January 23, 2006

Steady State Of Pain

Morning Workout
1 hour 40-ish minutes
Heart Rate Zone: 3 x 10 minutes at Steady State Threshold (Zone 4)

Random Comments: We rode up the hill by Schwarzenegger's house this morning. Well, more specifically, we rode up the hill by the gate by the communityby the street by Schwarzenegger's house. I try not to get bogged down with the technicalities. Either way, I didn't see him out there. Or Maria. I didn't see either of them. In LA everybody talks about the celebrities they see. I figure maybe I'll just start talking about the celebrities I don't see.


Our bike ride this morning was 3 ten-minute intervals at Steady State Threshold (SST). Which would be Zone 4 of the 5 heart rate zone program. Zone 5 is called VO2 max. VO2 max represents the fastest your body could move without an engine lodged in your ass. Zone 6, to put it in perspecive, would be death - which I guess then leads you back to Zone 1.

The term Steady State Threshold is kind of a misnomer. Upon reading it, one would imply that Steady State Threshold is the top speed in which one could maintain a steady pace. One may even assume that this is the perfect pace to complete, say, a marathon, for it is the threshold of that steady state. Well, we all know what happens when you assume something. And this is no exception.

What Steady State Threshold doesn't say is that maintaining a steady pace at that heart rate only lasts for a limited amount of time. And then your body stops working. Oh, and it hurts. The words in SST neglect to mention the concept of "hurt". I'd call this false advertising.

Let's take this morning, for instance. My legs were a bit tired from the 5 1/2 hour hilly bike ride on Saturday. When I threw in Sunday's one hour swim and 13 mile run... yeah, that probably was the part that pushed me over the top. So when we got out there bright and early this morning, hell yeah my heart rate could go up to Steady State Threshold - if only my legs had the strength to push that hard. Which, by the way, they didn't.

On a good day, I'm pretty sure that I could maintain an SST heart rate for 30-40 minutes before I need to toss my cookies. It's a painful 30-40 minutes, but it is 30-40 minutes nonetheless. There is nothing steady nor stately about that.

I say we rename this zone. Steady State of Pain Threshold. That sounds much better.

Who's with me on this one?