Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Zone 2 buffer days

Oftentimes a week's training program will consist of two back to backhard days on the weekend followed by a day off on Monday. The next interval day is on Wednesday. What to do on Tuesday is often a questionmark in my mind.

Dave's program usuually calls for 1hr Zone 2 on Tuesday before the interval day on Wednesday. It's interesting how this works out.

Saturday you do a hard ride. Your fried but all the pipes are primed and the fatigue really hasn't totally set in yet. A tenent of the Morris plan is to perform back to back difficult days with the only stipulation being cutting down the durations on the subsequent days, however keep intensity high.

So Sunday you do it again, and usually you can accomplish another hard day. Now Monday comes and you take it easy.

I used to think that after an easy day I could go right back to it on Tuesday, but my body takes a little while to do everything. It takes time for the fatigue to set in and it takes time for the effects of rest to kick in. So Tuesday I'm often feeling the worst of the week because the fatigue from the weekend is catching up and the rest from the day before hasn't taken affect.

On first guess I would say to take another easy day on tuesday in order to be ready to to the interval workout on Wednesday. However that is the wrong idea. The reason is that taking two back to back days off requires at least a day to get the legs back underneath me in order to be able to successfully do an interval workout.

So what the master (Dave) suggests is to do this 1 hr Zone 2 workout on Tuesday. Zone 2 is an interesting animal when you are tired. I used to think that Zone 2 (2 out of 5) should feel easy, so I'd just spin around outside and call it my Zone 2. I'd go into my Wednesday interval workout and the legs would not feel ready to rock until the workout was almost over.

So then I did a quick calculation of what the power range for Zone 2 should be. the % range is in the book. For me it came out to be 200 or 220 on the Tacx. Which is no where near accurate but still a number to compare to when i do my SMSP, MSP stuff.

One day I tried doing my Zone 2 on the trainer. What an interesting feeling. It was not easy. Like a spin in the park easy. It felt annoying. Just enough twinge in the legs to require mental effort to keep within the zone power range. Just enough hurt in the legs to annoy me. I'd say that it would be easier to bump up to the sustainable power rather than stay in this Zone 2.

The amazing thing is what happens the next day on the interval ride. Typically the legs feel ready to go. Not stiff and dead like what would happen if I'd taken the day off on Tuesday, and not fried like would happen if I'd done a really hard ride on Tuesday.

It's like the Zone 2 wakes up the legs after the day off on Monday, but isn't hard enough to compromise the recovery that is taking place on Monday and Tuesday.

This cycle isn't repeated every week. Often I will take two days off back to back. But before getting back into a hard ride it is best to put a Zone 2 day just prior.

So all this is trying to say that sometimes it's worth running the legs at an intensity that seems too low to be doing any good from a training perspective, but is also too hard to be considered really really easy. Just enough to tweak you legs but not enough to do harm.


At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree. You think that after two days off, you should be flying, but you usually end up feeling rusty. You always need to do a moderate day after some rest to prime the legs.


At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Dave Morris still coaching? I tried his email at his site and never received response. How do you contact him?

At 11:34 AM, Anonymous Wheelsucker said...

So, seems like you have jumped right into SMSPO (?) intervals without getting the recommended aerobic base. Is that true?

At 11:37 AM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

every year I think I'll get my full 3 week endurance phase completed prior to going into SMSP.

But the weather around here is so bad during January time frame that invariably, I bag endurance and go into SMSP phase. I did get some pretty decent rides in though

this year has been quite different than the past 4. I'm not really racing right now so am just riding haphazardly. So I cannot make any judgements as to my fitness based on my training plan. I'm just not into it as compared to last year.

Last year I did something similar in that I started SMSP before a full endurance phase.

At 11:54 AM, Anonymous wheelsucker said...

So, do you think it worked for you, doing the SMSP prior to getting the full aerobic development? Here in Northern Michigan, it is VERY hard to get the full aerobic dtime and get the time for the SMSP prior to racing, and of course, the SMSP is so important to racing.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger ashwinearl said...

I don't think it is an ideal situation to have to cut short the endurance. And Morris style endurance is WAY shorter than a traditional cycling program. We are doing 3 weeks while a lot of others are going for 3 months.

But reality is reality. We all don't have nice weather, or time.

One thing to think about is to cut your racing season short and get in some endurance in the early fall then go into the weights and SMSP while the weather is bad?

It's important to get in at least some really good rides in. What seemed to work well in the past was to get in some long hard rides right before SMSP was starting up. Like group rides in the 3hr range with some tough efforts in them.

These seem to set me up well to get right into the SMSP without that first week being really difficult transition.

Another thing that seemed to help me was maybe once a month or so doing a really long ride with some difficulty at the end, such as a long hard climb. These seemed to help me at the tail end of XC races staying stronger.

In the end I always get scared waiting too long for a decent enough weather day to get in a long ride. So I invariably cut endurance short and go into the SMSP.

I don't do too well in the cold and this is Virginia. I can't imagine where you are. Chemical heater packs on my toes and hands were the only I could get in 2-3hrs on some days.

Usually it was 'door training' Meaning just getting out the door was the success.


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