Block training and VO2max workouts

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Laflore, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. Laflore

    Laflore New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Looking for advice on how best to integrate VO2max (zone 5) workouts into structured block training. First, some background info..

    Attempting to make a long story shorter.. I had a great start to this year with focused block training in 3 or 4-day increments. I found that consecutive days of hard training followed by complete recovery off the bike was working well for me, and I was making solid gains in FT. I learned that I could still hit desired power numbers on the 3rd or 4th day, even when I felt fatigued and had sore legs. My FT progressed from 270 to 310, with a peak CTL of 70 in mid April. Things were rocking and I was feeling very good and very motivated. I only did a few races, but I was happy with the results.

    And then.. the 20-day vacation hit (the big whammy), along with periods of business travel afterwards. Being without my Powertap for a month (technical reasons) certainly didn't help. My CTL hit a low of about 20. Needless to say, it has been a huge struggle since. That crappy feeling of not quite being comfortable on the bike and lacking motivation to do any racing. I wanted to get back onto my block training schedule, which was working so well earlier, but I was not able to. Whether due to physical or mental reasons, or some combination of both, I'm not sure. So I was mostly alternating days of medium intensity (Z3/SST/Z4) with easy or off days.

    Now.. I've built my CTL up to around 50 and lo and behold I'm finally getting that comfortable feeling on the bike again. I've felt so good this past week that I had my first quality training block since the big trip:

    Sa - 290 TSS
    Su - 110 TSS
    M - 170 TSS
    Tu - ? (haven't decided yet)

    What really makes me happy about this is that yesterday (Monday) was my first dedicated VO2max day in months. I preceeded the intervals with a "blow out the pipes" 10-min effort up one of the local hills. I averaged 357 watts (360 NP) which, while painful, was surprisingly doable. This is a very good number for me and now I'm thinking I need to re-test my FT which has been stuck at 310 for a long time. Even more surprising to me was that I was able to do this after two quality training days. In the past, I've always done the highest intensity at the start of a training block.

    Sorry about that lengthy prelude.. here are my questions! :)

    Is it better to do the harder workouts, specifically VO2max intervals, early in a block, or late? Or best to mix it up? I see trade-offs. Doing the hard work early would leave you more sore/fatigued on subsequent days, while doing it later might make it more difficult to achieve the quality.

    How much can one expect their FT to improve upon incorporating VO2max and higher intervals into regular training? I saw great improvements early in the season from Z3/SST/Z4 training alone, but now I'm ready to "pull up" rather than "push up" my threshold.

    Thanks in advance to the training gurus!
     
    Tags:


  2. Alex Simmons

    Alex Simmons Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2006
    Messages:
    2,471
    Likes Received:
    20
    Rather than pull up your FTP, I think this strategy is more likely to lift the ceiling on your potential FTP and you may need to revert to the push up style you talk of to efficiently harness the remaining potential.
     
  3. BullGod

    BullGod New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2006
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0
    Quality is important, as is motivation.

    I block train too - 3/4 days straight, rest day, race, repeat etc.

    I would usually recommend starting the block with sprints and L6 intervals, then the following day do your L5 "5's", and then on the final day hit your L4.

    however, I find that the dreaded "5's" are harder and more unpleasant than 30s L6 intervals, so in practice I often end up doing the L5 work on the first day of the block, then the 6, and then 4.....

    I find with that approach I start the block fresh and can really put out quality L5 intervals. trying to hit that after a sprint workout is just not feasible, at least for me.
     
  4. rmur17

    rmur17 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    Messages:
    1,066
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like a question for Timan. Have you considered coaching BTW?
     
  5. beerco

    beerco New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2003
    Messages:
    578
    Likes Received:
    1
    I found the opposite when doing block training. I'd start with the longest intervals and go to the shortest as days go on just because I found it harder to maintain focus for the long duration.

    What I did in winter was 2x20 L4 day 1, 4x10 L4 day 2, L5 day 3 then rest. Sometimes we had winter MTB races too so I'd work it so that the race would be on day 3 of the block - sounds funny but the race provided extra motivation.

    I'm sure that I didn't get as much out of my day 3 L5 workouts as I would have if they were on day 1, but I doubt they were compromised all that much and I also doubt that I could have finished an L4 workout on day 3 strictly for mental reasons.

    BTW I believe this is covered in the Morris book too.
     
  6. peterwright

    peterwright New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Messages:
    533
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have tended to do the L5 first in the week as I have always found this to be the hardest session - but after 4 weeks of block L5 I am now struggling mentally with L4 20 min intervals and so may have to do as you do and move them back to the front of the queue.

    I have found that doing L5 on the third day of a block is very doable but just takes more focus to achieve (and using ergo mode makes it easier to just grind it out)
     
  7. kwoodrow

    kwoodrow New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2005
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    How do you structure your recovery days after a 3-day block? Do you just do L1 rides, or do you take a day completely off the bike? And how many days do you typically take for recovery?
     
  8. Speedskater

    Speedskater New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2006
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a question out of pure interest. How do you get those high TSS numbers with L4 or L5 training. To my knowledge one can handle about 80 min at FTP at best in one session and about 40 min at VO2max. This would result in a TSS of 140 for the L4 session. Do you do extensive L3 taining in the same session or lon warm up and cool down.

    When I switch from a L3/L4 mix to one consisting mainly of L4/L5, I always see my TSS/session going down.
     
  9. BlueJersey

    BlueJersey New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Messages:
    420
    Likes Received:
    0
    Based on my experience and what Timan mentioned, you would need AT LEAST 3 days off the bike. You can get away with it with only 2 days. Riding on the third day may restrict your intensity to zone 2 or zone 3.

     
  10. peterwright

    peterwright New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Messages:
    533
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry - just saw this post...

    I tend to have a full day off and am then good to go for a hard 3 hour team ride or race the following day.
     
  11. bigbadwoulfe

    bigbadwoulfe New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2007
    Messages:
    53
    Likes Received:
    0
    @Laflore - don't you think your under estimating your FTP. Somehow, 290 TSS points would be too much. What do you think?
     
  12. Jono L

    Jono L Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Messages:
    4,434
    Likes Received:
    62
    2 days is plenty.
     
Loading...
Loading...