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Now happily retired but I used to travel a lot as well so had this problem. Few other comments: > If forced to use a gym plan to use it for high intensity efforts e.g. VO2 intervals/tabata. If the gym has no bike then second best choice is do these on a rowing machine if it has one. > I bought myself an Airnimal bike. These are great, ride exactly like a "real" bike but can be packed into a suitcase. If you are lucky, as I was, your trips may send you good cycling country so this gives a double whammy of training and discovering new rides. > Plan do to off bike conditioning like strength and flexibility. I would especially recommend "Core Advantage" by Tim Danielson. This is a cyclist specific book and all its exercises are designed to be done in a hotel room without any special equipment.
Toggle Commented Nov 17, 2016 on Travel and Training at Joe Friel
Sorry but I can't see how you have enough information to reach your conclusion. HR by itself simply cannot be used to judge whether you are getting fitter/better. I would have thought better advice would be 1. Use speed as an independent variable. The athlete is a cyclist, this makes it easy. They can do controlled efforts on a turbo where speed/distance covered at a given HR zone will change as a function of fitness. Provided some basic care is taken in terms of setup and cooling this is almost as good a measure as power at an individual level. What you miss compared to a power meter are the metrics for TSS and the ability to compare yourself against others. 2. Challenge their priorities. Not being able to afford a power-meter? Really? Old powertaps are can be sourced very cheaply from ebay, companies rent them out, there are lots of interest free purchase deals about and surely, if the coach is half decent, they have access to one that could be borrowed for a while. In terms of performance a power meter is the single most useful piece of kit a cyclist can purchase. Much more so than the latest bit of carbon bling. In the specific case you mention the coach may not like to hear it but the rider would probably be better off using the money spent on coaching buying a power meter.
Toggle Commented May 18, 2015 on Question on Heart Rate at Joe Friel
Sorry but I don't think I agree. Just working hard and feeling a bit rough does not really require a recovery day. The pros do things quite differently. They will use multi-day tours as preparation for events. They absorb far more in terms of training load. An example is here http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/article/how-tinkoff-saxo-manages-fitness-and-fatigue-over-the-season?feed=70c86158-aad7-4b07-8cc3-7c383b9bd61b&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+trainingpeaks%2FXAlX+%28TrainingPeaks+Blog%29 Since this is a PMC it's possible to compare with folks like us. 100CTL for Boaro = 100 CTL for us in terms of impact. The numbers 170CTL -75TSB are simply in a different league to what we would see. You will never see anything like this if you take a day off just because you feel a bit tired. I am aware there is a cause and effect here. It could be argued that the pros can train this way because they are pros. I would argue that it's at least as much the other way round, they are pros because they train so hard. I would further observe that the human body is capable of remarkable feats of endurance. Until relatively recently many people would doing jobs requiring manual labour 6 days a week 10 hours a day. Their "PMC" just from this would look like that above. Being inactive is a relatively recent phenomenon and this has caused ungrounded fears about feeling a bit tired. Talk of "overtraining" in the context of someone only spending a few hours a week working out is imo vasty over-rated. While there may be a few people who really suffer from this condition, fear of it causes far more to never reach their potential.
Toggle Commented Apr 5, 2015 on Supercompensation at Joe Friel
Thanks for this post. The study you cite is probably the best conducted I have ever seen. Quite apart from its length it has a very good/representative group of subjects and utilises real life measures in terms of actual competition results which are far more important and convincing than a lab ramp test. It is a shame that there are not more studies like this. For my part I am absolutely convinced of the value of including high intensity training throughout the year. Quite apart from the benefits in terms of performance it also makes training more enjoyable, especially during the long "base" period if you throw in some shorter/harder days.
If true this has leads to a number of conclusions: - TSS is pretty meaningless - Sweetspot is the worst zone to train in - The first rule of training is not specificity (unless you are training for ultra endurance events) I will need a lot more convincing about this. Not just from theory but personal experience. Last year I tried out doing more low effort zone work. It was boring to do and led to a flat season. I am now back to my old training which has a basic rule of thumb. If you are not having to breathe using your mouth you are not training. So I do what I consider to be zone 2 but this consists of a solit 3 hour session at 250W/85% LTHR The difference in terms of performance is marked. I ride better and feel better
Toggle Commented Dec 23, 2014 on Low-Intensity Training at Joe Friel
Typepad assigned this to me. Yes I missed the fact that HR was used in my first read through. I must say that in light of this I find the headline of this study misleading. To my mind this study has nothing to say about "threshold" training since no-one actually trained at threshold level. The so-called threshold group actually did short sweetspot intervals. The HIIT group were actually closer to threshold than the THR group. What I think this study showed again was; - HR is a poor indicator of intensity. While it has to be used for some sports there is simply no excuse for using it rather than power for cyclists. The cyclists in this study should have had separate measure of power. The fact that they didn't makes me question the quality of the investigation. Apart from the calibration of zones power would also have allowed some objective comparison between groups in terms of TSS/TSB. Done correctly this would yield interesting extra information. - The first rule of training is specificity. The "Threshold" group actually spent 9 solid weeks doing efforts at sub-threshold levels, with their HR never going above 90% of max. It's not a surprise then that when they do a test measuring effort at threshold/VO2 they have not improved. They were actually de-training wrt to this intensity level. Martin
Toggle Commented Nov 7, 2014 on Polarized Training Update at Joe Friel
Thanks Joe. This is a fascinating topic with potential wide ranging implications for training. While the results are clear cut I find the protocol for the HIIT and THR sessions a little confusing. The majority of the participants would, I guess, be using HR as their measure for intensity (since most were not cyclists) The study says HIIT sessions were 4x4mins@90-95% of HRpeak with 3 mins active recovery in between. Isn't this a little "low" for HIIT? I would have thought to be real "High" intensity target would be 95%+ or, perhaps preferably, expressed as lactate threshold HR+. The study does not specify how those conducting THR sessions controlled intensity. It does though say that subjects in this category included 2x20 minute intervals. What I find weird for this group is that Table 1 of the results show the THR group spent 0% of time at HIIT. If this means over the course of 9 weeks their HR never went above 90% to me this is very strange, even the HVT group recorded 1 hour in this zone. So I am left asking myself if the THR group actually did threshold training as I would understand it? For me target power for this would be FTP+/- 5% or so. Doing these I would expect HR towards the end of intervals to be 90%+. The results of the "THR" group look more as if they were training at lowish sweetspot level which makes the relatively poor results on a ramp test more understandable. This is not to decry the results. They remain very interesting. However, as a cyclist, I would be more interested in a similar study but with only bike riders using power meters to more precisely control intensity and discriminate between groups. Given how commonplace power meters are now I would have thought this would be a relatively easy process. Perhaps you could even run one yourself, I'd imagine you have a ready cohort of volunteers amongst those who read your blog.
Toggle Commented Nov 2, 2014 on Polarized Training Update at Joe Friel
PS. Think my maths was a bit off in previous post, sorry for that. Still that doesn't alter point. If someone is training for a 40km TT and only has 8 hours a week to spare if they spend 2 hours in level 3 and 6 in level 1 then their CTL will be very low and TSB very high. (If the two "hard" hours were done at FTP then I think CTL would be around 100*2/7=28ish?). Would this really be expected to yield significant benefits? If the same person has 24 hours a week to spare then spending 6 hours a week doing "hard" efforts might well yield a benefit and their CTL would be in a more usual range, but still I did not think that spending 18 hours a week in level 1 would be significantly better than "only" 6-10 hours in terms of active recovery. Does it really?
Toggle Commented Dec 12, 2013 on Hard-Easy Training at Joe Friel
I had exactly the same reaction as Slimdog. For most amateurs finding time to train is one of the biggest limiters. So rather than spend the vast majority of this in "active" recovery why not just do full rest and use the time saved for specific training in your target zone? This would apply even to shorter events like the examples, even more so if, as you say your events are longer and therefore require more time at "hard" efforts. It would help if the studies cited showed actual time spent in zone rather than percentages. I find it hard to believe that someone who can only spend 8 hours per week training should be advised to spend 6 of these in "active" recovery and only average less than 20 minutes per day on hard efforts. Perhaps track sprinters may do this but for any event where time is measured in minutes rather than seconds? On the other hand if you are doing an 24 hours per week = 1 hour per day in level 3 (assuming 1 day off) then yes you will need a lot of recovery but again do you really need 5 hours per day?
Toggle Commented Dec 11, 2013 on Hard-Easy Training at Joe Friel
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