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Best training use of my time

sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
A bit of background....I got back into cycling last October (so feels like a winter sport at the moment!) after an 18 year break and saw some quick improvements as is usual. Entered a couple of Sportives (Coloba Chemo Classic and the Cumbrian Cracker) and did ok in those too, finishing in the top 25% and top 10% respecively. My progress was steady and I could feel tangigle improvements.

Xmas and New Year came and went, and I was putting in 3 or 4 turbo sessions a week. Then work got crazy busy through the week so I've been restricted to just a weekend ride for the past month or so. Did a couple of 80k reliability rides and still felt great, but now suddenly seem to have hit a wall or am even going backwards.

Heres a typical ride from a few weeks ago:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/25669061

And heres the same route from last saturday:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/26931009

Theres a decent climb at 12.5 miles and it nearly killed me on saturday! My heart rate was sky high throughout the ride considering my max hr is 185 running and 177 cycling, I reckon that puts me at an average 88% HR over the 36 mile ride, and totoal time was a minute longer.

I put it down to just a bad day in the saddle and lack of recent training catching up withme, but I went for a quick 17 miler before breakfast today and it felt really hard again.

One weakness I have is I just cannot seem to train my endurance zone. I've never been able to come up with routes that aren't hilly around here, which doesn't help, and just struggle to hold back my effort in general.

I'm doing the lakeland loop next month, and the Etap Du Dales, which I'm starting to get nervous about now. So with all that in mind what would be the best use fo my time? I have about 1-1.5 hours in a morning, and 3-4 hours typically at the weekend (occasionally longer). From what I understand theres little benefit in endurance training for an hour, but is there a specific range I should be aiming for?

Any help to get me back on track is much appreciated :)

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  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    sagalout wrote:
    Heres a typical ride from a few weeks ago:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/25669061

    And heres the same route from last saturday:

    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/26931009

    To be honest there's not much different between those two
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  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    There is in the heart rate - enough of a difference that the scale is different!
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    sagalout wrote:
    There is in the heart rate - enough of a difference that the scale is different!

    The scale is different because your lowest HR is a bit lower on one of them. But otherwise the data seems very consistent between the two rides. 1min difference over 2 and a bit hours, is consistent, and 6bpm difference between average heart rates. From those two files your performance seems very consistent.

    If you really want to analyse the heart rate data, I'd look at using some thing, like garmin training centre or ridewithGPS.com that can help you calculate your heart rate zones, and then with the addition of the .tcx file from the ride you see how much time you spent in each zone.

    Personally I don't find Garmin Connect much good for post ride analysis.
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  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    Yeah, I think thats a fair point about the connect not being all that great, but it was generally reflecting how I actually felt on the ride, ie completely knackered on the first big climb :(
  • redddraggonredddraggon Posts: 10,862
    Were the conditions different?
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  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Last weekend was pretty windy in the Peaks. How was it around Harrogate? Even a fairly light breeze can make quite a difference in perceived effort.
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  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    There was a little wind, but I always feel that a circualr route evens itself out in that regard!

    I'm more interested in what effort I should be putting out on short morning rides of 15-20 miles - at the moment I pretty much revert to just 'pedalling as hard as I can'. Is there a specific zone I should be working in for best effect, or are hard efforts the best way to go on short rides?
  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    Right, just looked back at my longer rides, and this is what I mean about feeling like I'm going backwards, on the basis that lower HR is better for the same person / speed etc.

    Colomba Chemo classic 65 miles, loads of climbing and strong headwinds - HR 150 Average
    Xmas Cracker, 63 miles, some climbing, - HR 148
    Airedale Olympic Reliability trial, a hilly 50 miles - HR 152

    But in my last few rides I feel like I'm at 160+ for far too much of the ride. I sometimes dont even feel like I'm putting out that much effort, but look down to see 163 on the flat :/

    Maybe I'm just over analysing it, but I feel that I need to train my endurance level, as at the moment I'm cycling too close to max too much of the time, leaving me nothing in reserve.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Since your max HR is 185, then 150 bpm is about 81% HRmax. So its averaging out as a tempo ride (but you're obviously spending time above and below the tempo zone). Sounds quite similar to me when I do hilly rides of 2-4 hours (not saying that's good/right though).

    Maybe you're going above threshold too much on the hills?

    But if you want to do longer endurance paced rides then just do them! You have a HR monitor so use that to pace yourself on the hills. Simples :wink:
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  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    My max HR on the bike is 177 - I've never seen more than that, and thats a 17% mile long climb. Running (uphill doing intervals) I've seen 185.

    But I can live with 150, as whilst its still a bit high, it is a hilly area! This has been fairly consistent, but recently its edging more towards 160, thats whats worrying me!
  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    Haha, I'm such an idiot!

    Just went into the garage to give the bike a clean and noticed the front wheel isn't spinning freely. Front brake caliper is bunged up with grit and not returning fully meaning that when I try and spin the wheel it's stopping at about half a rotation. A good clean up and it's working fine again, so I reckon that's what the problem was!
  • sagaloutsagalout Posts: 338
    Well this mornings ride was much better, and back to 'normal' heart rate. Amazing the difference not riding with the brakes on makes ;)

    I feel like such a censored haha
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