Getting stronger/faster on the bike.

Let stalk intervals, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz2, and have @halbritt tell us we are wrong.

I’ll start. Riding pretty consistently since new years. Mix of outside, rollers, and dumb trainer. Week typically looks like:
Mon - rest
Tues - either z3/4 (2-3x15-20) intervals or z5/6 intervals (2-3 sets of 10min 30/30, 2-3sets of 5 1min efforts with 2-3 min between)
Wed - 75-90min z2
Thurs - opposite of Tues
Fri - same as Wed
Sat - outside for 3-5 hours w/random bursts of energy (no powwa on Scott, so kinda judge by HR)
Sun - same as Sat, but usually more chill, or LSR with B.

I need to really start getting into a better stretching and core routine, though.


So my thing is I have a 3 year old and I can only really get out a few times a week. I am trying to maximize my fitness benefit while I’m out but currently my fitness just sucks so I am getting back to a good base. I do not have a power meter but I could get one. It would help me be able to zwift at home, which I am strongly considering setting up in my guest room, and moving all my wedding presents to the basement where my trainer setup is currently.

Should I run HR intervals? What kind of timing should I be shooting for? I probably have an hour-hour and a half every other day weather permitting.

What’s your training stress right now?

The one problem with HR is that there are so many outside factors that can effect it day by day. Caffeine, stress, hours of sleep, food consumption timing, etc.

~2 weeks ago I got on the trainer and was almost nearly at 140bpm, which is high endurance/low tempo HR for me. I got into tempo power and it shot up to my threshold HR. I had to back it down and take it easy that day instead of my planned intervals.

probably zero. I just try to keep my heart rate up and when it dips I just do more bike hard.

If I were coaching you, I would encourage you to accumulate as much training stress as possible in the limited time you have available. Use “sweet spot training” and don’t worry about intervals.

Power meters are handy for tracking training stress, which is a leading indicator of fitness.

I have been using the Strava effort number. I just try to keep it at telling me I am making steady progress. I think that’s the level of effort I am at till like June.

That’s a solid target, but my experience is that the Strava effort is pretty imprecise. I had it tell me I was “making steady progress” both when I was increasing training stress and simply holding steady. When I had what I would consider to be a moderate training load and steadily increasing training stress, it told me that I was maxed out on effort.

I think the imprecision is simply a function of using HR to derive the value.

If you want to improve your fitness, have limited time, and the money for a power meter, get one. Then focus on SST, as I mentioned.

Intervals are good for event specific training and go on top of a well established base of fitness, which by necessity goes on top of a well established base of training stress.

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Thats is heaps of time. Hard easy hard easy is a really simple plan, and the easy day can be nothing at all, this has the bonus of stopping you doing your easy day too hard, and your hard day too easy.

I think you can definitely make due with just heart rate. I would do a 20min FTP test, determine your LT, and work from there. If you don’t feel confident in your progress, I can send you a powermeter.

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How would I get my ftp from an hrm? or do you mean just do the climbs/sprints whatever for 20 mins and see what strava says?

Just do an FTP protocol and use the HR result as a loose guide. It will be pretty loose. Some people call it CP, for critical power, slightly different but probably more useful. Google that one up.

Sorry, it’s really a LTHR test. You don’t need a power meter. The best way to do it is on a trainer.

Do a 20min warm up at comfortable cadence.
Do 30min hard @85-95rpm. You should not feel anaerobic, but it should be kinda awful. Good amounts of leg burn. It should feel like you put out as much as you could for 30mins before going anaerobic.
20min cool down.

Take last 20min of 30min effort and average that HR. That’s your LTHR. Build your zones from there.


poo I’m going to have to hook my cadence back up.


If you don’t want to suffer through the full 20 minute FTP test, you could also do the 2 x 8 minute test. It would get you into the ballpark for most of your efforts. When you’re using HR for pacing, a lot of the time you are going on perceived effort due to cardiac drift.

I think when my kiddo was 3, I wasn’t really able to get a solid workout in. She kinda gave up on naps early on, and the wife worked late. When she was about 7, I was able to take an hour a couple nights a week on the trainer to get some work done. I basically rode intervals for 6 hours a week.

I wish I had bought the dead tree version of the Time Crunched Cyclist instead of the epub, otherwise I’d send it to you. That’s what got me back into training, because it was so easy to fit into my busy schedule.

I forgot that CTS is doing the Quarantine Project right now and a lot of the workouts from the book are online:

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Figuring out your LTHR is fairly easy though as it doesn’t change with your fitness, just gradually goes down with age.
The difficult part testing by HR on the trainer is going to be heat management. You need a fan and do to this in a garage or basement that starts off somewhat cool, otherwise heat is going to raise your HR a fair amount over 8 or 20 minutes and mess with your perceived effort.

I use a box fan on the trainer. When I get my trainer bike set up with zwift I’ll dive into getting my hr zones calculated.

It should be pretty easy to estimate in the mean time if you just ride enough with HR. Thorough data collection will get you there.

I am not as knowledgeable about training as some other people here, but I’ve been Zwifting a lot since we went on stay at home orders. People have been driving so crazy here that I don’t feel good riding outside right now, so I’ve been riding indoors almost exclusively. While it always feels kind of stupid to be hopping on the trainer when the weather is nice, I definitely feel like I am able to get a better workout doing intervals on Zwift for an hour than I would trying to do the same workout outdoors, and I save time not having to deal with as much gear-related fiddling, getting dressed, etc. I keep a dedicated bike in the trainer, so when I go to work out, I just put on shorts and jersey and shoes, plug in my laptop and go. An hour long workout takes about 1:20 including getting ready and showering after, when the same would probably take closer to 2:00 if done outside.

I recently did one of Zwift’s very basic FTP building training plans, and it was a relatively small time commitment (topped out at under 7 hours a week), and I definitely am feeling fitter at the end of it. If you’re looking to start working your way back to some kind of fitness after a bit of a break from more structured training (which is what I was after), I think it’s worth a shot, especially if you’re like me and just want someone to tell you what to do every day so you don’t spend your workout time trying to decide what kind of intervals will be optimal that day.

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Since I’ve been getting more serious again (and doing most of my riding inside, even before the pandemic), I’ve been getting some lingering pain in my right leg, from my lower back/hip to my outside calf. Hamstring, hip flexor, and IT band were the worst of it. While my left leg feels fine, my right feels like I was mostly pedaling with my inner quad (and usually that is where I cramp) . Well, today I decided to rotate my heel outwards a bit, since I had to play around with clear position on the new shoes, and it almost instantly went away and it feels like I’m using every muscle in my leg. Pretty stoked, but also pretty bummed it took me so long to figure out. I need to adjust the other shoes.

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