Whats your limiter?

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MarkAshton
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Whats your limiter?

Postby MarkAshton » Mon Dec 10, 2012 16:50 pm

I have been doing 2x20 intervals recently. I have been progressing but I am wondering whats stopping me from going harder.

For me, I am 99% sure its my legs. If I push too hard, they will either slowly produce less and less power, or cramp up and cause me to stop for a few seconds. Breathing wise I feel ok (unlike when doing a 5 minute interval which is very CV taxing).

I just wanted to know what other people "feel" when they are on the limit of a 20 minute interval i.e. whats stopping you going harder?

Setarkos
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Setarkos » Mon Dec 10, 2012 18:29 pm

IIRC 20min intervals are done very close your lactate threshold so your are producing lactate more quickly than your body can get rid of it, so that is your (and probably everybody elses) main limiter when doing 20min intervals.

MarkAshton
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby MarkAshton » Mon Dec 10, 2012 18:39 pm

Setarkos wrote:IIRC 20min intervals are done very close your lactate threshold so your are producing lactate more quickly than your body can get rid of it, so that is your (and probably everybody elses) main limiter when doing 20min intervals.


I understand that (the science bit), but I want to understand what people "feel" stops them from pushing harder?

Tom Dean
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Tom Dean » Mon Dec 10, 2012 18:51 pm

fitness

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wardieboy
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby wardieboy » Mon Dec 10, 2012 19:05 pm

For me it's cramp. I can spin at 115 rpm but find that if I do for longer periods I can feel the twinges of a cramp coming on. Lowering my cadence to 90-95 seems to be optimal for me at the moment, I do find that I feel like I am sometimes reigning in the power but know if I push too hard I will end up cramping.
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springtide9
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby springtide9 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 19:13 pm

Tom Dean wrote:fitness

+1
Simon

MarkAshton
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby MarkAshton » Mon Dec 10, 2012 19:40 pm

springtide9 wrote:
Tom Dean wrote:fitness

+1


So if you were to explain this to an alien? Your breathing so hard you cant breath any more? Your legs are about to cramp up? You legs just turn to jelly?

For me, I am never sure what's making me not go harder when cycling. Running is easy for me to describe.

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Herbsman
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Herbsman » Mon Dec 10, 2012 20:39 pm

OOps, feel? I don't feel anything limiting me.
Last edited by Herbsman on Mon Dec 10, 2012 20:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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springtide9
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby springtide9 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 20:43 pm

MarkAshton wrote:
springtide9 wrote:
Tom Dean wrote:fitness

+1

So if you were to explain this to an alien? Your breathing so hard you cant breath any more? Your legs are about to cramp up? You legs just turn to jelly?
For me, I am never sure what's making me not go harder when cycling. Running is easy for me to describe.


The reason why you can't go any faster is that your fitness is not good enough. It's the same for us all.
There are some fairly standard relationships out there that define relationships between intensity and duration.

As with running, the faster you ride, the shorter the duration you can keep it up for. e.g. Your 10k pace is very unlikely to be the same as your Half Marathon.
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okgo
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby okgo » Mon Dec 10, 2012 21:13 pm

Only sometimes do your legs give up before your breathing does, usually when your legs have been hammered the days before.

If you're not fatigued then yes, the thing holding most people back is a combination of everything, fitness sums it up. The fitter you are the harder you can push without your body producing lactic acid. Wiggins could ride for an hour what I would have to kill myself to do for 5 minutes! Obviously an extreme example where genetics will come into play, but for most people its fitness not genetics limiting them!
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Setarkos
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Setarkos » Mon Dec 10, 2012 21:14 pm

springtide9 wrote:Your 10k pace is very unlikely to be the same as your Half Marathon.


It'll be fairly close though ;)

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springtide9
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby springtide9 » Mon Dec 10, 2012 21:22 pm

Setarkos wrote:
springtide9 wrote:Your 10k pace is very unlikely to be the same as your Half Marathon.


It'll be fairly close though ;)


True, and the same generally applies on the bike. You can pretty much cycle at 90% of your FTP for a couple of hours.
But just like the bike, your 1500m pace is slightly different to your 10k pace.

And if you've done a reasonable amount of endurance training, you'll also probably manage a good 80% of your FTP for 4 hrs or more.

And look where this is leading us.....
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twotyred
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby twotyred » Mon Dec 10, 2012 21:56 pm

I just wanted to know what other people "feel" when they are on the limit of a 20 minute interval i.e. whats stopping you going harder?


My legs are my limiter which is probably as it should be for a threshold session. But in the end, as I'm pretty well trained, genetics is my limiter.

JimboPlob
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby JimboPlob » Mon Dec 10, 2012 22:04 pm

okgo wrote:Only sometimes do your legs give up before your breathing does, usually when your legs have been hammered the days before.

If you're not fatigued then yes, the thing holding most people back is a combination of everything, fitness sums it up. The fitter you are the harder you can push without your body producing lactic acid. Wiggins could ride for an hour what I would have to kill myself to do for 5 minutes! Obviously an extreme example where genetics will come into play, but for most people its fitness not genetics limiting them!


But riding at FTP for an hour, surely its not breathing. In the last few minutes, maybe if you can empty the tank. I personally am only limited by breathing on short duration efforts i.e. 5 mins or less.

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Alex_Simmons/RST
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Mon Dec 10, 2012 22:07 pm

Setarkos wrote:IIRC 20min intervals are done very close your lactate threshold so your are producing lactate more quickly than your body can get rid of it, so that is your (and probably everybody elses) main limiter when doing 20min intervals.

Efforts such as 20-min intervals at ~ FTP is typically 10-15% above power at lactate threshold.

Our primary limiter is our rate of ATP production/regeneration.

Setarkos
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Setarkos » Tue Dec 11, 2012 00:00 am

Alex_Simmons/RST wrote:Efforts such as 20-min intervals at ~ FTP is typically 10-15% above power at lactate threshold.


Should've said MLSS, got that mixed up - my bad. (Closely related anyway)

Our primary limiter is our rate of ATP production/regeneration.


Which lactate levels (MLSS and LT) are a direct indicator for.

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Alex_Simmons/RST
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Tue Dec 11, 2012 05:20 am

Setarkos wrote:
Alex_Simmons/RST wrote:Efforts such as 20-min intervals at ~ FTP is typically 10-15% above power at lactate threshold.


Should've said MLSS, got that mixed up - my bad. (Closely related anyway)

Yes, an improvement in one is matched by an improvement in the other, which should be no surprise given it's the same underlying metabolic processes that're involved.

Part of the problem is the myriad of definitions for "threshold", even when talking about BL values. Which is why power output is so good, since it's what you can actually do, rather than an arbitrary response measurement.

Setarkos wrote:
Alex_Simmons/RST wrote:Our primary limiter is our rate of ATP production/regeneration.


Which lactate levels (MLSS and LT) are a direct indicator for.

Yes, although I'd say that our power output (or O2 utilisation) at MLSS/LT is a better indicator than what our BL level happens to be.

Setarkos
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Setarkos » Tue Dec 11, 2012 08:18 am

The question was, what people "feel" when they can't push any harder in a 20min interval. If they push really hard in the last few minutes it can be breathing but that's because they are well above threshold then. If it's a steady effort what happens is that ATP from glycogen is produced at a rate which is to fast for the body to oxidise NADH/H+ to NAD+ without reducing pyruvate to lactate. So lactate accumulates in the muscle inhibiting ATP production so saying it's ATP production/regeneration or lactate accumulation is really splitting peas if it's not a chicken-and-egg-problem.

Otherwise regarding the usage of power, I completely agree with you but that wasn't really the point of discussion, was it?

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Alex_Simmons/RST
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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Alex_Simmons/RST » Tue Dec 11, 2012 08:57 am

Setarkos wrote:The question was, what people "feel" when they can't push any harder in a 20min interval. If they push really hard in the last few minutes it can be breathing but that's because they are well above threshold then. If it's a steady effort what happens is that ATP from glycogen is produced at a rate which is to fast for the body to oxidise NADH/H+ to NAD+ without reducing pyruvate to lactate. So lactate accumulates in the muscle inhibiting ATP production so saying it's ATP production/regeneration or lactate accumulation is really splitting peas if it's not a chicken-and-egg-problem.

The primary difference is that the point of excess lactate production is a relative marker, not an absolute one.

IOW people will have different ATP production capacity at the same BL level, and it's the volume of ATP that dictates our power output (limits).

Setarkos wrote:Otherwise regarding the usage of power, I completely agree with you but that wasn't really the point of discussion, was it?

The OP was wondering what was stopping him from going harder in his long intervals.

The answer is an inability to sustainably generate more ATP. He could feasibly train to do that yet see no change in his BL level at threshold.

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Re: Whats your limiter?

Postby Trev The Rev » Tue Dec 11, 2012 09:14 am

MarkAshton wrote:I have been doing 2x20 intervals recently. I have been progressing but I am wondering whats stopping me from going harder.

For me, I am 99% sure its my legs. If I push too hard, they will either slowly produce less and less power, or cramp up and cause me to stop for a few seconds. Breathing wise I feel ok (unlike when doing a 5 minute interval which is very CV taxing).

I just wanted to know what other people "feel" when they are on the limit of a 20 minute interval i.e. whats stopping you going harder?


"Feel", this does not exist when you train with power. Power meter data is the be all and end all of everything, stop worrying about feel. It is only your fitness which is holding you back. You see the power meter data tells all. The power meter data does not show feel, or if it is your legs or heart or lungs which give out first, this is because it is not relevant. All that matters is the power. This is why cadence is a red herring. You can be gasping for air at low force high cadence or legs screaming high force low cadence but is the power that counts. Forget all this feel stuff. Concentrate on power.


To answer the original post though, being an old timer who can remember how cycling feels and used to be able to pace my efforts even without a power meter (amazing skill but useless in the modern world), I found it was always my breathing which was the limiting factor. Pain in the legs is something I was always able to tolerate but the close to black out gasping for air pain I found very hard to cope with. This was the case no matter how fit or unfit, well trained, not trained for months, overweight or at race weight. For me it was always my breathing which was the weak link. Now I train with power and I don't feel anything, I just ride at the decided power and ignore all feelings, it is amazing how I can keep the power on for so much longer.
I have found some odd things show up in the power data though. After long efforts at high power there is a sudden stop in the power, zero power for several minutes of which I have no memory. There might be a problem with my power meter which I have sent back to the manufacturer - again.


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