If you don’t have a means of measuring heart-rate or power here’s a table that will help you to feel 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.
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 as most training zones can be reduced to 1 to 5 it’s easier to use that. You can always refine this to 10 once you get used to it.
|1||Recovery||Easy spinning||Easy||Non||Effortless pedalling.|
|2||Endurance||Light resistance||Light||Light||All day pace.
|3||Tempo||Some resistance||Slightly deep||Some||Brisk riding for a couple of hours.|
|4||Threshold||Some muscle pain||Deep but controlled||Heavy||An effort you can maintain for 40-60 minutes|
|5||VO2max||Lots of effort||Panting
Can say odd words
|Dripping||You can keep this up for a few minutes|
|6||Anaerobic||Maximum effort||Soon get out of breath||Dripping||Sprint|
What is Feel
Feel is based on your perceptions of how your body is feeling but there are also psychological factors as well.
Local and general/centralised effects : Lactate levels and oxygen debt associated with anaerobic work are associated with local signals.
These are mainly muscular aches and pains. You may also feel these in your tendons and joints which is a good indication that you’re going too hard and should ease off before you cause any injuries.
Fatigue is another sensation.
Central factors: These are more concerned with your cardio-vascular system.
- Breathing = laboured, breathlessness
- Heat-Rate = Blood circulation
- Skin temperature = sweating
Psychological factors can affect how you perceive your level of exertion. Anxiety, depression; Extroverts and reducers have been found to have lower pain thresholds.
Flow and RPE
When you get into a state of Flow your RPE will be reduced for a certain effort level. See Flow
Feel and 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