Form & Fitness Q & A
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The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping
athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie
specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track
racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology
from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology
from John F. Kennedy University.
Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com)
is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16
years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities
from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl,
daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.
Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of
Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before
obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000.
Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows,
he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins,
CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural,
urgent care, inpatient and the like.
Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com)
is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting
(Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy
for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports
Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in
the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10
years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.
Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com)
is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds
undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy
from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track,
road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with
and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included
World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes.
He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's
degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual
medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization
musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.
Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider
positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders
from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable
cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of
the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the
Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick
Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica
Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.
Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular
Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University
and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University
of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency
on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated
changes in menstrual function on bone health.
Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling
competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion.
Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.
Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a
former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in
exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.
Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and
has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years
of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.
Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching
experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.
Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com)
is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association
of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been
professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels
from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching
with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive
cyclist for 20 years
Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com)
is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training.
He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and
a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).
In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports
Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered
training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past
4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.
Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com)
has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified
USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion,
and a Fitness Professional.
Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United
States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns
a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around
the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find
Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual
athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews,
you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before
beginning any exercise program.
Fitness questions and answers for August 12, 2003
Individual time trials
Cycling & asthma
Too much or not enough?
What can I expect?
Individual time trials
I am competing on road for the first time (newbie roadie) and I have some
questions about time trials after watching all those guys blaze in the Tour.
For Cat. 4, 5, Juniors etc., what is the most crucial for riding ITTs? I have
a somewhat tight budget. I know I need clip-on bars but are things such as aero
wheels, a TT helmet, booties and long sleeved skinsuits really needed to be
successful? I am a kid and pay for all my own stuff, but winning is the most
important thing and kicking out a few extra dollars to improve my cycling performance
is not an issue, just not too much! I am doing a few stage races that include
TTs and prologues.
Anything that a beginner TT rider should know would be of great benefit.
Eddie Monnier replies:
Since you're a newer and younger cyclist, my first advice would to expose
yourself to all aspects of the sport. It's too early to narrow your focus
to TTs. So I personally don't think buying all sorts of aero equipment would
be in your long-term best interest. For starters, a skinsuit, bootie covers
and an aero helmet will not compensate for inappropriate training and/or poor
bike positioning. Having said that, I believe the best of use of your money
would be to:
1) Have your road bike position set by a reputable expert in your local area
2) Get a coach. Some clubs have special programs for juniors. But if there
aren't any, you might find a certified coach to help you set up a general
training plan which might be a good start.
3) Get aero bars and have your TT bike position set by a reputable expert
in your local area as well.
I've seen many people tricked out in aero equipment get absolutely schooled
by a fitter, better positioned rider with limited aero equipment.
At the end of June I was on a training ride (I am a 44 year old woman) with
my husband, when a motorbike, approaching a corner too fast, lost control and
smashed into us. I was hospitalised for a week with concussion, and had quite
severe soft-tissue damage to both knees as well as being badly bruised. Luckily,
my husband escaped with very minor damage.
My legs don't feel too bad easy spinning on the turbo trainer for 30 minutes,
but my neck and arm ache quite uncomfortably during that time (I landed flat
out on my front), and my heart rate is about 10 beats higher than it was doing
a comparable spin. However, I seem to have lost virtually all the fitness I
had before the accident, and feel like I'm running on "empty" with little stamina
left if I try to make a harder effort. Therefore, any advice you may be able
to offer on how to get back to fitness would be highly appreciated.
Kim Morrow replies:
I'm sorry to hear about your accident and it is good to know that you and
your husband are ok. Here are a few suggestions:
1)If you have not already done so, get with your physician and make sure
that he/she has given you the go ahead to resume training. Since you had both
a head trauma and soft-tissue damage to both knees, this is especially important.
2)Once your physician has given you the green light to train, you will need
to start back at a level below what you were training before your injury.
This would include, for example, shorter rides and reduced intensity.
3)Be patient. Set short-term goals and allow yourself some flexibility in
adjusting these goals as needed. Each person recovers at a different rate
from an injury.
4) Allow yourself additional recovery in between workouts. You will probably
need it as your body continues to heal, and as you get back into the "training"
mode again. Focus on good nutrition and get plenty of sleep.
Cycling & asthma
I've just gotten into cycling and hope to do some charity rides this fall
(40 - 80 km) and then get more serious by the spring. I've been biking 17km
a day, 5 days a week for the past two weeks. I want to start increasing my distance.
My body reacts very quickly to exercise and I have a fast metabolism. While
already I have noticed some physical changes - abdominal development and stronger
legs - I have not noticed any changes in my lung capacity or breathing. I have
sports induced asthma (not great for an aspiring cyclist) and it has been incredibly
hot and muggy lately. I am able to go longer on the bike in the air-conditioned
gym. What can I do to improve my breathing / oxygen intake? When can I expect
to see results? Should I stop using my inhaler in hopes to increase my lung
Other info - I'm 26 years old, female, about 170cm, and I weight about
55 kilos. I have done mostly city riding on uneven terrain - cobblestones, pavement,
bricks (I live in Boston, USA) but also smooth bike paths. I've been riding
a mountain bike but want to switch to road biking once I notice some improvement
in my physical form (before I go and spend $600- $1000 US on a bike).
Brett Aitken replies:
I can highly recommend cycling as a cure for asthmatics. I have been a severe
sports induced asthmatic for as long as I can remember and it reached it's
worse stage in my late teens.
Gradually over the years though, the severity and frequency of my attacks
have dwindled to the point where I no longer get any at all. It would be easy
for me to think I'm cured but I soon realize the importance of my cycling
whenever I stop training for any lengthy period of time and the attacks reoccur
once I start exercise again.
So in answer to your questions the best thing you can do to improve your
lung capacity is to keep persevering with your cycling. You may not feel like
your getting any improvements but it will take time. Secondly, don't stop
using your inhaler just yet. This is not going to increase your lung capacity
naturally and is probably an important preventative that enables you to cycle
in the first place.
Instead try adding some more demanding training sessions that will stress
the oxygen system a little more. Regular interval sessions with efforts between
3 and 8 minutes where you are pushing your heart rate beyond 85% of max will
help stimulate your VO2 max. Do about 4 to 5 efforts with a 1:1 active recovery.
You should start seeing results with this in 4 to 6 weeks.
Good luck and breathe easy!
I am a 37 year old male, 180 lbs, 9 percent body fat, Cat 3 racer in the
US. I can hold my own during the flat Criteriums, but always get dropped on
the hills during the hilly road races. What frustrates me is that I am usually
one of the first 10 riders in a 70-man peloton to drop off the back when the
road tilts upward. Catching up to the peloton on the flats is not a problem,
as I can motor pretty well on my own, but the consistent dropping off the back
saps my strength.
I made a commitment to myself during the off-season to lose at least 5lb
and to acquire a lighter road bike (my current bike is SLX steel) for a total
of 10lb savings (5 body weight, 5 bike). Will this total weight loss help me
with the hills? Is it enough? or should I stick to the flat races.
Brett Aitken replies:
Any weight loss will help you go faster up hills as long as you're not sacrificing
power through muscle loss to do it. At 180lb and 9 percent body fat you are
probably a fairly solid guy that is carrying unwanted fat and muscle in the
upper body which is not very useful when climbing.
I would suggest looking at this area as a first option when trying to reduce
weight. Losing 5lb by paying for a better bike can be a very expensive exercise
if you could still lose this through a bit of extra hard work on the bike
instead. A better investment would be in hiring a nutritionist or coach who
can better advise you on how to eat and train for fat loss while keeping your
energy levels and power output high. This knowledge will last you a lifetime
whereas a new bike only gives you the edge until the next model arrives!
Dave Palese replies:
You aren't the only rider out there that can say climbing is not where they
I won't address weight loss as a cure for your difficulty on hills, but I
will say that you should be sure that you monitor your weight loss and be
sure that you are maintaining a healthy weight. You didn't mention your height,
but 9 percent body fat is generally a nice percentage for an amateur racer.
Just be careful.
The biggest gains will not be seen from shedding weight from yourself or
the bike, although doing so never hurts.
Instead, I would look at your training and decide how you can address your
weakness on hills.
Improving one's climbing takes practice and patience. The prerequisites for
improved climbing are: strength (trained with a combination of on-the-bike
and off-the-bike (gym) strength training); endurance; and muscular endurance.
It is important, to make long-term improvements in your climbing, that you
spend a good chunk of time training these abilities and the systems that support
them, the aerobic and lactic acid systems. Long easy miles on flat to rolling
courses, that include Tempo training, and later Threshold training, will help
to make your climbing specific workouts much more effective and of a higher
"Climbing" is a pretty broad term, but there generally are two types of hills:
1) The short "sprinter", or "power" hill, usually taking less than three
minutes to climb. The keys to success on these hills are explosive strength
and submaximal endurance.
2) long climbs, lasting five or more minutes.
For the "sprinter's" hill, try adding some Hill Repeats to your training
These efforts should be done on a hill that takes about 90 seconds to three
minutes to climb. Keep your cadence high, 85-100 rpm, to keep the intensity
high. Reduce gearing to manage the intensity. Do not reduce cadence. Climb
at an aggressive pace for the first two-thirds of the climb after coming into
the hill at a good speed. Then shift up a cog or two harder, stand up, and
sprint for the last third to the climb. You may want to do these efforts on
the same hill, doing the effort, turning around and recovering rolling back
down. Recovery between repeats is easy spinning, for five minutes.
You may start by doing 90 second repeats on a hill that is longer, using
only a portion of the climb. I suggest starting with a conservative length
repeat, like 90 seconds. If you can complete three to five repeats in a session
that are of consistent quality, then increase the length of the repeats to
105-120 seconds, and so on.
To train for longer climbs, find a climb that will take 10 minutes or more
to climb. Start by doing intervals of seven to ten minutes at your climbing
pace. For your first session, start with 21-30 minutes of total climbing done
as 3x7-10 minute climbing intervals, with 10 minutes of easy spinning between
intervals. Work up to 45-60 minutes of total climbing, maybe done as 3x15-20,
or 4x12-15 minutes as examples.
For an added twist, include some short accelerations in the longer intervals.
Climb for at least five minutes at your climbing pace. Then shift one or two
cogs harder, stand up and accelerate for 30 seconds to a minute. Shift back
down and return to your normal climbing pace. Repeat the accelerations every
two to three minutes. These accelerations are not sprints, just a lifting
of the pace to simulate surges and race situations. Include these only after
you have completed four or five regular climbing sessions as described above.
Tactics are also an important part of improving your climbing. Here are a
1) Position yourself towards the front. As you approach the climbs, move
towards the front of the group. When you come into the bottom of the climb,
you should be in the top five or six riders if you can manage it. This saves
you having to dodge and maneuver around slower riders and possible crashes.
Being first in the bunch at the start of a hard hill or climb is always a
good thing. It gives you an opportunity to control the pace and stay safe.
This is especially good on the shorter, sprinter's hills, where the action
at the start of the climb tends to be a bit chaotic and sketchy.
2) Always be on, or around, a good wheel. Most of us know who the good climbers
are in the groups we ride with. When you are getting close to a climb, find
the wheel of a consistently good climber. When you do, you have a better chance
of being in the right place at the right time, and if you pay attention, you
might learn something.
Richard Stern replies:
At 180 lbs and 9 percent body fat, you already approaching the lightest you
can be, without significant loss of muscle mass. At your current weight, dropping
5 lb, would reduce your body fat to 6.5 percent, which can be difficult to
sustain and is generally the preserve of elite pros.
Very approximately, each drop of 5lb, will result in about a 4 to 5 second
reduction on a 1 km long fairly steep climb (about 10 percent gradient). Whether
that will enable you to stay with the bunch is difficult to say (as I don't
know how far behind you are).
However, by training better, you'll be able to increase your power output,
which will enable you to climb and ride on the flat better. With good quality
training far bigger improvements are likely to be made than with dropping
a few pounds. To improve your climbing you primarily need to target increasing
your LT, TT power and power at VO2 max. These are all trained best on the
bike. As a consequence of training better, you might also loose some weight,
which really shouldn't be a primary goal.
It's also imperative to stay away from weight training, as this will increase
muscle mass, which in turn will require more power to climb hills.
Too much or not enough?
I have a question about performance vs. training. Some info on me first.
I am 35 years old and 5ft 7in at 147lb. My LT is 185, based on the Conconi test
program on my Tacx Excel trainer. I have been a recreational cyclist for years
but this is my first year to compete and the first year to train with some structure.
My performance on club group rides and races is below where I need to be to
be competitive. My goals are to increase hill climbing ability (power or endurance?)
and generally lengthen the time I can ride at or near my threshold. Currently
riding as follows:
Saturday/Sunday: Club ride of 3-4 hours on one of these days (when not racing)
Saturday/Sunday: 2 hours solo riding on the other day (depends on above)
Monday: Active rest day
Tuesday: Hill intervals
Wednesday: 2 hours of solo endurance
Thursday: LT intervals
Friday: Aggressive commute (note I commute to and from work every weekday, 7
miles one way)
I don't know if I am over-training or under-training. Am I pushing too hard
or being wimpy and not pushing hard enough. I have been monitoring my weight,
which is fairly consistent, so I think I am eating appropriately.
Richard Stern replies:
Galen, Congratulations on to moving into a structured programme and thinking
about taking up racing. This is a great sport!
Whilst I don't know how a Conconi programme ascertains a specific HR, it
is known that the Conconi test is not accurate or reliable work. Thus, it's
difficult to know whether you are working too hard or not.
However, if I'm not mistaken, your Tacx Excel estimates power output. If
you train on the unit (which it appears that you do), then you should train
with zones defined by power output. These zones can be found here:www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=powerstern.
Completing a TT on the unit of 10 miles/16km will give an estimate of your
TT power. You can compare this ratio to your MAP to decide whether you fit
in the range mentioned (e.g., 75 - 81%). If you are quite below this then
this is a first aspect to target.
Either way, doing one to three x15 to 30-min intervals at ~ 95% of your TT
power will help you tremendously. Shorter intervals of around 4-mins will
also help increase your VO2 max, which is the rate limiting mechanism, see
However, it would be beneficial to contact a coach who will help you and
move you in the correct direction.
I'm looking to lose about 10 to 15 pounds in the smallest amount of time
possible. I'm 5ft 6in, 150 pound female and I'm looking towards cycling to get
into good shape. What kinds of training should I be doing? What should be my
heart rate while doing these workouts? How many workouts should I be doing a
Richard Stern replies:
Cycling is definitely a great way to lose a few extra pounds, however, you
should never attempt to loose weight rapidly, as this type of weight loss
is generally bad for you. Rapid weight loss, generally involves loosing muscle
and liver glycogen stores (the body's carbohydrate stores, which fuel exercise)
and water loss. Rapid weight loss can also involve loosing muscle mass, which
again you wouldn't want.
Whilst specific recommendations are difficult, and you should definitely
consult a coach and/or a nutritionist, general recommendations are to aim
for 1 lb (0.5 kg) of fat loss per week. As 1lb of fat is ~ 3500 kcal, this
equates to a requiring a negative energy balance of 500 kcal per day.
The 500 kcal deficit, can obtained via an increase in energy expenditure,
a decrease in energy intake or a combination of the two.
An increase in energy expenditure can be met by either increasing your current
training volume (in hours), keeping your volume steady but increasing the
intensity that you ride at or a combination of the two. *Approximately*, 500
kcal will be expended by about ~1-hr to ~1:30 hr of steady riding on flat
roads at about 18 miles/hour to 15 miles/hour.
Decreasing your energy intake, can be obtained by cutting out some of the
less desirable foods, such as candy, chocolate, crisps, chips, cakes, sugary
colas, pies, pastries, and fatty foods. You should generally aim to increase
your intake of starchy, low fat foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains,
lean meats, cereals, and pasta, rice etc. When you eat, say, pasta dishes
avoid dishes laden with fat such as the creamy sauces (e.g., carbonara) and
stick to ones based on tomatoes, veggies, lean meats.
By combining the energy expenditure and energy intake, smaller changes can
be made, which can be easier to adjust to. For example, an increased energy
expenditure of 250 kcal (~ 30 to 45 mins) and decreased food intake is often
the easiest way to get going.
The number of workouts that you do per week, etc., will be highly dependent
upon your current fitness level, current volume of training, training time
What is the best power meter?
I ask this as I'm now using the PowerTap. I would not use it in a race cause
the wheel is so heavy, but that means I can't get the race data. I could get
an SRM but they're very expensive, so that leads me to this 'Ergomo' gadget,
a power meter from Germany that's built into the bottom bracket.
It seems to have it all. Has anyone used this? Heard of it?
I understand the need to get data both from training and Racing, so would
it not best suit a rider who can have data all the time with minimal expense
and minimal weight.
I'm looking at getting one and wanted an experts advice. My coach told me
Its better to have a big data bank which includes both training and racing.
but the PowerTap is just too dam heavy for the climbing races and the SRM is
Eddie Monnier replies:
Actually an SRM Pro and a PowerTap hub add about the same incremental weight
(roughly 250g) to a bike while an SRM Amateur adds an extra 80g beyond this.
Now, if you have your PT hub built into a heavy, non-aero rim, that's obviously
going to add additional incremental weight vs. a lighter set of racing wheels.
But even if you assume 500g of incremental weight, the difference is immaterial
to the power you have to put out to overcome it even on a climb.
As a simple illustration, go to www.analyticcycling.com and go to "Speed
for Given Power." Leave the default values except change the slope to 0.10
(10%). The speed for the default parameters on a 10% grade is 3.20 meters/second.
Now increase the weight from the default value of 75 to 75.5 kilograms (double
the incremental weight). The speed drops to 3.18 meters/second. Now increase
the default value of 250W to 251.5W. So, put out an additional 1.5W and you're
back at 3.20 meters/second. And this is on a steep grade. This is a simplified
example to make the point that at times we can put far too much emphasis on
I am a strong proponent of training with power and I do race with a power
meter, but it's hard to draw conclusions from mass start race data because
there are so many variables due to the dynamic nature of the sport. Still,
use your PowerTap in a lower priority race and see if you feel it degrades
your performance. I've raced mine in NRC events and did not notice a difference.
My fellow coach and pro rider Dirk Friel used one at the US Pro Championships
and didn't note a difference. As a counter point, the biggest reason to not
race with it is for fear the wheel will be damaged in a crash and you'll be
without it in training for a week while the wheel is being rebuilt!
Finally, I own both SRMs and PowerTaps and both are outstanding devices.
I personally will not put any faith in a new device until it demonstrates
similar accuracy and reliability to these devices (eg, many people eagerly
awaited the Polar power option but were disappointed by its relative inaccuracy).
Of course, I will be eager to see how the Ergomo device compares because competition
is good for us as consumers.
Richard Stern replies:
I agree with Eddie. The extra mass associated with the PowerTap is negligible
and won't affect your performance and is about the same excess as an SRM.
Lots of elites and pro riders race with SRM and PT, it doesn't hamper their
performance and can help fine tune your training just as your coach suggested.
Both the Power Tap and SRM are excellent devices and are worth having. I've
never seen or used an Ergomo so can't comment on its accuracy or reliability.
I am 17 years old and I have been cycling for about a year now. I am doing
pretty well for my age, I think, because I am able to keep up with the older
boys in the cycling group. I want to improve my performance to be able to compete
in the high levels of racing. I don't do any weights, but I ride about 5 or
6 days a week. What type of weights should I be looking at doing if I want to
improve my strength in road racing?
Richard Stern replies:
Ben, Glad to hear you're doing so well. There's no specific need to
do any weight training, as endurance cycling (that is, road racing,
time trialing, mountain bike racing and soon) isn't limited by strength. The
forces involved in cycling are very low, and can easily be met by untrained,
healthy people. It's the ability to keep going for long periods of time and
the amount of power that you can produce that are important. These are trained
on the bike. see: www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=strengthstern
One of the coaches here can help you develop a programme to get the best
out of your cycling.
Is it okay for me at the age of 36 years (male) to have a MHR of 202.I have
tested my MHR a number of times and I score about 200-202. I find it strange
to have such a high MHR. I am a road/track racer who races on and off in the
season. I train about 12hrs a week at a steady rate of 165-185. I do very few
intervals and more steady road training.
Trinidad, West Indies
Richard Stern replies:
If you're at all concerned about your health especially with your heart I
would advise seeing your family doctor. Your doctor will refer you if they
feel it necessary to e.g., a cardiologist. It is wise to put your mind at
However, that being said, I have seen people with similar HR max. In fact
my HR max is 203 b/min (at age 34). I have also seen a very low HR max for
a person much younger (e.g., a 20 yr old with a ~ 165 b/min max). Your HR
max has no bearing on your performance.
What can I expect?
I'm 34 yr old male that's been riding road and mountain on and off for about
10 years. I've recently decided to get (back) into racing. I will be cat 5,
as I have never done more than a few races a season. Right now, I just ride.
Hammer when I feel good, putt when I don't. I'm 5'6", 154lbs. My max HR is 197,
resting HR is 47, and I believe my lactate threshold is between 177 - 180. Right
now, all things flat and calm, I can hold about 23 mph over a 8.5 mile course
I like to test myself on, and that hasn't changed all summer. I ride about 175
I want to really focus on training for next year and be more involved in
racing, time permitting. My goal is to eventually upgrade to Cat 3. And I would
like to be able to hold about 25 mph at threshold. No reason for these goals
other than I feel like this would be a challenge. I have about 10hrs/week I
can commit to training. Given what I can do now, are these unrealistic goals?
I'm thinking about some of these professional coaching tools to take the guessing
out of training (CTS, etc). Is this overkill for a recreational racer?
Sergio. E. Jimenez.
Richard Stern replies:
Good to hear that you're setting some goals and that you're getting back
into racing. At present it sounds like you've stagnated in your training as
you are no longer improving. Some focused, periodised training and coaching
will help improve this situation. Many racers who are short of time and have
other commitments (e.g., family, work, etc.) use a coach to ensure that there
time is used most efficiently.
A coach will help with your time management and draw up a programme to use
the time most efficiently, to help meet you goals. With the time that you
have available, that goals sounds fine. A coach will help you draw up some
other goals, both short, medium and long term to help you achieve your goals.
Contact one of the coaches on the list!
Editor's note: our experts send their responses direct to our readers, so now
and then we get very heartening responses such as this one from Sergio:
Ric, Thanks for your response. I did a club ride this weekend, first one in
years, and I've definitely got the motivation back. Talked with my wife this
weekend about coaching and got the go-ahead. I look forward to seeing how I
can improve with a structured program.
Again, thanks for your input,
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