Returning to Fitness
If you read my post in September on Returning from a Break in Training, you’ll know I’ve had a very disrupted season due to a move of country.
As luck would have it, I started using Aerotune Metabolic Profile Testing just before life overtook me and was in decent shape. So I got a reasonable look at my profile when in racing shape. Then there was a big gap in training, where I had limited training time and the training I could do was only of limited use due to stress!!
When life started to settle down I did 3-4 weeks of easy training to get back into the routine of it, then I tested again to see where I was. So I have a picture of where I was when near my lowest fitness.
My most recent test was last weekend. I really felt like it was time to test as my feelings on the bike were much improved and I wanted to re-calculate my zones to keep the training accurate.
Metabolic Profile – Test 1
These results while in decent shape were a little surprising. Particularly my VLamax, which is much higher than expected. I’d recently done my second fastest 10 mile TT ever (20:13) so it was a good representation of what I can do, but clearly, there is room for improvement. If. my VLamax was lower it would improve my threshold power, which is what I am after for my time trialing.
Not surprising to see big drops in my testing in September. The training I had been doing had included some effort in lower my VLamax, which seemed to be working, though not as much as I expected.
Though this was the second test, it was the first one that I really used to plan a block of training. My plan for the next month was to increase the volume a little, keep it to 6 sessions a week and really work on lowering that VLamax.
My strategy was to mix up my sessions with 4-5 endurance rides each week at FATmax, sometimes with carbs, sometimes fasted. Then 1-2 sessions a week with OGE (over-geared efforts) at sweet spot.
Training was really good during this period and I would have waited to test another 2-3 weeks normally, but I think because I was coming from a relatively low point for me, I progressed more quickly and really needed to re-test at 4 weeks to re-set my zones and keep my training moving forward.
I was right to get the test in when I did, things had moved on quite a bit!
I could really feel the difference on the road. My work to bring that VLamax down was working and you can, even though my VO2max has not returned to its highest point, the combination of VO2max and VLamax now allowing my critical power to be at its highest of the 3 tests.
These changes are also very obvious when you look at the improvements in FATmax, a 30 Watt improvement since test 2! So the controlled intensity of endurance rides and the carb periodisation were really paying off.
In short, I am really pleased with the results from the training. I averaged 10-12 hours per week for the 4 weeks and as you can see on the right the intensity distribution of Heart Rate was 92% in zone 1 (the HR zones are set up for Seiler’s 3 zone model). The power zones are in the default 7+SS zone model. Gives you a good idea of how ‘easy’ the training was for the vast majority of the time.
The main changes that the metabolic testing made for me were:
- My endurance rides were at a lower power average
- I put greater emphasis on lowering the VLamax
Though these technical changes to my training are of vital importance, I actually think one of the biggest benefits of the testing comes from the belief in what you are doing is really the right thing to do….and the results speak for themselves.
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