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Active Expert: Gale Bernhardt

2 Posts tagged with the racing tag

   

I’ve received several questions on racingin heat and humidity. I wrote a two-part column that can help you racesuccessfully. Here is an excerpt:


Whether you travel for racing or not, you may find yourself concerned with acclimation to heat and humidity. Consider the following situations:

  • You train in cool fall air and your next     race is in a hot environment.
  • You train in cool spring air and the     first race of the season is in a hot city.
  • You live in a city that is always cool     relative to the locations where you race.
  • You live in a hot, dry environment but     plan to travel to a hot, humid environment for a race.
  • You live and work in an air conditioned     environment but race in a hot and humid environment. 

Take a look at PartI - Acclimating to Heat and Humidity

 

 

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In the last blog I mentioned that I would cover why I was able to ride within my lactate threshold heart rate range for two hours and forty-five minutes. That’s not possible – is it?

 

Recapping some of the altitude specifics, the mainstay of my training over the summer was directed at doing mountain bike races between 8 and 11 hours long and at altitudes between 9,000 and 12,600 feet. I live atroughly 5,000 feet. The September race where I accumulated near three hours at lactate threshold intensity was at altitudes between 3,000 and 6,000 feet.

 

I’ve written a couple of two-part columns that will give you background of altitude affects on training and racing. The first one is “Altitude Training for Athletic Success” and the second one is “Acclimating to Altitude”. From the columns, a couple of key points:

  • Heart rate increases in response to higher altitudes – but you cannot maintain the same speed or power output for that given heart rate at increased altitude. This means that lactate threshold heart rate at increased altitude is lower than your home base.
  • For a given speed or power output at a lower-than-your-home-base altitude, the corresponding heart rate will be lower. (Assuming temperature and humidity conditions are similar.)

 

To know my actual heart rate training zones for all ofthe corresponding altitudes where I raced this summer, I would need to do a test at each location. Since that is logistically not possible for me, I use the same data collection zones for all altitudes and adjust accordingly – I raced according to my rating of perceived exertion (RPE) for the lower altitude event. This means the data for my race at a lower altitude is not really all within an accurate lactate threshold zone. So no, I didn’t spend near three hours at lactate threshold.

 

Also recall within the altitude columns that you can produce higher speeds and more power output at lower altitudes. (The reason why the Olympians living in Colorado Springs train with supplemental oxygen sources for sea level racing.)

 

Sans actual power data, I believe I did not have the training to tolerate the power outputs I was generating at the lower altitude race.  If the neuromuscular and metabolic systems have not been trained for the speed and power outputs (duration and intensity) possible at lower altitudes, then I believe there is a possibility of cramping.

 

 

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