Monday, 27 May 2013

Increasing Intensity

With just over three weeks to go until I ride the London to Paris 2013 event, I've been upping the intensity of my rides.  Most of my training for the last three months's has been mainly controlled, using heart rate training zones to build up aerobic capacity.

During May, I've been pushing the intensity up, to replicate the conditions of riding in a faster group.  The rides I've been doing have been a little harder in terms of profile and I've been pushing harder at a higher heart rate.  Today was a good example of that.

Wind conditions as I left this morning were a 10mph Northerly wind with 30mph gusts, it promised to be tough and it delivered perfectly to spec.  Setting out, I was straight into the wind and the first 10 miles were pretty tough with an average speed of 15.9mph (25.5km/h).

With the wind on your back, it was great and I was whistling along at 24mph (38km/h) with a heart rate sitting around 156bpm (85% of max).  As I came through Tatton Park in Cheshire I pushed on and rode through at 34mph (55km/h), that felt great, I don't think I've ever ridden so quickly!

As I swung for home, I had a tailwind and it meant for a quick back twenty miles.  Looking down at my Garmin, I was at an average speed of 17.8mph (28.6km/h) which is equivalent to my personal best (PB).  With ten or so miles to home, I thought it a good opportunity to see if I could raise my that further.

The last five miles were straight back into the wind, I'd pushed up to17.9mph (28.8km/h) by that point but quickly dropped back to 17.8mph again as I went up a drag with the wind in my face.  I was mentally prepared to give it everything and glancing down at my heart rate monitor I was at 177bpm (98% of max), which you can't sustain for too long.  After an all effort, I hit 18mph average (29.9km/h) as I hit my ride end - result - despite the strong wind over the 42 mile (68km) circuit.

Patience is a virtue

Building fitness takes time, I talked about this in my last post.  Month's of training are paying a good dividend and I'm riding better than I can remember.  This has taken over one hundred hours of patient training, base mile riding and seeking out more challenging miles.

If you have a new bike and you want to ride quickly, expect this to take a few months and have some structure to how you use your time on the bike.  If you are limited for time, then use that time wisely.  Buy a heart rate monitor, understand how you can train efficiently, without riding 'empty miles' with no real effect on your long term goals.  Whilst it might feel frustrating at times, if you keep a longer term outcome front of your mind, you will end up a faster, more capable cyclist.

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