What a great ride it was February 25th for yet another Friday Smash session. This time we took on two times up the Volcano climb. The First time we managed a good time of 9 min and 30 seconds, followed by a good steady sustained tempo effort in between to then a second time up the volcano and smashed our record getting 8 min 58 seconds! Super job!
You all did brilliant on the warm up as we had a good progression and talk about training within zones and what each zone really entails... I thought I would recap each Zone. It is great to note that training in each Zone is important to helping you recover, maintain base, and get stronger both cardiovascular , physiologically, and even mentally. So make sure to plan out your weeks to benefit each zone and focus on a good balance of all zones rather than one zone entirely. As a coach, I always say it's great to have a coach to help guide you to work through each zones based on your goals. There is Strategy on how you go about your training and it helps to have a coach along for guidance.
If you are in need of a little extra, you can check out what I offer and even schedule a consultation call to chat. I am here for you and happy to help! 👇
Now lets Recap all about Zones
“There is not just one threshold but many, and they each demarcate a point of change in a person’s physiological response to exercise." - Ciaran O’Grady
Zone 1: Active Recovery
Powered by the body’s aerobic system and relying almost entirely on type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers, this pace is easy to sustain almost indefinitely. Riding in this zone offers subtle benefits, such as facilitating lymph flow, improving circulation, and stimulating transport of nutrients to the muscles.It also helps to reinforce movement patterns and can be used to add time in the saddle without creating much muscular or metabolic stress.We usually use this active recovery zone to rest from many high intense intervals so you can train your body to become faster and more efficient with recovery. You can also use this zone for an active cycling recovery day as we talked about last week.
Zone 2: Endurance
Also almost totally aerobic and relying on Type I muscle fibers, Zone 2 stimulates more adaptation and creates a bit more fatigue than riding at a recovery pace. Still, this intensity level is sustainable for a very long time, as its name indicates. Endurance rides increase the mitochondrial density, capillarization, and aerobic enzyme content of muscles, which all work to improve your aerobic capacity.
The body is able to utilize fat for fuel at this intensity, and the ability to do so becomes more efficient over time.
Zone 3: Tempo
Tempo is still primarily aerobic, but riding at this intensity begins to recruit some Type 2a muscle fibers.
Type 2a muscle fibers are fast twitch, meaning they fire more quickly. They are also more powerful than type I fibers and are recruited for activities that require more intensity
This is the first zone that feels challenging to sustain over long periods as it adds some muscular endurance demands.Tempo stimulates many of the same adaptations as endurance riding but with more pronounced effects, particularly in improving the abilities of the muscles to store glycogen.
its this pace we are doing right now... this will add much diversity and base depth to your overall ability to sustain higher power for longer.
Zone 3/4: Sweet Spot
One of my favorites. Sweet Spot is a transitional zone, defined more by its applicability to training than by distinct physiological differences.
It is the gray area between Tempo and Threshold, and combines the most beneficial training aspects of both. This is how it gets its name, as the most useful and time-effective zone for general purpose fitness improvements. Sweet Spot activates more Type IIa muscle fibers than lower intensities, and triggers significant adaptations in muscular endurance, aerobic fitness, and glycogen storage. It is challenging and fatiguing to sustain for long periods, but not nearly as difficult or exhausting as riding at Threshold.
And that's why I love to do training blocks within sweet spot and increasing the duration whilst decreasing recovery in between efforts in that zone.
Zone 4: Threshold
Close to your FTP, riding at threshold is highly glycolytic, shifting fuel demands from fat to sugar.
It activates a large volume of type IIa muscle fibers, and places significant stress on muscular endurance. Riding in this zone helps to increase blood plasma volume, increase mitochondrial enzymes, and improve the ability to maintain high intensities for long periods. It also generates significant fatigue. so when you train here, its good to really focus on recovery in between.
Zone 5: VO2 Max
The term VO2 Max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body is able to utilize during exercise.
This zone encompasses high intensity efforts that push this cardiorespiratory capacity to its limit. Riding at VO2 Max relies primarily on type 2a muscle fibers, and places a high demand on both aerobic and anaerobic capacities. It stimulates cardiac remodeling, improving the strength and stroke volume of the heart, and significantly increases blood plasma volume. These are the 30sec-1min on and off efforts. this do so much for helping you improve and its good to have a goal to do at 1-2 Vo2 max effort workouts a week.
Zone 6: Anaerobic Capacity
At this highest level of intensity, power is generated exclusively through anaerobic metabolism, with type 2b fibers doing most of the work. Fast-twitch type-2B: the largest fibres, called into action when all-out effort is required (fight or flight). They contract many times faster than slow-twitch fibres and with much greater force, but they fatigue quickly. Riding in the Anaerobic zone improves lactate tolerance and increases the body’s ability to utilize anaerobic energy stores.
With That, I hope you all have a great rest of the weekend and be sure to keep an eye out for next Friday's Smash session! We will be working with Muscular strength!