Monday, September 1, 2008

A roadie without Roads

For the cyclist, the hectic city streets of Buenos Aires never seem to end and the traffic is down right relentless. You just can't escape into the country by bike and that means no five hour group rides, 3 hour recovery rides before work or any other sort of distance training. The city just not deisgn for that. How on earth the local triathletes train for the bike leg of an ironman on the KDT circuit is beyond me. I find those endless 2 minute loops mind numbingly boring and the more my mind struggles the less intensity I can hold.

So what's roady to do? How can a cyclist every get really fit without spending 20 hours a week on the road? The Tabata Protocol is one way:

Tabata Protocol training is named after it's Izumi Tabata, Ph.D., who did research at Japan's National Institute of Fitness and Sports. The actual creator of the workout was a coach of a Japanese speed-skating team, but the protocol was refined after research by Tabata affirmed the aerobic and anaerobic benefits of the interval training. It was simple enough for the team, 20 seconds of full effort skating followed by 10 seconds of full rest repeated 6 to 7 times. The entire session is meant to last 14 minutes including 5 minutes of warm up and 5 minutes of active cool down. Tabata helped prove that just 4 minutes of this extremely intense training would promote stronger cardiovascular fitness and anaerobic performance. Here we will break down examples of the training into two sections, the average person and the advanced athlete.

What I like best about Tabata style training is how quickly it's over. The mind only needs to be highly focused for the short "on" period. 20 seconds of intense suffering ain't so bad. I did this sort of training during my last season of criteruem racing to good effect and I think it fits the city life rather well.

Come to think of it, much of the cross fit work that Julia did in Santa Cruz resembled Tabata's protocol and that worked wonders for her too.

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