An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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peted76
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by peted76

AJS914 wrote:
Wed Mar 06, 2019 8:23 pm
In your first post you have four rides, all of which include high intensity. I'm surprised that that isn't tiring you out. Assuming it's not, I don't see anything wrong with adding some hours of tempo or sweet spot. It's not going to be as ideal as proper base miles but give it a try and see how you feel.

I've listened to all of the Fasttalk podcasts. One thing they have recommend for time challenged cyclists is to try and get that 3+ hour ride in at least once every 7 to 10 days. You could also tack on another couple of hours to your Sunday club ride.
Reality is I'll do maybe three of those rides per week, indoors it's rollers which simply don't 'shred your legs' as a trainer does.. I'll be in pieces after a roller session, it feels hard enough, and the HR graphs look good/hard enough to me. Whereas, if the same session was with resistance, I'd agree with you that I'd not be giving my muscles enough recovery time.

Last night my HR was strangley low, it took far longer to get up to 'speed' than usual.. I felt oddly good.. spinning at high cadence in top gear would usually bring my HR up to Z4, last night I thought my garmin was picking up someone elses HR monitor.. it wass 10-15beats lower than usual and in 'rest' mode was lower than I've ever seen in recovery spinning like ten beats lower.. I've been doing these HIIT sessions weekly (in winter) for years so I know where I should be in most circumstances.. (It might be ridiculous to think that two consecutive nights of steady Z3 would do this.. but I don't know what else has changed).

peted76
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by peted76

I think to conclude this thread: every type of training has a place. It might not be ideally what a coach might prescribe for a client, but I guess my original question was loaded.
I'll keep on with this 'hours in Z3'.. it may not be 'perfect' or what a coach would prescribe for me, but it's not 'useless'.. and it's ultimately better than sitting on the couch. I might even swap this out for some longer work on the turbo instead of rollers.

Thanks for all the input.

by Weenie


AJS914
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by AJS914

It's an interesting question. Even if the research says that the polarized model is the best model and is how Pros and Olympians train, it doesn't necessarily mean that that is the best plan for everyone. Not everyone can ride 15 or 20 hours a week and do 4 and 5 hour rides. I get kind of bored after 3 hours untill I have a group with me. Most of us in the 3-8 hours a week of training range can pretty much do anything and improve. Even Chris Carmichael still calls 6-8 hours a week "time crunched". For many of us, 8 hours is a lot.

Lots of coaches prescribe sweet spot. Trainerroad's base plans are sweet spot based. Fast Talk has covered sweet spot several times:

https://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/f ... pot_432260

I deleted the 2nd link I had posted since it wasn't relevant but I'm sure they have mentioned sweet spot many times in the various episodes.
Last edited by AJS914 on Fri Mar 08, 2019 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

peted76
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by peted76

Listened to that podcast last night. Interesting indeed! - Thank you!

petromyzon
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by petromyzon

FastTalk are big fans of Stephen Seiler's work. Yes he has some good studies to back up his philosophy and he is good at promoting it. That doesn't mean it's the one true answer and that all other opinions are misinformation.

To the OP: in my OPINION you may be neglecting steady, subthreshold work. 2x HIIT and then a spirited club run is a lot of work above threshold (i.e. zone 3 in Seiler's model, zone 4 in Coggan seven zone model.)

I would swap one of the HIIT sessions for an hour at Coggan zone 2/3. (Seiler zone 1/2) Depending on how you are generating extra resistance on your rollers, I would check that the HIIT workout is really hard enough in terms of power output.

I believe that training should be split in to a majority of workload that is below threshold (in Coggan terms z1-z3, Seiler terms Z1-2) and a small amount above. Most people don't go hard enough when it is time to really go hard. However, I'm not at all averse to building training load in the middle.

Many studies have shown that modern cyclists ride with a pyramidal intensity distribution (i.e. a significant amount of time in the middle) rather than a truly polarised one. I don't think Seiler has truly answered the question of what the optimal intensity distribution is for a rider doing <10hrs/week. Indeed one of the FastTalk podcasts promoting polarity interviewed someone from the Canadian PowerWatts gym chain who suggested that their go to workout for winter engine building was 2x45 min tempo. Seiler stated that he does 2 hrs in his Zone 1 on the indoor bike, but without a lab lactate test it's hard to say what the precise intensity should be.

petromyzon
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by petromyzon

Also agree with AJS - you can increase training in three ways: more rides, longer rides and harder rides.
If you are doing <10 hrs week do pretty much any of the above and you will improve.

For me HR on the rollers indoors may give you a false impression of how hard you are working - you could be spinning away like a hamster without producing much power. HR would be high but without the same training effect on the muscles and if you have been doing these for years how do you know that you are improving? Could you invest in a trainer with some kind of power measurement?

TheRich
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by TheRich

petromyzon wrote:
Sat Mar 16, 2019 10:44 am
FastTalk are big fans of Stephen Seiler's work. Yes he has some good studies to back up his philosophy and he is good at promoting it. That doesn't mean it's the one true answer and that all other opinions are misinformation.

To the OP: in my OPINION you may be neglecting steady, subthreshold work. 2x HIIT and then a spirited club run is a lot of work above threshold (i.e. zone 3 in Seiler's model, zone 4 in Coggan seven zone model.)

I would swap one of the HIIT sessions for an hour at Coggan zone 2/3. (Seiler zone 1/2) Depending on how you are generating extra resistance on your rollers, I would check that the HIIT workout is really hard enough in terms of power output.

I believe that training should be split in to a majority of workload that is below threshold (in Coggan terms z1-z3, Seiler terms Z1-2) and a small amount above. Most people don't go hard enough when it is time to really go hard. However, I'm not at all averse to building training load in the middle.

Many studies have shown that modern cyclists ride with a pyramidal intensity distribution (i.e. a significant amount of time in the middle) rather than a truly polarised one. I don't think Seiler has truly answered the question of what the optimal intensity distribution is for a rider doing <10hrs/week. Indeed one of the FastTalk podcasts promoting polarity interviewed someone from the Canadian PowerWatts gym chain who suggested that their go to workout for winter engine building was 2x45 min tempo. Seiler stated that he does 2 hrs in his Zone 1 on the indoor bike, but without a lab lactate test it's hard to say what the precise intensity should be.
Seiler's Z1 extends up to ~80% FTP and his low intensity sweet spot is ~78% FTP. (Based on the normal assumptions about the relationship between FTP and VO2max power)

If you have the time, it is beneficial to do a long steady ride...no extended breaks, no screwing around, to force the changes that only come from hours of extended effort. But if you do not have the time, you are not getting that training stimulus from a short steady (easy) effort so you might as well add intensity (assuming you can handle it) in order to have some sort of training stimulus.

It really depends on how you classify the middle, and they typical cyclist is out screwing around trying to beat up on themselves and others so that's not a very good metric to use anyway. Do most cyclists spend most of their time around threshold or even tempo? Not likely. It may feel like it, but the power data would probably disagree.

peted76
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by peted76

@petromyzon @theRich
Sitting on rollers last night watching the new star trek on netflix.. 95rpm steady for 40 mins +10min warm up 5min warm down.. (just one 60sec, 120rpm effort thrown in to relieve boredom and get the heart pumping).

I agree that rollers might give a false impression of how hard you are working, but only false when compared to working with power and watts. I believe that while I do 'spin out' on the very shortest efforts, I'm not wasting my time by any means. How do you measure improvement without watts? Simply I don't, I do compare myself to my peers and my enjoyment on the road. I can 'feel' that I'm in a decent state of fitness for this time of year over previous winters. I'd like to do slightly more indoor training while the sun still sets early, without demotivating myself with more 'hard intervals'. Also I really don't want to demotivate myself with are 'long easy rides' I've never been on a road ride which is long and easy and I don't think I have the time or energy to do so in future.

It occurs to me that I'm sort of not helping myself as well as I can.. the whole impetus for this thread was that I'm looking for some motivation to get off the couch and into the garage on the bike.. I do own a smart trainer, (although I think it hates me), so I think for now, I'll try adding in a couple of evenings of trainer work, measuring watts and HR and see if the boredom kicks in. I'll try it tonight, steady ride, 150-160 HR (max is 182) try and ignore chasing watts and see how bored I get.

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onemanpeloton
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by onemanpeloton

peted76 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:19 pm
I agree that rollers might give a false impression of how hard you are working, but only false when compared to working with power and watts.
But power is the exact definition of how hard you are working.

You seemed to have asked a question and then chosen to ignore 99% of the opinions here.

You also seem to be unmotivated by long easy rides or short intense rides, which lands you in this middle ground which most have agreed isn't the best use of your time.

Do whatever you think is best but I think it's worth considering more seriously some of the educated opinions that make this forum so good
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AJS914
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by AJS914

You really have to try a long slow distance ride before you completely discount it. When you start off, it will definitely feel way too easy and ridiculously slow. When you hit the 3rd hour of that slow grind you will start to feel the heaviness in your legs. It's that slow burn that makes the great slow twitch adaptations, improves your endurance and lactate clearance.

That said, Pete you might want to look into something like TrainerRoad for the winter. They will give you a training plan and you can followed their sweet spot based base and build plans. Since you aren't racing and don't want to do the big volume rides, structured sweet spot would probably be good for you.

Something like TrainerRoad might give you the motivation that you need to get on the smart trainer. And, you can get a lot out of a few 30-45-60 minute structured workouts per week.

peted76
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by peted76

onemanpeloton wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:58 pm

But power is the exact definition of how hard you are working.
Er.. what? Are you sure about that. What about when I'm tired/stressed/overtrained/ill and can't hit my FTP numbers? Does that mean I'm not working hard?
As I understand it, power as measured in watts, is just 'one' part of the personal training jigsaw.
onemanpeloton wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:58 pm

You seemed to have asked a question and then chosen to ignore 99% of the opinions here.

You also seem to be unmotivated by long easy rides or short intense rides, which lands you in this middle ground which most have agreed isn't the best use of your time.

Do whatever you think is best but I think it's worth considering more seriously some of the educated opinions that make this forum so good
Maybe I've not communicated as well as I could have, or maybe you've not read the thread properly.
I don't do too bad considering I don't find more time to ride, I'm no pro or pro-wannabe, I'm very over 40, slightly overweight and a committed hobby'ist to our wonderful sport.
I value all the replies on here, for me to do a 3hr+ low HR ride would require it to be done solo and by doing so would simply take some of the fun out of riding for me, I get the time to do a long ride maybe once every couple of weeks, replacing that social ride with a solo ride = less enjoyment. Also as already mentioned, I'm already doing at least 2 short (50-90min) intense rides per week.

@AJS914
TrainerRoad is a good shout, I'll take a look at that, thank you.

AJS914
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by AJS914

Get your extra long ride once a week by doing your social ride and then at the end split off with a pal and do another hour or two at low intensity.

TheRich
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by TheRich

peted76 wrote:
Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:12 pm
Maybe I've not communicated as well as I could have, or maybe you've not read the thread properly.
I don't do too bad considering I don't find more time to ride, I'm no pro or pro-wannabe, I'm very over 40, slightly overweight and a committed hobby'ist to our wonderful sport.
I value all the replies on here, for me to do a 3hr+ low HR ride would require it to be done solo and by doing so would simply take some of the fun out of riding for me, I get the time to do a long ride maybe once every couple of weeks, replacing that social ride with a solo ride = less enjoyment. Also as already mentioned, I'm already doing at least 2 short (50-90min) intense rides per week.

@AJS914
TrainerRoad is a good shout, I'll take a look at that, thank you.
I should change my diet, but I don't want to. This is a similar situation.

petromyzon
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by petromyzon

Power should be a complete and precise description of the useful work you did at the cranks to move the bike forward. Apart from aerodynamics and bike handling the key goal of training is to improve power output for the duration you choose to focus on (even if you don't own any kind of power meter, this is what you are doing, and this it what has been done since the invention of bicycle racing).

It won't tell you how "hard" you felt it was to perform that exercise or what physiological systems you used to do it. For example high cadence/low torque will probably give a higher heart rate for a certain power than low cadence/high torque. Conversely low cadence will probably give a greater sensation of muscular discomfort and probably force better endurance adaptations, although everyone is different.

Why don't you try doing the roller workouts on the smart trainer instead? OK the feel will be different due to the different inertial characteristics but if you ride to the same HR and use your gears to get the same cadence you should have an idea of what the power is for these sessions.

You have to ask yourself - do you choose to do these sessions on the rollers a)because you like the feel b) because the need to balance distracts you from the discomfort involved and makes it easier to tolerate or c) because the power output does not make it a high intensity session?

peted76
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by peted76

Smart trainer came out last night, 10min warm up @ 170w then 20min effort at 216w. I must admit it was hard work, harder than rollers, it's the relentless push which gets me. Bad news is that my HR monitor needs a new battery so no HR stats. I'm not used to a trainer so while it was supposed to be an easy effort, I ended up chasing the watts to keep a steady effort rather than going all out or keeping it easy.
petromyzon wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 10:12 am
You have to ask yourself - do you choose to do these sessions on the rollers a)because you like the feel b) because the need to balance distracts you from the discomfort involved and makes it easier to tolerate or c) because the power output does not make it a high intensity session?
A & B mainly.. I previously had not considered rollers not to be an intense effort prior to this thread. I'd simply looked at my HR, saw it was high and that was that. I get it though, how although my heart will be stressed, the muscles won't be as stressed. I think the reality of this takes my inital enquiry based around rollers to a new place.

All of this is good news for me because 1) it's additional exercise which I simply would not be doing otherwise 2) this thread has been quite cathartic for me, thus is prompting me off the couch and onto the bike, I'm feeling quite enthused about the additional training, thank you.

by Weenie


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