Mental Battle

Amazingly – running “barefoot” yesterday with the Vibrams prevented any nasty calf muscle problems today and so despite having slightly lower energy levels I was able to profit from the remaining sunshine and get out on the bike for a good workout again.
Mental Toughness
It was a mental battle to keep up the effort and compared with three days ago I lost 3’34” on the total 1800m combined ascents, but finished finally only 1’52” behind due to handling the descents much better – getting up to 72kph without bouncing around too much in the saddle and feeling more confident on the hairpin bends.

Heart Rate Training Zones

Starting to get back into looking at performance levels etc. I see that in my Sportstracks training software I’ve left the heart rate limits based on a 185bpm maximum. That max value was verified several times over the winter using the indoor Tacx trainer and it hasn’t budged – but it’s a heck of a lot more impressive looking if you choose a much lower max heart rate and so it looks like you are training in all those super high training zones! According to common medical advice I shouldn’t push my heart above 168bpm and the “Carmichael Training System Field Test” carried out to the letter – put my max at 173, but in racing and training – with increased fitness it gets more easily up to 185 all the time. It’s definitely a confusing issue – but I feel good when at 185 and take care not to over breathe – so this season’s training will be based on zones calculated from this figure – and it will be tough!

Pedalling Technique
Sill unable to decide on the right saddle height. had to lower it 10mm to exactly the same height as my Tacx indoor trainer because the first few outings of the season already started to hurt my back. The drop in height has certainly put that problem right. The lower position appears to bring some pedalling advantages but it’s hard to say. By dropping the heel on the down-stroke the glutes can be used when climbing and also the ankle can bend and the calves can be used too. This seems to take some strain off the quads and give more power. On the upstroke it’s as if the hamstrings can work a bit along with the psoas muscles to contribute to the pull – taking advantage of the leg stretching out more at the bottom of the stroke with the heel being down. last year I just yanked everything up on one side at a time but this was pulling my back apart. Now I just pull the knee towards the chest – and by using all the muscles it feels like a good strong abdominal workout and it’s a good feeling. Whether it’s optimal for efficiency I haven’t a clue.

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