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To get an idea of what I'm trying to do and why I think it's possible, check out the following entries, they'll help get you up to speed.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gym cycling workout (inspired by thoughts of the UAE)

What my cycling looks like now
I'm trying to train as specifically for Abu Dhabi (specificity is the key, and with such a limited training volume, it better ALL be targeted, as much as possible, towards what I expect) and one of the things we'll face on the bike (according to the rest of the team, who are veterans from last year) is the lead groups of riders trying to instigate break-aways at multiple points on the bike leg.  In addition, the large field may splinter forcing us to leap gaps up to a lead group in order to stay with them.  As such, unexpected, semi-prolonged (2-4 min?) efforts at or above aerobic capacity (Zone 4/5 for those familiar with Joe Friel's training zones) will be required.  As the weather is getting worse up here and my training time is so tight, at least one session each week ends up being indoors on a stationary bike.  Rather than bemoan this fact (a strike against specificity, just in terms of riding geometry, etc) i've tried to make the best of it and use the tools that i have to come up with a workout that will improve my ability to generate these kinds of efforts. 
Here's how it works:

What it'll look like in Abu Dhabi

I use a 'random' program on the stationary bike and cover up the screen that displays the resistance profile(or hill profile as the machine calls it) so that my only indication of the resistance is the read at the bottom of the screen.  I've then set 'mile per hour' benchmarks for each of the levels (or pairs of levels).  These will obviously depend on the fitness of the rider and the type of stationary bike being used.  I think the bikes i use are Lifefitness, though i'm not sure of the model number.  To create a ride that will mimic (as much as possible) what i'm after, i've found setting the target speed the same for two successive levels works the best.  My last ride I aimed for 18+ mph anytime i was at levels 6 or 7, 19+ for levels 8 or 9, and 20+ for levels 10 and up.  This ride came on the heels of a 30 minute run (No-slo-random-pro), and so i was already slightly fatigued.  One key to making the workout pay the biggest dividends for Abu Dhabi (and perhaps in general) is to set the target speed for the base level that will appear in the program such that you are firmly in Zone 2/2+ - not Zone 1 (where you might typically recover).  I have a strong suspicion that even sitting squarely on the wheels of a big group of the lead riders is not going to find me twiddling my thumbs and chatting casually about the scenery (Zone 1) so i'll be damned if i'm going to spend any time there during training.  This philosophy is very similar to what i've used very successfully in my running - unless i'm doing very short duration sprint work i try to keep limit my recovery (during a workout) to that which can happen in Zone 2 or above. 

My hope is that using this workout over the next few weeks will get my mind and body a bit more ready to deal with what some of what i expect to face out there in the desert.  Now if only i could find some sand.....

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