Monday, March 10, 2014

Interval Training Versus Repetition Training

All cyclists understand the importance and suffering that comes with interval training.  Over the past many years there has been an even greater understanding of how to pinpoint this training by using power as opposed to heart rate as the gauge of performance.  For most of us we perform a power test on a regular basis.  The primary focus of this test is to determine or estimate your functional threshold power (FTP).  From your FTP you can determine your other zones and where you should be training.  In addition, you may even test the other zones by doing max efforts at 5:00, 1:00, and 15 second sprints.  I use the seven zone method found in Hunter Allen's book Training and Racing with a Power Meter to divide my power/heart rate zones.  These include:
Zone 1:  Recovery- less than 55% of FTP
Zone 2:  Endurance- 56-75% of FTP
Zone 3:  Tempo- 76-90% of FTP
Zone 4:  Lactate Threshold- 91-105% of FTP
Zone 5:  VO2max- 106-120% of FTP
Zone 6:  Anaerobic Capacity- 121-150% of FTP
Zone 7:  Neuromuscular Power- Over 151% of FTP
Since you don't train for "Recovery", there are six zones to train in order to be a well rounded racer.  Endurance and Tempo zones are typically trained on your long days or group rides.  For the threshold and anaerobic zones, interval or repetition training is the best way to improve.  The real question is do you know the difference and when to use interval or repetition?

Interval training is primarily designed to increase your VO2max levels.  Lets say you wanted to do a VO2max interval that would last 8 minutes.  How long will it take your heart rate to get into the zone and how long will it take for the goal power numbers to be challenging?  If your goal power for the interval is 280 watts, it might take two minutes for that to feel challenging and for your heart rate to start rising.  This means your 8-minute effort is only 6 minutes at your goal.  The following is 8 minute intervals as shown with power and heart rate:

  Obviously it is important to practice these long intervals to improve muscular endurance at the higher power ranges.  Next take a look at an interval set designed to improve VO2max also.  These are actually listed as anaerobic capacity intervals because they are done at a higher power level.  These intervals have an equal rest as they do work, but the rest could be less for these types of intervals.  They train you using a higher power level, but your heart rate responds like a VO2max level.  As these intervals increase in numbers, you can see the power is decreasing, it is alright.  The heart rate is also not coming down as quickly between intervals and climbing quicker.  The real training occurs as this workout progresses.

Finally I wanted to show you repetition training.  These are efforts that have much longer rest intervals than they do work intervals.  The goal is to be near full recovery before starting the next effort.  These are specifically designed to improve power output at a specific zone or time period.  The design here was a specific power to hold until he hit fatigue.  Then he rested for at least 2x the work interval and repeated.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

2014 William and Mary Tidewater Winter Classic

The Virginia Beach Wheelmen took four riders to compete in the Cat 3 race.  All of them had goals to accomplish and something to prove to themselves.  For John Gray and Tim Shockley it was a chance to test some early season fitness and see if they could get into a break a do some work at the front of the pack.  Mike Tamayo has spent the winter attached to a trainer trying to get rides snuck in between work, a two year old and a brand new baby who arrived earlier this month.  Joshua Goyet has been building fitness back for the last several months after returning to the bike following a back injury.  The distance was going to be the challenge for both Mike and Joshua.

All four Wheelmen finished the race and felt good about their accomplishments.  They mixed it up in the breaks, assisted with the chase and even had parts in the final lead out.  When it was all over, although not on the podium, the Wheelmen were thrilled with the start of the 2014 racing season.

John Gray 11th
Tim Shockley. 15th
Mike Tamayo. 32nd
Joshua Goyet 35th

On a personal note for me, this race was big.  On the third of 5 laps I decided I was going to pull out the next lap.  My back was a little sore and I had not trained the distance. Really I was using a built in excuse.  I rode up to Tim and let him know my intentions.  When we came through again and I heard the bell, I changed my mind.  I am making a comeback to the sport after taking off last year and really fighting this back injury for the past 3 years.  It is not a comeback if I had dropped out of the first race of the season.  I ended up finishing strong on the front for the lead out in an attempt to keep it safe for my teammates.  That was my victory.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

BCCX 2013 Results

Here are the results for the 2013 Bennett's Creek CX race.  I will also post some pictures later.

2013 BCCX results

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Thanks Kurt Kinetic!

On Saturday my trainer felt odd. 

Two cracks on my Rock n Roll trainer. One on each side of the weld on the top frame. 

Two emails later here it is Wednesday. 

Brand new top frame. If you are in the market for a new trainer take a serious look at Kurt Kinetic. Great trainers and excellent support. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Progress Mixed With Setback

One hour prior to my first session of Rolfing, my back started to ache after picking up a heavy object.  Not hurt, but not comfortable. I went ahead with the session.  My first impression of Rolfing is pretty good.  I really felt like she was making positive changes in my posture. However, due to the soreness in my back from lifting the object, I can't feel a difference. Actually I feel like I have taken a step back. 

Two days later I'm feeling better but not where I was.  My next session is next Sunday. My thought is to take a picture BEFORE each session. If my posture changes after each session but goes to crap in the following week than it probably was not worth it.  I did take a picture a couple of weeks again and the focused on changing my posture myself. 

The one on the right was my posture two weeks ago.  The one on the left was my posture just before going to my first Rolfing session.  Next week I will take another and compare it to the most recent and the first one to see if any changes are noted.  Of course I want physical changes to be noted, but I am primarily concerned with reduction of back pain.  

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Next Stage to Fix My Back

For me, this year, I have more or less given up on the racing season. My back continues to be a problem. This injury has gone on for more than two years. I guess by definition, it is now chronic back pain. I have not given up hope and I am still seeking treatment with the hopes if correcting this problem.

What is my problem?

First: if I were not a cyclist then I really would not have much of a problem. My primary issue is numbness in my left foot while riding. This occurs about 30-40 minutes into every ride.

Second: at times my foot will go numb while standing or walking. Not very often any more, but it still happens.

Third: occasional back pain.

This injury does not effect work or everyday living. It really only effects working out. Cycling, running, strength training and other workouts are hard to do for the length I want to do them.

The reason for this post is to set up a diary for my next treatment endeavor. Tomorrow I start with a massage technique called Rolfing. Rolfing is specifically designed to correct posture due to gravity. My posture is terrible and could easily have been the reason for my back injury. I will post posture pictures of myself though this process along with updates on how I am feeling.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Why New Year Resolutions Fail and How to Make SMART Goals

The ball dropped, a new calendar was purchased and it's the time of year that everyone asks "where did the year go?".  It can only mean one thing, if the year changed, so must you.  Time to make those New Year Resolutions.  What is your resolution that is going to make 2013 a stellar year?  Last year a poll was conducted on the most common resolutions, here are the results:
37% stated they intend to lose weight
18% stated they don't make resolutions
12% stated they wanted to spend more time with friends and family
12% stated they were going to get out of debt
7% were going to quit drinking or smoking
 Missing off this list but related to losing weight would be going to the gym more or simply getting more fit.  The bottom line is resolutions fail because they can never really succeed.  If you resolve in 2013 to quit smoking or drinking, and on 12/31/13 you have not been sober or tobacco free for at least several weeks, then you can say your resolution was a success.  If however, you resolve to lose weight in 2013, then you must be more specific in order to measure success.

Resolutions are nothing more than goals.  Most people think setting goals are easy, but in fact they can be quite challenging.  In order to set goals you must be SMART.  This goes for professional, personal and athletic/competition goals.

  • S- Specific.  Goals must be specific.  Getting in better shape is non-specific.  Running a mile in under 6 minutes is an example of a specific goal.
  • M- Measurable.  In order for a goal to be successful you must know when you have reached the benchmarks or the goal itself.  Instead of having a goal to lose weight you must set a number to reach.  This number could be pounds lost or inches around the waist.  Regardless you must know when you have reached your goal.
  • A- Attainable.  Think of this as being capable of achieving your goals regardless of outside influences.  Those individuals who say they have a goal, or resolution, to spend more time with friends and family might do everything in their power to achieve that goal, but friends and family might be too busy.  Athletes should choose goals that can be obtained regardless of the competition.  I know it sounds strange, but if your season goal is to win Nationals and you train hard, show up on race day, and end up getting out sprinted or team tactics played into a different outcome, then you have set yourself up for failure.  You did everything possible but the day did not go your way because of influences beyond your control.  Instead set a goal for a sub 1hour 40k TT, or a PR on a 10k run.  You can still strive to win Nationals, but it shouldn't be your season goal.
  • R- Realistic.  I am 36 years old.  I should probably start thinking that my goal of an Olympic gold medal is not very realistic.  For weight loss goals, regardless what you see on the Biggest Loser, long term weight loss of more than 3 pounds a week is not realistic.  You want your goals to challenge you, but not make them impossible.  Shoot too low and you will reach them too fast.  Shoot too high and you will get discouraged and give up.
  • T- Timely.  Your goals need to be time sensitive.  Set smaller goals leading up to the big goal.  For weight loss you might have an overall goal of 25 pounds to lose.  Set a date to lose this weight.  It would be realistic for you to lose this weight in 8 weeks.  If you have a spring break trip planned, use that date as benchmark date for your goal weight.  
Whatever resolutions were made while raising a toast with friends and family, look at it closely and use this system to refine them and make them SMART goals.  Good luck in the new year.