Entering the Grey Zone

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Entering the Grey Zone

Postby Hebden » Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:56 pm

Hi Guys,

I am not sure if any of you have heard of the Grey Zone before? I have read a few articles regarding this. It may also be referred to as Zone 3 Syndrome.

Basically it’s when your easy training is too hard and your hard training is too easy. So your easy sessions are too fast to be training your aerobic system properly and your harder sessions are too easy to be pushing your thresholds. The latter may be caused by not being fresh enough after working to hard on your easy sessions too.

So my question to you well trained people (I know your out there I saw it in the Hours training per week poll! :D ) is have any of you experienced this?

Also if you train in your HR zones, as I do, do you target the Average HR for the session or do you try desperately to avoid ever leaving the target zone?

I live in a hilly area, so it can sometimes be difficult to keep my HR down. My average for the entire ride will be within the target zone but a couple of hills here and there will push me out for a short time. Do you think that would matter?

Thanks in advance for sharing!
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by BNA » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:51 pm

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Re: Entering the Grey Zone

Postby Alex Simmons/RST » Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:51 pm

Hebden wrote:Hi Guys,

I am not sure if any of you have heard of the Grey Zone before? I have read a few articles regarding this. It may also be referred to as Zone 3 Syndrome

Another Joshism.

Some have also called it the "no-man's land" of training (which is a load of crap basically).

I agree with the sentiments that:
- you'll get good at what you train, so if that's all you do, then that's what you'll get good at
- you will get stale/plateau in fitness if you don't mix up and progress your training according to the demands of your goal events
- insufficient recovery can affect one's ability to do higher intensity workouts

Hebden wrote:Basically it’s when your easy training is too hard and your hard training is too easy.

That bit's OK.

Hebden wrote:So your easy sessions are too fast to be training your aerobic system properly and your harder sessions are too easy to be pushing your thresholds. The latter may be caused by not being fresh enough after working to hard on your easy sessions too.

Q: How can a ride be too fast to train the aerobic system?
A: It can't.

Also, all rides of sufficient intensity (in the right volumes) have a positive impact on aerobic fitness. The level of impact and the nature of the physiological adaptations varies however.

Here is a graphic I made showing relative training intensities and the various physiological adaptations that primarily occur in and around those levels:
http://www.cyclecoach.com/images/Powerchart.jpg

from the web page here:
http://www.cyclecoach.com/index.php?opt ... Itemid=112


However, if you are attempting to do more training than you are ready for, then it is correct that either acute or chronic "training fatigue" may indeed hamper your ability to do the higher intensity workouts necessary to elicit the desired physiological adaptations. Appropriate recovery is vital for that.

But then so is appropriate overload to induce physiological adaptations. That's where "Zone 3" or whatever one might call it can be your friend.

Some great examples are included in the items on "sweetspot training" by Frank Overton.

Part I:
http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspot.html

Part II:
http://www.fascatcoaching.com/training_ ... tdeux.html

and the item on Impulse - Response model here:
http://fascatcoaching.com/TSTWKT.htm

Which has ultimately morphed into the Performance Manager concept discussed here:
http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/pow ... anager.asp

and here:
http://www.cyclingpeakssoftware.com/pow ... cience.asp

I should add that I was also part of the international beta test panel of ~ 20 athletes/coaches assisting Dr Coggan with feedback on this work.

Hebden wrote:So my question to you well trained people (I know your out there I saw it in the Hours training per week poll! :D ) is have any of you experienced this?

I have seen it in plenty of others. e.g. the club rider who loves doing tours and going hard on club runs but goes to water as soon as you put a number on their back and the attacks start.

Or an individual TT rider who doesn't cope so well in a Team TT scenario.

Hebden wrote:Also if you train in your HR zones, as I do, do you target the Average HR for the session or do you try desperately to avoid ever leaving the target zone?

That depends on what you are trying to achieve. But on the whole, don't worry about dipping in and out of zones. In general, those who use HRM to guide their pacing probably don't train hard enough anyway.

Hebden wrote:I live in a hilly area, so it can sometimes be difficult to keep my HR down. My average for the entire ride will be within the target zone but a couple of hills here and there will push me out for a short time. Do you think that would matter?

Not really, but that's an example where HR really gives no sensible indication of the total strain encountered on such rides.
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Postby Hebden » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:24 pm

:shock: Holly cow Alex! You know your sure know your stuff. Your feed back is much appreciated.

I haven’t finished reading all the material you have offered but its all new stuff (that I haven’t come across before) so I am excited! :D

Thanks again!
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Location: Katoomba, NSW


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