Friday, February 22, 2008

Making progress

I've been making some progress in the training. Moved from 8min intervals up to 10mins and did them at the same power as last week's 8min so some supercompensation is taking place. I think I'm a little lower than last year but not too much. Maybe 10W which isn't too bad.

Time has a tendency to stand still about halfway through these intervals. So much so that I have to rotate my watch out of sight so I can't look at the timer. Otherwise I look at it and then ride some more and look at it again and it hardly seems to have moved. I did 3 reps today. The first two were at a higher power than the last one. There is sort of a line in the sand. And I was standing across it on the first two but couldn't hang and dropped the power by 10W which is the smallest increment on my trainer.

In a few weeks I'll be moving into some more inseason type of work that will include butt kickers which are 8-12 mins of alternating intensities each minute. MSP one minute then SMSP the next. In the past I've emphasized more the MSP, this time I'm going to try and go for a higher SMSP and keep the MSP where I'm at. We'll see.

But for now I'm going to keep with the program and just try to follow my workouts. Tomorrow I'm going to get outside and do some MSP 8 min intervals on a hill somewhere and get out of the basement.

It's amazing how little time I'm riding. I don't think I've been on the bike longer than 1.5 hrs in over a month. But I bet you I could go out for a 2 hr ride at a decent pace and not have too much problem. Note that decent pass is a relative term.
Said it before and say it again. Morris plan is great for those w/o a lot of time who still want to ride well.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Moving on to MSP

Last week was a rest week. 2days off, 1 day with a few short efforts, another 2 days easy/off. I took the rest week as planned even though it didn't seem deserved. In the past I've been so worked from the 3 week SMSP period that the rest week was a well deserved and much needed respite.

This year I didn't feel as fulfilled going into the rest week as I didn't feel like I've worked as hard. In the past the intervals have been a more tounge dragging, seeing spots kind of affair. This year wasn't the same. But the tiredness and fatigue were there to be sure.

Regardless I took some days off and did got outside for some short rides here/there. They felt pretty good except for some excersice induced phlegm in the chest after riding outside.

Going into MSP I started with some 8 minute intervals. First one was good, then I bogged in the second one and dropped power. With MSP if you overdo it you can still come back and finish the workout unlike SMSP where if I go over limit than I'm usually done for.

The one thing to remember with MSP is that the legs will start to feel a little flat from riding at the same intensity Patience is key to know that they will start to come around once some lead out intervals and regular riding with lots of erratic intensity changes occur.

For the time being my main goal is to strive to keep my fitness above the "speed of fun" threshold. This is a personal level of fitness that is required for me to enjoy mountain biking where live. The terrain is difficult enough in terms of steepness and technical riding that there is a minium level of fitness needed to get through it w/o losing a lung. It's not enough to 'just ride it' I've tried that before and it's no fun for me to just slog. It's not fun to hit some techical rocks and fall apart because the fitness isn't there.

The big question will be racing or not. It's probably a big jump between the speed of fun threshold and racing fitness.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I-Magic upgrade for Tacx Flow

I saw this on ebay the other day:
Tacx I-Magic upgrade

It is a kit that allows your Flow to connect through a computer. It can also interface to a video monitor with Virtual Reality so the speed/power image changes with your pedaling. If there is a hill it feels harder... oohh hahh.

I'm actually interested in the control through a laptop. There was a power comparison on the Tacx sevearl years ago and it is linked from my review posted here several years ago. It compared a power tap to a Flow and said that when you hook it up through an imagic upgrade that the accuracy improves. Also for the kind of intervals I do it would be nice to program it into the computer and have it run my workout.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Back at it

My stomach has been feeling much better lately and I've been back at the workouts. Legs feel pretty good and I'm trying to be smart and not bite of more than I can chew, but rather select power levels that are somewhat doable in order to get through some full workouts. Aerobically, I definitely feel at a lower level than last year. Just in my heart and my chest I can tell. I'm trying not to worry about that too much as it always seem that the aerobic part is the easiest to adapt and that it's the muscular part that really takes awhile with me.

I've wisely selected 2min power levels that are significantly lower than the 1x power levels. As a recent commenter pointed out there is a big difference when going from 1minute to 2minutes. Much bigger than when going from 4 minutes to 12 minutes.

If history is an indicator my 4min intervals this week are actually a predictor of what my 10 and 12 minute intervals will be at in another month. This is a great indicator that this Morris stuff works.

So overall I've accomplished some pretty high 1x intervals compared to last year, but all the other time interals (2, 3, 4min) have been slightly lower than last year. Which is not that bad at all considering that I am nowhere near the level of commitment and focus as last year.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

losing another few days

Training is sort of on the fritz again. Actually I was expecting great things this week, as usually supercompensation starts to take place and I can start really getting on the intervals. Things seemed headed in that direction especially based on the feeling in my legs on my last easy road ride.

It was the kind of ride where the legs just want to go and you have to hold back. Climbing especially they felt like they just wanted to tick over. But when I get into the 3 minute intervals earlier this week there was just nothing doing.

Been having some stomach issues lately which is obviously a wrench in the system. Hopefully I can get things to settle down and get back to a routine.

I did get out for about 20mins this morning to just spin my legs. Cold and windy and it took longer to get dressed than I was out for, but it was very refreshing and great boost to the psyche. I got onto my Azure which I haven't been on for almost 2 months.
It just felt good to cruise around on it, do some skills drills: track stands, cornering drills, lofting the front wheel.

Interestingy enough I was also riding a wheelie better than usual. Sometimes when I haven't been on a certain bike for a while, when I get on it I can do things like wheelies better than if I'd been riding the bike every day for a month.

Anyway just trying to find some focus and some direction. I'm honestly still waffling about racing this season, and without a compass to provide a general sense of direction I am most definitely wandering aimlessly.

Friday, February 01, 2008

5x1on 2 off

I skipped my workout yesterday in favor of going on a cold snowboard day. I'd given up snowboarding the last few years but have got the bug again. The last years cycling was everything and I didn't want to sacrifice any workouts in favor of another activity. It's different this year and I'm happy with it because Snowboarding like mountain biking is just a cool activity.

I did my 5x1 on 2 off this morning and it went real well. The 1on 2 off is a classic example of how to manipulate the interval configurations in order to complete the workout at the same power output as the previous day's 1x's even though you are starting to succumb to the effects of cummulative fatigue.

By extending the amount of rest to 2x the work interval from the original 1xthe work interval you're providing your body additional rest before the next interval. So you can work as hard as you did the day before. That is the key to the block training philosophy. Consecutive days at the same power output.

I actually upped the power today and was able to do it ok.

The difference between 1 minute and 2 minutes

I was discussing the SMSP intervals with a friend who's drinking the same kool-aid. We both experienced a similar phenomena with our 1 and 2 minute intervals. For both of us we can put out some good power for the 1 minute intervals, however we have to drop our power levels considerably to complete the whole workout for the 2 minute intervals.

My initial guess for selecting power for the 2min intervals is always too high. Say for example I do my 1 min interval at 330W on the Tacx ergo. I tried to do the 2 min intervals at 320. I'd make it fine till about 1:20 into it then the legs would just fail. My friends experience showed an even greater difference in power between the 1min and 2 min intervals.

It could just be cummulative fatigue from doing consectuive workouts, but I'm more inclined to believe that there is some level of systemic change that occurs in the transition from 1 min to 2 minutes.

There is another theory I've got which is that I ramp my cadence up pretty good before hitting the button to engage the dedicated power output. It's sort of cheating a little, I guess. But I've got a good head of steam going and with the 1min intervals might have enough momentum behind me to ride it through, but after the cadence starts to slow a little I can't maintain it.

When going to 3 min, 4 min, 5 min intervals, the difference in the power at which I can complete the workout isn't as drastic as when going from 1 to 2. And when the tranistion moves from SMSP to more sustainable power there is an even smaller difference.