Clarification of how progress works...or doesn't

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by bradg, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. bradg

    bradg New Member

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    I've plowed through nearly 30 pages of the "It's killing me but..." thread, and finally concluded that maybe it'd be wise to just ask a few pointed questions here. I realize this may be repetitive, but even if I could find everything I'm seeking via the search function, it's all pretty spread out by now. If you're in the St. Louis area though, you can always find me at Carondelet on Tuesday nights or the track on Thursday and just smack me :)

    1. The premise of spending copious time at L4, as explained by Rappdadyo and his awesome documentation of his own increase from 225W FTP to 300W FTP from a few years ago makes sense. Is there a limit to how many sessions of 2-3x 20min one should do per week? Days off in between? Also, even once out into the county around where I live, there's still the issue of traffic lights...all the sudden, getting 20 consecutive minutes isn't necessarily a given. How problematic is that? Like, I'll get the volume of time in at the specified intensity, but there might be instances where I'm sitting at light for 30 seconds.

    2. VO2max intervals definitely work, and they apparently stimulate pretty quick adaptation. I'll skip over discussion of "what protocol is the best." I like the idea of just thinking about how much time you're spending at a given power level. So with the quick adaptation in mind, does that build over time? Specifically: suppose I'm at 290 FTP and 350 L5. I train L4 for awhile, and get up to 300 and then do a few weeks of L5 intervals and find myself at 370 before stalling out progress. Cool. I then back off the L5 work and go back to 3x20min sessions for awhile and boost FTP up to 320W. Is my L5 glued to 370 no matter what? I realize there's some genetic potential at work here that makes a definitive answer hard if not impossible. I guess I'm just trying to figure out if that "bigger base" contributes to a "taller peak," so to speak.

    3. Anaerobic capacity/power: about how many weeks of these sessions to see progress? I'm assuming you can't just do these all the time and expect to move forward all the time. I've seen it mentioned that adaptations happen quickly, was just curious what the timeline seemed to be. I've got a couple months after Tulsa Tough this weekend before my next major race and I'd like to make the best of that time.

    Thanks. And seriously, I'm not trying to be too repetitive here!
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    There's lots of "stuff" underlying your questions, but I'll give you my view of a few of your questions.

    As to a max volume of SST/L4 efforts, that will of course depend on you and your fitness at a particular point in time. Personally, I use the WKO+ Performance Manager data to manage my training volume. As a general rule, I don't even think about taking a day off unless I have a single-day TSS > 200 points. Depending on cumulative volume in the days prior to a 200+ day, I might take a day off at 200, 250, or even 300. I almost always take a day off after a single-day ride > 300 points. I suggest doing some experiments to find your apex.

    As to not being able to sustain an effort for 20 or 30 minutes due to traffic lights, that's not a problem. In fact, I have my own ride parsing software and I summarize all my training rides to total minutes and TSS by level and by week. I'm really only interested in the aggregates and I couldn't even tell you whether a particular effort was interrupted by a stop light or not.

    As to how much VO2MAX to begin to see results, I'll just throw out a benchmark of an hour a week minimum. That's actual minutes at VO2MAX, so if you're doing the classic 5min at 120%FTP, that would be 12 efforts per week.
     
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  3. bradg

    bradg New Member

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    Awesome, thanks so much. I was thinking I'd PM you about some of this because you've demonstrated ludicrous knowledge and gleefully shared it, but then I figured maybe others wonder the same and why not get it out in the open.

    All the stuff regarding TSS, CTL, etc is kind of a marvel. I was trying to quantify training loads and effects for weightlifting but it just wasn't sticking; far too variable. And not to start another debate, but (as I've mentioned here previously), I have a fairly long history with the barbell and I don't think lifting it did much of anything for my speed on the bike. I'd wager that being stronger has helped me avoid injury and maybe preventing a bruise turning into a break. But I digress. It's good to have a firm grasp on what TSS levels to pay attention to regarding backing off.

    The only time I've felt okay about taking a day off was after our annual Death by Hills ride (sort of like Pittsburgh's Dirty Dozen; I managed 75 miles and 6000ft elevation gain at a brisk pace), and the time I did five crits in three days "just because." My performance in the last one wasn't too bad, actually, but on the whole I didn't race terribly well in any of them beyond the first.

    As to VO2max, the Wislof/Helgerud protocol of 4x5min really seems to have worked across the board for a bunch of people. I guess you'd run into trouble if you just kept doing it all the time. It's interesting, because coming from a rowing background where doing long, easy (L2) sessions was the norm (and that did make me a fast oarsman), I've noticed that on the bike you've really got to train harder than that to make serious progress.

    I wonder if there's any substantive, quantifiable--i.e., specific power increases--evidence of Carmichael's Time-Crunched program. He makes a good argument for it and puts in some nice examples, but...it's really hard to argue with the results I saw guys getting on the "It's Killing Me..." thread. I realize that was ages ago, but still very cool.
     
  4. wysinwyg

    wysinwyg New Member

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    > It's good to have a firm grasp on what TSS levels to pay attention to regarding backing off

    I think that "that will of course depend on you and your fitness at a particular point in time" is more important that the actual numbers used. IIRC RDO is able to handle a much higher training load than most mortals!
     
  5. zwiggelbig

    zwiggelbig New Member

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    Hi to answer your first question. Who says you should keep riding from a to b? I either plan a ride with non traffic lights or just go to a small course where theirs no traffic and just do that over and over
     
  6. cyclightning

    cyclightning New Member

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    In addition, I can personally confirm that 20-30 second intervals @ 175%-200% of VO2 max can improve VO2 max and time trial performance.
     
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