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  1. #1
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Got good news, bad news: Polar HR Monitor vs. VO2 Max testing

    Some of you read before in my previous thread that I got a new Polar F11 in Oct to train with. It said my "Fitness Class" was "Elite" from Polar's internal "OwnZone" testing. The bad news, I went and got my VO2 Max tested yesterday, I actually am just average currently for my age group. The good news, my max heart rate previously thought to be 181 is actually at least 190.

    The test was very inciteful as I was told I am very anaerobically fit, but I need lots of aerobic training to be ready to race in the spring. I have been subscribed 8-12 weeks of base training five times a week (with one longer 2-3 hour fat burn day), keeping my heart rate between 153-160 (as my lactate threshold is 161) with a cadence at least 80 or over to push that anaerobic zone out farther. She also mentioned with the diet I'm on (2 pounds and 1.5% body fat gone in a little over 2 weeks) and this training scenario I should be much faster and push into the above average VO2 ranking in as little as 4 weeks, but definately around 8-12 weeks. Does that sound about right to 'ya all?
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  2. #2
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Before the grammar police get me I meant to say "prescribed" not "subscribed".
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    Yeah, once you improve your LT you'll be kicking some butt. Your current LT (161 bpm), is far below your 190 max.

    By way of comparison, I'm a 53 year old male, with a max HR of around 175, and my LT (based on races) is around 162 on the bike, and around 165 when running.

    With some more base miles, and some specific LT training, you could conceivably get your LT up to 175+.
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    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    153-160 seems a little high to me given that your LT is 161. I'd stick below 145 for general aerobic distance training and start interval training, if you want, by doing 4x1 minute intervals once every 10 days.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    153-160 seems a little high to me given that your LT is 161. I'd stick below 145 for general aerobic distance training and start interval training, if you want, by doing 4x1 minute intervals once every 10 days.
    She gave me Zone 1 (138-153) low intensity zone- suggested for the long ride day to burn fat, then Zone 2 (153-160) moderate intensity zone to improve overall conditioning and endurance. Please forgive my inexperience, could you explain the 4x1 interval?

    Also any thoughts on how long I should ride the daily rides? I did an hour today and that's manageable, much more on the trainer and I might get a little nuts!

    (I also have to correct my OP again- sp. Insightful- sorry, it's definately Friday.)
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    grilled cheesus aham23's Avatar
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    where and how much does it cost to get this type of testing done? it intrigues me. later.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    153-160 seems a little high to me given that your LT is 161. I'd stick below 145 for general aerobic distance training and start interval training, if you want, by doing 4x1 minute intervals once every 10 days.
    That actually has to do with gearing. What RPM were you using for the testing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by aham23
    where and how much does it cost to get this type of testing done? it intrigues me. later.
    She works with a lot of the bike clubs around here: http://www.vo2test.com/ Got the $135 Fitness Assessment performed on my bike.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    That actually has to do with gearing. What RPM were you using for the testing?
    She told me to ride as I would normally on the road. My cadence was about 80 for the test, she incremently added resistance with a watt meter increasing 15 watts (based on a test run to gauge what number to use) every so often until I plateaued.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    4x1 intervals means 4 - 1 minute intervals. Each interval should ramp up to the absolute red-line power output that you can hold for the minute. You then recover for 30 - 60 seconds between intervals, and then bang out the next one. A word of warning - they will hurt!

    Early in the season, your intervals will be short (1 minute or so). As you progress, they'll get longer until you work up to 20 minute interval sessions (find a quiet road, and prepare to suffer!).

    You only do them once or twice per week, and make sure you consume some protein and carbs immediately afterwards to help with recovery. Also, make sure you get adequate sleep afterwards (that's when your body gets stronger).
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSP
    Each interval should ramp up to the absolute red-line power output that you can hold for the minute. .
    If I understand this then, doing 4x1's I will be working anaerobically right? Her advice was I was already strong there, so to stay completely out of the higher zones until after building the base so that when racing started I would be at my peak. And during racing it would shift back to being strong anaerobically because you're always pushing the limits when racing.
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    Depends on what kind of racing you're doing, but for most, building up LT is crucial. The shorter intervals are anaerobic, working a little above LT...but, that's the point. By working a bit above LT, you build it up.

    It's not the same as doing 100 meter all out sprints (that's true anaerobic effort).
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    Quote Originally Posted by race newbie
    She told me to ride as I would normally on the road. My cadence was about 80 for the test, she incremently added resistance with a watt meter increasing 15 watts (based on a test run to gauge what number to use) every so often until I plateaued.
    Women tend to show a lower LT-HR number relative to MHR when tested this way. This is typically due to the lower muscle-mass & strength for any given body-weight. Yet the cardio-vascular system is about the same as men of the same size. Riding at such a low-RPM tends to overwork the muscles more while leaving a lot of the aerobic capacity unused in reserve.

    Try the interval workouts for a while, practice spinning at 90-95rpms and go back for another test in a couple months. This improves muscle-efficiency and allows you to generate more power at the same oxygen-delivery and HR as before. Then tempo workouts are what really improves your aerobic-capacity. When re-tested, you'll find that at 90rpms, your LT-HR and your wattage-output will have increased (yet VO2-max absolute will be about the same). In fact, that'll be the case even if you went in right now and re-tested at 90rpms. Gearing is used to balance the point where muscle-LT goes anaerobic with the cardiovascular system's VO2-max.

    In general, if your legs are hurting but your heart/lungs are fine, then use lower gears and spin more/push lighter on the pedals. Conversely, if your legs feel fine, but your heart&lungs are pounding, use a bigger gear and spin less/push harder.

    BTW - did they actually test and measure VO2-max by having you breath through a tube and capturing all your inhaled & exhaled gases? Graph oxygen-consumption vs. HR and you'll have some useful data for training. Good job!
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 12-09-06 at 12:25 AM.

  14. #14
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by race newbie
    She gave me Zone 1 (138-153) low intensity zone- suggested for the long ride day to burn fat, then Zone 2 (153-160) moderate intensity zone to improve overall conditioning and endurance. Please forgive my inexperience, could you explain the 4x1 interval?

    Also any thoughts on how long I should ride the daily rides? I did an hour today and that's manageable, much more on the trainer and I might get a little nuts!

    (I also have to correct my OP again- sp. Insightful- sorry, it's definately Friday.)
    In my system which is a hodgepodge of ideas and advice from this forum and some books, I only need two numbers. My recovery HR and my LTHR. That works out to around 143 and 168 respectively. I build my workouts around those two numbers. Here are some basic principles I've found that work for me.

    1) Start intervals as hard as possible but keep them short. Take a coupla days to recover.

    2) On once a week long rides, keep the HR below my recovery zone. I started at 10 miles and moved up to 60.

    3) On medium rides, it doesn't hurt to do pickups for 5 seconds at a time every so often.

    4) Work in the LT intervals later on and don't push them too long at first.

    5) Two hard workouts plus one distance workout a week is plenty hard.

    6) Perioditize.

    7) Recover hard.

    I forget, listen to Danno.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Try the interval workouts for a while, practice spinning at 90-95rpms and go back for another test in a couple months. This improves muscle-efficiency and allows you to generate more power at the same oxygen-delivery and HR as before. Then tempo workouts are what really improves your aerobic-capacity. When re-tested, you'll find that at 90rpms, your LT-HR and your wattage-output will have increased (yet VO2-max absolute will be about the same). In fact, that'll be the case even if you went in right now and re-tested at 90rpms. Gearing is used to balance the point where muscle-LT goes anaerobic with the cardiovascular system's VO2-max.

    BTW - did they actually test and measure VO2-max by having you breath through a tube and capturing all your inhaled & exhaled gases? Graph oxygen-consumption vs. HR and you'll have some useful data for training. Good job!
    I did have the face mask/tube recording expiration. She gave me several pages of data/graphs. In my ride yesterday to keep my HR in the 153-160 zone, my cadence was 90. I am a spinner not a masher, I can go much farther spinning higher with easier gears than the opposite. Having not raced before I hadn't gone much higher than a cadence of 90 though, so I had been increasing that into the 100's before having this test done. I have lifted fairly heavy weights for years, so I do have decent muscle strength- she said may have contributed to my strong anaerobic state. She worked me up to 160 watts before I plateaued, but I don't work with a watt meter so not sure what if any relevance that has for my training now.

    When you say practice the intervals for awhile- how many a week? Her recommendation was to stay completely out of the anaerobic HR zone for at least 8 weeks to push the LTHR up. Intervals would put me there though right? I am someone who will follow whatever course is suggested to the "T", but I also want to do what will get me most prepared the fastest to give myself the biggest advantage when race season starts. Thanks for the advice!
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    5) Two hard workouts plus one distance workout a week is plenty hard.

    6) Perioditize.
    Here's my schedule now:
    Monday: Spin Class-Gym
    Tuesday: Lift at gym (Friel's Max Strength Phase), Bike on Trainer- Hour
    Weds: Spin Class-Gym
    Thurs: Lift, Bike on Trainer- Hour
    Friday: Bike on Trainer- Hour
    Sat: Lift, Long Ride Bike on Trainer

    Too much, too little?
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    A high LT power is about the most important thing you can have in most endurance events (cycling also requires a lot of anaerobic strength, but you seem set on that).

    There are lots of methods to push LT power higher. Riding right below LT is the most popular way (this is the 153-160 zone your tester suggested). However, riding slightly lower than that for longer will also develop LT power. Riding slightly over LT for shorter periods of time also helps you develop LT power.

    The problem with the recommendation your coach gave you is this. Your goal is to improve at the threshold between aerobic and anerobic efforts (LT), so it is very hard (and probably not a good idea) to avoid all anerobic efforts, no matter how anerobicaly strong you are.

    Personally, I find doing over-under intervals the best way to develop acid clearance (and increase LT power). These consist of long intervals where you rider for say, 10 minutes in the sub-LT zone (153-160 for you, closer to 153 than 160) and then do 5 minutes above LT (around 162-165 for you) then repeat a few times. These are painful intervals but I have found great results with them.
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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by race newbie
    I did have the face mask/tube recording expiration. She gave me several pages of data/graphs. In my ride yesterday to keep my HR in the 153-160 zone, my cadence was 90. I am a spinner not a masher, I can go much farther spinning higher with easier gears than the opposite. Having not raced before I hadn't gone much higher than a cadence of 90 though, so I had been increasing that into the 100's before having this test done. I have lifted fairly heavy weights for years, so I do have decent muscle strength- she said may have contributed to my strong anaerobic state. She worked me up to 160 watts before I plateaued, but I don't work with a watt meter so not sure what if any relevance that has for my training now.

    When you say practice the intervals for awhile- how many a week? Her recommendation was to stay completely out of the anaerobic HR zone for at least 8 weeks to push the LTHR up. Intervals would put me there though right? I am someone who will follow whatever course is suggested to the "T", but I also want to do what will get me most prepared the fastest to give myself the biggest advantage when race season starts. Thanks for the advice!
    Well.... I'm still a little lost as I don't have enough data really... "Cycling LT" is actually a combined balance of true "muscle-LT" and the aerobic-system's "VO2-max". Real LT is simply a muscle-exertion force, say...50kg on the pedals, where your muscles go from aerobic to anaerobic. It's actually completely independent of RPM/speed/power and HR/VO2-max. Then VO2-max is a purely aerobic indicator in absolute volume of O2-processed per second that's completely independent of RPM/speed/power as well. The trick is to find the balance where you maximize both.

    Do you have a graph of oxygen-consumption vs. HR? Or a combined graph of oxygen-consumption and HR vs. time would work as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    In my system which is a hodgepodge of ideas and advice from this forum and some books, I only need two numbers. My recovery HR and my LTHR. That works out to around 143 and 168 respectively. I build my workouts around those two numbers. Here are some basic principles I've found that work for me.

    1) Start intervals as hard as possible but keep them short. Take a coupla days to recover.

    2) On once a week long rides, keep the HR below my recovery zone. I started at 10 miles and moved up to 60.

    3) On medium rides, it doesn't hurt to do pickups for 5 seconds at a time every so often.

    4) Work in the LT intervals later on and don't push them too long at first.

    5) Two hard workouts plus one distance workout a week is plenty hard.

    6) Perioditize.

    7) Recover hard.

    I forget, listen to Danno.
    I like simplicity. Your plan is simple.

  20. #20
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by race newbie
    Here's my schedule now:
    Monday: Spin Class-Gym
    Tuesday: Lift at gym (Friel's Max Strength Phase), Bike on Trainer- Hour
    Weds: Spin Class-Gym
    Thurs: Lift, Bike on Trainer- Hour
    Friday: Bike on Trainer- Hour
    Sat: Lift, Long Ride Bike on Trainer

    Too much, too little?
    It looks like your schedule is tilted toward strength right now. It's OK, concentrate on strength. This means riding easier on your non-strength days. I don't know how hard you're pushing yourself at spin class. I would take it easy on all the other activities that aren't strength. Just make sure your maximize your strength sessions.

    I think it's good that you're on three strength sessions a week. Girls need to do more strength than guys to achieve similiar gains.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Do you have a graph of oxygen-consumption vs. HR? Or a combined graph of oxygen-consumption and HR vs. time would work as well.
    I have lots of info, let's see if I can give you what you're looking for, hopefully this will do:

    AB Threshold Peak VO2
    Time (Min) 2:45 3:50 6:39
    VO2 (mL/kg/min) 20.0 23.6 33.4
    RQ .95 .98 1.16
    HR (BPM) 150 160 185

    RQ (Respiratory Exchange Ratio) is the ratio of carbon dioxide produced to oxgen consumed.

    There's also this:

    AB Threshold Peak VO2
    Kcal (Kcal/min) 7.0 8.3 11.8
    Fat (Kcal/min) 1.1 0.4
    Fat/KCal (%) 16 5
    Work (Watts) 100 115 160

    I can call and ask her questions, we went over this but there was a lot to process. Thanks for your help!
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  22. #22
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Ah, bummer- it didn't line up as I had it in the box before I hit "post" . The top (AB-Threshold-Peak VO2) line should be headings over the 3 sets of numbers that follow underneath for Time, VO2, etc. under them. On the 2nd set of numbers the fat lines didn't have a value under Peak VO2.
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    I'm assuming that you are a little disappointed in the fitness appraisal which the Polar F11 gave you. Here is the Polar blurb on OwnIndex:

    Polar Fitness Test™ with OwnIndex®
    Measures your fitness level in 5 minutes.

    A fitness test that measures your aerobic/cardiovascular fitness at rest in just five minutes. The result, Polar OwnIndex, predicts your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max).

    With the Polar Fitness Test you can measure your aerobic fitness by yourself, automatically and without any exertion. No other equipment other than a heart rate monitor is needed. The Polar Fitness Test is as accurate in predicting the VO2maxas any sub-maximal fitness test.

    The test is based on gender, age, height, body weight, level of physical activity, heart rate and heart rate variability at rest. The OwnIndex ranges usually from 20 to 95 and is comparable to VO2max, the golden standard of aerobic fitness.

    OwnIndex is most meaningful when following changes in your fitness over a long period of time. Find out how fit you are for your age and gender by comparing your result to the global references listed in the Polar user's manuals.
    Does anybody use this feature? Worse still, does anybody DEPEND on this feature?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerfectCircle
    I'm assuming that you are a little disappointed in the fitness appraisal which the Polar F11 gave you.
    Very disappointed- my number was 65 in the Polar well above the beginning of the "elite" range- but the number is just a little more than half that with the actual VO2 test. Not only that but it threw my calories burned way out of whack, since I adjusted it to me "real" number they look more realistic.
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

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    I did the polar VO2 peak estimate thing on a friends bike last year.

    It gave me a value 18 points higher than I got in legit VO2 max testing. so yeah, its pretty much useless
    Patience - Consistency - Motivation

    I literally put our 9.11 watts/kg for 12 hours.

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