Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Training Zones: Are You Training Hard Enough?

This is the time of year that more people are committing to working out in the gym or ramming up their training for marathons, triathlons, cycling, etc. When I meet new training clients I'm always interested in hearing how they've been training up to this point. The conversation always turns to their desire to get faster and stronger and set new personal bests. More than once, and in fact more often than not, once I start to explain what it takes in interval and strength training based on what I've learned from various coaches over the last 20 years I get that 'you've got to be kidding' comment. If you know me you know I'm not ;-)

A few training tips that I offer would be to avoid that training zone thats in that no-mans land of being to slow to be a beneficial interval and too fast to be considered just an endurance effort. I notice that a lot of people ride somewhere in upper zone 2 or low zone 3 with their heart rate or somewhere between their endurance power upper limit and their lower tempo limit. Either slow down or speed up! There is a gap of about 40 watts between my endurance and tempo wattage that I rarely ride in. You should know that range either in power or heart rate.

Everyone should include some super high intensity efforts in their training. You don't have to be a sprinter on the bike or running the 100 yard dash for this to be beneficial. Time with your heart rate above 90% or even 95% is great for your long efforts also. Without getting into the effects on your cardio-respirotory system many studies have proven that short efforts of 30 seconds to 3 minutes will help longer efforts of 2-5 hours.

One last tip would be to go ahead and lift some heavy weights in the gym. If you have proper form and are already in good condition go ahead and do some squats and lunges with some big weights. If you're always using 8, 10, 12 or 15's go ahead and try 15, 20, 25 and 30's. I love handing people some big weights and seeing that look that says 'no way'. Once they do it, they want to do more. And don't worry about bulking up. Lifting a few times per week won't turn you into a Mr or Mrs Atlas.

Last Indoor Time Trial

The last of the four indoor time trials was held this past Sunday at Club 51 in Centerville. Going into the event I had the fastest time of the year at 14:41, two seconds off my all time best set last February. While warming up I was told that earlier in the day another rider, Greg Tombragel, had ridden a personal best and new best time for the 2011-12 series at 14:34. I rode the Tour de Ky (225 miles in one day) and on to Gatlinburg the day after (another 115) with Greg last September. He's in his late 30's and a very strong rider, and I wanted to beat him.

My training over the last four weeks had been geared towards holding maximum wattage on the bike for 15-20 minutes efforts. My field test in mid-January (2x8 minute efforts, all out) were the best I had ever ridden with average power at 370 watts on each and about 3% higher than the last test in December. I'd have to hold close to 370 for 10k to get close to Greg's time.

The computrainers we use for this event always register higher power than my bike computer but I know when looking at the screen that shows where we are on the course along with speed,distance covered, along with current and average power where I need to be. I had my power at 388 watts average at about the one mile mark (about 368 on my bike computer) and held that until until the last .4 mile climb to the finish. At 14:15 I had 2/10 of a mile to go and at 14:25 I had 1/10. I hit the line at 14:35, a new personal best but 1 second off Greg's time.

When I teach my Time Trial Clinic I always mention that you don't want to end up one second from a new record or first place. On Sunday afternoon I didn't think I could have ridden any harder but seriously, one second!! I've already marked my calendar for next years first event of the indoor series on November the 18th.

In the meantime we'll start the 40k monthly series in March, the weekly 10 mile series from May through September (both to be held at the Cleves course), along with some of the Colavita Series, the state championship and possibly nationals in September in Bend, Oregon. I'll be racing in the 50-54 bracket for the first time but I don't plan on letting the younger riders catch me, yet.

Home | About Coach | Time Trials & Clinics
Heart Rate Zones | Energy Systems & How To Train Them
Blog | Photos & Other Links | Contact Us

1180 Beverly Hill Drive | 513.207.4269
Privacy Policy