Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Training & Nutrition
Reload this Page >

Can ride hard, but not slow: training advice?

Notices
Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

Can ride hard, but not slow: training advice?

Old 03-07-16, 12:19 AM
  #1  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Can ride hard, but not slow: training advice?

With a goal of doing some racing this summer, I've been researching and evaluating my current abilities to determine how I need to be approaching my training. Interestingly, I'm beginning to think that I may actually need to work in reverse. But I could use some advice.

Because I spend a lot of my riding time (6-12 hours in winter, 12-16 in summer) in "no man's land" of Z3/Z4 HR, along with doing Z5 intervals and fast group rides, I'm able to go out and maintain a pretty hard effort for a long period of time. I'll often sit on the nose of a group ride in Z5 for 10 minutes or more, and Z4 intervals I can do virtually all day long. I'm not particularly 'fast' at higher HR's, I'm just able to ride there for a while.

But, what I've found though, doing some intentionally easy rides of late, is that I can't keep up a moderate pace and maintain a low, endurance-type HR at the same time. While I know average speed doesn't really matter, just to give some context, maintaining a Z2 average HR results in a typical average of around 13-14 mph, which is much too slow to hang with even the slowest on no-drop club rides. I find that I cannot physically keep my HR any lower than the very top of Z2 (132-133 bpm) and still be moving. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I can average 20 mph at 153-155 bpm average and 21.5 mph at FTP of 167 bpm. Conversely, I also generally fatigue at about 55 miles whether I'm riding at a moderate pace or hammering with everything I've got. There's literally no difference on when my legs are cooked.

In essence, I can ride as slow as possible or I can hammer, and the HR swing between the two spectrums isn't all that significant. And, while I can outrun a typical recreational rider when going all-out, that typical recreational rider can run circles around me, if both at %max HR. To me, this seems like a obvious sign that I'm actually very un-fit. So, how true is the 'ride slow to ride fast' approach in a case like this? Will spending a lot more time riding as slow as possible net better speed/endurance at Z2 and more efficiency and speed at the top end? Because we've had a mild winter and I've been able to keep up my mid-summer interval training, I'd in effect be working in reverse, rather than building from base miles to intervals like a typical spring. So, what might this look like....cut out most of the intervals and just ride slow?

Last edited by Dreww10; 03-07-16 at 12:36 AM.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 07:33 AM
  #2  
denvertrout
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: North Denver
Posts: 210
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Sounds as if you really need to shift your training to another zone. You are putting a ton of hours in for training, but does not appear you are close to maximizing your results. I rarely get more than 7 hours a week in, and my zone 2, same HR as you is 190-200 watts. Start working on your own rides by yourself, and you will be amazed how quickly you will adapt. The hardest part when I switched was staying in zone 2. That meant downshifting for every single hill, it was more mental than physical. It changed very quickly, but you have to stay with it. Another thing I notice with zone 2 rides, I get really hungry afterwards. I think that is from all the fat burning...
denvertrout is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 04:29 PM
  #3  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,153
Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18516 Post(s)
Liked 10,304 Times in 5,862 Posts
You should check your zones, for starters.

It sounds like you have a very powerful anaerobic system, but probably not as much aerobic endurance as you might want. I bet you're capable of explosive bursts, and they can actually last reasonable lengths of time, but they're for sure limited. Basically (you probably already know this) as you work harder and harder, your heart beats faster to supply your muscles with oxygen, until your heart just can't keep up with the demand, then your muscles are getting most of their energy from glycogen. They can't do this anywhere near as long as they can go with oxygen, and it hurts your legs after a while. You've trained this system to be very strong, but it's still time limited.

The point of doing Z2 rides is to improve your aerobic system, so that less of the energy for your rides has to be anaerobic. That lets you last much longer, run mostly on fat, and suffer less. In time you'll be putting more power out in Z2 and will/should go faster.

Group rides really aren't ideal for training.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 06:42 PM
  #4  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,656

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3473 Post(s)
Liked 1,466 Times in 1,066 Posts
Plus don't try to ride at an endurance pace on a group ride. Never works. If we want to mess with that, we start 15 minutes before the group, choosing a group pace that allows us to stay just off the front while the group surges back and forth behind us. Your endurance pace will pick up the more you do it.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 06:56 PM
  #5  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,341

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 223 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
But, what I've found though, doing some intentionally easy rides of late, is that I can't keep up a moderate pace and maintain a low, endurance-type HR at the same time.
I had that same problem when like many other self-coached athletes I naively added hard days and turned my easy days into tempo rides because hard is good and more is better.

Unfortunately anaerobic and aerobic systems are trained by different stimuli.

I also generally fatigue at about 55 miles whether I'm riding at a moderate pace or hammering with everything I've got.
With an aerobic threshold around 13-14 MPH that doesn't seem unreasonable, although it'd be interesting to look at w' expenditure or normalized power to see how much of the difference between "moderate" and "hammering" is perception.

So, how true is the 'ride slow to ride fast' approach in a case like this?
Very. Mark Allen dropping his training pace to his aerobic threshold of 8:15 miles raised it to a 5:20 pace after which he set the 2:40 Ironman triathlon marathon split record in 1989 which still stands. Kurt Searvogel started his annual mileage record attempt (76,076) at 17 MPH although within six months his speed increased to about 20 MPH riding a daily double century.

I crashed last season with an aerobic threshold better than 150W or 2.4-2.5W/kg out of a 220W FTP or 3.5-3.6W/kg netting 17-18 MPH on flat ground. Bigger guys can do much better.

Will spending a lot more time riding as slow as possible net better speed/endurance at Z2
You want to ride beneath your aerobic threshold AeT where breathing becomes rhythmic, conversation doesn't flow, and lactate starts to accumulate. That can be slow or fast.

and more efficiency and speed at the top end?
No. My FTP didn't change from when I just rode hard, I just got faster at slower paces. 93-95% of FTP for over an hour also ceased being unpleasant.

So, what might this look like....cut out most of the intervals and just ride slow?
There's a limit to how much hard riding you can do and see increased benefits. I didn't do better on two days past threshold than one. Fewer hard days, more endurance miles which includes climbs - the shift from oxidative to glycolytic energy system is sticky.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 03-07-16 at 08:45 PM.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 07:12 PM
  #6  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
You should check your zones, for starters.

It sounds like you have a very powerful anaerobic system, but probably not as much aerobic endurance as you might want. I bet you're capable of explosive bursts, and they can actually last reasonable lengths of time, but they're for sure limited. Basically (you probably already know this) as you work harder and harder, your heart beats faster to supply your muscles with oxygen, until your heart just can't keep up with the demand, then your muscles are getting most of their energy from glycogen. They can't do this anywhere near as long as they can go with oxygen, and it hurts your legs after a while. You've trained this system to be very strong, but it's still time limited.

The point of doing Z2 rides is to improve your aerobic system, so that less of the energy for your rides has to be anaerobic. That lets you last much longer, run mostly on fat, and suffer less. In time you'll be putting more power out in Z2 and will/should go faster.

Group rides really aren't ideal for training.
My weekend group ride is actually a constant pace of about 17.5-18 mph average, which for most riders, is an all-day, century-type of pace. But in my case, it's an upper Z3 average HR kind of pace that puts me in fatigue land earlier than others.

This past Saturday I intentionally spent as much time in Z2 (and ended up averaging within Z2) as I could, put in 80 miles, and felt as fresh as I ever have over that distance. The only problem was, I was going so slow that anyone beyond the age of needing training wheels wouldn't have wanted to ride with me.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 10:02 PM
  #7  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by denvertrout View Post
The hardest part when I switched was staying in zone 2. That meant downshifting for every single hill, it was more mental than physical.
I know this sounds like a real noob question, but it's rarely ever explained by coaches or in articles: is spiking outside the zone you're intending to train for negating your ride/results, or is the goal simply to average/spend most of your time in that given zone? No matter how easy I take it, with hills, with wind, my HR spikes up to zones 3-5 regularly. My only option to actually STAY in Z2 for 2-3 hours would be to ride laps in a flat parking lot for 2-3 hours.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-07-16, 10:28 PM
  #8  
gregf83 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,201
Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1186 Post(s)
Liked 288 Times in 176 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
I'm able to go out and maintain a pretty hard effort for a long period of time. I'll often sit on the nose of a group ride in Z5 for 10 minutes or more, and Z4 intervals I can do virtually all day long.
How did you define your zones? HR is a little fickle but normally Z4 is reserved for threshold work which by definition you can't do all day long. 1 hour in Z4 should be a fairly hard ride. Z5 is normally associated with VO2Max work which is more in the range of 5 min.
gregf83 is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 07:42 AM
  #9  
denvertrout
Full Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: North Denver
Posts: 210
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
I know this sounds like a real noob question, but it's rarely ever explained by coaches or in articles: is spiking outside the zone you're intending to train for negating your ride/results, or is the goal simply to average/spend most of your time in that given zone? No matter how easy I take it, with hills, with wind, my HR spikes up to zones 3-5 regularly. My only option to actually STAY in Z2 for 2-3 hours would be to ride laps in a flat parking lot for 2-3 hours.
I can only say what worked for me, and that was consistent efforts in zone 2. They were not impressive speeds to start, and sometimes felt like I was barely moving, but stay consistent and it changes rapidly. Maybe a trainer or spin bike to start? Zone 2 is now an easy 20mph. My buddy, a former pro (48 years old) rides 330 watts in zone 2. That is an all day effort for him. Zone 2 works, but you still have to work on it.
denvertrout is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 08:20 AM
  #10  
caloso
Senior Member
 
caloso's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 40,807

Bikes: Specialized Tarmac, Canyon Exceed, Specialized Transition, Ellsworth Roots, Ridley Excalibur

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2928 Post(s)
Liked 3,006 Times in 1,377 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
With a goal of doing some racing this summer, I've been researching and evaluating my current abilities to determine how I need to be approaching my training. Interestingly, I'm beginning to think that I may actually need to work in reverse. But I could use some advice.

Because I spend a lot of my riding time (6-12 hours in winter, 12-16 in summer) in "no man's land" of Z3/Z4 HR, along with doing Z5 intervals and fast group rides, I'm able to go out and maintain a pretty hard effort for a long period of time. I'll often sit on the nose of a group ride in Z5 for 10 minutes or more, and Z4 intervals I can do virtually all day long. I'm not particularly 'fast' at higher HR's, I'm just able to ride there for a while.

But, what I've found though, doing some intentionally easy rides of late, is that I can't keep up a moderate pace and maintain a low, endurance-type HR at the same time. While I know average speed doesn't really matter, just to give some context, maintaining a Z2 average HR results in a typical average of around 13-14 mph, which is much too slow to hang with even the slowest on no-drop club rides. I find that I cannot physically keep my HR any lower than the very top of Z2 (132-133 bpm) and still be moving. But, on the opposite end of the spectrum, I can average 20 mph at 153-155 bpm average and 21.5 mph at FTP of 167 bpm. Conversely, I also generally fatigue at about 55 miles whether I'm riding at a moderate pace or hammering with everything I've got. There's literally no difference on when my legs are cooked.

In essence, I can ride as slow as possible or I can hammer, and the HR swing between the two spectrums isn't all that significant. And, while I can outrun a typical recreational rider when going all-out, that typical recreational rider can run circles around me, if both at %max HR. To me, this seems like a obvious sign that I'm actually very un-fit. So, how true is the 'ride slow to ride fast' approach in a case like this? Will spending a lot more time riding as slow as possible net better speed/endurance at Z2 and more efficiency and speed at the top end? Because we've had a mild winter and I've been able to keep up my mid-summer interval training, I'd in effect be working in reverse, rather than building from base miles to intervals like a typical spring. So, what might this look like....cut out most of the intervals and just ride slow?
What kind of races are you planning to enter?
caloso is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 08:54 AM
  #11  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,341

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 223 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
I know this sounds like a real noob question, but it's rarely ever explained by coaches or in articles: is spiking outside the zone you're intending to train for negating your ride/results, or is the goal simply to average/spend most of your time in that given zone?
It reduces the impact because the shift to your glycolytic energy system is sticky. I never found anything that quantified that, but didn't look too hard either.

No matter how easy I take it, with hills, with wind, my HR spikes up to zones 3-5 regularly. My only option to actually STAY in Z2 for 2-3 hours would be to ride laps in a flat parking lot for 2-3 hours.
Shorter Z2 rides help too, and lower gears are an option until you're running a mountain bike drive train.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 12:23 PM
  #12  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,153
Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18516 Post(s)
Liked 10,304 Times in 5,862 Posts
Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
With an aerobic threshold around 13-14 MPH that doesn't seem unreasonable, although it'd be interesting to look at w' expenditure or normalized power to see how much of the difference between "moderate" and "hammering" is perception.
What would you look for, exactly? In the power data, to tell how much of moderate vs hard is perception?
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 03-08-16, 11:06 PM
  #13  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Is the base-building work of Z2 defined more by the days on a calendar, or actual saddle time? I've read a few weeks, I've read 2-3 months, but can putting in a lot of saddle time accelerate the gains? And does Z2 work require just as much built-in recovery as Z3-5 work does?

I'm in no way asking in hopes of skipping through such a key training element and getting back to hammering until my heart's content, but my hope is, if my body begins to react (so far it hasn't), that I can quickly get Z2 work up to a pace that makes it enjoyable and just part of my weekend routine. As it stands, I've been riding almost every day at Z2 for the last two weeks and it's just so slow, that it's more of a job than it is fun.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-09-16, 10:49 AM
  #14  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,656

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3473 Post(s)
Liked 1,466 Times in 1,066 Posts
Cutting through the possibility that your zones aren't quite right, try going by breathing instead of HR. I've been using HR data for 20 years, but I still prefer to go by breathing. You want to stay just at or a little below the first ventilatory threshold (VT1). So you start riding and very gradually bring up your effort while noticing your breathing rate. As your effort comes up, you'll start breathing deeply but slowly. Finally at some point you'll notice that your rate of deep breathing begins to increase rapidly with only a small increase in effort. This is VT1. Below VT1, you can speak in complete sentences with ease. Above it, you're down to phrases. A good way to tell is that at or below VT1, you can recite the alphabet. I can usually do one and a half alphabets. AT VT1, after the recitation I'll breath more quickly for a few breaths, but the recitation is comfortable.

But back to your question: I go by hours per week. I've had best results by using polarized training, that is I spend 80%-90% of my training time at or below VT1, and then the rest above VT2, which is defined by the point at which one begins to pant uncontrollably. I try to maintain that to some degree even on group rides by hammering the heck out of the climbs and then sitting in on the flats. I move right along on the flats solo at VT1, 16-18 mph. After a good group ride, I usually see the least amount of time spent in zone 3, with more time in both zones 2 and 4 and a nice chunk in zone 5.

Thus I never am "done" with base training. Base training is every week, all year. The difference is in early season I get even more base hours because I'm not limited by recovery from harder efforts. Try going out with only water and riding 2-3 hours at or below VT1. That really helps. Yes, putting in a lot of saddle time helps. That's possible because zone 2 does not require much recovery.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 03-09-16, 11:01 AM
  #15  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 23,153
Mentioned: 84 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18516 Post(s)
Liked 10,304 Times in 5,862 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
As it stands, I've been riding almost every day at Z2 for the last two weeks and it's just so slow, that it's more of a job than it is fun.
Do intervals one day a week. Then make the next day a rest day or a recovery ride (stay under 100 bpm and watts), which is even more maddeningly slow than Z2. I like hill repeats for my intervals.

Seattle Forrest is offline  
Old 03-15-16, 11:51 PM
  #16  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
A pair of questions:

1) For those that have responded, are we all on the same page of a zone 1-5 arrangement? I know some coaches and websites use a 1-3 or 1-4 system. I use my Garmin to display/track my HR data, and it's five zones.

2) In my experience, mixing up the terrain and the routes is a good thing. However, I'm finding that it's impossible at my fitness level to keep my HR in Zone 2 (or even 3 or 4) while riding on the road, in the elements. Even small climbs, in the lowest of gears at a light-footed effort I'm cresting 170-175 bpm (Z5). So, that being said, can I make the needed gains by sticking to entirely flat roads and parking lots for my long rides, or is that just doing me a disservice?
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-16-16, 01:25 AM
  #17  
Drew Eckhardt 
Senior Member
 
Drew Eckhardt's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Mountain View, CA USA and Golden, CO USA
Posts: 6,341

Bikes: 97 Litespeed, 50-39-30x13-26 10 cogs, Campagnolo Ultrashift, retroreflective rims on SON28/PowerTap hubs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 549 Post(s)
Liked 320 Times in 223 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
2) In my experience, mixing up the terrain and the routes is a good thing. However, I'm finding that it's impossible at my fitness level to keep my HR in Zone 2 (or even 3 or 4) while riding on the road, in the elements. Even small climbs, in the lowest of gears at a light-footed effort I'm cresting 170-175 bpm (Z5). So, that being said, can I make the needed gains by sticking to entirely flat roads and parking lots for my long rides
Yes.

Different workouts train different things. While hills are good sometimes, they may not be good all of the time.
Drew Eckhardt is offline  
Old 03-16-16, 01:53 AM
  #18  
chasm54
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
A pair of questions:

1) For those that have responded, are we all on the same page of a zone 1-5 arrangement? I know some coaches and websites use a 1-3 or 1-4 system. I use my Garmin to display/track my HR data, and it's five zones.

2) In my experience, mixing up the terrain and the routes is a good thing. However, I'm finding that it's impossible at my fitness level to keep my HR in Zone 2 (or even 3 or 4) while riding on the road, in the elements. Even small climbs, in the lowest of gears at a light-footed effort I'm cresting 170-175 bpm (Z5). So, that being said, can I make the needed gains by sticking to entirely flat roads and parking lots for my long rides, or is that just doing me a disservice?

One of the things Maffetone describes is that lots of his athletes resist his HR-based training because they aren't willing to ride (or run) slow enough to keep their HR down to the recommended level. To start with, they crawl up the hills. But their cruising speed for a given HR does increase over time. There's no harm in riding on flat roads if that's what you have to do.

I've can attest to the fact that training exclusively at intensity has a negative impact on endurance riding. A few years ago I decided to race crits. I had been an endurance rider, I could easily cruise at 18-20 mph on flattish terrain with my HR around 120. For crits I switched my training almost entirely away from volume and onto intensity. It made me faster, alright, but by the end of that first season my endurance performance had collapsed, I could no longer cruise like I used to.
chasm54 is offline  
Old 03-16-16, 10:36 PM
  #19  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
I've can attest to the fact that training exclusively at intensity has a negative impact on endurance riding. A few years ago I decided to race crits. I had been an endurance rider, I could easily cruise at 18-20 mph on flattish terrain with my HR around 120. For crits I switched my training almost entirely away from volume and onto intensity. It made me faster, alright, but by the end of that first season my endurance performance had collapsed, I could no longer cruise like I used to.
When you say intensity, are you talking all-out? Probably 1% of my riding is at breakneck pace, and in general, my average HR is no more than 140-145 on any typical ride (middle Z3). Sadly, I see riders who aren't all that fast who can ride all day long at Z3/Z4 pace, so I gather from that that riding at Z2 for long miles isn't necessarily the only ticket to getting fit or gaining endurance.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-17-16, 09:58 PM
  #20  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,656

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3473 Post(s)
Liked 1,466 Times in 1,066 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
When you say intensity, are you talking all-out? Probably 1% of my riding is at breakneck pace, and in general, my average HR is no more than 140-145 on any typical ride (middle Z3). Sadly, I see riders who aren't all that fast who can ride all day long at Z3/Z4 pace, so I gather from that that riding at Z2 for long miles isn't necessarily the only ticket to getting fit or gaining endurance.
Since chasm didn't reply, I'll chime in. By training exclusively at intensity, I believe he's talking about the typical TCC interval regimen, where one does mostly trainer rides, relatively short, maybe an hour, devoted to zone 4 and zone 5 intervals. This has nothing to do with "ride all day long at Z3/Z4 pace." If they are riding mostly zone 3 with a little 4, that's the reason they aren't that fast. And your average HR for a ride may also have nothing to do with the zone in which you are riding. Just because I might do a long ride at an average HR of 87% of my LTHR doesn't mean I ever rode at that HR. It's much more likely that I did a heckuva a lot of zone 2 time and a good bit of zones 4 and 5. And hopefully the same for you. Zone 3 riding is usually referred to as "riding junk miles," because that makes one tired, but does little to improve either power or endurance.

Chasm is correct. As every coach has always said, "Most riders don't go easy enough or hard enough." Keep away from Mr. Inbetween. Your conclusion should the the opposite to the one you have reached.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 03-18-16, 11:31 PM
  #21  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Cutting through the possibility that your zones aren't quite right, try going by breathing instead of HR. I've been using HR data for 20 years, but I still prefer to go by breathing. You want to stay just at or a little below the first ventilatory threshold (VT1). So you start riding and very gradually bring up your effort while noticing your breathing rate. As your effort comes up, you'll start breathing deeply but slowly. Finally at some point you'll notice that your rate of deep breathing begins to increase rapidly with only a small increase in effort. This is VT1. Below VT1, you can speak in complete sentences with ease. Above it, you're down to phrases. A good way to tell is that at or below VT1, you can recite the alphabet. I can usually do one and a half alphabets. AT VT1, after the recitation I'll breath more quickly for a few breaths, but the recitation is comfortable.

But back to your question: I go by hours per week. I've had best results by using polarized training, that is I spend 80%-90% of my training time at or below VT1, and then the rest above VT2, which is defined by the point at which one begins to pant uncontrollably. I try to maintain that to some degree even on group rides by hammering the heck out of the climbs and then sitting in on the flats. I move right along on the flats solo at VT1, 16-18 mph. After a good group ride, I usually see the least amount of time spent in zone 3, with more time in both zones 2 and 4 and a nice chunk in zone 5.

Thus I never am "done" with base training. Base training is every week, all year. The difference is in early season I get even more base hours because I'm not limited by recovery from harder efforts. Try going out with only water and riding 2-3 hours at or below VT1. That really helps. Yes, putting in a lot of saddle time helps. That's possible because zone 2 does not require much recovery.
For curiosity's sake, I gave this a try. At about 126-127 bpm (mid-Z2), reciting the alphabet or speaking a complete sentence was possible but a little difficult. I do know that I have poorly-performing lungs (for a 32yo non-smoker), so that may play a role in breathing rhythm at a given HR.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-19-16, 09:37 AM
  #22  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,656

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3473 Post(s)
Liked 1,466 Times in 1,066 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
For curiosity's sake, I gave this a try. At about 126-127 bpm (mid-Z2), reciting the alphabet or speaking a complete sentence was possible but a little difficult. I do know that I have poorly-performing lungs (for a 32yo non-smoker), so that may play a role in breathing rhythm at a given HR.
HR zones are relatively arbitrary, in that most zone boundaries don't delineate changes in metabolism. The exception to that is the top of zone 4 in the 5 zone system. That is supposed to coincide with OBLA, the onset of blood lactate accumulation at about 4 milimoles per liter or mm/L. The top of zone 4 is thus also known as lactate threshold heart rate because it's supposed to be the maximum sustainable for an hour in a highly trained athlete. This is also where we find our FTP, functional threshold power. It's also the second ventilatory threshold, VT2, the onset of panting. It's also known as the AT, the anaerobic threshold. Technically all these points are not exactly the same, but they're close enough for us non-pros, so we tend to lump them all together and call them the top of zone 4.

So that's a definite point, and the one we use to calculate the rest of our zones. That means that the rest of those zones aren't metabolic, they're calculated. We don't know what they really define, because we're all different and beyond simple calculations. The exception to that is VT1. We can find that as you just did. That's a metabolic point also, as opposed to a calculated zone boundary. That's the point at which lactate first begins to accumulate. Below VT1 blood lactate should be below 1 mm/L. Very low blood lactate levels indicate low levels of carbohydrate utilization. So VT1 is the top of the "fat-burning zone." Which doesn't mean that fat burning doesn't increase at higher output levels, it does, but beyond that point the fuels are mixed.

Your opinion of your lungs has nothing to do with it. Internal metabolic processes determine your breathing rate, not the size of your lungs. Everyone's lungs are plenty big unless you're had one removed or have damaged them in some manner. Even then VT1 still happens at that metabolic level, just at a lower power output.

Using mixed fuels means that both metabolic systems are stimulated. Below VT1 only the fat burning systems are stimulated. Our bodies are nothing more than chemical factories. All we do when we train is to stimulate various of these chemical factories to become more efficient. Thus training at or below VT1 forces our fat burning mechanisms to become more emphasized. By adding better fat burning ability to our carb burning ability, we can put out more power throughout our power range. That's the basis of base training. It's that simple. A big benefit of riding at base levels is that we can do so much more of it, since the training stress per hour is low. It is said that distance = strength.

Besides base training of course we need to train our top end. We do that best by riding above VT2, thus in zone 5. Suppose we do a hard group ride every Sunday. A typical week might have a number of VT1 rides, hill repeats on Thursday with 4 reps of 8' at or above VT2, and then the group ride. During the group ride we should try to go all out on the climbs, doing them at VT2, then recovering between climbs. This is a recipe for building basic endurance and power. Once we have basic endurance, we might think about specific event training, race specific if that's what we want to do, or endurance specific if we want to do long events.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 03-21-16, 10:43 PM
  #23  
Dreww10
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 355
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 12 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Chasm is correct. As every coach has always said, "Most riders don't go easy enough or hard enough." Keep away from Mr. Inbetween. Your conclusion should the the opposite to the one you have reached.
I've bought into the theory, but I have to say, thus far, it's not netting any noticeable improvement. I've clocked almost four weeks, over 600 miles almost exclusively in Z2 now, and speed and perceived power have not changed one iota. In fact, I'd argue that I've actually slowed down, but I haven't had exact conditions to prove it. I'm not giving up yet, but it seems that base building, at least in my case, could be a 6 month process, at which point the season I'm training for is over and done.
Dreww10 is offline  
Old 03-21-16, 11:55 PM
  #24  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,656

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3473 Post(s)
Liked 1,466 Times in 1,066 Posts
Originally Posted by Dreww10 View Post
I've bought into the theory, but I have to say, thus far, it's not netting any noticeable improvement. I've clocked almost four weeks, over 600 miles almost exclusively in Z2 now, and speed and perceived power have not changed one iota. In fact, I'd argue that I've actually slowed down, but I haven't had exact conditions to prove it. I'm not giving up yet, but it seems that base building, at least in my case, could be a 6 month process, at which point the season I'm training for is over and done.
You make an excellent point. The time to start base building for the summer is the previous October. It's past time to start more advanced training. You should be doing 4 X 8 minute zone 5 hill intervals twice a week, or at least once a week with the equivalent amount of zone 5 in a group ride setting. Zone 2 the rest of the time is fine although a group ride will have a lot of zones 1 and 4 also (fine), but try to keep the zone 3 stuff down. I like a 3-4 hour leg shattering group ride once a week this time of year.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 03-22-16, 12:59 AM
  #25  
chasm54
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Uncertain
Posts: 8,651
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Sorry I failed to respond earlier. I can understand your impatience, building a big aerobic base is slow. But bear in mind that you aren't just training for this season. It takes competitive cyclists years to reach their genetic potential, even at the training volumes put in by the pros. Merckx, who was a prodigy, didn't race the TdF until a couple of years after he'd started winning the Classics because he knew he hadn't reached his full strength and he wanted to win, not just take part.

When you say that at 126 bpm reciting the alphabet is a little difficult, you highlight one of the shortcomings of judging progress by HR. it sounds as if VT1, for you, is happening just below that HR. That may change, your aerobic threshold may climb a few bpm. But more important is how much power you're putting out at that level of exertion. That's what you ought to see change over time. And there's absolutely no disadvantage in having a huge aerobic base. Yes, of course you have to train the top end as well, but improvements there come along relatively quickly. There are big disadvantages in training for speed without having the base in place, though, (unless you're a track sprinter) it's self-limiting.
chasm54 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.