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What is the right type of training for me?

Old 07-26-13, 01:38 AM
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siovene
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What is the right type of training for me?

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Hi,
I'm writing to seek advice about the right type of training for me.

Here's some information about me:

* I'm a new rider. I've had a hybrid bike that I've ridden for 1400 km in 2010, then almost not at all in 2011 and 2012.

* In May 2013 I got a road bike, a Trek Madone 3.5 with an Ultegra gruppo, which I've ridden 2000 km so far.

* I live in an area which is overall flat, but the road is pretty undulated, with frequent small rolling hills.

* I'm 32 years old, 173 cm and I weight 71 kg, my resting heart rate is 55 bpm.

* When I ride alone, I average 27-28 km/h.

* I've ridden on group rides on 2 occasions: first time, it was 90 km with average of 32 km/h, and I my average heart rate was 162. I didn't get dropped but I suffered on the last couple rolling hills. The second time it was 150 km, with average speed 30 km/h, and my average heart rate was 148 bpm, and it indeed felt easier.

* I can only invest 2 or 3 training sessions on weekdays, with a maximum time of 1.5 hours each time. And then I can go on group rides on Sundays, like the ones mentioned above (it's usually around 100 km, at 30 km/h , and I have 20 km to commute to and fro the starting point).


Given all this information, can anybody suggest the best way to use the time I can spend on the bike to improve my fitness and my speed? If it's intervals, can you devise a simple interval plan that fits in 1.5 hours (included warm-up and cool-down) that would be effective if done 2 or 3 times a week?

Thank you very much in advance!
Salva.

Last edited by siovene; 07-26-13 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 07-26-13, 01:41 AM
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siovene
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READ THIS POST IF YOU PREFER MILES AND POUNDS TO KM AND KG:

Hi,
I'm writing to seek advice about the right type of training for me.

Here's some information about me:

* I'm a new rider. I've had a hybrid bike that I've ridden for 870 mi in 2010, then almost not at all in 2011 and 2012.

* In May 2013 I got a road bike, a Trek Madone 3.5 with an Ultegra gruppo, which I've ridden 1200 mi so far.

* I live in an area which is overall flat, but the road is pretty undulated, with frequent small rolling hills.

* I'm 32 years old, 5' 8" and I weight 156 lbs; my resting heart rate is 55 bpm.

* When I ride alone, I average 16.5 - 17.5 mph.

* I've ridden on group rides on 2 occasions: first time, it was 55 mi with average of 19.8 mph, and I my average heart rate was 162. I didn't get dropped but I suffered on the last couple rolling hills. The second time it was 93 mi, with average speed 18.6 mph, and my average heart rate was 148 bpm, and it indeed felt easier.

* I can only invest 2 or 3 training sessions on weekdays, with a maximum time of 1.5 hours each time. And then I can go on group rides on Sundays, like the ones mentioned above (it's usually around 62 mi, at 18.6 mph, and I have 12.4 mi to commute to and fro the starting point.)


Given all this information, can anybody suggest the best way to use the time I can spend on the bike to improve my fitness and my speed? If it's intervals, can you devise a simple interval plan that fits in 1.5 hours (included warm-up and cool-down) that would be effective if done 2 or 3 times a week?

Thank you very much in advance!
Salva.

Last edited by siovene; 07-26-13 at 02:06 AM.
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Old 07-26-13, 03:33 AM
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OK, let's make sure I have this straight. You have had a road bike for three months, during which time you have ridden 600-700km per month. You have one group ride of c.100km each weekend, and you ride a further 40km to and from the start of that ride. The ride is fairly hard and fast. During the rest of the week you can afford the time to train for a further 3 -4 hours spread over 2 or three rides.

The good news is that you can do enough on this schedule to get pretty strong. You have a heart rate monitor, and you might find it useful to make your training sessions systematic. The first thing I would suggest you do is ascertain your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). There is a test for this in a sticky at the head of this forum. A simpler method is to warm up thoroughly, then go as hard as you can for 20 minutes (you should be spent at the end) and take your average HR for that 20 minutes as an approximation of your LTHR.

Then set your HR zones on your HRM as percentages of LTHR as follows: Z1 65%-80%, Z2 81%-88%, Z3 89%-93%, Z4 94%-99%, Z5 100% and up.

Once you have done that you are equipped to do HR-based training. If you have three rides of 1.5 hours during the week, I would make one an interval session, one a "tempo" ride, and one a really easy ride at recovery speed. Specifically:

One easy ride, mostly in Z1 occasionally Z2. Back off on the hills to make sure you don't exceed Z2. You'll find this makes you pretty slow at times, don't worry about it.
One "tempo" ride. Try to maintain your HR in Z3 throughout. Occasionally you'll drop into Z2, or climb into z4. Again, don't worry about it but try to maintain a consistent level of effort throughout. Warm up for 15 minutes at the start and cooldown for 15 at the end, making an hour at tempo.
As far as the interval session is concerned, there are so many it is difficult to make recommendations. For you as a fairly new but obviously fairly fit rider, I'd suggest this one. Warm up thoroughly, then ride for two minutes in Z4 followed by two minutes in Z5, repeated four times without a break for a 16 minute interval. Cool down, go home. You will find there is a lag between your making the effort to get into Z5 and your HR climbing to that level. Time your two minutes from the start of the effort, rather than waiting until your HR is up there. You'll quickly get accustomed to this with practice.

So your weekly schedule might look like this:

Sunday, group ride using the ride to and from the start as your warm-up/cooldown.
Monday, rest.
Tuesday, interval session.
Wednesday, rest.
Thursday, tempo ride.
Friday, Z1/Z2 ride.
Saturday, rest.

Don't worry if this doesn't fit your schedule, or if you have to ride two days in succession in order to fit things in. But I'd recommend having an easy/rest day after the group ride and after the interval session, so you have time to recover properly. You get fit by training then recovering, not by just training.

None of the above is set in stone, if you ask someone else you'll almost certainly get different advice. But something like the schedule above will certainly get you fitter, and I wouldn't recommend anything more demanding for a fairly new rider.

Test for your LTHR every three months or so. You'll find it rises slowly as you get stronger, so you'll need to reset your HR zones accordingly

Last edited by chasm54; 07-26-13 at 03:39 AM.
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Old 07-30-13, 04:01 AM
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Hi Chasm and thanks for your thorough reply!

Everything is clear. Tonight I'll got for a ride to measure my lactate threshold using your suggested method, then I'll report back.

Thanks again,
Salva.
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Old 07-30-13, 12:03 PM
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Hi,
so I'm back from the lactate threshold measuring ride, and I'm very surprised by the result!

First of all, here's a link to the Garmin data: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/350746771

It's split in 3 laps: warm-up, hard ride, cool-down.

Now, I believe I've done it correctly, i.e. I was giving all I had, with searing pain in my muscles and panting like crazy all the while. In retrospect, I don't think I could've gone harder in that amount of time.

The resulting average heart rate is 170, and that looks a bit low to me. I've tried to push on the downhills too, but still I was working harder on the uphills. When I looked at my heart rate on one of the many small upward slopes, it was usually around 174.

Anyway, what really surprises me is that 2.5 months ago, when I was really not fit at all, and weighed 5 kg (10 lbs) more to boot, I rode for 2 hours with an average heart rate of 172! Here's the Garmin data: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/312242986 - I was pushing then, surely, but not as hard as today's twenty minutes, or I wouldn't have been able to go for 2 hours...

I was under the impression that the lactate threshold should increase as I get fitter, so what gives?

Thank you in advance for clearing my doubts!
Salva.

Last edited by siovene; 07-30-13 at 12:08 PM.
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Old 07-30-13, 03:38 PM
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IME and working with other new riders, your experience is more the norm. While power at LT goes up, the LT number actually goes down for most people. Training stress causes heart rates to drop to various extents, though it can also cause morning resting HRs to rise. I believe if you rested completely for a week or so, your number might go up, but no one does that. After a year or so of consistent training, you will see HR drops at all your effort levels, largely due to increase in stroke volume.
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Old 07-30-13, 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by siovene View Post
Hi,
so I'm back from the lactate threshold measuring ride, and I'm very surprised by the result!

First of all, here's a link to the Garmin data: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/350746771

It's split in 3 laps: warm-up, hard ride, cool-down.

Now, I believe I've done it correctly, i.e. I was giving all I had, with searing pain in my muscles and panting like crazy all the while. In retrospect, I don't think I could've gone harder in that amount of time.

The resulting average heart rate is 170, and that looks a bit low to me. I've tried to push on the downhills too, but still I was working harder on the uphills. When I looked at my heart rate on one of the many small upward slopes, it was usually around 174.

Anyway, what really surprises me is that 2.5 months ago, when I was really not fit at all, and weighed 5 kg (10 lbs) more to boot, I rode for 2 hours with an average heart rate of 172! Here's the Garmin data: https://connect.garmin.com/activity/312242986 - I was pushing then, surely, but not as hard as today's twenty minutes, or I wouldn't have been able to go for 2 hours...

I was under the impression that the lactate threshold should increase as I get fitter, so what gives?

Thank you in advance for clearing my doubts!
Salva.
I'm not a great fan of doing the AT/LT test out on the open road/uncontrolled environment. This offers some 'recovery' time, even though one thinks they are keeping up the steady effort. On downhills the Heart will stay high under downhill peadling BECAUSE the heart rate is there to get recovery, even though you're not doing the same effort.
I found AT/LT test is best done on a trainer where effort is steady and controllable.
Try to do the ramped effort Conconi test and if the kink in the curve is at 170 or more, you're an aerobic stud.
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Old 07-31-13, 03:03 AM
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170 doesn't seem suspiciously low to me, but feel free to retest in a week or so if you're concerned, trying to find as flat a course as possible.

In the meantime, it isn't going to hurt to use 170 as the threshold number and set the HR zones accordingly. You can adjust them up or down over time, you'll be retesting anyway every three months or so.
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Old 08-02-13, 01:47 PM
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Hi,
I'm back from the Tempo ride, per your indications.

I averaged Zone 2.8 instead of 3, I still have to get the hang of it, I guess. How did I do? Here's the data:

https://connect.garmin.com/activity/352276774


By the way, when you say I should stay in Zone 3, does that mean exactly 3, or should I aim for the middle of it, i.e. 3.5?

I think my heart rate monitor went berserk at the beginning, as I doubt I really touched a heart rate of 250! I've seen it do that a few times, at the beginning of the workout, even though I start slow to warm up.

Anyway, the ride felt easy, as it should have in zone 2.8.

I'm actually surprised at how fast I was for such a low heart rate. I'd never tried before. It seems that if I just want to average 1 or 2 km/h faster, it's going to cost a lot in terms of heart rate. Is that really the way of it?

Thank you once more for your assistance!
Salvatore.
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Old 08-02-13, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by siovene View Post
I'm actually surprised at how fast I was for such a low heart rate. I'd never tried before. It seems that if I just want to average 1 or 2 km/h faster, it's going to cost a lot in terms of heart rate. Is that really the way of it?
Yes. Wind resistance increases as the cube of the speed. Wind resistance consumes a large portion of your power.

Also, average speed is not a good way to measure your performance. Too many thing affect it even on the same course... wind being the major factor.

While LTHR does increase with training, it is slow to change and won't change a lot.
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Old 08-02-13, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by siovene View Post
I think my heart rate monitor went berserk at the beginning, as I doubt I really touched a heart rate of 250! I've seen it do that a few times, at the beginning of the workout, even though I start slow to warm up.
Mine goes berserk as well if i don't add some water to the sensors before starting. I think it normalizes once sweat acts as the moisture or conductor.
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Old 08-07-13, 05:29 AM
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Hi,
yesterday I performed the intervals suggested by Chasm, i.e. 2 minutes at Z5 + 2 minutes at Z4, repeated 4 times in total.

I warmed up for 15 minutes, then I went at it. I found it pretty easy, is that normal? After I'd finished the 16 minutes, I still felt strong so I didn't cool-down properly, I guess.

I thought I was supposed to barely making it to the 4th repetition. Was that a wrong assumption?

Here's the workout on Garmin:
https://connect.garmin.com/activity/354528173

If you have any suggestions, please let me know! :-)

Thank you,
Salvatore.
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Old 08-07-13, 11:09 AM
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like I said, none of the 'test'/garmin readings you've posted can lead to any assumption on your LT/AT...
put the bike on a stationary device/trainer and do the Conconi test as in here...
https://cyclingfitness.hubpages.com/h...obic-Threshold
take it as far as you can - doing the 1 minute intervals gives a tighter granularity to the readings... a 2 min interval will make the overall test take a shorter time...
I would use a gear, for the test, large enough that can take you up to a speed (kph/mph) you know you can't sustain, on the trainer, for the interval duration (1 or 2 min...).
I would 'start the test' at a speed that gets your HR stabilized in the high 120's, and then increment each time interval by 1mph/kph, but you could do 2 kph - you'll not have as 'fine' a chart/readings.
all you have to do is keep the speed steady and not lag, slow down or speed up until the next speed increase segment.
Don;t worry about what the Garmin says about heart rate - just keep the speed steady and keep the time segment steady.
but you decide
You don;t really need an assistant, since the Garmin will record all the readings.
Your Garmin should record a HR chart similar to the HT chart on the webpage above - a ramp.... the kink in your HR curve/ramp is the AT/LT.
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