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Can You Help me Improve?(4 posts)

Can You Help me Improve?berni
Nov 19, 2002 2:33 AM
Thought I would tap into this board for some ideas, seeing as you guys know your stuff;

I weigh 60kg, 132lbs, am 32, have been riding bikes for ages, and have done lots of MTB races all round the Alps. I would like to get into road racing a bit - I have a Trek 5200, which I enjoy riding more and more.

I recently did a bike related fitness test - I have a % body fat of 4.8%. My max heart rate was 196bpm.

My max average power was 336W. My aerobic/anaerobic change point was at 210W, 162bpm.

My O2 consumption levels were poor, 106.3 litre/minute of air at max power.

I was unable to sustain high power for very long.

My heart rate was relatively low at low power, e.g. 126bpm at 120W.

SO basically, I need to improve my power and my breathing capacity as well as my endurance at high power.

This I kind of knew already - I am terrible in head winds, due to my low power and light weight.

However I am a good climber, especially on short steep climbs, e.g. 2-5 miles at 6-10%.

What can I do to improve my power and breathing? I have weights with which I do squats etc. but I don't really know what to do about the breathing.

I am currently in 'endurance' training phase, i.e. I am riding 1 - 2 hours at 125bpm max, but I fear that this is just making my lack of power worse.

Any ideas?
re: Can You Help me Improve?Jon Billheimer
Nov 19, 2002 10:58 AM
Go to
Nov 19, 2002 6:29 PM
Stomp intervals - start at about 25 kph in a big gear, remain seated and push as hard as you can to spin out the gear.

Speed intervals - 1 minute on, one minute off.

Distance intervals - 3-5 minutes on, 3-5 minutes off.

Hill intervals - 5 minutes on a 5-7% grade, coast down, repeat.

Tempo riding - near time trial pace 10-30 minutes.

In all cases, warm up fully (15 minutes minimum, 30 minutes is better). Focus on your exhale, the inhale will take care of itself. Do weights if you want, but the on-bike workouts will be much more productive unless you have a very skilled weight coach.
re: Can You Help me Improve?tigermilk
Nov 22, 2002 1:49 AM
You're probably a good climber since you're a featherweight. With my decent power and your weight I'd be flying up those hills!

For breathing, since you don't want to start intervals this time of year, perhaps you can take up running. Develop the cardiovascular system better. Don't just work on long slow runs - Do 2-8 miles at a brisk pace. In time your breathing will learn to adapt under stress.

When the time comes for focused training, do what was suggested - intervals, tempo rides, etc. But do them religiously and with high quality. The short intervals should hurt. If they don't, you're not doing them right. One of my favorite workouts is a pyramid set of intervals at 150-175% or so of lactate power. I do these in 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 minute steps and consider them succesful if after the last several I feel I tossed a lung out my mouth. I often do these indoors on a Computrainer and end up hunched over the bars with exhaustion.

Other than that, put in miles. In the last year I've raised my lactate power (what I can sustain for an hour) from around 200 W to 250-260 W with 8000 miles of riding and focused training.

Regarding riding 1-2 hours at 125 bpm max, since this corresponds to your 120 W number, I'd ride harder. There's nothing wrong with going into Zone 2 this time of year. Your rides should be a mix of Z1/2. I've got a RHR of 44-46, max around 184-190, and LTHR of 165 or so. My top end for this time of year is 146 bpm (actually I'm doing power based training this year so HR is just a secondary measure) and I do those rides 5 of 7 days in a week.