Friday, March 21, 2008

Next week-it begins!!

My coach Sean Gilbert has instructed me to take it very easy this weekend and get ready to start his training plan next week. Yahoo, its about time. The knee still hurts, but its a lot better.

Today Brett D and I did 3x up Berkshire at speed and then finished with tempo to Old Mill and then rode a high effort to the top. We both did two explosive jumps , one midway and one at the top. So thats the last hard effort till Tuesday.

I start with the Conconi test Tuesday which is a graded effort. It is designed (in a lab) to determine lactate threshold via blood samples. From this, in its simplest terms can accurately determine your training zones. Luckily there are other ways to do it and we will not be taking blood. Me and needles just dont get along.

My wife says is this test to determine how much milk I can produce??

Basically on a bike you start at a power level appropriate to your level of fitness and hold it for 2 minutes then up it 20 watts every 2 minutes till you can no longer hold the power for 20 seconds. I think its a way for the coach and other employees to laugh at you while your sweat your ass off and make ridiculous faces while writhing in agony. There may be side bets like "I bet he pukes at 350 watts".

There will be a dip in HR thats the tell of where the lactate threshold is and from there the other training zones will be determined. All very useful for your coach to be able to determine how hard to push you and when during the season to turn each one up a bit. Also during later tests you have real data to see if the training as prescribed is working and how effective it has been.

Examples are during the early season it is important to build the base and then work tempo. The tempo zone is very specific and usually is only a 6bpm range!! Its is very specific. And as a road racer you need to be able to ride at tempo comfortably or at most mildly painfully for hours. The higher your tempo pace is the greater hurt you can apply when pulling the peleton or breakaway and the more you can sustain someones elses tempo. My teammates Batke, Tris and other guys like Dan Quinlan and of course the PM machine come to mind. Ouch!!

Effective adaptations to your training occur when you adhere to your zones, but the zones must be accurate. An example from last year was I was telling Brent Evans that the efforts were getting too easy and I was in zone 2 hr when utting out high L3 power, I think my zones have moved up. We tested (his was a 3 mile all out time trial on the computrainer at Bike Authority) and from that we found that in fact the power I put out at Tempo heart rate was too low and I needed to put out more power to get into the reevaluated Z3 tempo HR zone.

By the end of the season I was back into needing a retest, but we never got around to it. Now if I were to use those zones (which I am now) they would be wrong because the knee problems has reclassified my zones (sadly downward in power or higher in HR to maintain the same zones as last season).

But thats why testing is a good thing. Its a painful experience and I wouldn't want to do it more than 2 or 3 times a year, but it definitely is important.

Theres a lot more ot this whole thing, but I'll save you the read for now.

1 comment:

Ray Huang said...

I was mistaken-each power level is 1 minute long then up 20 watts. My bad.