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Old 21.03.2011, 18:10
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Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

I'm trying to maximise my result vs. time invested in training in order to get more pleasure per mile (or per minute) when I'm actually riding (MTB)

Anyways - some folks swear by the Tabata method, according to others it doesn't work as well for cycling, blah, blah (usual kind of Mac vs PC flame war).

Anyone using it - and for which sport? Is it working for you?

Thank you all.....
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Old 21.03.2011, 19:32
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

I can't provide anything more than anecdotes, but I achieved a fairly decent fitness level last year using HIIT as part of my overall routine. I'll be starting it again shortly now that spring is here. I do 30 second sprints followed by 60 second runs for about 8-9 cycles, 1-2 times a week. Other than that I mountain bike about 30km per week and rollerblade about 15km per week on average.

I like it because it's short (only takes 10-15 minutes) and although it's hard work, it's not as 'punishing' or boring as doing 10k+ runs, at least for me. It does help with recovery also, but to what degree I couldn't tell you.
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Old 21.03.2011, 21:15
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Isn't it supposed to be
Sprint => rest for half the time... i.e. 30" sprint, 15" rest....?

Thx

Paul
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Old 21.03.2011, 21:47
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

I believe this is the study that the method is develop based on:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8897392

The abstract is written in a weird way which makes comparing the two methods like comparing apples and oranges. If I can I'll try to get the full paper and see if that's any clearer.

In the study here it says that The group that did endurance training significantly increased VO2max by doing an hours endurance exercise 5 days a week with no increase in anaerobic capacity. This is what you'd expect in a relatively non-trained group. In trained groups VO2max does not tend to change much.

As I understand this article the 7 people doing the Tabata method continued on from the 6 weeks of endurance training so any increase due to the Tabata method could also be partially related to the base fitness taken from the initial period of endurance training. They also don't give a p value for the increase in VO2max from the Tabata method! So we don't know if the increase was really significant. The increase in anaerobic capacity from the Tabata method is in my opinion expected as that is what the system is essentially working on.

I'd like to read the paper properly but a key thing with training is specificity. Train high intensity you get better at high intensity, train endurance you get better at endurance. For most people you need to do both, but the volume of endurance work is important to create a base for the high intensity stuff. My opinion is that the method is a reasonable aside to increase power for cycling, but for long days in the saddle you'll still need some endurance work.

If you want to enjoy your cycling more then pace yourself (especially MTB) don't charge the climbs, you'll just end up wrecked for the fun parts. If you take the climbs easy you will actually increase your cycling efficiency and fat burning at lower heart rates. i.e. your power output for a given aerobic output will increase, and you'll get faster on the climbs for the same effort. Nothing wrong with doing High Intensity for increasing power output, but you'll still need the base. Your long endurance sessions can be when you go out to ride for fun on the weekends and then occasionally put in some bursts when you are riding shorter times during the week.

Anecdotally, I read something by Frischi's coach the other day. His attitude is Train Hard, but don't suffer! This is the training method him and Frischi are using for the Cape Epic in South Africa and he's coached someone who's one pretty much everything there is to win in XC and Marathon biking.
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Old 21.03.2011, 21:48
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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Isn't it supposed to be
Sprint => rest for half the time... i.e. 30" sprint, 15" rest....?

Thx

Paul
It depends on the HIIT method you're using. For Tabata, then yes that would be correct, but there are various different 'flavours'. I would say there is really no right or wrong way, as long the low intensity period is +-100% of the high intensity period. Perhaps mix it up, or try one and then another to compare. From experience of what I've done so far, I imagine the Tabata method would be pretty difficult even if you're in excellent shape.

Last edited by unsprung; 21.03.2011 at 21:50. Reason: Added quote for clarity
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Old 21.03.2011, 22:01
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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It depends on the HIIT method you're using. For Tabata, then yes that would be correct, but there are various different 'flavours'. I would say there is really no right or wrong way, as long the low intensity period is +-100% of the high intensity period. Perhaps mix it up, or try one and then another to compare. From experience of what I've done so far, I imagine the Tabata method would be pretty difficult even if you're in excellent shape.
This is correct, It's all just different flavours of interval training. By varying the time/intensity of the intervals or recovery periods you change the focus slightly. Ultimately it's working more around improving efficiency at threshold which is good, but you can't spend a day riding at threshold so in my opinion it's usually a smallish part of your overall training rather than being your main form of training.

If I am correct Unsprung you do these sessions, but also ride your bike a few hours a week? Therefore, in this situation the balances are correct. But, if you didn't ride your bike at all and only did the HIIT you might end up going great on the first climb but have trouble towards the end of a long day. Fortunately, those long days count as your endurance "training"
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Old 21.03.2011, 22:18
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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If I am correct Unsprung you do these sessions, but also ride your bike a few hours a week? Therefore, in this situation the balances are correct. But, if you didn't ride your bike at all and only did the HIIT you might end up going great on the first climb but have trouble towards the end of a long day. Fortunately, those long days count as your endurance "training"
Yes, HIIT is only part of my typical routine, at most 10% of total time invested.
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Old 22.03.2011, 09:15
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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I believe this is the study that the method is develop based on:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8897392

The abstract is written in a weird way which makes comparing the two methods like comparing apples and oranges. If I can I'll try to get the full paper and see if that's any clearer.

In the study here it says that The group that did endurance training significantly increased VO2max by doing an hours endurance exercise 5 days a week with no increase in anaerobic capacity. This is what you'd expect in a relatively non-trained group. In trained groups VO2max does not tend to change much.

As I understand this article the 7 people doing the Tabata method continued on from the 6 weeks of endurance training so any increase due to the Tabata method could also be partially related to the base fitness taken from the initial period of endurance training. They also don't give a p value for the increase in VO2max from the Tabata method! So we don't know if the increase was really significant. The increase in anaerobic capacity from the Tabata method is in my opinion expected as that is what the system is essentially working on.

I'd like to read the paper properly but a key thing with training is specificity. Train high intensity you get better at high intensity, train endurance you get better at endurance. For most people you need to do both, but the volume of endurance work is important to create a base for the high intensity stuff. My opinion is that the method is a reasonable aside to increase power for cycling, but for long days in the saddle you'll still need some endurance work.

If you want to enjoy your cycling more then pace yourself (especially MTB) don't charge the climbs, you'll just end up wrecked for the fun parts. If you take the climbs easy you will actually increase your cycling efficiency and fat burning at lower heart rates. i.e. your power output for a given aerobic output will increase, and you'll get faster on the climbs for the same effort. Nothing wrong with doing High Intensity for increasing power output, but you'll still need the base. Your long endurance sessions can be when you go out to ride for fun on the weekends and then occasionally put in some bursts when you are riding shorter times during the week.

Anecdotally, I read something by Frischi's coach the other day. His attitude is Train Hard, but don't suffer! This is the training method him and Frischi are using for the Cape Epic in South Africa and he's coached someone who's one pretty much everything there is to win in XC and Marathon biking.
Heh... I was hoping for your valued contribution to the discussion...thx
I'm trying the Tabata as a complement to the rest of the training (cardio, weights, CST) in order to improve my effectiveness on the more technical sections of the climbing parts - which is where I used to have more problms.

Unfortunately I can't really train for endurance...when I'm lucky during the week I manage to ride 3x1h maximum :-/ (in part it's stationary bike w/ the powercranks)...but heck... I'm not training for any sports event so....

As far as the heart-rate is concerned, at which level should I do the repetitions (I can't measure my watt output when I'm riding outside...).
My current Vo2Max level is 55 ml/min*kg, and my threshold is 156bpm / 260W...

Thx!

Paul
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Old 22.03.2011, 10:19
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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Heh... I was hoping for your valued contribution to the discussion...thx
I'm trying the Tabata as a complement to the rest of the training (cardio, weights, CST) in order to improve my effectiveness on the more technical sections of the climbing parts - which is where I used to have more problms.

Unfortunately I can't really train for endurance...when I'm lucky during the week I manage to ride 3x1h maximum :-/ (in part it's stationary bike w/ the powercranks)...but heck... I'm not training for any sports event so....

As far as the heart-rate is concerned, at which level should I do the repetitions (I can't measure my watt output when I'm riding outside...).
My current Vo2Max level is 55 ml/min*kg, and my threshold is 156bpm / 260W...

Thx!

Paul
don't have time for a detailed reply now, I'll get back this evening... But how was your VO2max and threshold measured? In a lab or using something like the tests on Polar HRM's?

I've gotten the full version of the paper I referenced above and another one on a similar protocol which I'll read this evening and give more feedback.

By using any type of interval training as a complement to other training you are on the right track, you should get benefits from any type of high intensity interval training then. It's using it as your only or main form of training that I question. BTW your 3x1hr sessions count as endurance training in my book. ;-)

The methods listed are above are not HR dependant. They are all out give it everything for 20secs. You don't need a HRM for those. It's when you start doing longer sessions 5-10mins or so right around or just over threshold that the HRM can come in a bit handy.

If I get a chance, I'll give some more detailed feedback tonight.
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Old 22.03.2011, 10:36
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

-Dave:
my Vo2Max was determind at a proper lab by one of the docs from the Swiss Olympic medical team. As a matter of fact I was pretty impressed by that "55" considering I am anything but an "athlete" (and never was when I was younger)... I'm just trying to capitalize on that in order to maximize my riding pleasure really

Talk later!

Paul

Ps: oh...and have a look at the course of the Monte Generoso Bike Marathon... that's a helluva nice ride between CH and IT... keep it in mind for the next time you come to Ticino
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Old 22.03.2011, 14:07
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

Some of you might be interested in this form of HIIT for off-season biking training (am sure some of you know the guy there )

I tried tabata once in 2009 when I was in my peak running fitness and I felt close to fainting half-way through it. It is easier to take your heart to bursting point in running than in cycling though, but still I think (caveat: layman opinion) if you are not already extremely well-trained and/or are aged over 40, you should consult a doctor before doing tabatas. Definitely not the best way for someone who is out of shape and wants to lose weight (OT).
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Old 22.03.2011, 22:11
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

First off, your figures are not to be sneezed at. You are certainly good for a recreational athlete. 260W at threshold is quite good. I don't know what your weight is so I can't work out Watts/kilo which is what's important for climbing but you are by no means bottom of the barrel. You've got better figures than me for one!

I've looked through the two papers and to be honest they haven't swayed me in my opinions at all. Both papers report an increase in endurance measures (one in VO2max and the other in Muscle metabolites) after a period of high intensity interval training.... Now comes the catch.

The first paper seems to use the same group for the high intensity and endurance programmes. They group does the endurance training first and then after a short period seems to go onto the high intensity group. The baseline values for the high intensity group are almost the same as the end of study values for the endurance group, therefore you can not say that the high intensity training improvements have not been brought about at least partially by the six weeks of endurance training which have already taken place. Secondly, the high intensity training is not as is sometimes advertised ONLY high intensity. Once a week there was a longer session of 30mins endurance (70%VO2max) training with an easier interval session afterwards. Also each interval session was preceded by a 10min warm up. So while the High intensity session did have a reduced endurance element it didn't have no endurance training.

The second study was a bit different in that it looked at adaptations in the muscle itself. Basically this study showed that there was no significant difference in the markers of the muscles ability to use oxygen whether you did high intensity training or normal endurance training. This does seem to imply that you can save time by doing high intensity sessions as opposed to long endurance sessions for training. But, muscle oxidative capacity is only one part of the equation for endurance sports. Blood oxygen carrying capacity, long volume, cardiac stroke volume and overall system efficiency and other elements play a huge role also. The study openly admits that it doesn't take these factors into account

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The adaptive response to physical training is obviously influenced by a multitude of complex molecular, cellular and physiological changes, and the present data should not be interpreted to suggest that SIT is necessarily adequate preparation for prolonged endurance-type activities. The duration of the training program in the present study was relatively short (6 sessions over 2 weeks) and it remains to be determined whether similar adaptations are manifest after many weeks or months of interval and continuous training.
Like I said yesterday, high intensity training protocols can be used to help complement endurance training. It should have positive effects on threshold power and may help improve endurance. I still believe that High Intensity sessions alone can not do what people claim they do. For endurance sport you still need to do endurance training. High intensity intervals complement, they do not replace endurance sessions.

For this reason I get quite upset with videos like Niranjan posted a link to which imply that a 10min work out is all you need to do. To say that a 10-15min High intensity session can prepare someone for endurance sport stretching the reality a touch. It can certainly complement endurance sessions to put you in a better position for endurance sport, but it can not replace endurance training.
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Old 22.03.2011, 22:33
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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For this reason I get quite upset with videos like Niranjan posted a link to. To say that a 10-15min High intensity session can prepare someone for endurance sport stretching the reality a touch. It can certainly complement endurance sessions to put you in a better position for endurance sport, but it can not replace endurance training.
Sorry, I should have expected to be rebutted if I post anything in any thread where you happen to post

Where did you draw that inference from my post that HIIT by itself is a substitute to regular endurance training As a matter of fact when I had met Jeff (the coach in that link before he turned pro) when I used to obsess with running, he also clearly recommended one tabata per week (but I had experimented with my first and last tabata before meeting him) as a complement to about 15 hours per week of running , but I hardly need to give that clarification.

I simply posted the link because Jeff is quite well-known in the Zurich cycling fraternity, his HIIT is interesting (or funny depending on how you see), relevant to this thread, and many people may not be knowing about his new coaching service. Sorry if it hurts your sentiments to see laymen posting where specialists talk, but hey, this is English forum, where anyone interested and moderately educated can discuss, and you have the option of ignore function btw.
Cheers,
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Old 22.03.2011, 22:37
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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Sorry, I should have expected to be rebutted if I post anything in any thread where you happen to post

Where did you draw that inference from my post that HIIT by itself is a substitute to regular endurance training As a matter of fact when I had met Jeff (the coach in that link before he turned pro) when I used to obsess with running, he also clearly recommended one tabata per week (but I had experimented with my first and last tabata before meeting him), but I hardly need to give that clarification.

I simply posted the link because Jeff is quite well-known in the Zurich cycling fraternity, his HIIT is interesting (or funny depending on how you see), relevant to this thread, and many people may not be knowing about his new coaching service. Sorry if it hurts your sentiments to see laymen posting where specialists talk, but hey, this is English forum, where anyone interested and moderately educated can discuss, and you have the option of ignore function btw.
Cheers,
I was referring to the video not to you in particular. The video suggests that this workout will prepare you for bike season... Not that this workout will complement your existing endurance programme to get you a better start to the biking season. There is a subtle difference, but a difference all the same. This is why I often hear people telling me that they only need to do 10mins training and its better than going for an hours bike ride. If you only do high intensity interval sessions you'll get very good at doing high intensity interval sessions, if you want to do endurance sport you'll need to do some endurance training too, not just high intensity sessions. Maybe the video is out of context, but if you just look at the video out of context it can lead to the belief that just doing this will make you fit for bike season. I'm sure Jeff is more aware than anyone that intervals are a complement and not a replacement for endurance training.


Also, bear in mind that intervals and circuit training have been around since before most of us were born. Athletes have been using them for years. There isn't really anything ground breakingly new about any of this. There are people that wrap it up a different way and market it, but at the end of the day all any High Intensity interval session whether it be sport specific or circuit type sessions are just variations on the same theme. The can be made specific to improve sport specific performance or they can be used to do things like prevent injury by focusing on areas that are prone to injury (or where a weakness can be a mechanism for injury).
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Old 22.03.2011, 22:53
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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Maybe the video is out of context and Jeff should be more aware than anyone that intervals are a complement and not a replacement for endurance training.
Yes, the video is out of context. Everything is out of context. No one should do anything funny based solely on what they saw on internet video, or read on EF (even if it was written by sports scientists); there is no substitute to actually meeting a person and evaluating before prescribing anything. All we are doing here is a general discussion. Surely a professional coach wouldn't post it for free it it was meant to be done by people on their own It is more like a marketing thing, which is fair.

And as far as I can see, neither the OP, nor me, nor Jeff or anyone in this thread has implied that 10 mins hiit is a substitute to endurance training, maybe you are prejudging people.

Anyway we don't have to debate these things anymore, you were posting some very informative stuff, please get back to doing that
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Old 23.03.2011, 08:33
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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First off, your figures are not to be sneezed at. You are certainly good for a recreational athlete. 260W at threshold is quite good. I don't know what your weight is so I can't work out Watts/kilo which is what's important for climbing but you are by no means bottom of the barrel. You've got better figures than me for one!

...
To tell you the whole truth - I was quite amazed when I got that result (it's from a Conconi test, if it can be of any use). I weigh in at 80Kg flat and am turning 48 this year and as I said, I was never The Sportsman when I was younger. Yes I enjoyed snowboarding, skiing, windsurfing, excursions, bike riding - all just for the fun of it....

Thank you for all the info, by the way...saluti dal Ticino!

Paul
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Old 23.03.2011, 09:01
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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To tell you the whole truth - I was quite amazed when I got that result (it's from a Conconi test, if it can be of any use). I weigh in at 80Kg flat and am turning 48 this year and as I said, I was never The Sportsman when I was younger. Yes I enjoyed snowboarding, skiing, windsurfing, excursions, bike riding - all just for the fun of it....

Thank you for all the info, by the way...saluti dal Ticino!

Paul
Are you my lost brother?

Your W/kg are definitely well within the average range. According to one table you'd fit in at about Cat 4 racing level (Road). So you won't be challenging Bertie and Andy for the tour this year, but you are certainly no slouch either.

Based on what I bolded in your quote above I'd say keep doing what your doing, throw in a few high intensity sessions (providing there are no cardiovascular risk factors, if so get checked by a doc) but keep it fun. For most of us mere mortals it's hard to maintain motivation if it's not fun. I'm doing the Trans-Provence again this year and despite the fact I need to be fit for 7 big days in a row and throw in a bit of racing here and there I pretty much refuse to "train". I ride my bike 4 or more times a week for fun and do some reasonable sized days (50km, 1200+m vertical, this will increase very soon). I'm really just riding stuff thats fun for me. I'll put more epic days in later on, but my training programme is really to just enjoy myself on my bike as much as possible! If it's not fun I'll end up not doing it and I'll be buggered in September.

Hopefully I'll get to go for a ride with you down in Ticino this year, provided you take it easy on me on the climbs.

Have you done the Monte Bar route? BTW, where is the snowline sitting down there at the moment?
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Old 23.03.2011, 09:42
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

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Are you my lost brother?

Your W/kg are definitely well within the average range. According to one table you'd fit in at about Cat 4 racing level (Road). So you won't be challenging Bertie and Andy for the tour this year, but you are certainly no slouch either.

Based on what I bolded in your quote above I'd say keep doing what your doing, throw in a few high intensity sessions (providing there are no cardiovascular risk factors, if so get checked by a doc) but keep it fun. For most of us mere mortals it's hard to maintain motivation if it's not fun. I'm doing the Trans-Provence again this year and despite the fact I need to be fit for 7 big days in a row and throw in a bit of racing here and there I pretty much refuse to "train". I ride my bike 4 or more times a week for fun and do some reasonable sized days (50km, 1200+m vertical, this will increase very soon). I'm really just riding stuff thats fun for me. I'll put more epic days in later on, but my training programme is really to just enjoy myself on my bike as much as possible! If it's not fun I'll end up not doing it and I'll be buggered in September.

Hopefully I'll get to go for a ride with you down in Ticino this year, provided you take it easy on me on the climbs.

Have you done the Monte Bar route? BTW, where is the snowline sitting down there at the moment?


Monte Bar - which route? there's plenty of trails criscrossing the mountain + a longer 8 hour tour going up to San Lucio (i.e. overlooking lake Como) then riding all around the top of the Val Colla down to the other side towards Tesserete. Will send you the link to that (when I find it again). Those are the kind of all-day rides I'd like to do, just for the scenery, the trail, etc

Snowline is receding quickly, Monte Generoso (1600 mt) is now free from snow (more infos can be found here:http://www.slf.ch/lawineninfo/schnee.../rk60_sd_c_DE# ).

Re. the Transalp rides - I was looking forward to doing one just for fun...then I read about that german actor who died of exhaustion 2 years ago and sort of crossed off my list

Ciao
Paul
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Old 23.03.2011, 09:53
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

Sorry I havent really readall the other posts before mine, except the first regarding tabata. I used to go to the gym 4 times a week, and each time for almost 2 hours. 1 hour going through me weight training, and about 45 minutes to an hour cardio. At first the results were great, but long term, it just ended up feeling like such a great time commitment on workout days, that I eventually could not get my ass to the gym.

Then I found a trainer who was fanstastic. He told me that greatest % of what I needed to commit to was good nutrition (not neccessarily eating less, but the RIGHT foods in the right amounts), and the other % was the training. He got me doing Tabata now 4 to 5 times a week. I do a group of big muscle group exercises (nromally 3 to 5 exercises) in intervals of 20:10 for 8 rounds...so normaly it is high intensity, but I am in and out of the gym in 20 minutes! It kicks my ass harder than my old workouts, and the results are great because it kicks up your metabolism as well. The big proof when I went to see my endocrinologist for my underactive thyroid, and just by takign my pulse, he could tell that I was workign out because my resting heartrate was very low. I feel great, my energy level is up, and I am still motivated to continue afetr so many months!

If any one is lookign for a personal trainer, I woudl recommend mine. His name is Burak and speaks good English. He takes your individual lifestyle into consideration and works around your needs:

www.perfectform.ch


I say go for tabata!!! I highly recommend it!!!
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Old 23.03.2011, 10:01
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Re: Bike training: Tabata protocol, anyone?

Quote:
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Monte Bar - which route? there's plenty of trails criscrossing the mountain + a longer 8 hour tour going up to San Lucio (i.e. overlooking lake Como) then riding all around the top of the Val Colla down to the other side towards Tesserete. Will send you the link to that (when I find it again). Those are the kind of all-day rides I'd like to do, just for the scenery, the trail, etc

Snowline is receding quickly, Monte Generoso (1600 mt) is now free from snow (more infos can be found here:http://www.slf.ch/lawineninfo/schnee.../rk60_sd_c_DE# ).

Re. the Transalp rides - I was looking forward to doing one just for fun...then I read about that german actor who died of exhaustion 2 years ago and sort of crossed off my list

Ciao
Paul
I'd need to look at the map again to confirm which route I was planning on Monte Bar. Its essentially a long mostly paved climb up to just below the summit, then skirt around the summit to a saddle to the east. From there follow the ridgeline singletrack the whole way around the valley until you end up dropping down not too far from where you started. I can't remember the exact place names wiithout the map in front of me.

The Trans-Provence is not to be compared with a normal "Trans" Event. It is very tiring but you are not racing the whole event. It pays off to ride the climbs as slow as you can and save energy to enjoy the timed sections which are all single track. There are a lot of hike a bike sections and you do need to be fit, but the fitness you require is more to be able to handle 7 long days in a row rather than to be able to race all day for 7 days in a row. You are not timed on the Liason stages at all. Once you get to a timed section you can take a break, chill out, get your energy back and then race the timed section which is predominately descending (some short climbs in the middle). There is no reason to push yourself to the level where it may be dangerous if you are prepared well enough to be able to handle the distance/altitude gain. The event is about riding a lot of really good single track, not about spending 7 days riding fire roads from one side of the Alps to the other. To put it into context the Pro's that are entered in the event for more from the world of Enduro/Freeride rather than XC or Marathon.

You wouldn't get me doing a normal "Trans" event to save my soul, I'm going back for more with the T-P.
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