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Training via HR vs. Power vs. Gears

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Training via HR vs. Power vs. Gears

Old 09-15-09, 10:33 AM
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teetopkram
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Training via HR vs. Power vs. Gears

Greetings all - Cat 4/M 35+ racer who wants to get better, faster, stronger...big surprise huh?

Throughout my life I have trained via HR using zones based on maximum heart rate...haven't done the lactate threshold test or fashioned zones based on it. maybe should.

Have been hearing wonderful things about power based training, its advantages over HR, etc. Have almost convinced myself to buy power equipment over the offseason...likely the iBike III Aero as I can't afford the PT or crank based systems (I need new racing wheels as well).

However, I just came across some coaching whereby the training is based on gears; i.e., do 20 mins in the 53*15, 30 mins in the 53*14, 40 mins in the 53*13; sprint at max for 200m in 53*15, then 53*14, then 53*13, then 53*12, etc. No mention is made of HR or power...seems more focused on building strength than a certain time in a certain zone.

Just looking for any thoughts or input into this latter style of training? Have others heard of it? Effective, not effective, compared to others?

I admit the appeal of not having to buy and learn power equipment is alluring, plus do I really need it as a lower classed amateur racer. I know exactly what my weaknesses are (e.g., sprinting; 3-5 minute intervals to simulate last couple laps of crits; breakaway speed), and it would seem I just need to go as hard as possible in those areas wihtout worrying about power numbers, minutes in HR zone, etc.
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Old 09-15-09, 02:02 PM
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- don't buy the iBike. reviews and durability have been problematic, at best.
- HR is just fine, but, determine your threshold and use that to set your zones instead of max hr.
- gear/cadence / speedometer / time trials are great, especially for intervals that are too short for HR to be reliable, and for "breakthrough efforts" where you want to ignore hr and just go fast.
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Old 09-16-09, 10:07 PM
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Most current coaching approaches deal with power (as the gold standard), or heart rate as a standard for training. That's for some of it - some of the interval-based training is doing differently.

Zones based on maximum heart rate are of little use. You really want to be setting zones based on your lactate threshold, which gets higher as you are more trained, so your zones are likely too low.

If you are looking at improving your sprints, intervals help a bunch *but* you have to make sure you are sufficiently recovered so that you can go all out.

My advice is to buy carmichael's book and friel's book, and if you want to invest some money, spend it on some coaching.
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Old 09-17-09, 10:24 AM
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Thanks for the replies. A quick question...

Is Friel's method still the most preferred/accepted for determining HR at Lactate Threshold. ie., average HR during last 20 minutes of an all out 30 min TT?

I have also read somewhere that another method is taking average HR from a 1 hour TT...others have referred to this as FTP threshold?

What is the different, and what is preferred?

Mark
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Old 09-17-09, 01:58 PM
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I'll let one of the power geeks answer from that perspective.

Me, I still use HR for intervals over ~5 minutes long. Simply by riding hard and watching the HR, I can tell where my personal threshold is... for example, I can roll along at 165 pulse for quite a while... but if a small hill comes along and I dig into the 167 range, I'm anaerobic (just slightly, but enough).
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Old 09-17-09, 04:16 PM
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I think whatever you do you want to be able to set a baseline, introduce a stimulus (ie, training), get your body to adapt, and measure progress.

You can do this with heart rate and heart rate monitor (HRM), but its mostly a dependent variable. Power probably offers you the most expeditious way to set a baseline, and the most objective assessment of progress, assuming you use the PM properly.

The other reason PMs are a better approach is that with tools like Cycling Peaks you can quantify training load, measure and manage the training stress you introduce, and plan builds and tapers more effectively. I still haven't seen inexpensive commercially available tools to do this w do w any HRM. The downside of PMs are the expense and how finicky ALL PMS can be.

BTW I owned and used an iBike for a year (before moving to a different PM), and while it had its issues which are well chronicled in the iBike forums, it is a device that can be calibrated and used to set a baseline and measure improvement.

Not sure about training based on gearing. Gearing seems again to be a dependent variable.
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Old 09-18-09, 06:01 PM
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Well, just did the Friel 30 min LT test today and the average HR for the last 20 minutes of the TT was 170 which is 90.4% of my max of 188 (highest obtained racing this year). Looks like a pretty good number in terms of its relation to max, so I will use this number as the basis for training zones until if and when Santa brings me some power equipment.
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