Get Training Program RecommendationA good explanation of how to do it follows. I think I'm probably in that zone of riding not hard enough to gain.
To really get the most out of your cycling workout, you need to be sure that
you're riding in the right "zone." If you ride too easily, you won't get stronger or fitter, and if
you ride too hard, you'll wear yourself out too soon. There are appropriate times to ride very
easily or intensely, to either encourage recovery or to increase fitness and strength,
respectively, and you can use your heart rate monitor to know that you are doing just that.
First, you need to know your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR). Be sure to
get an okay from your doctor before attempting to find your MHR, as it requires an all out effort.
An easy way to do this is with an indoor trainer while wearing your heart rate monitor. First, warm
up by pedaling easily for 15-30 minutes. Now, increase resisitance to a level that you can still
pedal without jumping on the pedals. At 60 second intervals, increase either the gear or the resistance a notch. Continue until exhaustion. Record the highest heart rate you attain. This is your MHR. Another way to find out your MHR is to note the highest heart rate on your monitor when
climbing hard for several miles (Use your best judgment here. You're aiming for an all out effort) or riding an all out time-trial for 10 miles.
Okay. Now that you know what your MHR is, what good is this info? The advantage of knowing your max is that you will know at what intensity level you are riding. At below 65% of your max, you are riding easily and are riding at a pace that is best for recovery. For a typical 30 year old, using MHR = 220 - age = 190 as an approximation, this is below 123 bpm (beats per minute). At 65-80%, you'll be riding easily at an aerobic pace, which is good for burning calories on a long, relaxing ride, and will build endurance. For a typical 30
year old, this is 123-152 bpm. At 80-85% effort (typically 152-161 bpm for a 30 year old), you're riding pretty hard, but still aerobically. This is the pace that isn't the best for training - too hard to build endurance and too easy to build strength. However, if you don't have a lot of time to ride everyday, 80-85% is a good pace to ride for an hour three or times a week- you'll being doing more than you would at 65-85%. At 85-92% (162-174 pm for a 30 year old) you are riding at your anaerobic threshold. This is the pace of a time-trial, and it is
the pace that will really help you build speed and strength.
A typical training week of 9-14 hours (or 171-266 miles at 19 miles/hour) might be something like this:
|Edurance ride. Two to four hour ride at 65-85% MHR with a 3-5 moderate climbs (or with 3-5 intervals of 5 minutes at 85-92%)||Recovery. Ride very easily at 60-65% HMR for an hour. You'll recover better riding this way than simply resting.||One to two hour ride at 65-85% MHR with 3-5 two minute climbs or intervals at 85-92% MHR.||Two to three hour ride at 65-85% MHR. You're just trying to build endurance and aren't ready for more intervals.|
|One to two hour ride at 65-85% MHR with five 30 second all out sprints, spinning easily for 30-60 seconds in between each sprint to recover.||Rest.||Two hour ride at 65-85% MHR. Leave something for Sunday's endurance ride.|