Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Featuring TheRunZone?s resident coach Tinman. All participants are welcome to post and reply to topics in this section whether you?re looking for advice, or sharing your own coaching experience.

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by dkggpeters » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:39 pm

My understanding is power is power no matter what temperature so you would have to adjust for temperature like we do now.  Someone correct me if I am wrong.  Since we don't have power meters for running so I can only dream.  They are expensive anyways.
Last edited by dkggpeters on Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by ap4305 » Sat Mar 15, 2014 8:47 am

[quote="dkggpeters"]
My understanding is power is power no matter what temperature so you would have to adjust for temperature like we do now.  Someone correct me if I am wrong. 
[/quote]

You are correct.  Power is power.  But on a big picture level, there is a "cost of doing business" to achieve certain power numbers, which is what I think you're getting at.  Let's say your "threshold" power output is 300watts established in an indoor lab, but you go for a weeklong cycling camp in Nevada in July...you may want to dial back your target numbers given the conditions.  Similarly, if you're wiped out from too much work, not enough sleep, etc, you may also need to dial back as well, as your body may need to "pay more" to hit your numbers.  So there's still some art involved in the overall planning, but power is the absolute truth in terms of what you actually deliver to the pedals (unlike HR, MPH, etc). 

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Tinman » Sat Mar 15, 2014 9:05 pm

Speaking of power, I did a time trial on my bike today, and I achieved 477 W average for 7 minutes - a personal best. It felt like it was 95% effort. I continue to raise my power while primarily working at intensities well below max VO2 power. Makes you think twice about doing really hard workouts!
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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by monica » Sun Mar 16, 2014 12:04 am

[quote="ap4305"]
[quote="dkggpeters"]
My understanding is power is power no matter what temperature so you would have to adjust for temperature like we do now.  Someone correct me if I am wrong. 
[/quote]

You are correct.  Power is power.  But on a big picture level, there is a "cost of doing business" to achieve certain power numbers, which is what I think you're getting at.  Let's say your "threshold" power output is 300watts established in an indoor lab, but you go for a weeklong cycling camp in Nevada in July...you may want to dial back your target numbers given the conditions.  Similarly, if you're wiped out from too much work, not enough sleep, etc, you may also need to dial back as well, as your body may need to "pay more" to hit your numbers.  So there's still some art involved in the overall planning, but power is the absolute truth in terms of what you actually deliver to the pedals (unlike HR, MPH, etc).
[/quote]

This was my point as well :) About having to adjust to conditions. As for mph... if the relevant variables are well controlled for I find it pretty close to the truth too... But I would be happy to have a power meter sure, because then you don't have to control for those variables

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by ap4305 » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:24 pm

[quote="monica"]
This was my point as well :) About having to adjust to conditions. As for mph... if the relevant variables are well controlled for I find it pretty close to the truth too... But I would be happy to have a power meter sure, because then you don't have to control for those variables
[/quote]

RPE, ratings of perceived exertion (Borg scale, Talk Test, etc) have been established in the research literature as reliable indicators of output.  Not perfect, but not far off most of the time.   

My personal opinion is that numbers serve a more vital record keeping role to assess long term progress, moreso than their utility as a real-time indicator within a workout.  There's much value in the "zen" of learning to read your body in relation to effort.   

Certainly the higher level the athlete, the more important measurement precision becomes, but I've also seen many athletes sabotage themselves with paralysis-by-analysis when they blindly chase numbers and don't really understand what they mean to the big picture. 

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Tinman » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:47 pm

I agree with AP's statement. I'll add that a key to advancing one's self-awareness is to have a system for analysis. Foremost, you must have a reference point for comparison. A scale connected to a point of reference is what's needed to make sense (reason) of the data points. That's why I always say, "What's your 5k race-pace today?" Then, you can assign your scale of quality to the pace. I remember a comment from Rob De Castella, back in the 1980s, who said, "Running easy and running slow are different." My interpreation is that it's relative. A slow pace, when you are tired, may not be easy. A slow pace when I lived in Estes Park, Colorado, and ran at 8,000 feet on trails in Rocky Mountain National Park, was challenging. I remember when my cousin, Allan, visited, me. He was much fitter than me over 10k at the time - probalby 33 minutes for him and 35 minutes for me. We went on my normal trail route, and he sucked air big-time at my normal easy pace, which was about 8:30 per mile. After our 7-mile run, he said, "That's the hardest training run I've ever had at 8:30 pace. Slow up here is hard!"
Last edited by Tinman on Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by dkggpeters » Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:08 pm

I remember running up in Mammoth Lakes at 9,000 feet when I was in Jr High and High School.  Smacks you into reality really quick.

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by monica » Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:26 pm

ap4305 wrote:RPE, ratings of perceived exertion (Borg scale, Talk Test, etc) have been established in the research literature as reliable indicators of output.  Not perfect, but not far off most of the time.
That Borg scale never made sense to me personally. Seems really subjective and not precise. The examples of the levels of exertion are of even less use to me, consider this site for example http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/borg-scale/ Brisk walking never made my breathing speed up, swimming also never made my heart pounding. Even when I was untrained. A friend of mine is very different from me though in terms of what he feels when working out. So there's individual variation for sure.

I'll elaborate a bit on that... What I would feel is easy on RPE scale isn't actually as easy and I only know this for a fact by comparing my body's delayed responses to the scores by RPE scale. That is what was telling for me as to what's easy and what isn't, I learned this from experience over time. I'm sure I'm not the only one with that problem of learning what's an easy run haha. Generic RPE scale descriptions mention nothing of these things. My friend on the other hand is overly sensitive to whatever feelings of exertion right there and then in the moment. He responds differently to exercise in general too. So I'm convinced there is a lot of variation. Variation in sensitivity to bodily feelings in this example and probably variation in other things too.

The worst is the supposed connection of RPE to HR percentages. That's when it totally becomes nonsense :) Such generalizations about perceived exertion vs heart rate shouldn't be made at all :(

Don't misunderstand me, the idea of using a scale is good but, as I said, I think it can't be generalized like this. Another problem with the approach that I see, it's an in-the-moment evaluation, disregarding the bigger picture, the longer term trends. It won't see even as far as 5 minutes into the future. That maybe works for some people but not for me. For example, at the start of a race, you may go out too fast because it will feel really easy because of all the adrenaline or something. Yeah, RPE totally fails there. Or the pace could feel too hard simply because you didn't warm up properly. And so on...

As for talk test, that's not very precise again. You're usually told to check at what running pace talking feels comfortable. What counts as "comfortable"? I see it as a scale, not a "yes" / "no" thing. To me the default would be speaking during exercise as if I was just sitting, exactly as comfortably/easily. But I suspect that's not what's meant by "comfortable enough". The other end of the scale is more clear, it's more well-defined, not being able to speak more than one or two words in one go, that does make sense and does work for me.

Overall I suppose everyone has to find what works for them. I do check for feeling of effort, subjective and objective cues but it's my own very personalized system and from experience I find it's not something that can be generalized, it doesn't even stay constant over time, it changes along with how body responds to consistent and effective exercise.

Btw this study explains stuff much better than me maybe http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12430990

All in all, I think this exercise physiology business is really interesting :)

 
My personal opinion is that numbers serve a more vital record keeping role to assess long term progress, moreso than their utility as a real-time indicator within a workout.  There's much value in the "zen" of learning to read your body in relation to effort.   

Certainly the higher level the athlete, the more important measurement precision becomes, but I've also seen many athletes sabotage themselves with paralysis-by-analysis when they blindly chase numbers and don't really understand what they mean to the big picture.


Yep the importance of checking trends over time has been mentioned in other threads too.

I guess the "zen" thing you talk about is similar to what I mentioned when criticizing generic RPE stuff. I totally agree on the value of learning that stuff (not just generic RPE).
Last edited by monica on Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by dfsbwc » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:36 pm

Tinman,

If you don't mind sharing.  What does a typical week of training on the bike look like for you? 

I am currently training for duathlons and am trying to use your training philosophy to guide my training.  I'm curious as to how my applying what I know of your run training to biking compares to what you are actually doing on the bike.

By the way, those are very impressive power numbers.  What kind of power meter are you using?

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Tinman » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:48 pm

I create a 2 or 3 week training cycle, so there's no common week.

I always build over a 2 or 3 week period of time and then restart the process with a new cycle. Any athlete that I coach will tell you that I use cycles of some sort to develop their fitness/performance level. I use 2-3 cycles, typically.

Currently, I am starting a 2 week cycle. I will include the following key workouts: (1) stamina intervals, (2) a short but hard tempo  (20 minutes), (3) a longter tempo at a moderate intensity), ( 4) one session of 40 seconds faster, 20 seconds slower, and (5) One long ride at a moderate intensity.

The composition of each 2-3 week cycle may vary, but the principles of progressive overload are in-play. Keys to success are making sure that the intensities are correct, the volume are enough but not too much (it's not true the you need to max out volume at any given intensity in any given workout/ride), the spacing of the workouts is correct, and the details about how to warm up and cool down are correct. The details really do matter. I've found that I can train 30-40% less volume and improve more than when I push the limits and don't pay attention to the volume. It's important to not let your motivation get the best of you. Most athletes push too hard and push really hard when they are psyched up to reach a big goal. That's not a good way to improve!
Last edited by Tinman on Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Tinman » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:33 pm

Just an update about the post above. Tonight, I did the 20 minutes solid tempo-effort (which to me is near CV pace/effort). I warmed up with 30 minutes of steady riding at 338 watts average (started at 308 and ended at near 380). Felt like that was something I could ride for 3-4 hours, if I had enough carbohydrates to drink/consume. Then, I rode 20 minutes @ CV effort (something I could ride for 30-35 minutes if I had to or wanted to). I averaged 422 watts (started at 408 and ended around 437 watts, with heart rate at the end about 160 out of 174 max). I think I could have ridden 5-10 watts higher, but my stomach was full from eating barbeque 45 minutes earlier and I had a tough time with the belly ache). I rode a cool down at 302 watts average for 10 minutes - barely breathing!

Total Calories burned as 1343 and total Joules (work energy) was 1236 for 60 minutes.
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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Tinman » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:58 pm

For non-cyclists who want to understand the training I am doing, the following are conversions I made, based on body weight and watts to running pace per mile and per kilometer.  Yesterday, I rode 1 hour. I rode 338 watts average for the first 30 minutes. That's equal to 6:41.5 per mile (4:09.5 per km). Then, I rode 20 minutes @ 422 watts, an that's equal to 5:39.5 per mile (3:31 per km). I cooled down 10 minutes @ 302 watts, and that's equal to 7:16.9 per mile (4:31.5 per km).
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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Barney » Thu May 01, 2014 7:44 pm

Tinman, I purchased a road bike at the end of last year and have recently started riding some.  I have an extensive running background and do understand that more running typically produces a better runner.  In my case, I bought the bike to help/cross train when I can't run.  I'm 45 now and battling some upper hamstring tendinopathy over the years.  As a beginner, where should I start in cycling?  Should I just ride easy in between hard running days?  Should I keep a certain cadence, HR, etc.  I'm at a loss, but want to get the most bang for my buck.  I have ridden approximately 12 times and certainly do not enjoy it nearly as much as running.

Thanks for the help! 

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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Tinman » Thu May 01, 2014 11:13 pm

Barney -

First, be sure you have a good bike fit. Find a cycling shop in your locale that offers bike fitting. You want no back or hip pain to build up due to poor position on the bike (setup).

Second, start with low resistance and high cadence. You have to remember that your heart is strong from running, but the muscle fibers used to ride a bike are not conditioned well. Low resistance and high cadence will prevent overuse injuries in the short-term. I recommend aiming for 90-95 RPMs (revolutions per minute). You may find that such a cadence is hard to do, at first, because your coordination is not there, but in time your nervous system will adjust.

Third, since you have some injuries that are bothering your running, pick three days per week to ride your bike, three days to run, and take one day off. Do that for about a month and I think the overuse injury will subside significantly.

Once your overuse injury is gone, you'll have to decide if aerobic cross-training is something that you want to retain. Maybe 1-2 times per week of cross-training will keep your body from having issue. Dave Peters, under my guidance, rode his bike once a week this winter, yet he was able to still put in high mileage and get ready for the Boston marathon, where he raced quickly for a 50 year old (2:44:52).
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Re: Cycling Training, Racing, Physiology, and Racing Tactics

Post by Barney » Fri May 02, 2014 7:35 am

Thanks, Tinman.  I resume running on Monday and I will see what schedule fits for me. 

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