3 days a week enough?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by bulaboy, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

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    I'm a recreational rider with an FTP of about 230. Been working on the trainer 3-5 days a week the past few months as it is winter here in the midwest. I was hoping to ride a bit stronger this season in order to ride with some guys who were a bit faster than me last year. These guys do long rides of 60 - 100 miles in mid/late season. I will be starting a new (2nd) job in a week and a half and it is really going to limit my available time to train. Looking at my schedule I can realistically expect to get in 3 good rides per week on non consecutive days. My question is: can I improve my fitness on this schedule? Maintain my speed while increasing endurance? What do you think?

    Thanks
     
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  2. PaulMD

    PaulMD New Member

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    Yes, you can improve with a 3 days a week regime. But you can improve more and faster with 4 or 5 training days a week. The problem with a 3 day regime is that you plateau earlier.

    I train on saterday, sunday and try to find one extra day in the week to train. Because I just started training I feel that I improve fast with 2-3 training days a week.
     
  3. otb4evr

    otb4evr New Member

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  4. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Not to overly simplify things but changes in fitness come greatly from increasing stroke volume of the heart, or the amount of blood that can be pumped out of the left ventricle per beat, and the production of new mitochondria and vasculature to supply the mitochondria with O2.

    Threshold and VO2 training do this WAY BETTER!!! than long endurance rides...sorry Chris Carmichael ;) After a while, depending on how fit you are, the long rides do little except train your body to sit in the saddle for hours on end, help you loose weight and teach the body to store large amounts of glycogen. In fact long rides, if take to the point that most so called good riders take it, will fatigue you, lower your testosterone level, drain valuable and limited recuperative powers and interfere with high intensity training.


    If one looks at the training of the pro's, who have no job but cycling, great genetics, and youth, one will see that they actually only "train" 4-5 days a week ,unless they have "help" if you get my drift.

    So heck ya you can gain on three days a week and damn good too.

    I don't have enough info from you to give you specific training advice but I will tell you what one of my clients does who also can only train three days a week.

    All winter he rode on his trainer 3 days a week. ALL of it was threshold riding, except warm up and cool down.

    This is what he built up to.
    Monday....3 X 20 at 95% FTP(functional threshold power...or the power that can be held in an all out 60 minute efforts)

    Wednesday...3 X 20 at 95% FTP

    Friday....2 X 20 at 100-105% FTP

    He saw nice steady improvement in his FTP.

    In the last month he added 5 X 5 VO2 max intervals to the Monday workout but he did this in the am before work. Then in the pm he did the 3 X 20 workout.

    This has made his FTP jump by 10 watts in three weeks(just tested).

    Oct 1 his FTP was 240 watts and it is now 300!

    Work hard on your three days...and then rest hard.

    Read this
    http://www.biketechreview.com/performance/base.htm

    http://www.biketechreview.com/performance/mitochondria.htm

    and the practical application of these concepts:

    http://www.biketechreview.com/op_ed/stripped_down.htm

    http://www.biketechreview.com/op_ed/stripped_down_2.htm
     
  5. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    TiMan, That sounds backwards from your normal start hard finish easy blocks. Did he go this route to fit his personal schedule needs or do you recommend easier (95% FTP) before harder (105% FTP) when you're working SST and L4?

    BTW Bulaboy, I think you can do quite well on 3 a week if you keep the intensity up like TiMan suggests. It takes more commitment and concentration than just doing longer rides and riding more days but the rewards can be greater as well. It would definitely help to get some longer rides now and then but you can do your core training on three well planned days followed by good rest. Will your second job allow for good rest on your off days? If you're talking a graveyard shift or other sleep deprivation special that would be a big concern in terms of building fitness.
     
  6. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Ya, I know....and I should have mentioned that in the post. I almost always recommend that one work from most intense to least intense in a training week before taking a rest day or days. He "reasoned" with me and said that he wanted to go hard before taking two days off on the weekend so I let him. However, I insisted that he do no more than 2 X 20.
    I thought it would be fine since he was only on the bike three days a week and was not doing consecutive days of threshold work. He had a rest day every other day and then two on the weekend.
    However, when he wanted to do the structured VO2 work on the third day I said no way buddy! :D..even though he probably would have been fine.
     
  7. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

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    Thanks TiMan. That is encouraging! I've been feeling kinda bummed cause I thought I just wouldn't be able to get enough volume riding only 3 days. At my age (54 yrs) my recovery isn't what it once was anyway, so the extra days off won't limit me as much as it would a younger guy who probably would benefit from riding 5 or 6 days. Was even thinking about goin' back to the gym and doing strength training like I did in the past. I know from experience that 3 days/week of weight training can give you great results. So I'll have to drag my ass back onto the trainer for another week or two of 20 minute intervals til this winter weather breaks. [​IMG]
     
  8. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    If you can get in one longish and HARD group ride on the weekend you would do even better. Work really hard on that groupie and try to get some VO2 work in there, a lot of threshold. You'll get plenty of tempo and endurance intensity.

    Maybe something like this...if you feel you are "up to" the VO2 work...and IU think you probably are.
    Tuesday....VO2 work in the am on your trainer....then threshold after work.
    Thursday...threshold work..less
    Saturday....3 hour groupie..do a few sprints on the way to the ride or off the back early on.. to "open up".

    Of course with a good trainer you can always sneak in extra work at home after work or in the am.

    It's the intensity that will build mitochondria and cardiac output best and it is the rest that allows for this to happen. Try to get your FTP up to about 3.8 watts per kilo(and you can) then you'll have no problem riding in a decently fast group ride for 4 hours as long as you eat and drink well.
     
  9. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

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    Thanks Dave. I'll be on my feet quite a bit but the work isn't too physical, and on 2 of the days I do ride I will be able to go for 2 or 3 hours, and the other day will be on the weekend so I can ride as long as I am able on that day. My diet is great (98% vegan) and I'll get enough sleep so recovery shouldn't be a problem.
     
  10. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    Wait a minute bro....98% Vega... PLEASE get your Hematocrit checked...and stored iron(Ferritin). Protein and obviously carbs will not be an issue BUT iron can be. I have a "near" vegan client that thought he was fine until I insisted on the above tests..he was anemic and had poor irons stores. After correction he did much better on the bike.
     
  11. bulaboy

    bulaboy New Member

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    My schedule w/b Th Sa M if that matters, and I love doin' the hard group rides even if I get shelled. Been a lot of times when I rode to the finish alone. That's OK. I want to thank you for taking the time to lay this out for me. I'm feeling motivated to train again. I took the last week off cause I was feeling that my season was sabotaged, even went to the gym to weight train this past week on the days I used to climb onto the trainer. But now it's back into riding mode!
     
  12. JungleBiker

    JungleBiker New Member

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    Hi TiMan,

    How many minutes recovery between those intervals?

    Thanks,
    JB
     
  13. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    As little as you need...usually 10 minutes easy between threshold intervals but I have it down to 5 with no problem. Probably 15 between the 100-105% FTP intervals or a little more. But as you get used to them your rest time can go down. You don't want to cut it so short that you can't do the 2 intervals unless you reduce the power.
    If you are feeling good there is no need to stop at 20 minutes. I sometimes do 40 minutes and occasionally 60 at one time with the 95% intervals...ya, it's hard but it is really good training. I might do a 40 and then a 20. I tend to recommend limiting this pure threshold work to 60 minutes at one time...but I have one guy that is really doing well with 3 X 30 at 95% on day one of a three day block!!!...and that is REALLY hard work if you are really at 95%.
    Some recommend a 1 to 1 work to rest ratio but this is not needed....there is no physiological reason to do this...but if you want to it, or need to mentally,then go ahead as it will not hurt your overall progress.
     
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