by Angela Reed-Fox
You're working hard, you're seeing improvement, and CRUMBS what's that?! Your training effect tanks from a very respectable 4.5 when you're really pushing hard, to 3.7. And you can't seem to reach the heady heights of where you were when you were less fit. Sound familiar?
What is happening in the session above is that because my fitness has improved, my recovery rate is much faster, so by the time the instructor has just finished a short sentence such as 'And ease off', I'm already heading for the blue. What that means is that by the end of the session, on average you've spent less time at the higher intensities because you aren't taking so long to recover.
So what do you do about it?
First of all, before you try anything - make sure your max heartrate is recorded accurately. Find out how here.
Next, there are a few things you can play with, depending on how hard you want to push yourself.
I followed the class activity, but tried to maintain the same output whether standing or seated. It was certainly a challenge, but it was do-able. Heartrate will naturally increase the more you challenge your legs. You'll see I wasn't challenging myself so hard I was too tired to reach the black zone, but by maintaining the pressure, I got a good solid, challenging workout.
By looking at watts (this is shown on the console of your bike, and alternates with calorie burn), you're bringing your training into line with how professionals train for races. Using watts will not only help you to maintain a great training effect, but you'll boost stamina and strength (and calorie burn!) Watts are an absolutely vital bit of kit for getting those elusive gains.
As with anything, you need to use common sense. If you have atrial fibrillation or have been recommended to stay away from the higher heartrate zones for other medical reasons, you can still use watts, but you will need to keep a close eye on your heartrate. If you're unsure of anything, ask an instructor.
Watt the Fox?
If you fancy a good burn, join us in the #8amClub on Saturdays - and if you like you can get a tailored review of your results and tips on how to get what you want more quicker whilst staying safe.