Understanding Your Workouts: Bike Glossary April 23, 2019 22:15 Updated Follow Not signed in? Log into your Purple Patch account for full access to your education program for coaches and athletes. You need to sign in to view this page. Purple Patch Bike Glossary Technical: This family of workout focuses less on the physical strain, or load, and more on technique, skills, preparation or recovery. The underlying theme of this family is "feeling good," so enjoy these important but lower stress sessions. Many simply turn off the mind in these sessions, but that is a mistake. Your best performance will always involve improvement in cycling skills, terrain management, and course execution. Prep Ride: This is a ride can be rejuvenating and also your chance to physically and mentally get ready for the work that is to come. Following this ride may be a race or a key session. It is worth remembering and learning what makes you feel good, and what you enjoy. It is all about making you feel better the next day. Recovery: Pure recovery with minimal, if any, efforts. We like to move some blood to help any soreness or fatigue while simply getting comfortable on your bike. The intent is low stress, but you still have a chance to ride well, with great form. Activation: An easier session that includes some short, intense efforts that will switch on the muscles and movement patterns to help you in future sessions. This should not be a session that creates deep fatigue, despite the ask of higher intensity. Endurance: Your fitness and endurance on the bike are obviously an underpinning to your performance both on the bike and the run that follows. Much of the riding you do must be smooth, or endurance focused - the bedrock of your racing preparation. Over-Distance: While I do not ask for too much huge over-distance work, the infrequent sessions prescribed will elevate cardiovascular and muscular fitness, improve postural fitness, develop mental focus and resilience, and allow a platform to work on proper fueling and hydration strategies. General: The baseline development of fitness, form and good habits. Resilience is a golden term here, and consistently properly executed endurance sessions will provide the backbone of race readiness. End of Range: This has become known as the “special sauce” of Purple Patch training. In your race, you will likely spend a high percentage of your time in a narrow range of output and cycling cadence (RPM), but there is high value in developing the tools and training at a very wide range of intensity and cadence. Consistency in these sessions establishes an awareness of your natural strengths, tools to manage various terrain and conditions, and the chance to vary loads to help consistent output and speed. Expect plenty of very low cadence and very high cadence in these varying and challenging sessions. Strength-Endurance: So much of successful triathlon riding is about the development of resilience, and the focus on low RPM at moderate to very low load is a great tool for the development of resilience, great for pedal stroke and a tool to bring cardiovascular stress down when needed. Building: I often place these intervals in when unsure how you may feel, relative to previous work, but also when I aim to develop a sense of pacing and progressive effort. These intervals are often low RPM but progress from smooth to the maximal effort over intervals or within each interval. High RPM = In addition to the strength and low RPM work, you will see the other end of the range by pedaling very fast, all the while keeping tension on the chain. Cardiovascular and neurological stress is high here, but it is an important tool to develop. In the real world of cycling, it is relevant to maintaining power and speed while coming downhill or in a tailwind. Event Specific: Similar to the swim specific work, we must focus on specificity towards the event we are preparing for. The goal is to find your pace, effort, and power that is appropriate for your race goals and simulate (train) for the experience and pacing of it. It is also a great time to blend your natural strengths, terrain management, and hydration and fueling strategies. Building: All of these sessions are executed with good posture, position, and pedaling. Then, as you would do in racing, we gradually progress effort through a ride, with the focus being on delivering your best effort and form in the final third of the series of intervals or ride as a whole. We must ingrain great riding in the final third of every ride. Interval: All intervals are based around just under, at, or perhaps just above your goal race effort. Consistency and smart management of these sessions will help you develop inner self-management and internal pacing. Race Simulation: The simulation is designed to test out your efforts and fueling strategies for race day. These can be challenging sessions, but with the correct lens, they are some of the most important ways for you to test and track your progress along your journey. Real-world riding range: The majority of your normal outside riding will default to a narrow range or what we call baseline cadence (RPM). For most riders, this is between 80-85 RPM. The low end of your cadence typically used in the real world is about 60-65 RPM (hills, heavy headwinds, etc.) and the higher end is about 95 to 100 RPM (downhill grades, tailwinds, etc.). This constitutes the real-world riding range of pedaling cadence. End of Range: While we spend most of our racing and riding time without our real-world riding range, expect to see a lot of "end of range" training at both extremes of these cadences. Strength-Endurance (SE) is under 65 RPM, and neurological conditioning is above 95 RPM and often asks for very fast cadences. Strength-Endurance: At Purple Patch, we consider this the special sauce of each rider’s development and have a heavy emphasis on very low cadence riding at a progressively increasing load. We label Strength-Endurance (SE) as any pedaling under 65 RPM, reaching as low at 40-45 RPM. SE is great for resilience development, technical progression, and increasing the number of muscle fibers into the usable mix. Neurological Conditioning: We label very high cadence work as neurological conditioning. This method is effective for improving pedal stroke and the dialogue between brain and working muscle. Neurological conditioning is a wonderful tool to increase efficiency. SE Pacing: This is a style of training week that is highly challenging, retains a "strength-endurance" and "speed" element, yet mostly focuses around the intentional demands of race-specific events. Expect hills and low cadence work but not as deep and low as a SE-focused week of training. SE Week: This is a hard week of training that holds a complete commitment to SE work. This will include very low and high force riding (low RPM), strength-based hill work, and typically a focus on running resilience. In any three-week cycle, this will make up one of the tougher weeks/blocks of training. Transition Week: During this type of week, riding will be focused on recuperation and freshening up, but with a weekend repeatable session that is challenging, race-simulating, and allows cycle-on-cycle progression and tracking of progress. Warm-up: In riding, this is an important part of any workout to not only get the blood moving and prepare for hard work ahead but also set the tone with great posture and pedaling. Race Effort: We can identify race effort via metrics with a rough range of power or heart rate associated with riding to the race-specific plan that you have. The preferred method is actually anchored around the feeling of racing. The goal is to become very, very good at evolving the feeling and sensations we want to find on race day, and then be able to dial into the power/heart rate associated with it. Terrain Management: We discuss this in riding, but it seems to be a forgotten piece of most coaches’ vocabulary. This is how you apply input/efforts to physical resources such as hills, flats, and descents of a piece of road, as well as the effects of wind (cross, tail, headwind). It is critical to understand how to manage terrain and environment to gain your best speed return for any given input/effort. Learn this and your biking improves even without fitness gains. Tailwind: A wind that is coming from your behind and "pushing" you down the road. Headwind: A wind that is into your face and consistently acting to slow you down. Crosswind: A lateral wind that hits from across one side of your body, creating a lateral force that interrupts natural linear progression. RPM/Cadence: How fast your legs are spinning. An RPM of 60 means each leg is taking 60 pedal strokes a minute. We do a lot of cadence work on the bike, both high and low, so having a bike computer that shows cadence is helpful. Ramp: To build through an interval. You will see this referring to both power and cadence. Build Intervals: We often ask for you to "build by 2." If you were asked to complete 6 x 10 min intervals and build by 2, this is not a progressive effort by 2 minutes. Instead, it is mapped to increase effort every two intervals. Number one and two are a similar effort, number three and four strongest, and the final two the hardest. Recovery: This is the type of riding designed to facilitate blood movement and promote recovery. It is a very easy effort with no fitness gains sought. This can be anything from a short recovery between intervals to a whole ride designed to promote recovery. Endurance Ride: An endurance ride is lower stress, but by no means simply recovery. The best phrase we can use is "pleasant fatigue." Its design is to improve cardiovascular and muscular conditioning but avoid higher intensity that will mute the ability to work hard in the key interval sessions. Time-Trial Effort: An effort of variable duration that is designed to hit your maximal steady-state output/pace/power for the time of the ride or interval. Spin: Easy riding with your gearing low enough to keep the legs spinning without any resistance. Usually used between intervals as recovery. Related articles Time-Starved Athletes: How do I modify my weekly Squad training program to maximize performance?