Archive for the ‘anaerobic training’ Category

Work out for cyclo-cross

October 9, 2010

Here is a cool workout for cross.

15 minute warm up

repeat the following 4 to 5  times

:30 seconds @ zone 6

2:00 minutes threshold pace @ zone 4

:30 seconds @ zone 6

1:00 minute threshold pace @ zone 4

:15 sec all out sprint

4 to 5 minutes rest. After ther rest period go back and repeat the whole interval the prescribed 4 to 5 times.

15 Cool down

This is designed to work on teaching the body to maintain a hard pace even after a short and hard effort. This is a great work out for mid week to get you ready for the weekend.

Ride Hard!

Coach Jordan

For more information go to

Why is cross so darn hard?

September 29, 2010

Every season when cyclo-cross comes around, everyone I know (including myself) Seems to be so confused by how hard cross season is, or even some mountain bike races.

During the months of about december to september we are all in the training mode for road season. Road season is always a regimented training program, doing a 20min warm up, 3×10 min threshold intervals with 5 mins rest and then a 20min cool down. From personal experience I know the beginning portion of an interval will be taxing, but after a short bit you “settle” into the interval and it can even feel good. Cross season how ever is one race of intervals all over the place. :30sec sprint through the barriers, long grind up the hill, short burst at top, short rest through the turn… you get the idea. Then add in the attacks by others, trying to move a place here and there, and recovering after a slip up. There is no consistency at all, While criteriums can be close there is a general recipe for how the race plays out. Keeping in mind the human body is a creature of habbit, cyclo-cross is the complete opposite.

So this begs the question of how to train for a sport that seems to be so all over the place? Cross training must replicate the needs of the race; that is high intensity, high muscle force; random cadence, repeat ability, min rest. High intensity being short intervals that train the anaerobic  system.

This will be high out put efforts for :15sec to 2min in length, and be 110-150% of you threshold power. Work outs of this nature will generally be no longer than an hour or so with short warm ups and cool downs. In general the efforts will be focused towards what you know your weakness is. If it is in the 2-3 min area, than those intervals should be in your work outs. Also working on a 1:1 rest to work ratio will help out big time, especially on intervals less than 2 mins long. In road racing we would put more breathing room between, this is not the case with cross. However the recovery time between sets will be greater.

Cross also needs high muscle force as well. Frequently in cross there are situations where you come out of turns in the wrong gear, or going up a hill in to tall of a gear. Both of thee situations require bursts of high muscle tension to get going. Workouts to accommodate this will be things such as low rpm pedaling, sprints starting at 2mph in the highest gear, and pedaling them all the way to a 120+ cadence sprint. You could also try on a mountain bike to just not down shift sometimes on a hill. Furthermore, working in a short plyometric session can help vastly to improve your jump or ability to grind the gear out for a few seconds longer.

Speaking of cadence, there is variability in cadence used. So as just discussed with low cadence you also need to work on high cadence. This is as simple as trying to pedal at 110+ rpm for long periods or doing sprints that build to a 140 or greater cadence. This is also great to pear with the low cadence days. Because in one moment of cross you might be pushing a big gear, and the next spinning like mad for moments in time. Not to mention that sometime the mud clogged drivetrain might dictate some gear choices…

As eluded to earlier there needs to be variability. Looking at a power file of a cross race there is many efforts of more than 400 watts in the last race an athlete raced. Again just like a crit, there is need to produce big numbers for brief periods of time. The only case in cross though is it might look like a :30 sec effort, 1 min effort, :20 sec effort. So instead of just doing straight 1min or :30 sec sprints in from the road season. do :30 sprint, :30 rest, 2min effort, :30sec rest, 1:00 min effort. Vary these and try to repeat efforts until full exhaustion sets in. Once exhaustion does set in though, be sure to give your self ample rest time between sets. Any type of interval that makes you go hard, then go harder again will only help.

Last but certainly not least, cross race type simulation. Every where I have been has some sort of cross practice night. Take advantage in your area and do these practices it will only help with your cross season. Get a hold of you local bike shop, and ask, or look in a forum. These will be the best form of cross practice you can get.

From a power perspective, if you have just done a race that feels like a cross race does. Look at your file and have either gold cheetah, training peaks or email me the file to look at. Your looking for how many times you crossed 400 watts or greater (or zone 6, for those whom I do work with). This number will be a number to replicate and beat in a practice scenario.

Much of what is discussed above is very applicable to mountain biking. The course never follows :30 on and :30 off pattern. These strategies can help take the sting out of a hard technical mountain bike course.

One last note, is that some of this is all to forgotten when road season comes. While most races follow a general recipe and will always split at a certain hill of a certain time. It is good to have the ability to mix it up a crucial stages of a race to test your break away companions, or make it of a group to get in the break.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan or email me at

Training with a Heart Rate monitor

May 18, 2010

Power this, power that, how much power can you put out? whats your w/kg? do you know what w/kg is? with all the hype around training with a power meter (power tap, srm, et al.) some people have forgotten about the good ole’ heart rate monitor. A recent friend asked me to write an article on training with heart rate.

First things first, training with heart rate is far better than training with nothing. Heart rate is like a gauge for how hard you are working and can be an excellent tool for immediate and long term data gathering. How ever heart rate can be effected by a plethora of things such as: Temperature, Humidity, Sleep, Hydration, Hormone Regulation, Motivation, Stress, Diet and many more things. So training with heart rate must be taken with a grain of salt and realize it must be also instated with a system of measuring how you feel. This system can be as easy as rating your workout on a scale of 1-10 of how hard it is so you have a second back up measure of you feel. If you are working at 150 beats per minute (bpm) and with a rating of 5, you are clearly having a better day than working at 150 bpm and feeling like you are an 8. In this case the direct measure was the same, but yet you are at two different intensity levels. the second one is an example of training on a bad day or in an over reached or burn out stage.

With that being said, here is an explantion of hear rate training the way I see it.

Training begins with a test. You need to find out your threshold hear rate (a maximal heart rate that can be achieved for a decent amount of time) This test is best done with a field test of 30 min time trial. The goal is to find an average heart rate during this effort. To test you simply need to ride as hard as you can for 30 minutes, but try not to blow up or hit a wall while doing it. This is far easier said than done. Hopefully there is an organized time trial or you have a day of high motivation to go out and perform this test. The only procedure is to ride as hard as you can for 30 mins, with an adequate  warm up and cool down.

Once you have performed this test, it is time to set some training zones. Below is a table of what the zones will look like. (note* to get % of heart rate (such as 85%) multiply the field test number by .85 and round to nearest number, so 180 * .85 is 153 bpm)

zone Called hear rate (%) works on?
1 recovery 50 – 65 active recovery
2 endurance 66 – 84 increasing muscular efficiency and endurance
3 tempo 85 – 95 maximal development of aerobic system
4 threshold 95 – 102 increasing tolerance to lactic acid
5 VO2 max 102 – 104 increasing maximal overall output
6 Supra max 105 – max Developing short term muscle and metabolic systems
7 Sprinting N/A Muscle power

To get all of these zones multiply your tested heart rate by the above zones. As you can see the different efforts will work on very specific physiological adaptations of both the muscular and energy production systems (aerobic and anaerobic)

So how do you train with this?

Le me put the zones in correlation with more everyday terminology, as seen below:

zone Called Used For:
1 recovery used for active recovery from training 1-2 hours
2 endurance 2-6 hours
3 tempo 30mins to 1.5 hours (up to 3 hours for racers)
4 threshold 15mins to 30 mins (10mins to 1 hour for racers)
5 VO2 max 5 mins to 15mins (same for racers)
6 Supra max 1min to 5 min (same for racers)
7 Sprinting 1 sec to 1 min (same for racers)

As you can see, this might be a more easy correlation to real world application. The next step after you have crunched the numbers it to establish what zone you should train in. This is a very complicated question that is best left for a coach to tell you exactly how often you should ride in which zone. How ever you can effectively train by taking note of what your own weaknesses are or what characteristics a particular event may have. For example if you get dropped on a group ride during short hill efforts (1-8 mins long) you need to work in zone 5. If you have problems staying with your buddy after 2 hours, you need to do more efforts that are 2+ hours in zones 2 and 3. Also if you look at a criterium, it has many short efforts of 15 sec to 5 mins long. So this would facilitate training in zones 6 and 7. Furthermore these zones and training concepts apply to any terrain or conditions you may ride in. So if your weaknesses are hills, than train in the particular zones on hills. If you aren’t good in winds, then train in the zones in to winds. The body is a wonderful thing that will adapt specifically to the load placed on it. Training your weaknesses is the only way to minimize those weaknesses.

So lets talk about intervals. While this short synopsis can not tell you how many to do how often the following 2 tables will give insight to this.  First is a work to rest ratio deemed adequate to bring about change. For instance a work to rest ration of 1:1 would mean if you worked for 5 mins you should rest for 5 mins; or 1:2 would mean for every 1 minute you worked you should rest for 2 minutes. this table will then look like:

zone Called work to rest ratio (w:r)
1 recovery NA
2 endurance 1:.5
3 tempo 1:.5 to 1:.75
4 threshold 1:.75 to 1:1
5 VO2 max 1:1 to 1:1.5
6 Supra max 1:1.5 to 1:2
7 Sprinting 1:2.5

This is only a very basic example and I commonly play with it to help my athletes with specific training goals. A good coach will manipulate these w:r ratio but this a great starting guide line. Next is a how hard you should work per hour at threshold.

minutes @ threshold (minutes) Rest for (hours)
0 to 30 12 hours
30 to 60 24 hours
60 to 90 36 hours
90 to 120 48 hours
120+ 72 hours

All the above is only a general guide that can help you get started on a basic training program with heart rate. It is more than advantageous to talk with a coach about how this can all be specifically adapted to your own needs. However have fun and get out there and use your heart rate monitor!!

Ride Hard,

Jordan S.

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