Off Season Cardio

I’ve kind of had a reoccurring theme this week.  If you haven’t guessed, it has been the off season training.  Even amateurs can benefit from getting into the habit seasonal training.  Even if you aren’t a serious racer (i.e. weekend warrior), this type of training can help you can ride longer and you won’t as sore on Monday for work.  I really wanted to cover cardio today because that is something that can be somewhat tough to work.

I work part time at a gym here in Tampa.  I see plenty of people come in and hit the treadmills and stationary bikes for at least an hour and a half; and they come in 5 or 6 times a week to do the same thing.  They kill themselves and I can tell their legs are on fire.  This got me thinking…is this really an effective way to build up your cardio?  It just doesn’t seem logical to come in and kill yourself like this.  This is where heart rate training comes into play.

If you know your maximum heart rate, you can calculate the percentage you need to be in.  For fat burning, you usually want to be in around 50 – 60% of your max heart rate (HR).  To get the body burning the fat, it takes about 20 – 30 minutes for the body to begin this process.  However, if you want to get that cardio up, 70 – 80% of your max HR gets you into that MX training zone.

If you are just starting out training, a good place to start (as far as length of the cardio session), is a little more than the time of your average race.  If your race is about 15 minutes, do your cardio for 20 minutes.  From what I have read, the best way to be prepared for your event is to train 3 to 4 times longer than your event.  So for a 15 minute race, 45 to 60 minutes would be needed to train.  Now, remember, this is for a steady pace of 70 – 80% of your max HR.  Trying to do that with interval sessions would murder you.

This whole concept of this cardio is for getting your base down and expanding out from there.  Doing this about 3 days a week is a pretty solid time for recovery.  You don’t need to kill yourself in the gym every time.  Training efficiently is more effective and you will see the results on the track much sooner; plus you won’t risk the possibility of over training.

Posted on Dec 17 2009, under Training | No Comments »

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