Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Mental break through with push interval

I think I had a mental break through. I have been fighting the pain caused by the push intervals for the last couple weeks. Last night I just accepted it for what it is and that made all the difference. I pasted the comments to my coach below.


Had a really good experience with my workout last night. Just thought
I would let you know about it.

On my first push interval I did not get my cadence up to 70. It was
like I was avoiding the pain caused by getting out of my comfort zone.
My heart rate was also staying low. Most of the time it was around
140. Sometimes dipping down even lower. Finally in the last 10
minutes I just decided to go for it. I ramped up my cadence. When my
legs started to burn I just held it there. Heart rate went up but
never really got above 155. After my legs burned for awhile my heart
rate came back down in the 150-152 range. My average heart rate for
the whole interval was 141.

On the second interval I pushed it right up to 150 AHR and held it
there pretty much the whole time. It was my best push interval yet. I
pushed my candence past 185 and held 182 for several minutes. I did
this in the same gear I was fighting to hold 65 RPMs in the first push
interval. My average heart rate for the second interval was 147.

In the second push interval, I was able to move my heart rate up and
down. I did this by paying attention to the the burn in my legs. If I
wanted a higher heart rate, I focused on my pedal stroke until it
burned a little more. If I wanted less heart rate, I would ease the
burn up a little.

It was like a mental game to accept the pain and hold cadence. Almost
like holding your hand over a candle. There is a certain distance
that you can hold your hand over a lit candle where it is
uncomfortable but it is not really burning/damaging your hand. Last
night I felt like I was trying to hold that distance on my bike by
trying to find the effort level that would burn my legs a little but
not so much that I felt like I had to quit.

I also was able to predict my heart rate moving up or down before it
happened. If I was riding along and noticed my legs were not burning,
then I would look down and sure enough in 20 seconds my heart rate
would start to drop. If I picked my effort back up, 20 seconds later
my heart rate would go back up.

I still could not hold my heart rate constant for a long period
though. My heart rate did stay between 147-152 for the whole interval
with only a handful a very brief exceptions. Even though I couldn't
hold my heart rate at exactly 151 the whole time, only varying 5 beats
is huge improvement over any previous push interval I have done.

I also noticed weird changes in resistance. I would be pedaling along
like there was barely a chain in then all of sudden I would hit a
wall. I am not sure if it was a change in my position or pedal stroke
that caused the change in resistance or if it was just all in my mind.
It was strange though. I am used to these changes when I am on the
road. I always assumed it was the hills. On the trainer though with
the same gear and same cadence I wouldn't expect to feel a huge
difference in resistance all of a sudden.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

First applied push interval

This weekend I think I actually applied a push interval to real life situation. I was just riding along on the road started to climb up this big hill and felt myself fall into that push sensation without even trying. Here is comments I sent to my coach.


Sunday's ride went well. I was less imitated by the
cars after the beating I took on the trainer this week. I had my
doubts on whether getting clipped by car would actually hurt worse. I
guess everything is relative. I found a nice long flat spot to do the
circle intervals. I probably looked like Dorothy on the Wizard of Oz
because I was pedaling so fast and not really moving. The other
roadies must have thought my chain had fallen off or something. I
noticed soreness on the back of my leg just above the knee area
(especially when doing the circle intervals). I must be working some
new muscles. I also noticed something new while climbing this long
intermediate grade hill. I started off in my typical quad only
erractic pedaling. I must have had a flashback to my push interval
because all of sudden my hamstrings decided to take over and I felt
the smooth push interval rhythm I had the other day. It felt like
someone had attached a rope to the front of my bike and was gently
pulling me up the hill. Cool feeling.

Thanks for the explanation. Even before I started working with you I
noticed that the more I tried to be efficient by focusing on my pedal
stroke and breathing the more my heart rate climbed even though I
couldn't really notice a huge change in cadence or gearing. I think
this quote from you describes best what I was noticing.

"your heart rate will usually increase because you are being more
consistent and not giving it the mini breaks usually that occur when
we are being inefficient"

Even though I didn't see an increase in instaneous speed, I bet I
would see an increase in average speed if i had sustained my focus for
30 minutes to 1 hour. I also bet I would see less deviation between
average and instaneous if I maintain my focus.

Putting all my energy into the pedals instead of most of my energy in
the pedals and the rest in clenching the upper body makes sense too.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

First time in zone

I actually felt what a push interval is supposed to feel like tonight. Instead of being so spastic and jumping around all over the place, I actually got in a groove for a little while. I hope I can recreate the feeling in the future. Here are the comments I sent to my coach.


ust wanted to give you an update on my workout tonight.

55 min @ 95 RPM @ 111 AHR in BR/21

Actually had to start in 23 and spin a little while to get my legs
warmed up. Still having problems with my saddle I checked it with a
level and checked the distance from my pedals to the top of the
saddle. It is set up just like my mountain bike. Feet and
unmentionables would go numb after 10 minutes. Had to stand up and
keep adjusting my position front to back on the saddle.

40 min @ 75 RPM @ 137 AHR in BR/15

Took a long time to get heart rate up to 150 maybe 25 minutes. First
I tried to watch my cadence and picture my heartrate going up but that
wasn't working for me. Heartrate stayed below 120. Next I tried to
focus on my pedalstoke and find a pressure that would just start to
make my legs burn. I ignored my heartrate and would only glance at my
cadence every couple minutes. This worked better. I could feel the
tension slowing building with each pedal stroke being a tiny bit more
difficult. After awhile my heartrate plateaued at about 135. So I
focused more on pedalstroke. I tried imagining rolling a log like you
suggested. I pictured this big log that would take lots of power to
budge. I imagined that I had to keep the momentum of the log rolling
by keeping a steady rhythm and not cheating any of my pedal stokes.
It made think about rowing a boat where you can't just make spastic
powerful strokes you have to have well timed fluid stokes. After
awhile my hamstrings relaxed a little and I dropped my heels a little
and it felt much more natural. My head went in a different place. I
would glance down every couple minutes and my heartrate had fallen
right at 150 and stayed there for maybe 10 minutes. After awhile I
lost my focus. My feet went numb from my saddle. I had to stand up
for few seconds. Never got back in the same rhythm but it was still
more consistent then Tuesday.

55 min @ 95 RPM @ 111 AHR in BR/21

My mind start to wander on this last part. It was hard to stay
motivated. My saddle was annoying the crap out of me. Was happy when
this last part was over.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

First Workout With Coach

Did my first workout with my coach. Pasted my comments I sent to him below. This was the first time I rode with a cadence meter. It was also the first time I tried to hold my heart rate in that range. My coach calls it a push interval. Not sure how that relates to other people's terms.


I got a late start but did get my workout in.

46 min @ 118 AHR @ 90-95 RPM in BR/18

First 10 min was in BR/21. Heart rate topped out at 114. Tried to
shift to BR/18 but legs started to burn a little at this resistance.
Switched back to BR/21 for 10 minutes at 95 RPM. After 10 minutes
switched back to BR/18 and legs felt much better.

25 min @ 146 AHR @ 72-74 RPM in BR/15

First 5 min heartrate topped out at 138. Switched to BR/14. Legs
started to burn heartrate went up to 152. Held this for maybe 5
minutes. Then heart rate headed up to 158. Switched back to BR/15.
Could not really keep heartrate fixed. Would bouce around from 143 to

8 min @ 123 AHR @ 90-95 RPM in BR/18

Took about two minutes for heartrate to come down to 120. Easy spin
to hold 120.

25 min @ 144 AHR @ 72-74 RPM in BR/15

Kept tighter control on heartrate. Still bounced around from 146-154.
Found that at 147 I didn't really feel like I was working. If I
tried to just nudge my heartrate up a little bit, my mouth would open
and my breathing would increase. In addition my legs would just start
to burn and resist. A couple times I was able to hold this "just
barely uncomfortable" intensity for maybe 2 minutes and my heartrate
would be 150 or 151. Most times though I would overshoot or back off
too soon and my heartrate would jump around.

46 min @ 120 AHR @ 90-95 RPM in BR/18

Heartrate came down in two minutes. Pretty much easy spin to finish workout.

Legs were not wobbly when I got off bike. Energy level felt fine.
Butt felt sore/raw. Also would go numb if I didn't stand up every 5
minutes for a couple seconds. I have been playing with my seat angle
but I guess I haven't found where I am comfortable. I have the same
saddle on my mountain bike with no problems.