Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do you have the power?

Power and wattage are words that have become common place in the world of cycling.

It has been shown, time and again, to be the best indictator of output and intensity on the bike, and is somthing that is becoming more accessable to cyclists of all levels - not just the Elites.

But there is more to power than just being able to crank out a high number of watts. The important consideration is how long can you hold that wattage for before fatigue sets in?

Lance Armstrongs' success rested on the fact that he was able to ride at a very high wattage, while maintaining physiological integrtiy and psychological control at all times.

How did he do this? Prett simple methodology actually - he spent a ton of time training at or around his Anarobic Threshold (AT) or Lactate Threshold. This allowed him to work harder at his Threshold - pushing out more watts, with less fatigue.

So you want to be able to do what Lance does? Well here is where you need to start.

If you are unable to get your threshold determined by a qualified professional (sport scientist or exercise physiologist), this simple field test will do the job too.

30 minute time trial test.

You will require a heart rate monitor that has an Average Heart rate function and an indoor spinner for your bike.

- Spend 20 - 30 minutes thoroughly warming up - you should be sweating at the start of the test.
- Ride as hard as you can for 30 minutes - start a little conservatively in the first 5 minutes to ensure you have not gone out to hard.
- You want to be able to hold the intensity for the full 30 minutes.

Your average heart rate at the end of the 30 minute test is a very close approxamation to your Anaerobic Threshold. We can use this number to develop training sessions to improve your output at threshold.

Before we look at some sample training sets using your estimated AT, please keep the following in mind to avoid Overtaining occuring:

- Most of your Threshold training should occur about 5 b/min below your AT.
- Allow 2 - 3 days of recovery between AT training session.
- Have a week with no AT session after 3 weeks of AT training

A 3 month training cycle might look a little somthing like this:

Month 1:

Week 1: Training at AT - 2 sessions per week
Week 2: Training at AT - 2 sessions per week
Week 3: Training at AT - 2 sessions per week
Week 4: Remove AT sessions for 7 days to allow for adaptaion and recovery

Month 2:
Week 1: Training at AT - 2 sessions per week
Week 2: Training at AT - 2 sessions per week
Week 3: Training at AT - 2 sessions per week
Week 4: Remove AT sessions for 7 days to allow for adaptaion and recovery

Month 3:
Remove AT sessions from the program to allow for recovery and adaptation
Keep training well below AT for this period

Now lets talk specific sessions - remember to always warm up and cool down thoroughly and after the session to spend 5 - 10 minutes stretching.

These sessions can be completed on an indoor trainer or outdoors - you choose.

Timetrial special:
- 30 minutes steady state riding
- 10 beats below AT

Tens:
- 10 minutes steady state riding
- 5 beats below AT
- 5 minutes easy spinning 30 beats below AT
- Repeat 3 times

Short hills:
- 3 - 5 minutes of climbingWork @ AT
- Recovery is the ride back down the hill and then
- 5 minutes of easy spinning.

This approach to your training will not only make you capable of maintaing a higher level of output on your bike, but will provide you with the confidence to put the hammer down when the need arises.

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