one can get almost as good a training adaptation as the 90%+ range, but you can do it for longer. Since you can do it for longer, you can acccumulate more training per day. Some people call this range "tempo" or "fast fun" riding. I've been doing most of my climbing in this range (except on interval days), and my times continue to come down. I also can do multiple "tempo" days in a row without the need for a recovery day.
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Old 07-05-05, 09:34 AM   #8
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MPH /RPE will dictate the amount of intensity and should help with HRM which will tell you over time (not necessarily in that work out) how fit you have become. To train for the day I would sugest fixing a MPH as a standard and try and hold that with a feeling of challenged muscles in your legs and some what uncomfortable in your breathing and try and hold for as long as you can. after you have accomplished the MPH and RPE take alook at your HR then and average it over a few weeks with the same goals.
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Old 07-05-05, 09:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydive69
I have trained my body to ride for reasonably long periods at 97% of my maximum heart rate

That's the first time I've heard anyone here call it 90%+, and I've been worrying that there's no way I could keep myself at exactly 65-70% or exactly 90%, since I don't have a HRM (yet). So this is good news. I've just been pushing as hard as I can push without straight-up falling off my bicycle from exhaustion, and I guess that's ok?
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Old 07-05-05, 09:48 AM   #10
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Terry & Velocity both bring up great points, and of course the bottom line is that everyone is an experiment of one - what works for me, might not work for you.

I have had great luck with the fixed speed approach to intervals. I do a lot of short time trials - 5 & 10K. The training that seems to bring me to a razor peak is to warm up for a solid hour, and then run intervals at a speed 10% above my planned time trial speed. I start the next interval when I have recovered to an approximate heart rate of 125. Follow that with a nice warm-down and stretching. Take an easy spin ride the next day.

BTW, I originally got the above workout from this website:

http://www.floridacycling.com/time_trial_training.htm
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Old 07-05-05, 09:53 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eatadonut
That's the first time I've heard anyone here call it 90%+, and I've been worrying that there's no way I could keep myself at exactly 65-70% or exactly 90%, since I don't have a HRM (yet). So this is good news. I've just been pushing as hard as I can push without straight-up falling off my bicycle from exhaustion, and I guess that's ok?
Without a HRM you can use PE - perceived effort. When training at the 65% area, you are riding along very comfortably able to conduct a normal conversation. There is no lactic acid build-up, and you can easily consume all of the oxygen you need, IOW, you are in a comfortable aerobic zone. When you train in the 90% range, you are a bit anerobic, and you have lactic acid build-up. The perceived effort is a hard effort, and you would not be able to hold a conversation except in bursts of words (between breaths). If you increased your speed from there, you would not be able to hold it for extended periods.
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Old 07-05-05, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydive69
Without a HRM you can use PE - perceived effort. When training at the 65% area, you are riding along very comfortably able to conduct a normal conversation. There is no lactic acid build-up, and you can easily consume all of the oxygen you need, IOW, you are in a comfortable aerobic zone. When you train in the 90% range, you are a bit anerobic, and you have lactic acid build-up. The perceived effort is a hard effort, and you would not be able to hold a conversation except in bursts of words (between breaths). If you increased your speed from there, you would not be able to hold it for extended periods.
Good desription Sky,
Intervals do not necessarily mean that you have to go breathless . And one thing that alot of people do is just that. Some push farther into their anaerobic zone and the only effect is that they can hold a extremely higher HR (for them) longer which can be extremely over doing it. In fact I am not sure of any study that says that the training effect is any greater going at 90% compaired to 95% of max. What is a smart training desire is to push your anaerobic threshold higher so that you are either working longer at those higher heart rates that are still aerobic or that you can hold a desired intensity for a longer period of time. Excellent discussion!
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Old 07-05-05, 11:04 AM   #13
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Intervals are so incredibly effective. When I was coaching runners, I had great luck with quarter mile intervals at a pre-determined pace with one minute interval rests. It was very effective for racing at 10K and lower distances. For milers, I added quarter mile intervals, and for marathoners, I was very successful utilizing repeat miles. I brought myself to an incredible peak in March doing the one minute intervals, and will be starting them again in September with my goal of taking both time trials at the states in December.
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Old 07-05-05, 11:29 AM   #14
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I like the hill repeats and crit work. I also love time trailing oh heck! the bike is the shizat and I wanna go ride -I wander if they'll miss me around here HUMMMMMMMM
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Old 07-05-05, 11:32 AM   #15
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Unfortunately, we have no hills around here. I love to climb, but I get little opportunity so to do. The nationals in Utah had a pretty hilly TT course, but I couldn't make it out there.
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Old 07-05-05, 01:26 PM   #16
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I bet over passes on highway 1A1 are packed with bikes
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Old 07-05-05, 02:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by velocity
I bet over passes on highway 1A1 are packed with bikes
Yes, we Floridians are relegated to that kind of stuff. I get so desperate sometimes that I actually go out on the bike trail just to attack the bridges that pass over big highways. There are some long steep ones, but then you take your life in your hands on the descents with people turning across the trail oblivious to the fact that it is used by people other than themselves!
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Old 07-05-05, 03:14 PM   #18
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Sweet...
I think I'm beginning to develop an idea of what to do...

What about gearing as a good yardstick?

So far I'm most comfortable at 53 - 21 / 39 - 15... about a 2.5 ratio @ 95 -100 rpm; on flats of course...

So would a good indicator of my development be me being able to take a higher ratio; with the same amount of Percieved Effort?
ie. 53 - 17 / 39 -13; but I think the latter gearing would almost be cross-chaining..

Thanks again guys...
Your advice is very appreciated...

-Peter
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Old 07-05-05, 03:53 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyred
Sweet...
I think I'm beginning to develop an idea of what to do...

What about gearing as a good yardstick?

So far I'm most comfortable at 53 - 21 / 39 - 15... about a 2.5 ratio @ 95 -100 rpm; on flats of course...

So would a good indicator of my development be me being able to take a higher ratio; with the same amount of Percieved Effort?
ie. 53 - 17 / 39 -13; but I think the latter gearing would almost be cross-chaining..

Thanks again guys...
Your advice is very appreciated...

-Peter
I have always been a high cadence guy - typically going along at around 103-105. Based on a recent experience, I am now experimenting with pushing higher gears. I'd been on a very tough club ride - a hammerfest. I decided that I was not going to contest the final sprint when we got to our last designated sprint zone - that is unusual for me, because I cannot resist any competition. I was going to stay disiplined. Approaching the zone, we had been really hammering, and I noticed that I was in 53/12 - unusual for me. We had a direct crosswind from the right. All of a sudden, one of my training partners - the son of a two-time Olympic cyclist, and a hell of a sprinter (can can hit just under 40 mph) came flying by. I let him go a bit, and then couldn't take it anymore, and gave chase. Just as I did we came to a short hill, and I traversed it seemingly in slow motion in respect to cadence. I didn't want to chance down shifting so I just mashed that heavy gear, and although my cadence was rather low, I was accelerating nicely, and started closing on my friend. He looked back, and as he later revealed, was startled to see me closing on him. In that we had been hammering, he was tapped out at 35. I almost nipped him at the line, and was still accelerating at a speed of 36.2, and I had not even tapped my aerobic capacity. I am now experimenting with higher gear, lower cadence riding, and based on that experience, I am going to try starting out in 53/14 on the sprints. Usually my problem was spinning out with not enough gear, and no time to shift.

Having said all of the above, I think the answer is "yes" in regards to ability to mash heavy gears as a meaure of increased cycling abilities. I will learn more personally in the near future. I, BTW, believe in a lower cadence for time trialing where I typically maintain about a 75 cadence. I love the feeling of pushing high gears, but have always naturally migrated to high cadence.
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Old 07-05-05, 08:32 PM   #20
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If I'm not mistaken... high cadence helps flush out lactate build up faster?
Is this why a lot of people prefer high cadence?

It's really weird... when in a large gear [53 / 17 for me] ... I HAVE to spin hard and fast for very short stints... I can never do it slow... Much like when I climb... I HAVE to use the granny gears so my legs are still going at like 85 rpm... I just don't feel at home with low cadence... But I'm sure low cadence has it's presence in a training regimen somewhere... I'll check it out..

Thanks again,
-Peter
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Old 07-06-05, 08:49 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simplyred
If I'm not mistaken... high cadence helps flush out lactate build up faster?
Is this why a lot of people prefer high cadence?

It's really weird... when in a large gear [53 / 17 for me] ... I HAVE to spin hard and fast for very short stints... I can never do it slow... Much like when I climb... I HAVE to use the granny gears so my legs are still going at like 85 rpm... I just don't feel at home with low cadence... But I'm sure low cadence has it's presence in a training regimen somewhere... I'll check it out..

Thanks again,
-Peter
Low cadence uses the legs and high cadence uses the cardiovascular system. Yes, high cadence will clear lactic acid. In a recent TT, I had such an incredible buildup of lactic acid, that I had to downshift, and run high cadence for about a minute to flush my legs of lactic acid. I was in a group with a pro a few months ago doing a spinning ride, and he would go as high as around 140-150 cadence, and then switch to 53/11 and pump a very low cadence. He indicated that it was a good training regimine on a spinning day.
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Old 07-06-05, 09:21 AM   #22
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I hear a lot about max heart rate. In running, I'm able to get an indication of max heart rate after warming up for 10-20min then doing a few 400M intervals. My max heart rate is 193bpm in running.

Riding is another story. I'm only able to push a max heart rate of 185bpm and this is after a lot of hard riding.

Do I use 185 or 193 as a measure of my true max heart rate?
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Old 07-06-05, 09:51 AM   #23
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I hear a lot about max heart rate. In running, I'm able to get an indication of max heart rate after warming up for 10-20min then doing a few 400M intervals. My max heart rate is 193bpm in running.

Riding is another story. I'm only able to push a max heart rate of 185bpm and this is after a lot of hard riding.

Do I use 185 or 193 as a measure of my true max heart rate?
Use your riding max heart rate for riding training. Almost everyone has a higher max heart rate in running than cycling. Those 400 intervals do it don't they? I used to regulary get my HR over 200 after about the 4th interval with only 60 minute rests between.
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Old 07-06-05, 10:02 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by skydive69
I used to regulary get my HR over 200 after about the 4th interval with only 60 minute rests between.

I thnk you meant "60 second rests" above.
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Old 07-06-05, 10:04 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydive69
Use your riding max heart rate for riding training. Almost everyone has a higher max heart rate in running than cycling. Those 400 intervals do it don't they? I used to regulary get my HR over 200 after about the 4th interval with only 60 minute rests between.
Life doesn't get much better than doing 400M repeats with 60sec rest on a 93degree sunny afternoon. Ahhhh, think I'll skip lunch and go for a run!
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