008 TRAINING INTENSITY

In a well-balanced training program all the different aspects of training are dealt with sufficiently. On the one hand it contains – as for intensity – workouts that are not intensive at all, they are the important recovery workouts and on the other hand there are the maximally intensive interval workouts. All the other types of workout are in the scale of intensities between these two ends.

It is often heard that workout intensity determines the quality of training. The higher the intensity of training the more gain of condition. I do not agree with this opinion. For me each and every training is of equal importance. After a heavy and intensive training block the period of recuperation and recovery is of overall importance. In that period of recovery the gain in condition is achieved through super compensation.

An effective monitoring of the way in which workouts are done is possible with the help of heart rate registration using a monitor with a built-in memory. Also power meters may be used to control and optimize training. It would be ideal to register both heart rate and power output in workouts.

The correct levels of training may be determined for every rider. This is possible with a lactate test. That is a maximal exertion test on a stationary bike (ergo meter) in a laboratory in which the intensity of effort is gradually increased. During the test both heart rate and power output are registered. Blood is also regularly sampled in order to determine the level of lactate. With the help of the data obtained the lactate curve is construed.

The data obtained in this test give information about the condition of the rider. It also tells if the rider has gained in condition compared to former tests. Also overtraining can objectively be determined. With the data of this test the limits of the various types of workout can exactly be given for the individual rider. E.g. tempo endurance training Zone 3: HR between 175 and 185 and Wattage between 290 and 305.

So the relation between heart rate and Wattage on the one hand and the level of lactate on the other supply important information about heart rate and Wattage during workouts.

The lactate curve in which lactate level is compared with heart rate or Wattage.

The relation between heart rate and Wattage and the lactate levels results in four zones of training, the limits of which are determined by heart rate or the number of Watts.

  1. The grey zone: an increase of heart rate or the number of Watts does not result in higher lactate levels. Training zone 1. Active recovery training (ART). Energy supply aerobic.
  2. The green zone: in this zone a rise in heart rate or an increase in Watts results in a slight increase in lactate levels. Training zone 2. Endurance training (ED) Energy supply mostly aerobic.
  3. The orange zone: in this zone a rise in heart rate or an increase in Watts results in a considerable increase in lactate levels. Training zone 3. Tempo endurance training (TET). Energy supply aerobic and anaerobic. But building and breakdown of lactate in balance
  4. The red zone: in this zone a rise in heart rate or an increase in Watts results in extremely high lactate levels or acidosis. Training zone 4, 5, 6 en 7. Different forms of interval training. Energy supply anaerobic.

Examples of training intensity based on Functional Threshold Power and Heart rate at deflection point.

EXAMPLE  CYCLIST WITH  FTP*** 300 WATT
WORKOUT ZONES %FTP LOWER LIMIT UPPER LIMIT
Zone 1: Active recovery <55% -- 165
Zone 2: Endurance 56 - 75% 165 225
Zone 3: Tempo endurance 76 - 90% 225 270
Zone 4: Lactate Treshold 91 - 105% 270 315
Zone 5: VO2max 106 - 120% 315 360
Zone 6: Anaerobic capacity 121 - 150% 360 450
Zone 7: Neuromusculair power max >> 150%
EXAMPLE SAME CYCLIST WITH  DEFLECTION HEART RATE 180

WORKOUT ZONES %FTHR LOWER LIMIT UPPER LIMIT
Zone 1: Active recovery <68% -- <122
Zone 2: Endurance 69 - 83% 122 149
Zone 3: Tempo endurance 84 - 94% 150 169
Zone 4: Lactate Treshold 95 - 105% 170 189
Zone 5: VO2max >106% >191 max
Zone 6: Anaerobic capacity n.a
Zone 7: Neuromusculair power n.a

n.a not applicable ** FTHR functional threshold HR *** FTP functional threshold power