When you learn how to read and interpret a workout file it is an amazing tool to aid in putting together profiles. You will better understand the possible impact your choices (cadence, resistance, power, etc.) will have on your riders. By looking at a file from a less fit rider who suffered in the class or was unable to do the prescribed workout, you will understand why some might struggle with your coaching. Or, maybe you might discover that some things you are doing might not be as effective as you thought.
Heart rate training has been a source of confusion for a long time in the indoor cycling world. The good news is that there IS an easy way to create meaningful training zones by performing an assessment known as a talk test. This detailed PDF will teach you the physiology of this assessment and provide everything you need to know to conduct a talk test in total confidence. This test should be done as a precursor to every FTP field test, as it also is an excellent means of reinforcing riders’ understanding of perceived exertion.
Tom Scotto and I get asked a lot for high-energy music suggestions for field tests and time trials from 85 to 100 bpm. We’ve put our heads together to come up with 72 songs, ranging from downtempo and electronic, to rock, alternative, and hip-hop. What they all have in common is consistent rhythm and high energy. Some require more intrinsic coaching (downtempo), some work just fine on their own!
In all the heart rate training articles posted at ICA, we always stress the fact that heart rate, while an effective way to monitor your intensity, is subject to many external factors that have nothing to do with the work you are performing. These factors include over-reaching, over-training, lack of sleep, dehydration, caffeine, medications, heat, humidity, stress, and others. It is important to understand the limitations of heart rate training if one is to use it properly as a training tool. One of the factors we may ignore the most is stress. I share with you a personal example of the negative effects of stress on my own heart rate. Please share this article to help others understand the body’s response to stress.
Moritz asked an excellent question in the comments of the recent Lactate Threshold Field Test post about why I suggest a higher cadence flat instead of a faster hill climb for field testing. You’re going to learn the important reasons why a faster cadence is preferred for a field test, but you’ll also learn that there is a time and a place for a fast uphill time trial! Learn here why, when and how!