Power and Heart Rate for Racing vs. training

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by 10kman, May 31, 2014.

  1. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    Hi Everyone -

    I have an odd situation and I'm not sure how to train for it (or not).

    A typical 2 x 20 for me yields about 330-340 watts per rep, 5 minute rest between. My heart rate for a rep is generally around 160 if I can stay cool, since I'm doing them on a traininer. That seems to be the main factor in making my heart rate go up, I'm not a caffeine drinker, sugary snack eater, etc, it's pretty consistent. Cadence is in the low to mid 80's.

    If I do another favorite of mine, 2 reps of 2-8 minutes (2 mins at VO2 followed immediately by 8 minutes at FTP), my VO2 power is around 410, and my FTP part of the rep is also about 340. Heart rate for the VO2 will be in the low 170's, then when I get to the FTP, same as above, I level out to the low 160's.

    A 3 x 3 VO2 workout has my power in the 410-415 range per rep, heart rate pegs in the 175 range by the end of the 3 minute interval each time.

    Now, here's the situation. I compete in hill climbs. I just did one today, and my average heart rate was 173, max was 177. Unfortunately, my climbing only bike (used for events that have 12% average grade) does NOT have a power meter on it, mainly to save weight, and also so I don't get fixated on numbers when I need to be racing. It's not everyone's cup of tea to do it that way, but I fear I'll fixate on data numbers and not "shut up and race". I do log cadence and heart rate and general GPS data though, but don't display it during the ride. My cadence for the race today was avg 94, slightly higher than I train at, I tend to mash my training gears more than my race gears.

    I digress. My heart rate in this event is the same as my VO2 number workouts, and I'm pretty spent during those. This event was 26 minutes long, and there's no way I could do a VO2 pace on my trainer for 26 minutes, I'd explode.

    So my question is, how can I train my body to be able to function at that high of a heart rate? I have used a power meter equipped bike on other races and the same thing happens, my race efforts end up around my FTP range (let's say 350), but yet, my heart rate is in the low 170's due to the hill factor.

    Should I train to adapt my body so I can "function" at that high of a heart rate for upwards of an hour (longest event)? This would require me fudging my FTP to a higher number and training there, and I fear burnout if I do that.

    Disclaimer, I'm not in race tuned shape yet, I feel more horsepower than anything right now, just no top gear. It's fine, these weren't A races (I did one 3 weeks ago as well, with same issue), but I'd like to get my numbers to match better.

    Any ideas? Hill climbing is such a weird event in terms of body requirements, I haven't found a sweet spot with training is my guess.

    Thanks a ton,

    10k
     
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  2. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Put your power meter on your hill climbing bike, cover up the display if you wish, and do the hill climb again. That will give you information not speculation.

    You are correct about wanting to be able to function at a higher heart rate. The way you do that is to train at a higher heart rate. Your heart rate at the end of any interval should be very close to your maximum heart rate. I am lazy and get my heart rate above my LT, but that is not good enough for me.
     
  3. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    Putting the power meter on the climbing bike is easier said than done with how I have it set up, and there's a 6 hour drive that I'd need to take as well to go back and get a real number. I ran the numbers through an online calculator and it suggests I averaged 370 watts for 26 minutes and 22 seconds. Your suggestion of letting my heart rate elevate during my interval reps is putting the focus back to heart rate rather than power training (to me). The only way my heart rate will elevate up to those race numbers is to train my power levels to a higher range. Do I want to get my heart rate up early in the rep and sustain or let it build, and if build, what percentage of the rep should have my heart rate at the max?
     
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Training is harder than racing. Regardless of your power, you are really training your cardio/vascular system. You are also learning what power you can maintain without exceding your max heart rate.

    Quote: Should I train to adapt my body so I can "function" at that high of a heart rate for upwards of an hour (longest event)?



    No. That cannot be done. You want constant power with increasing heart rate. You hope your heart rate does not reach its max before you get to the end.

    I set my rest periods and my power so I hit my max heart rate at the end of the interval. Except for an initial acceleration to get up to speed I ride at constant power. (Actually I just hit a power level that I fell comfortable with and hold it until my heart rate hits the max.)

    If you want to keep your power levels as they are, you can cut your rest period down or you can make the intervals longer.

    ---

    You have lots of power. If your FTP is 340w, you should be able to do the 20 minute intervals at 350-360w. If you are doing them at 330-340w, you should not need 5 minutes between them. Just ease up to take a quick drink in the middle of the 40 minutes.
     
  5. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    My ftp is just under 360, but I don't do regular checks. Your suggestion of going at the 105 percent range of my ftp with less rest would probably get my heart rate up to that level. I do the same as you do, I ride at a constant power for the whole rep, outside of the initial pickup. To avoid burnout and to adapt to this any ideas how to do it gracefully? I have an A race on July 12, and another around August 18th. Should I cut down the rest rep for a few weeks then increase my power? After increasing power will I go back to the 4 to 5 minute rest range (speaking of a 2 x 20 workout here)?
     
  6. fluro2au

    fluro2au New Member

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    Hi 10k,

    Ditch the HR and keep your focus on your PM. Look at your Power profile chart and start to identify your weaknesses. You'll find those by identifying bigger dips in power profile chart. Where those dips occur, find that power number and the time. What then that gives you is a power target for a length of time interval. Then just start doing repeats at 90% of that number....For example, if you find you can hold 2min for 400watts, before you notice a sudden drop in power, then start doing 2-2.5 to 3min intervals at 90% of 400w = 360watts.....keep repeating until you can't 360w anymore....This is the single best way to address your physiological limit in a session, which will then give you the best adaptations, without doing too much or not enough, all the while addressing your weakness. That is how you address your physiology.

    The next step is to then address the demands of the event....break that down in terms of distance, elevation and w/kg and start doing sessions that meet what it is you what to be doing in those races.

    The whole HR thing is just noise, especially if you own a PM, get rid of it and focus on what works.

    If you are focusing on hills, keep your hill repeats under 2km, greater than 10%, and do lots and lots of repeats over short sharp and steep hills. Get on board with setting up a NP buster and start at 30min of short hill repeats and build up to an hour so that your NP is > 1.07% of your FTP....Hit that for an hour and you'll climb any hill for any length of time well.

    Cheers
    paul
     
  7. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    Thanks for the tips, if you don't mind, you opened up a few questions in my head and I wanted to get some more info.

    Since I posted, I dropped my rest on my 2 x 20's to 2 minutes, and am keeping my reps @ 340-350 watts. I notice after about 1 minute my heart rate settles to my Zone 2 level (130-140), and I feel fine (relatively speaking considering what I'm doing). So I do think I was taking too much rest on my FTP workouts and am adjusting.

    Your example of the 400w for 2 minutes above, should I get a true number to go off of with that scenario, meaning, push at a high level for however long I can go, then do as you suggest with the workouts at 90%? What types of workouts are you looking at, long intervals like 2 x 20's, or shorter stuff with more rest between?

    I don't actually do any hill intervals, I live where there aren't a ton of hills, and oddly I do well in the events. I've been doing all of my intervals on a trainer. I can probably find something though to do some work on, is your target of 30 minutes for the actual "work" of the sessions or is that counting work/recovery?

    Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

    10k
     
  8. fluro2au

    fluro2au New Member

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    Quote: Since I posted, I dropped my rest on my 2 x 20's to 2 minutes, and am keeping my reps @ 340-350 watts. I notice after about 1 minute my heart rate settles to my Zone 2 level (130-140), and I feel fine (relatively speaking considering what I'm doing). So I do think I was taking too much rest on my FTP workouts and am adjusting.
    Are you a TT'er, if so yes, you can adjust your RI's, if not, then you need to be asking yourself why 2x20min....How often would you ride for 20min at a constant steady effort like that?

    Quote: Your example of the 400w for 2 minutes above, should I get a true number to go off of with that scenario, meaning, push at a high level for however long I can go, then do as you suggest with the workouts at 90%? What types of workouts are you looking at, long intervals like 2 x 20's, or shorter stuff with more rest between?
    You can use your current PB or just do a calibration effort with the first interval. my guys like the second method, as it gives them a chance to have a crack at a new PB, but it will also set you up according to how fatigued you might be on the day.
    Then you just keep repeating until you can't hold 90% anymore.....This will really address your mental toughness... Plus you never go too deep, thus impacting on subsequent training sessions.
    In terms of length of intervals I start at 1min and will build up to 8min for this sort of set....Anything longer doesn't really fit into your typical RR or crit race or multi stage race...

    Quote: I don't actually do any hill intervals, I live where there aren't a ton of hills, and oddly I do well in the events. I've been doing all of my intervals on a trainer. I can probably find something though to do some work on, is your target of 30 minutes for the actual "work" of the sessions or is that counting work/recovery?
    If you have a 200-400m steep hill nearby, that is all you need.
    I don't target specific total workload, however, if I do start getting close to a total of 30min, eg 15 x 2min then my sustainable repeatable power is good and I'll go back to do repeats of 2min @ max effort and recalibrate

    Be careful putting caps on total work load, because what that does it instantly calibrates your whole sessions, this can be counterproductive, especially if you really want to address your physiological limits......

    Paul
     
  9. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    I race uphill races, which are pretty much time trials in disguise. My shortest race is 25 minute range, longest about an hour, so I do see longer intervals of time spent in my upper power bands. That was the reasoning behind the 2x20 workout numbers I posted. I have a few hills for options, some short and steep, some are longer grinders. For the races I frequent I am seeing grades in 12 percent range, sustained, and blips up to 18 percent. My power and heart rate usually rise up fast then stay elevated. I've been trying to train that aspect of my body, holding high numbers for long periods of time.
     
  10. fluro2au

    fluro2au New Member

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    Nice work 10k...Build your ability to hold high number first (1-4min range) for a short period of time, then build your ability to repeat those numbers often, then finally build your ability to sustain those numbers for longer periods time.

    Raise your power, repeat your power then sustain your power.

    Paul
     
  11. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    I like it. I'm going to revamp things for the summer and see how I adapt. Thanks!
     
  12. fluro2au

    fluro2au New Member

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    Hi 10kman,

    I'm just getting back into things after busting my collarbone and a few ribs. This session I do is great for hitting that first step of raising your power.. This was a short hill repeat session, the interval lasted for 37min (I was targeting 500m of elevation). I kept aiming for around 450watts on each climb. I did around 18 repeats. AP/NP was 274/352
    Each climb was around 300-500m @ 8-15%.

    http://www.strava.com/activities/159730142/overview

    Later on in the week I'll be hitting 2min efforts on flat loop. I'll do the first 2min @ max effort to calibrate, then I'll start repeating @ 90% of that number.

    Hope it helps
    Paul
     
  13. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    I raced a climb on Saturday, put up some good numbers even with my volume being up right now. No taper, it was a B race for me, more or less a tune up to see where I'm at.

    352 watt average power, 171 avg heart rate. Here's graph data.

    How much rest are you taking relative to your "work" reps? Is it equal, or however long it takes to get back down to the bottom, somewhere in between, etc.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  14. fluro2au

    fluro2au New Member

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    Hi 10k,

    Early in the season I just cruise between climbs. When I'm in season, then I try and keep the rest intervals as short as possible.

    This morning we did a 4 man paceline around a 1.5km circuit. It was a tough set in cold and windy conditions (we usually have about 10-15 people turn up), AP/NP for the 20min was 350/369.

    http://app.strava.com/activities/161004631/overview

    Paul
     
  15. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    Very good numbers you put down on the bike, like seeing the data.

    Did a hill session last evening. Warmed up, and found a 3 minute long hill that averages 10-11 percent. Worked well, I stayed between 360-380 watts for reps, my first was 408 or something like that so took roughly 90 percent and stayed comfortably uncomfortable for reps. I'd like to find something longer at the same grade so I'm scouting maps and trying to jog my memory, I know I've been on some.

    What was nice was my heart rate was settling in around 170 bpm, and I wasn't in that VO2 range that it takes for me to do via the trainer, so I got in a good workout. Really appreciate the ideas, I'm motivated even in the heat wave we're having here.
     
  16. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Hi 10kman,

    I believe that racing conditions with their impact on the release of stress hormones may in part explain why your HR response is different (that is, generally higher) when racing compared to when training. If you did for instance race in crits, that gap would probably be even greater.

    HR is in part conditioned by your nervous system, which is heavily influenced by stress hormones.

    That alone should justify the choice of embarking a power meter during these uphill races. Especially now that the professional equipment seems within several master rider's reach (e.g. I have a guy who thinks he need to add some weight to his Time bike as its probably too light to meet UCI requirements).

    At least, you were smart enough to avoid the trap of calibrating your effort based on HR response, as this, in racing situation would a recipe for under performing. When "experts" mention that HR response isn't reliable enough compared to power numbers, this is one clear example which proves them right.
     
  17. 10kman

    10kman New Member

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    Well, the beauty of this series is that it isn't UCI sanctioned, so your bike can be as light as you want. The bike I use for the steep stuff is 12.5 pounds ready to go, computer and all. I could still gain the weight of a power meter and be light enough I'm sure, I just figured since it's a chance to drop some weight, and save money, that I could always add back later if needed.
     
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