Commutes as Recovery Rides. How Fast Can You go? (Strava Data Included)

If you bike to work at an easy pace, would you be too slow?

Here are the screenshots from Strava. The rides were done on Vancouver’s bike routes. A heart rate monitor was used to make sure that I stayed in the right zone. A larger cassette was installed so that hills were easier to climb.

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Heather St (Southbound)

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  • Max HR: 121
  • Avg HR: 106
  • Avg power (estimated): 103W
  • Avg speed: 15.1 km/h

Kitsilano to UBC

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  • Max HR: 131
  • Avg HR: 116
  • Avg power (estimated): 178W
  • Avg speed: 17.4 km/h

Off Broadway (Westbound)

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  • Max HR: 108
  • Avg HR: 91
  • Avg power (estimated): 102W
  • Avg speed: 15.5 km/h

Ontario St (Northbound)

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  • Max HR: 117
  • Avg HR: 108
  • Avg power (estimated): 190W
  • Avg speed: 14.2 km/h

Your speed should decrease more noticeably when climbing, when accelerating, or when carrying heavier loads.

Your speed shouldn’t decrease as noticeably on the flats or when carrying lighter loads.

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Possible Overtraining while doing Interval Training 3 Times a Week

I suspect that I’ve overtrained while doing base training on TrainerRoad. Now I’m putting my training on hold.

That means you may have to wait for a while before seeing more fitness test results from my blog.

I started sweet spot base training last October. It has intervals using the zones sweet spot, threshold, and VO2 max. Near the end of the three months, I felt less fresh after each workout than in the earlier part of training. Even recovery week and limiting my heart rate to the MAF heart rate weren’t enough.

I also had other symptoms such as increased frequency of colds, increased awareness of heart beats, reduced sleep quality and quantity, and those that are confused with improvements.

If you have suspect overtraining, you should pay more attention to how you’re exercising. Even trips that aren’t considered to be workouts count such as walking to work. Do you push too hard uphill or accelerating from a stop? Your high volume exercises should be in zone 1 or 2, or the low end of zone 3. A heart rate monitor can tell you whether you’re pushing too hard.

It may not seem like it’s possible to overtrain so easily especially while base training. It’s likely that before using TrainerRoad, I had some degree of overtraining before from pushing too hard on most of my rides. I coasted a lot too which means there weren’t much endurance training in the first place. My guess is that if base fitness is required for sweet spot intervals, I wasn’t fit enough for them.

Dr. Maffetone has an article about overtraining. According to its comments, activities should be limited to very light intensity. That means the MAF HR may still be too high. It can take months to recover!

My guess is that active recovery counts which means zone 1 can be used. If your FTP is 200W, then your maximum power is 110W which means 25 km/h on the flat assuming that you don’t stop.

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If your bike rides are truly recovery rides, they will be so easy that you won’t feel like you’ve exercised. Replacing your bike gears to decrease its gear ratio can be important for hills. The largest cassette on MEC is 11-46. Dismounting is another option. A heart rate monitor can help you make sure that you’re really in the recovery zone.

SS_zones

I’ve also supplemented with magnesium. It’s good for sleep and stress reduction which are important for recovering from overtraining. Stress depletes magnesium and heavy exercise is a source of stress which means it can create a vicious cycle. Hopefully it will speed up recovery.

Autistic people seem to be at a higher risk of magnesium deficiency for some reasons. Since it can’t be outgrown, it makes sense why adults are at a higher risk as well and why I should take it. Wearing a non-autistic mask does nothing to magnesium status even if you see that the person looks non-autistic 99% of the time.

Common MAF & Low Heart Rate Training Misconceptions: Rebutted!

Endurance Skating

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As regular readers of my blog (yes, all 3 of you) know, I have trained primarily using MAF for the last 18 months. I have seen good progress and it has allowed me to build something that I never really had before – a robust aerobic base which directly translated into some breakthrough races last year, helping me avoid injuries, and made training a largely enjoyable rather than painful affair.

 

Yet, more and more it seems that this style of aerobic training (often mislabelled “cardio” – a catch-all term than I personally hate with a passion) gets criticized or overlooked in favour of high-intensity, more (supposedly) time-efficient fitness protocols such as Crossfit (aka the “dirty” side of Paleo), High Intensity Interval Training (HIITs), and “Minimalist” style training protocols.  For example, on a recent health & fitness podcast that I happen to actually like (and shall therefore remain nameless) they were interviewing…

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Third FTP Test on TrainerRoad

I finished my third FTP test on TrainerRoad near the end of Sweet Spot Base II.

MY FTP increased by about 3% from 203W to 209W.

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The improvement seemed small possibly because I didn’t follow the plan as strictly. I tried a higher cadence which I wasn’t used to, raised the target power excessively for a few rides, and didn’t complete two workouts. I should experiment with active recovery the day after interval sessions.

The test felt harder than the last one maybe because I started out harder.

Once I’m done with base training, I plan to move on to short power build. If my outdoor rides are long, I plan on doing interval training once a week.

 

Possible Benefits of More Obvious Autistic Traits

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If an autistic person’s traits are more obvious, here are the possible benefits:

  • The autism becomes less invisible.
  • Less hinting relied on for decision making because of the increased awareness of the need for clear communication which can reduce mistakes.
  • More heads up which can lead to improved support needed for autistic boys, girls, men, and women.
  • More confidence if they’re allowed to express emotions even though autistic versions of social cues were used.
  • More spontaneity (or less robotic) as there’s less concerns about getting the timing right by feel which may be different in autistic people.
  • Improved emotional connections since real emotions can be expressed. Encouragingly, according to an autistic YouTuber’s comments, expression of emotions in an autistic way was understood. Personally, if I prefer being warm.
  • Better health since more visible emotions can mean it’s easier to control them.
  • Improved enjoyment of activities since the emotions responsible for the enjoyment don’t have to be suppressed to look non-autistic at all cost.
  • Improved productivity as more energy and time can be put into work instead of “passing”. Some forms of “passing” also require giving up supports that can help them perform better. It makes more sense to focus on enjoying the job and doing it well than looking non-disabled unless the field is acting.
  • Fewer misdiagnosis because of clearer symptoms and taking fewer medications reduces no side effects which may mimic other conditions.
  • Fewer unnecessary medications used because of reduced misdiagnosis.
  • Sooner diagnosis.
  • Asking for support becomes easier since more heads up were given beforehand which makes the need for accommodations expected.
  • History is less likely to repeat itself. Being more visibly autistic can be a clearer reminder of the need for support especially when there’s minor successes which can give the false impression of outgrowing autism or the need for support, or even never having the challenges in the first place.
  • Improved employment rates because if the disability is clear enough that the right accommodations are given, the person is likelier to be more productive and enjoy the job. Other people with a severe disability such as blindness, deafness, or paralysis can have success when given the right accommodations. Why wouldn’t it be possible for autistic people?

2017 Training Plan Part 2 – Aerobic Base

Spare Cycles

I actually completely forgot I wrote a post on Polarized Base last year, as I understood it at the time. I’d probably like to go back and change a few things, but it’s a good starting point to understand the theory.

For the last two years I followed a more time-constrained Sweet Spot Base training plan (via TrainerRoad) which got me good results, but didn’t address some of the underlying physiological constraints I identified, namely that I’m not optimally adapted for endurance sport.

Relevant Physiological Weaknesses

  • Short endurance training history: I’ve only followed a specific cycling training program for two years, starting in the 2015 season. I don’t have a broad Aerobic physiology built from years of experience.
  • ANaerobically-dominant phenotype: I played Rugby and lifted heavy things all through high school & university. I have a lot of muscle mass, lots of fast twitch muscle fibers and I put…

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CYCLING for RUNNERS – ‘Why can’t runners cycle quickly?’

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What’s the difference in terms of fitness between running and cycling? Why doesn’t running necessarily make you a great cyclist or vice versa? They are both endurance activities, both aerobic and both use your legs, but what’s the difference?

Marc Laithwaite from the Endurance Coach asks the question:

‘Why can’t runners cycle quickly?’

The answer to some extent lies in the way we test cyclists and runners. People who visit us for VO2 testing will follow a set protocol, based on whether it’s a run or bike test. The run test starts by running on a treadmill at a slow speed and every minute the speed gets faster until they either jump off or they are ‘fired off’ the back of the treadmill. As the treadmill gets quicker, they have to move their legs faster. Their ‘cadence’ is increased to allow them to stay on the treadmill, but the ‘resistance’…

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