An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

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Jugi
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by Jugi

About cadence - I would add that yes, it is a bit silly to force oneself to do work on an unnatural cadence, but it is useful for a cyclist to be able to do work on a wide cadence spectrum. Being comfortable everywhere between 70-105 eventually leads into efficiency in all riding situations and intensities, although a ride’s average cadence may still end up near that ”natural” number. In my opinion that comfortable cadence spectrum can be widened by training.

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

Jugi wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:01 pm
About cadence - I would add that yes, it is a bit silly to force oneself to do work on an unnatural cadence, but it is useful for a cyclist to be able to do work on a wide cadence spectrum. Being comfortable everywhere between 70-105 eventually leads into efficiency in all riding situations and intensities, although a ride’s average cadence may still end up near that ”natural” number. In my opinion that comfortable cadence spectrum can be widened by training.
Oh don't get me wrong - I think in an ideal world, where everyone is in their "ideal" body shape and weight, there is likely to be some range of "ideal" cadences. However, most cyclists are far from their "ideal" body shape and weight, and we are also of varying ages, different stages of muscular and skeletal development and flexibility, etc. Given these vast differences in each body's attributes (i.e., since we diverge from our individual ideals to varying degrees), prescribing what would otherwise be an ideal cadence does not work for most people. Obviously as you get closer to the ideal, through exercise and enhanced flexibility and fitness, then I suspect your cadence will naturally rise as your body adapts to its newfound abilities.

But telling some guy who is 40lbs overweight and with no flexibility to spin at 120rpm is probably foolhardy, and would look pretty funny!

I think that's why so many "normal" people find they get slower when they move to smaller chainrings and cassettes. They waste so much more energy spinning their overweight legs than a fit rider, so they end up tiring sooner and going slower. Unless these riders are able to lose weight as a result of the spinning, they're probably better off at a lower cadence pushing a bigger gear, IMHO!
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Kingston
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by Kingston

iheartbianchi wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:33 am
But this is a separate discussion from my original point, which is that most amateurs are doing themselves a disservice by only riding 2-3 times a week and try to make up for limited rides by going too hard and too long. Thats just not physiological possible and all they do is overtax the absolutely wrong part of their cardio system. It is better to do 5-6 easy rides (45-90 minutes each, with maybe one longer slow ride of maybe 2-3 hours) than going on 3 long and hard rides a week. In the latter you will peak and plateau, whereas in the former you can build for 5 years or so before you get close to hitting your lifetime potential. Of course none of this is ideal from a competitive perspectice, just speaking for amateurs with full time jobs who probably cant do more than 90 minutes of training on a weekday (if that!). But surely we can all do 45 minutes!
That`s me. I am on these riders, that are so focused on collecting TSS (or high average power in order to see the Performance Chart (Training Peaks) go up, but also never feeling fresh and never able to hammer out the max intervals (AT, Vo2m, sprints). So I always go hard, but can`t go really hard when it`s needed.

After listening to some the Fasttalk podcasts and reading iheartbianchi`s very simple approach, I need to try and do things differently.
So I`ve decided to change my approach of 3-4 rides of harder rides (but never slow) to 3 weekly rides of 45/90 slow, 1 weekly ride of 3+hr slow, one hard ride (Vo2 or tempo/AT) and then 1 group ride (just to have fun and forget HR-monitor and power meter)

iheartbianchi wrote:
Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:22 pm
The part that is most surprising is that efforts at heartrates of 80% max gives you almost no additional benefit than an effort at 60% of max. So you get nearly the same benefit from 120-130bpm as you do 150-160bpm. The latter are what we call junk miles. High fatigue and less mileave for low benefit. So we either say go 50-60% or max, or guy 90-95% of max, but limit what you do in between.

When young endurance athletes join a national team or pro team for the first time, they are often shocked at how slow everything is. Of course, the fast training is incredibly fast, but they can only do the incredibly fast training because of the countless slow miles.
When you say slow ride you mean 50-60% of max heart rate for the 45/90 rides? Why not use power meter during these rides?

To me 60% maxHR (190bpm) is 114bpm.
TrainingPeaks gives me an aerobic zone of 134-146bpm.

Today I went out doing a 90` ride targetting 114 bpm, and that was really tough, getting the heart rate that low. Just inflating the tyres, and I was above 114bpm :D
Actually I didn`t manage to get the HR that low, but ended with an average of 129bpm. Try it again tomorrow.

Kingston
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by Kingston

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guyc
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by guyc

What are we defining as slow for the 3 hour rides?

I’m the same. I tend go out and ride hard for 2-3 hours. I could do with trying something new.

Also the 45/90 - what are those for power zones??

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

guyc wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:00 pm
What are we defining as slow for the 3 hour rides?

I’m the same. I tend go out and ride hard for 2-3 hours. I could do with trying something new.

Also the 45/90 - what are those for power zones??
My effort discussions are all based on max heart rate. I mention this I think in a later zone, but science shows that efforts of around 60% max heart rate give you almost the same benefit as efforts at 80% of max heart rate, but at far less fatigue and risk of injury. 60% max heart rate feels ridiculously slow to most people (it's around 120bpm!!). But hey, there's been some serious studies on this.

There is of course a time and place for 80% efforts, but they say you get the most bang for your buck at around 60%, or 85%+ (slightly below wherever your lactate threshold is). The zone from 60-80% is what's referred to as "junk". The marginal gain you get from going from 60 to 80% of max heart rate is more than offset by the strain on your muscles, depletion of glycogen stores, buildup of lactic acid and destruction of muscle mass for fuel. So you're supposed to either be going very slow, or very fast, and anything in between needs to be very controlled and monitored.

At least, that's the prevailing science when it comes to structured training programs :) Of course, if you are time limited, you need to figure something else out because you won't get much out of 3 45minute rides a week at 60% maxHR!
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guyc
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by guyc

Ok thank you. I’m still a little confused about the 45/90.

Should I be aiming at 45 mins at a set level and 90 at a set level within a longer ride? Apologies if this is basic!

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

Kingston wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm
iheartbianchi wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:33 am
But this is a separate discussion from my original point, which is that most amateurs are doing themselves a disservice by only riding 2-3 times a week and try to make up for limited rides by going too hard and too long. Thats just not physiological possible and all they do is overtax the absolutely wrong part of their cardio system. It is better to do 5-6 easy rides (45-90 minutes each, with maybe one longer slow ride of maybe 2-3 hours) than going on 3 long and hard rides a week. In the latter you will peak and plateau, whereas in the former you can build for 5 years or so before you get close to hitting your lifetime potential. Of course none of this is ideal from a competitive perspectice, just speaking for amateurs with full time jobs who probably cant do more than 90 minutes of training on a weekday (if that!). But surely we can all do 45 minutes!
That`s me. I am on these riders, that are so focused on collecting TSS (or high average power in order to see the Performance Chart (Training Peaks) go up, but also never feeling fresh and never able to hammer out the max intervals (AT, Vo2m, sprints). So I always go hard, but can`t go really hard when it`s needed.

After listening to some the Fasttalk podcasts and reading iheartbianchi`s very simple approach, I need to try and do things differently.
So I`ve decided to change my approach of 3-4 rides of harder rides (but never slow) to 3 weekly rides of 45/90 slow, 1 weekly ride of 3+hr slow, one hard ride (Vo2 or tempo/AT) and then 1 group ride (just to have fun and forget HR-monitor and power meter)

When you say slow ride you mean 50-60% of max heart rate for the 45/90 rides? Why not use power meter during these rides?

To me 60% maxHR (190bpm) is 114bpm.
TrainingPeaks gives me an aerobic zone of 134-146bpm.

Today I went out doing a 90` ride targetting 114 bpm, and that was really tough, getting the heart rate that low. Just inflating the tyres, and I was above 114bpm :D
Actually I didn`t manage to get the HR that low, but ended with an average of 129bpm. Try it again tomorrow.
I don't rely on power meter data because there's just no reliable science behind it. At least when it comes to heart rate based training regimes, you have leading medical and chemical experts who have conducted peer-reviewed studies that have been published in major medical journals, so it is at least somewhat reliable.

It is ridiculously hard exercising at such a low heart rate. It sounds ridiculous. Most people complain that they are going too slow, that it's harder to go slow than fast! Even Olympians have this reaction when they try this type of training. It may feel awkward, but people are missing the KEY POINT:

The point is, to train your body to be able to do the same effort as before, BUT AT A LOWER HEART RATE! Let that sink in...

So you used to ride 30km/hr at 135bpm for 3 hours? The goal is, for you to be able to do 30km/hr at 120bpm, or lower. Why? Well quite simple...so you can go faster at those higher, costlier heart rate zones. So efforts that would have pushed you close to lactate or Vo2Max will now be a purely aerobic effort that you can maintain for extended periods of time. If you look at highly trained cyclists, it is uncanny how fast they are going at heart rates under 150bpm. It's not that they are able to simply ride faster than you because they can simply push higher watts...no...it is, "at the same heart rate (effort), they are able to go faster than you."

Here are some links below for further reading, or you can go to the National Health Institute to read the actual scientific studies that have been conducted, of which there are dozens.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737930/

Summary: A HIIT group compared to a low intensity group showed that the HIIT group only experienced a relative gain (compared to low intensity group) in Vo2Max, while other cardio benefits were the same for both groups.

Some decent articles on the benefits of low intensity efforts:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying- ... e-training

http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blo ... ty-cardio/

https://www.active.com/articles/aerobic ... get-faster
Last edited by iheartbianchi on Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

guyc wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:49 pm
Ok thank you. I’m still a little confused about the 45/90.

Should I be aiming at 45 mins at a set level and 90 at a set level within a longer ride? Apologies if this is basic!
Just think of 45 / 90 / 90+ as a buffet and you choose.

45 minute at 60-80% max HR gets you near-optimal HGH production for muscle development, with good but not perfect aerobic benefits.

90 minutes at 60-80% max HR gets you near-optimal aerobic benefits in terms of capillarization and mitochondria, and of course you got the HGH development.

90+ minutes gets you all of the above, but you also get energy efficiency benefits.

"Then why don't we do all 90+ minute rides everyday, or 3 times a day, or 10 times a day?"

Good question! Well, most pros do go on very long rides very often. But you hit the point of diminishing returns very quickly, and these pros are gunning for marginal gains. The obvious costs are fatigue, depletion of glycogen stores (which can take days if not weeks to fully replenish), micro tears in muscle tissue and strains in your ligaments/tendons which can lead to injury, and overtraining concerns. For example, if you were to start riding at a very slow pace, no matter how slow you are going, at some point you are 100% guaranteed to either tear a muscle or strain a ligament or tendon. These parts of your body are resilient, but cannot be stresed indefinitely. The point of failure differs depending on your DNA and your conditioning of course, but they will fail if used non-stop.

So then the question of, is it better to do two 90 minute rides in a single day, or a single 180 minute ride? Well ideally, you'd mix both into your training if possible. Getting the double-whammy of 90 minute rides in a single day is huge (even better if you are fit enough to do 3 or 4 or 5 or 6, but we are limited by our bodies), and you minimize risk of fatigue and injury. However, you do need the long rides for energy usage and efficiency benefits.

Cycling hasn't really fully embraced this science yet, which is really being driven by running. But elite marathoners have shifted from doing a single long run a day, to two longish runs a day, and now they are doing 3 or 4 90 minute runs in a single day and forgoing the long run altogether. Of course, this is possible because the longest distance in running is over in around 2 hours, and World Tour cyclists racing for 6 hours have much greater energy efficiency demands which require a much greater emphasis on daily long rides. But assuming you are not a World Tour pro, and you are mainly racing local criteriums, the numbers (time in zones) correlate well.
Last edited by iheartbianchi on Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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guyc
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by guyc

Understood. That’s massively helpful. Thank you so much.

iheartbianchi
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by iheartbianchi

Kingston wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm

After listening to some the Fasttalk podcasts and reading iheartbianchi`s very simple approach, I need to try and do things differently.
So I`ve decided to change my approach of 3-4 rides of harder rides (but never slow) to 3 weekly rides of 45/90 slow, 1 weekly ride of 3+hr slow, one hard ride (Vo2 or tempo/AT) and then 1 group ride (just to have fun and forget HR-monitor and power meter)
By the way, I am very jealous that you have the time to do all this riding and you seem to have a very solid plan.

The only adjustment that I would make is, unless you are building up to a race, to avoid or limit Vo2Max training...once you start interval training in ernest, you have about 8, maybe 12 weeks max before you peak and you have to take a break to recover. The gains are marginal but the cost so high. I assume of course you mean an actual Vo2Max interval session. These give you quick, noticeable boosts right away, but you can get into a bad cycle of not enough recovery and plateauing (assuming these are genuine 95% efforts and you're doing sufficient repetitions). If you are just trying to consistently build for the year, and next year, and the year after, to maximize improvement, you may want to consider replacing Vo2Max sessions with just some "strength" sessions (short sprints but not a proper interval workout) or short hilly sprints. Vo2Max is fun, exciting and gets the blood pumping, but not all that productive when you think about it...

I find it hard to think you'll be able to recover properly if you're doing a 3+ hour ride AND a Vo2/AT ride each week every week...that's a lot of stress on your body. Not that it's definitive, but obviously no pro rider does interval workouts each week every week throughout the year...
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Kingston
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by Kingston

iheartbianchi wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:29 pm
Kingston wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm

After listening to some the Fasttalk podcasts and reading iheartbianchi`s very simple approach, I need to try and do things differently.
So I`ve decided to change my approach of 3-4 rides of harder rides (but never slow) to 3 weekly rides of 45/90 slow, 1 weekly ride of 3+hr slow, one hard ride (Vo2 or tempo/AT) and then 1 group ride (just to have fun and forget HR-monitor and power meter)
By the way, I am very jealous that you have the time to do all this riding and you seem to have a very solid plan.

The only adjustment that I would make is, unless you are building up to a race, to avoid or limit Vo2Max training...once you start interval training in ernest, you have about 8, maybe 12 weeks max before you peak and you have to take a break to recover. The gains are marginal but the cost so high. I assume of course you mean an actual Vo2Max interval session. These give you quick, noticeable boosts right away, but you can get into a bad cycle of not enough recovery and plateauing (assuming these are genuine 95% efforts and you're doing sufficient repetitions). If you are just trying to consistently build for the year, and next year, and the year after, to maximize improvement, you may want to consider replacing Vo2Max sessions with just some "strength" sessions (short sprints but not a proper interval workout) or short hilly sprints. Vo2Max is fun, exciting and gets the blood pumping, but not all that productive when you think about it...

I find it hard to think you'll be able to recover properly if you're doing a 3+ hour ride AND a Vo2/AT ride each week every week...that's a lot of stress on your body. Not that it's definitive, but obviously no pro rider does interval workouts each week every week throughout the year...
I am going away a three-day stage race in 8 weeks in hillclimbing terrain (we don’t have terrain for hillclimbing where I live), so my idea was to peak in 8 weeks. After that I would take a rest week(s), and then go back into building base (long and slooooow😃)
Maybe Vo2max (90-95%MaxHR or 110-115% of FTP) isn’t the best to prepare for this race.

Kingston
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by Kingston

iheartbianchi wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:05 pm
Kingston wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 12:51 pm
iheartbianchi wrote:
Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:33 am
But this is a separate discussion from my original point, which is that most amateurs are doing themselves a disservice by only riding 2-3 times a week and try to make up for limited rides by going too hard and too long. Thats just not physiological possible and all they do is overtax the absolutely wrong part of their cardio system. It is better to do 5-6 easy rides (45-90 minutes each, with maybe one longer slow ride of maybe 2-3 hours) than going on 3 long and hard rides a week. In the latter you will peak and plateau, whereas in the former you can build for 5 years or so before you get close to hitting your lifetime potential. Of course none of this is ideal from a competitive perspectice, just speaking for amateurs with full time jobs who probably cant do more than 90 minutes of training on a weekday (if that!). But surely we can all do 45 minutes!
That`s me. I am on these riders, that are so focused on collecting TSS (or high average power in order to see the Performance Chart (Training Peaks) go up, but also never feeling fresh and never able to hammer out the max intervals (AT, Vo2m, sprints). So I always go hard, but can`t go really hard when it`s needed.

After listening to some the Fasttalk podcasts and reading iheartbianchi`s very simple approach, I need to try and do things differently.
So I`ve decided to change my approach of 3-4 rides of harder rides (but never slow) to 3 weekly rides of 45/90 slow, 1 weekly ride of 3+hr slow, one hard ride (Vo2 or tempo/AT) and then 1 group ride (just to have fun and forget HR-monitor and power meter)

When you say slow ride you mean 50-60% of max heart rate for the 45/90 rides? Why not use power meter during these rides?

To me 60% maxHR (190bpm) is 114bpm.
TrainingPeaks gives me an aerobic zone of 134-146bpm.

Today I went out doing a 90` ride targetting 114 bpm, and that was really tough, getting the heart rate that low. Just inflating the tyres, and I was above 114bpm :D
Actually I didn`t manage to get the HR that low, but ended with an average of 129bpm. Try it again tomorrow.
I don't rely on power meter data because there's just no reliable science behind it. At least when it comes to heart rate based training regimes, you have leading medical and chemical experts who have conducted peer-reviewed studies that have been published in major medical journals, so it is at least somewhat reliable.

It is ridiculously hard exercising at such a low heart rate. It sounds ridiculous. Most people complain that they are going too slow, that it's harder to go slow than fast! Even Olympians have this reaction when they try this type of training. It may feel awkward, but people are missing the KEY POINT:

The point is, to train your body to be able to do the same effort as before, BUT AT A LOWER HEART RATE! Let that sink in...

So you used to ride 30km/hr at 135bpm for 3 hours? The goal is, for you to be able to do 30km/hr at 120bpm, or lower. Why? Well quite simple...so you can go faster at those higher, costlier heart rate zones. So efforts that would have pushed you close to lactate or Vo2Max will now be a purely aerobic effort that you can maintain for extended periods of time. If you look at highly trained cyclists, it is uncanny how fast they are going at heart rates under 150bpm. It's not that they are able to simply ride faster than you because they can simply push higher watts...no...it is, "at the same heart rate (effort), they are able to go faster than you."

Here are some links below for further reading, or you can go to the National Health Institute to read the actual scientific studies that have been conducted, of which there are dozens.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3737930/

Summary: A HIIT group compared to a low intensity group showed that the HIIT group only experienced a relative gain (compared to low intensity group) in Vo2Max, while other cardio benefits were the same for both groups.

Some decent articles on the benefits of low intensity efforts:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying- ... e-training

http://robertsontrainingsystems.com/blo ... ty-cardio/

https://www.active.com/articles/aerobic ... get-faster
That robertson article is very very good.

TheRich
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by TheRich

I'm not sure doubling up translates from running or even swimming to cycling, unless you're doing short intervals and are time limited in your sessions but not the frequency.

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guyc
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So looking at this as bluntly as possible. 5 rides a week of, say, 2hrs at 60% HR. Or should you look to vary that 10 hours across rides of varying lengths?

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