Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Riding intervals

This morning I woke up early to get a good bike ride in before riding to work. I took my road bike to the bike trail and did a workout from Joe Friel's Triathlete's Training Bible (it really is). It involved doing "cruise intervals", which basically amounted to riding hard for 6 minutes, trying to get my heart rate up to Zone 4 at the low end of comfortable cadence (70-80 rpm for me since I usually ride at 90, I may go lower next time though), and then recover for 1-2 minutes, then do it again. I planned on doing 6 intervals with 1 minute recovery because that plus a 10 min warmup and cooldown was close to an hour. But at some point near the end, I realized that I would end up back where I started having already done a 10 min cooldown and still having 15 min left to ride downtown, so I added a seventh interval so that my cooldown wouldn't be so drawn out, and so I'd definitely get to work on time! 
It was a really great ride. The weather was pretty perfect and lots of other cyclists were taking advantage of the weather too. I need to do a fitness test Friel suggests to ensure that I've got my Zones calculated properly. (I think the test is something like do a 30 minute time trial, the average HR in the last 20 minutes = lactate threadhold (LTHR), and the zones are all based off the LTHR).  Just based on my estimates, I think I got to Zone 4 in all of the intervals, although the first one it took awhile. I think if I didn't quite make it up to Zone 4 then that means my legs are weaker than my cardiovascular system. (does that make sense?) Basically I just pedalled as hard as I thought I could sustain for 6 minutes. I think I was mostly doing 20mph for the intervals. (I kept my bike computer on cadence instead of mph for most of the riding, but when I switched to speed, 20mph was typical.) It felt good to push myself and I think I'm going to do this once a week. It's a nice feeling to get to work having already ridden 20 miles and burned the calories from my breakfast + post-ride snack.
I'm a bit tempted to go swimming after work, but I need to make sure I get enough rest and recovery so that I don't end up having a few days of hard workouts followed by many days of rest. Much better to balance it properly and keep the frequency of workouts high and the intensity lower if necessary. My legs are definitely feeling the burn of yesterday's hilly treadmill run, weight lifting, and the interval riding this morning. It'll be nice to ride 3 miles back to my car this afternoon and stretch out my legs a bit. The weather is getting nicer again so hopefully soon I can go back to riding my bike from home and avoiding the car.


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  2. Yay, good hard ride.