The Value of Tempo Rides

Mar
28

Posted by Coach Mark Sortino

Over the years I've come to value the zone in training often called “tempo” for the bike. For Team MPI, we call this zone 3 and define it as 76%-90% of Lactate Threshold. If an athlete doesn’t have power or heart rate information, then this zone would be 5-6 on a scale of 1-10 for Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). I have, oddly enough, both heard and read some coaches state that training in this zone is training in “no man’s land” - that is, it’s a waste of time. That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, training in Zone 3, or the Tempo zone can be hugely beneficial to athletes in many ways as it:

  • Increases muscle glycogen storage *
  • Helps adapt Type IIb to Type IIa (fast twitch) muscle fibers to take on roles of slow twitch muscles
  • Increases muscle mitochondria density
  • Increases lactate threshold
  • Increases blood plasma volume
  • Increases stroke volume/maximal cardiac output of your heart
  • Increases VO2 max
  • Hypertrophy of slow twitch muscle fibers

* achieved better in zone 3 than any other training zone

 

Training in this zone can be very effective from 20 to 50 minutes and longer. We often break up time in the zone to ensure that the athlete stays focused and stays in the zone the entire required amount. For example, 2 x 20min with 5min EASY in between or 3 x 15min with 5min in between. This zone is challenging in that it’s not too difficult, but requires concentration for continuous effort or else the athlete can easily slip into the easier zones of 1 and 2.

In the traditional periodization flow of training, training in this zone works well in the middle or tail end of the Prep or Base phase. However, I often write these sessions for Elite athletes throughout the year as they reset their training after a big race and enter another build phase. We then can move on to Threshold, VO2 Max and Anaerobic Capacity zones or any combination thereof.

So spend time in the “Tempo” zone - you will absolutely benefit from doing so!

~ Coach Mark Sortino

Share |

Keep up with the Blog with RSS.

 

Archive

Consistency and Variability: Two Key Ingredients for Successful Endurance Training

Posted by Coach David Bauerle on January 14, 2018

Testosterone and endurance exercise: the "exercise-hypogonadal male condition"

Posted by Coach Manuel Delgado Goana on January 14, 2018

Team MPI Celebrates 8th year of Excellence in Endurance Coaching and Coach Mentoring

Posted by admi on January 10, 2018

Training for your First Triathlon

Posted by Coach Liesl Begnaud on January 07, 2018

Mastering the Art of Choosing Our Reason "Why"

Posted by Coach Chris Palmquist on January 07, 2018

Triathlon is for Every BODY

Posted by Coach Adam Sczech on January 01, 2018

Watch Your AIM in 2018

Posted by Coach Mark Turner on January 01, 2018

Surviving the Holidays, One Bite at a Time

Posted by Coach April Corey on December 17, 2017

A “Heavy” Conversation

Posted by Coach Mark Sortino on December 10, 2017

The Revelations, The Risks, and the Rewards - Part 2

Posted by Coach Mandi Kowal on December 10, 2017

 

Full Blog Archive

Sign up for our Newsletter

Keep up with the latest tips, news, and events from Team MPI.