Ride Sally Ride, Continued

I'm more into riding my Peloton and watching the new season of Senor de los Cielos than I am reading about Donald Trump and Russia. (Warning: auto-play video on SDLOC link.)

I've had the bike for two weeks now and have taken 26 rides. Some were only 5 minute instructional classes, but some were 20 and 45 minute full-length classes with difficulty ratings of 7 and 8 (out of 10). I promised a review when it first came, and here it is: In a nutshell, I absolutely love it. [More...]

Even this article in the New York Times won't deter me. As with all exercise programs, you should check with your doctor first.

First off, if you are considering one, try to get to a Peloton store to try it out. The staff in Denver (Nick, Jono and Katie) have been incredibly helpful with instructions, settings and tips, as well as patient. Manager Nick offered to make a house call if I had any trouble with the settings after the bike was delivered. He looked up my target heart rate range and wrote it down for me. When my shoes arrived, I brought them into the store and Jono put the cleats on for me. He let me test their heart monitor while taking a class in the store, taught me how to move the bike parts around by myself to change settings if needed. (He made me repeat it over and over to make sure I really got it.) When I had a minor issue about the handlebars, Katie knew exactly what I was trying to describe and had the answer. I would have googled for hours to find it. I haven't had to call Support once, because even after I ordered the bike, these three are more than happy to help whenever I just drop in -- no appointment needed.

Second, people should realize this bike is an investment, not just a toy. Just as you wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it, I wouldn't recommend buying a Peloton bike without trying one out in the showroom or wherever else you find one. Maybe very fit people in their 20's can adapt to anything, but I doubt most people in my age group can. (If you are not in a Peloton showroom city, they sometimes hit the road, and recently began selling a commercial version you might start finding in local gyms soon.)

Some tips (especially for "older" riders", who like me, are one of those people who order a ton of exercise stuff from DVD's to home equipment and then never use it or get bored with it and give it away.)

Before committing, try out the classes at the Peloton showroom. Read everything you can about the bike, and not just on their website. Given that it costs $250. to deliver and another $250 to return, making a mistake would be costly.

Before your bike arrives, watch all the instructional videos (each is under 5 minutes) on seat and handlebar positions, clipping in and out, heart rate, etc. I can't say this often enough.

Especially if you older than 50, or have never taken a spin class, take it slow. The instructors may tell you to dial the resistance up to 50, but if your heart rate is already soaring, and you need to keep it to 15, that's fine. Same for speed (cadence.) The instructor may call out 100, but it's okay if you are at 40. You will increase in time, it's not worth having a heart attack over. Out of 1,200 people taking a class, I'm usually in the bottom 10 (and most of those below me apparently left the class early since their numbers stopped moving up.) You don't need to compete against anyone. On the other hand, you should encourage yourself-- I've already had 6 "personal bests".

More for the over 50 crowd: Check with your doctor before buying the bike. Make sure that you don't have some condition that makes spin classes unwise. I think the heart monitor is critical if you are over 50 or have any heart issues.

You will want some other accessories. Like the gel mat, especially if you have hardwood floors.

I also recommend the headphones Peloton sells, called Hellas. That way you can pump the volume up as loud as you want and not bother anyone in your house or if in an apartment, your neighbor. Make sure you use sport-intended headphones because you will be drenched in sweat whatever your level. (For example, Beats Wireless Solo may get ruined by sweat.) The Hellas recommended by Peloton are just fine. While I found them very difficult to pair at first, I'm glad now I got them. They even come with a tiny mesh bag for the laundry (for the ear covers, not the headphones themselves.)

If you have air conditioning, and put the bike in an "open" room, I don't think you'll need to buy a fan. While the bike doesn't have one, I haven't gotten overheated once -- even when dripping in sweat.

I also recommend putting the bike somewhere prominent in your home -- mine is in the living room. If I put it in a bedroom I would just close the door and not think about it every time I walked through the house. I don't have a basement, but for the same reason, I wouldn't put it there.

Add some extra time to the classes -- while I don't have to drive to the gym, just assembling my "accoutrements" and putting them in a basket on a small table next to the bike takes me 15 minutes or so. I have to put on bike clothes, attach the heart monitor, fill the water bottle, grab the iPhone, the TV remote, tissues, my cycling gloves, my Fitbit watch to compare my heart rate to the heart monitor stats, a small towel and on and on. At the gym, I do that in fast-forward time as I'm usually late for the class. At home, where there's no time restraints, it takes longer. Also, once I get on the bike and turn it on, there are so many classes to choose from I usually spend another 10 minutes checking them out before deciding which one to take. By the time I actually start pedaling, a half hour has gone by.

Some of bike's pros:

It is smaller than it looks -- 2 feet by 4 feet -- and absolutely silent. No rocking and very stable.

All of the instructors are really, really good. It feels like you are in the studio and they are talking just too you. (They also have live classes where you are in the studio -- virtually but of course not really.) There's a variety of personalities. Some feel like the pal you'd hang out with at a bar on a Friday night; Some exude compassion and encouragement, like an older sister; Some are inspirational, and impart a lot of information, like a favorite teacher. All communicate on a personal level and make me feel like I can do this. There's no rivalry, no criticism. When they call out live members of the class, there's only praise, no telling anyone they can do better.(This morning I took a class where the instructor congratulated a rider named Laura on her 2,400th ride. Last night I took a class where the instructor said "hello" to the Mayor.)

You can choose your class by type (beginner, advanced, interval, and some other choices) and by music genre (there's separate categories for Rock and Classic Rock.)

In addition to the instructor classes, you can take virtual rides through dozens of countries. There are thousands of classes and rides (as well as live classes) and you can bookmark them to take later.

There's also hundreds of "beyond the ride" videos, featuring other forms of exercise to complete your program, including yoga, stretching, warm-up, cool-down, and more.

The 22 inch monitor on the bike is impressive, you really don't need to screen mirror it to a big TV -- of course, I needed to make sure that I could and while I have no idea how I did it, it's done. My Apple TV, and all computers and mobile devices are connected to the Peloton App and my big TV. I can also use the Apple TV to watch my music videos stored on my computer on the big screen TV instead of taking a class. Sometimes I'll watch Senor de los Cielos on the big TV while I'm riding (I just log into a Peloton class and turn the volume off, so I can still see my "metrics" like cadence, resistance, output, heart rate and calories burned.)

There are holders for your water bottle, phone or remote controls. And holders for 1 pound weights (although right now I can't even imagine taking my hands off the handlebars.)

You will sweat -- a lot, even if you are pedaling slower and easier than the instructor recommends.

While I don't use my real name on their Leaderboard, I did include my age group in my profile, and I like being able to see the metrics of others in my age group. I also like to see how many people are in the class (with the on-demand classes I assume it's a total number of those taking it. Some past classes have 3,400 or more riders, and I can't imagine there are that many people taking the recorded class at the same time as me. Then again, with 500,000 users, maybe they are.)

Are there any "Cons"? A few, but they are pretty minor.

Clipping out of the bike pedals is really really hard for me. Sometimes I just get my feet out and let the shoes stay in. This is even though when installing the bike, they loosened the tension a bit. I can pretty much get the right shoe in and out quickly now, but the left shoe is hit and miss (and I did have the cleat settings checked.)

The bike seat is very hard, much harder than I remember the saddles at spin class. I'm told it will get easier, but I couldn't wait. I got a Schwinn Memory Foam seat cover for under $20 at Target. Peloton recommends the Schwinn gel seat cover but Target was out and I wanted it that instant. It's made a world of difference.

The bike does not let you surf the internet, it only allows you to connect to the Peloton app. Actually, I now think that's a good thing because if it offered more internet, I'd take fewer classes and watch movies and TV and music videos. The classes, instructors, metrics and the Peloton community are the main point of getting this bike -- it would be a waste to ride it just watch TV or check your email (more than occasionally).

Also, I don't much care for Peloton's reliance on Facebook. I never use it and wouldn't participate in any group online that required me to use my real name. I can't figure out why Peloton doesn't just use bulletin board software.

Last: I expected the music to be more prominent during the classes -- The spin classes I've attended in person always made me want to sing along -- loudly. The music in the classes I've taken so far seems more like background music. And while the music is all licensed from Spotify, you aren't going to find the Rolling Stones or even Bon Jovi -- I assume the licensing is just too cost prohibitive. Oldies, by the way, seem to be the late 70's and 80's. Update and Correction 7/22/17 : Today I took a class that was all Rolling Stones, the music was loud, and even the instructor sang along. It was great! Sorry, Peloton!

Why am I writing this long review? Do I expect TalkLeft readers (who are mostly in or close to my age group) to go out and buy a Peloton? Maybe not today or tomorrow, but perhaps someday. Am I making any money from this review? No. Do I have an affiliate contract of some sort where I get paid if someone buys one? No.

Partly, it's that I've been fascinated by the bike for months, due to the company's success story and its lack of competition. Notwithstanding the prominence of social media, which Peloton has made great use of, it's like nobody noticed for so long it's probably too late for anyone else to catch up.

But mostly, I just love the bike and am excited to have found something physical I can still do, especially to music.

I'll stop here, since it's time for Senor de los Cielos. [If you aren't interested in my bike or Peloton, please just scroll on by -- there's no need to tell us -- I obviously am interested or I wouldn't write about it.]

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  • Display: Sort:
    Does the app let you (none / 0) (#1)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 01:19:28 AM EST
    Dial 911? Sounds like I would need that. But, to be fair, I need that just lying in bed.

    It took me years (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 09:23:32 AM EST
    Decades really to find a piece of equipment I would use regularly.  When you find it, it really is like finding a perfect significant other.  

    For me it was a STAIRMASTER.  Not the cheap imitations.  I got this one back when I was making money.  It was 2500 in about 2000.  Probably more now.  But I absolutely love it.  I use it every day.

    Well, at least 6 days a week.  That's my red line.

    And I agree about putting it a place where you will use it without finding a back room.

    I'm very lucky that in my new house the utility room, which is separated from the living room by a folding teak room divider about 12 ft wide.  That means it is about 8 feet from my 65 inch and sound system.

    My stationary bike (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by fishcamp on Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 12:55:07 PM EST
    is next to my bed looming over me.  It's going into the office room.  But now that the Tour de France comes on at six every morning, I try and ride along.  When they go to commercials I get coffee.  My bike has a holder.  I need one of those shirts with pockets in back for snacks.  I need to snap out of it down here...

    how long will it be going on for? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 01:57:51 PM EST
    Maybe I'll record it and do the same thing.

    The Tour de France (none / 0) (#7)
    by fishcamp on Fri Jul 21, 2017 at 07:50:36 AM EST
    bicycle race ends in three days.  The race is 21 days long.  

    I once had treadmill (none / 0) (#6)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 11:04:37 PM EST
    at home and my Golden Retriever was panicked, trying to pull me off of it.....I guess he thought the machines was trying to get me.....

    The interval training (none / 0) (#5)
    by MKS on Thu Jul 20, 2017 at 11:02:37 PM EST
    seems to be really popular.  I think the spin classes and Peloton does this too.

    The idea being that short burst of maximum effort are better at burning fat and boosting metabolism than long steady state cardio.

    I tried the version of doing several sprints.  And, it seems to work.  It really gets you going in a shorter period of time.

    I appreciate the review Jeralyn (none / 0) (#8)
    by ruffian on Fri Jul 21, 2017 at 08:49:59 PM EST
    Not in the market for one now, but it is inspiring me to get moving, as our former FLOTUS would say.  Good tips for those of us of a certain age who have been sporadic with our fitness routines. Definitely would have to get checked out before starting anything that strenuous at this point.

    I would for sure have to put it in a prominent place. I have hidden many devices in back bedrooms and basements. I have an ab machine in my office now I move to vacuum around every week. My problem is that if it is not as perfectly stable and smooth and quiet as professional gym equipment, it annoys me to no end and becomes an excuse to not use. Sounds like the Peloton is worth the money in that regard, and the classes part has always intrigued me. I think that would keep my hooked in.  Sounds like a perfect home fitness machine.

    I think everyone should have at least three (none / 0) (#9)
    by McBain on Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 11:28:47 AM EST
    different locations for exercise..... home, the great outdoors and some kind of workplace or small commercial gym.  I don't recommend the big chain gyms.  You don't want to get burned out on the same place, same equipment... variety is important.

    For the home setting, the Peloton sounds like a good piece of equipment, I'll be interested in hearing more about Jeralyn's cycling activity.   My favorite home workout machine is the Concept2 rowing machine. Rowing is a full body motion that can give you a great workout in under 10 minutes but it's not for everyone.  

    For outdoors, I don't believe jogging on flat ground is good exercise.  I prefer short, steep hill sprint intervals.  Most people hate them but a good, tough workout on a hill with a nice view is often the highlight of my week. I had a nice run in Griffth Park a few days ago up to the spot where one of the La La Land dance scenes was filmed....beautiful place.   It just feels great to be active outside.  

    I can't stand big commercial gyms.  Too many examples of bad exercise behavior.... dozens of earphone zombies walking on treadmills while watching TV.... or people using strength machines or free weights with terrible form.  A smaller gym usually has a better environment.... fewer muscle heads and fashion conscious cardio queens.  

    As Jeralyn noted, people should check with their doctor before starting a new workout program.  Overtraining can be worse than not exercising at all.    

    Terrible form (none / 0) (#10)
    by MKS on Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 12:17:10 PM EST
    Everyone's workout is a little bit different--it is like artistic expression.

    In terms of bad form, one of most impressively built guys (6' 3"  250 lbs and ripped) was giving advice to a guy with some muscles but a bit pudgy.  Screw supplements etc.   Just eat a lot to put on muscles...."Carl's Jr....Food,"  he said.  And don't worry about form, just
    "crush it" when you go to the gym.

    For him, genetics gave him an advantage....His advice not so good for the rest of us.

    And, all those people with bad form, they are trying.  I give them credit.....and form can often be in the eye of he beholder.  And most everyone is more than interested in "good form," with bad form resulting from bad habits often started by people trying to increase the weight too fast.   Most are more than willing to take advice.....(which begs the question of the source.)



    There's actually a lot of really smart (none / 0) (#12)
    by McBain on Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 03:30:10 PM EST
    bodybuilders.  It's one of the more cerebral sports. A lot of thought goes into each repetition.  But, I tend to agree.... the big guy in the gym probably can't relate to the person with average genetics.  

    The way things work in the world of exercise is similar to everything else... people tend to do what they're good at.  Those who are naturally strong and build muscle quickly are more likely to stick with a weight lifting program.  Those who are naturally good at endurance sports are more likely to run a marathon.  When people experience difficulty or failure, it's tempting to quit and try something else.

    I tried a spinning class once.  Kinda got dragged into it.  It was mostly fun but the 7am start time meant it was a one time thing.  


    Your hill intervals (none / 0) (#11)
    by MKS on Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 12:23:31 PM EST
    do follow the most recent thinking on cardio for fat burning and increasing one's metabolism.....Sprints will have you burning at a high level long after you stop.

    And intervals will cut the time you need to run by a lot.

    But, imo, nothing beats being able to run 3-5 miles and not be knocked out at the end.  

    And, one last thing, your outdoor experience at Griffith Park comes courtesy of the tree huggers all you guys made fun of.   20 years ago, Griffith park was choked by summer smog.....Dreaded, enemy of the Libertarian, Regulations changed all that.


    Interval training has been around (none / 0) (#13)
    by McBain on Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 03:40:25 PM EST
    for a long time but our country went away from it during the jogging and aerobics movement.  I'm not a big proponent of distance running but the runner's high can be amazing.  

    I corrected my post (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jul 22, 2017 at 05:17:51 PM EST
    about their music. I just wasn't looking in the right place. Yesterday I took a 30 minute all Rolling Stones class where there was a lot of singing along and the music took center stage.

    They have "theme" classes like "singalongs" and "boomers" -- it was in the boomers theme!

    This morning I took a singalong class -- it wasn't my favorite music but not bad -- I lasted the 45 minutes and hit another "personal best."

    Also I'm getting a tiny bit better at clicking out of my left cleat -- but it's usually on my 10th try and I can't remember which position worked. The other day I got out by doing the left foot first. That didn't work today, but getting out of the right foot and then crossing my right leg over to the other side behind my left foot worked.

    One thing I'm not going to do is call for takeout and then get on the bike. I might not get out of the pedals in time to answer the door.

    Clicking out should be easier (none / 0) (#16)
    by ragebot on Mon Jul 24, 2017 at 05:20:32 PM EST
    with newer floating cleats than the older non floating style Look Delta cleats your Peloton bike uses.  One of the biggest reasons floating style cleats became so wide spread was because they were a lot easier on the knees.  It is possible to switch out the pedals so you can use the newer floating style cleats.  Also keep in mind as cleats are used more they wear somewhat making clicking out easier.

    Just my two cents (none / 0) (#15)
    by ragebot on Mon Jul 24, 2017 at 05:01:49 PM EST
    But I have finished 15 Ironman distance triathlons and won several age group awards in tris and biking so I have lots of time in the saddle.

    The first thing to understand about training is you don't get better from training, you get better from recovering from training.  So it is important to understand how well you are recovering.  It is well established the best way to monitor how fast you recover from a workout is to monitor your heart rate.  For me this means wearing a heart rate monitor 24/7.  There are several ways to do this but what I do is wear a Fexix. The one I wear is a Fenix HR 3, which is an older model.  There are plenty of other options including a simple measure of your heart rate by putting your thumb and forefinger on your carotid artery and counting to ten.  It does take a little practice but it is free.  If you do this for a couple of weeks when you wake up and write down your HR you can establish your normal resting HR and if it goes up you know you are training too hard and need to back off.

    There are lots of online sources to advise about how much time you should spend in LSD (Long Slow Distance) HR zone, and how much you should spend in an anarobic HR zone.  But basically it is about 85% LSD and maybe 5% anarobic with the rest warming up and cooling down.  But just starting out you want to error on the conservative side of lower HR.  While there is a range of advice it is all along the lines of more LSD and less anarobic.  To determine these zones you need to figure your anarobic threshold.  While there are formulas you can use to do this the best way is with a heart rate monitor.

    These scientific training methods not only allow better targeted training methods but are also safer.  Especially for guys like me who are on the wrong side of 70 but am still able to sail my boat to the islands and out dive guys sometimes 40 or 50 years younger than I am.  It always please me when I bring up more lobster than the young whipper snappers.

    you are so far ahead (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Jul 24, 2017 at 10:30:35 PM EST
    of me. You have been in triathalons. I've never run a mile. I read the article on the AT heart rate and did not understand it.  The Peloton stores my heart rates shown by the heart monitor during each workout, and I can view each one afterwards in a graph that shows the rate at the beginning and throughout the class. How about if I just show them to my doctor? Will she be able to figure out what rate I should aim for?

    Thanks for the pedal information, but while the Peloton cleats are tough to unclip from, my knees and toes face straight ahead and nothing hurts after so I think I'm gonna stick with them and just try to focus on each position I try so I can remember it when it works.

    You should feel very accomplished doing triathalons at any age -- I don't think I've ever been able to run a mile or do a pushup. Biking, light weight training, aerobic dance and Pilates are all I've ever tried.


    The way your body works (none / 0) (#18)
    by ragebot on Tue Jul 25, 2017 at 07:36:31 PM EST
    is somewhat similar to the way a hybrid car works.  While burning is not technically accurate you do need oxygen to combine with fuel in your body to produce energy (this is an over simplification) when you are in your arobic activity zone.  Your body also has some stored energy, like a hybrid's battery, that can be used that does not need oxygen which is your anarobic zone.  You can only stay in the anarobic zone for a short period of time.

    The oxygen your body uses is limited by your lung capacity.  When Lance Armstrong was biking at his peak he was described as a pair of lungs with legs.  Once your lungs inhale oxygen it goes into the blood in your lungs and your heart pumps the blood to your legs where it is used to "burn" the fuel.  The blood also carries the waste products from this "burning" back to your lungs where it is exhaled.  The amount of blood your heart pumps depends on how fast your heart is beating.

    But your heart can pump blood faster than your lungs put oxygen in the blood and release waste products you exhale.  This is what your anarobic threshold is.  Where your heart is pumping faster but not getting any more oxygen to your body.

    One older classic way to estimate your anarobic threshold is to get on a stationary bike and warm up for 10 minutes.  Then increase the effort by upping the gear or increasing the resistance.  When you graph your heart rate it will be at an angle like 30 degrees to start and go up at a similar angle as you increase the resistance.  The angle of the graph will go 30,35,37,40 or something like that.  Once you reach your anarobic threshold the graph will have a dog leg; a jump from 40 degrees to 80 degrees.  Where this dog leg is is a good estimate of your anarobic threshold.

    Modern methods use the term VO2 max heart rate to describe a similar concept.  VO2 max can be estimated by formulas but there are also very accurate ways to determine it.  Most universities have something called a Movement Science Department (back when I was in school they called it Physical Education) where they put you on a tread mill with what looks like a hospital oxygen mask covering your nose and mouth.  You run on the tread mill and the angle is increased.  The amount of oxygen you inhale and CO2 you exhale is measured using machines attached to you and your heart rate is also measured.  As part of their class work Movement Science grad students do this and if you get to know a grad student they will do it for free for you.  Otherwise you can pay $US100-250 for the test.  A good estimate is to subtract your age from 212 to get a rough estimate of your AT.

    But you need to be more concerned with what is called your resting heart rate.  This is your heart rate when you are still in bed after you wake up from a good nights sleep.  This is a very personal thing.  The Big Mig in his prime had a resting heart rate of 34.  Bill Rodgers, the greatest modern marathon runner and only person to win Boston, New York, and Fukuoka (most prize money of any marathon) all in the same year, had a resting heart rate of 72.  When there is such a wide spread in the resting heart rate of world class athletes it is clear there is no good way to estimate a persons resting heart rate.  You can buy a simple heart rate monitor for $US20-30 and wear it to bed for a couple of weeks to get a good estimate of your resting heart rate, especially if you write it down every day.  As you train your resting heart rate will most likely decrease.  But if you see a sudden jump you know you need more rest and less training.  As I posted earlier you can buy more expensive heart rate monitors that automate tracking your heart rate and produce graphs on your smart phone.  Names like Garmin, Fitbit, and others come to mind but Amazon has lots more.  Given the cost of your new toy I would suggest you invest in one of these.


    Good stuff (none / 0) (#19)
    by MKS on Tue Jul 25, 2017 at 09:59:34 PM EST
    Any thoughts on interval training (like sprints) v. long or standard distance running?  

    The body  builders swear by sprints to boost metabolism and burn fat but keep muscle.  But, even if true, it still seems to me that being able to run at least a few miles is key to overall fitness.  

    But, heh, with Ironmans under your belt, burning fat probably not a top priority for you.


    Training can build your body up (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by ragebot on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 12:33:57 PM EST
    or tear your body down.  The way to tell the difference is daily tracking your resting heart rate when you wake up once you have established a base line.  As a rule after say a month of tracking your waking resting heart rate you should know what your base line is.  Most folks who train on a regular basis will have a HR around say 40 beats a minute after a good night's sleep (and I can't emphasize enough how important it is to get enough sleep).  If your HR is say 42 it is no big deal, but if it is say 47 this means you need to recover before you stress your body with more training.  Also keep in mind that if you need 8 hours sleep and you only get 5 hours of sleep this will increase your HR as well.

    As I posted earlier "burning" is a misnomer of sorts.  No one burns fat.  Your body uses ATP (adenosine triphosphate)for power.  Your body can create ATP from carbs, fat, and protein.  In all three cases water is needed.  The standard formula is you need 1 gram of water for one gram of carb, 3 grams of water for 1 gram of fat, and 9 grams of water for 1 gram of protein.  Runners use the term carb loading to describe loading up on carbs the night before a long run.  But you can only store enough carbs for about a 2 hour run.  After that your body starts using stored fat and most folks have enough fat for about a 10 hour run.  After that your body starts burning protein (in the form of muscles) for power.  Keep in mind that these numbers are an estimate for an athlete who has trained scientifically.  So you need to train not only your muscles but your stomach to convert the food as well.

    As for the actual type of training you do a standard running workout might be on Tuesday you run intervals (normally 3 miles with a warm up and cool down); Thursday you run hills (5 miles); and Sunday you run long slow distance (12+ miles).  The other days you do recovery runs, maybe around 5 miles.  If these distances seem too long adjust the length but keep similar ratios and/or add one or more rest days.

    Also keep in mind that exercise builds up lactic acid in the muscles you are using (your legs for running).  At some point your body can "burn" this lactic acid but it requires a lot of water; and you need to train as well to do this.  Some runners swim right after a run so using their arms swimming helps burn off the lactic acid the run built up in their legs.

    Which brings me to a sorta answer to your question/comment about overall fitness.  Running does build up your legs and  general fitness.  But swimming does more for your upper body.  While biking is leg oriented it uses different muscles than running.  Triathletes talk about how important the transition from the bike leg to the run leg is; and how much it needs to be trained for.  Another issue is running is often hard on knees and ankles.  Biking can be hard on knees, and at times ankles.  Swimming can be hard on shoulders.  Bottom line is all three activities require different parts of the body to be fit.  And as we age we may need to train in different ways to stay fit.  At my age I seldom run any more (I have had ACLs on both knees and an MCL on one knee).  But I still bike and swim at fairly high levels for my age.  No question I will not be doing the Croom Trail Run or the Arkansas Traveler, two of my favorite races again.  But I still am able to do the Dare to go Bare.


    Already have it (none / 0) (#20)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 02:19:17 AM EST
    (from Peleton) and I never get on the bike without putting it on. You may have missed this in my post:

    Add some extra time to the classes -- while I don't have to drive to the gym, just assembling my "accoutrements" and putting them in a basket on a small table next to the bike takes me 15 minutes or so. I have to put on bike clothes, attach the heart monitor, fill the water bottle, grab the iPhone, the TV remote, tissues, my cycling gloves, my Fitbit watch to compare my heart rate to the heart monitor stats, a small towel and on and on.

    Here's how it works.

    I also keep a pulse/oxygen finger thing on the table next to the bike and at compare it to the heart monitor at least once. And I wear the fitbit when I bike so I can check the comparison.

    So if you are suggesting I focus on my heart rate when I wake up, the monitor wouldn't do that because it's only connected to the bike when I'm on it, not my smart phone.  Easy enough though to use one of the other two devices when I wake up.


    You can also do a resting HR check (none / 0) (#21)
    by McBain on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 10:45:33 AM EST
    right before you start exercising.  That's what I do. It's not as good a true, first thing in the morning check but it's still valuable information.  Just relax and sit still for one minute and note your HR. If you do that every time, you can track trends.

    Another important thing to monitor is your recovery HR.  After a really tough sprint or climb, check your heart rate and then sit still for exactly one minute and notice the difference.  Fit people will usually get a 25-50 beat drop in one minute.  

    For health (my goal) studies have shown a significant increase in all cause mortality of people who get fewer than 12-15 beats of recovery in one minute than those who get more.  

    FYI, medication can affect your resting, exercise and recovery heart rate.  


    Agree with how important (none / 0) (#24)
    by ragebot on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 12:45:01 PM EST
    How reliable is your Fenix3? (none / 0) (#26)
    by McBain on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 02:48:15 PM EST
    I've been  using the same Polar technology for the past 15 years. I'd love to lose the chest strap but my experience with wrist only watches hasn't been good.  

    My experience has been good (none / 0) (#27)
    by ragebot on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:35:02 PM EST
    Fenix has been better than any of my other stuff for wrist measured HR.  But as I explain later when exercising I use a chest strap.  Garmin has several other watches with built in wrist measurement that also allow the use of a chest strap.  There are several Garmin chest strap models.  The most expensive one is for use when swimming.  It fits tighter than the others and stores HR data and after the swim you have to upload it to your smart phone/whatever.  There is a high end running model that measures things like stride length and angle of foot strike.  There are models for use on a bike that measure your output in watts.  There are also basic HR straps with fewer whistles and bells.

    There is no reason a wrist only device can't work very well under some circumstances.  Those circumstances include a tight fit and almost no moisture between the sensors on the wrist watch and the person's skin.  The thing is most workouts involve sweating which means moisture on the skin; something that normally causes errors.

    But for things like monitoring HR during sleep (as long as the AC in working in the hot humid Florida summers) it works well.  The pulse O2 monitor Jeralyn linked to earlier is a good example of what I will call a medical quality instrument.  But if there is too loose a fit and too much moisture on the skin it will have errors as well.

    I often water walk in the shallow end of the pool at my condo for exercise when it is really hot and as long as I keep my wrist above the water the built in Fenix HR monitor works; but if I try the same thing swimming it has gaps in the data.  When I am planning to swim I use this chest strap with my Fenix.

    Bottom line is the more extreme your exercise routine the less likely a wrist based HR monitor will work well; but for just sitting around or walking it will probably work well.  This is a quotation from one of many articles on the topic.

    Our advice is that steady runs are adequate with optical tech, but if you're venturing into HIIT or gym work, chest straps are the way to go.


    Some fitbit models (none / 0) (#23)
    by ragebot on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 12:41:31 PM EST
    have the capability to track sleep.  One reason I like my Fenix is how well it tracks sleep and HR 24/7.  I am not sure which fitbit you have but I do suggest you wear it while sleeping; or at least put it on when you wake up and see what your heart rate is.

    I can't stress enough that scientific training is not just the training part but the recovery part as well.  This means not just training smart but recovering smart which includes getting enough sleep.  Before I retired the biggest problem I had training was not the swimming, biking, and running part but the getting 8-9 hours of sleep every night.


    This was a great series (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by CaptHowdy on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 12:54:51 PM EST
    Of comments RB.

    I learned more about exercise that I knew before.



    thank you Ragebot (none / 0) (#28)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Jul 26, 2017 at 04:38:41 PM EST
    Your comments have really been helpful.

    I took a rhythm class today that focused more on cadence than resistance, and you sped up for like 10 seconds then "recovered" for a period of time and then surged again and recovered, over and over. It did have a mountain but I kind of just do my own thing with resistance. I got my highest output ever.

    I'll wear my fitbit to sleep tonight and see what my resting heart rate is when I wake up. No way I can get 8 to 9 hours of sleep though, I'm lucky to get 7, and that's rare.