Tag Archives: training

Spring Riding

How does life get to be so busy that I just can’t find the time to blog?

Fortunately my busy life has included some incredible outdoor riding in some unseasonably warm spring temperatures.

Normal temperatures for Maine this time of year is in the 40-degree range. Lately many days have been in the mid 50’s. We even had several days this past week in the 60’s.

Several Portland Velo Club women joined me on rides this week. We even joined another women’s ride Wednesday for a total of 17 riders that night.

This has been a long drought of snow. I think our last significant snow storm was in December or January. But it’s been fine by me because I’ve been able to be outside biking a fair bit this winter. Now the weather has been unseasonably warm, driving more of us out on our bikes.

Today I managed to get out for an early morning group ride with the PVC Women followed by 90-minutes of yoga. I left the house at 6:30 am and managed to return at noon. Two things I love to do but took up half my day. Now, that doesn’t mean that it always take up half my day, it just worked out that way.

The weather is turning cooler next week but with Daylight Savings Time I’ll still be able to be out on the road after work for some training rides as long as we don’t see any snow.

My New Toy

This post has been a while in the making. Unfortunately I’ve just been too busy to get to it.

Several weeks ago, for Valentine’s Day, my Valentine gave me a power tap for my bike, which I have been wanting for a long time.

So I’ve had the device installed on my bike for a couple weeks now. I’ve used it outside and inside. It’s actually kinda cool. And as we all know, it’s the best way to measure performance and thus progress in training and fitness.

Since it’s only been a couple weeks I can’t actually say much about it. It’s going to take some time to learn more about it and how to get the most out of it. It will probably require me to purchase a book on how to train with a power meter. At the cost of <$20.00 that’s a pretty inexpensive must have.

For the time I have spent using the power meter and getting used to the software it’s been great. The software is super easy to use, read and gather data.

Luckily the weather here on the coast of Maine continues to be really nice with now snow in weeks and what precipitation we did have fell in the form of rain. And with temperatures predicted to be in the upper 40’s and low 50’s it’s going to be a great weekend to get out and use the power meter on the road.

Back to Work

Last week was a very enjoyable rest week. I spent too much time off the bike, that’s for sure. I rode Monday during lunch and then nothing for the remainder of the week. I missed my normal Wednesday night spin class because I got held up at work. Thursday and Friday I was experiencing some muscle spasms in my back.

Now that the week is over it’s time to get back to work on the bike and I did just that Saturday. Temperatures were in the mid 40’s so riding outside was my best option. It was a bit windy but still managed to ride 30 miles.

Today was even windier, making my interval work daunting. Still, it was nicer to ride outside than inside on the trainer.

As is typical after a rest week, and time off, it’s taking me a while to get my legs back under me. I was pedaling squares over the past couple days but should smooth that out by the end of the week.

Tomorrow is an easy day. However, temps are predicted to be in the upper 40’s so I will take advantage of a little sun and warmth to ride easy outside. My plan is to spin early Tuesday and Thursday with yoga in the evenings. Wednesday I’ll be spinning at night with my spin class.

I have my fingers crossed that we’ll dodge some snow later this week to manage to ride outside next weekend again.

Outside Riding

The weather has been a bit warmer than normal here in southern Maine recently. Temperatures have been in the mid-30’s. With a significant high pressure system over our region we’ve been spared all the snow that the mid-Atlantic states have received over the past few weeks. In fact, most of our front and back yards are snow free.

I took advantage of the warm weather to get in a few lunch time rides this week, the first on Wednesday and the other Friday. The rides were short – only about 30 minutes each. However, it was a nice way to spend a portion of my lunch and re-energize my training and give me a reason for spending so much time on the bike inside.

Of course that weather continues into the weekend so I rounded up a couple friends for a nice 30+ mile. It was a bit windy but manageable. I’ve ridden in much windier conditions but this time of year, with the wind out of the northwest, it can be quite brisk.

This week starts another rest period. Even though I felt like last week was after no real intense workouts since Monday’s spin class. (Normally on Wednesdays but was moved this week.) Still, I’ll stick to the schedule this week but I won’t take the week off completely. There will be spin class Wednesday and I anticipate some intervals during that session. I’ll also be on the bike to do some active recovery.

If our luck holds out with the lack of snow then I’ll try to get back out on the bike again next weekend.

Last Week Before My Rest Week

This is my last week before a rest week. I posted previously that I was going to see how my second 4-week block worked before changing to a 3-week block (is that a triangle?) for training. During some exhausting moments of last week I was beginning to question the 4-week block. It might have just been a rough week so I’m going to see how I feel this week before making any decisions.

After this block it’s going to be time to pick up some intensity and work in some intervals. The spring criterium series will be here before I know it and I’m going to need to be prepared. (If you’ve never done a crit, it can be pretty intense efforts throughout, especially during premium laps, where prizes are awarded for the first one to cross the line.) I need to start training my body to deal with those intense efforts.

A Tiring Week

This week was a very long and tiring week.

After my rest day Monday I was up early Tuesday morning for a spin because I had a happy hour after work. I decided to get up early Wednesday morning to spin again and I had my weekly spin class Wednesday evening. Thursday I thought wouldn’t set my alarm but if I was up early I’d work out again. But I didn’t – I needed the extra hour of sleep and then planned to go to yoga that evening followed by a local club social, which also included the movie, Bicycle Dreams.

With a couple early mornings and something going on after work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, it was an exhausting week. Not to mention that work itself was crazy as well.

I thought early morning spins would be good way to get my workout in if I couldn’t do it at night. Perhaps I bit off a bit more than I could chew. Still, I felt good that I was able to keep my training going and not pushing it aside. I also like working out in the morning – I can manage to get out of bed at 4:30 for a 60-minute spin, though I’m not sure I can get up at 4:00 for a 90-minute spin.

Today, even though I didn’t sleep as long as I expected to, I feel much more refreshed. I had hoped to make it out on the road for a ride today but didn’t. For starters, it takes a lot less preparation to spin inside than to put on all the layers for a cold ride outside. Secondly, it’s easier to do specific workouts on a trainer without fluctuating terrain or wind speeds. I opted for a 2-hour indoor spin instead.

Next week isn’t quite as crazy but still requires me to adjust my schedule accordingly to make sure I manage the hours on the bike needed.

Rest Day? No Way!

Mondays are typically a rest day for me. However, I didn’t rest for a couple reasons.

I left work early for a dentist appointment today. My 3pm appointment meant I would be home a bit earlier than normal. Since I was getting home earlier I could get a decent workout on the trainer without it being too late when I finished.

While I don’t doubt my ability to get up at 4:30am for a Tuesday morning 1-hour workout, I do question my ability to get up at 4:00 am for a 90 minute workout, as was my plan for Tuesday. So I felt it would be easier to get in the longer workout tonight.

Another factor is that although Saturday’s snow shoeing event wasn’t an arduous workout, yesterday’s 1-hour run (er, jog?) was. Working out again today allowed my to have two relatively hard days followed by one rest day.

Tonight’s plan was to manage 90 minutes on the bike and I’m sad to say it only turned out to be 75 minutes. I used a video I had created that had several blocks of tempo at varying lengths followed by some recovery sessions and then 3 sets of out of the saddle efforts followed by in the saddle effort, tempo and recovery. I could have extended the program slightly but it’s okay for what it is.

I need to make more of these video workouts because watching the video of being on the road really helps get me through some of these sessions. I also need to make sure I take my video camera with me in the summer months to capture more material for video projects. Having more riders in the video would definitely make it more interesting.

Yoga Sunday

Waking up to 27 degrees shouldn’t have seemed quite as bad as it did. Temperatures below freezing after a warm day with lots of melting on the roads is a recipe for disaster in the form of black ice.

Since I’m transitioning into my rest week I decided to go to yoga at Yogave instead of taking the bike on the road. I thought that a little yoga would be a lot easier than a 2-hour ride. Boy, was I WRONG! The first pose was rag-doll (basically stand with your head hanging down by your knees and your arms folded to grab each elbow with your hands) and my legs were quivering in short order. Not to mention I could feel how tight my hamstrings were. Most of the class was like that – quivering quads and dripping sweat. (Yes, you sweat a LOT in yoga if you are doing it right.)  Attending yoga on a more regular basis was good for me and I’ve gotten out of the habit and need to get back into it for strength training.

You see, I’m a higher intensity kind of gal. I think the only beneficial kinds of workouts are intense cardio workouts, to the verge of puking, even though I’ve read lots to the contrary. Weight training is very good for cyclists of all levels. Though I’m not one to hit the gym for weights. I find that all pretty boring. Yoga fits that bill for me – building strength while also encouraging some flexibility. Some also call it a “balancing” of the body, especially for those areas that are neglected while cycling, like the core and the upper body.

If I can lift my arms tomorrow it will be a small miracle. Another session of yoga is planned for tomorrow as I promised a friend I’d take him there to check it out. It will probably help flush my arms from the soreness that I can feel building already.

I’m also going to struggle this week with my rest. I know when I get on the bike I’m going to want to push hard but that’s not the goal. It’s going to take a fair bit of discipline to be on the bike and go easy. Being on the bike is still key without taking the week off the bike, which could be detrimental. Gotta keep the legs pedaling in circles ya know.

January Thaw

We are having a bit of a warmup here in the north east. Today’s temps were around 40 degrees. That was reason enough to get out on the bike for a few hours.

I’m actually surprised I didn’t see more riders out on the roads. However, I know of a couple groups that did get out much earlier than my 12:30 departure. Still, I did see a group of 3 and as I went by them I recognized all three. I wish you could sometimes recognize them earlier to you could actually call them by name. Though it is much easier to do that in the summer when most are dressed in the club/team kits.

Before leaving I thought I might be over dressed. I decided to leave the windbreaker I had tucked in my pocket. My husband said I’d probably be fine, pointing out that there would be plenty of shady spots that might feel chilly. He was dead on and I was glad to be dressed as I was in tights, a base layer shirt, and another jersey with wind stopper material. I put on my new Capo wool cap under my helmet because it has flaps I could pull down if my ears were cold. Though at that last minute I exchanged it for the new wool cap my friend, Julie, made for me. It was warm enough where I didn’t need to cover my ears and I really wanted to wear the new cap. (More on this in my next post.)

With the warmer temperatures meant that the roads would be wet from melting and a chance to put the Roadracer fenders to the test. They seemed to work fine. I did try to avoid as many puddles as possible – you never know when a puddle means a crater containing water, which would surely do some damage to the wheels, if not cause a crash. But when I knew it was just a skimming of water on the surface on the road I rode through it. At first I expected to feel that familiar wet feeling seep through to my back side but that didn’t happen. The bike was still a bit filthy when I returned home, though it was nothing that a bucket of water poured over the bike wouldn’t take care of. (I would have used the hose but because it’s been left out there must be ice in it because no water came out when I pulled the trigger on the nozzle.)

Tomorrow won’t be quite as nice – temps are expected to be in the mid-30’s and with a storm moving in later in the day a hefty cloud cover is predicted. There is something to be said for a sunny day this time of year to make a ride outside SO much more enjoyable. I will see if I can get an earlier start for a ride tomorrow. With snow on the horizon it’s best to be out on the road whenever possible. If we were to get hit with some back to back snow storms that could hamper my outside rides for a while.

Next week is a rest week for me. It won’t be completely restful. I am taking a friend to a yoga class Monday and I have spin Wednesday night. There will probably be a light workout in there Tuesday morning. Thursday and Friday I have other things planned so those will be complete days off the bike. Then I’ll spin easy Saturday and Sunday and prepare for more work the following week.

This past week I’ve been feeling a bit brain dead and not sure if it’s because of my 3-week work load. I’ll be thankful for an easy week. I have a friend who trains 2 weeks followed by a rest week every third week. A 4-week block seems to be a bit hard on her. I’m going to make note of how I feel during this next 4 week block, in particular how I feel in that third week, and if I see a repeat of this past week, I just might try the 3-week training block to see if that helps.

Fitness Training

Like many of my readers I don’t own a power meter. I have been using a heart rate monitor to train for the past few years. I use the word “train” loosely.

I know a bit about training by heart rate. But as well all know, it’s not a constant since so many things can affect heart rate values. Still, it is and will be, my primary training tool for some time to come.

I’ve recently started reading Joe Friel’s Total Heart Rate Training. He’s a well respected expert on training, especially for triathletes. It’s a well written book on the subject and I’m getting a lot out of it.

I recently decided to take the “fitness test” to determine my lactic threshold (LT) for training purposes. I did this by running on my treadmill for 30 minutes after a 10 minute warm up. Surprisingly my heart rate monitor’s levels that I previously set didn’t seem too far off. My low level is below 130 and currently it’s set for 129. One point off isn’t too bad. However, my upper limits are a bit off – 8 bpm, which is significant. It’s currently set at 162 for my max effort but I often surpass that number on any given group ride or significant effort. This level should actually be set at 170. I know I hit that from time to time, and sometimes hitting even higher.

Given what I know about training with heart rate thus far, these “new” zones make a bit more sense to me than my previous zones. Hopefully this will make more of a difference in my training going forward.