Short endurance ride

With all the talk about polarized training, is there any benefit to be had from a short say one hour endurance ride. For example, what if ive done my weekly hard effort but ive only time for a quick ride and its been snowing all week and i cannot get outside?

Great question. The short answer is yes 1-hour indoor endurance rides are a great contribution to your performance and health. I will respond later with more thoughts on this but a simple yes is the most important part of this.

So I mention this a lot but it is again relevant here that I have a great friend that is a 30-year world tour coach. I also talk to many other amazing coaches. The reason for stating this will be more clear later.

This is a little unrelated but many of us understand the idea that we are burning some ratio of carbs to fat no matter what the intensity, it’s just the ratio changes to more carbs with higher intensities.

This same concept exists when talking about good stress/damage and non-useful stresss/damage while training. As we know without some level of stress we would not improve.

It’s interesting because when you read between the lines or dig deeper with these top level coaches including Dylan and Seiler you see them focused on trying to mininimize this non-useful damage. Too many hard effort training sessions generates excessive non-useful stress/damage. Too much bad stress increases your risk for injury and illness not to mention slows your growth (can be a little or might be a lot).

So these coaches want lots of good stress redueced amounts of bad stress. When done right, high intensity training still minimizes the non-useful stress compontent.

Ok that sounds like a side track but actually it goes deeper into your answer. Training below your ventilatory threshold causes very minimal non-useful stress and provides a healthy amount of good stress. If you want to maximize this relationship it should not just be endurance focused, but below your ventilatory (aerobic) threshold.

I have an Humon SMO2 device and it is very clear my ventilatory threshold is between 120-125 BPM. My max HR is 180-182. So this is about 65% of HR max, I think this is fairly typical. So Dr Seiler’s Zone 1 is up to 65% of HR for me.

Dr Phil Maffetone has been studying aerobic threshold training and estimations for 20+ years and feels his forumla is accurate for most. Even though it is age related it seems to be well validated/verified. You can google his forumla. Probably just <65% is pretty safe for maximizing this good/bad relationship.

I also have a deep background in low HR training as well as HRV. I built an HRV app, 8+ years ago used by the US olympic speed skating team including 1 skater than one 4 gold medals while using my app. Not bragging just stating I have been invloved with HR based training and recovery monitoring for along time. If you get really good at HRV testing you can clearly see this good/bad stress relationship.

So the other reason I mentioned my friend the WT coach is that his belief is that extensive amounts of indoor riding also causes excess physiological damage as compared to the more dynamic nature of outdoor riding. He has one of the top cycling labs in the world and this his deep interest. He suggests most indoor rides should be up to around 60-minutes and really maxing out at 90-minutes indoors. Also, that for maximizing your training time efficiency, you really only need one long ride per week outdoors and the rest can be these shorter sessions.

Sorry such a long answer to a simple question :slight_smile: Back to the original answer yes 1-hr endurance is great, below 65% HR might be a little better :slight_smile:

thanks for such a comprehensive reply, a great help. i’d never heard of the Humon SMO2, something else i will have to look into.

1 Like

Humon went out of business. Moxy is the big one and possibly only one now. I would say for most people it is not important. I just love learning and it taught me some things. A key one is it showed that maximum muscle saturation occured at 16-18 minute reliably for me so that is the optimum warmup period. A friend that was at TrainingPeaks says he peaked at 18-20 minutes.

Humon website still up and running, shame moxy is so expensive, i’d like to have a play with that too. On the graph red is power and blue heart rate?

Yeah it’s funny they left their website up. If you click shop now, you can see it is broken. The blue Line is HR yes. This was not the best test to show because I was testing the shortest possible ramps to see if I could hit LT in a warmup + about a 5 minute test.

Here was a smooth ramp test (I think a ramp not steps). You can see LT is about this same point as the other one around 180w (too much time on this project, not much time riding :slight_smile: … need to fix that.