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FAQ ~ Session Intensity Levels

road ride

My weekend road ride says ride for three hours at Level 4, Lactate Threshold Pace!  Is this right?

Absolutely not!  I'm afraid you've misunderstood the meaning of the number in the box.

For our weekend Road Rides, as with the mid-week sessions, you will see an "adaptation zone" allocated.  This has nothing to do with the intensity of the session you are undertaking, or a target to aim for.


plan layout


With the advent of power meters, and the science introduced to our sport in the last ten years, we now have a better understanding of what happens to us, when and why.  But that's explained in more detail, elsewhere in this site.

Looking at the top chart, you can see the adaptations gained from the sessions at the back end of this week. 


The Blitzer's have a "5" allocated to them, which means this sessions is a direct benefit to your VO2max system.

The Hilly Road Ride, has a "4" allocated to it, and has a primarily beneficial effect on your Lactate Threshold system.

But that doesn't mean you ride for three hours at Lactate Threshold Pace, because you can't!  If you could, you wouldn't be reading this, you'd be leading a Grand Tour Team.

The Art Of Pacing
For a three hour ride, you'll do a fifteen or twenty minute warm up, in to the ride.  Then you may ride the first hill at a fast Tempo Pace, to get a sighter in and see how you're going to feel for the rest of the ride!

The following hills, depending on their length, steepness and location, could be ridden at anywhere from Tempo to Anaerobic Capacity.  But these could be short spurts from two to ten minutes.

On a three hour hilly ride, your intensity, power and heart rate will be all over the place.  But the adaptation you are trying to accrue, is to your "Lactate Threshold" system.

Same with an Endurance Ride.  If you have to get over a hill, or get through a valley in a headwind, then obviously your heart/power will go up; but it should only be for a couple of minutes. 

You shouldn't be riding for an hour or more at Tempo Effort, or above, on an Endurance Ride.   Otherwise, it's not an endurance ride!

Try to get your head around the difference between a target intensity and an adaptation zone.  They are very different things.  Once you do, it all becomes a whole lot easier to pace, if not to do.

But as it explains in the programme, you can for 20 minutes per hour, explore the upper edges of Tempo, to fire up the metabolism.  But then you back off. 

Basically, when you get home, your average heart or power figures should reflect an Endurance Ride, not a Tempo one.

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