Incredible New Cue For Balancing Intensity

In my periodized 12-week cycling clinic, today is the first day we intentionally went into Zone 5 (above threshold) for longer than a handful of seconds. Yup, HIT baby! Over the past few weeks, we’ve done a fair amount of hard work in Zone 4, which is sub-threshold, on up to LT. In some of those efforts, we might have “leaked” above threshold for short periods.

But today was the day to turn up the throttle. This profile I used today was really fun, and is one of the Audio Master Classes you can expect in the next week. (I’ve got three of them coming in short order as a reward for being patient as we’re working through this new website relaunch.)

This morning, I used an incredible cue that I learned from Gene Nacey to help my students understand the importance of balance in their efforts throughout the week. In fact, it’s also a teaser to an upcoming product you all may be interested in.

When I was in Pittsburgh two weeks ago filming at the Cycling Fusion HQ, Gene Nacey introduced me to their upcoming product called Ride Journal. Basically, it is an online journal that keeps track of your training zones, and your time in zones based on your HR input. You can enter your goals, and it will create a training plan based on the criteria you enter. (You’ll have to wait for Gene to introduce the product for a full explanation. We will do an audio interview.)

Ride Journal uses buckets as a fabulous visual to show you how much time you spend in each zone. There are five buckets, one representing each zone, and the colors of the paint in the buckets corresponds to the same colors on the zones in Class Builder. (Brilliant!) As you train, your time in zone is tracked, filling the paint in the corresponding bucket.

Here is an image that Gene sent me from his Ride Journal on his iPhone.periodized_phone_screen

After each ride, based on the information you had entered about your training objective and your corresponding training plan, Ride Journal will let you know when you need more time in certain zones, and it will alert you when your “cup runneth over”! If Zone 4 and 5 are spilling over, you know you need to do a recovery ride the next time you get on the bike.

This visual is so powerful, isn’t it? My students have not seen this yet (I’ll be sending this image to them soon), but I still used this concept today as we finished our first anaerobic interval class. I definitely got some nods of understanding out of them. This is what I said (keep in mind, they are very informed about their own training zones):
As you know, we’ve been working pretty hard in Zone 4, and today is the first time we’ve gone into Zone 5 on purpose. You might have leaked a little into Zone 5 during the field tests, or during some of the threshold intervals, but nothing substantial until today.

Think of each of your training zones as a bucket. Every time you train in that heart rate zone, you are filling that particular bucket with paint. We’ve done a lot of Zone 3 work, especially in the early part of this program. For the past 3 weeks, we’ve been filling up the Zone 4 bucket a lot more. Anytime we cool down or recover, you are filling your Zone 1 bucket, and those workouts after our hard days, you’ve hopefully been following orders and pouring even more into that Zone 1 bucket…right? Zone 2 you are filling on your own, with your homework rides.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be dumping more and more into that Zone 5 bucket, but keep in mind, it’s a smaller volume bucket, and can easily overflow if you aren’t careful. You’ve got to balance it by adding more into your 1 and 2 buckets!

I will follow up by sending them this attached image which should solidify the visual and help them realize the importance of balance in their workouts.

As for Ride Journal, it’s only about a month away from being launched officially, so stay tuned. It’s being beta-tested now, and I’ll receive my own version this week and will be reporting to you as I go along and learn how to use it.

I have a feeling you are going to want this product—and so will your students!

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