Bike Forums - View Single Post - (How To) Cardiac Drift - A Different Way of Looking at Indoor Training
Old 02-15-19, 10:07 AM
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Anway, back on topic (hopefully). So a few posts ago I brought up the 3 x 3 x 3 workout from a video that is too long for some to watch but not too long to comment on. Anyway, a 3 x 3 x 3 is three 3-hr workouts in zone 3 which are performed over three consecutive days. So, actually, it's a 3 x 3 x 3 x 3 workout? Anyway, why would anyone in their right mind do such a thing? To demonstrate the effect on cardiac drift. That's why. It's easy to reproduce this. I've done it many times. Here's one example:

Three identical workouts every other day followed up three days off then another workout...

...resulted in consistently-climbing drift which returned to 7% after the extra days off:

The allows me tune the bejeezus out of stress vs recovery. Oh wait, there's something else I forgot right back...

...OK, got it. So where was I? Of course, tuning the bejeezus out of stress vs recovery. So I'm accumulating fatigue fairly quickly at this frequency...oh wait a minute, because it's important to understand that fatigue accumulates and dissipates much more quickly than fitness. So why is that important? Well, as a measure of endurance, the above graph has cardiac drift skyrocketing. Does that mean my endurance is melting away? Nope. Not at all. It means that I'm tired. <== Intentional use of inaccurate but 105% practical layman's term to drive the internet nuts.

So what should I change based on this? You guessed it. Frequency. But first that thing I forgot earlier. I see from the data that subsequent workouts on a 9-day microcycle...ah don't know what that is either. Quick detour:

For most of us our microcycle aligns with the calendar week, which is convenient because we can do our long rides on the weekend yada yada but what's important is that we don't have to do that. We can define our "weeks" any way we want. So when I talk about 9-day microcycle above, I mean that I worked out every third day.

Alright, now, as I was about to say above, when I changed frequency to a 9-day microcycle I noticed that I was recovering more quickly than what calls for a 9-day microcycle. So what did I do? I did what any red-blooded cyclist would do. I increased intensity!

Wait, what?

Ok maybe this wasn't the best timing for this topic as it can get nuanced. BUT this is also somewhat fundamental and also illustrative so let's persist...

What we my options? Frequency isn't an option because I'm "in-between frequencies, as it were. So what's left is intensity and duration. I chose intensity because I was at my two-hour limit of available time. Actually, that wasn't that bad to explain. Volume would have been better but there are nuances there also. Hell, why not just go there. Can't put the genie back in that bottle. Since my target event duration is two hours and my "estimated actual fresh" cardiac drift is in check then my endurance is adequately developed. So it's time for more intensity. Yeah!

WTF??!?!? What in the world is "estimated actual fresh cardiac drift"? It's exactly what it sounds like. Looking longitudinally at my data and having deliberately allowed the presence of fatigue so it can be monitored, I know some fatigue is in all of my drift numbers but looking at how it fluctuates and also seeing how it drops from things like the accumulation example above and such, I have a very good idea of what my actual endurance (this would be a better name than "estimated actual fresh cardiac drift" is.

So yeah now it's time to rock!!!!!!!!
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