MtbRaceNews.com article: Training with Power vs Heart Rate:
Training with power can give you the opportunity to take your road cycling and mountain biking to the next level. Check out the most recent article I wrote for mtbracenew.com :
The Big Three: Principles of Training you Should Know
Apply these principles to your training program to get the most out of the time you put into your workouts.
Every individual is unique in their own way. Some are good at short climbs, others at long climbs, some recover quickly from stage races, others not some much, some athletes do great on lots of volume, others not so much, and the list goes on and on.
Therefore, any training program you go with needs to revolve around you and only you. How much you train, how hard you train, when you train, and how much recovery you need should be based off you and only you. You are a unqiue individual and the best program for you is YOUR program. If you want to take training/racing to the highest level, always come back to this basic priniciple.
Build a program around you!
Get specific to what you are getting ready for. If you are racing for a mountain bike race that has a long 60 minute climb in it, 3-6 weeks out from that race start getting a workout in at least once a week that is very close to the intensity and duration of that climb. If you have a climb that is very similar, great! If not, do your best with what you have.
The closer you get to your high priority event(s), the more specific you should get. This also includes temperature(i.e. hot or cold temps), time of day you race, altitude(anything over 5000-7000 ft or Sea Level if you live at altitude), terrain, and specific events (i.e. crit vs road race). Every race has different demands and you should set your training plan up around that.
Add this priniciple to your training and you will start seeing improved results at your high priority races.
When training your body works like this: you push it beyond it's capable limits; damaging muscle fibers, stressing the heart out, taking your mitochondria to their limits(energy production cells), and absolutely tear it apart. Your body is actual worse after this. You are fatigued and your body is in a repairing mode. Depending on how hard you pushed your body, this can be anywhere from 24 hours to multiple weeks or months to repair. After this stress to your body, you HAVE TO let it repair itself to improve.
The key here is to stress the body out! Then let it recover.
Then it will supercompensate, or improve = you get faster!
Now that you are faster, the only way to get better again is to repeat the sequence. However, now your body is stronger. So you have to push it to new limits. You have to be "progressive" and you have to "progressively overload" your body. This is a continual process and is always a means of either increasing the intensity(i.e. more intervals, harder intervals with more power) or volume(i.e. longer days in the saddle, longer weeks of training volume).
As your body gets stronger, continue to challlenge and push it to new limits it hasn't seen before. This is super, super important to avoid hitting a plateau and to continue to improve.
These are 3 of the key elements to any training plan. Anytime you look into your training plan, come back to the big three and make sure you are following them.
Do this and you will be one more step to becoming faster in any sport you participate in!