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Training Effect 5 every week

Old 04-11-21, 10:08 AM
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force10
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Training Effect 5 every week

Is this harmful?

For the past 4 Saturdays, Ive been riding ~40 miles with a new group. Average is between 55' - 65' of climbing per mile for about 3 hours. After each ride, garmin shows training effect 5; heart rate averages are betrween 142-46 (max 181)

I feel like Ive had a good hard ride but am not nowhere near wiped out. I do saturday afternoon chores, sometimes go for saturday walk/hike with the family and get a nap if I am able to.

Sunday and monday I take it pretty easy with walks, stretching/yoga and some light strength work (basically pushups and core exercises). I get some more easier rides in during the week, usulally 25-30 miles with training effect around 3.5.

Is this a sustainable regimen? I'd like to add in a metric century for one Saturday ride every so often as the season progresses, with a couple of regular century rides come fall.

Is there a good training resource for those who arent interested in competition and just want to keep fit and get improve cycling pace?

I'm 48 yo and overweight, if that matters. Otherwise in decent shape with an athletic past.
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Old 04-11-21, 11:42 AM
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I don't know what training effect really is supposed to mean either. But I take it as the higher the number the more cardio, aerobic or anaerobic your ride must have been. Generally a good thing. Though too much of a good thing can be bad.

I just don't look at that number or the other number my Garmin gives me that tells me how long till I'll be fully recovered. I already know when I did a good ride for training effect. And if I were to wait till the time period that other number told me, then my performance will steadily drop instead of improve.

For me, not wanting to race or anything like that, I feel 3 rides a week ideal.... for me. 2 per week are okay, and sometimes I've ridden 7 days in a row. Maybe more.

Every ride shouldn't be the same effort level. Some should be easy, some hard. Rides should also be differing periods of time or miles. Some of my ride are 1.5 hours, some are 4 hours. Though for a working age person, that sometimes is an issue.

For sure in training or just wanting to get better.... doing exactly the same thing every time will leave some aspect of your fitness untouched.

Last edited by Iride01; 04-11-21 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 04-11-21, 03:23 PM
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Garmin says the training effect is based on the rider's history. The same ride could score differently for a new rider over one that's been training a lot. The range is 0 to 5.
Garmin's ride recording should show time for each heart rate zone, that can be helpful. Your average heart rate sounds good to me--3 hour rides will have some easy pedaling or coasting mixed in, to lower the average a bit. 55 to 65 feet per mile is good--I have those kind of hills on my rides, and it's a good mix of climbing, flats, and descending.

Your week sounds good to me. Perhaps, substitute a short ride with some all-out hard efforts for one of your weekday rides, once a week or every other week. That would be informal intervals.
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Old 04-11-21, 05:18 PM
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Not only not harmful, but darn near perfect. Way to go. Sounds like a sensible regimen. You'll gradually get stronger and be able to do more on the group ride, not harder, just more. Just got back from a 40 mile group ride, 3 hrs. 2000'-2500' depending on which Garmin one looks at. Another Perfect Ride™. I'll gradually increase the ride length over the summer, up to maybe 75 miles, same amount of climbing per mile. The moderate mid-week rides are very important. This was our first group ride since Covid started. I haven't uploaded the ride yet.

Edit. I uploaded to Strava. I have a premium account, which gave a Relative Effort score of 237, "Massive". I had over an hour in HR Z4, 13' in Z5. I was on the tandem with my wife. I was trashed at the finish, but didn't cramp. TrainingPeaks gave a hrTSS of 218. We were chasing a couple guys our age on electric assist bikes.
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Old 04-11-21, 06:19 PM
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I wanna say this without bragging, but just to give you a comparison scale. Me and my babe are 68 and 62, and have averaged 600 miles per month since last June, when we started paying attention. Recently we rode across Florida from Titusville to St Petersburg and back again, almost 500 miles over 12 days, one rest day per 5 days pedaling. The heat was debilitating the first week The overall fatigue was cumulative, and we're just feeling recovered after the ride and the long drive, a week after the end of our ride. Keep riding. It doesn't get easier, but you do go farther and you go a little faster, unless you're hauling luggage, but it's more fun, because you're riding more.
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Old 04-11-21, 07:27 PM
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Thanks everyone. I am relatively new to my heart rate monitor and seeing it tell me that I was “overreaching” every week unnerved me a bit.
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Old 04-11-21, 09:51 PM
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I think if you've just started using Garmin to track your performance this way, the first couple of weeks might not be reliable as it needs more data to build up a more reliable history. Once things have pretty much settled I think the results (e.g. overreaching, peaking, etc) can be more meaningful or trustworthy.
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Old 04-12-21, 01:03 AM
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If you have energy to do other stuff after those rides, you're within your capabilities and comfort zone.

You'll know when you've exceeded those limits. The body will let you know. Listen to the body.

Happens to me more often than I'd care to admit. I tend to overdo it every ride and run and can barely function afterward. Then I repeat the same stupid thing the next day. If I'm too tired to run in the morning I'll run that evening, and overdo it again. Sometimes I'll take a day off when I should take two days off.

After resuming running in November, and doing less cycling, I got too enthusiastic in March, pushing toward a pointless goal of doing a full marathon run before summer. After consecutive runs of 7-10 miles, I ended up with persistent aches and pains, slowing me way down. And I was exhausted after every run rather than energized and invigorated. Instead of paying attention I persisted until it got worse.

And my heart rate data by itself wasn't very useful. A heart rate variability app (Elite HRV) was a bit more helpful, but I ignored those warning signs for a week and ended up... weak.

Don't do that.
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Old 04-12-21, 05:04 AM
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A really good book to read is The Time Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael. A lot of well written information on training and fitness and explains those stress scores and the like. Also includes reasonable workouts for normal riders, as well as for racers.
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Old 04-12-21, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by atwl77 View Post
I think if you've just started using Garmin to track your performance this way, the first couple of weeks might not be reliable as it needs more data to build up a more reliable history. Once things have pretty much settled I think the results (e.g. overreaching, peaking, etc) can be more meaningful or trustworthy.
Good point. I wondered about that.

Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
If you have energy to do other stuff after those rides, you're within your capabilities and comfort zone.

You'll know when you've exceeded those limits. The body will let you know. Listen to the body.

Happens to me more often than I'd care to admit. I tend to overdo it every ride and run and can barely function afterward. Then I repeat the same stupid thing the next day. If I'm too tired to run in the morning I'll run that evening, and overdo it again. Sometimes I'll take a day off when I should take two days off.

After resuming running in November, and doing less cycling, I got too enthusiastic in March, pushing toward a pointless goal of doing a full marathon run before summer. After consecutive runs of 7-10 miles, I ended up with persistent aches and pains, slowing me way down. And I was exhausted after every run rather than energized and invigorated. Instead of paying attention I persisted until it got worse.

And my heart rate data by itself wasn't very useful. A heart rate variability app (Elite HRV) was a bit more helpful, but I ignored those warning signs for a week and ended up... weak.

Don't do that.
Figuring out HRV is on my to-do list.


Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
A really good book to read is The Time Crunched Cyclist by Chris Carmichael. A lot of well written information on training and fitness and explains those stress scores and the like. Also includes reasonable workouts for normal riders, as well as for racers.
I'll check that out. Appreciate the recommendation.
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Old 04-13-21, 04:11 PM
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It's a controversial subject, but there is an argument that spending a lot of time at "tempo" (zone 3) is less beneficial than spending a lot of time in zone 2 and a little time in zones 4/5. Just going by your averages, it sounds like you're riding tempo, but you might want to look at your time-in-zone breakdowns.

Like I said, controversial. Some training plans seem to be designed around maximizing time in zone 3.
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Old 04-13-21, 09:41 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
It's a controversial subject, but there is an argument that spending a lot of time at "tempo" (zone 3) is less beneficial than spending a lot of time in zone 2 and a little time in zones 4/5. Just going by your averages, it sounds like you're riding tempo, but you might want to look at your time-in-zone breakdowns.

Like I said, controversial. Some training plans seem to be designed around maximizing time in zone 3.
i do keep an eye on the breakdown of time in zone. The harder Saturday rides are about evenly split between zones 3 and 4 for about 85-90% of the total with zone 2 and 5 for the balance.

Scrolling back through my rides for the last 6 months or so the easiest I see was 60% zone 3 and 18% each 2 and 4.

Im not sure how I could spend the bulk of my time in zone 2. Are the people training that way cycling nearly every day? Or for short rides??

I’m afraid I’d be bored.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:09 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
Im not sure how I could spend the bulk of my time in zone 2. Are the people training that way cycling nearly every day? Or for short rides??
There are a few training approaches that are basically different time-in-zone compositions. You're doing what would be called sweet spot training. Another is pyramid training, where you spend a lot of time in zone 2, less in zone 3, and a little in zone 4+. And a third is polarized, where you spend a lot of time in zone 2, none in zone 3, and a little in zone 4+ (which is what you say would be boring). There is some evidence that sweet spot training wears you out without providing a lot of training benefit, although it sounds like you aren't excessively tired by it.

Polarized training is actually fairly popular with pros. Of course, they spend 20+ hours/week on their bikes. It's the approach I'm trying to take with my own training, although I'm not perfectly compliant.
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Old 04-14-21, 08:13 AM
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if it works for you, it works for you. Keep it up
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Old 04-14-21, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
There are a few training approaches that are basically different time-in-zone compositions. You're doing what would be called sweet spot training. Another is pyramid training, where you spend a lot of time in zone 2, less in zone 3, and a little in zone 4+. And a third is polarized, where you spend a lot of time in zone 2, none in zone 3, and a little in zone 4+ (which is what you say would be boring). There is some evidence that sweet spot training wears you out without providing a lot of training benefit, although it sounds like you aren't excessively tired by it.

Polarized training is actually fairly popular with pros. Of course, they spend 20+ hours/week on their bikes. It's the approach I'm trying to take with my own training, although I'm not perfectly compliant.
Thank you. This is concise and will help me focus as I try to learn some about approaches to training.

Now that I think about it, I felt pretty run down on the bike late November-December of last year and a the forced winter break may have helped even if I lost some riding fitness.
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Old 04-14-21, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by force10 View Post
i do keep an eye on the breakdown of time in zone. The harder Saturday rides are about evenly split between zones 3 and 4 for about 85-90% of the total with zone 2 and 5 for the balance.

Scrolling back through my rides for the last 6 months or so the easiest I see was 60% zone 3 and 18% each 2 and 4.

Im not sure how I could spend the bulk of my time in zone 2. Are the people training that way cycling nearly every day? Or for short rides??

I’m afraid I’d be bored.
Last question first: Z2 rides can be any length, what matters is hours/week. Last September through December, I rode mostly indoors on my resistance rollers with a power meter. I rode mostly 5 days/week, 1.5 to 2 hour rides, constant power with an effort level which allowed me to breathe through my nose if I wanted to. Conversational effort. It wasn't boring on the rollers, plenty to do staying on them, holding power steady, noticing my breathing, working on a smooth pedal stroke, IOW just paying close attention to details, trying for perfection. That was the first time I'd ever done that thorough a purely aerobic training period. I very much notice a positive result from that now. Oh- I also lifted weights for 30' twice a week.

The idea for a polarized style of training is that one goes like stink once or twice a week, then does moderate rides the rest of the time. Outdoors, the idea for the hard rides would be to go moderate on all the flats and then take the climbs as hard as one can. You'd see that you could definitely go harder on the climbs if you did that, and going harder is where one gets the big results. The moderate work is to create that ability to go harder.

I had a big awakening 23 years ago when I went on my first competitive group ride, a double metric. I was used to riding a fairly steady Z3 everywhere. The fast guys on this ride rode moderate on the flat and hard on the hills. I'd drop them on the flat, but then they'd pass and drop me on the hills and it was getting harder to get them back on the flats. So then I started doing what they were doing and sure enough, it worked better. In fact, that's how one TTs a long course, simply because of the cube rule: power to maintain a speed on the flat increases as the cube of the speed. On the hills, at least for non-pros, speeds are low enough that wind resistance isn't the primary issue so you're not throwing energy away..
That last Sunday group ride on our tandem, 40 miles of 50' per mile, longish climbs, HR zones:
Z1: 4.8%
Z2: 23.7%
Z3: 25.6%
Z4: 38.2%
Z5: 7.7%
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Old 04-14-21, 10:37 AM
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Specificity and optimization of your hours you can spend is name of the game.

The reason sweetspot is a "thing" is that if you don't have a specific event within a couple weeks, you CAN generate a ton of TSS per week on a low time budget. If you're only riding 5 to 8 hours a week, that isn't really enough time to really exhaust yourself with sweetspot from a fatigue perspective. Hence, why it works. Just transition over to intensity specific to the event you have in the weeks leading up to the event.

Most folks don't ride enough hours/week in what I call a REAL zone 2 to make the 80/20 90/10 idea of polarized work (80% of # of workouts, 90% of time expenditure). I feel you need at least 10 hours a week to spend to make that work.

A lot of those studies about polarized deal with folks with a pretty solid time budget.

IMO, ymmv.
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Old 04-14-21, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Specificity and optimization of your hours you can spend is name of the game.

The reason sweetspot is a "thing" is that if you don't have a specific event within a couple weeks, you CAN generate a ton of TSS per week on a low time budget. If you're only riding 5 to 8 hours a week, that isn't really enough time to really exhaust yourself with sweetspot from a fatigue perspective. Hence, why it works. Just transition over to intensity specific to the event you have in the weeks leading up to the event.

Most folks don't ride enough hours/week in what I call a REAL zone 2 to make the 80/20 90/10 idea of polarized work (80% of # of workouts, 90% of time expenditure). I feel you need at least 10 hours a week to spend to make that work.

A lot of those studies about polarized deal with folks with a pretty solid time budget.

IMO, ymmv.
That all depends on age and recovery talent. Not everyone can ride what would be an optimal amount for a talented 25 y.o., even though a lot of training science and advice is based on that standard. Riders need to experiment to see what they can get away with doing consistently for say a month without getting slower instead of faster. If one has an unlimited recovery budget and a limited time budget, that's another story. For some folks, it's the other way 'round.
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Old 04-15-21, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
It's a controversial subject, but there is an argument that spending a lot of time at "tempo" (zone 3) is less beneficial than spending a lot of time in zone 2 and a little time in zones 4/5. Just going by your averages, it sounds like you're riding tempo, but you might want to look at your time-in-zone breakdowns.

Like I said, controversial. Some training plans seem to be designed around maximizing time in zone 3.
It's only controversial if you don't understand what it is or the point of it.

Which can be said about every training methodology out there.

Now which is most effective in a given situation...that's ripe for debate.
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