Old 09-22-14, 10:45 PM
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OK. First of all, I think the fat bike to enable you to ride in the snow in the winter is an excellent idea. Ideally you'd want to do more that five hours a week in winter - winter is the time for building your base - but it's a great deal better than nothing. If you could supplement it with a bit of time on a static bike in a gym, or even some cross-training like running or using a rowing machine, so much the better. If not, well five hours a week is still very useful.

As far as HR zones are concerned the first thing to say is that the zones indicated on mapmyride won't mean much. They are based on a theoretical maximum of 172 (220 minus your age) which is very unlikely to be your personal maximum, it's just a stab at a population average. You can test for maximum HR, but it is hard and not especially useful. Much more useful is to test for your lactate threshold HR (LTHR) which is, broadly, the highest HR you can sustain for about an hour. To test for LTHR the static bike in the gym is really useful. Warm up thoroughly, then start the HR monitor and go as hard as you can manage for twenty minutes. The average HR for that 20 minutes will be a good approximation of your LTHR.

Then work outyour HR zones like this.

Zone 1: recovery pace, 65%-80% LTHR
Zone 2: endurance pace, 81%-88% LTHR
Zone 3: tempo, 89%-93%
Zone 4: sub-threshold, 94%-99%
Zone 5: supra-threshold, 100% LTHR and up to whatever your true maximum is. The maximum figure doesn't matter, people vary enormously and it isn't an indicator of fitness.

Later you can break zone 5 into sub-zones, but don't worry about that at present.

The classic way of training is to spend the winter months at lowish intensities building strength and aerobic fitness, then build on that base by including more intensity in the early months of the year, aiming to peak whenever in the riding season you want to be at your fittest. As I understand it you don't intend to race, so you needn't be overly specific about this, but the basic principle remains sound: the base you maintain in winter is what you'll build on in the spring.

That means spending most of your time during the winter at a relatively easy pace. Most of your time should be spent in HR zone 2. You get the biggest aerobic bang for your buck in the upper part of this zone, so on your one-hour rides this would be an excellent pace to sustain in the initial part of your winter training. After a couple of months I'd be building in some tempo hours, but to start with, mid- to high Zone 2 is ideal. Don't worry about zones 4 and 5 at this stage, you'll find that once you have your base you'll adapt surprisingly fast when you start adding some intensity in January and February.

As you'll see, for this sort of training the HR monitor is as important for helping you keep your HR down as it is for charting intense efforts. People tend to default to a zone 3 sort of pace just because they feel they ought to be working harder. The coaches say that the most common fault of amateurs is that they make the easy rides too hard, and the hard rides too easy. Keep the easy rides reasonably easy - there are lots of studies that show that top class endurance athletes spend about 80% of their training time at lowish intensities, well below race pace: more during the off-season, with less volume and more intensity as they build up to competition.

One further note on LTHR. Unlike your maximum HR, which doesn't change with training, LTHR is trainable, it will creep up as you get fitter. So it is worth repeating the LTHR test every three months or so and adjusting your HR zones accordingly. In that way you can be sure that the intensity with which you train is appropriate to your developing level of fitness.

Finally, with regard to your question about resting HR, it too varies dramatically between individuals. However, those doing endurance sports do tend to have low resting HRs. Mine seems to bottom out at about 43. I'm not in top shape at the moment and it seems to be hovering around 48, so there's nothing abnormal or unusual about your figures.

Hope this helps.
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