How to work on my speed up to my cardiovascular fitness

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by nfeht, Feb 15, 2012.

  1. nfeht

    nfeht New Member

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    I was a rower for the past 8 years and now in graduate school I've switched to cycling. I know how to build top end speed for rowing but I'm clueless when it comes to the bike. at a recent physical i was 154lbs, my HR was measured at 40bpm, my anaerobic threshold is 178bpm, my aerobic threshold is 164bpm, and last May my VO2max was estimated at 70+ml/kg/min. On training rides I reach a point in which I am unable to lift the pace any further but my breathing is as if I was riding leisurely. I just started cycling recently and am a bit perplexed by my situation and not sure how to approach my training. I was wondering if there is specific types of training I could do that would specifically address my problem, getting what I guess is cycling strength up to my cardiovascular fitness. Thanks for any help, I'm thinking that intervals/pyramids would help this but I wouldn't know for how long.
     
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  2. DAL1955

    DAL1955 New Member

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    I'm far from the expert here, but there are essentially 3 phases to fitness development for cycling. Aerobic fitness, which you seem to have. Muscular strength, and muscular endurance are equally important. From rowing, your legs (quads) are probably plenty strong, but lack the endurance phase required to keep them turning for long periods of time. In addition, the other muscles are probably under developed for cycling and you have to train them to participate. This type of fitness is usually developed simply through time in the saddle and and though what folks call LSD training, or long steady distance rides, 40-50-60 miles in what would be zone 2 or 3 heart rates once or twice a week coupled with short distance high speed training rides on other days. Some of the posters here will chime in about mitochondrial development, fast vs slow twitch fibers etc., but I'm not versed enough to discuss this intelligently. Essentially you have to let the blood vessels grow and develop in your legs to feed the muscles with oxygen to fuel their continued use. What you are doing is training or recruiting additional cycling specific muscles to share the load as you cycle so the the quads don't carry all the workload.Form is important, pedaling full circles and not just mashing on the down stroke are important parts of this recruitment process. In a weight training world, this would be similar to a high rep, low weight training regime where form is critical to balanced muscle development. I would suggest Friel's Cyclists Training Bible for details on how to focus on this development. Others will chime in with more specific suggestions I'm sure.

    DAL
     
  3. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    1) you could buy a cadence sensor, the cadence readings will tell you how efficiently you are pedalling, a good reference number for the flats is 90 (turns of your leg per minute), 2) try to find weekend club rides or training partners, you will be forced to follow and to increase your speed, when you ride alone it is harder to push yourself to harder efforts 3) do some hill climbing, guaranteed to raise your HR ! 4) install a bike computer to get speed readings, for you fitness level you could target 20 mph for example, 25 mph in club rides, 5) after all these advices, if your HR is still at leisure levels, then enroll into a PRO team and ride the Tour de France :)
     
  4. nfeht

    nfeht New Member

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    DAL

    Hey thanks for the help. I have knowledge physiology (mito. devel., VEGF, etc.) but application of knowledge is a bit different. What you said makes sense with regards to me. I'm much better at crit style races than road races. And I definitely have a tendency to mash when I get tired. I knew how to address my issue on the erg but on the bike I wasn't so sure. I'm a bit new to cycling. Though cycling races more fun than rowing races -- its not even close; I never want to see a 2k test again. thanks again.

    PS: Did a 2.2 hr spin today, effort was "only being able to say a sentence or two".
     
  5. nfeht

    nfeht New Member

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    VSPA

    1&4) already have a cateye strada cadence
    2) my university's cycling team
    3) I'm a sick (insert expletive), I love climbs...please help...make me stop
    5) I ride in the tour and giro all the time, but only when sleeping. added benefit of riding in the tour while sleeping I wake up before crashes.
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It's not all that different. I would hazzard a guess and say that your mitochondria have no clue as to whether you're sat in a boat or on a bike. Heart and lungs... same deal.

    The book "racing and training with a power meter" by Hunter and Coggan is a good read and covers all the good stuff. Andy Coggan posts on this board too. There's a lot of good info on the TrainingPeaks website. Alex Simmons (he posts here too) has a very informative blog.

    I haven't rowed competitely but I'd argue that a kilometer TT or a do-or-die couple of Km effort on a bike, fully motivated at the end of a race, is just as painful.
     
  7. nfeht

    nfeht New Member

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    I'll look into those books/site when I get the chance. I know a lot of miles is what I need most to transition. Having raced in cycling and rowing; the pain can't really be compared...its just different. Burning with cycling, agonizing savage pain with rowing. Its not that one is more than the other but they are very very different. I don't actually remember the vast majority of my rowing races after about 400m of a 2000m race everything goes blank.
     
  8. DAL1955

    DAL1955 New Member

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    The type of training referred to as LSD training is typically done in Zone 2 or low zone 3. It should seem relatively easy, like something you could do for 4-5 hours. This is where you concentrate on form and make sure you are engaging all your muscles, not just the strongest ones. When you train hard, the strongest muscles take over and you don't get the benefit of recruiting the weaker less used muscles. This seems counter intuitive I know, but try this. See you long you can go with no "push" on the downstroke. Only pull the pedals around from the bottom of the pedal circle,go slow and use minimal resistance. After a few minutes you will feel the various muscles in your butt and the back of your legs. Now imagine if those muscles were as strong as your quads..... Recruiting all these muscles to participate require the development of new muscle memory and you have to start that process with slow deliberate actions. DAL
     
  9. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    and before getting drop by the peloton,
     
  10. nfeht

    nfeht New Member

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    where should zone 2/3 be relative to ones thresholds. I'm used to Cat 1,2,3,4,5,6 terminology from rowing cat 1 & 2 intensity shows whether or not you have balls, cat 3 is slightly over ones 2000m test splits (mine was a 6:38), cat 4 is about a 5000m test (about a 17:40), cat 5 is a hard steady state (not conversational but you can talk), and cat 6 is a steady state (conversational). I was estimating zone 2/3 to be a cat 5. my spin yesterday was cat 5 as well as the middle of my bike ride today (51 miles, & the middle 41 miles I maintained about 230 avg watts; working but still able to talk).

    I incorporate what you've said into my training/riding and see how i do.
     
  11. DAL1955

    DAL1955 New Member

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    When you are trying to train new muscles, it is the form that matters most, not the effort. Initially, I wouldn't even think about thresholds or anything else but making sure you are sequencing the efforts correctly, or simply pedaling full circles where there is effort around most of the 360 degrees of the pedal stroke with each leg. This is harder than it seems, and probably best done on a trainer initially. Once you have this feel firmly ingrained, then you train the speed of revolution. When you lose form, you slow down, regain the form and increase the cadence again. Work on this until you can do this at 100-110 or more rpm (cadence). This can be a gradual process, and you certainly should not do this to the exclusion of other training efforts. Zone 1 (active recovery) should be easy conversational pace, below 130 watts, Zone 2 would be Aerobic endurance, still conversational, but at about 75% of your max HR or about 175-200 watts. Zone 3 (tempo 200-250W) sounds like your middle 31 miles above. The watts mentioned above are based only on a guess at your FTP being about 250W. Check out www.trainingpeaks.com and read some of their training articles; they have much more detailed explanations of training zones as they apply to power and heart rate. Rowing efforts like you describe above are short intense efforts (by comparison to cycling efforts). Most cycling efforts are more akin to a marathon; or a very long row.
     
  12. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    It would sound like you're just not going hard enough on the bike when you need to go hard...
     
  13. odanota

    odanota New Member

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    Hi nfeht,

    Thought I would throw in some suggestions. Sounds like rowing has certainly turned you into a strong cardio athlete now all you have to do is convert that fitness into usable speed on the bike. Here are some workouts to try:

    1. Leg speed drills:

    Once you are warmed up, on a flat to slightly down hill stretch of road gradually spin up to max rpm. I tend to use my small ring and the middle gear in the back for this workout. The idea is to control you spin so you are as smooth as possible without bouncing all over your saddle, once you get to max rpm try to hold it for 3-5 seconds. Repeat this 4-8 times.

    This workout will help create a smooth pedal stroke plus it will help with your top end speed once you add the power gained in workout 2.

    2. Slow fluid rotations:

    On a 6-8% climb do 4x4min in 1-2 gears lower (a harder gear to pedal) than you would normally climb in. Stay seated during the efforts, this will help build powerful hip extenders and will help build cycling power. Try to stay at or just below your LT. Put a lot of attention on keeping pressure on the chain at all times, if you feel the chain go slack, you need to work on your form a little harder.

    This is a workout that simply will never feel good, since you are a rower, you will be ok with dealing with the pain so enjoy.

    I would suggest doing the slow fluid rotations maybe on a Wednesday and then doing the leg speed drills on a Thursday. Once you combine the power from the climbing and the speed from the leg drills, you should be well on your way to matching your speed with your fitness.

    Cheers,

    Roger Rilling
    mystoller.com
     
  14. nfeht

    nfeht New Member

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    Everyone thanks for all the information/advice. Because of a 23 credit graduate course load with labs my training time is somewhat limited right now. But now I can gear my training to take advantage of what limited time I have. Of course I'm going to have to reevaluate my abilities in a week or two because I'm already noticing significant increases in speed as my body is adapting to a new activity. I'll be racing for Drexel University this March and April in the EtripleC (ECCC). Probably starting in the Cs (cat4/5). This will definitely be a season in which I simply get stronger as it goes on and I add miles to my legs.
     
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