Improvement ceiling and strategy?



hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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I've been riding for two years, and have had the PM for about a month, and have read big chunks of the "killing me" thread. Still on a steep learning curve, and realize that I have a very long way to go. I have three "A" events around which I'd like to peak, and they're within a week of each other in September. A century in mid/late july, an olympic-distance triathlon in early september, and a 100 mile gran fondo that runs the following Sunday.

My questions are aimed at the bike. Per the "Book", I've tested my LT, and am basically focusing on SST/LT work, with some other intervals thrown in, but the overwhelming amount of time being spent @ high L3 low L4. This is my first year trying structured training. My limit on the trainer is one hour if I want to get off wanting to ride again. FTP=181 per 20 min test. According to the CP60 curves of my ride, it's risen 10w in 2 weeks. And on the weight side of the w/kg equation, I could stand to lose ten easily. (current w/kg=2.2).

In general, my hope is to continue to put about 2 hrs per week in SST/LT work (perhaps 3-3.5 hrs total trainer time) and then two weight sessions plus yoga till the weather gets nice, which is basically March/April. When that happens, start mixing SST with longer efforts outside (2-3hrs), with weekly training hours going up closer to 8-10 in the summer, but that will have to include running and swimming. I have no formal "plan" yet other than trying to raise sustainable power. GIven the weather, seems to be the best idea right now.

I guess my questions are (1) whether the idea of riding 100 miles is incompatible with training for a fast 40k in the olympic within a week, and whether it's possible to give both a good effort; and (2) whether I'm better of periodizing this using two high-intensity blocks along the lines of the time-crunched cyclist training plan, or doing a more traditional base/build. How would you approach this?
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by hrumpole .
(1) whether the idea of riding 100 miles is incompatible with training for a fast 40k in the olympic within a week, and whether it's possible to give both a good effort; and (2) whether I'm better of periodizing this using two high-intensity blocks along the lines of the time-crunched cyclist training plan, or doing a more traditional base/build. How would you approach this?...
(1) Not at all, the training that will make you fast for a 40K TT is basically the same as what will make you both fast and efficient at slower pacing for a full century ride. I've ridden training centuries within a week of riding the state 40K time trial and those have been some of my fastest as well as most enjoyable centuries as it's really nice to roll along at 20-22 mph and not be working all that hard which is what comes from dedicated long TT training and raising your FTP. Raising your FTP also helps you preserve glycogen as long as you pace back a bit. IOW, with an FTP of 200 watts holding 17 mph at say 180 watts is pushing you hard relative to your FTP and forcing you to burn through your precious glycogen stores very quickly. Raise your FTP to 250 and that same 180 watt pace is pretty tame, let's you utilize a much higher percentage of fat to fuel your efforts and preserves glycogen which all in all translates to greater endurance to finish the ride feeling good.

(2) I'd stay on the plan you've described above. Focus on L3/L4 work, try to extend at least one or two of your rides each week as time allows perhaps stretching a midweek Tempo ride up to a couple of hours as days get longer and weather warmer and maybe stretching one of your weekend rides up to three or more hours of low Tempo high L2 again as the weather gets better and you can get outside more. If you're totally stuck indoors now then you might consider a double session on Saturdays starting with perhaps an hour in the morning followed by half an hour in the afternoon or even two back to back 45 minute sessions but getting off the bike, stretching a bit, maybe toweling off some sweat and having a light snack before rolling out the second 45 minutes. Basically I'd stay on track with what you described but slowly build the overall volume between now and your summer events which will get a lot easier to do when you can ride outside more. IMO, the TCC approach is better suited to time limited racers riding dynamic events like crits that need to work enough base but also enough high end work to deal with the demands of those events. From what you describe which are centuries, long TTs, and a Gran Fondo you'd be better served by just focusing on raising your FTP and to some extent your CTL so that you've got the fatigue resistance and saddle time to deal with the longer rides you'll be doing.

BTW, having all three events in close proximity to each other on the calendar is a really good thing. It let's you stay on a build cycle till just a couple of weeks before the first event and then taper to bring on a peak. Most folks can stretch a peak for a couple or a few weeks with some planning and enough short intensity sessions between the three weekends to keep the legs awake while still keeping them fresh. That's a lot better than say three events spread out over a month and a half or scattered about the season when it comes to focusing your efforts and peaking.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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Originally Posted by hrumpole .

I've been riding for two years, and have had the PM for about a month, and have read big chunks of the "killing me" thread. Still on a steep learning curve, and realize that I have a very long way to go. I have three "A" events around which I'd like to peak, and they're within a week of each other in September. A century in mid/late july, an olympic-distance triathlon in early september, and a 100 mile gran fondo that runs the following Sunday.

My questions are aimed at the bike. Per the "Book", I've tested my LT, and am basically focusing on SST/LT work, with some other intervals thrown in, but the overwhelming amount of time being spent @ high L3 low L4. This is my first year trying structured training. My limit on the trainer is one hour if I want to get off wanting to ride again. FTP=181 per 20 min test. According to the CP60 curves of my ride, it's risen 10w in 2 weeks. And on the weight side of the w/kg equation, I could stand to lose ten easily. (current w/kg=2.2).

In general, my hope is to continue to put about 2 hrs per week in SST/LT work (perhaps 3-3.5 hrs total trainer time) and then two weight sessions plus yoga till the weather gets nice, which is basically March/April. When that happens, start mixing SST with longer efforts outside (2-3hrs), with weekly training hours going up closer to 8-10 in the summer, but that will have to include running and swimming. I have no formal "plan" yet other than trying to raise sustainable power. GIven the weather, seems to be the best idea right now.

I guess my questions are (1) whether the idea of riding 100 miles is incompatible with training for a fast 40k in the olympic within a week, and whether it's possible to give both a good effort; and (2) whether I'm better of periodizing this using two high-intensity blocks along the lines of the time-crunched cyclist training plan, or doing a more traditional base/build. How would you approach this?
How would I approach it?

I'd take a look at what was the most important event for me - the century, the tri or the gran fondo and work from that.

If you can nail a 40km ride then the century and gran fondo can be ridden at a lower percentage of FTP and life will still be good. It's all just a question of pacing and nutrition. I would say that your biggest challenge will be getting in a big enough volume of work AND rest for the tri. As the Gran Fondo is a week after the tri then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. Given your current fitness, if the Gran Fondo was a week before the Tri then you might have an issue.

Given that none of your targets involve lifting a set weight, I'd ditch the weights and head off down to the local pool or gym when the weather turns nasty and spend some time swimming or running if more time on the bike is not an option. Of the three, cycling is the easiest and swimming probably the most difficult. Likewise, the downward dog may aid in a feeling of wellbeing but you may be barking up the wrong path when it comes "money time" and you're midway through the run in your Tri. You limited training time needs to reflect your goals and weights and yoga, unless you have some condition that required added flexibility or strength training, are up there on the "nice to do" rather than "I need to do" list.

Don't discount the value of long L2/L3 rides. I used to find that if I skimped on these quality sessions during the winter then my peak during the summer wouldn't last as long.

With regards to making the trainer a more inviting place to be:

A big fan. Bigger is better and it can never be big enough. The more heat you can get rid of the cooler you'll stay, the less you'll sweat and the happier you'll be.

A drink. Water is fine - add ice cubes if you like chilled. If you need to lose weight and you're only riding for an hour then you don't need to add calories.

Music. A big boredom buster on L3 indoor rides. Personally I find I can lose concentration and slack off when doing hard intervals with music playing. L4 becomes L3... until I glance at the CPU.

Use a really big towel to cover the bars and top tube... and having it that close makes it very handy for wiping yourself down.

I used to have a picture similar to what I'd likely see when doing my target event. Although a picture of a long, pan flat road that you may see in your triathlon doesn't sound appealing to look at, if it gets your head where it needs to be then it's doing it's job.
 

hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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Fan. Check.
Drink. Check.
Music. Check. (Sufferfest, or the trihardist podcasts, which are pretty good. Coach Troy doesn't do it for me.)

With respect to weights and yoga--I'm over 40, and like lifting. I have poor hip mobility, and am using the weights and yoga to both loosen up and help me lose weight. It seems to help not only the cycling in terms of being able to adopt a more aero position for longer periods of time, but also prevents knee injuries (IT band pain) when I run. Once it gets nicer, I do exactly as you suggest--ditch the weights and hit the pool. But I think I'll keep the yoga. (and there is the well-being aspect, which I don't knock).

With respect to l2/l3, I love getting out for long rides. I just can't stand the trainer for more than an hour. Burns me out, no matter what speed. But outside, once the endorphins kick in, if I could keep the food coming fast and furious I'd just keep going. My hope is that, with commuting and good weather, I'll be riding six days a week minimum, including a hard short ride (90 min) on Sat, and a long ride (3-4 hours) on sunday. The first century is a bit of a puzzle. I have a friend who does long course triathlons, and I want to be able to keep up. At distances of over 3 hours, I'm probably dead and can only hope to hang on. But my thought is that with a little training in the hills for such shorter efforts, I might be able to be able to get to wait for him a few times at the top of a hill or two. :). But I'm a long way from putting that kind of point on the spear.

Update: Holy ****. I ran the same sufferfest workout I did last week, which has a 20 min interval preceded by a 5 min effort--pretty much the Book protocol. I was equally blown. It was a hard hour. But my FTP estimate based on that effort jumped 10w, from 180 to 190, and the chart now shows a definite trend line up over the course of weeks for best 20m power.

If we get decent (above 40) weekend weather, I'm headed out: 2x20 SST then just riding. I'm really curious to see what these kinds of gains on the trainer will mean on the road. I know I won't keep improving at this rate for very long (10 watts a week for 52 weeks?), but I'm incredibly encouraged. That 20m is not fun, but it is incredibly satisfying to see the numbers creep up.

Best,
rumpole.
 

HincapieFan88

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Nov 13, 2010
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Well done Rumpole, keep up the good work! Can I ask which sufferfest video you use that has the 20 min interval that you use for your FTP test. Cheers mate
 

hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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Originally Posted by HincapieFan88 .

Well done Rumpole, keep up the good work! Can I ask which sufferfest video you use that has the 20 min interval that you use for your FTP test.

Cheers mate

The Hunted.
 

swampy1970

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2008
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381
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Originally Posted by hrumpole .

Fan. Check.
Drink. Check.
Music. Check. (Sufferfest, or the trihardist podcasts, which are pretty good. Coach Troy doesn't do it for me.)

With respect to weights and yoga--I'm over 40, and like lifting. I have poor hip mobility, and am using the weights and yoga to both loosen up and help me lose weight. It seems to help not only the cycling in terms of being able to adopt a more aero position for longer periods of time, but also prevents knee injuries (IT band pain) when I run. Once it gets nicer, I do exactly as you suggest--ditch the weights and hit the pool. But I think I'll keep the yoga. (and there is the well-being aspect, which I don't knock).

With respect to l2/l3, I love getting out for long rides. I just can't stand the trainer for more than an hour. Burns me out, no matter what speed. But outside, once the endorphins kick in, if I could keep the food coming fast and furious I'd just keep going. My hope is that, with commuting and good weather, I'll be riding six days a week minimum, including a hard short ride (90 min) on Sat, and a long ride (3-4 hours) on sunday. The first century is a bit of a puzzle. I have a friend who does long course triathlons, and I want to be able to keep up. At distances of over 3 hours, I'm probably dead and can only hope to hang on. But my thought is that with a little training in the hills for such shorter efforts, I might be able to be able to get to wait for him a few times at the top of a hill or two. :). But I'm a long way from putting that kind of point on the spear.

Update: Holy ****. I ran the same sufferfest workout I did last week, which has a 20 min interval preceded by a 5 min effort--pretty much the Book protocol. I was equally blown. It was a hard hour. But my FTP estimate based on that effort jumped 10w, from 180 to 190, and the chart now shows a definite trend line up over the course of weeks for best 20m power.

If we get decent (above 40) weekend weather, I'm headed out: 2x20 SST then just riding. I'm really curious to see what these kinds of gains on the trainer will mean on the road. I know I won't keep improving at this rate for very long (10 watts a week for 52 weeks?), but I'm incredibly encouraged. That 20m is not fun, but it is incredibly satisfying to see the numbers creep up.

Best,
rumpole.
The 40+ and poor hip mobility - I hear you on that one. My psoas are usuallly tighter than the suspension cables on the Golden Gate bridge but that's a work in progress and they were like that when I was a teenager and racing too. I tend to rely on specific stretches for those issues.

For the 2x20min you really need to be hitting L4. SST covers L4 and L3 and while riding at L3 for 20 mins isn't a waste of time it's a bit lower than where you really need to be to make the best use of that time. It sounds like you really need to sit down and make a formal plan. While you may get lots of good cycling advice here, specific training for swimming, running and combining all three sports me be better found elsewhere. That said, there's a few tri folks on here - one of which competed in the original Ironman and has a product (which I use incidentally) that he swears will make you a better runner and rider. Not sure about Powercranks for swimming though...

As you have seen, you'll progress pretty quickly when you first start. Part of that is due to increasing fitness but you're also adapting to the new training evironment (the trainer) as well as getting used to pacing the efforts better and dealing with the discomfort.

Do you remember to zero your powermeter before each session? Differences in temperature can make a difference - which can be a fair amount if you're training at different times of the day in your garage.
 

hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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Originally Posted by swampy1970 .




The 40+ and poor hip mobility - I hear you on that one. My psoas are usuallly tighter than the suspension cables on the Golden Gate bridge but that's a work in progress and they were like that when I was a teenager and racing too. I tend to rely on specific stretches for those issues.

For the 2x20min you really need to be hitting L4. SST covers L4 and L3 and while riding at L3 for 20 mins isn't a waste of time it's a bit lower than where you really need to be to make the best use of that time. It sounds like you really need to sit down and make a formal plan. While you may get lots of good cycling advice here, specific training for swimming, running and combining all three sports me be better found elsewhere. That said, there's a few tri folks on here - one of which competed in the original Ironman and has a product (which I use incidentally) that he swears will make you a better runner and rider. Not sure about Powercranks for swimming though...

As you have seen, you'll progress pretty quickly when you first start. Part of that is due to increasing fitness but you're also adapting to the new training evironment (the trainer) as well as getting used to pacing the efforts better and dealing with the discomfort.

Do you remember to zero your powermeter before each session? Differences in temperature can make a difference - which can be a fair amount if you're training at different times of the day in your garage.
Yeah-I do zero the PM each time. When I do SST, I target 90-100 percent of FTP. If I don't feel strong, I'll drop it into tempo, but otherwise try to stay in L4. I have only been out on the road with the PM once due to weather and family schedules so far. I suspect that with hills, I'm going to spend a lot more than 40 minutes over or @ LT just because I have to get my fat a** up and down, and I can handle being outside for way longer than being on the trainer. The trainer sessions start at SST and quickly move out of it. They're brutal. I use 7 on the sufferfest scale as FTP. The end of the hunted has a series of lengthening sprints on shorter rests and I couldn't see when I was done. Outside, my minimum rides are 90 minutes, and typically 3 or more hours on weekends once I'm in shape. So the "plan" is to put some quality L3/L4 time in on the weekends until the kids are out of school, but keep enough in the tank so that if I want to hammer up a mile long hill, chase down a pack, or try to drop the guy on my wheel, the other portions don't take that ability to have "unstructured fun" away.

Eventually, I will move to a formal plan of some kind, but I have so much to learn and the events are far enough away that I'm happy with just putting the time in. For example, I have yet to do my power profile or fatigue profile. A power profile using the trainer won't work too well, as I can generate much higher numbers outside, especially for the 5 second and 1 minute durations.

(BTW, I've read a lot of threads saying that there is often (but not always) a difference between indoor v outdoor FTP. What is that difference, typically? Being right on the edge of the "untrained/cat v' zone in the w/kg chart in the Book, I'm excited to leave it by any available means :)
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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The difference between indoor and outdoor FTP will depend on your indoor training environment and the amount of time you've been training indoors on the trainer.

I find if I'm too hot (ie dripping sweat) then FTP will be signifcantly lower and I also find that for the first few weeks of being indoors, the FTP will be 20 to 30 watts lower for the same perceived effort. With that in mind, I now test every couple of months and test where I'm going to be training the most.
 

hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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Environment: pretty good. 65 degrees or so, and with fan, no real puddles. Overheating not a concern, at least not yet. Might be different if I were pushing 300 watts for an hour, but right now it's pretty comfortable. Now I'm really curious to get out on Sunday...
cheers.
 

hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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So the indoor/outdoor gap is about 20w. Did 5 min @ FTP, then 2x20 @ 208 and 209 on five rest. Not to exhaustion, but I was glad when the second one was done. I wonder how much of that was adaptation and how much was just being able to ride outside and shift around a bit.

Tomorrow night: the trainer. See what happens there.
 

hrumpole

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Jan 4, 2011
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20 minutes indoor at 210. Indoor FTP estimate up 10w. (Drip, drip, drip). I have a fantasy of reaching 4w/kg by September. Still have a long way to go.