Quote: Originally Posted by Toolish
I am currently reading Maffetone's big book of fitness and he talks a lot about training at a fairly low heart rate to improve aerobic performance. I have read a lot online about doing FTP intervals or sweet spot intervals being the best way to improve FTP.
Do these two concepts gel together
. i.e. spend a few months doing high volume at low heart rate then work from that into adding some Sweet spot intervals as a build into the season.
My main focus is Ironman triathlon
, but I am also doing some bike racing. Either way I want to improve my FTP and my ability to hold a high % of that FTP for a long period.
Quote: Originally Posted by smaryka
The higher your FTP, the more watts you can put out at endurance intensity too, and the faster you will go.
Same for running, the faster you can run 10k, the faster you can run 42k too.
There's no need to ride these long rides easy either, you can do your 2x20s or SST intervals within the long rides to keep that sharp
. Same goes for running, my long runs all had intervals at ~half-marathon pace within them.
I agree with smaryka, but I have to admit I have gone a backward approach or in some sense try to gel the two as the OP asks. I do not race and have not intention of racing, but for whatever reason I have focused in on an Ironman type of pace and distance.
My typical weekday training is indoors and my target goals are 60 minute of SST even though I try to push up into L4 with a goal of trying to creep up higher into the L4 range if possible. On Saturday I typically do a 4 to 5 hour ride and as smaryka suggests within that 5 hours there are a few stretches of road that I can get a sustained block of L3 and sometimes L4 if I am not too fatigued, but then I also try to balance total TSS for that 5 hour ride. Too much intensity on a 5 hour ride and it trashes my scheduled training days following. If I can keep TSS down into the low 200's I can typically go out the next day and get another 2x60 of L3, but typically if I get closer to 300 TSS my legs are too fatigued and I end up with a 2x60 of L2.
I agree that it makes sense to raise my FTP by doing shorter focused higher intensity training would then allow me to use that raised ceiling. Math wise then if I am pacing a 5 hour training session at ~75% of FTP the speed will obviously be higher with a raised FTP ceiling. But there was another problem that I had and it was a mental issue. Before I started training these 5 hour solo events I found that my attitude kind of went south at about the 60 mile mark and I needed an attitude adjustment. I was so used to doing 60 mile routes as a maximum and sometimes no more than 40 miles with higher intensity that about 60 miles a thought would cross, "okay I am done with this" and when that happened my performance dropped not out of a physical issue but because a mental issue. Last year I separated from my group rides to focus on doing 80+ solo to eliminate drafting, coasting, store stops and tried to get to a point to where there was not much difference between "moving time" and "total elapsed" time. The other aspect was getting really used to being tucked in aero for over 90% of that time as well.
Skip ahead to current day and my attitude has drastically changed. I love cycling solo. I love cycling long distance. Five hours seems to go too fast now and I just about hate it when the ride ends. My endurance has improved drastically. Keeping a sustained cadence for long periods of time is not really an issue. In fact now when I rejoin on an occasional group ride what really stands out to me is how all my friends always train in a pace line and they are used to doing their short turn on the front, but the majority of the time they are drafting/coasting so they struggle to hold a cadence for a great distance. I have also become accustomed to other little small things like eating on the bike while in aero. I keep track of nutrition on the bike and I am comfortable with how much and when to take in food. Maybe not big issues like FTP, but things have changed for the better on my long course training. Main thing is how fast 5 hours seems to slip by. My friends are completely baffled as to why I would sit out there on a fairly boring route (same one) week after week, but the more I do it the more I love it and the more I love the better it seems to get.
I would not imply this is a good approach, but I am pretty happy with it so far. As winter comes on I doubt I will be out there freezing for 5 hours so I will probably drop it down to 3 hours or less in the coldest months and adjust the intensity based on the duration and what training is scheduled for the next day(s). That is the biggest thing for me is finding the balance of the training load so that I can train consistently and also lean a smidge into progressive training. If there are a number of ways to "skin the cat" my way may not make sense, but hopefully the cat will still get skinned.