Are we there yet?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by CalicoCat, Jan 12, 2011.

  1. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Advice Needed->

    Lately been battling a bit with getting the enthusiasm up to get on the trainer in the morning. The weather is still awful here in NYC so outdoors is really just a test in dealing with the elements. I also believe my lack of enthusiasm is coming from

    1) I just keep doing the same old SST of 60 minutes at 85-90% ftp which can get boring and not really a huge challenge.

    2) I believe I can do 240 on the right day as that is the logical next step but I have this fear of fear/success. It is just out of reach and it really pisses me off when I try to do a 240 and I fail. Today was a good example as I did give it a try and got 241 for the first 30 minutes but could not finish it. Than I just feel finishing the remaining 30 minutes in some SST range is just a waste of time and usually get off the bike in frustration. I usually like to do a thing where I plug in a number like 220 and see it is too easy and than keep raising it till I am in my desired number. As that seems to work better for me to hit a new high.

    I guess while in the past I hit that 260 wall, I now feel I am at a 240 wall and how to get over it?

    Also I am using my workhorse bike where only the 42 chainring works right now. I love the 42 outdoors and even indoors at certain watts but once you have to go really hard it seems so much tougher than my 50 chainring for the same watts. I need to get the 51 working on this bike finally!

    -js
     


  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Greg,
    Sounds like you seeded your PMC appropriately and have been accumulating roughly 250-300 TSS per week on average during March. It also sounds like you've got a month of data files already which is good as that's enough that your ATL has already had enough time to make its seed value more or less irrelevant and in another two to three months your choice of CTL seed value won't be very meaningful either as you accumulate enough actual ride data. The more time that goes by and the more actual power files you record the less important those seed values become.

    So your CTL ramp rate in particular should start looking more reasonable unless you go out and really try to dig a big training hole.

    -Dave
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    js,
    Definitely mix things up a bit if you're getting mentally stale or dreading upcoming workouts. The 1x60s are great work and valuable training but no training is worth it in the long run if you can't motivate to continue doing the sessions. Try riding some of the programmed CT courses chasing the pacer or do some HOP style micro interval work say riding 75% between bursts and bursting for 10 to 15 seconds up to 120-150% or so. Or try over/unders where you alternate between say 80% and 105% of FTP in blocks of a few minutes each or try ramps where you start at say 70% and bump the CT controller up 5 watts every 5 or 10 minutes to see how far you can ramp, if you don't totally blow at the top of the ramp try a pyramid style where you go back down 5 watts per 5 or 10 minutes till you get back to 70%.

    Point is there are lots of ways to mix up workouts that present new challenges but still basically target the core SST training intensities and still lead to increased FTP. They don't have to be straight isopower sessions which although good can be really taxing mentally if you do them day in - day out.


    This is the classic risk of chasing records instead of focusing on the process and good solid training. We all do it, so I'm not knocking you and it sure is motivating to set new high points or return to pre injury levels in your case but when failure to do so leads us to scrap good solid work it's definitely working against our long term goals. That extra 30 minutes of SST riding is anything but useless and is much more likely to keep you on track towards your goals then just throwing in the towel if you don't hit an arbitrary target.

    Strategies I've used to find balance between chasing records and staying the course with good solid training include tracking power high points on periodic but not too frequent intervals and redefining goals so it's not an all or nothing like a fixed power for a fixed time that I must achieve to feel progress.

    So for instance I maintain a chart of my best 5, 20, and 30 minute interval AP but only plot one value for every 21 days. IOW, I set a goal to see what I can manage at each of those time frames but I only pay attention to the high value in every three week time block. So once every three weeks I try to get out and challenge one of those durations which is enough to track progress and to give me some carrots to chase but not so frequent that I'll scrap regular week in and week out training trying to chase records. I've had better success with some of my more goal oriented athletes by stretching their record charts to 28 days or 4 weeks so they're less tempted to chase records over regular workout quality.

    In terms of redefining goals when I'm pushing to reclaim or break through a record it sometimes pays to think in terms of both power and time success. IOW, if 240 for an hour is still out of reach, one question is can you do 240 for 30 minutes (sounds like you can) so instead of 60 or nothing what about next time focusing on 35, 40 or 45 minutes as an interim goal? When you start to suffer at 25 and realize 60 may not be in the cards try to refocus on 35 as a goal and if at all possible at 35 try to challenge yourself to hit 40. You may not hit those goals either, but the point is that all or nothing thinking can be really demoralizing and realistically it's progress we're trying to track more than absolute goal numbers and five more minutes at your current target power is good progress.

    We've all been through the tough periods and a steady diet of indoor riding due to lousy weather sure doesn't help but there are coping tricks.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  4. gman0482

    gman0482 Member

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    Thank you Dave. I'm hoping that I'm doing alright based on the numbers I have, since I haven't gotten that far in reading th book yet. MMP/CP is the next chapter, lol. Not really sure what the "right" numbers should be as far as CTL, TSS, ATL and all others.

    I know that the numbers I got now are all winter-indoor-trainer numbers, and once I get outside then my rides will be much longer with better efforts.

    Your help is like gold as always, thanks again.
    -Greg
     
  5. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    There really aren't any universally 'right' numbers for those metrics. It's very individual but it lets you see if you're gradually building to sustain higher training workloads (the basic idea during a 'build' cycle) or if you're staying more stagnant in terms of training workload (plateau's are tough as the body has little reason to continue adapting if you don't challenge it to do so) or are backing off a bit and losing training load (which in the short term implies greater freshness and is the basis of tapering for important events but long term it translates into detraining).

    Just remember these metrics only track overall workload not specific intensity. It'd be pretty easy to build massive CTL by riding endurance pace as much as you could tolerate if you had a lot of free time but that may not build your FTP or 5 minute power as effectively as focused work on those systems. So focus first on the type of training that addresses your weaknesses or is most closely associated with your long term goals and secondarily track overall workload that results from that type of training. Don't become a slave to CTL at the expense of doing the workouts that will move you forward towards your goals but don't ignore workload either as it's part of the puzzle.

    FWIW, many folks find their form really starts to come together after they've reached a CTL of 70 or 80 by following a sustained and reasonable ramp up to that point but YMMV and the best way to find out what works for you is to train and see how the metrics map to your good, bad or mediocre performances.

    -Dave
     
  6. gman0482

    gman0482 Member

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    Ok I see what you mean. It's starting to make more and more sense, just from these couple of posts. (It's like Cliff Notes for TR w/ PM.)

    As I really don't have any 'A' events planned, and I want to still focus this year more about just training and experience, I'm almost better off keeping the values of CTL and ATL at zero, and letting my training play out and develop it's own numbers. Since I don't need to taper or build towards anything serious, my training will remain somewhat in the same focus.

    I will be doing some weekly crits here and there, along with some weekly TT's, but I'll be looking them as part of my training rather than as an event. Like you said, with time, and actual ride data, the ATL/CTL seed values will become irrelevant.

    Maybe I'll find a RR somewhere and still have time to plan out a structure for it, but for now I'll just keep doing what I've been doing. Lot's of SST/L4, with some L5+ work here and there.


    Thanks,
    -Greg
     
  7. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    Dave->

    Thanks for all the helpful advice. Today I decided to use the software today and did the over/under of 190/5min and than 250/5 min. I did two hours complete with 30 minute warmup and one 20 minute interval at SST (210). By the time I finished the 4th 250, I pretty much had to put the bike into neutral and rolled the wheels at 130 for the remaining 15 minutes. The thing I really loved about this workout was going straight to a 190 after the 250. It finally felt like CP rolling hills where you I overdo it on the hill and than as I crest over the hill I loose the energy and fall off the pack. This is great practice for that as now I have to go straight into the 190. Nice!

    Since I am always pretty much doing 2 hours during the week, make the first hour for warmup and than one at >85% of ftp for atleast 20 minutes in that first hour and than the second hour I can play with these other workouts to get in atleast another 20-40 minutes of SST but more than likely more. I like it and just have to make it work.

    I like your idea of new highs by looking at your numbers for the last 3 weeks but that will happen once I can get outdoors on a regular basis. Right now cause of lots of reasons I am doing mostly outdoors. I keep forgetting that I am still on the mend and chasing new highs is not the smartest thing. I need and am happy that I am getting on the bike regularly.

    But I am really looking thin now! No weight lifting and just cycling without even any really change in diet has made me a really slim looking 165. Also the smell in my office is getting pretty bad...lol.

    Thanks again Dave for the suggestions.

    -js
     
  8. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Recently I had to take a little step back and I am not even attempting to push the intensities that you are. I also want to have a progressive FT, but I have seen Dave post so many times about pushing those higher intensities and how it can cost some folk mentally and/or physically. A few weeks ago I was putting too much pressure chasing those numbers and spending too much time looking that PMC chart on how I could potentially bank more CTL with hope that all else progresses with it. I started feeling as if I was ramping up too aggressively even thought my ramp rate may be a much less aggressive rate that what I read from your posts. Not sure

    I decided to back down L4 intensity and increase L3 volume with hope that I would balance out near the same CTL or at least keep it flat until I get through this slump. I took the mental and physical pressure off myself. Since I do not have races as goals my ramp rate can be more relaxed. I only have events to prepare and I feel as if I very close to being ready for any of those century events.

    Today I decided to just go out and enjoy cycling. I did 60 miles at a mild pace with friends and then added another 30 miles in solo mode. I ended up with 158 parsed minutes in L3, 160 minutes in L2 (enjoyed the junk miles /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif), 6 parsed minutes in L7 with a few playful sprints with the guys. All of it intended to take the pressure that I was putting on myself for chasing numbers in the PMC. Regardless of the PMC chart, FT progress or not, I finished today's 90 mile ride like I could go another 30. Every hill late in the ride my legs could respond crisply with a feeling of freshness. Forget the chart for a moment because that feeling of my legs responding to each of those short sharp hills makes me feel better that things are going okay.

    I just keep going back to thinking that good blocks of time in L3 still yields decent results and the benefit is that most can handle that training intensity for a longer duration in consecutive training days in comparison to the higher intensities.

    Ride report with non-impressive data, but just meant to be a fun ride /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif


    I am not sure if my situation and this post may help you, but I hope you can step back, take a little pressure off yourself and enjoy being back on the bike like you posted. Give it a little time and then maybe with some freshness you can get back to hammering it out again.

    Best wishes
     
  9. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    js, I was thinking about this again this morning and even though your situation sounded much like mine it probably is not. Mine was more of a blend between mental and physical and your posts does not read as if you are struggling physically, but just a mental frustration of not increasing to that 260 FT goal. I seems like you just need to find a way to mentally cope with the slower gains and that you can still handle the physical load so please disregard my thoughts. I have found that I can go weeks without seemingly making any physical adaptations and then out of the blue I jump up a bit. I just keep plugging away now remembering that is how it seems to work for me.

    For me pulling back to more volume in L3 is helping me get refreshed physically and not have to take time off, but it does not seem like that is what you need.
    Great for you for trimming down to 165. I was hoping that I would have improved my watts/kg aspect by this point, but my weight is staying level.
     
  10. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    felt->I apprecaite all advice. It gets me to think and adjust. What works for you, may work for me. I think you kind of hit on the main issue though between us both. It is not that I do not like doing L3 or even L2 for that matter. It is just that 3 hours is not the best for me in the saddle without some kind of break cause on the wrong day can be an issue as the scitica can definitely act up. Believe it or not I do better with 2 hour harder rides concerning that issue right now but I am definitely seeing that changing. I will work my way up to 3 hours soon on the bike and see how the sciatica affects me. You see I have two variables, the sciatica and the watts. They both affect my abilities on the bike.

    But forgetting the scitica issue I feel based upon pre-injury that while CTL is important, it has to be the right kind of CTL. I used to in the past build tons of CTL in L2/L3 and got no gains espeically on the road with others. I have seen keeping the rides harder, shorter (max 2 hours) and give myself plenty of recovery time works best. I think though right now it is a combo of mental and physical. Meaning I am getting a bit bored of the daily grind and mixing it up like Dave pointed out can be the cure short term with different intervals and CT software. I really believe those under/over can make a big difference out on the road. Today I did one of those 2 hour sessions but noticed that the 3 x 20 was easier. I did 220 for each one. I guess I am trying too hard to hit new highs but need to focus on mixing up and keeping the program. There are no magic bullet.

    Also I need to be able to accept that I will fail sometimes. I have this real mental block about setting out to do a workout and failing. It really bothers me more than I can explain. I need to accept that I will not always hit my number and tomorrow is another day. It is not a bad thing!

    On a side note yesterday I picked up one of those $300 eeepc and on Sundays I plan on taking on the road and going to the park and do some writing outdoors. I am starting to really enjoy the bike again not just for training. The new CX build has been great especially on my bike as the geometry is closer to a hybrid in many ways. I am loving it with the paniers and next week it is the park on 9w for sure with some food all packed up in the paniers. I am really just starting to like my bike again, has been years.

    -js

    Also I still do not understand how you rides are not at the same intensity or more than mine. I am sure you guys are banging out alot more watts than me.
     
  11. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    js, A lot of the time I read your post and feel like we are on a parallel avenue of training. I also see why shorter more intense efforts are a benefit for you to not to be on the bike for long hours until you are fully rehabilitated from the LB issues. Keep with it and I am sure you will hit that 260 this year.

    ........and based on what you post for you training efforts I am running a bit below your training wattage for L4.

    Sounds like you are doing great for training. Big thing is you have a lot of desire.
     
  12. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    felt->The strange thing about the LB right now is that the amount of effort really does not affect it that much, it is simply a matter of the amount of time you stay in the saddle. It is a very strange beast indeed.

    I will meet you at the 260 mark.

    -js
     
  13. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    While L4 doesn't give a bunch of time to smell the roses, I'd think about changing your perspective for longer L3 rides. Find some interesting routes and get used to checking out the sights and the scenery without enslaving your eyeballs to that CPU. Time passes much, much more quickly. Where you seem to think that a steady rise in ctl would make life easier than it would if you were racking up ctl in prep for a race, you're missing out on the other important bit - the taper - which brings freshness. You need that, as you found out the hard way. You don't need an event or a special occasion - just pick a date and take it easier for a week or two the have at it again.
     
  14. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I am on that already. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    That was exactly what I hoped to convey in the last few posts. I have been enjoying my training and Saturday rides lately without being a total slave to numbers, but I am still keeping a little bit of structure as I build up endurance. Through the week it is structured training with bouts of L3/SST/L4 efforts. I am feeling fresher and suprisingly I felt very good after the calm paced 90 mile ride on Saturday. That was motivating that conditioning for sutainable aerobic power is improving. I could have quit with the rest of them at mile 60 and no one would have thought much of it, but I went ahead and tacked on another 30 miles just because I was enjoying cycling that much. For me it was just too early to call it a day and even doing the last 30 solo was still great. It seems that mentally and physically I am in a happy place. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    If someone were to ask why I am continually doing these longer rides is that much of it has to do with mental preparation. Like js, I have a lot of spine issues and my neck and lower back have to be constantly treated. If I am on the bike for extended periods it gets very uncomfortable. If my mind ever conjurs the thought "okay I am done with this" the body is so willing to follow suit and shut it down. Not a good thing to happen when you still have 20 or 30 miles remaining. This year I have slowly extended the miles mainly to get my confidence up. Now that I feel confident and I am cycling with little neck and lower back discomfort those long miles are not a big deal.

    Speaking of Roses
    I am doing an event this weekend called the Rose Pedal and I will do the 100 miles as a training ride. I like it that my typical Saturday rides are now 80 to 100 miles and I am feeling really good on each of these training rides. Now I will begin to very slowly increase the intensity on these longer rides. I would like to do a sub 5 hour century at the Up the Creek event.
    My group typically does a sub 5 hour, but I have not been able in the past because I do 3 State 3 Mountain Challenge the week before and that event takes a lot out of me.
    I typically end up finishing at 5 1/2 hours and I always get dropped on one particular climb that they will typically sprint.

    Rose Pedal - April 9th
    3 State 3 Mountain - May 7th
    Up the Creek - May 14th

    Not sure what I will be doing after these other than I hope to continue with the long Saturday rides. Bottom line is I am having a great time cycling this season.
    I continue to give kudos to Dave and RDO for guidance in building sustainable power.
     
  15. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    The Intesity Factor (IF) is just a ratio of normalized power Vs the value you entered for your threshold power. A rider could have a threshold of 360 watts but if he's got a normalized power for his last session of 220 watts then the IF is going to be way lower than if your theshold is 260 and you knock out a nice 240 watts NP ride.

    Don't aim for a specific number - "aim" for the range that you want to train in and even if you slip outside of that every once in a while it's no biggie. Just as an example, if your threshold is 220 and you want to bang off some quality L4 intervals then you'd be looking at somewhere between 200ish and 230ish. Your training will not implode if you end up spending some time at 199 watts.

    As for the siatica, that's gotta suck. If you do want to bump up the distance then maybe 2 hours out and about and then find a local loop to use to tack on extra time close to home just incase things take a turn for the worse with regards to the back? That said, 2 hours is plenty especially if you're putting the hammer down for a very solid L3 session.
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe you could try backing off the powdered stuff for 'in ride' food a bit and eat a bit of something 'real' - I find that if I keep the carbo drinks topped off at recommended level then I don't lose weight - I actually tend to keep it the same or even increase it. I started to notice that I ate more after rides where I had drinks of the recommended concentration of Le Goop. I don't mind every once in a while cracking/bonking due to cutting back a little too much or staying out a little too long if the power is generally where it should be AND the weight is going down.

    But what does/doesn't work for me may/may not work for you. I typically don't train with a group so I don't have to worry about looking like a complete duffer when I bag it at the end of the ride and I look like death an 17mph is all I'm good for in a carbo deprived stupor. :p

    For most 2 to 2:30hr rides I'd just use 1 scoop of perpetuem per 20oz and chomp on a banana, unless it's a ride where I really want to test myself and really give it some grief and/or I just want to make sure that 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 scoops is still good for more over a few hours.

    Just make sure you get the banana skin in the ditch when you toss it away - otherwise it'll be very environmentally unfriendly for the next guy that rides (or steps) on it. :p
     
  17. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    swampy->Thanks for the advice as I am a step ahead of you there. I always use a range and it works out pretty well. Luckily 2 hours is enough to see improvements. For outdoors I am pretty close to CP and while it can get boring I use it as incase of any issues I can get home pretty quickly.

    Weather is getting better today so may be going out more.

    -js
     
  18. jsirabella

    jsirabella New Member

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    all->Ok this is just stupid now! I am coming out of the park on the way home, fully loaded pannier and a cop pulls me over and gives me a ticket for not stopping at red light. This is insane! A bus stopped by me and asked what happen and I said ticket for red light. He could not believe it! The cop and me had a talk and the cop explained he is protecting me from myself.

    On the training I did my L4 day yesterday and it felt really good. Did 3 x 10 @ 240 and hit them well! Threw in a 20 @ 210 for good measure. Great day...NOT!

    -js
     
  19. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    js,
    Bummer on the ticket, but why are you running red lights on your bike? That'd be sure to draw a ticket here or anywhere else I've lived over the years if you're spotted. I guess the Manhattan bike culture is different but I sure wouldn't do it in my car or at least I'd understand the risk of getting caught and folks around here generally don't expect bikes to get a free pass on traffic laws either.

    Yeah, I'm no saint and have run stop signs on lonely country roads where you can see in all directions and nobody's around and have gotten tired of waiting for 'smart' lights that aren't sensitive enough to trigger on bikes but if I'm unlucky enough to get spotted by a cop while doing that I'd expect a ticket. Idaho's the only place I've done much riding where bikes get to treat stop lights as four way stops (but need to stop) and get to treat stop signs as yield signs but that's definitely the exception in terms of traffic laws and bikes.

    But still bummer about the ticket and hope you don't get any more.

    -Dave
     
  20. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Sorry to hear about the ticket. It is odd that I live far from Central Park, but I see a lot of information on how the police are looking closely at cyclists. I just saw another post last week that they are ticketing cyclists for "excessive speed" and when the cop interviewed was asked what is the definition of excesssive speed he replied, "anything over 20 mph is an unsafe speed for a bicycle" (perhaps that comment is in context to Central Park only). But as Dave mentioned if the law makes a law what can you do except pay the penalty or abide?

    It wasn't too long ago I had the opposite experience on a similar type of bike use area. I was rolling up to a stop sign at a fast speed and noticed a bike police officer on the other side. Immediately I knew I had better stop, but as I got closer and before I could unclip he motioned with his hand for me to keep coming. Wow! That was one cool cop in my book.

    At the other place that we use there is a small town where multitudes of cyclists have to roll through and citizens do not like it. Their one town cop on patrol will ticket for not coming to a complete stop, unclipping and touching the ground with at least one foot. You will still get a ticket if you do a track stand. Since we all know this we completely abide in the rule "if we see the cop" and he is usually trying to hide to catch. Imagine the revenue he could make for that little town by ticketing a club ride with 30+ riders and then another club and so on through out the day. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
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