FAQ ~ "My Pace" Riding
Although our programmes have specific heart rate and power zones within them, they are guidelines only. You will get the most out of all of our sessions if you ride to the best of your current ability.
We are not machines and we can't all perform exactly as expected at a given intensity, on a given day, at a given hour. So ride the best you can, at the perceived level indicated, for the duration required for that particular session.
Here's why we don't use heart rate, to set our training parameters...
Above, is one of my early Base Pace Sessions. You can see that my (yellow) power is relatively smooth and steady, with each block ridden at roughly the same intensity.
When I ride, I cover all my dials and screens up so I can see nothing but how much time is left to the end of the suffering!
I ride the best I can, so I'm not held back, or pushed harder than I'm capable, by trying to ride to an arbitrary number that's a percentage of a percentage, of a number I think I'm capable of.
Even if you've undertaken a professional performance test, you might still not fit the nice performance bell curve the sports scientists have designed for us!
So, back to the Base Pace Session...
The green cadence trace is also relatively steady, but the red heart rate tracker is anything but. How can you possibly pace a session, or set an intensity, when your heart rate drifts over 50 beats in a ten minute session? Here's the averages for the session...
220 watts, 87 rpm, 39.1 kph, 157 heart rate (low 124 ~ high 166)
220 watts, 88 rpm, 39.6 kph, 165 heart rate (low 125 ~ high 176)
220 watts, 87 rpm, 39.4 kph, 169 heart rate (low 127 ~ high 178)
This is why we ask riders to understand their bodies and ride "blind", using the numbers to help them after the ride, not hold them back during it.
If I could have gone harder I would have. It matters not what's in the programme regarding watts, heart rate, or any other metric. That's the best I could do, on that day, at that time, when riding "Base pace"
Heart of the Matter
And how do you ride a sessions like this to heart rate? At what number do you start? How do you keep it level? How do you combat cardiac drift? How do you account for the coffee you've drunk during the day?
Top tip! Never trust your heart in anything other than love.
Base Pace, is ridden at a level where a level of concentration is generally required to maintain the effort. Breathing is deeper and more regular than at recovery level, but continuous conversation would still be possible, if a little "stilted".
When you get to the end you will know you've done a workout, but you shouldn't be "crawling off the bike"!
Having said that, Base Pace should be slightly harder than George de Sousa makes it look here. This is before he did his Ramp Test, the picture of him after the test is not so "smiley"...