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Old 03-20-07, 05:40 PM   #1
ratebeer
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Acute recovery from anaerobic work

There was a thread in Road about average speed and that found its way into in a small watts versus avg speed spat. After some thought, it really seems that as far as road racing goes -- to the exclusion of time trials, watts and average times/speeds are very similar metrics and don't include the most important element of road racing -- recovery times after anaerobic work.

I think it's no surprise that road racers tend not to find a lot of value in average speed or time for a certain course length. It makes sense when pack riding tactics and the associated drop in wind resistance is a major factor in race outcomes. Stats like how many watts someone can sustain for an hour become a lot less useful than better understanding how a hypothetical rider riding in a fast moving group of riders, can move up to a lead group and sustain the lead group's pace.

In this example, the load is high, then increases very high then decreases to a plateau above the initial load. The success of the rider in holding on to this lead group depends on his ability to recover from the heavier load while at the tail end of the lead group. This is a very common transition in road riding and really separates the average from better riders.

1. How do you train for this kind of recovery? Is this why many interval training workouts keep the rest periods short?

2. Is there a standard measurement for this kind of activity? It would seem quantifying one's ability to recover after a hill attack or other breakaway would be useful.
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Old 03-20-07, 07:13 PM   #2
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The measurement I use is recovery time from max-HR to LT... Even though MHR and LT doesn't change that quickly or that dramatically with training, the recovery time between them does change by more than 200-300%...
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Old 03-20-07, 07:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratebeer
1. How do you train for this kind of recovery?
Recovery is fully dependent on aerobic metabolism; training aerobic fitness is the same as training recovery. So whatever favorite aerobic training workout you use for aerobic fitness will also improve recovery.
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Old 03-20-07, 09:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratebeer
There was a thread in Road about average speed and that found its way into in a small watts versus avg speed spat. After some thought, it really seems that as far as road racing goes -- to the exclusion of time trials, watts and average times/speeds are very similar metrics and don't include the most important element of road racing -- recovery times after anaerobic work.
This isn't really an answer to your main question, but I thought I would throw it in. The problem with averages is that outliers screw up the data set. For power at least, this has been rectified with an algorithm known as Normalized Power. It takes into account the stochastic nature of cycling, and weights your numbers to more accurately reflect the work that was done - something average power and average speed fail to do.

In terms of recovery, I feel the most important aspect is a good aerobic base. For intervals, especially the short and hard kind, I'll generally keep the recovery to a minimum, to more accurately reflect racing. But, although racing might limit recovery, it is important to allow enough time for your body to replenish whatever system you are working in the interval, so that you can do more total work for the workout period.
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