Developing a Workout Plan to Simulate the Effort of Other Athletic Performances

Polar Precision Performance Software Output
Heart Rate Chart from Training Log: Here is the heart
rate chart for a game I refereed in the Chicago
Showcase. Click on the chart to see a larger view.
[ Image: Polar Precision Performance Software ]

See more Chicago Showcase exercise data in the
Operation Gadget Photo Gallery.

Regular readers of Operation Gadget know that I was on the ice officiating hockey this weekend for the first time since April. Just like any athlete in the preseason, I saw how far below my end of season peak fitness level I am now.

The hockey season will begin after Labor Day, with the intensity of competition increasing steadily over the month of September. Most competitive leagues in this area will begin their regular seasons between September 15 and November 15. As a hockey official, I need to increase my training effort now to be ready for the intensity of regular season games.

I went out for a 10-mile bike ride on Monday night into the Tyler State Park in Newtown Township, PA. I rode as hard as I could for much of the ride and got my heart rate up to an average of 145 beats per minute. That's at the lower end of the average heart rate range that I need to achieve.

I'm able to make judgements like these because I use a Polar S625x Heart Rate Monitor and I upload all of the performance data into Polar Precision Performance Software. As a result, I have performance data from most of the physical training I've done over the last few years, including the hockey games I've officiated.

This allows me to carefully tune my mountain biking workouts to simulate the kind of aerobic effort I'll need to be able to maintain to successfully officiate high level hockey games. In this article, I'll walk through my approach to planning workouts, and show how I determine whether a workout is helping me reach my training goals.

At the Chicago Showcase high school all-star ice hockey tournament in which I officiated last year, my heart rate averaged 141 when I was working as a linesman and 155 when I was working as a referee. Although 10 to 15 beats per minute may not seem like a lot greater effort, it's easier to gauge the level of effort involved in refereeing high-level ice hockey based on the amount of time spent in heart rate ranges.

Using the targets recommended by Polar Electo, I calculated relative effort ratios based on data collected over three games working in each officiating position at the Chicago Showcase:

For working as a linesman, my heart rate was in the:

  • 90 to 100 percent of Maximum Heart Rate: 12 percent of the game
  • 70 to 89% MHR: 70%
  • 60 to 69% MHR: 11%
  • 50 to 59% MHR: 6%
  • 0 to 49% MHR: 1%

For working as a referee, my heart rate was in the:

  • 90 to 100 percent of Maximum Heart Rate: 57 percent of the game
  • 70 to 89% MHR: 27%
  • 60 to 69% MHR: 8%
  • 50 to 59% MHR: 6%
  • 0 to 49% MHR: 2%

The 10-mile ride I did on Monday broke down as follows:

  • 90 to 100 percent of Maximum Heart Rate: 26 percent of the ride
  • 70 to 89% MHR: 61%
  • 60 to 69% MHR: 11%
  • 50 to 59% MHR: 1%
  • 0 to 49% MHR: 1%

This means that the course I chose and the level of effort is appropriate for simulating the aerobic effort of being a linesman in high level hockey games. The effort does not match up as well as I had hoped to the aerobic effort of being a referee.

In order to do more appropriate referee-training, I need to find a flatter (more level) course where I can maintain high pedal cadence over long stretches. I can also do some sprint intervals on such a course.

The area around our old home of East Windsor, NJ was very good for this type of training. The best example was the East Windsor-Millstone Training Loop that I put together to train for the 2004 Tour of Hope.

Lower Bucks County, Pennsylvania is hillier than Eastern Mercer County and Western Monmouth County, New Jersey. I've got to do more route scouting in order to find a route that will help me prepare for refereeing high level hockey games.