Developing power/endurance advice needed

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by DNAtsol, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. DNAtsol

    DNAtsol New Member

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    I did some mountains for the first time this summer (Cat 4 and 3 according to MMR) and noticed I could keep up with my riding partner for a while but eventually my ability to push a gear big enough to keep up with him resulted in significant HR elevation and lots of lactic acid and I would drop off his wheel. I deduced I did not have the same strength or endurance as him.

    I've been riding for the last few years using the Lance Armstrong model of high cadence (88-95rpm) and high HR (I seem to be able to sustain 88% max HR for 60+mins) and while that has definitely helped my cardio it has done little for my strength. So I started riding slower cadence (60-70) and harder gearing. I think there is improvement in speed and endurance but I wonder if this approach is the best way to accomplish my goal of developing endurance/strength so I can ride faster.

    As an aside, I would prefer on bike training tips rather than going to a gym since I get positively bored out of my mind in a gym and I am unable to sustain any kind of routine at this point.

    Thanks
    DNAtsol
     
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  2. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    Do some searches on "interval training". You'll want intervals of at least 20 minutes in length, not the short couple of minute ones.
     
  3. DNAtsol

    DNAtsol New Member

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    Thanks. While I've been cycling a few years I still consider myself a noob.
     
  4. DNAtsol

    DNAtsol New Member

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    As a followup, two questions

    1) I have a HRM but no Power meter so I've been gauging my effort by trying to stay in various HR zones on my rides so if I was to do 2 x 20s should I be using 90% MHR as a goal?

    Also, my area is mainly rolling terrain (few flats and lots of short 5-12% hills 200m - 1000m in length) would you recommend keeping my HR @ 90% MHR the whole time of shoot for 90% average?

    2) is there a recommended cadence or does it matter as long as I titrate my effort to keep my HR @90% for 2 x 20 min.


    Thanks
    DNAtsol
     
  5. CalicoCat

    CalicoCat Member

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    HI DNA,
    During the off-season (winter) my coach has us doing a lot of SEs (strength-endurance intervals). These involve doing low cadence, high power type work on on the indoor trainer. They simulate low cadence hill climbs. We do this 2x/week for a good part of the winter. Like weight lifting, these intervals build muscle, and when we come the spring we definitely see an improvement in strength that translates to improved power output. However, these can be hard on the knees and really break down the muscle fiber (like weight lifting) so a lot of recovery is needed. So, these are not recommended during the regular season. Once spring hits, and the racing season is on the horizon, we switch to a period of "threshold intervals" (2x20s).
     
  6. Tapeworm

    Tapeworm New Member

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    For the OP: correct term is lactate. Acidosis usually will not occur in normal aerobic exercise. The burning is not attributed to any singular thing though, of course corresponds with the build up of lactate, possibly the buffering of hydrogen ion from the body dipping into the anaerobic energy system in very hard efforts.

    Your ability to keep up with your friend has nothing to do with your leg "strength". If you can walk up a flight of stairs you are probably strong enough. What you lack is the ability to supply to the muscles the energy required and then remove all the nasty metabolites produced (see above). To improve this, train more :)

    HR is not a bad way to train. Power has a lot of advantages but at the end of the day stimulus is stimulus.

    To answer your other questions:
    1) For the 2 x 20mins the HR range should be around the 90% of max. Best way is to ride something like a time trial see what your HR is off that and then base your work outs from that.

    2) So far all the evidence that I have seen is that self-selected cadence is usually optimal for power producing. Note: this may be different to efficiency. But I would rather would opt for power.

    Your training will be better if you figure out what you are training for. General training yields general results.

    Which muscles are you building? Do you think that working at, say 40 rpm, is significantly different than 80rpm from a physiological standpoint? You are either working your aerobic system or you are not. If you are then you are working slow twitch muscles, which is nothing like weight lifting (unless you plan to do a LOT of reps, 3000 say?). ANY hard training session requires a lot of recovery, not just low cadence sessions. Are you sure that power outputs were only improved because they were low cadence?

    "Strength Endurance" is such an horrible term /img/vbsmilies/smilies/mad.gif

    There is a lot of anecdotal evidence which does suggest high resistance training can improve aerobic performance in the 2min~30min range - which is related to the theorised building and muscle conversion from type IIb to more "endurance friendly" type IIa and IIx. This is all still highly debated and not conclusively proven. Though I just think everyone should squat cuz its cool.
     
  7. DNAtsol

    DNAtsol New Member

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    Thanks Calico and Tape,

    Both of you gave me info that I understood at a level I could understand it. I kind of knew that "strength endurance" was not the correct term but I hoped that the context and description of what I was experiencing would prompt a correction while still conveying what I am trying to do.

    At this point I have never actually put together or used a systematic training program. I've just been riding more (~4500K so far this year) and getting faster, climbing better and overall general improvement in fitness (relative to where I started - general training and all that). I've used different elements out that I've read in various books, online or advice from friends etc (i.e., gearing up on climbs, pushing over the top of a hill, cornering techniques). Not any consistent approach but trying different things to keep the riding fun for myself. But, being dropped this summer by my friend really got under my skin so I have set a goal of 44K @ 34.5 kph by June 30 2011. My PB is currently ~29.3 kph @ that distance and that was after doing more low cadence, higher gearing rides.

    One reason I'm think I saw improvement might be that I'm doing a better job of dosing my effort and not starting out so hard that I have less in reserve for the second half of the ride. Each of my summer PB's literally came when i wasn't trying because I thought I was starting out too slow, wanting to make sure I had the capacity to get over a late hill in the higher gear.

    It's seems unlikely that simply doing more lower cadence/higher gearing riding is the complete explanation for my PB's but it does seem to serve as functional way to achieve my desired goal.
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Ways for going faster in the hills.

    1. lose weight.
    2. put out more power.
    3. descend faster.

    1. Weight. It's the easy bit. Ride more, eat just enough. Cut out the junk and keep losing weight until you're under 10% fat. For most folk that'll be enough but if you're really serious about it then lose a bit more. If your diet is pretty good then you could keep losing weight until power suffers.

    2. Train consistently and train hard. As pointed out already, it's mostly about aerobic work - 2 x 20s ridden very hard are great for this. If you feel like starting the second interval with less than a 5 minute rest inbetween then you're not going hard enough. As you get fitter you can either keep the workload the same and tack on another 20 minutes or up the ante. After 10 to 12 weeks consider some shorter intervals 5min, 2min, 1min or even 30seconds to adjust the focus. As power (or average speed for the intervals) comes up consider reducing the rest between the intervals to increase your tolerance to repetitive high intensity efforts. If your route has lots of little "rollers" in the foothills then this tollerance will help you recover a bit faster if you hit the hills a bit too hard.

    3. Bike slow down faster than they accelerate, brake hard, brake late, brake less and make sure that the majority of braking is done before the corner. Weight distribution across the bike is important as is tire pressure. Sometimes 120psi, especially on bumpy roads, isn't the best for slicing through corners. Look as far ahead as you can and relax.
     
  9. DNAtsol

    DNAtsol New Member

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    Swampy,
    1. Getting there. started @ 216 lbs and now @ 205. Still clydesdale but subClyde is my short-term goal /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
    2. the message, everyone who has been kind enough to weigh in here, seems to be that 2 x 20s are a good approach so I'll definitely be adding these to my rides. However, I'm a numbers guy and having a HR range or a number to shoot for that can represent the verbal description you provide has always been my problem. I'm the kind of person where if I can still breathe without passing out after the first 20 min set I feel like I didn't go hard enough and wimped out /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif but that appears to be the wrong attitude.
    3. Descending is one of the things I adore and I already do many of the things you suggest. for example, I have 2 90 degree corners at the bottom of hills near the end of my rides and I think I am hitting these pretty hard. I gear up as I enter the corner and get out of the saddle and in the drops to accelerate out of them a lot more than a I used to. On my last corner I'm taking the corner @ ~ 36-40 kph. I could probably go faster but the corner is blind and I am in a spot where cars definitely appear on a fairly consistent basis.
     
  10. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    DNAtsol, if you need a specific number to shoot for during your 2x20s then you should really go out and test yourself. A 30 minute Time Trial after a good warm up on a day when you are recovered and motivated shoud give you a reasonable estimate of LTHR. Your 2x20s then should be between that hr and about 5 beats slower. But you will also need to pay attention to your body, because of the multitude of factors affecting heart rate some days the number will be off but the power output or speed is still in range. I'll never give up a 2x20 because my heart rate won't go into L4, but I sometimes will cut short the effort if HR, RPE, and speed are all out of my expected values.

    My experience with 2x20s has been great, I am a lot faster than I was 3 .5 months ago when I started doing them. The other thing that gas been great is that a 2x20 session with a long warm-up cool-down/travel takes less than 1.5 hours and even a 4x20 which is an absolute killer workout takes only 2 hours. These are workouts you can recover from quickly, they aren't easy but they don't destroy your body either, my LT days are tues and thurs with a long hard ride sat and a mod length tempo/endurance ride sun, if i do 2x20s fri instead of thurs I am still good to go as hard as I want sat with the 4 x20 thurs sat is still fine though I would avoid a 4x20 Friday if I plan to attack the group on a hill or sprint with the bunch on sat.

    If you have the mindset that will let you literally knock yourself out during an interval workout go do it, have a buddy follow you and drag you out of the road. Personally I don't have it in me to drive that hard all the time, I aim to puke just past the finish line of every TT though ( haven't done it yet, just some wretching and dry heaving, but it's a goal just like 20mins for a 10 mile TT!)
     
  11. DNAtsol

    DNAtsol New Member

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    thanks quenya,
    I did a personal TT during the TdF TT day this year of 8.2K in 13:35 and as I described it in my log:

    It took me twice as long to get back home after that effort. I felt like someone had turned me inside out and left me out to dry. Barely made it home /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif. I can probably psych myself up to do a 30 min TT this weekend to use as my baseline and start working from there.

    As a followup, would anyone care to share what data they track and what charts they look at to track his/her progress. I'm using a website (not MMR) to record my rides and I can download my data into a spreadsheet but I'm a little unsure what would be good tracking data (I've a Garmin 500). For example, I could see how tracking average speed is obvious but what about some sort of ratio for speed/avg HR. Also, while I will start to change some of my rides to doing 2 x 20s I still want to have some "just go riding" days so would I only want to track actual training days? I know this is a little unfocused and maybe even weird questions but I guess I'm just trying to get a feel for what would be the kind of things I could track and see early improvement to help keep me motivated.

    Thanks to everyone so far. You've been awesome and patient with my questions. It's really helpful.

    DNAtsol
     
  12. Tapeworm

    Tapeworm New Member

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    There are a few programs out there which aid you in tracking progress. TrainingPeaks/WKO+ is a very popular one, however to get started you can look at Golden Cheetah which is an excellent FREE program (and MAC native if you need that sort of thing). Most are power based but this does not preclude their use.

    A very simple, but effective, metric you can use to track your rides is Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE). To ensure your RPE is "dialled in" usually pick something like a time trial or your weekly "World Championships" group ride - basically where ever you are red-lining, throwing up, loosing vision. That's probably a 20 on the Borg Scale:-
    [​IMG]


    Some people can dial their RPE to wattage VERY effectively, a case of nosce te ipsum (Know thyself). Measuring general training rides on speed is a path fraught with issues, there are simply too many factors that affect speed UNLESS you happen to live in a very non-windy place with nice roads and usually use similar routes for each ride. Otherwise RPE, HR and time will be good metrics to track progress. A regular "time trial" of a certain climb or course in repeatable conditions is the best way to actually test how training is going. Or you could race. Dr Coggan said it best - "The best measure of performance is performance itself."
     
  13. Yojimbo_

    Yojimbo_ Well-Known Member

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    About those 20 minute intervals - go hard but not too hard else you won't do them very often because they'll hurt too much.
     
  14. Chapeau!

    Chapeau! New Member

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    You have only lost 11lbs in 3 years of cycling?.
     
  15. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    Quote:Originally Posted by Chapeau! .

     

    You have only lost 11lbs in 3 years of cycling?. 





    Poignant and topical as ever Chapeau! Keep those valuable insights coming... :/

    DNAtsol, I have played around with and like using a variant of TRIMPs, where you basically score each ride by adding up the products of minutes in a certain zone multiplied by the zone itself. This weights more strenuous rides against longer less intense rides so for example a 2x20 with good warm up and slow cool down might score 400 where a LSD ride in zone 2 would take 3+ hours to reach a score of 400.
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Actually, for once, it is a valid point and not a mention of relative strength or Lance in a pair of short shorts, squatting. I hadn't picked up that the weight loss was over the course of a few years...

    If the OP's goal is to hotfoot it up some mountains (if they really are equivalent to Tour Cat3 in size) then dumping weight by a pound or two a week, not per year, is where the biggest performance increases will be seen and doing that is easy, especially at 200+ lbs. Training harder, to rider harder up hills and not losing weight is an unholy trifecta of doom. Since fat is a superbe insulator, the thought of being able to ride really hard, which in turn produces lots of heat which the fat 'traps' and doing it on a hill at a lower speed (less cooling) is just not somewhere that I'd like to go having been there too many times. RPE shoots up through the roof for no other reason that your blood is being simmered at 320F and your liver and kidneys believe that they're being slow roasted in an oven.

    Weight is the number 1 obsticle here - not lack of power.

    Just watch what you eat and just get about 10 hours of hard riding in a week... That 'hard' riding could be intervals or lots of straight L3 and some L4 but not so much of the L4 that you arrive back home ready to eat a rancid horse. Knock out at least 1500Kj per ride and you'll be laughing all the way to the clothing store in no time. Fortunately, lots of hard riding also makes big inroads into the 'power' part too.
     
  17. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    Swampy, the OP has been riding for years but, if i understand correctly, has recently been introduced to these particular hills and recently started trying to lose weight. So yes the point is valid but had already been discussed and the advice Chapeau gave was less than helpful. Your response carries some powerful imagery, and not exactly fond memories of my own, which informs your good advice.

    I'm just saying Chapeau could have not posted that and the discussion would be no worse off.

    DNAtsol I don't know what your goal weight is but a fast climbing 'normal' guy might have a power to weight ratio of 4+watts/kilogram. Improving that ratio is the key to climbing, and Swampy is right the key is losing weight so keep at it. 15 kilos are worth 60 watts and more when you consider what Swampy has to say and 60 watts is a huge gain!
     
  18. fergie

    fergie Member

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    Just add the guy to your ignore list. As they say, don't feed the trolls.

    60 watts is 6-9 minutes in a 40km time trial. I have seen my 60sec power increase but my weight has increased so my performance has actually dropped.
     
  19. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    All this talk of weight and climbing brings back memories of dragging my lard ar$e up Monitor and Ebbetts passes a few years ago.

    As they say...

    See no evil, speak no evil, feel no evil
    [​IMG]

    Up the grassy banks atop of Ebbetts pass ~8,800ft in the Death Ride... random food never tasted so good. :p I think I was about 185lbs or something back. then... Life at that point was pretty grim. I think that was the year folks were bombarded with ballbearing like hailstones late in the afternoon.

    ... this year, the first time I went up Ebbetts in the Alta Alpina, I'd done 130ish miles and ejected the contents of my stomach twice during the day and I felt way better. ~168lbs. With the pukefest it'd be closer to 163 (weighed 160 when I got home) The day before I'd laughed about being the only one in the family that didn't get the stomach bug that was going around. It could have been worse - I could have done a LeMond and crapped my shorts...

    During the 'inbetween years' my weight had been up and down more than a ho's panties on a dollar night special.

    Weight is the great killer of speed on the hills... ask Cancellara why he gets shelled when the road goes up and the skinny whips put the hammer down - and he's got more power on tap that near all the pros.
     
  20. fergie

    fergie Member

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    I have a target power to weight I am trying to hit before I get back into the hills. Doesn't help that the less steep climbs in town have been wiped out by our recent earthquakes. I have to either drop 10kg or lift my FTP by 50 watts.
     
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