Saturday, May 28, 2011

I Get a Coach, an HRM, and New Data

I signed up for a cycling-specific training course at Tina Brookhouse Fitness Studio with Leslie Gaines, a pro cyclist who races for Team Priority Health. It is as close as I have come to having a coach, as the course began last week with a field test and will continue now with customized workouts designed by Coach Gaines to suit our physiological status and our goals.

Polar FT2
I had to get a heart rate monitor (HRM), and while I've played around with them before, I've never trained consistently with one. On the bike, there are many ways to guage fitness and effort, and HR is not known to be foolproof by any means, but it is helpful as a bit of real data against which to measure perceived effort. And it is way cheaper than a power meter, so for now an HRM will have to do.

During my field test - a 10 minute affair that had us working at the upper limit of our lactate threshold (LT) for 8 and then ramping up to get to full effort for the last full minute - I stayed consistently at about 171 and achieved a max HR of 191. That was on a spin bike, indoors.

Yesterday I did my normal Friday spin class - about 55 minutes of work right around LT with a few efforts a bit over (I tried not to go too far over yesterday, though this was based on perception as I didn't wear my HRM to class).

Today I ran 5 miles with the HRM. It was a bit eye-opening. After the first mile I was already at LT and had to reign in what I thought of as my normal pace. I let it out a little in the last 1.5 miles, getting to about 185 and then I worked hard the last .5 with a sprint kick for the final 200 meters or so. Here are the numbers:

Total Time: 41:47 or 8:21 per mile
Avg. HR: 172 (pretty close to LT)
Max HR: 194

The biggest lesson I learned was that I have a hard time restraining my pace based on perceived effort. I likely pushed too hard on training runs meant to be at "tempo" pace in the past. I look forward to trying this out on the road on a bike too. I won't be running a lot more - I went out today because I am registered once again for the Dx2A run next week and felt like I should get a few miles in beforehand. But while I am working with Coach Gaines, I will try to check in on the blog to keep track of workouts and progress.

Next week we get the crunched results of our field test and start our workouts.

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