It's killing me but..........

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Sillyoldtwit, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit Active Member

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    Thanks to Palewin and RDO who convinced me I was definitely slacking, starting last week I upped my training. I would like to see if I'm on the right track or have misunderstood things.

    First I would like to point out that as the temp is hovering around 0 C / 5 C
    so far all the work has been done in the gym on the aerobike. They are pretty old bikes so I don't know how accurate they are.

    Anyway, starting last Tues I did 3 x 10 @150 watts.

    Wed 3 x 10 @140 W (still tired from Tues)

    Thurs 2 x 10 @130 plus 1x10 @150 W

    Frid and Sat off (too busy Sat to train)

    Sun 37 mins @ 120 W plus 3 minutes @150 W (Too cold to train outside)

    This week today Tue 1x 10 @ 150W / 1 x 10 @160 W/ 1 x 10 @
    150 W and as a punishment for not working hard enough finished off with
    1 minute @ 200 W

    I should mention this was all done at a HR of 150. Don't really know my max HR, but when I used to do shorter intervals (2 mins) the last 20 secs or so I reached 160/163 with the little old legs going as fast they could.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Ps Hope to improve a lot on the above over the next few weeks/months.
     
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  2. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    So, Sunday's the only day you don't do 10-min intervals, and you rode 40 minutes. Is that you're typical weekly routine?

    No wonder it's killing you. Hopefully Rapdaddyo can chime in on this.
     
  3. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    I guess that since I was an instigator for your new regimen, I should chime in. Actually, I would anyway because I strongly encourage any and all "mature" men and women to get on their bikes and get fit. And, I am a big believer in the theory that one can gain (or regain) a very high level of fitness at a more advanced age. Once I level off, I may be a hair slower than I was in my late 20s and early 30s, but if so it's a very thin hair. I'd love to race my old self in a few months. Those with PMs should save your race files. You'll be able to pull them out in 30 years and do just that -- race your old self.

    Based on your post, I'm guessing that your functional threshold (FT) is ~130w. I say this because it looks as though you would have difficulty maintaining 140w or higher for an hour. It would be good to determine your FT by riding for an hour at a pace that is difficult (but not impossible) to maintain during the last 15 minutes. You can then key all of your workouts off of that intensity. But, let's assume it's 130w. Based on that, I group your 161 minutes in the last 8 days as follows (using Andy Coggan's schema):
    Power %FT Level Mins
    200w 153% L6 01
    160w 123% L5 10
    150w 115% L5 63
    140w 108% L5 30
    130w 100% L4 20
    120w 92% L4 37
    My reaction to this frequency distribution of training minutes is that it is too heavily weighted in L5. Training involves a continuous tradeoff between intensity and duration. Higher intensity means lower duration, either for a single interval or for an entire ride or for a week or a month. This is not just true for you. It's true for Lance Armstrong as well. His numbers are just scaled up a bit relative to yours. I actually don't think you need to be doing any minutes at L5 or above at this time. You will see huge results over time if you start logging some serious minutes at L4, even at the low end of L4 (91%FT). You just have to give it time. A riding buddy in my club took my advice last October and he has progressed from 225w to 309w without doing a single minute above L4. The main result of riding at a higher intensity is to decrease the minutes you can spend at the training level. And minutes at the training level is what it's all about. I laugh at all of these fancy interval protocols (e.g., 2x20 @ L4 w/5 mins recovery), especially the focus on the recovery time and duration. When I look at such protocols, I pay attention only to the time at level, in this case 40 mins at L4. I'm quite sure there are those who disagree (especially some coaches), but I'm not sure it matters whether you ride 5 mins at a recovery pace or go home and take a nap between intervals. What matters in the above protocol is the 40 mins at L4. And, unless you're riding ~3hrs a day at a high IF, I think all this talk of recovery days is a bunch of rubbish. I have people in my club ask me sometimes if they need a recovery day after a couple of 20 min intervals at L4. My honest reaction is, "Recover from what? That's not a workout, that's a warmup." Of course, I don't say this, but that's what I'm thinking. Anyway, keep it up. In a few mohths you'll be staggered by the results.
     
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  4. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    At the risk of seeming contradictory, this does not square with my own experience, nor, I would wager, with that of most cyclists. After a day with more than 40 minutes or so in L4, my ability to do quality work the next day is compromised; not completely shot, mind you, but definitely compromised. I can do consecutive days of L4, but at higher perceived effort. Maybe I've overestimated my threshold, but I don't think so. I'm probably not alone in this regard.

    Judging from discussions of your training in the power forum, RDO, it seems that you are able to handle very, very high acute and chronic training loads, much more so than most folks. For instance, you consider a 1000TSS week routine, whereas a 900TSS week for me constitutes serious overreaching. Optimal training load varies from individual to individual, and more isn't always better.

    Taking a step back for a moment, RDO, your eagerness to belittle other folks' training loads on this forum worries me a little bit. It worries me because a) you're a very intelligent, persuasive man, so people are likely to take you seriously and b) everything I can gather (your age, your threshold power and VO2max, your training load, etc.) suggests that you're phenomenally talented. It's awesome that day after day of 200TSS with as much time as possible at L4 and above has worked so well for you, but honestly, I suspect anything would work well for you, because you have the genes of a phenomenal endurance athlete. Bannister broke the 4 minute barrier on a ridiculously light (by today's world-class standards) training load, and endurance sport at all levels is full of similar examples of remarkable performances by modestly trained individuals.
     
  5. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    You can look at the results (places 1st-5th) from the masters national and world championships for track events and see a fairly linear decline in ability (measured by their race times) for each 5-year age group above 35 years old. The trend is even more obvious when you discard the performances by a few very exceptional people. IOW, if the first place rider is substantially quicker than the 2nd place rider, then look at the results of riders who placed 2nd-4th.

    I remember a study using power at VO2max that showed a general decline with age among well-trained cyclists. I'm trying to remember the number, I think it was close to 8ml/kg/min for each 10 years.
     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    Point well taken. I do think this is a highly individual thing and usually say so (e.g., in discussions of TSS). And, I think it is more a function of how usual or unusual a workout is for someone. If I were riding 3-4 hours a week, I would probably find 40 minutes at L4 to be difficult to do and I am certain I would feel it the next day. I think one needs to discover for himself what level of stress requires a recovery day and I think this is where TSS is almost indispensable.

    I think you're right about my tolerance for total volume at fairly high average stress levels, even though I probably ride my intervals at a lower power than most.

    Well, I certainly don't intend to belittle any approach to training, including training loads. I think that anything one does to improve his fitness is a plus and should be encouraged. Although it is based on a small amount of data, my basic observation about less experienced cyclists' training regimens is that they either spend too much time at power levels that won't result in much if any increase in sustainable power (e.g., L2-L3) or that they are at the other extreme and do their intervals at too high power levels, which compromises the total duration they can handle and increases the risk of injury. I think one can reap huge benefits at L4, even the low end of L4. And, unless one has a physical impairment it doesn't appear to me that up to an hour of L4 intervals (regardless of the microstructure of the session) should require much if any recovery. But, maybe I am overestimating the stress the typical individual can endure. Actually, it would be nice to be able to refer to some studies on this question, to elevate it from anecdotal data. And, btw, I do attribute my own performance to my genes and not to any brilliant training strategy. It's like I told my friend who has gone from 225w to 309w in ~3 months of training, "Don't thank me. I just gave you a little direction. Thank your parents. They are the ones who are truly responsible."
     
  7. fergie

    fergie Active Member

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    I wouldn't be so hard on RD. It all makes sense to me. Lydiard prescribed runs at best aerobic effort day in day and through a process of trial and error came up with 100mile a week of running. This is a very hard volume of fast runing to aspire to especially when you take into account that Lydiard preferred to find hilly tracks to train.

    It also makes sense when you consider the training of Pro riders who do a high volume of L4 training then will do another 2-3 hours of L2-L3. Why? Because that's what their racng is all about.

    I originally thought that RD was advocating doing less power output during efforts than I would aim for but I see he is more concerned about the power one can do. Again makes sense. As I lined up for the racing I would want to know I had trained: a. to be able to handle the ave power for the duration (L3), b. have the threshold power to handle the 20-50% of the race that will be ridden around that level (L4), c. Have the power to make breaks, sprint short hills and to fight for position in crits (L5-L6), and d. Have some power to sprint at the finish or close small gaps (L7).

    Now I spend most of my time trying to improve the a and b parts of the equation because if you can't get them right there is no point in having the c & d parts sorted as you won't be at the finish to use them. I also find it's far easier to maximise ones L5-L7 power in a far short time frame than one needs to spend L3-L4.

    Hamish Ferguson
    Cycling Coach
     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    Exactly. And, I continue to be amazed at how the body responds if one is consistent, week to week, at logging minutes in the ranges that result in increased sustainable power (L4-L7). What an amazing thing, the human body.
     
  9. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    I found that if I do l4 training @ or above threshold, I need a day before I do them again, but not a day off. For example, tue/wed/thur for me looks like this:
    tue:2x20+5x5 or 4x20
    wed:2-2.5 hrs moderate (probably "sweet spot" if I had a pm, high l3/low l4)
    thur:4x20, 2x25+2x20, etc.

    I find this ineresting because wednesday I feel crappy at the start of the ride, and definitely could not do high l4 intervals that day. But despite the fact that my wednesday ride is far from a rest day, I still feel good on thursday.

    Edit: The whole point of this post was to emphasize how well you can recover without a "recovery day," and why I like the philosphy of backing down the intensity a little to allow for more volume.
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    I agree. Also, this is not a trivial volume of minutes at L4 and above. You're talking about 65-80 mins/day at what I call the "real" training levels (L4-L7). One should read carefully my comments about not needing a recovery day. I said I don't think one needs a recovery day after 40 mins at L4 (although I would say that with less conviction if the 40 mins was at the top of the L4 range).
     
  11. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Absolutely. I was mostly trying to bring up the point that recovery does not necessarily mean taking a recovery day.
     
  12. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    But that sounds like simply managing your workload.... :confused:

    How do you expect to scare unsuspecting riders about the ever-lurking dangers of over-training and burnout with that kind of advice? :eek: ;)
     
  13. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Well yes. Nothing too earth shattering. I know that I personally made the mistake of resting more than was necessary to be fresh for intervals. Proper management of workload has got me on track (partially thanks to you, actually).

    Disclaimer: Don't try to train like me unless you have my excessive natural talent and mental toughness:D
     
  14. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    LOL. Now you've got it.... :D
     
  15. fergie

    fergie Active Member

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    Arthur Lydiard (jeez that name has been coming up quite a bit today) made the point that how could an athlete beat someone who trained 7 days a week if they took 52 days a year off training.

    Lydiard cycled his training volumes so runners would do 45mins one day and 90mins the next. He would also vary the terrain and training courses. Firstly to prevent staleness but to also vary the training load. All done at best aerobic pace day in day out.

    Best example of this is riders who finish the Tour de France and keep on racing day in day in the lucrative post tour crits or riders who used to use the Pro road racing as base work for Track Worlds when they were held later in the year.

    As cyclists we confuse matters by racing so much and therefore often push ourselves into highly anaerobic states which requires greater recovery and perhaps limit ourselves from maximising our aerobic capacity. Something Lydiard warned of and I gave the example of a Swiss Pro whose racing commitments (ie the Boss tells you when you race) curtailed his career.

    I know that my initial attempts at racing far too soon into my comeback from a five year layoff set me back a week at a time. Two days of training around my threshold (two days of IF >1) have left my legs a mess. That being said after my session of 2 X 20 I started the bunch ride yesterday with sore legs and a bit of cramp but was able to achieve a better workout than the day before.

    Hamish Ferguson
    Cycling Coach
     
  16. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    I think I would have really liked that guy. If he had also varied the pace to encompass L4-L7 on every workout, we'd be in complete synch.
     
  17. palewin

    palewin New Member

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    I'm worried that we're losing our original poster. Buried in RDs thoughtful analysis is the suggestion that he should be simply accumulating time at around 118 watts (.91x130watts). Since he is a relative beginner at this, I personally wouldn't be doing lots of L4 (which for him is around 118-120 watts) every single day. My approach would be to take whatever total time he will ride on each day, and try to make maybe one-third to one-half of that time around the L4 watts. And if he feels tired on a day, stay at lower power. Undertraining with enthusiasm will be better than overtraining and feeling tired all the time. As RD points out, the improved power will come over time.
     
  18. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    I don't know that I'm qualified to give the OP a precise prescription, but I think we agree that he is now riding at higher power than necessary and that he will likely make more progress and have more enjoyment if he drops it down a bit. It would be nice if he got a benchmark. I'm sort of guessing at his FT. And, even though I sort of look with disdain at HR data, it doesn't help that he says it was 150 for all of his workouts irrespective of power.:confused: But, to the OP: take none of this as criticism of what you are doing. I encourage what you are doing. I just want you to be successful. IIRC, there is a young fella you'd like to beat to the top of a hill, right? My sentiments exactly.:D
     
  19. Sillyoldtwit

    Sillyoldtwit Active Member

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    Let me first say, this forum is unbelievable in the amount of help you guys give to relative newcomers like me. Thanks again for that - much appreciated!:)

    I haven't got my head completely around all this level business, but I'm working on it by reading through the forum and various links. One thing I don't understand is how cadence comes into the formula.

    In my workouts I listed, I try to maintain a leg speed of 90 per minute. I've found that I can regulate this speed through my HR. When my HR drops - sure enough the leg speed has dropped off. (obvious some will say!)

    Anyway, today I took RDO's advice and attempted to find out my FT. Lo and behold it was as close to 130 W as damn it. Again I did the hour at 130 with a leg speed of 90. And actually, RDO I think I mislead you by stating my HR is always 150. What I was doing last week was, when I lowered the W I sped up to increase my HR to 150. (maybe not a dood thing eh?) Today my average HR for the hour fluctuated between 135 and 142 (good spots and bad spots).

    I was getting tired at 56 mins but managed to keep going.

    One funny footnote; I was crouched low over the aerobike and the sweat was pouring off me in buckets. Suddenly the display started to fade and was barely visible at the end. The sweat had seeped into the electrics. I think they are still trying to dry it out.:D

    And to the guy who asked if that was my usual week's training, the answer is no. I only started the programme last week. And as for Sunday rides, my cycling partner and I usually do a mountainous course which averages out at around 2 hours 40 minutes. Last weekend was close to 0C so I went to the gym instead. I cant do 2 hours on the bikes in the gym because of sheer unadalterated boredom (even with my iPod Shuffle blasting out fast 60's hits)
     
  20. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Well-Known Member

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    I need a name. I don't feel comfortable with sillyoldtwit or any of the 3 parts and the acronym (sot) doesn't do it for me. How about Sly? I'll go with Sly until I have something better.

    First of all, Sly, you have no idea how helpful these details are to those of us trying to help you. I guess newbies will never know what sort of details to include when asking for help, but this really brings some things into focus for me and I'm sure for others. Second, with a full hour at max power (MP), you definitely have earned a day off or recovery day and would be well advised to do one or the other today. FYI, there are three schools of thought on recovery days. Some, like me, just take the day off and don't exercise at all. A second group ride but at an easy intensity. The rule of thumb is that you could have a relaxed conversation the entire time. Andy Coggan says it's equivalent to taking your bike for a walk. In power, we're talking about a max of 55% of your FT -- that's right, 72! And a third group do an alternate exercise such as an upper body weight workout in the gym. Trust me, we don't want to touch that third rail! You'll learn over time when you want to take a day off, but an hour at max power is on the edge if not over the edge. Third, getting your FT with a full hour at MP is awesome! That is the gold standard for setting your workout intensities (along with MAP, a different sort of test that is equally a "gold standard"). You'll want to re-do this test about once a month to track your progress. And, isn't it an awesome workout? Of course, you'll need to find a new health club after they boot you for shorting out their equipment.

    Now, about this cadence bogie. If you don't change gears (or resistance on a trainer), cadence corresponds to power and HR varies directly with cadence and hence power. This is to be expected and is why HR can be useful to manage intensity. But, if you hold power constant and change gears you will have a different cadence with each gear. Under this scenario, HR will be highest at the highest cadence, yet power is constant. This is the reason HR is not so useful to manage intensity. There is no "right" cadence. You should find the cadence at which you can ride at a given power (e.g., 130w) with the least perceived effort and ignore HR. HR is only one physiological response to increased intensity of effort and does not even fully measure the cardio response because it doesn't measure stroke volume.

    Now that you know your FT, you can fully apply Andy Coggan's training levels (see the table in the link I posted in your first thread). Again, I think you would make great progress working exclusively in level 4 (91%-105% of FT). You can do interval durations anywhere from 10 to 30 mins, but 20-30 mins is better. The rest or recovery between intervals is really up to you, but you shouldn't need more than a few mins (e.g., 5), more for mental preparation for the next interval than any physiological reason. I'll be very interested to hear what your FT is at this time next month. Keep up the good work, Sly.:cool:
     
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