focusing on L4



bubba 02

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How many of you guys focus on L4 all year round? Do you think that you reach a point when L4 has reached the highest level and theses no benefit? My training plan calls for one L4 w/o or a 40min tt once a week and Ive reached my goal fpt, now it just seems like I'm maintaining it and it becomes a grind.. After 12weeks of this -t/p calls for replacing the L4 w/o's with L5 5x5'S which I can understand, but I'm in fear of loosing my fpt over the next 6wks! Any input?
 

wiredued

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Don't get hung up on strictly L4 like I did or the L5 peaks a good chunk of SST is L3 where you can put in most of your hours. Think outside the three day training week if you can do 4 you can do 5:)
 

Piotr

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bubba 02 said:
How many of you guys focus on L4 all year round? Do you think that you reach a point when L4 has reached the highest level and theses no benefit? My training plan calls for one L4 w/o or a 40min tt once a week and Ive reached my goal fpt, now it just seems like I'm maintaining it and it becomes a grind.. After 12weeks of this -t/p calls for replacing the L4 w/o's with L5 5x5'S which I can understand, but I'm in fear of loosing my fpt over the next 6wks! Any input?
You will not lose FTP doing L5 5x5's. You may eventually lose some base, but not power. In fact, the whole point of L5 is to max out your FTP by raising the aerobic ceiling or VO2max. After you peak (doing 5x5's) and you start feeling like you're not recovering from day to day as well as you previously did, you may revert to L3 and start rebuilding your base.
 

bubba 02

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Piotr said:
You will not lose FTP doing L5 5x5's. You may eventually lose some base, but not power. In fact, the whole point of L5 is to max out your FTP by raising the aerobic ceiling or VO2max. After you peak (doing 5x5's) and you start feeling like you're not recovering from day to day as well as you previously did, you may revert to L3 and start rebuilding your base.
Can I ask, -is there any time in your season when you cut L4&5 from your diet completely? Now when I say that, I mean "base, build and race periods".. The reason I ask is L4 "build to highest level" and maintain as long as you can (threw season) or build in base and pre race period and maintain L3 and L6&7, peding on race specifics ? Thanx for your insite
 

Piotr

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bubba 02 said:
Can I ask, -is there any time in your season when you cut L4&5 from your diet completely? Now when I say that, I mean "base, build and race periods".. The reason I ask is L4 "build to highest level" and maintain as long as you can (threw season) or build in base and pre race period and maintain L3 and L6&7, peding on race specifics ? Thanx for your insite
I would not lump L4 & L5 together. Though there may be longer periods without any structured L5 (we're talking hard intervals here), I only avoid L4 during my period of rest and recovery, which usually takes place from mid-September to mid-October and consists of unstructured riding for pleasure with intermittent days off the bike. Having said that, let me qualify that not all L4 training consists of riding at 100% FTP. Most would be in the 90-95% range.

If you feel like L4 is getting to be a real drag without any additional benefit, you may want to consider a week or two of rest and recovery riding. For example, after a month of staleness in my training this past December, I finally decided to take an easy week (I took 2 days off, 1hr easy ride, day off, 1hr easy ride, day off). Having lost some 8 CTL points in 6 days, I resumed with a few L3 rides. The following week I felt very refreshed and my FTP improved by some 10 W. When hope of improvement seemed lost one month, the next I updated my training levels to reflect the new found strength.

To answer your question, no, I would not cut L4 completely out except for recovery periods. And, yes, it's possible to maintain high FTP throughout the racing season, but is more likely to occur in those who are dilligent and patient in the training and keep their fitness at a relatively high level throughout the season. Then, there are those who take a lot of time off, build too quickly, peak prematurely, and burn out thinking that they didn't get enough rest in the off-season. It sure is hard to improve year to year with that kind of training philosophy.

If there's a glaring error in my way of thinking I sure would like someone else to chime in.
 

bubba 02

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Piotr said:
I would not lump L4 & L5 together. Though there may be longer periods without any structured L5 (we're talking hard intervals here), I only avoid L4 during my period of rest and recovery, which usually takes place from mid-September to mid-October and consists of unstructured riding for pleasure with intermittent days off the bike. Having said that, let me qualify that not all L4 training consists of riding at 100% FTP. Most would be in the 90-95% range.

If you feel like L4 is getting to be a real drag without any additional benefit, you may want to consider a week or two of rest and recovery riding. For example, after a month of staleness in my training this past December, I finally decided to take an easy week (I took 2 days off, 1hr easy ride, day off, 1hr easy ride, day off). Having lost some 8 CTL points in 6 days, I resumed with a few L3 rides. The following week I felt very refreshed and my FTP improved by some 10 W. When hope of improvement seemed lost one month, the next I updated my training levels to reflect the new found strength.

To answer your question, no, I would not cut L4 completely out except for recovery periods. And, yes, it's possible to maintain high FTP throughout the racing season, but is more likely to occur in those who are dilligent and patient in the training and keep their fitness at a relatively high level throughout the season. Then, there are those who take a lot of time off, build too quickly, peak prematurely, and burn out thinking that they didn't get enough rest in the off-season. It sure is hard to improve year to year with that kind of training philosophy.

If there's a glaring error in my way of thinking I sure would like someone else to chime in.
Thanx so much, question answered. I'm kinda following the "charles Howe" theory of training, and like all power based training plans there are some grey area's. I think my biggest hiderance is, I get to wrapped up in watt/kilo numbers and not building fitness!
 

rmur17

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bubba 02 said:
Thanx so much, question answered. I'm kinda following the "charles Howe" theory of training, and like all power based training plans there are some grey area's. I think my biggest hiderance is, I get to wrapped up in watt/kilo numbers and not building fitness!
fwiw, I lump L3 and L4 together (and track 'em together) when varying my training intensity and load. Have you read the "sweetspot" articles? In summary, you can trade off intensity vs. duration over a fairly wide range and yield similar benefits: aka the "sweetspot". I suppose I'd call it "sweetrange" but that doesn't sound as smooth.

I can be a bit of a pure L4 junkie but, whenever I get stale, reverting to pure L3 for a week, or two ... or a month always serves as a great refresher. The only catch is that on purely indoor training, I honestly find it hard to put in sufficient saddle hrs at say low L3 (80% of FTP) to build. Outdoors: I find I can ride lotsa L3 probably six days per week and that just builds tons of CTL after a while.

IMHO, L5 is icing on the aerobic cake. L6 is sprinkles on the icing :-0)

Finally, I should say that if I had the time to ride ~20hrs/wk, I suspect at least one day would be a long L2 ride but I don't ... and I don't!
 

bubba 02

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rmur17 said:
fwiw, I lump L3 and L4 together (and track 'em together) when varying my training intensity and load. Have you read the "sweetspot" articles? In summary, you can trade off intensity vs. duration over a fairly wide range and yield similar benefits: aka the "sweetspot". I suppose I'd call it "sweetrange" but that doesn't sound as smooth.

I can be a bit of a pure L4 junkie but, whenever I get stale, reverting to pure L3 for a week, or two ... or a month always serves as a great refresher. The only catch is that on purely indoor training, I honestly find it hard to put in sufficient saddle hrs at say low L3 (80% of FTP) to build. Outdoors: I find I can ride lotsa L3 probably six days per week and that just builds tons of CTL after a while.

IMHO, L5 is icing on the aerobic cake. L6 is sprinkles on the icing :-0)

Finally, I should say that if I had the time to ride ~20hrs/wk, I suspect at least one day would be a long L2 ride but I don't ... and I don't!
Thanx for info- everybit helps! can I ask whats your CTL at when you start in on your L5 and 6's? Thanx agian
 

tonyzackery

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Always fascinating how we can arrive at the same destination but take different paths - and have different arrival times, of course.

Anyway, I am a L4 focus guy, pretty much year round. I will add some L5 blocks, but with the purpose of pulling up the FTP when it appears to be plateauing, or when I'm inducing a peak before a priority race. I'll also get creative with the L4 intervals - not just the ol' 2x20 anymore, sonny:) . My long rides (2-4 hrs L1/2 intensity) are usually the day after races only.

Not arguing with anyone's success in utilizing L3 work (how can anyone argue with rmur's FTP of around 400w?), I just happen to not be a proponent of it. I'm either working intently (L4 intervals or races), or I'm recovering. I'm not a member of CyclingPeaks or the other training software programs, and as such don't track CTL, ATL, TSB, TSS, and all that...

My $0.02CAN worth...
 

rmur17

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tonyzackery said:
Always fascinating how we can arrive at the same destination but take different paths - and have different arrival times, of course.

Anyway, I am a L4 focus guy, pretty much year round. I will add some L5 blocks, but with the purpose of pulling up the FTP when it appears to be plateauing, or when I'm inducing a peak before a priority race. I'll also get creative with the L4 intervals - not just the ol' 2x20 anymore, sonny:) . My long rides (2-4 hrs L1/2 intensity) are usually the day after races only.

Not arguing with anyone's success in utilizing L3 work (how can anyone argue with rmur's FTP of around 400w?), I just happen to not be a proponent of it. I'm either working intently (L4 intervals or races), or I'm recovering. I'm not a member of CyclingPeaks or the other training software programs, and as such don't track CTL, ATL, TSB, TSS, and all that...

My $0.02CAN worth...
Here are two indoor tempo rides from last week (Wed and Thu). Now seeing that's about as long as I can handle on the CT (on a good day!), these are mid to upper L3. But ... heck ... doing those makes a 30-40-60min L4 effort pass quickly.

I do mess up from time to time by becoming enamoured of high-end work (for me that's 15-20 MP) for more than 3-4wks but ... when my head is screwed on ... the long L4 and longer L3 work really pays dividends. Partly that's physical, partly that's mental (resets the perception of time and tolerable fatigue).

Now I *like* doing L5 work - makes me feel like I'm on drugs - IOW great but not something I should do for very long. Last yr I did it consistently was 2004 and (post-hoc) PMC told me that I basically didn't build enough 'base' and ran o/o what I did have before the season was out. I had a couple of really good TTs in May/June but the rest of the season was mediocre at best.

I think L5 and over is best used sparingly and for special occasions. Then again, I'm a TT'r -- who approaches the occasional road race like a TT as well :)
 

kennf

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rmur17 said:
Here are two indoor tempo rides from last week (Wed and Thu). Now seeing that's about as long as I can handle on the CT (on a good day!), these are mid to upper L3. But ... heck ... doing those makes a 30-40-60min L4 effort pass quickly.

I do mess up from time to time by becoming enamoured of high-end work (for me that's 15-20 MP) for more than 3-4wks but ... when my head is screwed on ... the long L4 and longer L3 work really pays dividends. Partly that's physical, partly that's mental (resets the perception of time and tolerable fatigue).

Now I *like* doing L5 work - makes me feel like I'm on drugs - IOW great but not something I should do for very long. Last yr I did it consistently was 2004 and (post-hoc) PMC told me that I basically didn't build enough 'base' and ran o/o what I did have before the season was out. I had a couple of really good TTs in May/June but the rest of the season was mediocre at best.

I think L5 and over is best used sparingly and for special occasions. Then again, I'm a TT'r -- who approaches the occasional road race like a TT as well :)


Ouch. Those are L3 workouts? I really should have chosen my parents better.
 

dhk2

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kennf said:
Ouch. Those are L3 workouts? I really should have chosen my parents better.
I admire you disciplined trainers who can track how much time you spend in each zone. My focus is generally on avoiding L4 and higher as much as possible through use of skillful wheel sucking and limited pulls up front. We used to have the civil concept of "winter pace" during the off-season, but now even the sunday pm flat "recovery ride" has turned into a race-pace event (for me anyway). I know the answer is to find some older and slower guys to ride with, but most of them wisely put their bikes up for the winter :)

The trainer bikes at the Y are great for doing fixed-power intervals, but trying to recover from the weekend hammerfests and the little Weds mid-day "slackers" ride is about all I can handle these days, what with the "advancing age" problem I've got:)
 

rmur17

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kennf said:
Ouch. Those are L3 workouts? I really should have chosen my parents better.
here's an L4 from last Sunday ...

http://www.cyclingforums.com/showpost.php?p=3877411&postcount=17

Re the longer ones, well at 2-hrs Wed steady and 2.5hrs Thursday steady - they are upper L3 bordering on LL4 Wed ...

Generally speaking ~1.5hrs steady is my L4 limit ... at least indoors where power still droops significantly with time - compared to benign conditions outdoors.
 

Piotr

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Piotr said:
...
If you feel like L4 is getting to be a real drag without any additional benefit, you may want to consider a week or two of rest and recovery riding. For example, after a month of staleness in my training this past December, I finally decided to take an easy week (I took 2 days off, 1hr easy ride, day off, 1hr easy ride, day off). Having lost some 8 CTL points in 6 days, I resumed with a few L3 rides. The following week I felt very refreshed and my FTP improved by some 10 W. When hope of improvement seemed lost one month, the next I updated my training levels to reflect the new found strength.
...
Here's my PMC chart that may help illustrate what I was talking about above. I also attached the PMC chart that starts when I first started tracking fitness. Both charts include best 60 min power numbers. When you can see "bests" showing up more and more often, you're getting stronger. :cool: FYI, my estimated FTP was 245 W when I first started charting with WKO+ almost 2 years ago. I currently have it set at 270 W (266 tested indoors).
 

frenchyge

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In practical terms I know it's little different than what people have been talking about above, but I prefer to think in terms of focusing on "sustainable power" or some other physical attribute rather than focusing on a particular training level or zone. From that perspective I think it becomes easier to see how different intensities from L2-L5 all have their place at different times and in different amounts.
 

bubba 02

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Piotr said:
Here's my PMC chart that may help illustrate what I was talking about above. I also attached the PMC chart that starts when I first started tracking fitness. Both charts include best 60 min power numbers. When you can see "bests" showing up more and more often, you're getting stronger. :cool: FYI, my estimated FTP was 245 W when I first started charting with WKO+ almost 2 years ago. I currently have it set at 270 W (266 tested indoors).
Nice build in 08. What happened in April threw May?? Looks like your hump n this year too. Do you have a CTL goal this year? How do you post these charts from wko???.. I'd like to post mine..
 

Piotr

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bubba 02 said:
Nice build in 08. What happened in April threw May?? Looks like your hump n this year too. Do you have a CTL goal this year? How do you post these charts from wko???.. I'd like to post mine..
I crashed in April and was off the bike for 4 weeks. I was hoping to get over 100 CTL this year, but I'm having a hard time holding more than 80 whilst indoors. Next week, team camp. :cool::)

To post charts you need to maximize the chart, then in the upper right corner select Options -> Copy. You then Paste it in a image editing program (like Photoshop or MS Paint), or even a Word document (see rmur17's posts in this thread). When writing your post, select "Manage Attachments" below and upload.
 

bubba 02

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Piotr said:
I crashed in April and was off the bike for 4 weeks. I was hoping to get over 100 CTL this year, but I'm having a hard time holding more than 80 whilst indoors. Next week, team camp. :cool::)

To post charts you need to maximize the chart, then in the upper right corner select Options -> Copy. You then Paste it in a image editing program (like Photoshop or MS Paint), or even a Word document (see rmur17's posts in this thread). When writing your post, select "Manage Attachments" below and upload.
Ok I think I got it. CTL is about 87, On a 10 to 12 hr ride week ,I was thinking about cranking up the L5 at this point? My goal to is to hit 100 to 110. Racing starts the end of march for me, with that said whats the recommendation on when to drop that once a week L4 and replace it with the L5 5x5's.. 700 tss for the week allways leaves my leggs gassed, so im thinking about dropping the weight routine,(yes/no?). The cool thing about that one a week TT has built me at 4.5w/k. opinions,comments ,thoughts are allways appreciated
 

Piotr

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bubba 02 said:
Ok I think I got it. CTL is about 87, On a 10 to 12 hr ride week ,I was thinking about cranking up the L5 at this point? My goal to is to hit 100 to 110. Racing starts the end of march for me, with that said whats the recommendation on when to drop that once a week L4 and replace it with the L5 5x5's.. 700 tss for the week allways leaves my leggs gassed, so im thinking about dropping the weight routine,(yes/no?). The cool thing about that one a week TT has built me at 4.5w/k. opinions,comments ,thoughts are allways appreciated
Drop L4 and replace with L5? No no no. Replace one L4 day with L5 6 - 8 weeks before races start (I guess for you that would be around now). At least that's what I plan on doing. The only difference between winter L4 and summer L4 is indoors vs. outdoors. Except for rest and recovery periods L4 is a year round deal. I suppose it's sensible to replace consecutive L4/L4 sessions with L5/L3 or even L5/L2, but I can't imagine training without sustained hard riding at least once a week. In the summer the L4 sessions are usually included in longer "endurance" rides. For example, I'll go for a 4 hr weekend ride, but it almost always includes 1-1.5 hrs of sustained climbing.

Whereas the winter weeks may look like
Rest/L4/L4/L3/L1/L3/L3,
spring or summer may look like
Rest/L5/L2/L4/L1/L4/L3, or
Rest/L6(L7)/L4(L3)/L1/L2/Race(L4)/L2.

Regarding weights, 2 years ago I read the "Gyming to Improve Power" sticky thread and never went back to the gym. Yeah, I admit I should probably do some core strength stuff on my easy days just so I don't feel too old, but absolutely nothing for the legs. I haven't had any knee problems since then, which previously was a regular occurrence in the spring. So save the legs for cycling if you want to improving your cycling.