Friday, April 29, 2011

Ten percent...BAH! - April 29, 2011

There is a guideline while training that indicates any increases should be kept to ten percent.  For instance if you wanted to increase the amount of power that you were putting out and you were currently at an average of 180 watts, you would aim to get to 198.  That makes sense within a certain range.  Obviously is you are putting out 400 watts getting to 440 could be a problem.
I’ve discovered that I’m not good with this “rule”.  In a previous post I had discussed increasing my cadence.  I was spinning around 80-95 and with my work this week I am spinning around 95-110 comfortably.  That is nearly a twenty percent increase.  From this point increase an additional ten percent would be nearly impossible as it passes the point of diminishing returns for practical purposes and my body’s kinetics.
Another place where I tend to deviate from this rule is in distance.  This month I am a little of 800 miles so next month I should be around 900, instead I will be closer to 1200 as a minimum up to 1400.  That is about a sixty percent increase.  And my longest ride to date has been about 50 miles, I have a 200 mile ride planned in May for a FOUR HUNDRED percent increase which will still leave a fifty percent increase in distance to my planned ride in June. 
Confused yet?
The ten percent rule seems to be a huge generality like BMI or max heart rate calculations.  Basically it gives a guideline for someone that has no idea of “what now”, but is for the most part non-applicable.  And the ten percent rule will definitely not be in use this month as over 10,000 cyclists, many of them brand new, hit the streets for bike to work month.
My goal: to be in the top 5 individuals for distance, with 100% participation.  It means no shortcuts for me and riding part way, even if my legs are achy.  There are a couple of people that have commutes as long or longer than mine and I will lose a couple of days to other events, but on a whole I should be in the top five and maybe even the top position as a solo rider; we will see.

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