This is a bit of a noob question, and I should know considering this is my 2nd year using trainer road. How does the endurance work outs make you faster, how do they make you faster compared to the vo2 work outs?
I understand building the base of your aerobic engine, but how does this make you faster when you’re not pushing your limits like a Vo2 work out? I am asking because I have a 5 session week (before I head to Mallorca) and they’re all endurance ones.
Long slow rides fatigue type 1 fibers forcing type 2 to engage more and more as the ride progresses. Oversimplified this means, in longer harder more selective situations during competitions more muscle fiber activation compared to less equals either more power late or more matches late. Or put a different way…pushing PD curve to the right.
I once heard the comparison to a highway and i’m not sure i remember it 100% correct but it was something like this: VO2 max/Threshold workouts improve how hard you can ride on that highway. Endurance rides add more lanes to the highway to allow more traffic.
I’m sure if it’s not fully correct someone with more knowledge will correct me.
I’d say vo2max is the engine size. At some point displacement becomes the limiter for increasing HP, but you can do a lot to improve the power putput for that size engine. You can even bolt
on a nitrous system(EPO)
LSD adaptations: these equal engine size. More years of endurance volume = greater displacement.
HIIT Adaptations: these equal engine efficiency. A HIIT cycle = greater output per liter (to continue the engine metaphor).
The endurance adaptations make you faster in the long term – bore out your engine as much as the block will allow. The HIIT adaptations slap a turbo on that engine you’ve built, but after a few weeks you have to pull the turbo off, or you blow the engine.
remember that vo2max is just a proxy for the amount of energy you can produce aerobically. so the things called “vo2max intervals” are kind of unfortunately named because they are not like specifically beneficial to increasing the amount of energy you can produce aerobically; rather, every different type of endurance training does, so ALL of it increases your vo2max.
Low intensity training is stuff like increased numbers of mitochondria, increased capillarization, etc. These things build slowly slowly slowly over time, take a long time to go away if you stop training, and definitely increase your vo2max.
As mentioned above - Mitochondrial density is improved massively by Z2 riding - that is the organelle that converts the sugars to energy in each and every cell in your body and therefore the more you have the faster you are…simples as the meerkats say!
Combo of both would probably be best if the person could handle it. It also depends on how the athlete responds. Will hit a point where more intensity won’t make you faster, you’ll eventually have to add more time if you’re looking to get better.
I think another thing to consider is the lower stress response from endurance rides, even long ones, compared to more stressful sweetspot or higher work sessions. Doing back to back days of longer rides is doable provided available training time isn’t an issue. It’s a great way of accumulating a lot of aerobic adaptations without the risk of burnout. Plus it’s a great way to improve body composition, if that’s a goal, without having to worry about restoring glycogen reserves for the next session; starting a long endurance ride with low glycogen stores is not a problem if CHO intake is done on the ride.