Advice on Training for stage race in 6 weeks

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by stowy, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. stowy

    stowy New Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Just wanted to get your opinion on some training I've been doing and see what you guys think of it.

    I'm currently building for a 3-day stage race, which is in about 6 weeks (30th april weekend).
    The format is:

    Stage 1: Time Trial 7.5km (Sat)
    Stage 2: Road Race 109km - 3 laps (Sat)
    Stage 3: Road Race 82km - 2 laps (Sun)
    Stage 4: Criterium 30min+3 (Mon)

    It's quite hilly as well. Here are the maps / profiles http://qsmsports.com/extra.asp?ID=346.
    Also can download them here http://premiertouch.qsm.ecn.net.au/_uploads/res/19_185.pdf

    So my training of late has been something like this:

    Mon - off
    Tues - 1.5hr hard bunch ride - hilly - sprinting over tops of hills.
    - this is followed by another 1.5hrs of tempo work, with a 10min solid hill climb effort, and another 10-15min solid fast-bunch effort
    down a stretch of highway, going around 50km/h. Total about 3hrs.


    Wed - main effort - 1hr threshold / TT effort. Total ride 2.5-3hrs.

    Thursday - 1.5hr fast bunch ride, includes about 45min of solid race style team-TT work.
    - this is followed by another 1.5hr bunch with another 1hr of solid pace riding, with a couple of hill sprints and about 40min of team-TT style riding

    Fri - off / easy spin

    Sat - 2hr endurance style roll with some 30 sec / 1min efforts

    Sun - Race day, 30-45min warmup, 1hr-1hr15min high intensity crit-style race.

    I've done this the last 3-4 weeks at least. I'm averaging about 12-13hrs a week.

    It seems to be going pretty well, my TT efforts seem to be improving and the bunch rides seem to be getting easier for me relative to other riders.

    Racing has been good except for my lack of experience and race strategy meaning i'm not there when it matters because i'm stuffed from working too hard!

    So I'm wondering, apart from the lack of formal structure, I'm doing a lot of work, do you think this looks all right to keep working with leading into the race in 6weeks or so? Or am I missing some fundamentals? I'm pretty much covering all energy systems as it's very much race-style riding the whole time.

    What do you guys think?
    Cheers

    Stowy
     
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  2. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Lots of time to train and improve. Take 3 days off. Not really off. Do the 4 stages. Set up suitable routes near your home. Ride the TT as you would on the day. Ride the other stages at "race effort."

    It would be nice if your riding buddies could help replicate race conditions.

    Your goal should be directed towards recovering enough to do well in all the races.

    ---

    If you could ride the course before the race, all the better. If you could ride it hard even better.

    ---

    Have fun at the races.
     
  3. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I don't know what your background is - years in the sport etc... Info like that would help.
     
  4. stowy

    stowy New Member

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    Hey Swampy,

    Thanks mate, my background is started riding in 2003, with recreational road rides, long rides, etc. Then got into triathlon and bunch rides in 2004. 2005 started doing regular bunch rides, quite good kms, then 2006 got into adventure racing and MTB'ing. Been doing pretty solid riding since start of 2007, plenty of MTB'ing (endurance events mainly, some crits), and also triathlon.

    This year I've been doing mainly riding and it's coming along well. I'm pushing over 300 watts ftp according to a recent indoor ergo test, and my strength is on the hills, presumably from the MTB'ing, i love hills.

    I can handle pretty solid amounts of riding, have done over 500km this week finishing with a 75km road race today in which I was solid, came 3rd out of 4 in a break in the final sprint, was a good hilly race. Planning an easy recovery week next week, leading into a 2-race weekend of MTB'ing next weekend (short XC races).

    So does that help? My weakness is definitely sprinting, i'm pretty good in terms of longer endurance rides, hills and working on improving my TT as well. I think i need more punch in the neuromuscular power area (sub 30sec efforts). But obviously aiming to increase strength all round.


    Does that help?
     
  5. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Stowy,
    Your schedule looks reasonable and looks like it covers the bases pretty well. Here's some more general thoughts in terms of your upcoming stage race:

    - Six weeks (or even five and a half now that your post is a few days old) is a full adaptation cycle or enough to do a really dedicated block focused on any particular area you either consider a weakness or you feel that extra work there will substantially improve your racing bag of tricks. So IOW, you've got a really good window to really focus on one aspect of your riding with a block of time that's basically ideal in terms of seeing results.

    - In addition to any particular aspects you're talking about four events in three days so try to find a weekly balance that continues to build training load until the last week or ten days before the race but still allows you to focus on your most important area for improvement. I'd avoid sacrificing training load and continued base building by trying to squeeze in too many races, group rides or specific high end workouts. Work for balance in your training week that allows you to do some high end work but doesn't force you to start spending away your hard earned base yet with a stage race approaching. So for instance I'd strongly suggest keeping the 1x60 L4 TT training day in the mix as it's awesome for maintaining and or improving FTP and yields a lot of session load. Similarly you might find that one of the group rides is better transitioned into a solo mid distance Tempo ride if you swap to say sprint or one minute AWC training on another day as those typically don't yield the same sort of session workload as more sustained efforts.

    So the good news is you've got plenty of time to make improvements in whatever you consider the most important area and that might depend in part on the nature of the race. If the road events typically play out as races of attrition and for example have say a lot of 3 to 5 minute climbs that saw folks off then perhaps a focused block of short L5 climbing repeats would be smart in the upcoming weeks. If the races historically come down to big bunch sprints then perhaps a blend of focused fast and flat one minute intervals and some additional 6 to 12 second L7 sprint work would be a better way to focus your high end workout days. But regardless of what you focus on, make sure you don't neglect at least a day a week of L4 work and ideally a couple of days of L3 work to keep your core aerobic fitness on track and to sustain your base till you get closer to the race. And again think about some longer steady rides, even long L2/L2+ riding to maintain load as you introduce the shorter punchier high end work that typically costs you training base. IOW, the phase your entering is a great way to utilize the value in all the training levels. During winter base building you can keep it pretty constant with L3/L4 work on 12-14 hours per week or less, when you start adding focused blocks of high end work or frequent racing your CTL (base) starts to drop and sooner or later you'll start spending away too much of your base fitness. Working in some mid to longer rides, possibly at reduced intensity can be a great way to balance those extra high end days in your schedule and to preserve or continue building your training base till the more important events roll around. So look for balance and if your race days, especially crits, start costing you too much weekly TSS think about things like getting a solid couple of hours after your shorter races, riding to or from the races or other ways to address both intensity and overall load.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  6. finnrambo

    finnrambo New Member

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    How long did it take to type that? Takes the record for longest post I've ever seen.
     
  7. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Stick around a while or search the archives, that aint nuthin'...

    -Dave
     
  8. stowy

    stowy New Member

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    Thanks Dave that's a great help, I will have to find out more about how the races tend to pan out. I really dislike bunch sprints!

    Finnrambo - that's not even half the length of the longest post I've seen on here!
     
  9. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    What Dave said...

    ... but with the caveat that you shouldn't be chopping and changing training at a moments notice. Take a look at the entire season and see if there are any events, preferably a group of events close together, that you really "need" to do well in. Plan for those and tailor your training accordingly.

    The way we used to do it was there should be a "grand plan" - i.e. where do you want to be in a couple of years and a "yearly plan", which is pretty self explanitory. Training was geared around the grand plan and key phases of 4 to 6 weeks were scheduled to coincide with the yearly plan. It's all about the big picture.

    Use other races as a test of form and as a way to try out different tactics and have some fun. Every race doesn't have to be a serious affair where winning is the be all and end all. Sometimes it's good just to forget tactics and go smash some legs on the hills just because it's fun or something similar. If you're doing 30 to 50 races a year then they shouldn't be treated with the same importance. If you have the legs then you'll probably find that you'll end up doing well regardless.
     
  10. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    So how's the training going?
     
  11. stowy

    stowy New Member

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    Hey Swampy,

    Thanks for asking, training going well. Haven't been able to get in all the Wed 1hr TTs, been hard as I'm usually stuffed on Wed after the tuesday. Also weather here has been terrible.

    However, I've gotten some great training in, feeling very good, and I've had a couple of great races lately leading into the 4-stage race this weekend. 2 weeks ago did the Aussie MTB marathon champs, was 85km, took 5hrs and I hammered myself the whole time. I've recently started training and racing on infinit nutrition, and I was amazed at how strong i was going till the end. I came 10th in open male, which i was stoked with given the level of competition.

    Also, week just gone I did a crit/road race called the 'ANZAC 25' here in australia, it was great. I race Elite B, which is the next level down from Elit A, which is top national level in australia (kind of like Cat 1). I had great legs, felt like no one could hurt me, but i'm still learning tactics in road racing, didn't try and attack or do anything aggressive really, just try and be in the right spot for the sprint. I started the final straight in about 10th spot, we were all strung out so i was way back from the lead, not where i wanted to be. Despite this i still managed to get up to 6th in the final, so i was pretty stoked with this as well.

    So being that there's a lot of hours of racing this weekend, with hills and time trialling, I think my strengths will be more useful tha in a 1 hour crit. Hoping it will go well. Looking forward to busting out the TT machine and all the aero gear for a 7.5km smashing sat morning. Also used race wheels for first time in the last crit and will be using them this weekend. 50/80mm front/rear, they were so good! Really fast rolling and just felt slick, stiff, light and fast, so happy using them.

    Will let u know how racing goes, thanks again for asking!

    How's american sping coming along now? Warming up a bit?

    Stowy
     
  12. stowy

    stowy New Member

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    Hey Guys,

    Just thought I'd update and say I raced last weekend at Battle of the Border, 3 day, 4 stage race, and had a lot of fun!

    Started out well, racing in elite B, i ranked 4th in the prologue TT (4.7km, 6min32 was my time) - 0.4 seconds behind 2nd and 2.4 seconds behind 1st.

    Seemed as tho road races weren't going to work for me tho, I felt really strong on the hills and was always in top 3 going over Kom, unfortunately ddn't change cassette on race wheels for first day so gears were skipping when i tried to sprint which really p###ed me off. Still managed to get 10 points towards KOM and leader was on 17, with 2 KOMs and max 10 points avaiable on 2nd and final road stage.

    I was hoping to get in a break with another strong climber on the last hill into the finish, but he jumped early just as I was going over a rickety wooden bridge toward the back of the bunch, and took 3 guys with him. I jumped to try and get across but only got half way and gave up (regretting that big time), then got back to the bunch and they weren't working to get them back at all so i chased hard towing the bunch with me and getting help from 1-2 guys, but in the end 2 guys stayed away with 1:30min on us! so that concluded top 2 places on GC as 2nd day not as tough. I finished in bunch as had nothing left for the sprint.

    2nd day, we had 85km (first day was 110km), 2 laps with a couple of moderate hills. after about 5km neutral, someone jumped away and looked like he was going alone for a long one. I decided to close it down but when i jumped no one followed and i got across to him alone. So we decided to work together and take it to them. Unfortunately, just as we were cresting the first hill ~15km in, he got a flat! The bunch was nowhere to be seen, and i was like, what the hell, i'll have a go. So i went for a bit of a TT effort. I got to first KOM alone so took that out no contest. Then kept going as i still hadn't seen the bunch. Got through for the 2nd lap and still no sight of them. Eventually a car pulls up and tells me i have 1 minute gap. So i keep pushing on, setting a steady tempo, not quite redlining, but pushing hard when i hit the hills as i knew i had strong climbing legs. However, about 10km into the 2nd lap i saw the bunch closing behind me at last, so i sat up and decided to wait until the 2nd KOM to try for another break.

    We pushed hard up the 2nd KOM, i jumped to try and get away but the yellow jersey chased me down. so i decided to follow 1st wheel to get KOM, this worked out well, the first wheel changed a few times but i just stayed on it, then coming to the top it was just 2 of us, we had a gap, i was nearly redlining, but as soon as i saw KOM flags I jumped and outsprinted the other guy to the line. So i'd gotten the 10 points i'd hoped for there.

    After that my legs were fairly gone and i didn't really have much to try and get away again. there were plenty more break attempts which got reeled in, and it was a technical finish and bunch sprint, in which i lost about 8seconds from the front. Leaving me 6th on GC.

    This wasn't to matter tho, as the next day was a super tight crit circuit, about a 1km lap with corners galore, about 7 in total i think. After an extensive warm up i was planning to start on the front, but when we got coralled for the start I got swamped! I went from starting at front to starting at the back. Then it got worse, i was cautious on corners and coming around the 3rd corner it went up a slight rise, and as i cornered my pedal unclipped! perfect timing, i slowed right down in a big gear, and by the time i got going again i was about 5 bike lengths back at least. i worked hard but still braking on corners, i couldn't get back on. i picked up a couple more dropped riders and we worked a bit, but after 20min we were pulled out, we were about to get lapped. So i lost 6min on GC there.

    Luckily, I had gotten enough points to take out KOM, so was stoked! My first polkadot jersey, i was really ecstatic about this! I love hills, coming from MTB they are definitely my strength.

    All in all a great intro to road racing, I need to work on race tactics but in my current grade I reckon i've got the chops to win a road race. There's another 96km race in 3 weeks, can't wait!

    Thanks guys for your training tips, the stuff i learned on here definitely helped my strength and TT power. I'm looking at gettting some proper coaching tho, Lara and I are doing that much riding we really need some proper structure and guidance.

    Stowy
     
  13. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    Nice job man!! Sometimes these things are just a "crap shoot". It is crazy that we work our ass off for something and in the end it can just come down to the decisions you make and chance.
     
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