Training by Feel is using your physical sensations to asses which training zone you are in. Although it was developed before the advent of heart-rate monitors and power meters, it’s useful to be aware of how you feel in each training zone.
Feel can be measured using what they call ‘Rate of Perceived Exertion’ (RPE). The Borg Scale was developed using a rating of 1 to 20 and this was later reduced to 1 to 10. However, for most people who are training for fitness rather than high-performance, it’s more practical to reduce this to 5 training zones. You can always refine this to 10 once you get used to it.
If you don’t have a means of measuring heart-rate or power here’s a table that will help you to assess which zone you’re in. If you do have a heart-rate monitor and power meter, it’s a useful exercise to pay attention to how you feel in each zone.
The table below provides some guidance to help you identify which zone you are in.
|0||Recovery||Easy spinning||Easy||Non||Effortless pedalling.|
|1||Endurance||Light resistance||Light||Light||All day pace.
You can talk normally.
|2||Tempo||Some resistance||Slightly deep||Some||Brisk riding for a couple of hours.
When talking you have to pause between phrases to breath.
|3||Threshold||Some muscle pain||Deep but controlled||Heavy||An effort you can maintain for 40-60 minutes.
You can only say short phrases.
|4||VO2max||Lots of effort||Panting
Can say odd words
|Dripping||You can keep this up for a few minutes.
You can’t talk more than one or two words.
|5||Anaerobic||Maximum effort||Soon get out of breath||Dripping||Sprint.
You can’t talk.
There’s a lot of talk nowadays about ‘Sweet Spot Training’. This is an effort level just below Threshold and is more-or-less the upper half of Tempo. When cycling it can be described as an effort just below where your legs start to hurt and your breathing is deep but not gasping. One pointer I use is that if I can’t easily take a drink or eat an energy bar then I’m going too hard.
Flow and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
When you get into a state of Flow your RPE will be reduced for a certain effort level. See Flow
Training by Feel and Cycling Technique
Riding by feel will help you to become a better cyclist. As you become more aware of your body and mind you’ll be able to pace yourself more effectively and learn to be more aware of your posture and pedaling style. This will help you to assess your fitness and fatigue.
Non-Athlete Fitness : How to Develop a Lasting Running Habit
Triradar : Triathlon Training by Feel
Competitor.com : Train by Feel for Better Results
Competitor.com : Learning to Run by Feel
Runners World : Learn to Run by Feel
Physical Therapy : Perceived Exertion
Sports Fitness Adviser : Health Benefits of Running