Things that make one go hmmm…
Take your age and subtract it from 180, 220, whatever, add a few beats higher or lower depending on your general fitness, and voila, you have an upper ceiling beyond which you should not train for many months lest you send your body into such a tizzy that all previous training has been compromised.
M2 will have a difficult time selling this “concept” to his spin class participants, many of whom are the same age and general fitness but who routinely train at similar intensities but with HR #s as much as 50 beats apart. I guess these folks should just add or subtract several dozen beats at the end to get it right.
Now that you have fabricated an irrelevant HR #, let’s also sell you on the idea that training at this HR will burn FAT! Fat in America is like the evil empire, so what can be wrong with this?? Hmm again, M2 can’t help but get a little suspicious when FAT becomes a simplistic evil-doer.
The water gets a bit muddy once more however when these same training sources then advise you to munch energy bars or similar on your rides, all the while training at a low intensity to supposedly burn fat. M2 is confused at the need to throw carbs into the engine while one is trying to burn fat which supposedly occurs at these low intensities, however artificially these zones may have been created.
M2 gets even more confused when he considers that race pace will be much faster than training pace (note that I received one coaching inquiry from a graduate of such a program saying that while he finished the race, had he gone any slower he would have received a parking ticket…gotta love that Aussie humor!) and according to these concept theorists the fuel that would be burned would be carbs, something that has not been practiced, well kind of with the bar-eating but which seemed to contradict the fat-burning premise, but which is tied to a phony HR calculation.
Well, you get the idea; M2 has little respect for methods which are so demonstrably wrong. Heck, in the 17 years that I have been doing triathlon, I have maintained the same maximum HR and lactate threshold yet, if I followed the formulaic subtract your age ruse I would be training 17 beats lower…in effect compromising my training.
Rode 5hrs two weeks ago; longest ride of the year. Pace solid from the beginning as I basically motorpaced IM contender Gina Kehr throughout. No other riders to disturb. Very windy, a nasty climb, and average HR for last 1.5hrs was within 8 beats of threshold. Pace or road speed increased over the course of the ride so elevated HR was not attributed to drift.
Total fuel consumption was ONE gel, 2 bottles of Revenge, 2 gatorades, and 1/2 a coke. Not much one might opine. Training leading up to this was primarily 1hr quality sessions on the Computrainer–the antithesis of the go slow forever method which also teaches you to eat.
Bear in mind that the fat-burning school has no logical explanation for such a feat. Afterall, the majority of my training has been higher intensity computrainer sessions of about an hour where I supposedly burn primarily carbs, and not that evil fat-stuff. Next I go out on the roads for my longest ride and at a fast pace, ingest virtually no carbs, yet I finish strong. M2 hopes this makes the reader go HMMM.
Dinner the night before was the standard beer with mixed nuts/cheese/ pate. Main course home-made pizza and salad, and a couple of glasses of red wine….would really like to limit self to one glass, but so difficult.
Anyway, a par for the course outing frankly speaking. Over 100 miles on challenging terrain, no drafting, windy conditions, ONE gel, ride time 4hr45min. For those who live in Northern California, route was Petaluma > Valley Ford>Bohemian Hwy. > Occidental > Monte Rio > Cazadero > Meyers Grade to coast > Jenner > Bodega Bay > Petaluma.
Relevant articles on the training and fueling practices that make these rides possible on far less training and energy bar munching than is generally recommended are on this site, and are the following: Training Backwards, the Pyrmamid Turned Upside Down, Tall Tales on HR Training