Gosh - lots of anaerobic!



grahamspringett

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Feb 26, 2004
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One of my main reasons for training is to have fun on the Saturday morning group rides. Here in Wagga in summer, we get up to 60 riders meet at 6.30 for a nice noodle north for 30-odd kilometres, followed by a stop where we divide into groups according to ability. Then it's a full-on gallop home, which is just like being in a race, for about 26km. I'm sure you know the scenario, you start with up to 20 riders, then at the finish there's just 6 of you left.

It's taken a lot of work to be one of those last few riders left, and it's been done on a diet of SST, threshold and VO2 max work. I analysed my graph from this weekend's ride and I saw just how much of the effort was actually waaay into anaerobic zone. Now, I've not done any L6 work, save for one or two sprint sessions just for fun, but that's just 2 sessions in months of training.

I think it's testament to the efficiency of this type of training that I can maintain and recover from going way into the red and still come back for more.

However, the racing season looms, and here is my question. If I start doing some L6 work, maybe 1 or 2-minute efforts, I would imagine that I'll have even more fun on my Saturday rides. But is it too early? The first race I have pencilled in is mid-March, and there's a 2-day race around lumpy Canberra (need my 25 sprocket I reckon), so is now too early to fit in one L6 session a week?

I was thinking of doing one session a week, maybe up a local tester of a hill, but I'm seriously concerned that I'll be bringing myself on to a peak a little too early.

We've heard a lot about 2x20s and 5x5s, but what's the current thinking on the application of L6 efforts?
 

Alex Simmons

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Mar 12, 2006
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jbvcoaching said:
Which graph? Are you referring to a power histogram?
Yes, that chart can be a bit misleading.

Graham, have another look at the file power line when you have a 30sec averaging on to get a sense of how many times you really went L6. You kind of have to pick out those that are up there due to mostly NMP efforts as opposed to AWC efforts.

I'd say, as a rule of thumb, do those short efforts 6-8 weeks out from intended peak.

But you're right, the better your aerobic fitness, the better you recover from such efforts and the more of them you can usually do. It can sometimes be hard to make the transition to such training though.
 

bigbadwoulfe

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Dec 2, 2007
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Hey graham, I'm in the same situation as you. I feel as though I've reached a plateu on my L4 work and I feel I need to change it up to L5 and L6. My A race is still too far away as in April. Should we or should we not start on L6 work?
 

Ade Merckx

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Jan 26, 2007
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bigbadwoulfe said:
Hey graham, I'm in the same situation as you. I feel as though I've reached a plateu on my L4 work and I feel I need to change it up to L5 and L6. My A race is still too far away as in April. Should we or should we not start on L6 work?
My first race is mid march. After two months of pure L4 and SST I think I'm just gonna dip my toe in the L5 pool once a week and start fast group rides at the end of the month :D
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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grahamspringett said:
... The first race I have pencilled in is mid-March, ...so is now too early to fit in one L6 session a week?...
Eight weeks out is a bit sooner than I'd start L6 work, but some folks do it year round so approaches differ. From a peaking standpoint I'd just try to maintain if not continue to build CTL until your races approach if you want to avoid a premature peak. So if you introduce a dedicated L6 day you might want to increase your low SST/L3 durations to avoid a CTL drop and its associated peak.

OTOH, if you hold your weekly TSS with SST/L4/L5 work (8 weeks out is a great time to start L5 work but again watch for a CTL crash) there's nothing wrong with spicing things up with some L6 and L7 efforts if they don't come at the expense of your overall training load.

Just remember, when you're building CTL you're increasing training load and staying a bit fatigued. As CTL drops you're spending training load, getting fresher and inducing peaks. Short CTL drops aren't a big deal, they're just rest periods, but longer downsloping CTL curves translate to peaks, make sure they happen at times when they'll really help you.

Good luck,
Dave
 

grahamspringett

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Feb 26, 2004
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jbvcoaching said:
Which graph? Are you referring to a power histogram?

The graph of the power output during the ride. I set an interval mark when we all headed off and finished it when we went under the rail bridge/sprint finish. There were at least a dozen spikes where I went way into the red.

But I might hold off on that stuff for a couple of weeks, having read the helpful replies here. We may be getting spammed to death, but let's stick around to see what happens.
 

bigbadwoulfe

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Dec 2, 2007
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daveryanwyoming said:
Eight weeks out is a bit sooner than I'd start L6 work, but some folks do it year round so approaches differ. From a peaking standpoint I'd just try to maintain if not continue to build CTL until your races approach if you want to avoid a premature peak. So if you introduce a dedicated L6 day you might want to increase your low SST/L3 durations to avoid a CTL drop and its associated peak.

OTOH, if you hold your weekly TSS with SST/L4/L5 work (8 weeks out is a great time to start L5 work but again watch for a CTL crash) there's nothing wrong with spicing things up with some L6 and L7 efforts if they don't come at the expense of your overall training load.

Just remember, when you're building CTL you're increasing training load and staying a bit fatigued. As CTL drops you're spending training load, getting fresher and inducing peaks. Short CTL drops aren't a big deal, they're just rest periods, but longer downsloping CTL curves translate to peaks, make sure they happen at times when they'll really help you.

Good luck,
Dave
as usual, thanks dave for the very informative answer. I guess I still need to stick to SST/L4 work since I'm only in my first month of structured training. Since starting, I saw my FTP jump from 240 to its present level at 289 within a month. I guess my legs still have potential yet to be tapped :D
 

jbvcoaching

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Dec 28, 2005
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grahamspringett said:
The graph of the power output during the ride. I set an interval mark when we all headed off and finished it when we went under the rail bridge/sprint finish. There were at least a dozen spikes where I went way into the red.
See Alex's reply as to needing those forays to be over ~30 seconds or so in order to "count".

But I might hold off on that stuff for a couple of weeks, having read the helpful replies here.
Again, per Alex's response...you may not need any specific L6 training besides racing and "competitive" group rides. If you can make the short term power you need to make in those situations, the process of doing it repeatedly is more aerobic in nature.