Why progressive workouts?

Did the first segment of Tuesday's aerobic endurance ride feel too easy? Why are we doing progressive workouts (ones that start easier and get harder)? Coach Tim shared the answer in the Facebook group.

Most of us have learned a bad habit, typically from group rides, but also from riding alone: we start fresh, so we ride harder than we really should, and as fatigue sets in, we begin to drop off in power output.

Think about what we're training our bodies to do this way: work hard at first, and then things will get easier.

From a physiological sense (oversimplification alert) this is the opposite of what we really want in our adaptive response. Think about what fatigue is. People often think that as we set out on a ride, all our muscle fibers are working in the legs to pedal and that as we pedal more and more, those fibers begin to run out of fuel and tire. In reality, the body knows better and will only use the minimal amount of muscle fiber needed to accomplish the task on hand. As those initial fibers tire, the body recruits more and more to keep going. This fiber recruitment is always in the same order, and it can't be changed in training, but you can slow the recruitment of fibers (and fuel the ones you're using more efficiently) and delay the onset of fatigue significantly. This requires a new training habit: progressive riding.

So in a lot of rides this winter, we will be thinking about being PROGRESSIVE. When you head out this weekend, keep this in mind. If you're doing that local group ride that leaves the parking lot at full gas, or if you think the targeted power zone is too low, there is a better way....

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