Tailwind Coaching Podcast - Cycling Fitness and Coaching Discussion
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The Tailwind Coaching Podcast makes real science real simple. It gives you training tips and advice to make you stronger, faster and fitter in less time.
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Using aerobic decoupling to increase cycling performance.
As a cyclist finishes their base training, it's important to evaluate how strong your aerobic base truly is. By using a metric called “aerobic decoupling” you can quickly and easily determine if your base work was effective and if you're ready to progress into harder high-intensity interval training. But before you can evaluate your aerobic fitness, you need to learn what aerobic decoupling is and how to use it effectively.
What is aerobic decoupling and why do we care about it?
If you're training with power, aerobic decoupling is a key measurement to evaluate as you perform base training. Aerobic decoupling is a numerical measurement of aerobic efficiency and endurance. It's representative of your body's ability to process oxygen and produce energy (as detailed in Biohacking Energy Systems) and is a marker of overall aerobic fitness.
Before you can appreciate the value of aerobic decoupling, here's a refresher about how your body produces aerobic energy and the concept of heart rate drift.
To produce energy, your body takes in oxygen through the lungs and passes it to working muscles via the blood stream. Oxygen and a fuel (fat, protein or sugars) are processed in the mitochondria to create Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the actual energy molecule that allows your muscles to contract and create pedaling force. Constant demands on the aerobic energy system can create a phenomenon known as heart rate drift.
Click through the jump to read the show notes for episode 78 of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast:
Heart rate drift and aerobic decoupling
Heart rate drift occurs because your body is an organic system and it fatigues under use. For example, in a 40k time trial, you will be working as close to your functional threshold power as possible.
Initially, your body will recruit as few muscle fib