How to finish off the year?



bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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I need to decide how I am going to finish off my season, my last race is labor day and I have a race every weekend in between. My 1st planned peak of the season ended July 15th, at that point my CTL was mid 90s (driven up a bit by the stressful race weekend). My plan was to then go into consecutive 12.5 hr build weeks (lower volume than previous build weeks, but more focus on intensity). Then try to taper again over the last week of August, for the races over Labor Day. Here comes the delima, after a couple consecutive weeks of building I feel like ****. My performance is still good, but I am losing my drive and have been feeling tired a lot. I did get kinda sick for the first time in the season last weekend, but I am thinking the way I feel is more a reflection of the length and training level of my season. Also, I have quickly discovered that racing at the Pro/1/2 level is a whole new animal and realistically the remainder of the year will be about learning what I need to do for next year, so with that perspective I just need to have the ability to participate at some level in the race. The labor day races are hard criteriums that I typically struggle with. Next weekend is a real long road race, which I tend to perform better at although I have not done a race at this length before, but this weekend is not quite as long of a road race that should be good preparation. Here are the options I am going over in my head. Pushing through as planned does not feel like an option. So I could start a real slow taper next week and hope that provides some relief from what I am going through, while still targeting Labor Day and hope it provides some freshness for next weekend. Or I could do something dramatic now for next weekend and try to just hang on until the end of the season? My only concern with either of those options is that with the plan being to slowly build from July, my CTL is only back up to 100. I kinda lean towards option 2 because maybe a bit of relief next week will give me new focus for the rest of the season, plus even if it does not the rest of my races after are short crits. With that in mind my plan for next week would be keeping the legs loose with maybe some short hard efforts that would not require much recovery, 2-3 hrs total prior to the Saturday crit that proceeds the Sunday road race. And then race. Any thoughts from the experts?
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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I think if I were in your cleats I would do a whole bunch of L6s (i.e., short, hard efforts). So long as you don't rack up too many TSS points per ride, they really aren't that difficult to recover from. And, I think you will find that your primary physiological deficiency in your new racing class is your AWC. As I understand it, you have never focused on AWC efforts and I'd be curious to what extent you can increase it with focused training. I'll never forget one ride I did (out of necessity). My glutes were killing me and I couldn't do >200W in the saddle. But, for some reason I could do whatever I wanted out of the saddle. So, one day I did a long ride (~3 hrs IIRC) of nothing but L6 efforts and 5min recovery at 150W. I think I did 46 or 47 L6s. The glutes problem (which persisted for about 3 months) allowed me to see what I could do with my AWC and I was blown away at the percentage increase.
 

bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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So what you are saying is just go out and do 15 second max efforts with 5 min recovery periods? How many times per week and what type of recovery in terms of days between workouts?
 

RapDaddyo

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May 17, 2005
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You can really do any intensity above, say, 120%FTP so long as you hold it long enough to nearly deplete your AWC. I used to like something in the 150%FTP vicinity for about 90% of my max duration for that power. You'll just have to do a test to find your max duration at any given intensity. AWC varies widely from rider to rider and it depends on how much AWC work you have done recently because one can increase his AWC significantly with focused efforts. The reason for the 5min recovery duration is to allow your anaerobic capacity to fully recover between efforts.
 

lanierb

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Aug 12, 2004
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I honestly don't know much about this sort of situation, so take this with a grain of salt, but if you're suffering from motivation/fatigue issues I would go the slow taper route. I.e., do what you were doing before but do maybe 30 minutes less each day. I find that if I slowly reduce volume over a period of weeks at the end of the season I hit some power bests along the way. The cost is that after a few weeks I'm no longer as fit, but along the way it feels great both mentally and physically. If you really plan on ending your season in early Sept and don't mind being slightly unfit by mid Sept, a slow taper is likely to make you feel pretty good. (However I also realize that not everyone reacts as well to rest as I do, and you don't want to taper too far before a really long distance race.)
 

yeaux

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Jul 26, 2012
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I've been experiencing the same feelings as you at this point in the season (largely due to additional life/work stress in addition to training). I would taper off now to be safe. Plus, if I had to guess, you're doing Cherry Roubaix? I would rather go into that race feeling more rested than not, esp. given the length of it. Either way, good luck, hope things work out.
 

bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Thanks, yeah I will be at Cherry Roubaix and 93 miles on that course will be hard. I had 72 miles on a difficult course during this past weekends Ohio State RR, and that really provided a perspective as to just how fresh I will need to be this weekend. I will just be doing a total of maybe 2.5hrs of active recovery prior to Saturday nights crit, which should serve as a good opener for Sunday. Sunday should provide enough endurance to get me till the end of the season.
 

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