Friday, March 4, 2011
We spend a LOT of time training. That's the good news. The better (or happier) news comes when we see an empirical reward for our efforts. That can be in the form of a faster CompuTrainer Time Trial, a snappy 5K in the local benefit, or losing ten pounds as prescribed by your PCP. Time well spent. Cause and effect. Response to the dosage. Improvement, gain, reward. And continued motivation to persevere.
All good. The bad news can creep up like a shadow if we lose awareness or vigilance. Too much of a good thing can be just as harmful as not enough. We hang the label called balance around the neck of this critical concept. As a PSA, here is a reminder of the formula:
Work. Work hard. Work REAL hard. Relax, Recover. Repeat.
Compliment that with a diet rich with fruits and vegetables, start to wean yourself from primary carbs to primary protein, no processed grains, no artificials, no synthetics, no GMOs, and lots of water.
Manage stress. (massage, meditation, more sleep, green tea, walks in nature, Mozart, touch, sauna).
And you're on to something. Something big. Something important. Crucial. YOU. New and improved. Official size and weight. Optimized. Turbo-charged. Green.
Following is an excellent article (excerpt) from Bicycling magazine about one way to dramatically improve your power on the bike. I especially appreciate the authors final paragraph nod, bolded below, to those "unplugged". We'll soon give it a try in the HoM.
Find Your T-Max 1. Determine Your Peak Power Output. Using a power-measuring device from PowerTap, Polar, SRM or CompuTrainer, begin riding at 100 watts. Increase power by 30 watts every minute until you reach exhaustion. Laursen deemed test subjects fully exhausted when they could not keep their cadence above 60 rpm. You can use that benchmark, but let's be honest, you'll know when you're done. The number of watts you produce just before collapsing is your peak power output, or PPO.
2. Find Your T-Max. Rest for a day or two. Again using a power meter, ride at your PPO until you can no longer sustain that level of output. The amount of time you can hold your PPO is your T-Max. For most of us, that's between four and six minutes.
3. Calculate Your Ultimate Interval. Multiply your T-Max time by 0.6. This is the work phase of your interval. Double the work phase to set your recovery time between efforts.
4. Try It Out. The original study prescribed eight hard efforts. But if you'd rather avoid losing your lunch, start with two or three intervals. Do two sessions a week, with at least two days of rest or other easy riding between. Add one interval to each set every week until you achieve five or six intervals per workout. Build up to eight if you can.
If You Can't Measure Power Though the results likely won't be as dramatic as with a power-based T-Max Interval, Laursen says unplugged cyclists can reap some of the benefits by performing 2:30-minute intervals at 95 to 100 percent of max heart rate (the point at which you cannot speak), followed by recovery to 60 percent of max, or until you can speak in full sentences. Do two to six sets twice a week, with at least two days of spinning or rest between.
Pix: My visit to the dentist Wednesday allowed a walk through the always entertaining Pike Place Market. The metaphor is an apt one: Balance with good food (blood oranges) and rest (on the dentist's chair waiting for jaw to numb) and then get back out there and GO HARD.