Saturday, June 30, 2012

30 days to Better Cycling and ride Challenge!

June 30th workout, podcast, .

Day 1 workout above.

Lactate Threshold, Zone 4The anchor point for our training...
First off gang to really get the full spectrum of each topic read the posts AND listen to the audio. There are not the same. A good Threshold work out is in the Audio.

Threshold: your lactate threshold is talked about in many different terms so lets get it straight. Its “Lactate Threshold”. or just threshold. Not anaerobic threshold, aerobic threshold, etc…
Your threshold is defined as the point at which your body can not fitter and process the lactic acid and lactate you are producing and it builds up. When this happens your rate of work can’t be sustained very long. While many people can produce there power at threshold for up to an hour but go 5% harder and your down to holding that power for 30’ -20’ or less! A big drop off!

You tube Chanel podcast on lactate threshold

How we test for our Threshold: 
~The lab. Best way, can be expensive, using a power meter and heart rate during the test is the ONLY way to go!
~Field Test: very good and the most practical. We don’t race in a lab. For this a test of 40 minutes or more should be used. Use a course that you don’t have to stop on and allows you to produce a steady power out put. To find threshold HR take your avg. HR after the first10 minutes or so, when it final settles in.

“Why 40’ I heard it was what you can do for an hour”. “I heard it was what you can do for 30”.
Again your threshold is defined by blood levels of lactic acid. I know many athletes who either can not do this out for a full hour or can but only when the planets align. This is where we come to FTP. “Functional Threshold Power”. To use your Threshold in training it needs to “functional” repeatable, useable. It takes a very sound rider to do a full hour right at threshold. You will see some riders who have no problem with this while other will struggle a bit. We’re all different. In our experience here the newer the athlete, the less time they can hold lab defined threshold for. However, the 1 hour TT is the standard and everyone should be striving for this.

With all tests, races and training there is no one piece of data that defines your abilities. Do several tests, take many data points and match that up to a lab test. As said earlier the more data points you have to define your threshold the better. just because you rode up Appellation Gap in 1 hour, one time, way back when, probably with a tail wind, doesn’t mean that is your threshold. its got to be repeatable!

Your Zones:
This is the starting point for all your zones. If your using the old 220 minus your age for HR its most likely wrong. If your gym has one of these charts up, tell them to get with the post 1990’s!
An excellent description of how your zones should be set up is here

As you can see each zone has a range. So don’t stress out about finding your HR or wattage at threshold the .001%. you want to be as accurate as possible, yes, but don’t loose sleep. With the ranges in each zone, the variability in athletes in every zone and the fact that you will be defining these zones with more than one data point, you will have lots of good reference points and well set up zones for very effective training.
Bottom Line:
~Test every month or so.
~Use more than one data point/test to determine your Threshold
~Use differnt types of tests ie. best 1 hr. normalized power from a race, 1 hr TT, 30' TT less 3-5%)
~Get a threshold from climbing and TT
~realize we are all a bit different. what your pals do is good knoldge but find out what YOU can do and can't do.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The perfect warm up

Earlier this spring myself and some of our athletes did the Haystack time trail in Boulder, CO. our warm was perfect. And it got me thinking. What is the perfect warm up?
After an early morning of helping out with the race I got in 30 minutes or so over very easy riding. At which point of began doing 1 minute and 90 seconds  int. at a building intensity up to my goal race wattage. These did not feel good.  Because I felt less than ideal I did not force the issue. I stayed calm and kept my watts low and rest time between these efforts long. About  10  minutes before my start time it was time for my body to wake up! I did my last warm up set which is 1 minute in zone 3 (tempo) 30 seconds in Z5 (vo2 watts) repeated for 5 minutes or longer.  I really like this easy over under interval as it really ramps up all the bodies’ processes without building up to much lactate.  After the first  minute or so the engines light up! I felt great, had a few minutes to relax before the start and had a great race.
So, there you have it the perfect warm up… right? WORNG!
Ever race is different. Are you warming for a 100 mile road racer or a 5 minute time trial?  A triathlon that will take 2:30? On top of this every race day will be different. Cold, hot, windy, you might wake up feeling great and ready to go right away or you might be tired and have some tight muscles.
The key to finding the best warm up is listening to your body and being aware of your environment.
This will give you the information you need to alter your warm up to best suit you and your task at hand.
    An athlete of mine was getting ready for a uphill TT one day that takes less that 20 minutes. A very violent effort! He was tired after working all night and had tight legs from spending lots of time in a car. We decided for a 90 minute warm up. VERY easy with some fluids and his favorite energy drink  45 minutes prior to the start. 15 minutes before the start he did 4-5, 1 minute efforts at his goal race wattage with the last 30 sec. of the last interval at max.
He felt great, set a PR 20 minute power output and place top 10 in the Pro 1-2 field.  I once warmed up on my trainer before a 145 mile road race. Why? It was 50 degrees, raining and the day before I had very bad, tight legs.  I simply HAD to warm up. I had a great race that day making the final selection and placing in the top 30 of a race that saw over half the 140 person field eliminated. 
   Waiting in the cold water at a triathlon start is the worst warm up one can have. I have developed a very efficient way of treading water that mimics a free style stroke (somewhat) keeps the muscles warm and readies them for a mass start swim.  
Every day will be different, every race different.  Be as aware of yourself and your environment as possible.
a few key points for warm ups:

·         Come up with a warm up out line that you can alter depending on race length, and how you feel
·         The shorter your race, the longer and more intense your warm must be.
·         Always build your effort slowly! Take your time warming up. This is hard being wound up and ready to race! Relax, control your thoughts and your body. You’ll race better under control.
·         Make a time sch. for yourself! Make sure you have plenty of time! 
·         Always build up to your race effort and pace/ watts, etc. and do a few short efforts above (harder) this pace.  When you are ready! Not before.
·         Long rests. Give yourself long rest intervals between your warm up efforts.  Remember you are just getting the muscles ready to go. You are NOT training, yet.
·         Warm up your mind. This is very different for folks. I like to be around people, talk a lot joke around. Some might want their head phones and to be alone. Whatever it is give yourself this opportunity.

 Making a time table for your race morning is probably the most important and the one that athletes are the most likely to not do.  It is very easy to get behind.  I have done this many times. Too much time leads to being lazy and things get missed.
     At the Tour of the Gila one year getting ready for the stage 3 TT I slept in and had a nice, slow breakfast.  Start time was at 2:34pm. Plenty of time.  My body was enjoying the recovery time.  The time passed and I got ready. Drove to the start area get ready to warm up. Opps for get the skin suit. Turn around killing 10 more minutes. Warmed up on the road for a bit,  ohh gotta right sign in.  Then I had to get a disc wheel to borrow, change the cassette, find a tool to borrow, back to the warm up, then to the trainer,  the next thing I knew it was time and I was in the start gate. Notice anything I forgot? TO EAT LUNCH!!!   The least busy day of the 5 day stage race and I was behind on calories. This is the day to fuel up!  Not only put in a solid TT performance but gas up for stages 4 and 5. I bonked 10’ into the TT (yes I had never heard of that either) and all hopes of retaining a top ten over all were gone.   A horrible amateur error simply because I did not plan out my morning.
Warming up has a lot more to do with how hard you go, for how long blah blah blah.  You must PLAN. Know what works for you. Some people always warm up on the trainer, some like the open road better.  Know your environment.  Where is the start?  Warming up on your bike at a big triathlon will NOT happen. it is in transition the day before and you will Not get it out so you need an alternate warm up.  will some stretching and wind mills do the trick or do you need 90 minutes of active warm up time?   You might need to warm up more for an early morning race as opposed to an afternoon start?  At the local triathlons a friend and I ride to the race venue. Yet we also meet 30 minutes prior to leaving and do  20 minutes  around the block to warm up even more.   
Know thy self, know your environment.  adapt to the situation and relax. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Winning Is Hard

No shit! Right!!
  But I am not talking about winning is the literal sense. Winning to achieve your goals. Any goals. Particularly the big ones. "Aim High" is the slogan of the US air force. How many Air force pilots do you know?  likely none. you know why?  it takes the best. the "best of the best".  higher the goal the harder it will be to achieve. there are guys who place on teh podium at IM Hawaii every year. will i ever break teh top ten. No Way.
   Here's the deal.  We get complacent with ourselves and others with the type of results we expect. But when your really aiming high, you get competitive. When your competitive it does not matter if you had a great day, if the course suited your strengths, if you set a new 5 minute power record or a new run pr. You have to beat the other guy. bottom line.
   My friend Steve Johnson just did the Eagleman 70.3. He was trying to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman world championships in October.  for his 5th time or something.  He won his AG like he has at so many other races so many times. He has what I call the Killer Blow in long distance triathlon. a very VERY strong bike and an even strong, faster run. You simply can't win. He executed his normal anonymous swim (very solid but anonymous) thundered his way to 2nd in his AG by T2 ran down the leader by mile 8 and strided in, walking the last 15-20 feet to the line. well done ho humm. right?
   His story is very different.
Its filled with self doubt during the swim, mind blowing fast running (6:15 pace for 13.1 miles. I get nauseous just typing that) a dropped food bottle in the beginning of the bike. short on calories and, I quote, "I was barley able to keep my self up right in the last 3 miles of the run"
Sounds pretty epic. 
 Yet, its like this every time. The end result may be the same but the path we take, the ingredients that go into getting these finial out comes are NEVER easy and vary greatly.
A friend of mine who I lived with for some time loves to tell stories about how I would always make chocolate chip cookies.
 "No matter what normal cookie ingredients we did NOT have Eric would still figure it out. We still had cookies and they were still good. One time there was coffee grounds in them! they were amazing!" 

Many times we forget how hard it was to get to our top steep. We remember feeling great "that" day. crushing those threshold intervals, dropping fast Freddy on the group ride.  Or that road race that just seemed... easy.  Its the hard days that make you better. A better person, a better athlete. And lets be fair, you're not going to be great every day, give your self a break...

stay smart, stay safe, stay tough