Burn Lungs, Burn!
Almost every rider has reached a point in their ride where they face shortage of breath and the loss of ability to maintain their regular riding pace without making mistakes and loosing concentration.
This problem is often blamed on the lack of “saddle-time”and tried to be corrected by pushing through the discomfort or riding more frequently. However, the most beneficial solution to your problem might be a lot easier and less time consuming than you expected.
The Science Behind It:
During a regular ride, athlete’s heart-rates commonly reach up to or greater than an average of 80% of MHR, putting them well over there threshold and into their Anaerobic Zone – a point that can only be maintained for a minimal amount of time due to oxygen no longer being transferred to muscles faster than metabolic by-product (lactic acid) can be removed. It is at this point which your body is in the non-oxidative anaerobic zone.
Through interval training, specific data can be measured (such as; heart-rate, distance, time, speed) and used to increase your heart-rate into zones above your threshold with the appropriate recovery time needed between to allow for maximum efforts during each interval.
Through simulating the physical demands placed on the body during a harder ride or race, you teach the body to effectively remove lactic acid through increasing the point at which the body converts from aerobic (with oxygen) to anaerobic (with-out oxygen).
The Benefits of Interval Training:
To increase your lactate threshold (LTHR) a demand needs to be placed on the body greater then what it can comfortably maintain to force a process of muscle breakdown and adaption to take place. Through repetitive high intensity training (Eg: Intervals), your body can comfortably reach an Anaerobic HR Zone above your threshold and maintain at the correct intensity for a short duration of time before recovering in an Aerobic HR Zone below threshold – allowing the body to recover before the next effort.
Additionally, this allows for a simpler and more specific goal to training that is easily measurable with direct results that can be compared and monitored to gauge the improvement of your fitness levels. This can prove to be highly motivational and a great challenge to your regular training routine as the benefits can be seen both on and off the bike.
The Workout: Pyramids
Note: Complete the following workout as a time-trial on a flat stretch of road of 2 – 3km long.
Total Time: 56min
Warm-Up: 10:00 easy (Zone 2).
Interval 1: 01:00 maximum effort (seated) in heavy gear. 01:00 recovery.
Interval 2: 02:00 maximum effort (seated) in heavy gear. 02:00 recovery.
Interval 3: 03:00 maximum effort (seated) in heavy gear. 03:00 recovery.
Cool-Down: 10:00 easy (Zone 2).