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  1. #1
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    Bicycle Mag - CTS Workout Inconsistency

    In this month's edition of Bicycle Magazine (Jan/Feb 2006) CTS coaches lay out six, 12-week programs to improve your riding. Here's my question/issue. One of the programs ("Climb Like Pro") prescribes Climbing Repeats (CR) one day a week.

    In the magazine a CR is an 8-15 minute effort performed on a steady climb at 78-83% of MHR, and a cadence of 70-85 RPMs. But in Carmichael's book, the Ultimate Ride, a CR is an 8-20 minute effort performed at 92% of Field Test Heartrate + 4 beats, and a cadence of 70-85 RPMs.

    The difference in the intensity of these workouts is significant. For someone like me, with a max heartrate of 180, and a 20 min TT heartrate of 167, the CR's performed based based on the Bike Mag article would be performed between 140-149 BPM, while the Ultimate ride CRs would be performed between 153-157.

    I find this kind of misinformation confusing at best, and disingenous at worst. OK, I know you cycnics are saying, what do I expect for $ 5 (B Mag newstand rate), or $ 25 (cost of the book), but if CTS is going to release their "intellectual property" they should at least be consistent.

    Are there any CTS coaches or CTS-coached athletes that can set the record straight? Thanks.

    Signed,

    Stupified in Santa Barbara

  2. #2
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    You ask a very good question, and your knowledge from reading the book has served you well young master stupified.

    I think the non sugar-coated answer is this... Bicycling magazine uses % of MHR because that's a measure that, shall we say, the lesser-informed individuals understand, but the book uses the far more accurate/appropriate method based on a measure that more accurately relates to a person's actual (not estimated with % of MHR) lactate/"functional"/anaerobic threshold HR.

    For you, use the HR range you mentioned, 153-157 should be fine, but also note that on a hill your HR will naturally be a few beats higher than on a flat for a given effort/intensity so you'll probably want to use the range of something like 156-160bpm. High end if it's steep and you feel good, low end if it's not so steep and/or you're a bit tired.

    -Warren

  3. #3
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LT Intolerant
    In this month's edition of Bicycle Magazine (Jan/Feb 2006) CTS coaches lay out six, 12-week programs to improve your riding. Here's my question/issue. One of the programs ("Climb Like Pro") prescribes Climbing Repeats (CR) one day a week.

    In the magazine a CR is an 8-15 minute effort performed on a steady climb at 78-83% of MHR, and a cadence of 70-85 RPMs. But in Carmichael's book, the Ultimate Ride, a CR is an 8-20 minute effort performed at 92% of Field Test Heartrate + 4 beats, and a cadence of 70-85 RPMs.

    The difference in the intensity of these workouts is significant. For someone like me, with a max heartrate of 180, and a 20 min TT heartrate of 167, the CR's performed based based on the Bike Mag article would be performed between 140-149 BPM, while the Ultimate ride CRs would be performed between 153-157.

    I find this kind of misinformation confusing at best, and disingenous at worst. OK, I know you cycnics are saying, what do I expect for $ 5 (B Mag newstand rate), or $ 25 (cost of the book), but if CTS is going to release their "intellectual property" they should at least be consistent.

    Are there any CTS coaches or CTS-coached athletes that can set the record straight? Thanks.

    Signed,

    Stupified in Santa Barbara
    It's not inconsistent. They really used the wrong terms to define the workout intensity on the CRs. Rather than using a percentage of your max-HR, they really should've defined the CR intensity as at your LT (lactate threshold). Depending upon fitness levels, each person's LT will be at a different percentage of their max-HR. So a beginning rider may have their LT at 75-85% of their max-HR. These are typical of the riders that CTS coaches encounter.

    A more fit racer with years, if not a decade of racing experience will have a higher LT. These are the kinds of riders Carmichael sees. Also having them ride at their LT will end up being 90-94% of max-HR.

    So do some testing to fine your personal max-HR. This is the only accurate method, the equations are always off by +/-10bpm from actual. Then figure out your LT, the 2x20 method in the sticky works well. There are certain nuances and variations depending upon load because LT and HR aren't directly linked, but it's close enough (same difference between speedometer and tachometer in autos).

    Old San Marcos is a good climb to do climbing-repeats. Winchester Canyon, Toro Canyon, Ladera Lane, Cold Springs, Hot Springs, San Roque, Tunnel Rd, Coyote Rd., Barger Canyon, San Antonio Creek Rd. are other good climbs fitting within those time intervals.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 01-06-06 at 03:45 AM.

  4. #4
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    Thank you Obi-Wan and Obi-Two. Your answers have brought me back from the Dark Side.

    BTW it's Bicycling Magazine, not Bicycle Magazine, that has the training programs. So I guess I'm now the the Minister of Misinformation.

    Signed

    Somewhat Enlightened in Santa Barbara

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    ...Depending upon fitness levels, each person's LT will be at a different percentage of their max-HR. So a beginning rider may have their LT at 75-85% of their max-HR. These are typical of the riders that CTS coaches encounter.

    A more fit racer with years, if not a decade of racing experience will have a higher LT. These are the kinds of riders Carmichael sees. Also having them ride at their LT will end up being 90-94% of max-HR.
    The percentage of MHR where a person's LT occurs does not change dramatically with training unless you're talking about a completely untrained person vs. that same person after 2-3 months of training. The % of MHR where LT occurs is largely genetic, and then influenced only slightly by their level of fitness. More info about this in my replies to your post in the intervals thread and my reply to the 2x20 AT test posting.

    What actually changes significanty is the amount of work a person can do at their LT, and to a lesser extent, the duration they can perform at, or above their LT. For a normal bike rider/racer the amount of HR bpm change at their actual LT from the beginning of their training season until they're ready for the National Championships will typically be less than 5bpm. Your experience may vary but that's most likely because of inaccuracy in measuring/estimating your LT.

    -Warren

  6. #6
    Senior Member doctorSpoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WarrenG
    The percentage of MHR where a person's LT occurs does not change dramatically with training unless you're talking about a completely untrained person vs. that same person after 2-3 months of training. The % of MHR where LT occurs is largely genetic, and then influenced only slightly by their level of fitness. More info about this in my replies to your post in the intervals thread and my reply to the 2x20 AT test posting.

    What actually changes significanty is the amount of work a person can do at their LT, and to a lesser extent, the duration they can perform at, or above their LT. For a normal bike rider/racer the amount of HR bpm change at their actual LT from the beginning of their training season until they're ready for the National Championships will typically be less than 5bpm. Your experience may vary but that's most likely because of inaccuracy in measuring/estimating your LT.

    -Warren
    i'm with you here... my LT goes from ~180 in the off season to about ~183-5 in season, but what i can do at LT can changes a lot. maxHR 210

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    To your point Warren while my LT heartrate has pretty much remained constant I have experienced an increase in my ability to generate power at LT. A little background. I raced for 10 years (in NorCal) from 1987-95, took a 9 year break, and returned to training/racing a year ago. I've run the 2x20m TT test (every 3 months over the past year) to arrive at/confirm my LT heartrate and have observed my max HR on more than one occassion on our Sunday Ride (our local weekly world championship) so I can pretty much confirm 180 (+/- 1bpm).

    I've been following a self-administered program using Friel's periodization program (based on 450 hours/yr) and CTS workouts (Tempo, Steady State, Power Intervals etc.) over the past year. I have noticed that while doing 20-30-40 minute Tempo workouts hasn't raised my LT heartrate, it has raised the work I can produce at LT heartrate (measured on a Cycleops Trainer).

    When I first started Tempo workouts I could produce 220 Watts at my Tempo Heartrate, or 88-93% of LT heartrate (again 167 w a max of 180). Now I'm up to 235-240 Watts, a huge improvement for someone who is gentically a Cat 4 (hey, someone has to be pack fodder). But what's really interesting is I've also noticed I can hang with our Sunday group on the climb we do (when things get REALLY intense) , whereas in the past I was getting shelled on the gradual uphill lead-in into the climb.

    Not sure what this adds to the discussion but it does support your point Warren that one can increase workload at LT without seeing an increase in LT.

    Signed

    Seeing Improvement in Santa Barbara

  8. #8
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    LT, you're training sounds very good. Your focus on LT power is what will allow you to finish with the pack feeling relatively good, and ready for the finale. (races with cat 5-3 rarely end with succesful breakaways) Far too many people think they have to do sprints and little surges because that's the type of effort they seem to struggle with in races, but if you're able to do the majority of the race at, or even below your LT then you can handle the surges and sprints more easily, and recover relatively quickly before the next one.

    With a "tempo" power near 240 watts your threshold power is probably near 260-280 and that's enough to get you through most Cat 4 criteriums unless you're way over 200 pounds. I suggest that you add in some intervals that take you a bit over your LT (but keep doing nearly all of your current training below LT).

    You could try some 1-3' intervals at about 106-110% of your LT, Allow recovery about 1.5 to 2 times the work interval. IF you're more of a natural born sprinter (like me) then you can do this VO2max training with intervals with 15" on at 110% of LT, 45" rest, repeat for 5-7 times. Rest 5', repeat again.

    Gradually you can add to the total time of this training until you're near 8-10' of total work but start out with just 5' or so. Eventually the interval will be 30" on/ 30" rest. Right before peaking it could be up to 40" on/ 20" off. Don't jump into this type of training too hard in January. Build it gradually until May or so.

    Maybe you can start out by just adding the CTS "Over-unders" where you do a few minutes just below your LT, then a minute or two at, or just above your LT, repeat, etc. This is good training for racing too because it trains your body to recover from efforts even though you're still riding fairly hard.

    If you're at EB's on Sunday, I'll be there mentoring and doing the p123 race.

    -Warren

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    Again Obi-Warren Kenobi you are on the money. While racing in NorCal I trained for years doing high-end intervals over my LT with no emphasis on raising my ability to generate a higher workload at or below my LT. The result? My performances hit a plateau and I never got better.

    Fast forward to today my ability to ride intense rides at a lower heart rate, stay with riders that I couldn't stay with in my early years, and finish "fresh" is really encouraging. As I move out of my Base Period into my Build/Peak Period I will add the types of intervals you mention.

    Last I only wish I still lived in NCal (at least when it comes to racing). The EBs were always a blast, and the road racing scene (Snelling, Copperopolis, Wente, etc.) unbelievable. Whil S Barbara is an awesome place to live and train the SoCal racing scene is more Crit/Circuit race-oriented, with very few epic RRs. So I’ll be traveling north quite a bit in the month’s to come.

    And if you really are an “old racer” good luck at the EBs and give the Elgarts, Nolans and Winkels of the NorCal scene hell!!

    LT

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    Quote Originally Posted by LT Intolerant
    Again Obi-Warren Kenobi you are on the money. While racing in NorCal I trained for years doing high-end intervals over my LT with no emphasis on raising my ability to generate a higher workload at or below my LT. The result? My performances hit a plateau and I never got better.

    Fast forward to today my ability to ride intense rides at a lower heart rate, stay with riders that I couldn't stay with in my early years, and finish "fresh" is really encouraging. As I move out of my Base Period into my Build/Peak Period I will add the types of intervals you mention.LT
    Molto Bene! You're going to have some real fun this season and you'll be ready for the 3's soon.


    Quote Originally Posted by LT Intolerant
    Last I only wish I still lived in NCal (at least when it comes to racing). The EBs were always a blast, and the road racing scene (Snelling, Copperopolis, Wente, etc.) unbelievable. Whil S Barbara is an awesome place to live and train the SoCal racing scene is more Crit/Circuit race-oriented, with very few epic RRs. So I’ll be traveling north quite a bit in the month’s to come.

    And if you really are an “old racer” good luck at the EBs and give the Elgarts, Nolans and Winkels of the NorCal scene hell!!

    LT
    John is a teammate of mine, Larry is a buddy of mine (we won the Team Sprint together with Vince Gee at 2005 Masters Nat's), and Glen moved to Colorado a few years ago. NorCal is a great place to race but the competition is tough!

    -Warren

  11. #11
    Brick Snotshoulders
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    Quote Originally Posted by LT Intolerant
    The difference in the intensity of these workouts is significant. For someone like me, with a max heartrate of 180, and a 20 min TT heartrate of 167, the CR's performed based based on the Bike Mag article would be performed between 140-149 BPM, while the Ultimate ride CRs would be performed between 153-157.
    Ultimate ride field test isn't a 20 minute TT, it's 2 3 milers, averaged. That'll make a difference.

    If you are doing 3 miles in 20 minutes, nevermind these workouts!
    Okay........maybe I'm lying about the otter.

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    Good point although it still wouldn't account for the huge discrepancy. I've used both the CTS 3-mile & 20 min protocol at different times. My average heart rate is roughly 167 bpm for the 20 min, while my average is closer to 169 bpm for the CTS 3 mile, roughly 8 min + test.

    BTW I have done 3 miles in 20 mins, going up Gibraltar, our local 8 mile, 7% average grade, Alp-worthy climb!! eek:

  13. #13
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    That climb is actually beyond the grading standards... at least some sections of it where a triple is needed...

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    You know it Danno! I can hear Paul Sherwen saying,"It's a beast of a climb" as I suffer on those last few miles to the summit.

    BTW Love the avatar. Reminds me of a great story from many years ago about Sean Kelly, the stoic, multi-Euro Classic winning Irishman, and his wife. The story goes like this.

    Kelly sees his wife sitting on his Ferrari and scolds her for doing so. His wife retorts, "You love that car more than you love me." To which Kelly replies, "For the last time, get it right. It's the bike, the car, then you!"

    LT

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