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Back to Winter training-help me sketch out a plan

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
It's been a long time since I've posted here but the dark days of Winter are back and that means I want to improve my fitness and get ready for next year, just like everyone here. I had a good year of training and had some fun and some success in my key rides but I want to improve.

I've finally decided that "racing" is not my thing, at least in the criterium sense. I've always enjoyed climbing so my plan for next year is to focus on 2-3 "epic" rides, all featuring a lot of climbing- The Iron Horse Classic in Durango, CO in May, The Cycle To The Sun on Maui in August and the Six Gap Century here in GA in September. I've got plenty of time to lay out a plan and work it. I've determined that I really need to focus on flexibility/core strength as well as building my sustainable power. I'm about as flexible as a cinder block and I'm a wimp when it comes to sit-ups/crunches, etc. I know improving those areas will have a big impact on my ability to go up hill faster. Here are my questions to the group.
  1. I've had several people suggest Cyclo-Core and Cyclo-Zen as good ways to build strength and flexibility. Any feedback on these?
  2. The same guy who does Cyclo-Core has a membership site called Cyclo-Club which has a bunch of training programs accessible to members. I'm in the trial period and it looks like a lot of the workouts are HIT type with a focus on neuromuscular development and intervals. Has anyone tried the training programs?
  3. I've got 25 weeks to the Iron Horse and my FTP is 280 (w/kg of 3.75). My assumption is that building FTP will be the best way to help me do well. Any suggestions on laying out a plan given that most weeks I have 5-7 hours available.
Thanks in advance for the help and suggestions!
post #2 of 6

Re: Back to Winter training-help me sketch out a plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruleof72 View Post
... I've determined that I really need to focus on flexibility/core strength as well as building my sustainable power.... I know improving those areas will have a big impact on my ability to go up hill faster....
Really, how do you know that when there's no credible evidence that improving core strength improves sustainable power on the bike?

You want to get faster going up long hills, ride long hills and raise your FTP. For the FTP part do at least two focused Threshold workouts per week with 2x20s, 2x30s, 4x15s or other variations and do at least two days in mid to hard Tempo.

Go ahead and do the core work for injury prevention or because it makes you feel better, but don't expect any change in your sustainable power or speed up hills as a result of core exercises.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Re: Back to Winter training-help me sketch out a plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclissimo View Post
Really, how do you know that when there's no credible evidence that improving core strength improves sustainable power on the bike?

You want to get faster going up long hills, ride long hills and raise your FTP. For the FTP part do at least two focused Threshold workouts per week with 2x20s, 2x30s, 4x15s or other variations and do at least two days in mid to hard Tempo.

Go ahead and do the core work for injury prevention or because it makes you feel better, but don't expect any change in your sustainable power or speed up hills as a result of core exercises.
Well, I guess I know that having a bit more flexibility and core strength will help me prevent some nagging minor injuries I've had over the last couple of years (ankle tendinitis and lower back stiffness). I'm also hoping that a bit more core strength will help me just in general day to day activities I also think that I should be a bit more comfortable on longer rides which should result in better on-bike performance.

As far as raising FTP, I'm a big believer in the 2x20 and variations of that. I guess I'm looking for a "sample" plan that I can use to build from as far as time, intensity, etc. In the past I've done:

Monday: off
Tuesday: 2x20 at 95% FTP
Wed: 2-3x15 at 90% FTP
Thursday: 60 minutes of "sweet spot".
Friday: off
Saturday: solo 1-2 hour tempo ride.
Sunday: moderate paced group ride of 2-3hours

Am I on track with this? How far out should I add L5 or L6 intervals if at all?
post #4 of 6

Re: Back to Winter training-help me sketch out a plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclissimo View Post
You want to get faster going up long hills, ride long hills and raise your FTP. For the FTP part do at least two focused Threshold workouts per week with 2x20s, 2x30s, 4x15s or other variations and do at least two days in mid to hard Tempo.

Go ahead and do the core work for injury prevention or because it makes you feel better, but don't expect any change in your sustainable power or speed up hills as a result of core exercises.
Good comments!! That whole weight lifting/core strength stuff looks like it has been debated hella times here. Conclusions remain the same: do it if you want, it might be good for your health, etc, but it wont make you a faster bike rider. I do lotsa stretching because I want to stay limber, avoid injuries, etc, but it wont make me a great TT rider.

Your plan is pretty sound. If I punched up the #'s right, you are around 500 TSS points per week so CTL is 70 or so. I would work on getting CTL up. Getting to 80 if isnt too hard but you will get more training where you need it. The intensities you have are solid. But up the durations a little. Like wed, make it 60 minutes @ 90% FTP instead of 30-45 minutes, thursday try for 75-90 minutes at SST instead of 60, maybe monday do 3 x 20 @95. Adding just 15 more minutes 4x a week on your rides at a solid intensity (IF >= .8) doesnt sound like too much but it'll get your CTL around 80 and build more fitness. I see your workouts as doable & sane - no motivation killers or will breakers in your plan. Thats a good thing.

Pass on the L6 work totally, there is no need in those events I think. Do L5 if a) 60 min pwr is 2-3 rows higher than 5 min pwr, b) progress stops/stalls on the Level 4 intervals.

Thats what I have learned here from the smart guys! G'luck!
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Re: Back to Winter training-help me sketch out a plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by DancenMacabre View Post
Good comments!! That whole weight lifting/core strength stuff looks like it has been debated hella times here. Conclusions remain the same: do it if you want, it might be good for your health, etc, but it wont make you a faster bike rider. I do lotsa stretching because I want to stay limber, avoid injuries, etc, but it wont make me a great TT rider.

Your plan is pretty sound. If I punched up the #'s right, you are around 500 TSS points per week so CTL is 70 or so. I would work on getting CTL up. Getting to 80 if isnt too hard but you will get more training where you need it. The intensities you have are solid. But up the durations a little. Like wed, make it 60 minutes @ 90% FTP instead of 30-45 minutes, thursday try for 75-90 minutes at SST instead of 60, maybe monday do 3 x 20 @95. Adding just 15 more minutes 4x a week on your rides at a solid intensity (IF >= .8) doesnt sound like too much but it'll get your CTL around 80 and build more fitness. I see your workouts as doable & sane - no motivation killers or will breakers in your plan. Thats a good thing.

Pass on the L6 work totally, there is no need in those events I think. Do L5 if a) 60 min pwr is 2-3 rows higher than 5 min pwr, b) progress stops/stalls on the Level 4 intervals.

Thats what I have learned here from the smart guys! G'luck!
Thanks for the feedback. It sounds like I'm on the right track, just need to refine things a bit. I'm going to start this program in earnest next Monday (Nov 30). That lets me get through the Thanksgiving holiday without feeling guilty about missing an FTP workout I'll post an update after a week or two and go from there.
post #6 of 6

Re: Back to Winter training-help me sketch out a plan

Quote:
Originally Posted by ruleof72 View Post

Monday: off
Tuesday: 2x20 at 95% FTP
Wed: 2-3x15 at 90% FTP
Thursday: 60 minutes of "sweet spot".
Friday: off
Saturday: solo 1-2 hour tempo ride.
Sunday: moderate paced group ride of 2-3hours

Am I on track with this? How far out should I add L5 or L6 intervals if at all?
My first reaction is that the L4 stuff is too concentrated together. I'm worried that your only high quality workout would be Tuesday when you're rested.

If it were me I would shoot for three good quality workouts each week with solid L4 training in each one of these, where you walk in physically and mentally fresh and work hard. None of these three should be back to back as you won't do the second day hard enough so it won't be "good". If you can swing it with the weather, one of the three should be a longer ride (say 3hrs) with lots of L3 and also some good L4, like a couple long hills. The other two could be built on 2x20s or similar.

If you want to fill in with a couple more days they should be a bit lower intensity both mentally and physically such that you can go hard on the three focus days. FWIW I'm still figuring out how to do this the right way for my body.

As for the L5 stuff, I would sprinkle it in all along, just when you feel like it, e.g. if you think your legs are losing their "spring". Then I'd start putting it for one session a week about 6-8 wks before your event. For me, I would ease it in slowly or I might peak too early.

Another big issue given the events you're focusing on is when to start adding mileage. I assume you are indoors over the winter so it's basically impossible until spring, but you obviously want to get on that as soon as you can. Follow your 2x20s with some tempo to bring up the miles.
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