Further to my last post, a lot of people have asked me: “You had a solid week of training. So how many miles did you ride?”.

My answer to this question is always the same: “I don’t have a clue”. And what does it matter anyway?

A solid week of training for me means primarily 12,433 kJ and 1065.2 TSS. To help you understand what that means I could add: 26.05 hrs.

Training has nothing to do with distance and everything to do with effort – and kJ means effort. kJ stands for kilojoules. One kilojoule is a thousand joules. The joule (pronounced /ˈdʒuːl/ or /ˈdʒaʊl/); symbol J) is a derived unit of energy or work in the International System of Units. It is equal to the energy expended (or work done) in applying a force of one newton through a distance of one metre (1 newton metre or N·m), or in passing a current of one ampere through a resistance of one ohm for one second. For arguments’ sake, assume that 1 kJ expended on the bike requires 1 calorie. More on that in a future post.

Then, in order to get fitter you need to train your body to a certain workload level (energy expenditure – workload), let your body rest and adapt, then step it up a bit. It is not about doing more miles, it is about increasing the work load. As I am heading towards the Christmas holiday and will have more time to ride (INSIDE!) I will focus on how I train my body to handle more and more work (kJ) on a weekly basis.

The extreme example of the uselessness of mileage as a measure of effort is the climb up and down Mount Lemmon. The climb up to Windy Point is 22,3 kilometers. It takes 1,130 kJ (or let’s say calories) to get up to Windy Point and it takes 82 kJ (or let’s say calories) to get down from Windy Point. It is the same distance. In other words, not every mile or kilometer was born equal. However, a kJ is a kJ regardless of whether you are going up or down, with or against the wind.

So next time you friends ask you how many miles you rode last week just reply: “Going uphill or downhill?”

PS: TSS (Training Stress Score) is described in a previous post.

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