Improvers’ Plan – Week 2

I have really enjoyed week two’s training and I’m proud I’ve hit triple digits with the distance ridden. Week 2 is summarised as mainly night rides with one in the fog, a nice Sunday ride before lunch and trying to shoe horn in my training around work. I apologise that this post has ended up being quite long but there were lots of rides and a few revelations into heart rate training. There’s even am ‘interval timer’ app recommendation buried in this post.

Week 2 – Day 2 (Strava Ride)

Distance 24.8 km
Average Speed 20.3 km/h
Average Power 231 W
Average Heart Rate 160 bpm

Tuesday’s ride rounded off my first day back at work after the Christmas holidays. This training session was called ‘Zone Build‘. It was supposed to go like this…

HRZ 1 for 10 minutes
HRZ 2 for 20 minutes
HRZ 3 for 5 minutes
HRZ 1 for 5 minutes
HRZ 2 for 5 minutes
HRZ 3 for 5 minutes
HRZ 1 for 5 minutes

Just to remind you of my zones calculated last week…

At this point of the week my new GPS unit had not arrived. Although I was able to track my heart rate data on the Strava App, I still couldn’t see my heart rate while riding. After some useful advice from a cyclist called Martin, I tried judging my zones by seeing how many words I could speak while riding, but this didn’t work for me.

When I got home and looked at the heart rate data I noticed it had an average rate of 160 bpm and peaked at 180 bpm. I spent almost the whole ride in the threshold zone and next to no time in the correct zones.

I also couldn’t keep my focused on the sessions structure and how long to spend in each zone. I wrote this ride off as base miles. I learned what not to do and corrected these problems in subsequent rides.

Week 2 Day 4 (Strava Ride)

Distance 16.0 km
Average Speed 16.6 km/h
Average Power 179 W

On Thursday morning I still didn’t know when my new GPS was going to arrive. I decided to just do a relaxing low intensity ride via the Monton to Walkden loopline.

In Salford the looplines are former Railway routes like the Monsal Trail. But Salford’s have all-weather surfaces, made of old tyres and gravel in a water permeable resin. They are lovely to ride on, and get a big thumbs up from me. They are popular with dog walkers however, so care and consideration is essential.

Week 2 Day 5 (Strava Ride)

Distance 22.3 km
Average Speed 16.3 km/h
Average Power 173 W
Average Heart Rate 132 bpm

Hooray! My new Lezyne Macro GPS unit arrived last night. I tried to figure out how to use it on Thursday night. It needed a firmware update. It was easy to connect the heart rate sensory. Getting my phone to connect was harder. The Lezyne GPS app still is in development. The bluetooth connection between the phone and GPS keeps resetting. Everything else seems functional

Friday’s session was the delayed Tempo Interval training. Following a warm up (WU T1) I then repeated three sets of zone 3 (138 to 156 bpm) and easy spin. It ended with a cool down.

The warm up was quite complicated and involved lots of zones changes. I expected to struggle to follow the training structure. I had learned my lesson from Tuesday’s ride and found a brilliant app that merits its own blog post. It’s called ‘Flexible Interval Timer‘. In a text file you can give it activity names and times.

My favourite feature is that it can read aloud the activity text and waits the prescribed time until it announces the next activity. It’s bloody brilliant and has allowed me to concentrate on breathing, avoiding traffic, navigating etc.

Thursday’s ride was my first knowing my heart rate while riding and this resulted in recognisable structure in my heart rate data.

I can see the start and end of the ride has lower heart rates. These are the warm up and cool down zones. Squinting you can see three peaks in the middle bit.

GPS first ride TIP

One piece of advice is to practice starting, stopping and saving an activity before setting off. Fumbling for buttons and believing you have deleted the activity by mistake, is not a nice way to end a ride. Especially when you’ve endured rain, dense fog and the bitter cold.

Week 2 Day 7 (Strava Ride)

Distance 19.9 km
Average Speed 15.9 km/h
Average Power 176 W
Average Heart Rate 134 bpm

Sunday’s ride was simple enough, just another endurance ride. Following warm up WU R, the ride needed me to stay below 138 bpm on the flat and under 156 bpm for hills.

I headed off towards Bolton and past Moses gate country park. The ride had the gloss scrubbed off it by a puncture which cut my training short. It took a while to fix the puncture and as I was due home for Sunday lunch,  I just concentrated on getting back home ASAP (Strava Ride).

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Author: David Jackson

Hello, I'm a 40+ yo cyclist trying to get back into cycling after the Covid-19 pandemic. I have hardly been on a bicycle in the last 2 years.