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  1. #1
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    Do I really have to rest....or can I just not ride?

    I have been busting my butt lately to get in shape for some spring races that are coming up in about 5 weeks. One area I know needs improvement is my cardio system. I suspect that this is a consequence of lots of base miles over the last couple months to strengthen my legs but not too many intervals to work the heart and lungs yet. I am doing intervals twice a week now but am also taking two days per week off so I don't over do it and to allow plenty of recovery. But, I want to do more to make sure my lungs and heart are fit by race time. So, my question is, on my off days, would it be beneficial to do some running to strengthen my heart/lungs or am I going to overdo it and not allow proper recovery. I guess the "heart" of the question is, what is recovery for?...Just the skeletal muscles in the legs?... or do I need to allow my heart and lungs a day off to recover also?
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    Hmmm, great question! The question I would ask is will running aid recovery or not? I'd also ask will it help with psychological (as important as physical IMO) recovery or not. My approach (other's might have something that works for them) is to spin lightly on recovery days and then train harder on days I train.

    I think we're always trading off fitness and freshness but most of the coaching that I've recieved encourages more/not less recovery so you can go harder when you are supposed to.

    gene r

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    I guess if I was really obsessive I could keep careful track of my resting heart rate and see if it returns to baseline or stays at baseline despite a day or two of cross training. If this was the case, it would indicate adequate recovery/rest, right? But, I just can't do all that....I have a life. Has anyone else done this who might be willing to share their observations?

    I like running on my off days because it is something different. Your point about "light spinning" is well taken but there are only so many days in a row I can convince my *ss to sit on that bike. And, to be honest, I find getting off the bike and doing something other than cycling to be more "refreshing" than light spinning.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbaronzzi
    I guess if I was really obsessive I could keep careful track of my resting heart rate and see if it returns to baseline or stays at baseline despite a day or two of cross training. If this was the case, it would indicate adequate recovery/rest, right? But, I just can't do all that....I have a life. Has anyone else done this who might be willing to share their observations?

    I like running on my off days because it is something different. Your point about "light spinning" is well taken but there are only so many days in a row I can convince my *ss to sit on that bike. And, to be honest, I find getting off the bike and doing something other than cycling to be more "refreshing" than light spinning.
    I don't use RHR to gauge recovery so can't comment on that one. But I think you answered your question. Seems you enjoy running, as it gives you a psychologial break. I'd say try it for a week or two and if you don't feel like your getting the physical recovery you need (do your legs feel "fresh"?) take the day off and don't feel guilty.

    A lot of the conventional wisdom today says that if you aren't doing your training "on-the-bike" (at least in regards to muscular adaptaton, not sure about aerobic adaptation), you aren't advancing your cycling fitness. As someone who used x-country skiing for cross-training and built a lot of fitness that way I'm not sure that I agree with the dogma around this topic but it seems that "one sport specificity" is getting a lot of air play these days. I'd be curious if others feel like they've built aerobic/muscular fitness that translates to the bike by using running for cross-training.

    gene r

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    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Using the formulae at Training Peaks, and listening to your VO2 needs, I'd suggest Tabata Intervals. Workout for 4 minutes a day with a day of rest per week. You keep your intensity high and mileage low and you'll be able to both recover and dramatically increase your VO2max while maintaining or improving your LT. The great thing about Tabata is that your legs feel great the next day, despite your heart and lungs getting a tremendous workout.

    To answer your question, I think recovery is largely for rebuilding after training breaks you down. Sleep, get active rest (moving around slowly is better than being sedentary) and relax your mind. Those are key components to letting your hormones rebuild you into a stronger athlete.

    To summarize, heart and lungs quickly recover from very high intensity workouts. Legs aren't as resilient, so focus on a massive VO2max improvement. The best way to do this is through Tabata HIT. Tabata et al were able to improve VO2max 15% with a two-week interval training program. Any other program that comes close would involve a syringe.
    Last edited by ratebeer; 03-13-07 at 08:36 AM.
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    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    Running messes up my cycling, but that's just me. On recovery days, I ride easy. My goal is to flush the muscles with blood and nutrients without adding fatigue.

    I don't think recovery for heart and lungs are the biggest issue. Muscular recovery is always an issue. You didn't mention recovery of the energy stores, i.e. glycogen stores in the muscles and liver. Whatever you do on recovery days, do it easy enough that you have the muscular and fuel recovery.

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    Tabata intervals....very interesting. I have never heard of them before but they sound interesting and my quick research on them reveals some studies on them with unbelievable results. I think I will give them a try. Anyone else have any experience with them?
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    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbaronzzi
    Tabata intervals....very interesting. I have never heard of them before but they sound interesting and my quick research on them reveals some studies on them with unbelievable results. I think I will give them a try. Anyone else have any experience with them?
    Do the entire two weeks if you can and be sure to report back to BikeForums with your results. These can be very hard workouts and although my legs were fresh the next day, I did develop feelings of dread as it came time to do my Tabatas. They are butt-kickers and you need to keep yourself highly motivated.

    During your season, you can keep your HIT training and still derive benefits by replacing only 20% of your total workouts with HIT.

    For me, this worked appreciably well and I was clearly at another level in less than a month. These were sustainable gains. Not bad for 4 minutes of work a day!
    Joe

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    I plan to give them a try. How often did you do them Ratebeer?

    Am I supposed to do them in place of my regular interval sessions (I.E., twice a week)?

    One problem I foresee in my plan to do them is that I don't know my VO2max. Plus, I can't really tell if I am performing at 170% of VO2max unless I am hooked up to some pretty high tech equipment, right?

    I just plan to go "all out" for 6-8 20 second bursts with 10 second rest intervals. Any problem you can see with this?

    Funny, when I sit in my office chair talking about 20 second intervals, I can't imagine it is all that hard....but I know better. Any ideas on how I should report my results other than, "now I feel stronger"?
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  10. #10
    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbaronzzi
    I plan to give them a try. How often did you do them Ratebeer?

    Am I supposed to do them in place of my regular interval sessions (I.E., twice a week)?

    One problem I foresee in my plan to do them is that I don't know my VO2max. Plus, I can't really tell if I am performing at 170% of VO2max unless I am hooked up to some pretty high tech equipment, right?

    I just plan to go "all out" for 6-8 20 second bursts with 10 second rest intervals. Any problem you can see with this?

    Funny, when I sit in my office chair talking about 20 second intervals, I can't imagine it is all that hard....but I know better. Any ideas on how I should report my results other than, "now I feel stronger"?
    It looks like you're looking for your month taper before your season starts. In that case, I'd either substitute in HIT two or three times a week until the start or ease back for ten days and then do HIT for two weeks allowing two days active rest before your first race. Tabata HIT generally spares your legs while isolating your heart and lungs, so I wouldn't be afraid to go all Tabata before the season opener.

    HOW TO DO IT
    As far as how you execute this, you'll find your rhythm quickly on the trainer and you can do this without knowing your VO2max. Despite knowing my VO2max, I only made gross estimations of what a 175% output would be and ended up switching down a gear from my estimate during my first session. Now that's "my HIT gear" and one I know will get me right where I want to be to isolate my heart and lungs. Once I had to gear up in order to complete a workout, but I can usually just hit my HIT gear and stay there for the entire workout.

    NOTE: If you go "all out" on your first couple of intervals you probably won't make it to the end of your work out. It's better to go measurably "less than all out" for your first couple of intervals. There'll be plenty of time still to dial it up if necessary.

    FEELING HIT
    Pay attention to your breathing. After the first couple of intervals, you'll find yourself falling into a good hard breathing groove very quickly and easily. Heart monitors sound like a good idea but need to be very responsive or are useless. Many take averages over several seconds and because you're turning it up and turning it down quickly, they are often quite useless.

    WORK ON FORM

    Given that you're spending quality time at hard effort, it's a good opportunity to feel out your breathing and how it changes with your form. Opening your mouth a little or tilting your head can really affect how well you handle heavy loads. And all time on the trainer is good time for working on your pedaling form. Good focus will help you improve your circular, cadent pedaling.
    Joe

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  11. #11
    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    About reporting... it sounds like you put in some good training rides. Look at your best time for your most common ride. Then do that ride again after two weeks of HIT training or shortly thereafter when your race schedule allows. Your subjective feelings about how you feel are also not neglible. Comparing to last year also makes sense.

    I'm sure there would be some variation in individual response to HIT. I imagine that a higher intensity off-season would result in less substantial gains. My test was my hour ride. I added almost three quarters of a mile* (I did have a little of extra downhill advantage after rounding a corner).
    Joe

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  12. #12
    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbaronzzi
    I have been busting my butt lately to get in shape for some spring races that are coming up in about 5 weeks. One area I know needs improvement is my cardio system. I suspect that this is a consequence of lots of base miles over the last couple months to strengthen my legs but not too many intervals to work the heart and lungs yet. I am doing intervals twice a week now but am also taking two days per week off so I don't over do it and to allow plenty of recovery. But, I want to do more to make sure my lungs and heart are fit by race time. So, my question is, on my off days, would it be beneficial to do some running to strengthen my heart/lungs or am I going to overdo it and not allow proper recovery. I guess the "heart" of the question is, what is recovery for?...Just the skeletal muscles in the legs?... or do I need to allow my heart and lungs a day off to recover also?
    Just to nitpick, but the base miles you've put in are to strengthen your cardio system - that is, your hearts and lungs. If you've put in tons of aerobic miles in, your cardiovascular system should be ahead of your legs.

    You can do L2 rides on the days in between your interval rides, but don't make them long. About 2 hours is good. If you're doing intervals, you need to allow proper recovery.

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    Senior Member slim_77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ratebeer
    Any other program that comes close would involve a syringe.
    In a way it sounds amazingly good for the purpose of raising VO2 & LT. Joe, did you keep track of your own rate of improvement when you first started using this method?
    gravity: it's not just a good idea, it's the law.

  14. #14
    部門ニ/自転車オタク NomadVW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbaronzzi
    I suspect that this is a consequence of lots of base miles over the last couple months to strengthen my legs but not too many intervals to work the heart and lungs yet.
    The point of base miles is to condition the aerobic system.

    .... grebletie beat me to it.
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    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_77
    In a way it sounds amazingly good for the purpose of raising VO2 & LT. Joe, did you keep track of your own rate of improvement when you first started using this method?
    I've made dramatic improvements over the last four plus months but I can only really compare my hour distances as I've presented, as those were at the tail end of more than a week plus of Tabata HIT plus some earlier two day HIT weeks.

    The rest of my data is quite a bit muddy. I was actually counting on solid weeks of rain and cold like we had last year (two months of near solid rain ) and so when the sun was shining, it was hard to stay on the trainer when I thought I could get that last little glimmer of sunshine. Our unpredictable and vicious wind also caused a DQ of a one hour test.

    So I only have about 10 days of solid, continuous Tabata although since and prior I've tried to keep at least 50% of my mileage intervals and at least 20% in the form of Tabata HIT. Much more subjectively, it was only in October when I couldn't hold a guy's wheel doing 18mph on my 17 mile ride and any kind of sprint or chase would devastate me. Now 28mph chase downs and 22-24mph solos are common. I've also increased my speed max from 32.0mph to 34.75mph.

    I made a major bike upgrade and that's helped for most riding although it's probably hurt the speed max considering I haven't yet swapped out the traditional road bars for tri bars and my aero position on the road bars, put in technical terms, bites.

    Suffice it all to say I'm a big fan of Tabata. Props out too to WaterRockets who advised me to include at least three all out sprints on my regular rides and I've been mostly faithfully adherent to this regimen. On my rest days I maintain a low-moderate intensity. It seems clear to me that short bursts of intensity ala Tabata require less recovery time than even an hour ride at 70% HR max, but provide intense cardiovascular workouts.
    Last edited by ratebeer; 03-13-07 at 10:48 PM.
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  16. #16
    Not obese just overweight ratebeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slim_77
    In a way it sounds amazingly good for the purpose of raising VO2 & LT. Joe, did you keep track of your own rate of improvement when you first started using this method?
    Oh one more note. LT is not typically raised in most subjects on a Tabata HIT regimen, although it is for some. 40k TT times are improved however so the increase in VO2max does result in significant performance improvements.
    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by NomadVW
    The point of base miles is to condition the aerobic system.

    .... grebletie beat me to it.
    Time Trialing for Cyclists breaks down what could be considered base mileage aerobic conditioning like so:

    * To improve the bodies ability to metabolise fat as a source of energy – especially valuable for longer events.
    * To improve the bodies circulatory characteristics (removing waste products and bringing new blood and hence oxygen and fuel to the bodies’ cells).
    * Improve the bodies’ ability to use oxygen (i.e. to increase VO2 maximum).
    * Increase the number and size of blood capillaries.
    * To improve the development of aerobic enzymes – to assist carbohydrate and fat metabolism.

    I really like the break down and M Cooper's emphasis on base mileage. However, this relatively low intensity exercise can't explain the obvious and substantial metabolic changes resulting from very brief, high intensity intervals applied following a regimen of base mileage. Cooper does include Tabata-like sprint interval training but explains their primary benefit as anaerobic.

    Simply put, there are key additional benefits supplied by HIT that significantly extend the aerobic base laid down by typical base mileage.
    Joe

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  18. #18
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I guess the "heart" of the question is, what is recovery for?...Just the skeletal muscles in the legs?... or do I need to allow my heart and lungs a day off to recover also?
    The heart muscle is made of different type of fiber and does not "recover" in the same way most muscle fibers change due to training. I'm not sure, but the lungs and the surrounding muscles are seldom a limiting factor in exercise development and do not require recovery, at least not in healthy people.

    So, most of the "recovery" due to cycle training involves leg muscle fiber and organ systems responsible for transporting and storing energy substrates, such glycogen and medium-chain-fats. That being said, the blood, endocrine system and other organs also play a vital role in keeping anabolic processes, like muscle fiber repair and protein synthesis up to the needs of a working athlete.

    If any one of these systems lags behind, your performance suffers. Repeatedly stressing these systems without adequate rest results in over training.

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    I'm in a simular situation to the op, but i bike to improve my running. I have always ran monday through sat. and took sunday of untill the week before a meet. This way you get both mentally and physically better able to handle muscle fatigue. I also find it important to do differnet distances when i work out. A stop watch is also your best friend.
    The first 2-3 weeks of practice we just build up muscluar strength, running 400m and 200m, but most importantly, hitting the same time, 8-16 times, depending on distance. On a bike this is going to be harder, because its harder to reach your max speed, and once your there its easier to stay there. I sugest finding a really long hill, and going all out for 2-3 minute, then coast down (4 min break) and going at it again trying to get the same time, and keep going.
    But once a week it is nice to go for a long run to loosen the muscles and get the blood flowing without stressing the muscles. We call this a 45 min run at "coversation pace" basically if you have to gasp for air while talking, your going to hard.

    I'm not sure how much of this can be transfered over to cycling. I'm just getting into it, but running will always be first to me.

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