3 weeks hard, 1 week recovery... what to do on recovery week?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by tommyrod74, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. tommyrod74

    tommyrod74 New Member

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    OK- background first.

    Cat 3 road, Pro/Elite MTB, obviously my major focus is MTB racing.

    70", 143 lbs (65 kg). FTP approximately 300 watts at this time. Very good anaerobic power with good repeatablilty of anaerobic efforts.

    I'm recovering from a collarbone FX with surgical repair, and have been forced to ride mostly on the trainer for a bit now. Surgery will be 6 weeks ago in 3 days, and can ride outdoors now.

    I have a race I'd like to do on Oct 13, then another the next weekend, then offseason begins. So I figured I'd experiment a bit with my training, since MTB is out and hard group road rides/racing are out as well.

    I've since discovered a few things, as I was forced to ride the trainer so much (LeMond Revolution with Power Pilot powermeter):

    1) It's much easier to do a focused workout on the trainer than to just put in base hours. Time passes much more quickly.

    2) Doing L4 intervals is much more easily controlled and predictable in a controlled, predictable environment (indoors).

    3) If all I do besides interval workouts is easy L1-L2 riding, I can do L4 2x20 workouts 3x/week with good recovery. Even running 3x/week easy doesn't seem to interfere with hitting wattage targets.

    So I've been doing (for 3 weeks now) the following: 2x20 at 90% of my best recent 20 minute avg interval power (305 best, so approx. 275 watts; usually ends up being 280-290 by the second 20 minute interval) 3 days per week. One 2 hour ride at L2 outdoors; one 3 hour ride at L2 outdoors. Running 2-3x/week for 20-25 minutes, L2 exertion (perceived). Total of 8-9 training hours per week (including running).

    I've decided on a 3 weeks on/1 week off routine to allow adaptation and avoid overtraining.

    So what do I do during the off week? All L2 or less? How many total hours?

    Should I do a formal power test during the off week for a guage of progress?

    Thanks in advance - next season is my first in Pro/Elite, and I'm hoping to apply lessons learned over the next couple of months to next season's training.

    -TR
     
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  2. Creatre

    Creatre New Member

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    How is your FTP 300w, but your best recent average 20min is 305w? If your FTP is 300w, you should be doing 2x20min @ 300w. If your best 20min is 305w though, your FTP is probably closer to 275-280, which is what you have been doing your intervals at. Also, I would recommend switching up between 2x20, 3x20, 4x15, 2x30 intervals, instead of always doing 2x20. You should be able to do all of those at 100% of FTP.

    For your rest weeks, drop the volume, and drop most of the intensity, you can keep maybe 1 hard ride. Easy spins, and watch that TSB skyrocket. It will pay off in the end. No need for a formal power test every 3 weeks. Also, please stop running, that isn't helping your cycling. Take that time you run, and do more cycling.
     
  3. tommyrod74

    tommyrod74 New Member

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    Best average 20 min. is 317 watts, before race season began (March). No formal testing since then; the 305 was the second of 2 x 20 intervals; flet good that day so pushed it a bit. I've seen NP of 325+ in 1-hour crits, and have had no appreciable dropoff in fitness since my injury. Held 285 for 40 minutes on Thursday and could have done more, but held back a bit.

    FTP could be 285-300+ as far as I can tell; as I said no formal testing in months. Actually feel like I'm erring on the slightly conservative side at 300.

    I had read here that 90% of FTP was fine for intervals, so I started there. I then read 90% of best recent 20 minute power, so I based it on the 305 I'd just done.

    I will say that the 317 watts was from a power test with some out-of-saddle efforts. I have since stuck with seated-only for intervals as I want to focus on seated power and I feel this is more consistent and easily reproduced from workout to workout (unless I sit for 15, stand for 5 for all 20-minute intervals, or similar).

    I'll probably do a power test Thursday of this (my off) week as it hasn't been done in a long time. I'll post back my result. I don't have an ego re: my FTP, I understand it fluctuates based upon current fitness and could well be lower now. I'd be surprised, though, as the intervals at 285-295 haven't been extremely challenging.

    90% of best recent 20 min. average power should still elicit adaptation, even if FTP is slightly higher, no? I'm in no hurry to reach my target, I have years to improve at this, so slightly undershooting should be OK, right?

    As for stopping running... oh HELL no. I dropped running for 6 years, and recently started back. I feel SO much more well-balanced and athletic already than when I was just cycling. Not to mention what running does for bodyweight and body composition vs. just cycling. If it addresses imbalances in my physique (which were beginning to manifest as injuries) and helps with bone density as well, then I can live with slightly slower progress with regard to FTP.

    I'm taking the long view on this... I'm 38, and realize that there's more to life than just cycling. Hell, it's worth maintaining the ability to run just to be able to do some form of training at times when the bike isn't an option. I have a 14-month-old, and sometimes a 45 minute run is easier than even hopping on the trainer. The wife doesn't always want a bike brought along on trips, and I can understand why.

    Running will be at maximum 3x/week, with 2x/week max (total of no more than 1.5 hours) during season. Not trying to become a great runner (though I'm not bad), just to do enough to realize the benefits.

    Not to mention, 4 lbs. lost in 3 weeks of running (with zero problem holding wattage on the bike, even the day after running)... MTB is all about power-to-weight, and it takes a lot of watts to offset a few kilos...

    Will do on the rest week advice. My only hard ride will be Thursday's power test.

    Thanks for the response, and for any further help!

    TR
     
  4. tommyrod74

    tommyrod74 New Member

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    Power test this AM on the same trainer I've been doing intervals on. Shot for 330 watts and ended up with 335 watts x 20 minutes. Very happy with this number (except that it means intervals will get harder).

    This seems to validate that FTP > 300 watts (318 watts if using .95 x avg. 20 min. power; 308 if using .92).

    I will continue this 3 weeks on, 1 week off pattern and see how long I can improve.
     
  5. Creatre

    Creatre New Member

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    Looks like that you had a good estimation for your FTP originally then just based on feel. Very impressive w/kg. Doing 2x20min is pretty boring to me if you do it 3 times a week, and may lead to a plateau pretty quickly.

    I would recommend trying to do a week with a mixture of these. Some weeks do 2 threshold, 1 SST. Some weeks do 1 of each. Some weeks do 1 Threshold 2 Vo2. There are many other workouts along these lines, but here's just a couple ideas:

    Three hard days a week:
    - Pure Threshold: 3x20min @ 100% FTP or 4x15min @ 100% or 6x10min @ 100% or 3x15min @ 105%
    - SST: 60-120min constant @ 80-90%
    - VO2: 4x5min @ max/~110-120%, 6x3min max/~120-130%

    Also try to get a ball breaker ride in on the weekend. 4+ hour if you can fit it in. This will lead to getting that aerobic engine to grow on top of these intervals.

    The 2x20 @90 like you are doing now, is pretty weak. If you are seeing gains on that, you will be very impressed with the gains from the workouts above. You need to be shooting for 60min of threshold work per workout, and as close to 100% as possible. If you are going to continue doing around 90% effort, you need to extend the intervals to longer duration to get maximum gains.

    You need to be very careful though of overtraining. If you change from the 2x20 @ 90% to the above, you will have much higher TSS per workout. With combination of the running, could leave you dead after 3 weeks. Make sure to train hard, but recover hard too.

    Good luck.
     
  6. Creatre

    Creatre New Member

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    Meant to add my thoughts on recovery:

    There are two ways you can go about the recovery week, and it depends on the intensity of the weeks before. If you are tracking by power, I would go by the PMC chart and feel on top of what you have scheduled. I feel much better on lots of active recovery, and little intensity but holding some volume. So maybe 75% volume, but all at z1/lowz2. You could also try cutting back to 50% volume, but doing 1 hard workout that week. Personally I feel like recovery should be recovery though, and you need as much time as possible to allow the body to adapt to the hard weeks before. But this is assuming you had hard weeks before. If you dug a -20/-30 or greater hole in the TSB, then make sure to at least get back to 0 but hopefully around +10 by the end of the recovery week so you can do it all over again the next week.
     
  7. tommyrod74

    tommyrod74 New Member

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    Thanks again for the tips. I will try to vary up my intervals to keep things fresh. I have an excellent trainer setup (Revolution trainer, big-ass industrial blower fan, and wireless headphones all set up in front of a 50" plasma in our den) so I don't tend to get too bored so far.

    I'll likely do 2-3 more 4 week cycles before a retest, maybe more. I can always just up the interval wattages as able and have an idea of how I'm progressing. I just wanted a concrete-ish number to start with.

    I have a really solid base from years of unstructured training and can do pretty well on lower volume than some. I will still try to get in a 3-5 hour ride each weekend with a big TSS score.

    Thanks again,

    TR
     
  8. tommyrod74

    tommyrod74 New Member

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    Update: been doing 2 weeks on, 1 week easier (no intensity above tempo) for a while now. Up to 3x20 @ 300, 300, 319 in today's workout. Last week did 2x20 at 321 in a workout. Won't test again until after racing the next 2 weekends on the MTB, but I'm very encouraged with the steady progress.

    Also, now down to 141 lbs. (64 kg)... that helps the w/kg number a bit too...

    Nice how riding at ~300 watts for a long time feels very manageable now.

    After these races, I will try weeks with FTP, SST, and VO2 Max intervals for variety as suggested.
     
  9. obreeforme

    obreeforme New Member

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    Cat 3 road with a 20 minute w/kg of 5.23?? Ditch the MTB kid;). What you do for a 40km TT?
     
  10. tommyrod74

    tommyrod74 New Member

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    I'll be 39 in March... not exactly a kid anymore, but thanks :)

    I love racing the MTB. I'll do more road this season with the goal of a Cat 2 upgrade (focused on the Pro upgrade in XC this past season. but the MTB is the first and primary passion.

    Will likely only do a TT as part of an omnium or two this year. Haven't ever tried a 40k TT, don't own a TT bike either.
     
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