Block Training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by frenchyge, Aug 10, 2005.

  1. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Gotcha.:D
     


  2. gvanwagner

    gvanwagner New Member

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    A lot of this planning seems to be based on the position that everybody needs to work a particular system hard and that they need to work to maintain it as well. For example for some (I think more than you would think IMO) could only do L4 work for 2 months and not see a major decrease in L5 dominated efforts. Suprathreshold abilities can stay around for quite some time. OTOH how are you going to sufficiently stress vo2max unless FT is properly developed and two, is v02max even limiting your short term FT development (1 season or less).

    A monthor three of focus on only L3/4 might be just what you need- then again it might be a big Ol block of L5/6. There isn't much need to include it all for everyone. I for one ,might not even touch L5 work this season for vo2max unless I hit certain fitness marks- otherwise it wouldn't do me any good anyway. I will however use high intensity work for other reasons



    More on topic, I love block training. It's almost impossible to burnout on because although you bury yourself for 5 days- having 2 days off the bike your itching to go again. With PMC you can see also that a lot of the time you start a 5-2 block with a positive TSB- Fitness feeds fitness.
     
  3. normZurawski

    normZurawski New Member

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    That would support the Morris plan in doing a heavy dose of L5/6 work in January, then being able to maintain it as you go through the season. I don't have the Morris book, but I would imagine he advocates "brushing up" on L5 as your event draws near. My guess though.

    From a personal standpoint, I have no idea if my FT will be properly developed when I start this. I can certainly say that higher systems are a limiter right now. On group off-road rides, I can hang fine with the L4-like climbs, the long & steady stuff, then recover quickly and be good. But the shorter, steeper stuff drills me, like throwing the whole match book in the fire at once. I recover eventually but it burns longer and harder than it should.

    I'm spending 4 of 5 weekly workouts in L3/4 this offseason, from mid-October through Jan 1. The other ride is a weekly group off-road ride, or solo ride. Aims are to drop some pounds and establish the baseline (of sorts) as you suggest might be needed. Then higher energy systems and so on.
     
  4. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    I'm confused - are you saying that I should try block training myself, and that my n=1 experience would convince everyone?

    Anyway, I used to train quasi-block style when I was younger, in that my schedule went something like this:

    M: easy
    T a.m.: endurance ride
    T p.m.: intervals
    W a.m.: tempo ride
    W p.m.: training race
    Th a.m.: endurance ride
    Th p.m.: intervals
    F: easy
    S and S: race

    As I've gotten older, I've had to cut back, first by eliminating the two-a-days and only doing the hard midweek workouts, then by going to a hard-easy pattern. I'm therefore not sure whether I could handle Morris-style block training, unless it were something like 2 d hard, 3-4 d recovery.
     
  5. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    I have not done level 5 followed by level 4, so can't address that question.

    As I've described previously on the wattage list, when progressing from a level 4 focus to a level 5 focus I personally experience some "backsliding", i.e., my functional threshold power regresses about one-third to one-half of the way back towards where it was before the level 4 build-up.
     
  6. normZurawski

    normZurawski New Member

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    Interesting. Good to know, thanks.

    On one hand it then begs the question of whether or not to do any isolated L5 work/focus. But then, if you're going to do it at all it would tend to make sense to do it earlier, as Morris advocates, so you have plenty of time to raise your FTP back to desired levels.
     
  7. TiMan

    TiMan New Member

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    I think that if you did a little experiment on yourself and found Morris style block work worked for you that people would "listen up". Better yet, if you conducted a "study" with yourself and others people would really listen up. More research needs to be done on block training IMHO and especially as it pertains to raising FTP.

    As far as you not being able to do it...that's crap ;) :) IMHO. You certainly could do 2-3 days in a row of L4 by 2-3 days of rest for recovery and supercompensation, after all you are not 70 and you are in damn good shape already. Perhaps try 2 "on" 2 "off" for starters. Now block training L5 might a different story but then again maybe not enough if optimal recovery was allowed for.
    I think the keys to success with this style of training are not to do an insane amount of total volume of L4 for example, and to keep "other riding" to a minimum or none at all, and being sure you recover with very light rest days which may include increasing your sleep an hour a day or other measures to help recovery.

    What do you have to loose?

    I am trying it in pure Morris L4 style right now.



    My.02

    Ti
     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Surely there is a fundamental physiological argument in support of block training. What is that argument? Is the argument backed up by the science? There are so many unfounded theories about how to gain more benefit from less training that there's no way to go around testing them all. Surely the theories that should receive the most attention (e.g., a formal study) are those with the most sound scientific underpinnings.
     
  9. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Ti, I'm not sure why this approach has to be proven. It just seems like good common sense to me. After all, many cyclists already separate their training into blocks-tue/wed/thur and Sat/Sun with recovery on monday and friday is a fairly common approach. And, if you're trying to improve a specific ability, it's pretty obvious that focusing on it over multiple workouts will be important. After all, if you don't train in some sort of "block style" you're not going to be training very much at all.

    One short term advantage of longer blocks might be fatigue manipulation. IOW, rather than keep TSB at roughly the same level for a long period of time, you can "come up for air" before weekend races, then race succesfully on Sat/Sun-followed by mon/tue/wed training hard, then come up for air again.
     
  10. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Have you tried the good ol' "hard/easy/hard/easy" approach?

    Were you unsuccessful with it? Did you plateau?

    As for the fact that some might find it hard to deliver two days in a row well... That's partly because "deliverying the goods" doesn't mean the same thing for one who can lower the 40k well under the hour.

    Try it. 40k flat out. Then do it again the day after.

    You know, I'm not saying it's your case Ti. But I've seen very often guys who are seeking for sophisticated means of training to compensate for a lack of balls. Training can never be complicated enough, and no scientific evidence can compensate for not being able to deliver the goods when it counts.
     
  11. normZurawski

    normZurawski New Member

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    This is constructive.
     
  12. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    Well, SE put that somewhat harshly. To give him the benefit of the doubt, I think English is not his first language.

    But I see where he's coming from. It seems like a lot of discussion on this board consists of a search for a "silver bullet": some intervention that will make the inherently slow, difficult process of building endurance fitness significantly faster or easier. I don't think that silver bullet exists. To be specific, while it's possible to be "stupid" in your training (e.g., by failing to be consistent, overtraining, failing to observe specificity, etc.), I'm not sure it's possible to be "smart" in the sense that advocates of two-a-days, block training, etc., hope. From where I'm standing, it seems like any training plan that provides enough stress and enough recovery will, over the long haul, provide pretty similar results. This shouldn't be surprising; we're rebuilding our bodies from the inside out, molecule by molecule. The impetus for this rebuilding is stress, and since the time course of reaching ones potential is measured in years, it's hard to imagine that the 'micro' structure of the way that stress is applied can really matter too much.
     
  13. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I agree with you to a point, but the discussion does raise an interesting question. Let's say that a well trained cyclist trains 12 hours a week for 4 weeks (48 hours). He uses his training time efficiently and attains a ratio of L4-L7 time to total time of 50%. Therefore, he trains in L4-L7 for 24 hours during the 4 week period. Let's further say that his allocation of L4-L7 time is 50%L4, 25%L5, 22.5%L6 and 2.5%L7. These assumptions have largely locked in a narrow range of TSS points per week, so total training stress is going to be similar almost no matter how the time is allocated each week. Now, does it matter whether he had an identical distribution of L4-L7 time each week? What if he did all of his L4 efforts, then all of his L5 efforts, then all of his L6 efforts, then all of his L7 efforts? What if he did the reverse?
     
  14. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    I'm glad to see that I still benefit from this 'doubt'. It has saved me at a couple of occasions :D

    It's true though that "dirty words" don't stink as much when expressed in a language other than one's first. But even in french, I speak like a coach, not like a scientist ;)

    ** edit **
    oups sorry RapDaddyo. I overposted over your post.
    (read the previous post guys, he had something smart to say :) )
     
  15. normZurawski

    normZurawski New Member

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    That's fine, and I agree with it. But where in this thread do you see that? Sure, the people who come on and ask how they lose 400 pounds in 48 hours so they can qualify for the Olypmics get what they deserve. But we're talking about 2, 3, or 4 days in a row of L5 work. I'm laying out a plan for a final event that's roughly 345 days away. My aims, and I think a lot of the people in this thread, are solidly based in reality. Specifically, you have to bust your ass to make gains. The real issue is, if I bust my ass in this certain way, will it be better than if I bust my ass in that other way? In the end, it still hurts. And if you know for sure it's going to hurt, isn't it reasonable to try and maximize the gains you get from the hurt?

    At the end of the day, if it turns out that no, you're no better off to do hard-hard-hard-easy-easy than alternating days, then so be it. But it's not trying to cop out if you try to find the best way to maximize your pain. Anyone who is putting this much work into what they do should always be trying to make it better. At least that's my perspective right now.
     
  16. Old Junker

    Old Junker New Member

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    i think the morris style of block training worked for mari holden 5 time national tt champion, her ft went up by 60 watts in 18 months;) .
     
  17. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    That's sounds fairly reasonable to me NormZurawski.

    I was just trying to understand Ti's position. I just gave him a last private m reply. It seems that he is indeed an accomplished rider that have had a successful career as a cat1.

    I can now better understand, after 13years of serious training why he would look at blocks as an ultimate way to push the L4 development even further. Or at least attempt to do so. In such a case, given that he can indeed put himself under the stress of 3 "Real" L4 days in a row, week after week, then yes I'd say why not.

    You know. Let's be logical. If one can book more than 200 TSS in 3 days of (hard) L4 for 16 consecutive weeks without racing, plus some more sweet spot and additional lower L4... If that doesn't give one's L4 a boost....

    But that's not a reason to recommend this approach to everyone.
     
  18. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Norm, think about this way:

    3on/2off=6 training days per 10.
    1on/1off=5 training days per 10.
    Assuming the off days are really off, and the "on" days have the same composition, that's a 20% increase in tss/day, and eventually a 20% increase in CTL. That's huge.
     
  19. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    A problem with this discussion is that several fundamental questions are swirling around. On the one hand, we have the question of repeat days (e.g., 3on/3off). On the other hand, we have the question of efforts concentrated on one adaptation over an extended duration (e.g., VO2MAX efforts for 2 consecutive weeks). That's one of the problems with terms such as "block training." People use the term as though there is universal agreement on what the term means, but there is no such universal agreement. If somebody says, "Do you believe in block training?" my first question is, "What do you mean by block training?"
     
  20. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    I think that most concepts now have to be revisited, processed through new means of quantifying training loads. Whoawhoa did that very well in his earlier post, and I'm sure some could come up with other interpretations as well.
     
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