Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sharing My Data - The Climb Crusher Workout...

Many of you have seen the Climb Crusher appear on your training calendar. A workout consisting of intervals done when you encounter climbs. Here is the description:
Main Set: Find a MTB course with moderate elevation change. Throughout the ride do various intervals when you get to climbs. The length of the interval will be determined by the terrain.

The shorter the climb, the harder you go.
8min or more = Zone 4-Threshold
3-8min = Zone 5-VO2 Max
1-5min = Zone 6-Anaerobic Capacity
1min or less = Max Effort

Between climbs, take is easy at nothing more than Zone 2-Endurance. Focus on recovering quickly and be ready when the trail goes up again.

I'm a big fan of this workout. I often train this way just to entertain myself. It helps to break up what may be an otherwise routine ride. There are numerous reasons why you should get excited when this workout appears.

It is less rigid. Many people grow tired of structured intervals done endlessly throughout their rides, day after day. They enjoy a day when they don't have to stare at the computer on their handlebars. Checking the elapsed time and confirming heart rate and power numbers. Having to bring a cheat sheet of notes to remind them of what their workout should consist of.

This workout can be done at various locations, on MTB or road bikes. Most of my MTBers are seeing this workout appear on weekends. Most of our nearby parks provide some amount of climbing. When you are not able to get to the trails, you can do it on your road bike. Just go find some hills or rolling terrain. For those of you stuck in the flatlands, use your MTB on the road and find some headwinds on open roads. Choose a bigger gear and push. It will feel like a climb. Just imagine yourself going up.

The Climb Crusher is also the "excuse buster". This workout can be done alone or in a group. Most spirited group rides will follow a similar pattern. Go fast on the climbs and then chill. Allowing people to catch back up. Then the group blows up again on the next climb. If you do a regular group ride that behaves this way, move your workout to that day and add purpose to the ride. I give you plenty of flexibility. Now, go motivate yourself and do it. No excuses!

I did a dual-purpose workout the other day. The Lewis Morris MTB race is scheduled for June 21st. This course has historically been the same for years. I first raced here in '96. Recently, the race has been done in reverse on alternating years to renew interest. For this year, the promoter has made some mild changes to the course. Utilizing a couple trails not often used and a brand new singletrack trail.

I went up there with my course map found here. I would ride at Endurance intensity while stopping often to navigate. Making mental notes of things I encountered along the way. Maybe kick a few sticks off of the trail. I've broken enough derailleurs to recognize those dangerous sticks and twigs on the trail.

After that first lap, I would return to the race start area and prepare to repeat the course. This time, I would be crushing climbs. You will see a noticeable change in my data. Little to no stopping. Heart and power are significantly higher.

Notice the big changes or spikes in my heart rate? While I was drilling it on the climbs, I went into full recovery mode elsewhere. I used the flatter or downhill portions of the course to focus on my bike handling skills. Trying to be smooth and efficient.

I did a progression in this workout by adding cadence drills to my climb crushing efforts. As the workout describes, the length of the climb determined my intensity. Additionally, the steepness determined my cadence. The steeper the climb, the lower my cadence. How did I manage that? Think to yourself, "Don't shift to an easier gear!" Dig deeper and push harder while using the upper body and core to remain stable and efficient.

This ended up being a relatively short workout at 90 minutes. I did a preview of a course so I am prepared to help all of you and answer any questions you may have. I also did a specific workout that would trigger some fitness adaptations. It was a successful day on the bike.

Thanks for reading!

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