How to measure the intensity of training?
According to our previous article, we tried to get an idea about the 03 variables in which a coach should be sustained in organizing a training. Further, we talk about the importance of training frequency, as well as duration, and lastly about the intensity that will be our focus.
Therefore our main question here is: How can we measure our intensity and how can we get information about it in our trainings?
Cardiac monitors entered the market in the 1980s. And since then, they have become the most popular measurement among athletes. Although this may be true, does it really represent a reliable measure of our intensity in training?
While heart rate is a way of checking a measure of training effort, at the same time still suffers tremendous influence from the context of the environment. To explain better, let’s see some examples:
All these factors cause our heart rate to increase, which under those circunstances may confound our assessment of the intensity in which training was completed.
Therefore, we should rather consider heart rate, but only as a reference effort, because it’s still linked to other metrics that it is more reliable to follow as a measure of intensity.
Functional Threshold Power/ Pace
The first step in learn to control our intensity, is to start from a reference. So, in this case, what is our current intensity? And that’s what we call “Functional Threshold power / pace.” It will be the starting point of our metrics.
Because this refers to the maximum power / pace that the athlete can generate in 1 hour of work.
In swimming and running, we can discover this measure through specific tests in which our reference will be our pace.
And as for a cycling, the best way to get it is through a powermeter.
There are several protocols for obtaining these measures, but my recommendation is:
Note: It is important to emphasize that it is necessary to have a complete body warm up before performing these tests.
After completing the tests, we can then determine the training zones for each discipline.
With this in mind, for these training zones, my recommendation is the (Coogan / Friel) protocols described in the table below.
From now on, the subject begins to get very interesting. This thanks to the constant contributions of the master Joe Friel, in which does not need introductions. Author of several books, among them the best seller: “Triathlete’s Training Bible”. This well-conceived coach and legend, who today is dedicated solely to propagate this tool that is already revolutionizing the way we observe sports training.
Through TrainingPeaks®, we will have access to the next metrics in which we can identify aspects never before imagined. And they are of paramount importance to determine the actual situation of the athlete, as well as how he is reacting to training intensity, and where he intends to arrive at his preparation.