My intent is to improve my performance and enjoyment of cross country
skiing. I only work out 2 to 4 times a week - a total of 3 to 6 hours.
I'm trying to maximize my results by focusing on improving my endurance
and increasing my AT (Anaerobic Threshold). The following page details
my personal approach to training. I highly recommend developing your own
workout program tailored to your own interests.
Danny at ChiRunning.com runs clinics and classes all over the SF Bay Area and world. Mary and I spent 90 minutes (we had to go to another engagement) the day before running the B2B at a large group clinic (about 30 people associated with the MITcrc). Danny showed us both the problems in our techniques that were causing us injury. He showed us how to correct the mistakes and how to move beyond them to a style of running that's actually fun and easy.
|I ran my first race for 70 minutes at my AT. Although I had to ice one knee for the rest of the day, I ran faster and with less injury than I've ever run before. (of course, this was my first race... but I usually have to ice both knees after putting out this level of activity). More on Danny as I take more courses from him... (that's Danny in the yellow shorts)|
The following is my distillation of various endurance sports training philosophies. The best source that I've found so far is "SERIOUS training for endurance athletes" by Rob Sleamaker and Ray Browning. The SERIOUS in the title is an acronym for the 7 types of training involved for effective competition. John gave me this link to another good source is www.exrx.net. (Another one used to be asimba.com,but they're in the process of selling out to a fitness magazine group that I can't recommend).
Some people have an innate sense of the intensity of their activity. They know how long they can maintain a particular level of work without even thinking about it. For the rest of us, there are HRMs...
Training "zones" are a shorthand for exercise intensity levels. They
are typically derived from the resting and max HR using a standard formula
(50%, 60%, etc.). Max HR is often calculated using another average formula
based on an average of gender and age data. For example (in lbs and years):
Male max HR = 214 - age/2 - weight/20 (for me, that would be 185)
Female max HR = 210 - age/2 - weight/20
The difference between 192 (my actual, measured max HR) and 185 (the
supposed population average) is half of a zone (see table, below). This
is a substantial difference and shows why you need to know what your personal
physiology is capable of before you "buy into" a generic program. I continue
to refine my own zones:
|non zone (doesn't count in aerobic training)||0 to 50% from resting to max||45 to 127 bpm||weight training often falls here. Since weight training uses only one or 2 muscle groups in slow, controlled motions, the cardio system is not really being taxed.|
|zone 1||50 to 60%||127 to 135||"distance". Builds aerobic base. 1/2 total training hours should be in this zone.|
|zone 2||60 to 70%||136 to 148||"endurance". Substantial training in this zone as race season nears. This is my "base race pace". Used to conserve energy during racing.|
|zone 3||70 to 80%||149 to 161||avoid this zone in training. May be used in racing but cost may be high relative to performance.|
|zone 4||80 to 90%||162 to 176||"interval peaks". Sustainable for racing as needed. After racing at 167 for 90 minutes on XC skis, I've decided that this is my best estimate of my AT (Anaerobic Threshold, see Interval, below).|
|zone 5||90 to 95%||177 to 184||Sprint zone. Hill climbing zone during XC races. Not sustainable for long periods. In my case, not often achievable, let alone sustainable.|
|5++||>95%||185 to 192||is not really considered training. It's reserved for all-out sprint portions of races, testing, and trying to give yourself a heart attack <g>.|
The HR charts below are divided into color bands that are supposed to indicate my training zones. I haven't had time to figure out why they don't match the zones that I actually use. I'm sure that there is some way to set the zones in the software, but I haven't gotten around to doing it...OK. So, given that I've only been doing this HR training thing for less than a year (and not terribly seriously, at that), here are some recent training plots:
IntervalThis is the most painful of my workouts. I only do this 2 to 3 times a month. I can't really work out for a couple of days after one of these. Don't try this at home, kids!
What you're looking at:
I finished with a 10 minute stretch period that loosened every muscle group worked that day.
EnduranceThis would be race practice for my marathon. Had I really been at zone 2, my HR would have been about 7 to 10 beats higher than what you see here. Maybe next time...Anyway: I'm running 12 minute miles and I can sustain it for as long as I need to (knees willing) to finish the race. It won't set any records, but it will keep me from the dreaded DNF (did not finish) result.
This was actually a compound workout: the first 40 minutes was spent running from my house to the gym via various side streets. The second 40 minutes was a strength training class (Peggy Flynn's "Muscle Pump" at the Capital Club in San Jose). Note the 5 minute stretch between them and the 10 minute stretch at the end. Stretching is VERY important.
Two to three weeks before the race, I intend to put in one run of 150
to 180 minutes at "endurance" pace. Then, I begin the "ramp down" to conserve
energy before running FURTHER THAN I'VE EVER RUN
DistanceMost of my workout time is now spent like this. It's not really hard. In fact, it's kind of boring. But, (in theory) it's building my aerobic base for the other training. We'll see... It's helpful to run somewhere interesting (urban or wild) to ease the boredom.
This was a 110 minute run along the Coyote creek levee from Brokaw road
to beyond highway 237 and back (9 miles). Note the 10 minute stretch at
High Impact AerobicsCompare the graphs above with a typical high-impact aerobics class like Boot Camp (Sheriane at Capital Club Athletics in San Jose). Although the graph has peaks that hit 168, there are only a couple that get that high so it isn't as effective at raising my AT as a deliberate interval workout. Most of the peaks merely put me into the dreaded "zone 3".
I enjoy these classes. I see my fellow gym buddies and instructors. I work areas that I might not remember to work alone (abs, back...everyone has weaker parts that they don't like to work), but the same peer pressure that keeps me going also discourages me from exercising at exactly the intensity level that will work best for me.
Also note the zero recorded near the end. I still don't know why, but the Polar can't detect my HR while I'm in the car. Life still has mysteries.