Sunday, January 11, 2009

PowerCranks Update: Week Three Breakthroughs

I have been incorporating the PC's into every other workout, if not more often. Since, the weather has deteriorated here in 02139, I usually shoot for half to 2/3's of my base workouts to be completed on the PC's and then I switch over to a regularly equipped bicycle. I am starting to embrace the Colin H. Murphy approach to winter training, and I am using the trainer even when I could get outside. Scary.

I am now up to 5 minute work intervals with 30-45 second rests between intervals. My personal record is 13 minutes of straight pedaling (accomplished at the end of the PC portion of my workout yesterday). I foresee being able to stop resting in the next couple of weeks. As I increase the interval length and decrease the length of the rests, I expect to get to a point where it will be obvious that I no longer need the rest. I am using care not to push too hard, as I don't want to ruin a 3 hour workout, by trying to pedal straight through in the first half hour.

I have found that if I lower my cadence, I can pedal the PC's for longer. Also, when I am putting out a minimum of power; base, aerobic, zone 2; my heart rate is up in the upper levels of what most coaches call base and lower tempo or zone 2, lower zone 3.

Mind you, I am not breathing hard, or pushing hard on the pedals, just my heart rate is high. I attribute this to the increased number of normally unused muscle groups that are recruited to keep the PC's turning. According to the PC literature, this increased number of utilized muscle groups will lead to an increase in my VOMax. Though I am skeptical about this claimed benefit, after making these observations, I could be led to believe that this is true, if my heart rate starts lowering while doing the same work with the PC's.

I plan on installing a 52 tooth chainring on my PC bike this week, as I am spinning out the small ring regularly on the trainer.

I have had the opportunity to ride the PC'c outside again. I found that they are feeling more natural. I am not struggling as much to keep the bike moving and keep the pedals turning. Also, I have significantly lowered my cadence when on the road with the PC's, which makes for a more stable and less jerky ride.

I can also "sprint" on the PC's. If I start in a huge gear and "run" on the pedals, I can get keep them moving while out of the saddle for as long as I am accelerating. Once I hit a high cadence, I get sloppy and it becomes dangerous. I have not really tried any significant climbing on the PC's, but I look forward to it once the weather allows it.

I no longer find pedaling these frustrating and I am not sore after my PC workouts. Nor have I seen any benefits yet. I guess that I am sticking with them due to faith. Others have benefited, so I feel like I will too. I will keep plugging away and updating you weekly.

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