You've got to learn to love the suffering - 2 absurd ways to make your legs burn less


A while back, subscriber Harry asked : 

'Climbing is my strong point on the road but get me on the
dirt and I suffer due to quickly building up lactic acid I cannot
readily deal with.

How can I work on building endurance for those lengthy climbs?'

 
Good question!
 
So...
 
Your Lactate Threshold is the
amount of time it takes before
your legs start to burn.
 
The higher your lactate threshold the longer it
takes before your legs feel as though they are
on fire. 
 
Top riders in any discipline have insanely high
lactate threshold's
 
There are many ways to improve it.
 
Just riding more will help (slowly though)

If you really want to fast track it so you see the 
difference in how long it takes for your legs to
start burning, and for how long you can handle
that burn when it does start, then I have 2 
favourite ways. 
 
What I would do is combine these 2 methods.
 
Do both, twice per week on separate days.
 
First - high resistance intervals 
 
What you want to do is find a long, steady,
relatively steep climb and select a super
high gear that you can only get about 60rpm*
on when pushing your hardest 
 
*Revolutions per minute. The number of times your 
crank spins in a minute. You want your foot to return
to the bottom roughly once per second
 
Alternatively jump on an exercise bike and pick
a high resistance that you can only achieve 60rpm
on.
 
Push as HARD as you can for 60 seconds and FORCE
your legs to keep moving when they are on fire.
 
Then drop the resistance and take it easy for 60 seconds (or ride back
down the hill if outside doing this)
 
Then go hard again for 60 seconds.
 
And repeat as many times as you can handle.
 
Lets say you manage 8 intervals.
 
Next time do 9, then 10 and so on.
 
The key with this is picking a hard enough 
resistance that despite your hardest efforts 
you simply can't get the RPM much higher
than 60rpm.

If it goes higher - up the resistance.
 
You should find about 30 seconds in, your legs 
are on fire. Keep grafting and DO NOT GIVE in
until the 60 seconds is up.
 
If you are serious about improving your lactate threshold 
then it's going to hurt...a LOT.
 
Next up :
 
Two - High rep work

Last time I advised this someone had a paddy, unsubscribed 
from my emails and left me a note saying that this idea is 
'absurd, pointless and downright crazy!!!' hahaha.
 
Maybe absurd...definitely crazy...but my god it works! 
 
If you have a gym membership then pick either
the Leg Press, Hack Squat or Leg extension and 
pick a weight you can only just do 30-35 reps with

No lighter than that.
 
Now - I want you to get on the machine and do One Hundred Reps
without having more than a 5 second rest.

Yes. You read that right.
 
Do 100 reps with the weight you can only lift for 30.
 
You can't get off the machine, and you can't stretch off/get out
of the position until they are done.
 
You should find when you do 30 your legs are on fire and 
you are at your limit.
 
Take a 5 second rest and do it again for as many reps as possible.
 
Maybe 15 more...then rest 5 seconds.
 
Repeat until you reach a hundred.
 
If you like you can curse and call me every 
name under the sun for suggesting you do
this (that's what my clients do) but DO NOT
drop the weight and DO NOT rest for more
than 5 seconds. Even if you can only do 2 reps 
at a time...get to one hundred.
Even if you are on that machine for ten damn minutes.
 
You'll get off and your legs will be jelly.
 
You'll feel like you need a walking stick if
you do it right.
 
But I promise one thing.
 
Do 2 of the interval sessions above per week.
 
And 2 of the 100 rep sets per week at the beginning
of your gym session and within a couple of short
weeks you will see the difference on the bike. 
 
Kick.
 
Scream.
 
Swear.

Do what you like.
Just don't make excuses as to why you can't
or shouldn't do the sessions.
 
Do the workouts and you will smash anyone else
you ride with on the climbs. 
Train hard...to make the playing on the bike more fun!
 
Matt Mooney
 
p.s. Not only does it increase the amount of time it takes
for your legs to burn. But what these sessions also does is make you
mentally tougher.
 
You get used to handling the pain.
 
As Nino Schurter says 'You gotta learn to love the suffering'