Saturday, November 22, 2008

Workout: Climbing Intervals

my bike

Saturday 11/22 Climbing Intervals on the Trainer, 60 minutes

I've been working on creating some more climbing simulation workouts. I enjoy climbing, first of all, and I need to work on overall strength (core + legs) to get the most out of bigger gears on the flats anyway.

Today's workout I enjoyed quite a lot, by which I mean it was a proper suffer-fest. Before I began, I set my wheel block up to the climb/incline position. As for the drill, it's listed below.

For this workout, I am going to give the gearing to be more specific. My bike has a Shimano 105 9 Speed 12-27 cassette. Kind of like this one, but with only nine cogs. In non bike geek speak "9 speed 12-27" refers to the number of cogs (9) and the number of teeth per cog (e.g. 12 is the smallest) mounted on the rear wheel hub. I have the following choices on the rear hub: 12,13,14,15,17,19,21,24,27.

The front chain rings (where the cranks are) on my bike are 50 and 34. I stay in the 50 for all the trainer workouts; the bigger gear is tougher on the front. It's the opposite in the back. The lower the gear, the harder it is. So the hardest combination on my bike is 50 on the front, 12 on the back. here's how the climbing workout goes:

Warmup 6min Fast Spin Low Resistance (50/24)

6 x Climb Interval 5min (50/12), RI 3 min (50/19).

For intervals 1, 2, & 5 climb out of saddle for 3min, seated 2min
For intervals 3, 4, & 6 out of saddle for 5min

Cooldown 6 min Fast Spin (50/24)

That's thirty minutes of climbing in the hardest gear over the course of a 60 minute workout. My least favorite part, by far, is sitting and pushing that big gear during intervals 1, 2, & 5. But it really helps to build leg and core strength. I work really hard to keep my upper body still to avoid straining my back (you can tell if this is working by how much your upper body rocks side to side; if you rock too much, it's too much resistance and you are probably tweaking your back).

Workout: Spin Class


Friday 11/21 Spin Class (55 minutes + stretching)

Today's workout was yet another incremental step up in terms of difficulty. The main difference is that from the very beginning through to the end, we had tough drills with very short RIs.

We had enough new folks in class to do our attack, pull, draft drills in teams, with each team around the circle taking a turn at the virtual front. It was fun. We also had another instructor join us - just as a participant - but in her honor Tina threw in one of her signature drills. She calls them "black holes." They are 40 seconds of hill intervals, out of the saddle, followed by 20 seconds at lower resistance but maintaining cadence. There is no RI, so each one takes you deeper and deeper into the abyss...

Fun. No class next week due to Thanksgiving. In honor of last year, I might go run hill repeats when we are in Ohio for the holiday break. Might, I say. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Workout: Bike Intervals

my bike

Sunday 11/16 Intervals on the Trainer, 64 minutes

"Hard Eights," with a twist

Warmup Spin 8, High Cadence, Low Resistance (same for RI's, below)
(2 gear differential to start WI)

8 min WI, 8 min RI x 2
8 min WI, 4 min RI, 8 min WI

WI has some this:
4 min tempo w/crescendo, gradually increasing effort
shift up 4, 2 min climb
shift down 2, 2 min hard effort (gear +2)

This was my third workout day in a's been a while since I've done that. I plan to do one more tomorrow, as I am trying to get back to a 5 day week. Tuesday will definitely be a rest day due to schedule alone. Thursday may be too since I have spin class so early on Friday and can count on that being a hard workout.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wokout: Recovery Ride

my bike

Sunday 11/15 "Three Quarters" on the Trainer, 65 minutes

A true recovery ride today. Short segments of fast spinning at very low resistance, followed by 15 minute intervals, below tempo, with moderate resistance. Enough to get the heart rate up and sweat, but not a hard effort. Gear differential = 2.

5 min Spin warmup

3x 15min Work Interval, 5min Spin Interval

It's not really accurate to say these are Work and Recovery Intervals exactly. The fast spins are about the same effort, the heart rate is constant. But a few fast paced spins help shake out the muscles and break up the long ride.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Workout: Spin Class


Friday 11/7 Spin Class (55 minutes + diabolical yoga squats at the end)

Today's workout was another envigorating, hard effort. Tina threw in some new stuff for us this week, building on the drills we worked on last week during our first session.

It's all intervals, all the time of course.

One of my favorites is really fun because it's based on road riding/racing. The idea is to follow a pattern of attack, breakway with a group, take hard pull at the front, and then fall back into the draft. So it goes like this:

Attack: 20-30 second maximum effort sprint, out of the saddle, big gear
Hard Pull: 30-40 second max. sustained effort in slightly lower gear
Draft: 30-15 second recovery

As we repeat, the WI's get a little longer and the RI gets a bit shorter. Nice! A great visual too. I admit I enjoy imagining myself pulling a Jaja Jalabert, escaping for a long break to win a mountain top finish.

Workout: Bike Intervals

my bike

Wednesday 11/12 Intervals on the Trainer, 65 minutes

"Terrible Twos"
WI = Maximum Effort; RI = recovery spin; 3 gear differential

Warmup Spin 10
5 x 2 min WI, 2 min RI
Spin 5 Recovery
5 x 2 min WI, 2 min RI
Cooldown Spin 10

Hard workout today. Felt good.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Workout: Bike Tempo

my bike

Sunday 11/9 "Hard Eights" on the Trainer, 74 minutes

My goal for today was mainly recovery, so I returned to my "hard eights" pattern. It goes like this:

Spin 10min warmup
4 x 8 min WI, 8 min RI

WI is tempo pace in a bigger gear, RI is recovery pace, spinning easy. The work intervals are not terribly hard, but this is a tough workout because I try to maintain a solid pace throughout.

Shoutout: Go! Sean Go!

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge my brother's recent efforts to get moving, get in shape, and get healthy! We are very proud of his efforts so far. After just two weeks of running and riding the exercise bike, he's starting to see some results!

Sean and I are planning to do the Tour de Cure ride next year together. I'll log our progress and training! In the meantime, you can already visit my Donation Page for the 2009 Tour de Cure! We already have one donation!

Workout: Spin Class


Friday 11/7 Spinning Class (50 minutes + stretching)

I started my first ever spin class today, and I enjoyed it a great deal. I am taking it with Tina Brookhouse, a trainer who just opened her own studio here in Williamston.

I opted for the 6 a.m. Friday session because it was convenient for me, and also because I figured it would mean that only the die-hards are showing up. I was right about that. There five folks in the class, all of whom rode on the road. This let Tina design a workout that was very cycling-specific.

She put us through about 45 minutes of cycling that included lots of intervals and hill-simulation work. The nice thing about having an instructor for interval training is that I can do more complex drills that involve shorter, more intense intervals than I am usually patient enough to do on my own on the trainer. It's just too hard to pay attention (or write all of the sequences down ahead of time and post them somewhere near the bike) to do lots of variations alone. But she did a great job of breaking things up and getting us to really work hard. I went to my suffer place at least twice during the 45 minute session. And I felt sore in places that I don't usually after riding indoors.

So far, so good!

Workout: Tempo Run

my shoe

Tuesday, 11/4: 4 miles (no watch, but right around 8:40/mi)

While others were busy finishing up their run for office, I was just plain running. I ran by my polling place where I had voted earlier in the day, in fact, and noted that even as it was starting to get dark at 5:45 p.m., they were still doing what appeared to be brisk business.

I didn't have my watch with me on this run. I mainly just tried to stay steady and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather (68 degrees). I saw several others out doing much the same. First run this season with my reflective gear on...tough to get home in time to train in the daylight this time of year.

Workouts: Bike Intervals

my bike

Sunday 11/2 Intervals on the Trainer, 65 minutes

Intervals + ladders...they looked like this:

Warmup sequence
Spin 5min high cadence, low resistance
Spin 5min @ tempo pace w/ "road feel" level of resistance
Spin 5min high cadence, low resistance

Ladders (WI is Lactate Threshold, max sustainable effort for the interval; RI is just below Tempo)
5min WI
4min RI
3min WI
2min RI
1min WI

1min RI
2min WI
3min RI
4min WI
5min RI

Warmup sequence
Spin 5min high cadence, low resistance
Spin 5min @ tempo pace w/ "road feel" level of resistance
Spin 5min high cadence, low resistance

All while watching the #99 win and stay in cup contention. :)

Catching up again: workouts after my viral event

Toward the end of October, I had a bit of a cold that kept me idle, workout-wise, for about 10 days or so. Hence...few posts. But I've actually had a good week since then...and so I will try to catch up with a few posts.