Experiment for a Century Ride - little Zone 2/Endurance training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by awilki01, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    I've been on the side of the science that states long Zone 2/Endurance miles are not a necessity. I have a century coming up in a few months that I'm going to absolutely refuse to train for e.g. no 3-4+ hour endurance rides. This is an experiment to see if the lack of Zone 2/Endurance will be a detriment to me on my century. My longest ride will probably be 40 miles on a Sunday once a week. The other days, I'm focused exclusively on Zone 3/Zone 4 for time trialing with no more than 30 miles. Zone 5/VO2 will happen as I get closer to TT event.

    Any thoughts about this?
     
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  2. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like classic Carmichael Time Crunch. I have tried 2 cycles of this plan, I got quite strong with decent top-end. I was easily able to hang during repeated accelerations, and in the closing miles at Cat3 speeds (racing cat3/4) on shorter (30 mile) races and managed some top 10's. I did not do so well in the few 60+ mile races I did. But, I got a whole lot fitter and faster adding a single 65 mile weekly ride, replacing the plan's 2.5 hour ride. Edit: to determine the plans effectiveness would really depend on establishing a baseline and comparing against an alternate plan. Genetics and experience are other things that could create an apples to oranges comparison from different riders feedback.

    After the 1985 RAAM, Halderman (who did not finish that year) said he wasted years doing long Zone 2 miles. Boyer beat 'em all with a (mostly) classic RR training model (certainly with some Zone2), intervals, and all. Genetics not withstanding.

    Some new studies, if I absolutely must I will dig and find the reference (but it can be found on the web with rudimentary search skills), suggest that long leg shattering glycogen depleting rides, even 1 or 2 a month will substantially increase aerobic capacity. The theory revolves around a hormone known as Interleukin6. The long rides to facilitate this involve a higher intensity than Zone 2, which one could merrily ride all day long without depleting that much stored sugar. Rolling home from a 5 hour ride with legs 'shaking' is how one described it. Although not referred to in the L6 context, it is one of the pillars of Hunter's 'Next Level'.

    Carmichael certainly claims his type of plan (with the longest ride in the "century" plan being 3-3.5 hours) will help someone finish a century fast and strong. I imagine if I only had say 6 or 7 weeks to prep for anything (or very limited time) I would mostly skip zone 2 altogether and go right to the long and short intervals with the appropriate amount of rest after workouts.

    These are some of my thoughts, as well as the thoughts of others channeled through me.
     
  3. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    Thanks for the reply. It was very well thought out and written.

    I base this purely on evidence of the stress and subsequent adaptations I've seen listed for Zone 3 and 4 - which are still aerobic. If you have the Power book, look at page 49. I figure it is the best 'bang for the buck' so to speak. My max training/week is probably 12 hours, and I'm only doing about 7-9 now. If I have time to do a 3+ hour ride on the weekends - which I shouldn't have an issue with - I will try to keep it at a zone 3 pace - or at least a zone 3 NP power range. Will I ride at zone 2? Of course, I will, but that will not be my focus whatsoever - unless my TSS is going up too fast and I need zone 2 for time or recovery spins. I do believe in periodization, and I plan for an increased volume/intensity about 8 weeks before my A priority event. I just don't subscribe to the idea that beginning base training is all about lower zone 2 intensity. I just don't have the time for the little gain I will get.

    Now, here I am thinking to myself.... If I ever have a Saturday or Sunday where I am not doing anything, I may go ride for 4 hours. Who knows. It's just not going to be part of my plans.
     
  4. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Thanks. I don't have the power book and haven't yet trained with a power meter, but if things go as planned I'll probably be picking up a pair of Vector pedals next month.

    I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised when I do my baseline tests, that or I'll come to a moment of revelation that any good results I achieved over the years have been a result of my expert wheelsucking /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif. Not so bad for racing but it would explain my often abysmal results for longer TT's. Comparitively I'm predicting I'll have decent 5 sec power, some very nice 1 min power, ok 5 minute, not such great FTP. We'll see.

    The old Zone2, I manage that for about 10 minutes during warmup and that's pretty much it. 1 hour ride or 5 hour ride, it seems to be hammertime, all the time... I looove the drops hehe. The main benefit for my HR monitor seems to be in keeping my pace down on "easy" days.
     
  5. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    I have started doing more LSD training this season and I can already tell you that my Aerobic fitness has improved significantly, I can feel it when I ride. I will be on the front during a training ride at 22mph and look down and see 140bpm. I don't have a good power baseline for what my Aerobic fitness was last year, but at the start of my Base 1 I did an aerobic TT on the computrainer (5miles @ 9-11 bpm below LT) and my average power was 280watts. I started doing at least 1 long ride per week (3+ hrs nonstop) about a month before I started Base 1 and did the aerobic TT. I will do some follow up Aerobic TTs and see how the #s change. With regards to how this translates to my racing time will tell, but I would have to think if I can be somewhere between 280-290watts and be 10bpm below LT it will make recovery easy.

    In addition to the aerobic gains from LSD, I feel that it allows the cyclist time on the bike, building form while not wearing on the ability/desire to operate above threshold. You can only take your body and mind to "that place" so many times in a season before you are mentally and physically toast. Starting a consistent regimen of L5 intervals this time of year is a sure way to be worthless come July, trust me I have been there...

    With regards to your test, it is really not clear just what you are testing. How comfortable you can do a century? How fast compared to previous centuries? I guess I am not sure what the test actually is..... Another thing that concerns me is that unless you are only training 3 days a week continuously going at that intensity is not going to yield good results because you have not allowed for recovery.

    These are just my perspectives and I am not discouraging you from giving your "test" a shot, but I will no longer go into a season without 1st building a strong base. Another thing to consider is building a base does not always consist of 4+hr rides, it all depends on your training volume. My long weeks are 18-19hrs, and I don't think I will be out much longer than 4hrs, 1 time during that week. A week of 12hrs could even consist of 4-3hr rides or 5 rides (3 @ 2hr and 2 @ 3hr), the idea is consistency. I do feel it is important to have a couple of your longer rides be nonstop, I think this helps dramatically.
     
  6. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

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    you dont say what history you already have, especially with century riding?

    how long have you been riding years and have you completed many centuries already?
     
  7. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    So true, anything further than 5 or 6 weeks out from the first race with the L5 kills me mentally. I usually look to the actual racing to do the job beyond that with maybe one additional interval session during the week. Also those long Zone2/3 rides result in a different kind of adaptation in the body than the zone 4/5 stuff, especially important with regard to long term goals.

    To side track a little, I've got a preview ride scheduled before a race coming up in a couple months. I'll be doing that distance nice and easy just to make sure I'm able to mentally absorb the course.
     
  8. bgoetz

    bgoetz Member

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    Yeah, I have some early season races that I will go to just to show up and get back in the groove of things, I won't have done any structured training above threshold prior to those races. Sure they will hurt, but the purpose of going to these races is training, not to win.
     
  9. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    If I'm not at least 2 or 3 weeks into the intervals there's a good chance I'm getting dropped. I have 2 "training" races in the 6 weeks leading up to my target event and they are going to hurt, especially as they're a combined Cat. race, me being in the lower category.
     
  10. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    One century ride done last year. I've only been training for about 1.5 years.
     
  11. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    A lot of what we do (if we are self-trained - no coaches) will be experimental. Give it a try and mark down the results for 2012 if it works for you or not.

    I tend to do longer miles with hope of doing mostly L3 and some L2, but one of the reasons I do longer miles is not so much for the fitness as it is for the mental aspect of being on the saddle for long periods of time, getting my lower back and my neck used to long periods of time in the saddle and so on.

    I can vividly remember those days when my longest days would be 60 miles and then jump into a century. I finished all of them, but I was amazed what can happen mentally in those last 40 miles and those last miles seem like a century in itself. I remember once I got to mile 90 and the last 10 mile seemed like an eternity. Now that I try to do 70 miles (weather permitting) as my short ride on Saturday's it is amazing how fast that times seems to go. I feel at this point that I can do a century at any given point of the year without any special focus.

    However, if one has conditioning with short L4 work I believe it is very feasible to jump into a century and just keep the ride intensity level at a given point and make it just fine. For me if I keep my IF (intensity factor) at < 0.8 I am good with long distance and if I do not jump into the wrong group that is riding above my level and try to hang on. I will jump into a group and draft, but if I begin to get near my FT I will drop out. I have made that mistake plenty of times in the past of trying to hang with groups that are shooting for sub 4 or sub 5 hour centuries.

    Best wishes on your experiment
     
  12. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    I'm using TSS and CTL to monitor training stress and recovery - I over did it this past week with a TSS increase of almost 10. That is WAY too much. The next two days are off!!!! Your last paragraph tells me that you are already a high volume rider. My long weeks are 10-12 hours - maybe!!! But, given that my TSS has increased almost 10, then I'm starting to see your point. Zone 2 may be required for me. I'll just let TSS tell me what I should be doing. I read that 4-7 TSS/week was the max.

    Guys, I'm still learning here. I know have tons left to learn, but things are slowly starting to click with me. I'm trying to get the best bang for the buck given my somewhat limited time to train.

    I also agree with Zone 5 training now. VO2s hurt!!!!! If I did that now, I would be mental toast later. I'm ok at threshold/sub-threshold.

    I think I'm just a bit overzealous.
     
  13. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    My target is a 65 mile race and will be doing a couple of 85 mile rides (L2/L3) in the months before primarily for condition but also for the mental aspect as Felt pointed out. It's not always feasible (or desirable) to do this for century+ distances but even a couple longer rides (50-70mi) will ease the burden both physically and mentally. Even if you are doing L3/L4/L5 as the core, these longer L2/L3 rides don't necessarily need to be done as base work and can be done as the target event approaches (as per Reverse Linear Periodization). Not ideal for racing, but fine for a century.
     
  14. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

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    I'm sure that with some background fitness you'll be OK, as as Felt suggests, if you keep the intensity at the right level I'm sure you'll complete the distance.

    The big thing I noticed when I built in a significant number of longer L2/3 rides was that in the last 1/3rd of the long rides (not races) I was staying much stronger than I had been with less long distance riding under my belt. As Felt again says above, its those last 40 miles of a 100 that can be that stage when we start to struggle to maintain a pace. Now I find I get my 2nd wind and am stronger than ever. I see it all the time when many of the guys I ride the first 60 or so miles with start to fall off at that stage, either shelling out the back of small groups or simply going backwards on any hills.

    I'm not exactly a LSD fanatic, but have certainly noticed the benefits of getting those regular longer miles in before switching the focus up to FTP development.
     
  15. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    If you do enough long Z2 rides, over time they become either longer Z2 rides or long Z3 rides.

    You are correct that long rides are not necessary to complete a century, but the more long rides you do the better you will do on long rides.
     
  16. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    here's a thought to channel through you...

    Boyer in the years just prior to his RAAM win rode as a pro in Europe and finished as high as 12th overall in the Tour de France. Back then the Tour was ridden somewhat differently with many stages being somewhat more relaxed than the constant barrage of attacks that they do now on every stage - so massive amounts of L2 for years... as well as massive amounts of threshold and VO2 max work as well. He also won the Coors Classic overall. With all due respect to the achievements of Haldeman, Boyer was in a different league.

    One important part that hasn't been mentioned much is the need for seat time. Your body just doesn't mystically become happy with sitting on a bike for five hours, nor is it initially happy at having to do things like digesting food and a fair few bottles of sports drinks. Not only does training directly improve aerobic and muscular endurance but the whole pesky subject of efficiently fueling yourself as well as becoming more efficient at using fat as fuel...

    Ive done a 200 mile ride with 20,000ft of climbing with only one ride over 65 miles in the months prior. It can be done, however it wasn't the way I would have ideally planned it. The ride would have been much more enjoyable with massive amounts of L2 and L3 in the bank but circumstances dictated that time wasn't available for that... I heartily recommend at the very least a fair number of rides upto 3.5hrs done at a pace that's ultimately taxing towards the end. High L2 - L3.
     
  17. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Ramtha concurs. Two athletes with very different abilities, probably not a good example. Also Lon's statement could be interpreted that it wasn't too much Z2 work (his words), but simply not enough threshold and VO2 (for his own development). Even with that work, considering Boyer's background, it likely still wouldn't have panned out for him.
     
  18. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

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    This is the kind of feedback I needed. Maybe I will throw in a long Z2/Z3 ride on a Saturday or Sunday. I don't suppose it would hurt.
     
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