An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Atmungskette
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by Atmungskette

iheartbianchi wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 1:11 pm
Atmungskette wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 8:39 am

I do understand that the stated aim of the study was to compare the physiological differences between running and cycling (not runners and cyclists!). But you claimed that recreational cyclists would have a significantly lower Vo2max than runners. And as the aforementioned paper reviewed Vo2max values of runners and cyclists, I thought this effect could be seen in the numbers.
OK some studies...

1. Vo2Max of average high school runners with mile times of 5:30 or so (junior varsity) (56 -60)

http://run-fit.com/wp-content/uploads/t ... unners.pdf

2.A Vo2Peak (not quite vo2max but you get the point) for recreational cyclists

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7503988/

2.B. Vo2Max of recreationaly fit cyclists with median age of 21 (30 - 46) - broad range because male and females were not segreated so I included the full range

https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/43618574.pdf

2.B. Vo2Max of recreational marathoners (58 to 65)

https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/702 ... l_2017.pdf
Many thanks for these studies. The only outlier seems to be 2B, but on further investigation it turns out that the subjects of 2B were not recreationally fit cyclists but
14 male and 22 female apparently healthy volunteers from 18-28 years of age. Subjects were of average fitness.
. So these were just averagely fit people who were made to cycle on an ergometer.

Furthermore from the marathoners studied in the second 2B the Vo2max values you quote (58-65) seem to be off. The study itself says:
The mean score for maximal oxygen uptake across all participants was 53.9 ± 7.4 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1 with a range of 39.4–79.7 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1
It seems Coggan wasn't wrong in claiming 50 as a number for the "average joe", be it runner or cyclist.

by Weenie


iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

Atmungskette wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:19 pm

Many thanks for these studies. The only outlier seems to be 2B, but on further investigation it turns out that the subjects of 2B were not recreationally fit cyclists but
14 male and 22 female apparently healthy volunteers from 18-28 years of age. Subjects were of average fitness.
. So these were just averagely fit people who were made to cycle on an ergometer.

Furthermore from the marathoners studied in the second 2B the Vo2max values you quote (58-65) seem to be off. The study itself says:
The mean score for maximal oxygen uptake across all participants was 53.9 ± 7.4 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1 with a range of 39.4–79.7 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1
It seems Coggan wasn't wrong in claiming 50 as a number for the "average joe", be it runner or cyclist.
The mean score across all participants is misleading because the study included females as well. The same study says "runners referred to as “good” (finishing times of 150–180 min) exhibiting a value of 65.5 ± 1.2 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1, while those classified as “slow runners,” that is finishing time >180 min, showing a VO2max of 58.7 ± 1.9 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1.1,2,6." There is also a table there that shows more detailed Vo2max breakdowns.

And I must have copied the wrong study for the recreationally fit cyclist example. Can't be bothered to search again, but the numbers were very low.
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Cord1138
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by Cord1138

iheartbianchi wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:14 am
Cord1138 wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:18 pm

Thanks for taking the time to explain this. If I follow your logic, then doing 10 hours at Z2 and a 2 hour hard session a week, would be a good way to plan out a week?

What are your thoughts on how to measure progress and know when to increase the effort?
It really depends on where you are in your training and how many days a week you are training.

Unless you are specifically in a "base building phase" or a "peak phase" (neither of which you want to stay in permanately), and assuming you are training at least 6 days a week, you would want 4-5 easy days and probably 2 hard days. 1 day could be very tough interval session, and the other 1 day could be a specific lactate threshold session. Something like this:

M: 1.5 hours Z2
T: 1.5 hours Z2
W: Interval
Thr: 1 hours Z2
F: 1 hour Z2
S: Lactate threshold (example 3 x 10 minute lactate threshold repetitions or 1 x 20 minute lactate threshold)
Su: 3 hour Z2

*or feel free to replace either the interval or lactate training with another long ride
**if you are fit enough, you can actually get away with doing 2 hard days in a row, as delayed onset muscle soreness doesn't hit you the very next day and you can actually do two hard days back to back

There are two paradigms for measuring progress. I won't comment on the FTP / perceived effort method here because we fought over this at length previously :)

Now assuming we are relying on heart rate, you're never trying to "increase effort." Your effort at 60% maxHR is going to be the same. In terms of the interval session, there are no rules. Every two-four weeks or so you are "forcing" yourself to do an extra repetition. Or forcing yourself to cut your recovery time between repetitions. This is unfortunately guesswork and really depends on how well rested you are, your diet and how well your body has adapated to the previous weeks' training. It's OK to fail - elites fail and stop their workouts prematurely regularly during this process. Then, you try to salvage the day by resting for 10-15 minutes and going again, or converting it to an easy day and trying again a day or two later.

You measure "progress" by tracking your speed or power on your Z2 rides over a long time horizon (months). You also measure "progress" based on the quality of the workouts (interval / lactate threshold). You also measure "progress" based on your resting heart rate (the lower it gets the better fitness you have). If you have access to laboratory equipment or are willing to spend $200 for a lactic acid tester, you can of course test yourself with precision by pricking your ear. This may seem like overkill but children with diabetes prick themselves everyday so it's not a big deal if you get comfortable with the idea (you would only need to do it once a week or every few weeks to measure your lactate threshold).
Thanks for the clear and detailed explanation. I have been doing around 8-10 hours of training over the last couple of months, but I think I overdid the intensity and there were weeks where I was extremely tired and had to take a rest, as I was getting a bit obsessed with trying to increase my power numbers, which probably led to me being fatigued. The approach described above seems a long term sustainable training programme for a novice starting out, which is really what I am.

MisterNoChain
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Location: UK

by MisterNoChain

Over the past years i've done a lot of different training, during the winter times mainly on Zwift/Trainerroad. This year i kept it very simple, i ride slow the most of the time and 2 days i do some intervals, going from 30/30" to 5x4' or 2x10'. Some weeks it's even just 1 interval.

In the past i tried Sweetspot base on TR and i just felt tired after a couples of weeks. The polarized approach keeps me fresh and i just enjoy riding my bike more. I think i'm at my best fitness level over the past years and i dont do more hours, i also do 8 to 10 hours a week. In the past i often did 4 days on the bike to get to those 8 to 10 hours while now i'm often 5 or 6 times a week on my bike.
Is there a stage race like UAE or Catalunya on tv? Then i just hop on my bike after work and ride along for 1h instead of watching it from my couch. So i have a lot more shorter rides that add up in stead of fewer rides with more hours. More days on the bikes and less intensity helped me to get better in the long run.

iheartbianchi
Posts: 420
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by iheartbianchi

Cord1138 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:14 pm

Thanks for the clear and detailed explanation. I have been doing around 8-10 hours of training over the last couple of months, but I think I overdid the intensity and there were weeks where I was extremely tired and had to take a rest, as I was getting a bit obsessed with trying to increase my power numbers, which probably led to me being fatigued. The approach described above seems a long term sustainable training programme for a novice starting out, which is really what I am.
This is sadly such a common occurence. When you rely too much on power numbers, mentally we keep needing to "prove to ourselves" that we are getting better, that we're not getting slower, that the training and all the sacrifice is paying off. So we tend to push and push ourselves. Genetically gifted people can adapt very quickly (but even they have limits), but for average people it just ends up becoming counterproductive. And the sad part is, your "intensity" probably wasn't even all that intense because you were too fatigued overall to really hammer your intervals.

Part of the reason people give up on the polarized approach is because they don't give it enough time to pay off, or decide to take a few weeks off or entire months off in the winter. It has to be consistent, near-daily and frequent. Otherwise the gains are too slow, and people think it's not working, and then jump right back to riding hard all the time, see short quick gains and think "now I'm getting somehwere" but find themselves plateaued or fatigued 2-3 months later and it's over.
Last edited by iheartbianchi on Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

MisterNoChain wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:13 pm

In the past i tried Sweetspot base on TR and i just felt tired after a couples of weeks.
Sweetspot training is quite difficult! It's a reasonable compromise if you are truly time-crunched and aren't seeking to reach your full potential and you can get "good enough" to participate in most club rides, etc. Personally I would hate to spend most of my time on a bike in my "sweet spot" or anywhere near the lactate threshold...that's no fun!
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DirtiousDirte
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by DirtiousDirte

iheartbianchi wrote:
Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:15 am
Cord1138 wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:14 pm

Thanks for the clear and detailed explanation. I have been doing around 8-10 hours of training over the last couple of months, but I think I overdid the intensity and there were weeks where I was extremely tired and had to take a rest, as I was getting a bit obsessed with trying to increase my power numbers, which probably led to me being fatigued. The approach described above seems a long term sustainable training programme for a novice starting out, which is really what I am.
This is sadly such a common occurence. When you rely too much on power numbers, mentally we keep needing to "prove to ourselves" that we are getting better, that we're not getting slower, that the training and all the sacrifice is paying off. So we tend to push and push ourselves. Genetically gifted people can adapt very quickly (but even they have limits), but for average people it just ends up becoming counterproductive. And the sad part is, your "intensity" probably wasn't even all that intense because you were too fatigued overall to really hammer your intervals.

Part of the reason people give up on the polarized approach is because they don't give it enough time to pay off, or decide to take a few weeks off or entire months off in the winter. It has to be consistent, near-daily and frequent. Otherwise the gains are too slow, and people think it's not working, and then jump right back to riding hard all the time, see short quick gains and think "now I'm getting somehwere" but find themselves plateaued or fatigued 2-3 months later and it's over.
Seiler did a couple of interviews with his daughter who is training for long distance running. What I found most interesting was how easy most of her days were. I had converted to polarized but it turns out I was still doing too much too often and, as you said, not really getting the quality I should have.

I now spend most of my time spinning around in Z2 but when it is time to go hard I have the freshness availalble to really smash it. The key is faith and patience.

bet1216
Posts: 86
Joined: Thu Jul 18, 2019 10:52 pm

by bet1216

iheartbianchi wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:04 pm

Every elite endurance runner I have ever encountered or heard of with respect to their training across multiple nationalities do 2 or even 3-a-day training (sorry if this sounds heavy-handed and obtuse, but two-a-days is simply so prevalent in nearly every other endurance sport, whether we are talking rowing, swimming, cross country skiing). Even track cyclists do 2-a-days. Some of it has to do with injury prevention. Part of it has to do with maximizing muscular growth (not bulking up mind you). Part of it has to do with metabolism to lose weight.
So looking at recreational athletes...and also considering the idea that 90 minutes is the sweetspot for training benefit...also assume the person is "time crunched" but might stretch time to train in a week to 12 hours/week max with something like 5-6 on the weekend.What is your thoughts if you are training 6-7 days a week. What about breaking the 1.5-2 work up into a morning and even session to meet the time? How effective is that? For example a Z2 bike divided into two 1 hour sessions? Or a 1 hour swim and 1 hour bike in the day or 40 minute run in the morning and 1 hour+ zone 2 ride in the evening.

iheartbianchi
Posts: 420
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by iheartbianchi

bet1216 wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:40 am
iheartbianchi wrote:
Tue Apr 06, 2021 5:04 pm

Every elite endurance runner I have ever encountered or heard of with respect to their training across multiple nationalities do 2 or even 3-a-day training (sorry if this sounds heavy-handed and obtuse, but two-a-days is simply so prevalent in nearly every other endurance sport, whether we are talking rowing, swimming, cross country skiing). Even track cyclists do 2-a-days. Some of it has to do with injury prevention. Part of it has to do with maximizing muscular growth (not bulking up mind you). Part of it has to do with metabolism to lose weight.
So looking at recreational athletes...and also considering the idea that 90 minutes is the sweetspot for training benefit...also assume the person is "time crunched" but might stretch time to train in a week to 12 hours/week max with something like 5-6 on the weekend.What is your thoughts if you are training 6-7 days a week. What about breaking the 1.5-2 work up into a morning and even session to meet the time? How effective is that? For example a Z2 bike divided into two 1 hour sessions? Or a 1 hour swim and 1 hour bike in the day or 40 minute run in the morning and 1 hour+ zone 2 ride in the evening.
Variety of stimulus is important.

So if you were to compare say 6 sessions of 90 minutes, compared to 4 sessions of 90 minutes plus 4 sessions of 45 minutes each (ie doubling), in theory you would have stronger muscular development and endurance, although your aerboic development may suffer somewhat, as 45 minutes is on the low end of the aerobic development spectrum. Something like 60 minutes would be more productive if feasible.

A good way to incorporate doubles is to do two sessions on your hard days, ie when you have intervals in the afternoon or evening.
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Atmungskette
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by Atmungskette

iheartbianchi wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:20 pm
Atmungskette wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:19 pm

Many thanks for these studies. The only outlier seems to be 2B, but on further investigation it turns out that the subjects of 2B were not recreationally fit cyclists but
14 male and 22 female apparently healthy volunteers from 18-28 years of age. Subjects were of average fitness.
. So these were just averagely fit people who were made to cycle on an ergometer.

Furthermore from the marathoners studied in the second 2B the Vo2max values you quote (58-65) seem to be off. The study itself says:
The mean score for maximal oxygen uptake across all participants was 53.9 ± 7.4 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1 with a range of 39.4–79.7 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1
It seems Coggan wasn't wrong in claiming 50 as a number for the "average joe", be it runner or cyclist.
The mean score across all participants is misleading because the study included females as well. The same study says "runners referred to as “good” (finishing times of 150–180 min) exhibiting a value of 65.5 ± 1.2 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1, while those classified as “slow runners,” that is finishing time >180 min, showing a VO2max of 58.7 ± 1.9 mL⋅kg–1⋅min–1.1,2,6." There is also a table there that shows more detailed Vo2max breakdowns.

And I must have copied the wrong study for the recreationally fit cyclist example. Can't be bothered to search again, but the numbers were very low.
Well I didn't know that the average cyclist was male, but ok :mrgreen:

The problem I see with the selection of marathoners is, that you would have to preselect cyclists to the same criteria to fairly compare their Vo2max. But what would the equivalent of an 180min marathon be for a cyclist? At least the studies you showed didn't do any such preselection.

iheartbianchi
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:17 am

by iheartbianchi

Atmungskette wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:12 am
Well I didn't know that the average cyclist was male, but ok :mrgreen:

The problem I see with the selection of marathoners is, that you would have to preselect cyclists to the same criteria to fairly compare their Vo2max. But what would the equivalent of an 180min marathon be for a cyclist? At least the studies you showed didn't do any such preselection.
We are comparing apples to apples, so male Vo2max figures. Women have dramatically lower Vo2Max than men due to biological differences so comparing a group that includes women to a group that is only men makes no sense - the studies themselves control for this by clearly separating by gender.

Also, I'm not sure why you are focusing on a 180min marathon. That is the upper threshold for the "slow" group, which consists of runners with times between 3 hours to 4.5 hours. 4.5 hours is jogging/walking territory, and you're at risk of being swept up by the broom truck. 3 hours is good for a recreational runner, and probably did something like 30-40 miles per week or the equivalent of 6-7 hours of running a week. There is a reason why the study called them "slow." So imagine your average gran fondo participant who rides 6-7 hours a week and there you have your 3 - 4.5 hour marathoner. For your reference 3:30 is 8 min/mile, and 4:00 is 9 min/mile, so really really slow. 3:00 is reasonably acceptable at around 7 min/mile, but still nothing impressive.

Now do you have a point to make? Or are you just going to endlessly cherry-pick blurbs from these studies out of context for no apparent reason?
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Atmungskette
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by Atmungskette

iheartbianchi wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:37 am
Atmungskette wrote:
Sat Apr 10, 2021 10:12 am
Well I didn't know that the average cyclist was male, but ok :mrgreen:

The problem I see with the selection of marathoners is, that you would have to preselect cyclists to the same criteria to fairly compare their Vo2max. But what would the equivalent of an 180min marathon be for a cyclist? At least the studies you showed didn't do any such preselection.
We are comparing apples to apples, so male Vo2max figures. Women have dramatically lower Vo2Max than men due to biological differences so comparing a group that includes women to a group that is only men makes no sense - the studies themselves control for this by clearly separating by gender.

Also, I'm not sure why you are focusing on a 180min marathon. That is the upper threshold for the "slow" group, which consists of runners with times between 3 hours to 4.5 hours. 4.5 hours is jogging/walking territory, and you're at risk of being swept up by the broom truck. 3 hours is good for a recreational runner, and probably did something like 30-40 miles per week or the equivalent of 6-7 hours of running a week. There is a reason why the study called them "slow." So imagine your average gran fondo participant who rides 6-7 hours a week and there you have your 3 - 4.5 hour marathoner. For your reference 3:30 is 8 min/mile, and 4:00 is 9 min/mile, so really really slow. 3:00 is reasonably acceptable at around 7 min/mile, but still nothing impressive.

Now do you have a point to make? Or are you just going to endlessly cherry-pick blurbs from these studies out of context for no apparent reason?
Ok, maybe I should employ something like irony tags...

Anyway answering to your point why I focused on the 180min marathon. Well, I didn't - it was just an example. The point being that once you artificially stratify your marathoner sample you have to do the same to your sample of cyclists. That obviously was not done.
I honestly still struggle to understand how you concluded that on average recreational cyclists have a lower Vo2max than recreational runners.

iheartbianchi
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2019 9:17 am

by iheartbianchi

Because it's true? Even slow marathon runners exhibit Vo2max significantly higher than average cyclists, which if you saw, were actually on par with master's level racing cyclists?

And no, you didn't focus on a 3 hour marathon. You made that part up plain and simple. Nowhere in that study was there any testing of a 3 hour marathon group. It was a range. Not a static number. The range was 3 hours to 4.5 hours. That range was called "slow" in the study. There was no stratification at all.

A little intellectual integrity would help.
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Atmungskette
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by Atmungskette

iheartbianchi wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:20 pm
And I must have copied the wrong study for the recreationally fit cyclist example. Can't be bothered to search again, but the numbers were very low.
Maybe you should take your own advice to heart.

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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

Atmungskette wrote:
Sun Apr 11, 2021 10:53 am
iheartbianchi wrote:
Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:20 pm
And I must have copied the wrong study for the recreationally fit cyclist example. Can't be bothered to search again, but the numbers were very low.
Maybe you should take your own advice to heart.
If you have nothing constructive to add, please go away. You have done nothing but misinterpet studies, refuse to engage in any thoughtful discussion or analysis, and I have now spent far too much time and far too many posts trying to correct your severe misunderstanding of the study you claim to have read. I suspected as much from your early posts when you asked questions or made points that someone who carefully read the studies could not have possibly asked, but I have come to the conclusion that who are clearly here with an agenda, and I refuse to engage with your dishonesty any further.

Moving on, if anyone wants to have an informed discussion as to why slow, average recreational marathon hobby joggers have comparable Vo2Max as Masters level cycling racers (which is in stark contrast to the fact that elite cyclists dominate the list of highest Vo2max holders, and running legends like Hicham El Guerrouj have a rather "average" Vo2max when compared to the pro peleton), I'm happy to discuss.
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