Is it wrong to be feeling so good already?



Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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Maybe an odd question, but maybe I just worded it badly?

I've done 950 road miles since 1st Jan, with a focus on L2, L3 and L4 time and I'm feeling really good already. My recent rides have shown me to be a totally different rider from where I was last year, finishing 60-80 mile reliability rides strongly, dropping groups of faster guys in the last 10 miles, climbing well and generally keeping going hard when previously I'd be taking any recovery time I could. Today I rode a local hilly loop again for the first time in a while and despite a fairly high training load recently I PB'd it by some margin.

I'm 40 and its only my 2nd year of serious riding after a few years of doing very little, with just under 4000 miles covered last year in total. I've had a lot of time available to me in the last couple of months to train and taken advantage of it in all weathers! I recently invested in a PT wheel, have read up on how to train with power and worked hard to train more cleverly and consistently on the areas I needed to focus on - FTP and endurance. I've ridden 8 x 50+ milers, with a few of those as much as 80 miles as well as a lot of SST/L4 2x15's & 2x20's etc etc. I've also paid careful attention to training load and making sure I get good recuperation after the harder sessions.

Bottom line is that it feels like its paying off in a BIG way already, and my motivation is really high....but should it be this early in the year? Is it realistic to keep improving from here as well. I'm not a racer and my goals are sportives and multi-day events throughout this year, so if I can keep seeing the results I've seen already I'll be very satisfied. A couple of mates keep spouting 'flying in spring, dying in summer' at me and I want to make sure I dont risk doing just that - although personally I think its just there response to being constantly dropped /img/vbsmilies/smilies/ROTF.gif

Appreciate any thought - thanks
 

jsirabella

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Jan 1, 2005
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Bp->You can not control exactly when your body is ready to adapt and improve. It will do so when it is good and ready. There are various schemes that folks here with alot more experience can tell you about which involve "tapering" to be ready for a big event. But that is not an exact science either as there are just too many variables in most folks lives especially the weekend warriors. But I guess the first question would be, are you training for one big event or just want to be ready for the race season? If you have no big event that you are in good shape as the season start is really not that far way.

-js
 

daveryanwyoming

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Oct 3, 2006
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Originally Posted by Bigpikle .

...Appreciate any thought - thanks...
As js says you can't exactly control when you'll peak but if you pay attention to load management and continue building in a sustainable way you shouldn't hit an early an unexpected peak.

You say you're training with a PT hub, have you set up a Performance Manager chart in WKO+ or the equivalent in Golden Cheetah or Race Day? If so the key IME is to focus on both sustainable work (which it sounds like you're doing) and to continue slowly and steadily building CTL. At some point you'll run out of available time to train and won't be able to increase session intensity enough to keep building CTL that or you'll start to rest a bit more before or after especially hard days or key events. That's all normal and good but when that happens you'll likely peak especially if the reduced work load is accompanied with some more intense training or racing days. Stay on a pattern like that for a while and after some really good performances you'll almost certainly begin to fade and then it's time to back off take a breather and try to get back into a building phase.

Basically assuming your plan is sustainable and reasonable given your current fitness and cycling history it comes down to whether you're building or spending. Stay on a sustainable building path and you shouldn't hit an early an unexpected peak. Start reaching for too much with extra high end work, start backing off your workload due to hitting time limits, too many life interruptions or entering 'race and recover mode' and you'll move to spending. That's when the clock starts ticking in terms of early peaks and moving in the wrong direction.

So assuming you're not going to scrap the methods that have taken you this far and start doing a bunch of high end work the question becomes whether your current workload and CTL represents your limit for the season or whether you've allowed room to continue building for a while.

Personally from what you describe it sounds like you've found a training style that works really well for you and you're experiencing what good solid training can do for your fitness. I had similar feelings during my first couple of years of structured training with a PM, I was blown away at how my riding had changed and at first wondered if I was going to go backwards come race season. Sure, no matter how much I've improved I still want to improve more and there's always faster folks out there to race against but in general feeling good after a sustained block of solid SST/L4 training hasn't led to early burnout or less fitness as the season progresses.

Good luck,
-Dave
 

Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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Thanks for the reassurance.

I'm using GC and have been monitoring training load carefully, using TRIMP originally and now Bikescore, although still only have data from January. This is my current PM screen shot



It has been very interesting watching CTL and trying to work out how to manage it effectively. This will remain a challenge as my work involves travel, often overseas, for days at a time, so when it picks up again in the next few months I'll have a lot less training time and from what you've said I'll have to watch I dont trigger a peak at the wrong time. I'm not sure I can keep building CTL much more but should be able to maintain it close to this level if I take advantage of whatever time I do get.

I have 2 target 'A' events - a 3 day 320 mile and challenging sportive at the end of May, and a 5 day 450 mile trip across the Pyrenees with huge climbing but easy touring pace, in mid September. I think my existing work and vacation commitments will automatically give a taper leading up to both events and I'm hoping the 3 months between them gives me a good chance to go back and build again. Neither event needs me to work too much on L5 and above so I plan to continue to focus primarily on L2/3/4 work and build the 'diesel' engine that will help me finish both events strongly, which I hope will reduce the chances of peaking accidentally!
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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"dropping groups of faster guys in the last 10 miles"

No one drops groups of faster riders. I suppose you mean that you are dropping people who were dropping you last year.

---

You rode 4000 miles last year (80 miles/week) and are on schedule to ride about 6000 (120 miles/week) this year. That is a reasonable schedule for a tourist which you seem to be. Might be a bit light for someone interested in racing.

You seem to be progressing. You need to set goals.
 

Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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Originally Posted by An old Guy .

"dropping groups of faster guys in the last 10 miles"

No one drops groups of faster riders. I suppose you mean that you are dropping people who were dropping you last year.

---

You rode 4000 miles last year (80 miles/week) and are on schedule to ride about 6000 (120 miles/week) this year. That is a reasonable schedule for a tourist which you seem to be. Might be a bit light for someone interested in racing.

You seem to be progressing. You need to set goals.
I probably didnt make myself clear earlier. I meant dropping people who dropped me last year as you said, but also dropping groups of riders that I had been struggling to keep up with for the first 30-40 miles of an event and then kept the pace going as they all faded in the later stages.

I'm no racer, and dont aim to be, with the exception of cyclocross. I raced a few events last season and will attack this season with more serious aims for my local series, and have a goal for that already. My main goals are stated above in the form of completing those 2 key events successfully (in the 100 hr time limit in the case of the Raid Pyrenean) and have a w/kg FTP target, although this is simply a abstract figure set above where I am currently to stretch me, rather than being based on any computed number to 'win' an event. Right now thats all the goals I need, and enough to get me out in all weathers and keep me working hard on improving. Those and a love for riding my bike....
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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Neglect L5 at your peril. From what I recall from another thread you're average weight and have a threshold somewhere in the low to mid 200s, somewhere 220s, right? When you factor in the altitude (~7000ft or 2,100m) of something like the Tourmalet and add to that the fact that the average gradient of the last kilometer or so is over 10% then you're going to be pegged close to threshold unless you have a triple and dinner plate sized sprockets on the back. Andy Coggan posted a link a long time ago that showed approximately how much threshold is reduced by increasing altitude and if I recall correctly its about 30% lower at those heights. If my memory is correct on both that and your threshold then at the top of the Tourmalet your threhold is gonna be down somewhere maybe as low as 150 or maybe as high as 180 depending on how you adapt. Either way, lets say 170 - that's gonna make anything remotely close to 10% really hard and you'll need the ability to recover after that kind of effort.
 

Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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thanks Swampy - the altitude element is something I dont have any experience with.

I'll make sure I get some time doing L5 work before we go to the Pyrenees. I think this will tie in nicely with my training for the start of the 'cross season.
 

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