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I have a question, when training how hard do you push yourself? How hard should you push yourself? I know it sounds like a silly question but we got into a debate on another forum and it really got to me.

When your traning do you push yourself to the edge? As the previous poster said in the thread im going to link, he asked it anyone ever pushes themselves till they feel like they are going to puke or do actually puke. I thought yeah, ive done that before and wrote my response. And wow we both go flamed. And these are from top atheletes in the sport of speed skating, different sport but same training principles.

So I always thought its more a mental thing on how hard you can push yourself, and not everyone can push themselves as hard as others. No you dont push yourself to the edge every day but some days you really feel good and you push push push until your just beat. Thats how I feel I get to the next level. After I recover from the hard push days I feel stonger and better.

So what do you do? How hard do you push? What are your thoughts?

Here is the link to our other discussion if you wanna read it:

http://www.racereports.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1447&whichpage=2

Thanks for reading.
 

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Really hard training for me is usually limited in quantity and duration. Most of my training is below lactic threshold, and the hardest efforts obviously come in races. Your body can only handle so much of the really hard stuff before it starts to have a negative effect.
 

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Good question...

From reading this forum, it seems that there are some successful atheletes that spend almost all their training time below race pace (many miles/hours), while other successful atheletes have a substantial component of high intensity training mixed with significant amounts of rest (fewer miles/hours). Which is better? Maybe it depends on the physiological and life parameters of each athelete? A genetically gifted athelete may be able to train at a low intensity and race at high intensity while a slug (like me) may have to uffer to build a higher threshold?
 

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zeeke said:
I have a question, when training how hard do you push yourself? How hard should you push yourself? I know it sounds like a silly question but we got into a debate on another forum and it really got to me.

When your traning do you push yourself to the edge? As the previous poster said in the thread im going to link, he asked it anyone ever pushes themselves till they feel like they are going to puke or do actually puke. I thought yeah, ive done that before and wrote my response. And wow we both go flamed. And these are from top atheletes in the sport of speed skating, different sport but same training principles.

So I always thought its more a mental thing on how hard you can push yourself, and not everyone can push themselves as hard as others. No you dont push yourself to the edge every day but some days you really feel good and you push push push until your just beat. Thats how I feel I get to the next level. After I recover from the hard push days I feel stonger and better.

So what do you do? How hard do you push? What are your thoughts?

Here is the link to our other discussion if you wanna read it:

http://www.racereports.net/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=1447&whichpage=2

Thanks for reading.
In training the best days are when I can really hurt myself. If I can go past my self preservation instincts in training it's good.

In the past I've too easily done that during races and cramped to where the race turned from a race into pure survival mode. Recently, I've tried to hold back a little at races in order to ride the duration of the race w/o cramping. Overall this has improved results.

There's the old saying: Train hard, rest harder. There's another saying, If you never go 30mph you'll never go 30mph. It's from a coach who was talking about time trialing .

My feeling is that XC mountain biking involves so many situations where you go into the red and have to recover back down to your tempo riding (MSPO). Over and over. You're not going to ride a hard technical section and then do 1 minute at easy spin, you're going to try and get back to tempo as soon as possibel. And the better your ability to endure pain in training: 2 things- 1) the higher your max sustainable power output will be and 2) the more matches you can burn going outside the red.
 

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I don't race, but I do feel that if you never push yourself to the limit then when it comes time to do it in a race your body won't like it much and you'll be hard pressed to recover fast and get back up to pace.

I say I don't race and I don't, but there's 2 "fun rides" a year here that I go in, 1 was this last Sunday and I hadn't been riding for a couple weeks and before that not really pushing to a sustained pace to really hurt myself, so when we launched off the start and I got stuck behind a few slower riders and then out the hammer down to try to catch the lead group it totally fuzzed me out and I couldn't really recover and rode the rest of the "ride" in no mans land by myself - very hard to do and set pace.

I'll still continue to put in the miles, but every so often I'll put in a "race pace" bit of work, just so the body knows how it feels and learns to recover fast from it.
 

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I rarely push myself that hard in training and never aim to. If it does come to the point where I bonk or puke or just red line til I fall over, then I was not prepared for that work out and need to reevaluate my plan.

Burying yourself in pain like that only serves to fuel your egos. "Yay me, I went really hard today." ...but hey keep it up, we may have to race some day.

Eddie O
 

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Oddly enough I decided enter a series race 4 days before the 1st event last month. I've only been riding for a little less than 2 years.

I never 'trained' per say until this week (last night was my 1st intended training ride), because I never thoughtI needed to. I just went out and rode. I just always tried to ride faster and faster. Problem with that is my sustainable power output has been going down ever since I have been able to ride outside. I now realize I need to have training days as well as my normal rides.

I have a hill climb I keep tabs on and have improved 20% time in less than a year just by pushing myself and seeing what I can do. This winter I plan on doing dedicated training to hopefully drop another 20% off my time.
 

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I hope this is not a thread hijack, it seems to be inline with what is being said...

I have read just enough about training to be dangerous and I probably do not understand it very well, but it seems like many training programs mix alot of 60 - 80% in with limited 80% + workouts. My understanding is that the lower level workouts act to develop endurance and are better at burning fat while the high level workouts are strength specific and tend to use blood sugar for fuel.
Now I have never been tested to deterimine my true max heart rate (I use the 220 - age formula with 183 as max. I know this is not very accurate), but it seems like I have very few rides where the majority of time is spent in the 60-80% range (129-146). Most of it is spent > 80%. I ride a rigid SS and I find it difficult to find an place to ride where I am not taxing myself frequently. So I pretty much go balls out all the time.

In doing this am I compromising my ability to improve over time?

Graph shows my avg. and max heartrate on rides in the past few months.
 

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It's old school but I don't feel I've made any fitness gains unless my legs are "stiff" the next day or two. No pain, no gain.
 

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galleywench said:
I hope this is not a thread hijack, it seems to be inline with what is being said...

I have read just enough about training to be dangerous and I probably do not understand it very well, but it seems like many training programs mix alot of 60 - 80% in with limited 80% + workouts. My understanding is that the lower level workouts act to develop endurance and are better at burning fat while the high level workouts are strength specific and tend to use blood sugar for fuel.
Now I have never been tested to deterimine my true max heart rate (I use the 220 - age formula with 183 as max. I know this is not very accurate), but it seems like I have very few rides where the majority of time is spent in the 60-80% range (129-146). Most of it is spent > 80%. I ride a rigid SS and I find it difficult to find an place to ride where I am not taxing myself frequently. So I pretty much go balls out all the time.

In doing this am I compromising my ability to improve over time?

Graph shows my avg. and max heartrate on rides in the past few months.
Its very hard to train on a mountain bike, your HR is dictated to you by the trail you are on. In CO its pretty much hill climb up and bomb down, no where to "pace" yourself except road riding. From everything I have read the best way to train is road riding since you can target your heartrate in a range and keep it ther much more easily.

I tried to do a ride were I could keep my HR under 170 and couldn't even when I was going very slow up hills.
 

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galleywench said:
I hope this is not a thread hijack, it seems to be inline with what is being said...

I have read just enough about training to be dangerous and I probably do not understand it very well, but it seems like many training programs mix alot of 60 - 80% in with limited 80% + workouts. My understanding is that the lower level workouts act to develop endurance and are better at burning fat while the high level workouts are strength specific and tend to use blood sugar for fuel.
Now I have never been tested to deterimine my true max heart rate (I use the 220 - age formula with 183 as max. I know this is not very accurate), but it seems like I have very few rides where the majority of time is spent in the 60-80% range (129-146). Most of it is spent > 80%. I ride a rigid SS and I find it difficult to find an place to ride where I am not taxing myself frequently. So I pretty much go balls out all the time.

In doing this am I compromising my ability to improve over time?

Graph shows my avg. and max heartrate on rides in the past few months.
Heart rate is a tricky thing to go by because so there are so many variables. If you are going "balls to the wall" on just about every ride and you ride several times a week, I would think you would see some short term increases in speed/fitness. However, over the long haul, you will eventually becomed fatigued, see lower speeds, and possibly become overtrained.

From reading other posts most people will disagree with me, but I know this from experience and from consulting knowlegeable people and books. It's hard to go into detail, whole books can be written on the subject, but I've experienced the effects of "balls to the wall" training and proper training.
 

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fsrftc said:
Its very hard to train on a mountain bike, your HR is dictated to you by the trail you are on. In CO its pretty much hill climb up and bomb down, no where to "pace" yourself except road riding. From everything I have read the best way to train is road riding since you can target your heartrate in a range and keep it ther much more easily.

I tried to do a ride were I could keep my HR under 170 and couldn't even when I was going very slow up hills.
Same here in central new england, you are either going up or down.
 

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mtbfool said:
Heart rate is a tricky thing to go by because so there are so many variables. If you are going "balls to the wall" on just about every ride and you ride several times a week, I would think you would see some short term increases in speed/fitness. However, over the long haul, you will eventually becomed fatigued, see lower speeds, and possibly become overtrained.

From reading other posts most people will disagree with me, but I know this from experience and from consulting knowlegeable people and books. It's hard to go into detail, whole books can be written on the subject, but I've experienced the effects of "balls to the wall" training and proper training.
Thanks for the input, can you suggest any 'Training for Dummies' books or articles that use methods that are available to regular people? I don't have access to a medical team that can determine my VO2 max or other complex diagnostics that leave me completely confused or completely asleep.
I am very much a training newbie but I want to try and do the right thing.
 

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galleywench said:
Thanks for the input, can you suggest any 'Training for Dummies' books or articles that use methods that are available to regular people? I don't have access to a medical team that can determine my VO2 max or other complex diagnostics that leave me completely confused or completely asleep.
I am very much a training newbie but I want to try and do the right thing.
I don't have a medical team either. I do have a power meter. They can be rather spendy, but if you really want to reach the maximum your abilities will allow, they are worth it.

I've used Joe Friel's Moutainbike Training Bible for self-coaching. The one piece of advice I would give with self coaching is definitely keep close tabs on the different levels of intensity of given workouts. One mistake I always made was when I saw a workout like climbing intervals. Say 3x10 minutes. I always saw that as climb as hard as you can for 10 minutes, rest, and repeat. I think that was one of my downfalls in the past. Each level of intensity works different physiological systems and thy're all important to racing or going as fast as you can.

I hear some people talk about some Morris dude. I don't know much about his plans, so I won't comment on them. You may want to look into that.
 

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depends on what your training goals are. IMO if you are racing XC then there will be workouts where you will need to push yourself HARD. you should work up to those efforts, they should be short and will require rest afterward to restore muscle and see benefits. again, IMO, if you never push yourself to your limit (i.e., go race pace) in training then you will never be able to do it in a race.

so, the answer to your question is yes, occasionally i will push myself to the limit (or till i feel like i'm going to puke, but not till i bonk - bonking IMO is the result of insufficient nutrition/rest/prep) in training, but most of those ultra hard efforts will come during races.

rt
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys some really good info so far. I also was a balls to the wall type of rider and was never able to get the endurance, I was crazy fast for short distance due to very good tech skills coming from motorcross and enduro racing, but my endurance was horrible.

I am now trying to be better all around after several years off training. I and a friend work out a lot, we both had our main hobby so we split time, he does mine, and I do his. So 3x a week we speed skate, and 3x a week we ride mtb. One day off.

The speed skate days we really really push hard, 1.5-2 hours of really hard work. On the mtb, we do one day long ride of 2 hours, 1 day a bit faster same trail, and one day a tech trail. Both of us push a bit hard but it seems we both know when to stop before we go too far.

I am of the same thought, if I dont ever push myself hard enough to race, or get to the next level, ill never get there. If I wanted to spend a year to go up one step thats one thing but I am trying to get there at a increased pace.

We are adding in road bike in the next few weeks, boring stuff, but need the endurance. My hardest part is pacing myself so I have gas left for the 4th lap etc, I really like to go fast ;) and its hard to get around.

Thanks for any info, I am for sure using all the help I can get. Im 36 and not getting any younger so its time to get back into life and get in shape and all that comes with being in shape and feeling good rather than sitting at the desk all day etc.


Thanks.
 

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zeeke said:
..., but my endurance was horrible.

Thanks.
A good training program also includes an endurance component. Do a search for periodized cycling training programs and you'll see that most includes an endurance phase as well as phases that emphasize shorter/harder workouts.
 
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