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Aerobic Threshold

Aerobic Threshold Booster Plans

Changing Times, Changing Plans

In light of the current worldwide health crisis and cancellations of at least the Spring racing season, everyone’s plans have changed… and so should our training!

Many riders are choosing to be on their indoor trainers utilizing online training apps while others are willing to venture outside to keep racking up the miles. However, instead of smashing yourself with high-intensity training or epic long rides with no events in sight on the calendar, take a step back and target your Aerobic Threshold energy system. Take this opportunity of ‘no racing’ to build your most powerful aerobic base yet!

What is Aerobic Threshold?

The first of two metabolic thresholds, the Aerobic Threshold (AeT) relates to fuel utilization. Put simply, this first threshold is a theoretical metabolic balance point of fuel utilization between fat & carbohydrate. At AeT you’re at the highest power you can sustain while burning equal parts fat & carbohydrate fuel sources. In other words, you’re maximizing your power while still utilizing at least 50% fat for fuel. Go beyond this threshold and you begin to burn more sugars than fat; go below this threshold and fat utilization goes up, carbohydrate utilization goes down.

From an endurance athlete standpoint, the more work (power) you can do while utilizing fat for fuel and sparing glycogen (stored carbohydrates in your muscles and liver), allows you to ride longer and faster before running out of glycogen. It is well known that riding long and slow (HR< 75% max heartrate) is how you maximize fat utilization. However, to be most effective with this type of training you must ride long durations. Train above AeT and you become more ‘anaerobically fit’, capable of going really hard for short durations (often followed by dramatic slowdown!). Short, high-intensity interval training is effective for this, as is simply riding just a little too hard, too often… a common pitfall for most amateur cyclists (aka ‘sugar burners’).

How do you find this Aerobic Threshold?

For utmost accuracy, you should be tested in a lab by a physiologist. Much like a Vo2 Max test, you wear a mask, you pedal from easy to hard, they collect the expired gases from your lungs from which the ratios are used to pin-point the exact moment you cross that ‘fat vs. sugar’ threshold. Keep in mind, we’re always burning a mixture of fat and carbohydrate for movement. Think of it as a sliding scale of usage: when one goes up, the other goes down. Slower movement relies on fat. The faster you move the more carbs are brought it. Raise the effort further and you’re using carbs almost exclusively.

What if you don’t have access to a lab and physiologist? You can estimate! For most reasonably fit individuals, your AeT falls around 75-80% of maximum heart-rate. Being a metabolic threshold, training by heart rate is the most effective method by which to train. However, you can identify a power value corresponding to the HR-based effort through testing and training. This power level is typically between 80-90% of Anaerobic Threshold power (FTP) depending on one’s level of aerobic fitness.

How do you Improve Aerobic Threshold?

Targeting the specific 75-80% of HR max range in your riding is among the best ways to improving your AeT. Depending on your current level of aerobic fitness, this pace may be slow and easy or it may be somewhat challenging. The more anaerobically fit you are, the slower (less power) you will likely have to ride to stay in this zone; whereas, the more aerobically fit you are, the harder (more power) you will ride.

Begin by performing sets of shorter intervals of say 5:00 in duration. Then progress to more intervals and longer intervals over subsequent training sessions and weeks. Here is an example of an Aerobic Threshold training progression:

  • 6-8x 5:00 (1:00 recoveries)
  • 3-6x 10:00 (2:00 recoveries)
  • 3-5x 15:00 (3:00 recoveries)
  • 3-4x 20:00 (5:00 recoveries)
  • 2-3x 30:00 (recovery as needed)

With the intensity of these intervals being not particular hard, you can perform 2-3 sessions per week while recovering with ease between sessions. Keeping intensity levels lower helps boost your immune system keeping you healthy, consistent and making gains. These sets of intervals are also equally effective both indoors on the trainer or outside on flat, rolling or low-grade climbs.

Get Started Honing Your Fat-Burning Engine.

Try one of our 6-Week Aerobic Threshold Booster Plans available for download in the Training Peaks Plan Store. We offer a Low-Volume version ideal for the indoor rider, and a High-Volume option for the indoor and/or outdoor rider. Not only are these plans great for this particular time in history, but they are perfect for anytime in your annual program when you’re looking to maximize your aerobic fitness base.

 

In-Season Strength Maintenance

Strength Training, that is training with weights in the gym (or at home), has become more widely accepted in the endurance sport world over the last 5+ years. There are still some hold-outs on the subject, but most athletes and coaches will agree there are valuable benefits to be gained from lifting heavy weights within an endurance sport training program. Improving your strength from season-to-season only occurs if you perform Strength Maintenance sessions year-round.

The intent of this article is not to spew out the benefits of Strength Training (you can read a previous post that covers all those points); rather my intent with this article is to point out the value of YEAR-ROUND strength training. More specifically, focus on lifting weights within your competitive racing season.

Don’t Lose your Gains, Bro

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m going to assume you’re on board with Strength Training, at least as part of your off-season training program. The majority of endurance athletes do some form of strength training in their off-season. Then what seems to be very common is many athletes cease their Strength Training program once their competitive race season begins. The reasons I hear for dropping the strength training from their training programs are often:

  • Wanting to spend more time on their primary sport (“get more miles in”)
  • Lifting weights makes them slow (“legs too sore/tired”)
  • Don’t want to gain weight (“too much muscle”)
  • Getting bored with the strength training (“same old routine”)

I’m here to encourage you to not stop your Strength Training once your race season begins. In fact if you do stop, I can tell you you’re leaving performance gains on the table!

You may be thinking, “Whoa! Hold up. You want me to lift weights during my race season?!”

Yes I do! And here’s why…

When you Strength Train for 2, 3 or even 4 months of your off-season, you spend the first few weeks working through the soreness of training the muscles. Only then do you begin to make some gains in actual strength of movement. These improvements to your health & performance as an athlete include:

  • Increased muscle fiber recruitment (use more of the muscles you have)
  • Increase top-end power (raise the ceiling of your power curve)
  • Increased anabolic hormone production (balance the catabolic nature of endurance training)
  • Improve range of motion/activation (offset imbalances)
  • Improve the overall “durability” of your body
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The Waite Endurance Race Preparation Plans

With Spring around the corner it’s time to think about Race Preparation. Most athletes are putting the final touches on their off-season Base Builder training. Following our Base Builder Plan Programming, athletes have gone through an extensive strength building program in the gym combined with a progression through the six primary aerobic energy systems we utilize on the bike; from lowest intensity to highest intensity:

  1. Aerobic (all day power)
  2. Aerobic Threshold (2-4 hour power)
  3. Anaerobic Threshold (32-64 minute power)
  4. Vo2 Max (8-16 minute power)
  5. Anaerobic Power (1-4 minute power)
  6. Peak Power (5-20 second power)

Depending on when they got started with their Base Builder training and how much time available for building Base, athletes went through a 12, 18 or 24 week progression; in 2, 3 or 4 week blocks dedicated to each energy system mentioned above. Regardless of your exact base training protocol you may have followed, as you come to the end of your base phase you may be asking yourself this question:

With my Base now built and general cycling fitness established, what comes next?

Race Preparation Training

Where Base Building is general fitness development; Race Preparation is specific fitness development for your A-priority event(s) of the year.

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WE Development Donations Month!

  • January 31, 2020
  • Blog

Share the love in February by supporting the WE Devo Team.

WE Development, Inc. is now a Colorado 501c3 Non-Profit Youth Sports Team. Your donations are tax-deductible!*

Our young riders have been training consistently all fall & winter to prepare for their upcoming 2020 race season. With that nearly upon us, we’re accepting donations to support our squad of hardworking athletes to get them to more races across the country! All donations go towards equipment costs and travel expenses, so our riders can flex their muscles at some of the biggest races in the country. Every dollar counts and makes attending these events possible.

For the entire month of February, we’re rewarding donors with WE schwag!

Your donation dollar amount scores you cool WE logo’ed items to show your support of the team when you’re out training, cruising around town or at the races. So share the love all month long by bolstering our mission of developing these young riders into the future stars of our sport with an easy tax-deductible online donation and grab some gear before it’s gone.**

Learn more about the WE Development team and make a donation today via credit card & PayPal links below…

 

Donate $25

 

A $25 donation earns you a WE die-cut sticker to affix to your car window, water bottle, or notebook.

Donate $50

 

A $50 donation gets you the WE sticker AND a WE water bottle (by Specialized).

Donate $100

 

A $100 donation gets you the sticker, bottle AND a soft 50/50 blend WE Devo t-shirt (men’s and women’s styles).

Donate $200

 

A $200 donation gets you the full kit & caboodle of the sticker, bottle, shirt AND fleece-lined, super cozy, WE Devo hoodie!

 

* you’ll receive a thank you email with your donation containing the tax-deduction information.

** stickers & bottles ship in February; shirts & hoodies ship in March once we complete the order w/ sizes.

 

  

 

 

 

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

Would you like to donate more than $200?

...or not interested in the schwag?

You can donate any dollar amount you prefer, set up a repeating monthly donation, or pass on the schwag by clicking this donation link…

Creating Your Annual Training Plan

  • November 27, 2019
  • Blog
Originally published November 22, 2018. Updated and republished November 27, 2019.

With your goals set and events selected, you’re ready to dial in your Annual Training Plan for your season ahead. In part 3 of our Planning Your Season series of posts, we’ll layout the process of your Annual Training Plan. This road map of your training program is often referred to as your Annual Training Plan. It sets the foundation of your training progression allowing you to know ‘when you should be where’ in your build up. It also helps you stay on track and progressing towards your end goals.

WE at Waite Endurance prefer to use a TWO training phase model to reach a peak performance for an “A” race. We call them: Base Builder & Race Preparation.

Base Builder Phase

Base Builder (or your base phase) is about establishing a general aerobic & strength foundation of fitness. Our Base Builder Plans are 12-24 weeks in duration. The duration is dependent on time until your next “A” race. Our Base Builder progression goes from low-intensity to high-intensity. Building through the six major energy systems in a block periodization format with 2-4 week blocks based on duration of plan and intended rate of progression:

 1. Aerobic Endurance 

2. Aerobic Threshold 

3. Anaerobic Threshold

4. Vo2 Max

5. Anaerobic Power 

6. Peak Power 

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Race Selection: Your Events for Next Season

  • November 21, 2019
  • Blog
Originally published November 8, 2018. Updated and republished November 21, 2019.

Daylight hours are shortening, leaves are falling, and temps are dropping… You’ve set your goals for next season (previous post: Goal Setting), and even resumed some base training. The next step in the planning process is race selection and choosing your events for next season. Sifting through the potentially large amount of events in which you are interested is the second step in the planning process. 

Planning your race season around a target event(s) is crucial to setting up an effective training program.

As part of the race selection process, you must first know the “what” & “when” you plan to race your best. From there you can work out your specific training program that will get you there with the fitness you desire. You don’t need to know every single start line you plan to roll up to next year. You do however need to know what your top targets are before you begin more detailed planning. The first step of the race selection process is sitting down and creating a list of events that interest you. Have fun with this. Don’t filter your thought process just yet. Once you have your list of events, long or short, it is then time to narrow things down. 

Most endurance athletes will compete in multiple events within a season. Why would you train so consistently for a long time to race only one or two times per season? Also, racing can be some of the best “training” you can do. On the flip-side, you cannot race every weekend all season long (or even every-other week for that matter). Racing takes a toll and interferes with an overall training progression. Racing too frequently degrades your fitness over time and does not allow for an adequate build of training load. Fitness gets lost in these situations and the results you desire are hard to find.

The ABCs of Race Selection

When you do choose to race, you want to race hard and give it your best effort on the day. That said, you cannot be in “top form” for every race you enter. For some races you enter you may recognize that you won’t be at your best, but the benefits of racing are still present. Your fitness and “race-readiness” ebbs and flows with your training phases and your lifestyle demands. Therefore, different events must take on different levels of priority. This allows you to reach higher levels of fitness for specific events (peaking). It is a well known practice when laying out your next racing season to assign priority levels to your events as: A, B and C.  The following is a breakdown of this concept that will help you in your season-planning process: 

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Goal Setting: Your Season Ahead

  • November 14, 2019
  • Blog
Originally posted October 31, 2018. Updated November 12, 2019.

Goal setting begins the planning process towards your next season. Organizing your thoughts and creating a formal written outline of what direction you want to go with your training, fitness and competitive results is a key piece of the Mental Fitness puzzle. If you don’t know what you want to achieve… then how do you know what you need to do to get there or if you are making progress in the right direction along the way?

Going beyond simply thinking about what you want to achieve and further developing a strategy on how you are going to achieve is the process of setting goals.

Make Goal Setting work for you

The idea of setting goals is something many people are familiar with, but few take the time to formally address. It can be difficult for some athletes to write down goals. However meeting your goals is often more difficult if they are not written down in the first place. Once you have decided upon your goals, take it a step further and write out exactly how you plan to meet those goals (use a pencil here because you may change things a bit as you discuss with your coach or support structure). If you’re not sure of exactly how you are going to meet your goals, obtaining direction from a coach, or friend, can help you talk it out and make the right decisions. Knowing what you want is one thing, but outlining a plan that gets you from where you are now with your physical and mental abilities to where you want to be is what makes goal setting an effective tool in your mental fitness tool box. 

Goal setting is a multi step process that is extremely valuable for all athletes. The following are some helpful steps and techniques you can implement to help make your own goal setting more effective.

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Nutrition Periodization

Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Performance

  • September 20, 2019
  • Blog

As your physiological training demands change with your training objectives, your nutritional demands change as well. The basic principle of Nutrition Periodization is simply that: changing your dietary consumption to match that of your training efforts. Periodizing your diet can be achieved on two levels. The first is the larger training block level of macro-cycles. The second is the smaller weekly level of day-to-day training in micro-cycles. The goal of periodizing your nutrition is to improve your cycling training program in two primary ways:

  1. Better Fueling for Improved Performance (increasing fitness)
  2. Maximizing the Quality of your Nutrition (improving health & body composition)

Proper fueling will allow an athlete to maximize their training efforts and adaptations making their training more effective. Similarly, maximizing the quality of your nutrition will enhance an athlete’s recovery from training. In other words, more effective training and enhanced recovery lead to improved body composition and increased fitness. Achieving a lean body composition is critical for maximizing performance in an endurance sport such as cycling. In fact, for many riders carrying an extra 10 pounds or more, it can be the single biggest performance booster there is! For this reason, periodizing your diet around your training program can be a big help in working towards your fitness goals.

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Finding Form with these Strategies

  • July 19, 2019
  • Blog

Your Base has been built. You put in the quality Race Prep training. Now you’re just a few weeks out from your A-Race. The time is now for… Finding Form.

What exactly is form?

Form is the combination of high fitness coming from a quality training block, high freshness from appropriate restoration, and race readiness from the right pre-event workouts that leave you prepared for a peak performance.

Finding Form is essentially the taper and peak process going into your A-Event. The final weeks heading into an A-Race can be the most difficult time of the training season for many athletes. At this point in the season, with two weeks to go, the training is done; “the hay is in the barn,” as is said. You worked hard for many weeks, if not months, to build fitness and prepare for a peak performance. Your last few weeks of training may have been among your hardest and/or highest volume depending on your target event demands. Regardless, you should be very fit, and likely quite fatigued from the quality work.

Freshen Up to Find Form

With your fitness at or near its highest point of the season, it is now time to recover and freshen up for a peak performance. With high fitness comes high fatigue (as both come from consistent training). While you can still race well with high fitness and accumulated fatigue, you will almost certainly race even better (ie. “peak performance”) if you can shed that fatigue and replace it with freshness; all while minimizing the loss of fitness… AKA: the taper and/or “finding form.”

Within that statement above is the tricky part of finding form… In order to gain fitness you must accumulate fatigue; meaning you may be very fit, but also a bit tired or lacking freshness. In order to gain freshness you must lose (some) fitness. It’s a balance and one that can be a difficult task to achieve to perfection. You must train hard to get fit. As you train hard you get tired. To perform your best you must train less (for a short bit) to regain freshness and achieve a peak performance. Sounds easy, right?

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The Waite Endurance Base Builder Programming

  • November 9, 2018
  • Blog

It’s the Off-Season. Time off from events means it’s Base Builder time.

Base Training, or Base Builder as we call it, is the theme for this time of year. Despite the common theme, everyone has a slight variation on what base training entails. However the overall theme is the same: to put in the training time to build fitness, from general to specific, before your next racing season.

Autumn and Winter is the time of the year most endurance athletes commonly associate with base training. At this time of year, we’re several months away from race season and it’s time to build our general fitness. With general fitness intact, you’re better able to handle the more demanding loads of race specific fitness that follows. General Fitness to us means the least race specific fitness. Since racing is a ways off, we can spend time on areas that either get neglected or we simply can’t afford to train when in the midst of racing season.

The Energy System Chain-Link Model

We think of fitness as links in a chain. One end of the chain is very low intensity (your all-day riding pace); and the other end of the chain is very high intensity (your 1 rep max anaerobic strength). The two ends of the chain are then connected by all the energy systems that lie in between. From high to low, these include: power movements in the gym, Peak Power on the bike, Anaerobic Power, Vo2 Max, Anaerobic Threshold, “Sweet Spot”, Aerobic Threshold, and Aerobic Endurance.

When we begin to build our base fitness for racing a bicycle we begin by training the outer most links (the least race specific). For example, we first focus on the two far ends of the energy system chain: peak movement strength (ie. weight lifting) and aerobic endurance. After that, from these two “ends” of the energy system chain we move progressively inward as we build base fitness. As a result, we progressively move towards the more race specific energy systems in the middle of the chain. 

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 6

  • March 29, 2018
  • Blog

Five down and one to go!

Our off-season is nearing its end and the competitive season is right around the corner. It’s time to put the finishing touches on our off-season Base Builder Program with our 6th and final block of training. To recap, our in-house group training program began back in November working from the low-intensity end of the energy system spectrum with pedaling skill work and aerobic intervals; then progressing through progressively higher intensity energy systems in monthly blocks: Aerobic Threshold (2-4 hour power), Anaerobic Threshold (32-64:00 power), Vo2 Max (8-16:00 power), and Anaerobic Power (1-4:00 power). The 6th and final block of our Base Build Program is the highest intensity (on-bike) energy system: Peak Power.

Peak Power is your top-end sprint power… Everything you’ve got of 4-8 seconds!

With the racing season approaching we plan to reach top-end intensity to finish off our off-season Base Build Program. This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Upon completion of our Base Build we’re ready for our competitive season of specialized training and racing. At this point we can then begin to back out the intensity while adding in more endurance training to meet our target race fitness goals.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 5

  • March 4, 2018
  • Blog

Spring is on the horizon and we’re 2/3 complete with our Off-Season Base Build Program with the final 1/3 coming up! I’m not going to lie, the last 8 weeks have been challenging for our 45 in-house athletes training with us Monday-Thursdsay each week. The middle third of our program is perhaps the most challenging on the bike with Anaerobic Threshold intervals (block 3) and even more so the Vo2 Max intervals twice weekly (block 4). Combine that with continued resistance training on Mondays and Wednesdays and you can see how the training load is reaching a peak. See exactly how we structured our Vo2 Max intervals on the bike in our previous post in this series: Block 4.

This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Our upcoming Block 5 makes up weeks 17-20 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about each previous block from links at top.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 4

  • February 3, 2018
  • Blog

It’s February and we’re now halfway through our Off-Season Base Build Program. Our local, in-house program of 45 Denver-based athletes are now beginning to feel the fitness gains! We’ve met 4 days a week, most weeks, for the last 12 weeks for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. A solid base of aerobic and strength training has been established in the first half of the program. We’re now prepared to build off the basic fitness and add some appropriate amounts of higher intensity work in the form of faster more powerful movements in the gym (plyometrics) as well as shorter and more powerful intervals on the bike in the sound half of the program.

This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Block 4 makes up weeks 13-16 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about previous blocks from links at top.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3

  • January 15, 2018
  • Blog

Happy New Year! January brings block 3 of our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Upon conclusion of Block 2 we took a little recovery time through the New Year holiday window and returned on January 2nd for our second of 4 testing sessions within our 6-month program. Our first test was at the end of October right before we kicked off official training; test two was 8 weeks later right after the new year, tests 3 and 4 will follow in 8-week cycles at the 2/3 point of the program and conclusion of the program. We prefer testing every 8-weeks as this provides enough time for fitness to evolve and provides a carrot of sorts to keep your training consistent so you make the improvements you’re looking for.

With test results in-hand we can check progress, reset training zones, keep motivation high, and get ready for further improvements over the next blocks of training.

Block 3 builds upon Blocks 1 & 2 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 2

  • December 14, 2017
  • Blog

It’s December now and we’re digging into our second of six blocks that make up our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym and trainer sessions. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Hopefully a routine has been established in the first month of training, and you’re beginning to feel some level of fitness returning after your end of last season break. You can get the full rundown in the first post of the Series: Off-Season Base Training: Primer, and get caught up through previous posts in the Series Links above.

Block 2 builds upon Block 1 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

In my previous post I laid out the general weekly schedule that is built around three types of sessions: gym sessions, structured trainer sessions, and endurance sessions. We’ll continue to follow this scheme into block 2 and break down the subtle progressions in each of the three domains. Block 2 makes up weeks 5-8 in the 24-weeks of the Base Build Program.

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