An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

robeambro wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:58 pm

Out of curiosity, from what you say it seems swimming would be better than stairs/squats/lunges/etc if no cycling/spinning/running is available. Is this the case, and if yes why? Not sure there'd be much legwork involved, but I guess will have other beneficial effects.

And, on another subject, you mentioned that pro's don't usually show their HR on Strava. Which is generally true, but I've found that former cycling pro and current Ironman world-class athlete (and easily best biker) Cameron Wurf publishes it. Of course we don't know whether he publishes every little session. Would be good if you could use his workouts to show us some real life examples of how he trains and whether it fits with your theory. If you want, that is! I know you have better things to do :mrgreen:
I don't actually think it's better to swim than doing stairs/squats/lunges at a sufficient level to provide an adequate aerobic stimulus. The latter are more specific to cycling (using similar muscle groups). There are a few problems: 1) you may not be doing enough of them, or hard enough, to adequately provide aerobic benefit and 2) you may be overworking the same group of muscles, if your intent is to cross-train to "recover" from a rough cycling season. Squats/lunges should compliment your regular cycling training, but obviously swimming when viewed alone is a much better full-body exercise.

When I look at a rider on Strava that publishe their HR data, it's very simple to figure out their fitness level. You see what their HR is on a particular climb or segment, and compare over time or a particular reference point. By also looking at their time, speed or power for that same climb/segment, you can guess with reasonable accuracy what kind of shape they were at that time and whether they are improving or declining.

Regarding Cameron Wurf, I am not familiar with him, but a few observations (I looked at maybe 20 of his efforts):
-His cycling rides tend to have average HR of around 110-120bpm, but on certain rides peak at 170+ bpm. I haven't seen any dedicated interval sessions or "sweet spot" rides. This seems to be a very casual form of polarized training (hard efforts within an otherwise easy ride), which is probably more of a function of his multi-sport discipline (i.e., he can't afford to burn his legs and hurt his running and intervals are a bit pointless when you're doing an ultra endurance event).
-He is a decent, but not excellent runner. His running volume is fairly low and his pace is a bit slow, despite the fact that his average heart rate on his runs is around 140-150bpm. This may be a result of the fact that he is not running much and he is a multi-sport athlete that doesn't have the training time necessary to develop a high degree of efficiency in running, although I think this is a really low mileage for Ironman events where you have to run 42km. Although he does not appear to be doing any specific interval training, he does seem to incorporate what I would describe as "cruise intervals" (threshold work) within his runs, which makes sense given the long distance nature of certain Ironman competitions. Similar training philosophy to his cycling, but I would not categorize his running as polarized given that his runs seem to be done all a bit too hard and his "faster" segments aren't actually that fast.

Again, I only skimmed his March - May workouts, and I noticed a lack of specific interval or tempo training. Most of his cycling work is long slow distance, with some hard efforts built in (so a solid polarized model) and while he tries to do the same polarized approach for running, I think his base speed is just a bit too hard and there's literally no speed.

Of course there is the possibility that he may be using cycling as the long slow distance component of his training, running for his "steady state" or "sweet spot" component and swimming for maybe a mix of all the above. I'm not sure that works, given the specificity of each type of activity, but I'm not an expert in triathlons.
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robeambro
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by robeambro

iheartbianchi wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:35 pm
robeambro wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:58 pm

Out of curiosity, from what you say it seems swimming would be better than stairs/squats/lunges/etc if no cycling/spinning/running is available. Is this the case, and if yes why? Not sure there'd be much legwork involved, but I guess will have other beneficial effects.

And, on another subject, you mentioned that pro's don't usually show their HR on Strava. Which is generally true, but I've found that former cycling pro and current Ironman world-class athlete (and easily best biker) Cameron Wurf publishes it. Of course we don't know whether he publishes every little session. Would be good if you could use his workouts to show us some real life examples of how he trains and whether it fits with your theory. If you want, that is! I know you have better things to do :mrgreen:
I don't actually think it's better to swim than doing stairs/squats/lunges at a sufficient level to provide an adequate aerobic stimulus. The latter are more specific to cycling (using similar muscle groups). There are a few problems: 1) you may not be doing enough of them, or hard enough, to adequately provide aerobic benefit and 2) you may be overworking the same group of muscles, if your intent is to cross-train to "recover" from a rough cycling season. Squats/lunges should compliment your regular cycling training, but obviously swimming when viewed alone is a much better full-body exercise.

When I look at a rider on Strava that publishe their HR data, it's very simple to figure out their fitness level. You see what their HR is on a particular climb or segment, and compare over time or a particular reference point. By also looking at their time, speed or power for that same climb/segment, you can guess with reasonable accuracy what kind of shape they were at that time and whether they are improving or declining.

Regarding Cameron Wurf, I am not familiar with him, but a few observations (I looked at maybe 20 of his efforts):
-His cycling rides tend to have average HR of around 110-120bpm, but on certain rides peak at 170+ bpm. I haven't seen any dedicated interval sessions or "sweet spot" rides. This seems to be a very casual form of polarized training (hard efforts within an otherwise easy ride), which is probably more of a function of his multi-sport discipline (i.e., he can't afford to burn his legs and hurt his running and intervals are a bit pointless when you're doing an ultra endurance event).
-He is a decent, but not excellent runner. His running volume is fairly low and his pace is a bit slow, despite the fact that his average heart rate on his runs is around 140-150bpm. This may be a result of the fact that he is not running much and he is a multi-sport athlete that doesn't have the training time necessary to develop a high degree of efficiency in running, although I think this is a really low mileage for Ironman events where you have to run 42km. Although he does not appear to be doing any specific interval training, he does seem to incorporate what I would describe as "cruise intervals" (threshold work) within his runs, which makes sense given the long distance nature of certain Ironman competitions. Similar training philosophy to his cycling, but I would not categorize his running as polarized given that his runs seem to be done all a bit too hard and his "faster" segments aren't actually that fast.

Again, I only skimmed his March - May workouts, and I noticed a lack of specific interval or tempo training. Most of his cycling work is long slow distance, with some hard efforts built in (so a solid polarized model) and while he tries to do the same polarized approach for running, I think his base speed is just a bit too hard and there's literally no speed.

Of course there is the possibility that he may be using cycling as the long slow distance component of his training, running for his "steady state" or "sweet spot" component and swimming for maybe a mix of all the above. I'm not sure that works, given the specificity of each type of activity, but I'm not an expert in triathlons.
Thanks! That's some thorough analysis.

Re: Wurf, as I follow (very little though) the sport, I can tell you that he is pretty much the fastest biker (holds the course record at the World Championships), but has been trying to improve his run, which is where he faded most times last year. This may explain why he's "trying hard" on the running with higher intensity (good or bad a choice it may be).

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MattMay
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by MattMay

Slightly OT but relevant to some discussions here...interesting off bike high intensity “multimodal” 23-min (for the mtb pros that did it) workout to increase “cardio.”

https://m.pinkbike.com/news/video-adam- ... lists.html

AJS914
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by AJS914

MattMay wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:41 pm
Slightly OT but relevant to some discussions here...interesting off bike high intensity “multimodal” 23-min (for the mtb pros that did it) workout to increase “cardio.”

https://m.pinkbike.com/news/video-adam- ... lists.html

The functional fitness is very helpful to cycling but I don't get his idea about increasing cardio in the gym. He mentions several times about increasing cardio with a 5k run. I've never heard of a single cyclist ever intentially talk about increasing cardio by running.

Now I do get that if you were going to do that gym workout a couple of times per week then it makes to keep your HR up as it would give you an extra hour of HR training in whatever zone.

TheRich
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by TheRich

MattMay wrote:
Wed Jun 19, 2019 4:41 pm
Slightly OT but relevant to some discussions here...interesting off bike high intensity “multimodal” 23-min (for the mtb pros that did it) workout to increase “cardio.”

https://m.pinkbike.com/news/video-adam- ... lists.html
That probably works for DH, where you have to pin it for <10 minutes.

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MattMay
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by MattMay

I tried the workout yesterday. It’s a nice change for functional/gym stuff. And efficient. It’ll get your hr up in a whole body way. But at least for me it wasn’t in the Z4/5 (in a 5 zone model), but rather upper end of Z3 (or Z2 in Seiler model). I’m pretty sure the “cardio” is geared to the Pinkbike crowd, mostly enduro/dh mtbers, certainly not roadies or endurance folks.

Sorry for the tangent. Back to the topic...

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

MattMay wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 3:50 pm
I tried the workout yesterday. It’s a nice change for functional/gym stuff. And efficient. It’ll get your hr up in a whole body way. But at least for me it wasn’t in the Z4/5 (in a 5 zone model), but rather upper end of Z3 (or Z2 in Seiler model). I’m pretty sure the “cardio” is geared to the Pinkbike crowd, mostly enduro/dh mtbers, certainly not roadies or endurance folks.

Sorry for the tangent. Back to the topic...
This is actually really helpful and pertinent to the questions about time off and cross-training. I've said it in this thread (and I think elsewhere) that "PT style" workouts, such as stairs, circuits, even cross fit, can be terrific during the off season or on holidays when you just don't want to get on a bike. And such workouts do provide very high quality "cardio," although its uses are obviously limited for high performance endurance athletes training for a specific sport, where even minor efficiencies can make or break your career.

But for amateur/recreational cyclists, I'm a huge fan of any form of cross-training. Who really wants to be on their bike 20 hours a week unless you have to as part of your job :)
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claus
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by claus

iheartbianchi wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:01 pm
Who really wants to be on their bike 20 hours a week unless you have to as part of your job :)
I do -- and it's not my job....

AJS914
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by AJS914

I'm feeling mid-season burnout riding 10-12 hours a week. After 12 weeks of Seiler Z1 base miles plus one group ride per week, my FTP is up 25 watts and I've had performances on the bike that indicate that maybe the boost is probably higher. I didn't feel particularly energized during my last FTP test.

Most of all my endurance and stamina is hugely improved. 3 hour group rides no longer fatigue to the point where my legs are sore for the rest of the day.

Now I'm moving into a build phase and adding in dedicated intevals but my focus is wandering. Thinking, why bother? I'm riding pretty well now on my group rides. I'm no longer at the back of the pack on climbs. What's the point of doing those hard intervals? Maybe I'll boost my FTP by another 25 watts in 8 weeks? Part of me is probably getting impatient with how slowly I know the gains will come going forward. I think that after some intervals I will probably top out and the gains will come 5 watts at a time for weeks and months of hard work.

guyc
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by guyc

I’ve just taken 10 days off. I needed to do something else plus busy time of the year for us wedding photographers.

AJS914
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by AJS914

We just took a week of vacation which didn't feel like a week of relaxing. I'm doing less volume over the next few weeks because of schedule.

robeambro
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by robeambro

iheartbianchi, what's the take on sauna then? I found a random thread on Slowtwitch but it didn't quite get scientific about it.

So, my question is, if I have done all the training and I step in a sauna, is there any (albeit minimal) benefit in athletic performance by spending some 20m in there? It's just curiosity of course, we're not talking about replacing training hours with sauna, but understanding whether it can give a little nudge to all of that mithocondria stuff (pardon my lack of technical terms ha ha)

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

robeambro wrote:
Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:06 pm
iheartbianchi, what's the take on sauna then? I found a random thread on Slowtwitch but it didn't quite get scientific about it.

So, my question is, if I have done all the training and I step in a sauna, is there any (albeit minimal) benefit in athletic performance by spending some 20m in there? It's just curiosity of course, we're not talking about replacing training hours with sauna, but understanding whether it can give a little nudge to all of that mithocondria stuff (pardon my lack of technical terms ha ha)
Regular sauna can be beneficial to your overall health and help prevent heart/arterial disease, but the effects on endurance sports is a bit more unclear. There does seem to be some evidence that regular trips to the sauna can increase your blood volume which can improve performance and also speed recovery, but these are of course temporary gains.
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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

AJS914 wrote:
Thu Jun 20, 2019 5:43 pm
I'm feeling mid-season burnout riding 10-12 hours a week. After 12 weeks of Seiler Z1 base miles plus one group ride per week, my FTP is up 25 watts and I've had performances on the bike that indicate that maybe the boost is probably higher. I didn't feel particularly energized during my last FTP test.

Most of all my endurance and stamina is hugely improved. 3 hour group rides no longer fatigue to the point where my legs are sore for the rest of the day.

Now I'm moving into a build phase and adding in dedicated intevals but my focus is wandering. Thinking, why bother? I'm riding pretty well now on my group rides. I'm no longer at the back of the pack on climbs. What's the point of doing those hard intervals? Maybe I'll boost my FTP by another 25 watts in 8 weeks? Part of me is probably getting impatient with how slowly I know the gains will come going forward. I think that after some intervals I will probably top out and the gains will come 5 watts at a time for weeks and months of hard work.
It's like all things in life - why bother studying hard this month in college when I have 5 more semesters and I don't even know if I will get a job when I graduate? Etc. It may seem like a long road ahead (and it really is, and it requires consistency and commitment and sacrifice), but let's put it this way. Let's say you did consistent training where you are marginally improving each ride, each month, each year. Imagine the you, 3 years from now, in a condition you never imagined possible. Will that you look back and think it was worth it, when you are kicking everyone's butts on training rides? Let's contrast, 3 years from now if you didn't train consistently. Will you look back at those 3 years and wish you had trained consistently and hard? You will never get those 3 years back, and you will never be as young as you are now, not ever again in your lifetime.

25 watts in 8 weeks doesn't seem like much right? How many watts gain you gain in 16 weeks? 32 weeks? 64 weeks?

And I wouldn't write off your rate of gains just yet, if you have been doing mostly slow rides. You are building your aerobic engine, which will help you do higher quality "hard" workouts, and do them even harder, for even better gains. People with a weak aerobic engine do really poor and meaningless hard workouts and stagnate. That's a waste of time.

The thing about intervals is, that's a very quick way to peak, and then stagnate. Intervals also are daunting, exhausting, painful, and really a drag to do, especially on your own. Intervals are how you build "short term" or "temporary" gains. In order to maintain the gains you achieve from doing intervals, well sadly you have to keep doing the intervals or you lose that fitness (I am generally talking about shorter sub-10 minute intervals, or Vo2Max intervals). So unless you are training for a racing season, do you want to commit to doing intervals on a regular basis from now on?

It seems like a better solution for you would be to do tempo rides, or alternatively what I like to call "cruise" intervals. Tempo rides can be as short as 20 minutes, or as long as 45 minutes. The problem with tempo rides is that they suck (but the benefits are longer and you won't decrease rapidly just becuase you stop doing them)! These are done at just below your threshold pace, and you can do one, or even two a week. The benefits from these rides are longer term and it's OK to skip a week or two and you won't suddenly peak and then stagnate. Cruise intervals are basically mid-duration (5-10 minutes or so) done at or slightly above tempo pace with full recovery built into a generally easy long distance ride. If you are doing an hour ride, you can shoot for 2-3, and during a 2 hour ride, maybe 5. You can do these once a week, or maybe twice a week.

Let's say you have 5 or 6 days of training a week. You can do as many as 3 "hard" days. A hard day can be either a tempo ride, cruise intervals, or a longer ride (3+ hours), or some combination of the above. 2 hard days should be suffiicient, but if you're feeling fresh you can do as many as 3. If you're trying to peak, then you would want to cut down the volume and target as many as 4 hard days a week, but again, this is not sustainable and once you peak, you'll need a period of rest and recovery before going back to your base. But assuming you are not trying to peak, you can consistently do 2, maybe 3 hard days each week, every week, and occasionally do weeks where you do only slow miles for recovery and full adapations.

I like to think of training in terms of 5 week blocks. The 5th week of each block is an easy week. Each subsequent 5 weeks should have either (or both) higher mileage or higher intensity. You can either target gradual increases weekly (riskier), or tack on the increases on the next block after your body has adapted to the current mileage/intensity.

*Note that the higher intensity does not necessarily mean higher HR. It simply means that for the same given exertion, you are producing more power, hence more intensity. However, if you find that you are now stagnating, you will have to force yourself to ride at a slightly elevated HR to achieve the gains in intensity. You then simply ride at that new slightly elevated HR until your body adapts, then you drop it back down to the appropriate HR zone.

So if you can somehow get yourself into the "habit" of training this way, it's not even something you need to debate as far as "whether it's worth it". It's just the way you ride, and you're just going out there without even thinking about it.
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AJS914
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by AJS914

Thanks for the encouragement ... sort of. ha ha :-)

I'm not ready to give up. This all started because at 53 years old I wanted to try to get as fit as I could possibly be.

Overall, I have to say I'm happy with my fitness. In my club I've moved up from struggling at the back of the group to hanging with some of the faster riders. I'm easily dropping the guys still at the back. The guys at the front are pretty fast though but I'm getting closer to them. I could go out and ride a 100 mile century tomorrow without too much problem. Endurance and stamina have improved a lot.

What HR range are you calling tempo or cruise? Sweet spot? I do my long/slow at 110-120bpm. My max HR is 177 so that works out to 62-67% of max. My threshold HR is around 155-160bpm.

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