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Old 02-06-12, 02:06 PM   #1
Carbonfiberboy 
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Chapple and base training

We're taking base training more seriously this year, so I bought a copy of Chapple's Base Building for Cyclists. Chapple says keep it down around your lower training threshold (LTT) when starting base training. We (Stoker and I) have a little problem with that, in that we tend to train for long distance riding, so we're starting base phase with 60-85 mile weekend tandem rides. During the week, it's no problem keeping it down to LTT.

However we get tired on the long rides, and get into heart rate (HR) drift. When we start, and for about the first 3 hours, we can keep it down in the LTT range fairly well. Of course we climb hills too, so we do some Z3 and even a little Z4 if they get steep, and over all I think that's fine. But at about 3 hours we start seeing some drift and after a while we're doing more Z3 than we are Z2, even though we're putting out the same power that we were in the first 3 hours. We are staying fed and hydrated, so it's not that. We also coordinate our HRs and we both drift the same. We just get a little tired.

Chapple doesn't have much to say about this. He says just keep the time down to where you don't get drift. But that's not going to get us success with 200k rides by March, is it? We have been trying to maintain about the same power on the flats and hills, regardless of HR drift, and every ride is a good bit easier than the last.

My question: Is holding about the same LTT power level throughout the whole ride and letting our HR drift the correct approach? Or should we let our power drop off and hold HR even? We don't particularly like that latter strategy because of course it's slower, but we would try that if you folks think we should. We aren't training with power, so haven't any power files, but we can tell by our legs and speedo about what we are doing.

We're ramping up to a century by the end of February, then a 200k in early March, then who knows.
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Old 02-07-12, 12:33 AM   #2
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I've been reading and re-reading sections of Chapple's book over the last month. My target event is a double century on June 30th (Alta Alpina) with 20k ft of climbing, and I want to have the aerobic base to do it with (relative) ease.

I don't recall anything in "Base Building ..." that references a maximum period to measure the cardiac drift over. The cardiac drift examples shown are over a 20min period.

Friel's Training Bible references cardiac drift in relation to measuring fitness and knowing when you've aerobically developed what you can in the Base period (quote: "When you can do an aerobic threshold ride for two hours while your heart rate and power remain coupled, you can consider your aerobic threshold fitness fully developed"). Prior to that quote Friel does say "In the Base period, it's generally better to maintain a steady heart rate, while for the Build period you should keep power steady", though that's in reference to the best way to do the threshold coupling workout.

Given Friel wrote the forward for Chapple's book and blesses it as being a whole book about a single chapter in the Training Bible, I've been using the Training Bible as a reference/background for Chapple's.

In my case, I'm assuming the bigger my aerobic base, the longer it'll take for cardiac drift to have a significant effect, and that by maintaining the heart rate, rather than the power, the drift will be minimized [since my HR doesn't seem to rise/fall linear with power]. If you find more details on "ultraendurance" training recommendations, I'd love to see pointers.

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Old 02-07-12, 10:49 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by anotherbrian View Post
I've been reading and re-reading sections of Chapple's book over the last month. My target event is a double century on June 30th (Alta Alpina) with 20k ft of climbing, and I want to have the aerobic base to do it with (relative) ease.

I don't recall anything in "Base Building ..." that references a maximum period to measure the cardiac drift over. The cardiac drift examples shown are over a 20min period.

Friel's Training Bible references cardiac drift in relation to measuring fitness and knowing when you've aerobically developed what you can in the Base period (quote: "When you can do an aerobic threshold ride for two hours while your heart rate and power remain coupled, you can consider your aerobic threshold fitness fully developed"). Prior to that quote Friel does say "In the Base period, it's generally better to maintain a steady heart rate, while for the Build period you should keep power steady", though that's in reference to the best way to do the threshold coupling workout.

Given Friel wrote the forward for Chapple's book and blesses it as being a whole book about a single chapter in the Training Bible, I've been using the Training Bible as a reference/background for Chapple's.

In my case, I'm assuming the bigger my aerobic base, the longer it'll take for cardiac drift to have a significant effect, and that by maintaining the heart rate, rather than the power, the drift will be minimized [since my HR doesn't seem to rise/fall linear with power]. If you find more details on "ultraendurance" training recommendations, I'd love to see pointers.
Yes, the durations shown in Chapple are pointed toward crit racers, like most books of this type. Yeah sure, 20' duration no problemo. We're talking about durations an order of magnitude greater and more. Base building is supposed to emphasize the oxidative chemistry, minimizing the glycolytic chemistry. So the question is, does the energy source shift from oxidative to glycolytic even though power remains the same, if HR increases? Is HR drift diagnostic of that shift?

If we go by Friel, our aerobic base is fully developed now, except that we know it isn't. It's all relative. I've run across other folks going out for a 6 hour base ride, so I know it's done.

Making it a little more complicated is that folks who train for the Death Ride, for instance, train by doing pass repeats, which are definitely zone 3, low 4 efforts. However, one would think that a major base phase would move energy sources toward the oxidative.

And the ultra racers say, "Train slow, ride slow."

Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 02-07-12 at 11:07 AM. Reason: added complexities
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Old 02-13-12, 11:27 AM   #4
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Update: Went out on a group ride with my single for the first time in a couple of years. Swept for the "B" group. 50 miles and about 3200' climbing. Was able to keep my HR at or below my lower training threshold for the whole ride, 3.75 hours, no HR drift. It was easy to observe that every one else's HR was drifting, as mine and my rate of ascent kept decreasing. So my guess is that holding power steady is the correct approach, rather than holding HR steady. It's working very well, in any case. I tried a few hard anaerobic efforts and was pleasantly surprised to see how strong I was, especially for not having made an anaerobic effort in many months.
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