Fitness questions and answers for December 19, 2005

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Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at fitness@cyclingnews.com. Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of racing or riding. Due to the volume of questions we receive, we regret that we are unable to answer them all.

Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com) is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.

Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com) is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16 years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl, daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.

Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000. Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows, he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins, CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural, urgent care, inpatient and the like.

Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com) is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting (Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10 years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.

Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com) is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track, road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from any geography.

David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com) is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes. He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.

Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com) has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the other end.

Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.

Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated changes in menstrual function on bone health.

Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion. Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.

Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com) is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.

Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com) has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.

Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com) is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.

Steve Owens (www.coloradopremiertraining.com) is a USA Cycling certified coach, exercise physiologist and owner of Colorado Premier Training. Steve has worked with both the United States Olympic Committee and Guatemalan Olympic Committee as an Exercise Physiologist. He holds a B.S. in Exercise & Sports Science and currently works with multiple national champions, professionals and World Cup level cyclists.

Through his highly customized online training format, Steve and his handpicked team of coaches at Colorado Premier Training work with cyclists and multisport athletes around the world.

Brett Aitken (www.cycle2max.com) is a Sydney Olympic gold medalist. Born in Adelaide, Australia in 1971, Brett got into cycling through the cult sport of cycle speedway before crossing over into road and track racing. Since winning Olympic gold in the Madison with Scott McGrory, Brett has been working on his coaching business and his www.cycle2max.com website.

Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com) is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive cyclist for 20 years

Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com) is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training. He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past 4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.

Michael Smartt (www.cyclecoach.com) is an Associate Coach with Richard Stern Training. He holds a Masters degree in exercise physiology and is USA Cycling Expert Coach. Michael has been a competitive cyclist for over 10 years and has experience coaching road and off-road cyclists, triathletes and Paralympians.

Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com) has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion, and a Fitness Professional.

Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns MyEnduranceCoach.com, a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find a coach.

Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews, you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Saddles for pelvic support
Knees and hamstrings
Oversize bars and stem
Changes in training programme
Left inguinal hernia repair rehabilitation
Lifecycle workouts
More motivation

Saddles for pelvic support

Short background info: (not nearly enough for you)

I'm a 26 year old elite amateur; I've been riding MTB and road for almost ten years. I'm 1.79m, 63 kg, inseam 86.5 cm. I have a rather long lower leg, with tibia and femur being the same length, plus a 15 degree left foot varus and a 5 degree right foot varus. I use size 44 Shimano M221 shoes) with the cleat positioned as far back as it will go. On almost all bikes I've been riding this has resulted in saddle as far forward as it will go, often with a no set-back seatpost.

Back in 2003 I was diagnosed with patella femoral pain that resolved during the transition period but has been "present" ever since. (I found NMES on vastus medialis very helpful, sort of improved my patella tracking) I've been able to avoid it through stretching. I've always had pretty tight ITB and painful piriformis) and my right thigh is somewhat larger then my left - this results in much smoother pedalling from this leg.

I have a history of "always" changing bike setup; what feels good one day feels crap the next. The last two years I've been riding Scott bikes (Scale 10, RC-10 and CR1PRO). This year I've been using the Arione and before that the Aliante saddles for three years. About a year ago I came across the Lemond Lewedge website and felt this could be the solution to my fragile left knee; at first I simply put a round shim around the inner bolt of the left cleat and suddenly I could feel my vastus medialis engaged while pedaling! So this spring I ordered the Lemond kit - I placed one Lewedge on the right shoe and tried both two and three on the left. I used this setup until I got a new pair of orthotic insoles in June. Using the new insoles, three Lewedges felt "too much" and at the same time I felt that the Lewedge ruined the shoe/pedal interface, making it feel unstable, so I removed them.

At the UCI Marathon World Cup 1 Falun, Sweden (my home town) I was aiming for a realistic top 10 finish but thing didn't go as planned. For the first time in my cycling carer I it felt like I was only using my right leg, as my right thigh was burning from lactate and I felt I couldn't use my left; I pulled out after 100 km unable to ride anywhere near my ability. The next day my right leg felt like I had ridden 200 kilometres and my left felt fresh.

I asked them to modify my orthotics to compensate fully for the forefoot varus on both feet with 5mm versus 2.5mm - I road that during the remainder of the season without too many problems. Due to too much lab work I hardly rode at all during November and just started training again; this time on my ergometer. During the first two sessions I again felt that I was using my right leg to a greater extent and this made me decide to get to really try and solve the problem. I went back to your posts on cleat placement and checked where I was today compared with your suggestions. I was roughly 20mm in front of the pedal axle, so I moved the cleat forward about 10mm. This is the first time that I've moved the cleat forward and had a good feeling on the first ride. I had to adjust the cleats a bit more toe out but now it felt really good. At the same time I removed my cycling orthotics and replaced them with the one from my running shoes (not modified for varus). I did a four hour ride without pain and my pedalling felt symmetrical; the only thing I felt was that I was missing a little varus shim on the left shoe.

Now back to my original question - would choosing a particular saddle improve the stability of my pelvis? In that a flat saddle (SLR) would make me drop my hip to a greater extent than an Aliante? Also when shimming for a forefoot varus as great as 15 degrees, like I did with three Lewedges, I feel like I'm creating a leg length discrepancy.

Jens Westergren

Sweden

Steve Hogg replies

Jens,

My experience is that when there is a pronounced difference in forefoot varus between feet, that is more than 3 degrees difference, there is always a lateral pelvic tilt present and often but not always, a measurable leg length discrepancy. It is worth having a scan to determine whether there is a measurable bone length difference between left and right sides.

I will guarantee that you struggle to sit square on the seat and this is the cause of your occasional 'no power' feeling with the left leg.

Now your question is about stability on the seat as it relates to the shape of the seat and I will get to that, but a few observations first.

On a mountain bike with its more upright position, a lot of pelvic asymmetries that affect the evenness of pedalling with both legs that are obvious on a road bike diminish and occasionally for practical purposes disappear. This is because the more prone torso position of a road bike presents a greater challenge to pelvic stability on the seat because of the greater effective horizontal torso length usually dictated by the bodies' position on a road bike.
In effect what I am saying is that one of the things I would try in your case, is that if your bars are low for an MTB, I would lift them up somewhat as an experiment, and judge the height by how it affects stability on the seat. If too high you may be reasonably stable on the seat but have a poor steering feel so the best compromise is what you should be striving for.

The other thing I would do is find a good hands on physio or similar and find out just how your structure is in a global sense and start some sort of stretching or exercise regime to even out any obvious asymmetries that are identified.

Now to your question. I divide seats into four basic categories.

1. "Flat width" seats which are seats that when viewed from behind taper down from the centre to the sides gradually or not at all.
2. " Rounded width" seats which are seats that when viewed from behind taper down quickly from the centre to the sides.
3. " Flat in profile" seats which are seats that when viewed from the side have little of no dip in their length.
4. " Dip in profile" seats which are seats that when viewed from the side have a noticeable dip in their length. I would call all seats with a perineal cutout " Dip in profile" seats whether they appear flat in profile at a glance or not.

I have found that "Flat width" seats generally aid pelvic stability on the seat for those who drop one hip or the other. Using one doesn't stop the hip drop, just makes it less pronounced than it is on a "Rounded width" seat. The seat that you should have a look for is made by Wilderness but I can't remember the name of it. It is moderately wide and very flat at the back and it rises towards the nose in a hump more than any seat I have seen. What the hump does is give you a reminder every time you creep forward on the seat if indeed you do. The very flat width of the seat at the back means that any tendency to drop the one hip will be minimised but not eliminated.

The two seats that you mention, Aliante and SLR? Both are rounded width seats. The Aliante is the wider and is also a Dip profile seat. The SLR appears to be Flat in width but isn't. The rear of the seat is not where the rider sits on an SLR. Just forward of the rear there is an angled depression on each side of the seat which is where the sitbones end up. This makes it in effect a Rounded profile seat as well. If you are going to use an SLR, I would advise an SLR Gelflow. It has more padding which pretty much causes it to become a Flat width seat and the perineal cutout means that it is also a Dip profile seat.

Knees and hamstrings

Dear Steve Hogg

In your last fitness Q & A you wrote the following:

"This in turn means that the calves can get on with what I think is their real job on a road or tri bike, which is to contract eccentrically in concert with the hamstrings doing the same during the pedal downstroke. Both calves and hammies cross the knee joint. Working together eccentrically, the net effect is to pull the knee backwards."

I have some concerns with the biomechanical principles that you have addressed in this statement. Both of these muscle groups that you are speaking of cross two joints, the gastrocnemius crosses the talocrural joint and the knee joint. At the talocrural jt the gastrocs performs planter flexion and at the knee it works concentrically to create flexion. Two muscles of the hamstrings cross two joints the third only one. All three muscles can flex the knee, semimembranosus and semitendinosus work concentrically to extend the hip. If the talocrural jt and hip joint were completely stabilized (which is not the case during a pedal stroke) they would work together to pull the knee into flexion. This is of course obvious, however you have commented on the eccentric qualities of these muscles. Eccentric contractions are by definition the resistance by a muscle against lengthening. Eccentric contractions do not perform positive work, they perform negative work. It is not possible to accelerate a joint using an eccentric contraction only decelerate a joint. So in the case of the gastrocnemius if this muscle is working eccentrically it is preventing lengthening, i.e dorsiflexion of the talocrural and extension of the knee. If the semimembranosus and tendinosus are working eccentrically they are preventing flexion of the hip and extension of the knee. This is contrary to what you have written in the attached statement.

To complicate things further during the power stroke (downward) the hamstrings' two joints are performing incompatible movements. The hip is extending which shortens the hamstrings, while the knee is extending which lengthens the hamstrings. Unfortunately the hamstring or any two joint muscle can not concentrically contract within one section and eccentrically contract at the other. If the hamstring is activated powerfully eccentrically at this time it would prevent extension at the knee.

With the same line of thinking an eccentric contraction of the gastrocs would pull the knee into flexion, or more importantly work as an antagonist against the contracting quads which are creating extension.

The movements going on during a pedal stroke are inherently complex due to the many multi joint muscles working together along with all the stabilizers and I have certainly not even brushed the surface of there relationships. To summarise my concerns would be to say that your statement suggests that eccentric contractions can create a moment that produces movement (in this case extension at the knee), but this is not true as eccentric contractions produce a moment that slows down a movement. So as stated if the calves and hamstring worked eccentrically together they could not possibly produce an extension moment but would prevent an extension movement.

On the other hand if a concentric contraction of both muscles were to occur with perfect timing and force this would create a moment that would lead to extension. I included a very primitive vector diagram to illustrate this point. When the force vectors of the two muscles are broken down to their two components one can see that the x axis vectors can negate each other while the y axis can combine to create extension. This occurs with a concentric contraction (the muscles are creating force to shorten) contraction. If I am way off here set me straight.

Joe Brassard

Steve Hogg replies

Joe,

The effect I am speaking about is real and can be verified by anyone who wants to go through the process outlined in various posts providing they exercise some common sense. I suspect that the cause of your dilemma is not that you are "way off" and need to be "set straight" but probably a less than accurate description on my part of 'eccentric' contraction.

For the last 19 years I have been basically a bike mechanic whose major job evolved through circumstance and need into solving positioning problems on bikes. The result is that in a 'knowledge of bodies' sense, I am self educated and a lot of definitions I have learnt are from context rather than being taught and examined on them. This is probably not the best way to learn technical terms. To be more accurate second time around; the hamstrings contract while lengthening on the pedal downstroke. This can be verified by placing hand on the upper hamstrings while the rider is on the pedal downstroke. The calves do the same and this can be verified in the same way.

If the type of cleat position I favour and recommend is correctly done for a given individual, and seat height and setback are somewhere in vicinity of where I would put them, then this effect is quite pronounced. The effect is "the hamstrings flex the leg at the knee and extend the leg at the hip. When working in concert with the calf muscles, they can also act as extensors of the leg at the knee." to quote Anatomy of the Moving Body by Theodore Dimon Jr, the only book where I have seen this effect mentioned.

In so doing, the load of extending the knee is spread over the largest amount of leg musculature with benefits in power and endurance. In contrast many people with 'by the book' positioning load up the quadriceps markedly. I think that my error was to confuse an eccentric contraction with a contraction in one part of a muscle that was lengthening as a whole. Thanks for tackling me on this. The worst thing that has happened is that I have learnt something.

Oversize bars and stem

Not strictly a fitness question I know, but just wondered if anyone could help me with this dilemma, here goes: I need a shorter stem for my race bike. I want to use my current bars, which are Deda, these have a diameter of Ø31.7mm.

The bore of the stem I have my eye on is Ø31.8; I realise this is only a tiny difference, but I'm concerned this will force the bars into an unnatural shape when clamped in the stem, resulting in stressing the aluminium and could result in a fracture of the bars (usually when you least want it - bunch sprints, descent, etc!)

What do you think? Has any one else used Ø31.7 bars in an Ø31.8 stem. Or do you think the difference is such a small amount it won't matter, that there will be enough 'give' in the stem and bar to take up the difference in diameter/shape?

I don't know what tolerances they make bars to, but I doubt they can draw bars to less than ±0.1mm on diameter. Therefore meaning the stem should be fine, but some confirmation would be good. I'm a design engineer by trade, so I'm very conscious of stressing materials, particularly aluminium, in a way they're not meant to be stressed and ensuring correct fit.

Matt Eastwood

Steve Hogg replies

Matt,

I have mixed Deda oversize bars with other brands of oversize stems for some time without problems. For the exercise I just measured five pairs of Deda oversize bars of different models and sizes and on my verniers they all measured 31.8mm when measured in the centre of the bulge. I don't think you will have any problem.

Scott Saifer replies

Matt,

I haven't tried a 0.1 mm difference but have seen the effect of an 0.4mm difference, which though larger is still pretty small. That difference didn't allow the stem clamp around the bars to be adequately tightened to prevent rotation. The stem appeared to contact the bar all the way round, but apparently was not pressing effectively. Similarly a seat post that is just 0.2mm too small for a frame will not hold without damage to the frame. I'd suggest getting bars and stem that match exactly, even if it means buying another part that you are not sure you need.

Changes in training programme

I am a 42 year old cyclist and have been riding and racing for the past 20 years. I usually try to do a weight training programme every year that includes three days in the gym in the off season and transition to one maintenance day during the spring and summer months. My question is should I take a day off from the gym when my legs are still very sore from the previous workout? I am finding as I get older it takes about 72 hours to recover from a lifting session. Does this mean I should cut back to two days in the gym or should I just tough it out and dream of better days on the road?

Perry Fields

Ric Stern replies

Perry,

Many coaches recommend weight training during the winter. It's not a new phenomenon, and I suspect its use goes back to the beginning of cycle sport. It's a popular off-season activity for many cyclists, who may believe that it will help them cycle better for e.g., during hill climbs, TTs, and sprinting - as these activities often *feel* like they are strength limited.

However, actual research doesn't show any significant effect in trained cyclists, and first principles suggest that for endurance cycle racing weight training would not be required to increase endurance cycling performance, and maybe detrimental to endurance cycling performance. An overview can be found here.

If your cycling is limited during the off-season due to e.g., inclement weather or darker nights, then any additional exercise would be good for you, as it may help you to better maintain your weight or if the volume/intensity is high enough may cause fat loss.

For endurance cycle races (e.g., any race > 90-secs in duration) the primary determinant is aerobic capacity (i.e., VO2max and lactate threshold) and these are *best* trained in the specific modality that you compete in (i.e., on the bike), as many adaptations that occur are both joint angle and joint velocity specific. Thus, for road racing, criteriums, and TTs, on the bike training is best. However, in the former two events there is often an element of sprinting involved at the end of a race. Weight training can help increase peak (sprint) power (which is why track sprinters are so large) when there's an increase in muscle cross sectional area (hypertrophy). The down side of this is that aerobic performance would be decreased with this increase (of cross sectional area) due to a relative decrease in muscle mitochondrion density and capillary density. Therefore the increased mass would slow you down uphill and when e.g., TTing, etc., but may help with sprinting.

With your stated goals of losing fat mass, and a total decrease in weight (presumably to help climbing) an increase in muscle cross sectional area (to increase peak power) may not be the best training option. Peak power (i.e., sprint ability) can be trained perfectly well on the bike for endurance cycle races. Sessions that include both sprinting from 32 km/hr or greater, in a moderate gear for 15-secs, within a long session, or sprints from stationary in a low gear for 10-secs whilst remaining seated are good sprint training sessions. Additionally, it's important to learn tactics for road sprints and knowing which wheels to follow, etc. This is best done in a group training sessions when you sprint for a designated point.

For time trialling, one of the best sessions for increasing performance is to complete one to four interval of 15 to 30-mins duration at a power just below that which you can maintain for about one hour. This session would be repeated one to three times per week, depending on other goals, scheduling, fitness, etc.

There maybe some reasons to do weight training (e.g., inclement weather and you can't stand the indoor trainer), a change in physique/body shape, or you have a manual labour job that requires a high strength requirement, but for endurance cycling - for the vast majority of people who race - it's unlikely that weights would be beneficial and could be detrimental to endurance cycling performance. Weights have been shown to help increase performance in low fitness and untrained subjects, but not in trained cyclists.

Left inguinal hernia repair rehabilitation

Hi

I would like some advice on rehabilition from a left inguinal hernia repair I had on 25 November 2005.

I am 49 years old (male), ride on average 300km to 350km per week - three faster group rides and four rides by myself. My max heart rate is 198. I use a Polar 725 heart rate monitor with cadence.

Any comments & advice you can give would be helpful; things like when should I get on the bike, and what type of training (how hard, how long)?

Graeme McNeill

Kelby Bethards replies

Grame,

First off, there is more than one kind of hernia (even inguinal) and not all hernias are created equally. There are direct and indirect inguinal hernias and there are different ways to repair them. Do you know if the hernia was large or small, per your surgeon? Did he/she use mesh or standard repair?

The key part of the rehab/return to cycling is the ability to perform a Valsalva manoeuvre, or what we do when we "bear down". Although we don't do it too much riding we do it enough to warrant talking to your surgeon about when you can safely return to cycling. I would bet at six weeks you will be ready to go, but I don't know the details of your repair so, talk with your doc there to find out when it is safe to, lift heavy weights again. The reason I say that, is because if you can do that you should be safe to cycle. The trick with a lot of surgical fixes, is that we the operated on, tend to feel pretty good before the healing tensile strength is ready for us to feel good. That's when re-injury can occur.

Lifecycle workouts

I'm a 48 year old Masters rider, who's had some success in cyclocross, time trials and the occasional triathlon, with a 40km time trial best time of just under an hour or so. I used to be a very good triathlete, until injuries severely limited my running. Now I ride about 800-1000 miles a month from April - October and about 400-600 the rest of the year; many of those miles are to and from work from April through October. I also run twice per week and swim twice per week for 30 minutes each, and lift weights twice per week.

In the winter I spend a lot of time during the week at lunch on a health club lifecycle, with workouts lasting 45-60 minutes. Are you familiar with this apparatus? Does it translate well to cycling fitness/performance? If I switch it on to the race mode, it seems to give a reasonably accurate measure of watts. Do you believe this to be true? With a goal of improving my time trialling, what sorts of workouts should I do on the lifecycle during the week, when I can't get outdoors or on my home trainer due to my work schedule? I've never been very strict at following a schedule, especially during the summer when it seems I just want to be out riding rather than following a schedule. Thanks for the advice, I've found your column to be rich in good information.

Brian Leverenz

Dave Palese replies

Brian,

You'd be wasting energy and time trying to make a useful comparison between the LifeCycle and road performance numbers. The same can be said for any other type indoor training device you can't take with you on the road. These devices and the numbers they generate and useful inside of their own little world. And that is fine. If you are doing a workout 4 weeks in a row on the same machine, then the numbers are very useful for comparison session to session.

That said, these machines can be very good tools for staying fit and building fitness through the long winter months or when you have a demanding schedule. There is no substitute for your own bike when it comes to getting the most specific workout, but even for differences in position and set-up, you can still get alot out of the LifeCycle.

To workout your time trial abilities, you need do nothing less than the same workouts you would do on you bike. A typical 2x20' Time Trial workout on the LifeCycle would be very beneficial. Use the same heart rate numbers you would use on your bike. Track your average watts fro each interval and push yourself to improve them over the course of a few weeks. Have fun and good luck!

More motivation

This relates to the December 12 posting about motivation

Dave,

I cannot believe your response. Thank you so much. I have set one goal for this upcoming season: the Excel Stage Race (second week of May). That's where I want to be at my best. So, from what I gathered from your reply is that I should set minor goals along the way. Thing is, which goals do I establish? For instance, go to the gym 3 times a week, run once a week, etc.? What goals can I set to know that I am on the right track? I data from aerobic TT's on my trainer. Is that a good goal setting device (i.e. to lower the times or go longer at similar HR's)? What are some other good goals to set along the way to May?

One thing I am confused about is your recommendation about intervals. From what I thought, intervals were not really to be done at this time of year; concentration on lower to moderate intensity stuff keeping HR below 85% of max. I have been doing isolated leg stuff, but I am burnt on it. It's the same for spin-ups, too. I mean, how can you use variety for those "recommended" exercises for this time of year?

Thank you again for such a great reply. I did not expect that. Hopefully, we'll be in touch soon.

Shaun Riebl

Dave Palese replies

Shaun,

I guess it should have been clearer.

My comments and suggestions weren't intended to be the answer to all your needs, both short and long term. Just some thoughts on how deal with your lack of motivation. A 2-3 week plan to get you back on the horse and headed in the right direction. I'm sorry if you were left with more questions than answers.

The questions you pose in your reply are big ones, much deeper and complex than we could or should try to address in this forum. This is what a coach-rider relationship is for. Defining the season goals and designing plan to hit those goals.

But to answer you intervals question, Yes, if your were following a structured and periodized plan pointed toward top performances in May, now would be an odd time to do any consistent "interval" training. But in the context of our initial discussion, "How do I get my motivation back?", my suggestion of doing your favourite interval session if you ended up on the trainer is a sound one if it gets you working out more consistently during a period of depressed motivation. Make sense? Have fun and good luck!

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