Spin Impressions – Take 2

By the time I hit the shower after my second spin class, my legs were burning — but not so much as the first time! — and my mind was burning too, with conjectures and questions. Fortunately I have two experts to consult: Dan, my resident Tour de Danville expert, and Erin, our helpful Spin leader.

In my second class I learned a new definition for the word “recovery.” (In my day job as a technical writer, we require consistency in terms and their definitions.) Recovery does mean recovering from a sprint, but not necessarily at the percent I have identified as a Recovery heart rate on my training zones chart.  Apparently, when we sit down and ramp up the pedal RPMs with enough tension on the bike to simulate a flat road, even though the heart rate should be dropping, it will never get down to a real recovery rate. Erin confirmed this in the locker room.

Jogging and walking are other new terms to me. When we’re jogging, we are standing on the pedals (but keeping the glutes back over the seat) and spinning at a quick pace without a lot of tension. I’m still not sure, but it sounds like walking is the same stance but at the highest tension and with very slow RPMs. Or not? Erin does not use the word jumping (or at least I haven’t been able to pick that one up amidst all the noise), but I saw a classmate rising in and out of the seat.

This time, I was much more conservative with my heart rates. I did not increase the tension as much as I could have, and stayed out of the anaerobic interval zones until the last “hill.” My legs continued to feel engorged and sluggish most of the hour, but I did get some relief during recovery periods. I knew I could be working much harder, but I don’t want to overdo and then have to quit.

I cannot get any kind of pull up, even with my shoes securely fastened to the pedals. It just feels awkward and impossible to sustain both seated and standing. At dinner, Dan confirmed that it is possible, so I may have to wait until I get clip-in shoes. I believe that once I master a continuous push/pull stroke technique, the work will be more in my core muscles, with less weight on my feet, which will allow for faster spinning.  The best advice he gave me was to do long slow distance training to get my body used to biking in general. Going right into interval training as a beginner is not the wisest approach.

So today I’m headed to the upstairs row of stationary bikes to sit and read. I hope my legs will burn less as I get more bike time. Upstairs I can monitor my watts output, which is a great way to watch my body’s ability to adapt. The higher the watts compared to my heart rate, the more efficient I’ll be.

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