Want to maintain your fitness as birthday after birthday rolls around? Or have more power to drop your buddies on the weekend ride or race? Or ride faster on your commute so that you have more time for the family when you get home? Or build endurance for a tour in the summer or for a fall century?
But you’re not paid to train and race! You don’t have a lot of time. What to do? If you want to maintain the fitness you’ve worked so hard to achieve, or to ride faster and have more power, you need a bigger engine. How can you get a bigger human engine, a V-6 or even a V-8, instead of your fuel-efficient but relatively weak V-4?
Coach Hughes has written a new eArticle that doesn’t just tell you how, it shows you how to build and tune your engine. Intensity Training 2016: Using Perceived Exertion, a Heart Rate Monitor or Power Meter to Maximize Training Effectiveness explains the human power train from how your body stores fuel, how your fuel pump (your heart) works, the different cellular engines that produce energy, your transmission (muscle fibers) and how to get better engine economy.
How should you train given all this complexity? “Proper intensities are the key!” Coach Hughes responds. “The difference between top bike racers and us mortal recreational riders is that the pros vary the intensities (plural!), while we ride at about the same level of effort most of the time. Changing the intensities of workouts is the fastest way to improve.
“Eddy Merckx famously said, ‘Ride more!’ when asked how to improve. But it’s not that simple for time-starved rec riders, is it? Or for those who want to improve riding even less? Ride smart! By varying the intensities.”
Coach Hughes incorporates the latest research to show you how to define your personal training zones based on:
- Perceived exertion, or
- Heart rate, or
Which of these is best?
“They all work,” according to Coach Hughes. “Perceived exertion is the simplest and is sufficient for most recreational riders. Lab studies show that perceived exertion is as good a way of tracking intensity as heart rate.” Coach Hughes provides his own way of gauging perceived exertion, which is simpler to use than the usual numeric scale.
“If you are training for good performance, for example on club rides, but aren’t racing, then either perceived exertion or a heart rate monitor is fine,” he says.
“If you have a high goal, for example being competitive in age group racing, then you need very accurate feedback on intensities when you train, so you’ll find a power meter very helpful if you know (or have a coach who knows) how to interpret the data.”
The right intensity workout(s) depend on both your individual goals and the time of the year. Coach Hughes provides information so that health and fitness riders, club and endurance riders and performance riders can easily tailor the workouts to your training goals and season.
To make the article as useful as possible Coach Hughes provides a table with 10 different training objectives. For each objective he gives the proper training zone described in terms of perceived exertion, heart rate and power readings. Each objective is then linked to 5 to 10 specific workouts. Each category of workout includes two types of workouts:
- “Some riders like structured workouts with measured periods of intensity and recovery.”
- “Others prefer unstructured workouts that just mix intense efforts with easy cruising. I coach riders using both approaches. They all get fitter! And you don’t have to stick to just one or the other.”
The 39 pages of Intensity Training 2016 provides all the information you need to design personal workouts – workouts that you’d pay a coach hundreds of dollars to write!
Intensity Training 2016: Using a Perceived Exertion, a Heart Rate Monitor or Power Meter to Maximize Training Effectiveness – 39 pages packed with current information, is available for only $4.99 ($4.24 for Premium Members after their 15% discount).
John Marsh is the former editor and publisher of RBR Newsletter and RoadBikeRider.com. A rider of "less than podium" talent, he brought our readers consistently useful, informative, entertaining info that helps make them better road cyclists. That's what we're all about here—always have been, always will be. Click to read John's full bio.