So I have seen the TV programmes, I have read the articles, "H.I.T. training is the way forward", I have done a reasonable amount of base fitness training (1 hour Heart rate zone 2 and 3 sessions on the turbo and a couple of visits to the gym) and this coupled with my 24 mile commute has meant that whilst in no way am I fit I am at a bearable level for a 47 year old cyclist.
It is winter and damn cold out there right now! So what better time to get on the turbo trainer and try to build on the base fitness?
I have been using the heart rate monitor on my Garmin Edge 800 and as mentioned previously it has added a new level of gadgetry to my training. It has made using the turbo trainer a far more absorbing thing (though that still isn’t saying much). I have been making workouts on my Garmin which I then carry out in the evening when I get home in the garage.
Three weeks ago I set up a HIT training workout and have dutifully carried it out three times. The workout is like this:
1) 25 mins warm up (Heart Rate Zone2)
2) 40 seconds flat out
3) 5 mins recovery (eventually getting to HRZ2)
4) 40 seconds flat out
5) 5 mins recovery
6) 40 seconds flat out
7) 5 mins recovery
8) 40 seconds flat out
9) 5 mins recovery
10) 40 seconds flat out
11) 15 mins warm down
OK so that all seems sensible!
What that little list of actions of steps does not show though, is just how frightening and painful those “40 seconds” are. The first one you feel a bit of a buzz, after the second one you are hurting quite a bit, by the end of the 3rd one you are feeling sick, and by the 4th one you worry that you may be having a cardiac arrest (for sure you are at your heart rate max). The 5th one seems to involve tears, praying to your God and wishing that a car would run you over taking you out of your misery, though this is not going to happen on the turbo trainer, but you can still hope.
The great thing about HIT training (so I read) is that it is supposed to lead to on-going weight loss and increased aerobic fitness also it is quite a quick exercise to carry out and you need do it only once a week (though a maniac like me is still going to be doing at least 4 other non- HIT sessions a week). I personally have a feeling that it is like child birth – you go through what I can only describe as unimaginable pain – yet a week later you forget that pain and happily skip off to the turbo to do it all again, by the 3rd 40 second interval you suddenly remember how painful it all is.
I am not sure what writing this article is going to achieve? If I write this all down, then maybe it will remind me of the pain and I will never do it again? I hope I can bear with it for a few months and then come the sunny weather I will notice the benefit. I have a real dream to complete a few 70 mile rides and a few 100 mile rides this year, I really want to go up a level in distance and also being able to do the distance with more ease, though all it will mean is I will go faster and still be as tired at the end of the ride!
I think given I am 47 that it really is now or never that I push myself to a higher standard. The first year was just getting used to exercise - the second year it became much easier and the distances greater - now I want to up that distance and then next year my cunning plan is to be able to do long rides back to back (then the TDF beckons - not)! Cycling is only going to give back what you put into it and the benefits of reduced body fat etc. are a nice bonus.
I will report back on firstly whether I keep it HIT and secondly whether the benefits were felt - I suppose this curiosity is what will keep me going with it. Either way I don't suppose it is going to harm me (though during the 5th interval I do sometimes doubt that).