Training at your limit

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Training at your limit

Postby orphic » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:15 am

I have been giving a lot of thought to my training lately. I basically train on the road mostly and sometimes on the track, with the odd mountain bike ride. I think I would like to try doing more endurance mountain bike races, but I like being able to do track races, crits and the odd road race too.

Anyway, during the week I sometimes train with a great bunch of people and it's always varied - hills, intervals, sometimes mock races. I am certainly not one of the faster riders - quite the opposite in fact. If you look at my heart rate profile for each of the sessions I am nearly always close to my limit, between 85 and 95% of MHR. Obviously there are short breaks to this (when we're going down hill etc) but on the whole a substantial amount of my training is done at the upper range. Even on a long ride I'll be sitting on 85-90% in the first 10km's. As you can imagine this leads to me feeling pretty destroyed by the end of it, and ultimately blowing up.

My question is - is this bad? I have 'heard' that it can be. I have read what training I could be doing - threshold and VO2max intervals as well as endurance rides, and the heart rates I should be sticking to are lower than what I seem to train at currently. Is training solo and doing it 'properly' going to make me faster? Or is going out there and smashing myself (which I must admit is more fun) just as good?
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by BNA » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:21 am

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Re: Training at your limit

Postby rkelsen » Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:21 am

How fit are you?

You can overdo it. Anaerobic heart rates aren't good for you.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby thelittlebattler » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:00 am

So long as your get enough rest days between smashing yourself on these rides, there shouldn't be too much problem. The only potential issues with going at near max will be letting your legs recover. When I overdo it I often get sick with colds and flu as well, which is only annoying as it sets your training back a week or two. But really, when you're working that hard you should improve faster than if you take it easy... like I say, just watch how many days a week you smash yourself.
On the quieter days when you take it a bit easier, you can concentrate on pedal technique... When I first started thinking about 'efficient' pedalling, I was pretty much maintaining the same speed but with 20% less heart rate.
Back to original question though, I'd think smashing yourself a couple of times a week will make you noticeably faster
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby orphic » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:59 am

In regards to fit, I wouldn't say that I am overly fit - but I've been cycling relatively consistently for about 15 months and have done some pretty big events/races in that time. Things that 15 months ago I would have laughed at you if you said I would do them one day.

I have started paying much closer attention to my recovery from sessions, and taking more days off the bike than what I did before. I feel a lot better for this. I've been writing down what I do, and from that I can see how fatigued I really am and how I can control that.

I guess what I really want to know is what's going to be better for improving my FTP/VO2max/endurance - the smashfest approach vs the diciplined heart rate and interval approach. People go and get coaches and programs written for them - is that generally because they don't push themself enough in their current training?

I went on a long ride on the weekend after reading about the benefits of doing endurance training at 65-75% MHR. I felt like I was doing absolutely nothing by keeping such a low heart rate, and I am just perplexed at how this would provide more benefit than going hard.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby thelittlebattler » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:22 am

To improve FTP especially, and VO2max, you need the smashfest... as the only way really for your body to adapt is to work above your threshold. The thing is, as you get fitter, it becomes harder to see improvements, which I guess is where coaches/google come in.
The disciplined 65-75% training rides are about training your body to move energy stores, or being physiologically efficient... kind of means you feel less need to demolish a sugary mars-bar every 30 minutes. That's useful for the long 1.5hr+ rides. Throwing intervals into these rides is kind of like a modified smashfest approach. The theory behind intervals is that you can spend more time above threshold by having rests in between intervals to recover: eg. you can either go on a 1 hour smashfest ride = 60 minutes above threshold, or do 8 x 10minute intervals above threshold, with 3-4 minutes "rest"@70% in between intervals. The interval session lets you spend 80 minutes above threshold before you burn out, as opposed to 60 minutes at the constant smash. Either way, whatever time you spend above threshold (FTP) will improve it.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby trailgumby » Wed Sep 01, 2010 11:51 am

Australian Mountain Bike has a good series running currently on training for 100km events by Mark Fenner, starting with the issue before last. First in the series covered the training regimen - what to do and when.

I've been loosely following this (shortened to 2 weeks hard 1 week easy since I'm well north of 40) for my upcoming 50km mtb race, and it has been yielding noticeable improvements. Some specific weaknesses (core, lower back and knees) I've been addressing with a weights program as part of my long term shoulder rehab.

Last issue (part 2) covered nutrition. I tried out some alternatives on a 60km ride last weekend, and came to the inescapable conclusion that Fenner's advice is very sound.

If you can't get the backissue, PM me with your email address and I'll send you a scan of it.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby orphic » Wed Sep 01, 2010 12:25 pm

Thanks for the valuable information thelittlebattler. I suppose this is all difficult to determine without me employing a coach, but my fear in doing that (aside for monetary issues) is that group riding will be off and it will all be solo training. I'm worried I'm not motivated enough for that.

Thanks for sharing your experience trailgumby. What sort of training were you doing before you started following the Fenner guide? I have read over some of Fenner's training plans. He did one for 24 hr events and one for Terra Australis. This is where I caught onto the idea of seeing some benefit from a long slow ride, and where I saw the HR % prescribed for interval work.

24hr plan - http://www.enduropulse.com.au/index.php ... a-articles

Terra Australis - http://www.terraaustralismtbepic.com.au ... rogram.pdf
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby Strange Rover » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:13 pm

Im abit in the same situation...been riding for 8 months and have made my best improvements doing group ride smash fests on Wed and Fri, with a solo ride monday and somtimes a longer ride on the weekend. Wouldnt ride at all on Tue or Thurs cause I needed all my rest to be prepaired for the wed and fri smash fest!! The smash fest would generally comprise of about 5 full gas intervals of about 5 to 10 minutes each over about a 1.5 hour ride.

Worked well for me but I also have though about whether I should be riding solo with longer harder intervals (like the famed 2x20). Now I got a power meter and playing with that and now looking to get a coach...

orphic wrote: If you look at my heart rate profile for each of the sessions I am nearly always close to my limit, between 85 and 95% of MHR.


Just out of interest...how do you know your max HR?? Mine is 187 (from a caridac stress test) On the bike the highest I see is about 181 hanging on for grim death on the back of the bunch. Riding solo I can sit on about 170 for 20 minutes. Im 39yo.

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Re: Training at your limit

Postby ft_critical » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:29 pm

I think, working on your power would be more benefical. Trying to keep up on your bunch rides at a lower HR. To do this, I think you need to push a bigger gear and have the strength to do so. You can do that anytime, just conciously click up one gear more than you normally do. Concentrate on higher speed at lower HR/PE since you don't have a PM.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby mikesbytes » Wed Sep 01, 2010 1:47 pm

If you look at Lacey and me, completely different training, same results.

Orphic, you have good fitness, what you need to do is to continue to build power. You haven't been training that long and you have come a long way but things take time.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby rkelsen » Wed Sep 01, 2010 2:30 pm

Strange Rover wrote:Just out of interest...how do you know your max HR?? Mine is 187 (from a caridac stress test)

It's very scientific: 220 minus your age. :)
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby orphic » Wed Sep 01, 2010 3:10 pm

Strange Rover wrote:Just out of interest...how do you know your max HR?? Mine is 187 (from a caridac stress test) On the bike the highest I see is about 181 hanging on for grim death on the back of the bunch. Riding solo I can sit on about 170 for 20 minutes. Im 39yo.
Sam


I haven't done a specific test, but I think I know from where it's been in a sprint at the end of a crit, at the end of a track race where I was at my complete limit and also one night doing motor pace training where it was wound up over the course of about 20 minutes until I felt like I was about to die.

As understand it can change over time. I think it was about 195bpm about 10 months ago and now it's more like 191bpm.
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby trailgumby » Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:34 pm

I wasn't previously doing an organised training routine, just commuting and weekend riding ... and trying to stay out of trouble.

I was just starting to pay attention to getting a training program together early in 2009 after getting my butt totally kicked at the 2008 Fat Tyre Festival, when I had a run of incidents that kept me off the bike for most of 2009 and early 2010.

Basically that meant I was starting from scratch again about the middle of March this year.

Before starting to follow Fenner's scheme my riding mates dubbed me "Captain Slow" because I was always the last to make the climbs at our last trip to Ourimbah a few months ago. I was pleased just to be able to make them without blowing up - that was a first for me. :lol:

But after our last group ride a few weeks ago, the wit who dubbed me with that nickname was complaining about not being able to keep up on the climbs and needing to find me a new moniker. While a nice stroke for the ego, if I'm honest I have to acknowledge I still have a long way to go - I'm doing Manly Dam in a bit under 45 minutes which is an improvement on the 51 I did 6-odd weeks ago, but the quick guys do it in 32 or less. I'd be happy to get in under 40 minutes - a number with a 3 as the first digit would be nice.

Something you might like to contemplate as an occasional session for some variety is spin classes. They're excellent interval training, which improves recovery and lactic acid clearance. For mtb, try to stay seated instead of standing for the high resistance intervals. I did two classes back-to-back Tuesday and Thursday last week instead of commuting, and while it was brutal I was pleased I finished them not only without dying, but actually feeling pretty good. The first spin class I did a couple of months ago left me completely stuffed - I made it to the end but had nothing left. :oops:
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby brentono » Thu Sep 09, 2010 12:56 pm

While "Training at your limit" you will go through, barriers, set up by the power of your mind,
over your body. Some of these are "pain barriers" and some are "physical barriers"
If you are looking to attaining you full potential, say, for competition. You will have to pass
through these barriers. It is my contention, that the use of meters, and certain devices,
limits this possibility. You will never reach your maximum potential, if that is your wish.
(training to a meter has a limiting factor)
Just my thoughts. :wink:
Cheers,
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Re: Training at your limit

Postby pompom1 » Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:24 pm

Everybody seems to have stated what I would have suggested myself. Fitness gains are essentially a process of pushing your body to new levels, recovering and then repeating the process. Dont underestimate the importance of recovery, eat well and rest when you need to.

My favorite site on the net has of course covered this, the content for training is freakin awesome. Highly recommend!!!

http://fitnessblackbook.com/interval-tr ... tolerance/

Tell me what you think. :)
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