Part of the review process of the 2008-2009 season is totaling hours. Did you hit your target? What type of change should you plan for next year? Kate Whitcomb recently posted an interesting piece on her blog titled “Counting Time,” discussing an important training issue – how do you count hours for many training activities. Biking hours are always up for debate. Kate points out that biking is non-weight bearing, and that downhills, especially on a road bike, require almost no exertion. She counts bike races at 75% hours and rides at 50%.
Kate also talks about strength training and recounts an interesting test. One of her coaches took lactacte measurements of a number of athletes during a strength workout. Effort peaked in level 4, and the conclusion was that strength should be counted at 100% time, and as a hard workout.
Of course, as with all things training, there are few hard and fast rules. Kate’s protocols for counting hours might not make sense for you. The important thing in counting hours is consistency and accurate reporting. The goal is too keep track of your training for evaluation purposes. You need to be able to look back and see what went well, and what didn’t. You can’t move forward if you don’t have an accurate picture looking back.
A few things to watch out for:
– Don’t fall into the trap of hours for hours sake. You aren’t training to have an impressive training volume at the end of the season. You are training to get faster. Sometimes that means less training. Padding your hours will not help you reach your goals.
– Be consistent. Decide how you are going to count activities, and then stick to it. If you count a three hour bike ride at 100% one week, and at 50% the next, you will not have a clear picture of your training.
– Be realistic. This is similar to the first point. Think critically about each of your workouts and record the training benefit as well as the training hours. Kate mentions that certain activities don’t get counted as training at all, but do get noted in her log. This information can be useful looking back.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.