Measuring Work-out Quality

Photo by jontunn.

Photo by jontunn.

I’m on the second week of training for a triathlon which includes two cycling sessions per week. Until now I’ve been going to spin class and needed to start biking outside. I broke out my Gary Fisher mountain bike, checked that the tires had enough air, and headed out for the 40 minute foundation ride the training schedule called for.

Most of the areas where I live that I can bike are relatively flat. I try to incorporate hills into my runs whenever I can and I chose to do the same thing with my bike ride. Even with the hills and keeping the mountain bike on has hard of a gear as I could handle, I felt pretty disappointed at the end of the 40 minutes with the quality of the work-out. Thank goodness I can push myself hard with ab exercises or I would have felt as though I’d done hardly anything.

Spin class to me is possibly one of the best work-outs I do. I think this because I sweat a tremendous amount in the class, I breathe hard, and I know that I am challenged in each class. When I enter spin classes in my training log, I always rate it with a high quality level, usually a 6-8 on a scale of 10. As I was putting my bike away and noticing how little I had sweat, I started thinking about the process and components I use to measure the quality of a work-out and wonder how you think about work-out quality.

Even though I had sweat very little on my outdoor ride, my heart rate stayed in the Moderate Zone the entire time which would indicate that I had both followed the direction of the training schedule as well as done a proper heart rate training work-out. According to “the books” I had a decent quality work-out, but I only rated it as a three in the training log. I have to imagine that part of the reason I could not maximize the quality of the outdoor ride is because I am stuck using a mountain bike until I can find and afford a proper road bike. Until then, however, I must figure out how to improve the quality of my outdoor rides.

When it comes to measuring the quality of my work-outs overall, the things I look for and will need to achieve in my outdoor rides are:

  • Lots of sweat no matter what the temperature is
  • Breathing at a rate at which I could not maintain a conversation
  • Feel as though I challenged and pushed myself
  • Reach my maximum HR several times throughout a work-out
  • Comfortable rating the work-out as a minimum of 6 and preferably an 8 on the training log (I have yet to give myself higher than an 8 in quality as I think I have to learn to work much harder in order to go higher)

How do you measure the quality of your work-out?

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  1. Pingback: Training Log Review: Runner’s World | Health and Running

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