SpeedHub Bike Fit

7 Jan

BIKE FIT.

Last year I was giving my good friend Mel Berry a hand with her training prior to her racing at IM70.3 Mallorca. Mel had recently got herself a new time trial bike and we decided that it would be best to get a bike fit early season before she started her serious training.

PAVING THE WAY

We paid a visit to friend of TFN; Tim at SpeedHub in Leicestershire. You may remember Tim from when he used to help out at the TFN shop. He has now set up a fantastic facility to assist cyclists and triathletes with their goals.

SpeedHub

Tim started the fit by asking Mel about her Goals for the coming season and what she wanted from the session.  He then assessed her dynamic and static flexibility and checked out her range of motion.

Tim then went on to check Mel’s bike shoes and cleat positioning over to ensure that her knees were tracking correctly and she was best able to put power down on the bike.

Consultation

THE FIT

We then moved onto the bike itself. As Mel was going to be competing at Half Ironman distance (1.9km swim, 90km bike and a half marathon) Tim felt that a compromise between aerodynamics and comfort would need to be made. In addition Mel would be running off the bike so she couldn’t ride in a position that would be suitable for a 10 mile time trial.

Tim fixed a series of LEDs to Mel that could be read by the sensor made by Reutel. Tim is a fully certified Reutel fitter and one of only a handful in the country that has all of the equipment. The sensor allows Tim to track the rider’s movements and provides him with the critical information that allows him to make the right decisions for the client.

Sensor_Harness Reutel_Sensor

There were several alterations to make to Mel’s position on the bike and Tim went through several runs to make sure she was comfortable and able to put out power. There were many changes to stem height and the aerobar locations before he was happy with the final  position.

Adjusting_Mels_Bike

By the end of the fitting session Mel was putting out more power for the same heart rate and was in a more aerodynamic position. Big wins all round!

 

RIDING THE COURSE

The Mallorca course features a long 6 degree climb so we needed to make sure that Mel had the correct gearing on her bike. Tim was able to load the course onto the system to allow Mel to ride the hill. We quickly established that for Mel to ride the hill at a sensible heart rate, power and cadence that we needed to swap her standard chainset out for a compact one and change her rear cassette. This was hugely valuable and a service that is unique in the UK. If you want to take advantage of this let Tim know so he can locate the bike route for you.

FIT BIKE

Tim also has one of the very few Muve fit bikes in the UK. This allows him to perform a fit on you without a bike. Once the fit has finished Tim can assist you in finding the right bike or frame to suit you avoiding a potentially very costly mistake. Once you’ve purchased your new racing maching Tim will then fit you onto it using the data he has already gathered.

 Muve_Fit_Bike

THE RACE

I was standing on top of the mountain in Mallorca when Mel went passed looking strong and comfortable. She went on to have a great day racing on one of the toughest 70.3 bike courses in the world. Her gearing choices allowed her to save her legs for the run. Mel also had a great year time trialling and her times got better and better as the year went on.

You can contact Tim via his website

http://www.speedhub.co.uk

On email

info@speedhub.co.uk

or you can give him a ring

07929 932423

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Getting Faster on the Bike (For Triathlon) Part 2

29 Apr

So following on from my last post, which will just below this one, here is the second half of my top 10 ten tips towards getting faster on the bike  (in no particular order).

6. Go Time Trialing

So a lot of the last post was about kit however at some point you have to actually pedal your bike. Where better to train than in a time trial. These are races against the clock and against yourself. Riders are set off at usually 1 minute intervals and you simply try to complete the course as quickly as you can. There are two types Club and Open. Open events need to be entered like any race. Club events are usually run in the evening midweek and can be usually be entered on the night for a few pounds. A nice person will hold you up at the start so you can clip in and then you go as hard as you can for the nomimated distance. Often it’s 10 miles but sometimes due to the vagaries of the roads it could be a slightly odd distance. It’s amazing what having a number on your back can do for motivation. Check with your local cycling clubs for the location and times of your local ‘evening 10’. As an aside you must be a member of a registered Time Trial Club to ride in either an open or club event. Many Tri clubs are registered and most cycling clubs are. Check first! If you have the time you can ride out and home again as a warmup / cool down and to get some cheeky extra miles in.

7. “Don’t Upgrade, Ride Up Grades”

Stolen from the legendary Eddy Merckx. This basically means don’t be shy of riding up hills no matter how bad you are at it. This is really another way of making yourself work hard on a bike. Most people can work harder up a slope as there is a definable end and a goal to the effort (probably why Time Trials work too). If you have a bike with aerobars it’s good to find a slope you can get up while still riding in the aero position and staying strong and still. Don’t let your cadence drop below 60 as it will play havoc with your knees. aim for between 30 mins to 60mins of efforts with the recovery being the time needed to descend back to the start. Start with 30 mins and add 10% a week.

8. The Sufferfest

People often struggle with the winter months and indoor training. Long rides on a turbo trainer can be really dull and the mind wanders. I tend to think you are better off smashing out a session and getting it over and done with. There are a variety of methods and programmes to follow but in my opinion you can’t go far wrong with doing a Sufferfest video. These are classic cycling interval sessions set to race footage and with loud music. There is often a bit of a story to follow. I’ve tried various indoor training videos and these are by far and away the best so I now own the whole set. You download them so the cost is relatively low (£10 or so depending on the exchange rate).

Go get them and watch some preview footage here

http://www.thesufferfest.com/

9. Get a biomechanics Analysis / Bodywork

This is one of the things that can really make a difference. “Biomechanics is the study of human movement, and how we move is important to every aspect of our lives. If your joints, muscles and nerves are aligned correctly, you can move freely. However poor biomechanics can cause pain and injury, restrict skill development and impair performance in work, sport and day to day living”. If your muscles aren’t firing properly or you are carrying injuries then you won’t perform on the bike. This worked wonders for me and several athletes that I coach. I also have regular massage twice a month to stay on top of any problems that might occur. My biomechanics coach does the massage so she can keep an eye on me. I have used and I recommend:

http://www.humanmovementsystems.com

10. Surround yourself with better riders

It’s easy to be a big fish in a small pond. If you want to improve you need to be around people that are better than you. Can be hard on the ego but it will pay off. Note that this doesn’t mean thrashing yourself on the back of the big boys ride so hard that you can’t train for the rest of the week! Excellence breeds excellence however. If you are a triathlete go and join a cycling club, if you are a cyclist go racing. Get out of your comfort zone for a change. It can be humbling. I recently placed 27th out of 60 riders at an Open 25mile Time Trial. It has spurred me on to go quicker.

11. Don’t be sucked by all the kit / bikes / wheels

Everyone likes shiny toys however it’s easy to try to ‘buy’ speed. Don’t be in a rush, the tips above will all make a bigger difference. However if you have a bike fit and your current bike just doesn’t fit then you may have to get a new one. Kit is the icing on a cake and you need to bake a cake first. If you have the money spare then by all means go for it and enjoy it. Seek good advice and get a fit first.

Getting Faster on the Bike (For Triathlon) Part 1…

26 Apr

Been meaning to to write this for a while but have been busy riding my bike (and sleeping). I often get asked how can I get faster on the bike so thought I would pop down my 10 top tips. In no particular order the first 5…

1. Get a bike Fit. 

The riders Drag (the resistance to the air) makes up 80% of the total drag of the rider and the bike. Therefore it makes complete sense to start here. I often see people throwing a set of tribars onto their road bike and expecting to go faster. They sometimes end up higher in the air and presenting more frontal area then they would have done riding on the drops of their road bike. Go and see a good fitter! A good fitter will assess your flexibility and your goals and set you up correctly. In addition if you are thinking of buying a new bike you can go and see a fitter before hand and avoid making a very expensive mistake. Not all bikes are created equal and I have seen many people on bikes that are too long or too short for them. I have used and I recommend:

http://www.speedhub.co.uk

http://www.bike-science.com/precision-bike-fitting/derby-booking-c-295_354.html

2. Get a pointy hat.

Remember that 80% we just talked about? Quite a bit of that comes from your head hitting the air. A typical road helmet has lots of vents and creates lot of drag. A teardrop shaped Aero helmet can help you punch a smoother hole in the wind. Choose one that blends in with the shape of your back when you are riding in your race position. Aero helmets have been shown to have a bigger time saving then buying a really expensive frame or set of wheels. One caveat with pointy hats is that you should really be able to keep you head relatively still and the tail of the helmet down against your back to create the best airflow. The other advantage is that you look silly which means you have to ride faster!

3. Tight Fitting Clothing

Things that flap around cause drag and slow you down. Wear tight fitting clothing and if you are time trialling then get a one piece skinsuit. The most critical area for this is where the air both hits you and leaves you. I.e. chest and shoulders and your lower back/glutes. Normal cycling jerseys are especially bad here, pockets in just the wrong places. Keep it tight and smooth…

4. Good tyres

Tyres can have an enormous contribution to your bike speed. Going from training tyres to race tyres can get you 90 seconds over the course of a 40km triathlon bike leg or 25mile TT. I recommend either Vittoria Corsa CX II or Continental GP4000s. If you have really narrow wheel such as a HED3 you may be better off with something like a 20mm Continental Supersonic.

5. Latex Inner tubes

Most inner tubes are made from butyl rubber. Latex inner tubes are more supple and allow the tyre to conform to the surface of the road better. This reduces the energy needed to push the tyre along. Plus they make a lovely humming noise as they go along.

Next 5 coming soon…

Sports Nutrition

15 Mar

Sport Nutrition 

There is a lot of noise about Sports Nutrition. The claims are that it will make you go longer, faster, harder, stronger, farther which is all very olympian. Remember that many of these claims come either direct from the makers or from studies funded by the maker. Much of what is claimed is deliberately complicated to confuse and make it difficult for the consumer to understand what is going on. What’s more many of the studies are set up to make sure that the finders product is the one that comes out on top.

So what’s the truth? I’ll try and set it out below as briefly as possible and without getting too scientific. As per normal with me feel free to skip to the end where there will be some conclusions.

Fuel Sources

The human body effectively runs on two main fuel sources. Carbohydrates and Fat. These are both turned into a chemical called ATP which is used to activate the muscles. The bodies preferred fuel source at low intensities is Fat and at high intensities it is carbohydrate (CHO). Fat is stored in adipose tissue and CHO is stored in the muscle themselves and in the liver and the blood stream in lesser quantities. CHO is turned into ATP faster than Fat and the storage sites are nearer to or in the working muscle so that is why it’s used when the going gets fast. At rest the body is predominately burning Fat. As intensities rise the rate of Fat consumption drops and the rate of CHO consumption rises to the point where the body is burning very little Fat and predominately CHO.

Fuel Tank

The ‘average’ human only stores around 2000 calories of CHO, compare this to the 40,000 calories worth of Fat in even the leanest athlete and you can see why being as efficient as possible at using Fat would be beneficial for the endurance athlete  as you simply have much more in the tank. Going at full gas a large or powerful athlete can burn through 1000+ calories of CHO an hour.  This gives the athlete a time of 90mins – 2 hours before they ‘blow up’ and slow down to speeds where they switch back to Fat burning as their primary fuel source. Not so bad for a sprint distance triathlon or short Time Trial or Road Race. It starts to get a bit dicey for a half marathon or standard distance Triathlon. In an event lasting longer than 90 minutes refuelling starts to become increasingly important. At lower intensities you can go for much longer without taking on additional calories though this can place a high metabolic cost on the body.

So we have established that for intense activities lasting longer than 90 minutes it is important to refuel during the event to maintain the rate of CHO consumption and hence the intensity desired by the athlete. A bit like mid-air refuelling for a jet fighter!

This is predominately why sports nutrition will claim to allow you to go longer, faster, harder, stronger, farther. In order to control the effect most studies are done with the athlete in a fasted state having not eaten since the previous evening meal. They also normally involve some form of preliminary pre-exhasution phase to reduce the available CHO stores followed by a time trial effort. They will also often be comparing the sports nutrition product to water. You can see why you might be able to make an claim that ‘SuperSuger allows the athlete to go 45% harder’ in this very controlled case. Be very sceptical of any claim made.

Output

Even at relatively low intensities there is a limit to how much CHO and other fuel that the body can absorb. This is around 1gram per kilo of bodyweight per hour. this can be trained to a higher level and by using a mix of different sugars you can also increase the rate of CHO absorption. As 1 gram of CHO has around 4 calories you can see that you cannot keep up the with rate of consumption at high intensities. If you’re burning 1000 CHO calories an hour and putting in 400 you are only going to gaining some time before you have to slow down. At lower intensities however it is possible to keep going indefinitely. It’s very hard to predict how long this will be as everybody is different and has different metabolisms.

What is Sports Nutrition?

Drinks, Gels and Solids
Drinks are predominately CHO, Gels are CHO but a bit thicker, Solids are often some sort of Grain bar or Jelly Sweet

Mainly it’s CHO in various different forms. These can be Sucrose (table sugar), Glucose, Fructose, Dextrose, Maltodextrin to name but a few. These are transported through the gut by various mechanisms and turned into Glycogen by the liver. This is then moved to the muscles by the blood system. That’s really the long and the short of it. You eat sugar and it’s turned into fuel by the liver. Fructose in large quantities isn’t great and can cause distress to the gastric system. Find out what works for you at your race intensity. Maltodextrin is generally pretty safe.

Companies will add taste to the sugar to make it more palatable, they may add electrolytes (salts) to the product and they may add some additional aids such as caffeine to increase performance. In some cases a small amount of protein is also put in. The jury is still out on protein taken during exercise. It takes quite while to break down but may have an effect on stopping the body using it’s own muscles as fuel sources. It also help aid recovery post exercise.

I quite like High 5 Energy source as a sports drink – however have a good look a the ingredients list. It is effectively 2 sugars, Maltodextrin and Fructose in a 4:1 ratio, sea salt for electrolytes and fruit juices for taste. Cost is around £20 per kilo. You could make a smiler product using bulk powder for well under £5 with a splash of squash for taste.

Have a look at some of the sports chews and bars and the ingredients list. There is very little difference between a pack of Wine Gums and a very expensive Sports Chew. The main difference is that the sports product may be easier to get down and can be packaged more to make it easier to consume. 75p for 250grams of wine gums versus £1.50 for a gel with 25g of CHO!

Don’t be afraid of actually eating FOOD. I know a few people who will eat sandwiches on long rides – wheat flour is basically CHO in another form. Absolutely fine on a longer less intense ride and a welcome relief from sticky sports drinks. I’ve tried eating boiled new potatoes which has worked really well. Kept in a bag with a bit of salt they were great and easy to eat. The professional cycling team Garmin use specially prepared savoury rice balls which apparently the riders love. The humble banana comes with it’s biodegradable wrapper.

Fluid Intake

There is a lot of discussion going on at the moment about how much fluid you should be consuming while exercising. What I’ve taken away from it is that we should be drinking to thirst and not over consuming drinks. The problem with this is that if you are relying on your drink for fuel as well as fluid replacement you may run into trouble. If you are stuck on a rigid refuelling schedule of one bottle containing 75g of CHO and 600ml of fluid per hour you may not be hitting your fluid needs on a hot day or too much on a cold day. If you increase your fluid intake on a hot day you may take on too much CHO and get into problems digesting. If you reduce your fluid intake on a cold day you then run the risk of not consuming enough fuel. There has been some work to show that a drink mixed to 3-4% has the fastest rate of absorption though plain water is not far behind!

if a drink is mixed strong at a rate of over about 6-8% CHO to water it slows down the rate that the fluid is emptied from your stomach and gut. so it again this can cause gastric distress and blasting at high consumption rates. In addition the mix is highly variable during races. If your plan relies on consuming a certain number of calories from on course nutrition it is highly likely you will pick up a bottle containing less or more.

Because of this I would separate your fuel from your fluid for longer races over 90 minutes. My athletes racing 1/2 ironman carry calories with them on the bike and pick up water from the feed stations on the course.

Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Sports nutrition is largely forms of sugar with some nice extras thrown in to make it more palatable. It is possible to make your own very cheaply. if you use a drink mix to around 6% or less for optimum absorption.
  • Use sports nutrition for situations where you need optimum rates of absorption and consumption i.e. racing and some long, hard sessions. Aim for around 1g of CHO per hour per Kg of bodywieght, more if you can absorb it without distress.
  • On long rides or sessions of over 2 hours it’s generally best to eat food and drink water. I just eat sweets! Tangfastic Haribo are rocket fuel! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Sandwiches and bananas are great too.
  • For sessions under 90 minutes you don’t really need to consume any calories at all as long as you eat a good meal afterwards.
  • For long races take calories with you and pick up water to drink, make sure you DRINK TO THIRST
  •  Practise your fuelling plan before you race, don’t leave anything to race day. Different people can tolerate different products.

Polarised Vs Threshold Training on Twitter

24 Jan

On 22nd January @ITUonline tweeted ‘Got a tri question? Olympic & World Champ coaches are in the office now. Tweet the question & top 5 will be answered @ http://triathlon.org !’

I thought that sounded pretty awesome so I asked… @ITUonline thoughts on polarised vs threshold training for working age groupers training under 15 hours a week’

Then I got another tweet from @ITUonline – ‘Thanks to everyone who asked questions & congrats to @alan_dixon @DarrylA11en @BlackDogCoach & @Aimee_4_Reece for getting yours answered!’

Awesome, before I show the repsonses from the coaches I should quickly explain the differences between polarised and threshold based training.

Polarised – 80% of training is done at or below a steady pace, something like 65- 75% of max heart rate and 55-65% of max aerobic power. This is below or at what can be called VT1, where exercise intensity causes an increase in the ventilation rate and depth due an increase in expired carbon dioxide and a increase in lactate production from normal rates. Then 10-15% of training is done at a high intensity above what is known as VT2.

VT2 is the  point beyond which further energy production becomes increasingly more anaerobic and breathing rate increases markedly. Lactate production increases even though exercise intensity can remain the same. This can be called ‘the red zone’ as athletes tire quickly. VT2 is also referred to as Critical Power, FTP (functional threshold power), Threshold, and MLSS (maximal lactate steady state) From extensive ramp test data VT2 occurs most often between 75% and 80% of maximal aerobic power and around 90% of a rider’s maximal heart rate. Many pro and experienced Athletes train like this. Polarised Training Distribution

Threshold Training – Is done between VT1 and VT2. 75-85% max heart rate & 65-75% of max aerobic power. It’s common for many age groupers to train at this level for many of their sessions. It can be described as comfortably hard. The motive for this is probably to try and maximise the training effect from limited time availability.

Screen Shot 2013-01-24 at 13.04.43

There’s a fair bit of research going on at the moment to see what is the most effective approach.So I thought I would ask the question. The response from the coaches is on the triathlon.org website.

http://www.triathlon.org/news/article/triathlon_experts_respond_to_your_training_questions

“I wouldn’t do polarized training with age-groupers. It’s an extreme kind of training. Depending on the athlete, but it is likely age-group athletes have families and jobs and not much time to dedicate for training like a high performance athlete, who trains three or four times a day. It would be better to do threshold training, which is more common. Polarized training is very new and there is still a lot of discussion about what is best. A lot of athletes do polarized training, but as it’s a very thin line, I wouldn’t use it for amateur athletes. It is very good, but only for a certain type of athlete.” – Rodrigo Milazzo

“I have two groups of age-groupers, one of which does polarized training. They have seen very good results, much better than normal training. But the thing is they need to be in a very, very good physical condition before they start polarized training. You need a very good muscular and skeletal condition first. They also need to do strength training. I think it’s maybe the future, especially for age-groupers, but only those are experienced athletes working with experienced coaches. It is not for self-training.” – Andreu Alfonso

Interesting responses. Opinions differ in the research I’ve done online and opinions differ in the answers above. Personally I fall in Andreu Alfonso’s camp. Works for some people, would be dangerous for others. The safest place to try polarised training would be on the bike as you would be least likely to get injured. Safer to do it indoors as well. I mentor a few athletes and they do strength training and visit bio-mechanic specialists as well as getting regular massage.

Want to know more try these links

http://www.highwycombecc.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/Endurance-Training-Strategies.pdf

http://www.sportsci.org/2009/ss.htm

Thanks for reading and remember

There’s an old adage that many people do their easy training too hard and their hard training too easy!

What to Take With You on The Road Bike

22 Jan

Although spring seems far away as I write this in British Winter with ice on the ground it won’t be long before the roads are clear again.

Over the last few years I’ve put together a set of equipment that I either have on the bike or carry when I am biking. I’ve seen many unprepared people turn up to group rides so thought I would put something together so riders can get their own equipment.

What’s on the bike

  • 2 bottle cages and bottles – I like the Specialized Rib Cages. Bottles tend to be whatever free ones I can lay my hands on.
  • A rear light (always!) – A little one will do. Visibility in case of bad weather.
  • A front light (always!) – A little one will do. Visibility in case of bad weather.
  • Long mudguards (with flaps) – Not just for you, also for the people riding behind you!
  • Small wireless bike computer or GPS device. You can run routes and mapping on some GPS devices. Very useful but don’t rely on it.
  • A saddlebag – I have the small specialized one.
  • Decent tyres – I use Continental GP-4 Seasons in the winter. GP4000s in the summer and Attack/Force for racing. Life is too short for bad rubber. My training bike has lots of clearance even with mudguards so I use 25mm tyres for a bit of comfort. I would run 28mm if I could.

What’s in my saddle bag?

  • Spare Tube
  • CO2 Inflator + 2 x 12g CO2 Canisters – Much faster than pumping a tyre up, especially when in a group.
  • SRAM Chain Quick Link – quickly used to connect a damaged chain
  • 2 x tyre levers – I can get my own tyres off by hand so mainly used for other people
  • Tyre Boot – 10cm piece of tread from an old tyre, used to patch gashes or large slits in tyres.
  • Multi Tool including a chain breaker – if you can’t remove damaged links from a chain you can’t use your Quick Link
  • Very small puncture kit – used in case I run out of tubes or if I puncture on the way to work I can mend the tube in the office.

What’s in my pockets

  • Another spare tube and CO2 canister – You never know!
  • For very long rides a small pump –
  • Phone – So you can get in contact if you run into trouble. Smartphones can be useful for mapping and routing.
  • £10 note and some change
  • A debit/credit card
  • Map! A tiny one with your route on is enough. Your electronics may not work!
  • ID – In case you get knocked off / crash and are unconscious. Include name/emergency number/allegies/blood group
  • Emergency Food (normally 3 gels)
  • Showerproof jacket or Gilet – in case the weather turns on you or you have to stop to deal with a mechanical.

Heart Rate Training and Max Heart Rate testing

17 Dec

Something I posted on the Beeston Cycling Club website. It came about from discussions within the club.

So a number of people are riding/training to heart rate zones. There’s nothing wrong with that really and I may have come over a little strong in previous posts. However my personal opinion is that unless you are training for something specific there is little point and you may as well just enjoy riding your bike.

Using perceived exertion is probably more reliable than HR training but needs a bit of experience. If you are going to train by heart rate I would still recommend going to a lab and getting a full test done so that you understand the whole picture. However if you can’t or are unable for some reason then then read on…

This is something I have cobbled together so is by no means exhaustive or complete and there are a number of ways of doing it. In addition I’m sure there will be comments and further clarifications that are worth reading through. I’ll edit this a bit as they are made and discussed. Please note that this is all my opinion and I am not trying to be descriptive or prescriptive about how people want to ride or train.

Heart Rate is a good indication of the stress the body is undergoing. Note that this is stress and not output. Hence heart can be unreliable for understanding the amount of work you are doing when riding. Like all scientific training you need to get a little scientific if you are going to use it.

Stress can be caused by a number of things including Work, relationship, tiredness, sleep, caffeine and adrenaline. That being said most of us can’t afford a power meter so if we want some way of measuring our performances and training then it’s the next best thing. It can also be useful to make sure you are working hard enough for your hard sessions and easy enough for your steady sessions. Heart rate varies greatly from day to day due to the factors outlined above so can be very inaccurate again. It also takes a while to raise to an effort level and stabilise, around 3-4 minutes is normal so it’s useless for short efforts and intervals.

If you’re going to use Heart Rate to train by or as a reference tool then it makes sense to establish a baseline to work from. Getting into a lab would be the best thing but this can be difficult and costly. The old way of 220 – your age is grossly inaccurate and can lead to you working much too hard or much too easy hence removing the point of HR training in the first place. I have seen people who are over 20 beats different from their 220-age predicted to their actual. However you can find your own Heart Rate yourself using a couple of simple tests.

In all cases I would make sure that you have someone with you both as motivation and to make sure that you are okay. In addition I would advise talking to your doctor as going to heart rate max is intense and could risk your health. This is done at your own risk! Your helper may also be needed to take your HR if your monitor does not have a max function. In addition make sure you are rested for a day beforehand. Your helper may well need to shout at you to keep it going. This will hurt! If you are not prepared to do this then rethink your use of a heart rate monitor due to the accuracy issues outlined above. You can do a sub-maximal threshold test which is a little more complicated which I may go into another time. It doesn’t really matter which test you do and as long as you go really really ahrd you can do your own thing.

Either…

Test 1: Indoor on a turbo, warm up well for at least 15 minutes gradually raising your effort level. Then do a 10-15 minute (your choice) max Time trial effort, for the last minute go as hard as you can and then sprint the last 10 seconds. You should get pretty close doing this. Make sure you keep pedal ling and warm down down another 10-15 minutes. You may need to repeat this several times to get an accurate result and get your pacing right but leave several days in between.

Or…

Test 2: Outdoors. Warm up again for at leat 15 minutes, find a hill that you can ride up for at least 500m and has a ramp at the end. In addition in would be useful to have a good long approach so you can get your speed up. Ride up to the hill at solid tempo and then attack the hill as hard as you can, Stand when you reach the ramp and go for it. You may need to repeat this a few times to really find out where you can get to. You may have to vary your approach speed to fatigue yourself properly. Be careful of traffic and other road users!

So what do I do with the data! There are many ways of setting zones/levels and each is only appropriate for you. But you have to choose one. I use the British Cycling Training Intensities. The zones are given in %age of max heart rate and then there is an RPE (perceived exertion) and a suggestion of a training duration with each one. This is just a suggestion and alternatives are out their that are less complicated.

Recovery – less than 60% – 1. very light – less than 1hr

Easy – 60%- 65% – 2. Light – 1.5 – 6 hrs

Steady – 65% – 75% – 3. Moderate – 1-4 hrs

Tempo – 75% – 82% – 5. Heavy – 45 mins – 2 hrs

Threshold – 82% – 89% – 6. Heavy – 30 mins – 1 hr

Maximal – 89% – 94% – 7. Very Heavy – 14 -40 mins

V02 – 94% + – 10. Extreme – 4-10 mins / intervals

Sprint – n/a – n/a – 30s + intervals

Now what you do with all that information is entirely up to you! Everyone is different and seeking different goals so it’s virtually impossible to make any general recomendations.