Some Training Thoughts

Today I’m just going to talk a bit about whats going on with my training regime.

It’s getting serious

My training log

I started a paper training log.  which includes such vitally important entries as time in zone, weather conditions, and even a sliding scale of Mental Disposition.  I decided to do  this on paper because I didn’t put the cash out for a Garmin that will do it all for me and log it on Garmin Connect and the website I’ve been using to keep track of my data requires a 20 dollar membership for the advanced entries like HR data. 

Max Heart Rate

I’ve been busting my rear on Monday night doing a trainer test, and I’ve found that even though I’m pushing the pedals as hard as I can I’m only able to get my HR into the low 160s.  I feel like I’m limited by my knees, they get sore.  I took my HR meter on my mountain bike ride yesterday and found that I had no problem getting my HR into the 170s and at one point actually hit 182 or at least that was the highest I noticed because my old meter doesn’t keep track of max HR.  The new one I’ve got coming does. 

My guess is that when I’m riding the trainer the non moving bike is keeping my legs from extending as naturally as they do when the bike is free to change its side to side angle.  Also many more muscles are probably working to keep the bike upright and heading straight, especially in mountain biking.

Proof its working

I got more proof my training is working yesterday.   At one point in the ride the guys in front were hammering and the guy in front of me wasn’t.  In mountain biking everyone tends to stay in a line and opportunities to pass are limited.  Because I’m one of the least consistent riders of the group I often find myself on the back of the line.  When things are less technical and raw power is the main ability needed I can usually go to the front. 

I was having a hard time following the guy in front of me when I knew I could be going faster so I finally blew around him by cutting through the woods.  I put everything I had into my pedals and sprang forward,  I got back onto the trail and realized that I was flying and approaching a tight 90 degree turn.  I layed the bike nearly sideways through the turn and came out of the turn heading off the trail.  After thrashing around in the soft loam of the woods trying to get back to the trail I was completely exhausted.  I couldn’t catch my breath, couldn’t force my legs to move, I was blown.   

Making matters worse we came to a short steep climb which I had to walk up while everyone else rode.  At the top I had a short opportunity to catch a break while the story of my awesome pass and trashing about in the woods was told to everyone’s amusement.

The next section of trail was fairly easy and I stayed in the back but everyone was on the gas.  After that I ended up chasing the fastest rider, who weighs 80 pounds less than me, and together we put nearly 5 minutes on the rest of the group. 

I realized that in the past when I was completely blown like I had been 15 minutes before I usually wouldn’t come out of it, I would struggle to just finish the ride in a death march.  I wouldn’t be sprinting and maxing out my heart rate in a wild chase through the woods. 

One of my biggest goals this winter was to decrease my recovery time so that after one of the massive efforts that are required to drag my huge body over hills I could hold the pace.  I think its working.


About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in Mountain BIking, Stories, training. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Some Training Thoughts

  1. JASON ARMES says:

    Hey Matt,

    Have you checked out

    It’s currently free. It allows import from various devices and appears to have a decent training log. It’s very similar to Garmin Connect. Their mapping tool is pretty cool too.

  2. JC Wise says:

    HRM are a poor indicator of effort, output or fitness. wear one long enough and you’ll find that the numbers are all over the place. your heart rate varies depending on the time of day, hydration, amount of time exercising, sleep, etc. besides, you can gauge your perceived effort and figure out the zone you are in simply by talking. the only example I’ve heard of a HRM being used appropriately is a guy that does time trials. he could keep his heart down so that he’d have gas in the tank for the finish. he knew that when he maintained his effort level his HR would rise.

  3. Matt Gholson says:

    You’re right of course, but that doesn’t mean that HR doesn’t have use. I wouldn’t call it a poor indicator, imperfect sure, and definitely more of a guideline. It works best for long efforts, for short intervals there isn’t alot of use because by the time my HR is starting to increase the interval is over.

    HR can let you know when you’re having a bad day, low HR high perceived effort.

    One key thing I want to use it for is to make sure I get enough rest between interval sets.

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