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Monday, June 18, 2012

Heart Rate Zones for Leadville - Question Via Email

 Hello Peter, I hope this finds you well.  I was reading your ways to save time in leadville here http://www.ridingleadville.com/2012/03/shaving-hour-off-your-leadville-time.html and found it very informative.  My question is primarily around pacing to meet the time cutoffs in Leadville.  The goal is 12 hours but my question is your thoughts on racing in upper HR zone 3 and 4 versus knowing this is an endurance event and racing zone 2 early.  I know this depends a lot on how fast one can go in zone 2 but is racing in zone 4 a setup for failure / bonking / gastro problems with food absorption?  I would love to hear your general thoughts on HR zones and how you feel regarding the LV100 and HR zones.
> I know it is a very difficult slightly vague question but any insight is greatly appreciated.
> Best Regards
> T.
Thanks for question T.
-For those that missed it see my guest post on Dirk's Leadville blog Here

So the idea of pacing a 100mile race with 12-13hr cutoff as a 'finishers' goal. There are a few moving parts here to consider.
1) cut off times on course to continue - @ 40mile (10:30) / 60mile (2:30) and 75mile (3:30pm) aid stations 
2) cut off time to finish (goal time 12hours = 6:30 pm )

Now knowing that the cut off times on course are at what we would assume are lowest possible speed to finish in under 12 hours (13 hours) we can further break the race down to mini goals and guidelines:
a) certain points by given time = such as aid station split times and turn around before 6 hours 
b) an average speed goal (8.6mph/13.8km/hr) to use as rough guide on flats and gradual climbs and to fight on final flats around the lake and after st. Kevins into the Boulevard. I used current speed and avg speed in last half of leadville to keep on goal <6:40-<7:00 time

So from this average speed we have an idea of speed/pace you need to maintain over rolling terrain over an extended period to reach your goal. 

Acknowledging that we are in for a 12 hr day and that to finish 103 miles we need to sustain a given average speed provides a goal pace for our "game play" workouts. I would suggest that this is where hr goals may come into play as we know there is a finite time that efforts over whatever limit we consider 'Moderate' can be sustained due to fueling demands of high intensity exercise. I have used a limit of 83-85% of max hr with great success in many clients pursuing endurance events. You may define this 'moderate' or <85%mhr as zone 3, Lbp. sweet spot, ~90%FTP/threshold with similar results. 

In training you would want to get your fitness ideally well over* the goal pace for your game play workouts while riding within the confines of your hr limit. Once at the race we use this hr limit as a guideline to control our performance, guiding towards a sustainable pace (wattage) for the duration of the event. This is most important for the first 50-75% of the event at which point you would start to hold a pace more then a hr as you start to 'empty the tank'. 
*I say over the pace for Leadville to account for off days / altitude adaptation / mechanical   

So basically we want to be as confident in pacing for success in Leadville . Having a very specific and well thought out pace that has been game played extensively and supported by several guides, such as hr will ensure you reach each check point/mile marker in lots of time.

As always all these little considerations and game play help make your day in Leadville simply a matter of pedaling for an extended period of time.

I hope that helps as you put in the last 6 weeks of prep for Leadville

Please follow up if any questions

P.s. Remember the race is 103 miles and not 100 miles, those last 3 can sting !

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

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