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

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

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Guys, Firstly would like to say that this thread is amazing. I happened to stumble upon this thread and would dearly like to get involved through posting my own training and reading about others (and hence joined the forum!) as there is many minds involved that are knowlegable.

RapDaddyo - I think you should continue to progress with that book that was mentioned pages ago. I am quite sure many would buy it. Your knowledge seems impeccable..

I won't dive straight into my training as I am interested in the trend of the thread, but I basically focus mine around L3/L4 as this is specific to my needs.

However I am after the broader thoughts on the total time that can be accumulated or the point of diminishing returns for L4 work below 100% FTP (In the range of 90-100% FTP). e.g. is 4 x 30min @ 95% FTP physiologically possible and would it reep any greater benefits that riding 2hours @ 87% FTP? My uneducated assumption that whilst it is possible, this is not a session for the light hearted..

2. ### jsirabella New Member

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I would buy it! Need Dave to do the second edition though.

Now off to some riding and my 24 hour rental on Sinister will be up on Amazon soon!

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First, thanks for the compliment. I think I mentioned in a prior post on this thread or elsewhere that I don't think I could improve on the excellent book on training and racing with a power meter by Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan. Whatever spare time I can allocate to cycling-related projects is allocated to developing solutions where there are none.

As to your diminishing returns question, cycling training is subject to the Law of Diminishing Returns, like everything else. But, that just means that each incremental hour of training produces less incremental benefit. But, diminishing returns is not negative returns. While I think the point of negative returns differs quite a bit from individual to individual, I know that for myself and many I have trained with that I am not at that point with 15 hrs/wk of quality work (e.g., L4-L7). For me, that point is probably >20 hrs/wk. Again, I'm excluding anything but L4-L7, so total hours on the bike would be 1.5-2x these numbers. Obviously, one would want to build up to these volumes gradually, but I'm talking about where the theoretical point of negative returns is rather than how to get there.

4. ### Felt_Rider Active Member

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How I would love to be able to hold up for a 4 x 30 @ 95% FTP. I attempted a 2 x 20 @95% last night, but failed in terms of making the goal. This is with newly adjusted levels so everything for me is a bit more of a struggle than it was a few weeks ago with the old training levels. I hit 95% on the first 20 and it felt like an official FTP test so I figured the second interval was going to be hard. I made it to the 10 minute mark and had to ease up and then could only manage 90% for the remaining 10 minutes. Following that I had nothing left in me and fell short of my TSS/d goal. All of this was done with residual fatigue from previous training days. Thursday night is my one night where I try to push higher into L4. The other nights I stick with ~90% for interval duration sake.

Last Sunday I did 2 x 60 and hit in the upper 80's FTP with a headwind giving me some nice resistance for the first and then the second was tough because of a tailwind helping me, combined with traffic and a downhill gradient in some of the sections and I ended at 84%.

I have no idea which is better for my goals, but I have to say I like the 2 x 60 and wish I had more time available for that.

I suppose I am one of those individuals that RDO mentions (varies from individual to individual) that is not yet at the level to do a 4 x 30 @ 95% even if I were fully rested. Unless I was at the point of needing to adjust my FTP to new levels. It would seem that the best benefit of picking a particular intensity/duration is one that pushes progress and yet allows for consistent training day to day and that does seem to vary per individual as to how much training stress they can endure.

5. ### jsirabella New Member

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I like Felt would love to be able to do @95% of my FTP for a 4 x 30. Today I did a 2x30 @ 95% of my FTP and was really happy but today is Friday so suppose to be short and intense as I ended my ride 1:45 minutes in. The legs were heavy 15 minutes after the second interval so I saw no reason to completely bury myself just to get the 2 hours. Tomorrow is suppose to be a 3 hour day.

When I read RDO response I just was thinking that shouldn't this mean that you need to adjust your FTP upward or your more than 95% so you can not do as many intervals. For me if I can hold 60 minutes @95% of my FTP and not feel too tired than I would probably pull back and expect to see a breakout on the FTP. Just wondering...

-js

6. ### bgoetz Member

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Ugh, for me 15hrs total on the bike seems to be a magic weekly number that allows me to balance family, job, and still remain somewhat "mentally crisp". I would guess if I were counting only L4+ work, my 15hrs likely consists of less than 8hrs. After listening to lots of you guys and how you approach SST, I am convinced that I do more active recovery/endurance riding between efforts and between workouts than most. I am not sure this is a bad thing as I have been seeing steady gains plus I seem to be pushing myself based on the way I feel, it just makes me question "what if".

7. ### gudujarlson New Member

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I do 2 workouts/day because I combine my workout with my work commute. The topic of whether 2 x L3 90min equals L3 180min has been discussed on here before and I like most everyone else find it intuitive that L3 180min is better, but no one can come up with a solid reason why. The subject hasn't been studied as far as I know. I hazard a guess that we think that L3 180min is better because it is harder and we associate harder with better training. What's confuses the whole matter for me is that many experts in the field (e.g. Joe Friel) frequently suggest workouts that are not hard as part of a complete training plan, e.g. L2 3hrs.

When I first came on here in September people recommended a steady diet of 20min intervals at 90% FTP. I didn't think I could do 10-15 hours of straight 90% FTP. That would have looked something like this:

M: gym
Tu AM: SST 90% FTP 90min
Tu PM: SST 90% FTP 90min
W AM: SST 90% FTP 90min
W PM: SST 90% FTP 90min
Th AM:SST 90% FTP 90min
Th PM: SST 90% FTP 90min
F: off
Sa: L3 3-5hrs
Su: L2 3-5hrs

So what I tried instead is doing in my weekday workouts is 20-24min at 90% FTP in the AM and an easier ride in the PM. It went something like this:

M: gym
Tu AM: SST 1x24 at 90% FTP 90min
Tu PM: L2/L3 90min
W AM: SST 1x24 at 90% FTP 90min
W PM: L2/L3 90min
Th AM:SST 1x24 at 90% FTP 90min
Th PM: L2/L3 90min
F: off
Sa: L3 3-5hrs
Su: L2 3-5hrs

I found this to be complicated and also fatiguing and wondered if it would be simpler if I took the intensity down a notch and road the entire workout at the same intensity. So I started doing something like this:

M: gym
Tu AM: L3 90min
Tu PM: L3 90min
W AM: L3 90min
W PM: L3 90min
Th AM: L3 90min
Th PM: L3 90min
F: off
Sa: L3 3-5hrs
Su: L2 3-5hrs

In both cases, on days where I was not willing to ride outside, I would replace the AM/PM workouts with a single 2x20 at 90% FTP on the trainer.

The net result is that my 20MP has stayed at 250-260 and my 5MP has declined from 320 to about 280-290.

The L3/L3 days are 140-180TSS. My ATL and CTL today are 112 TSS/day and 86 TSS/day respectively.

8. ### bgoetz Member

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I too commute in the spring/summer so my workouts are 2x a day. It is easier for me to carry that over to this time of year, which is again 2x a day. That said any of my 2 a days are always planned to be L4+, unless I feel like just riding my bike. Any of my longer sub L4 type work is done in one solid lump on the weekends. I think the reason it works better is that one the purpose is to build ENDURANCE, you are not doing that by having an 8hr break in between. Two there are metabolic adaptations that take place from the long block. Three if doing it to train your body to endure longer races (i.e. seat time, calorie consumption etc.) it is not the same. I think you are doing yourself a disservice by not doing them in one lump or by not increasing intensity. I find it kinda funny that you are not getting the results you want, but seem somewhat argumentative towards the advice of those, that are much more knowledgable. I am not suggesting to move forward blindly and question nothing, all I am saying is that people follow similar plans (short SST or Long LSD) for a reason. Maybe to some extent your reluctance to "drink the Kool-aid" and do your own deal really ends up being doing what is easy and provides a bit of insight into why you are not getting the gains you expect. Just a thought.

9. ### gudujarlson New Member

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Three things that probably had a negative effect on my progress were:

1) I was on vacation from 11/13 to 11/20.
2) I was sick for 12 days from 12/25 to 1/5.
3) I was completely unmotivated to ride from 1/18 to 1/27.
4) I have not been getting out for hard group rides and races like during the season.

The net effect is that my CTL has actually dropped from where it was at the beginning of September. It was 101 TSS/day on September 1 and is 86 TSS/day. I used to think that it was normal for CTL to drop during the off-season, but I hear more and more people talking about the opposite: peaking their CTL during the off-season and letting it drop during the season. I wonder if should not expect my FTP to rise until I get my CTL over 100. Note that the 101 CTL in September was built from a steady diet of L1-L7 that included a lot of high intensity and very long hard group rides and races, but the 86 CTL today was built from a steady diet of L1-L4.

10. ### gudujarlson New Member

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Why must you stoope to personal attacks? Anyway, you're completely off-base. I did drink the kool-aid and everything I've been doing right now has more or less been vetted on this forum. I was doing something completely different before coming here. Reread the archives if you don't believe me.

11. ### bgoetz Member

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All of that COULD be the cause, but from just an outside in perspective you seem to be skitzofrenicly going in multiple directions vs. staying consistent, which makes pinpointing a cause difficult. FYI, my FTP has been making jumps with a CTL from 60 in December to high 80s where it is now. I will build to just over 100 before my first peak then allow it to drop under 80 while focusing my efforts on races.

12. ### bgoetz Member

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I think you are totally misreading, I in no way intended to attack your character, I am just making observations. The fact that your mind goes instantly to a defensive place is telling. You basically called yourself out by saying what you have been doing is not working. And what you posted above says that you have NOT been doing what was recommended. You started with a variation that was easier than something you THOUGHT was recommended (I say thought because I doubt anyone on here would suggest 4x20s at 90% every single day, anyone but Rapdaddyo maybe would be toast). You then made yet another variation to make that easier/more convenient

13. ### ira41 New Member

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I think you highlighted some of the struggle. I had similar blocks off during winter and holidays.
What I found was I made no progress at all rather simply was lucky to maintain or even drop off in power taking a few days to get back on track. It wasnâ€™t until I added days and intensity that I worked through my plateau.
As stated before I do think consistency is probably one of the biggest contributors to progress.

14. ### gudujarlson New Member

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I'll say again, go back a reread the archives.

15. ### Bigpikle New Member

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So, back out again today...

After helping a friend with his new power meter testing a little this week, I realised its been too long since I did a 20 min test outdoors on my usual test route. It was dry, damn cold at 0 deg C and a bitter E wind made it one of the coldest feeling days in a very long time, but I thought it would be good to test and get a good L4 session done after all the tempo this last week and rollers work all winter.

The good/bad news is I hit 301w for 20 mins again - exact same PB number as I hit in my last test in Aug last year when I was at my peak performance to date. I'm not sure if its good or bad news given that was 6 months ago? However, the test wasnt the best paced as roadworks slowed me down half way through and my nicely paced 298w at that point dropped to 293w so I had to work a little too hard on the last half. I'm also thinking the extremely cold air wasnt helping me, as I was feeling it in my chest and certainly made breathing at my max efforts quite hard despite my legs feeling pretty good. I feel like I probably could have hit 305w or so if I'd been able to do things a little better, but that will spur me on for the next test in a month or so. Still, to be leaving winter with 20 and 120 min power levels at my best ever, after an inconsistent autumn and winter of training and CTL currently sitting at 63, makes me feel pretty positive and is a good base to spring forward from into Spring.

It also makes me think that getting out on the road for these L4 sessions is going to be a big bonus as its far easier for me to work at Â± 290w / 95-100% FTP outdoors, rather than hovering around 270-275w on the rollers. My power outputs are better outdoors and its loads easier mentally to complete these sessions. After the next few weeks where I have time for more L3 work I'm certainly going to do a big block of dedicated L4 work and get that 320w number I've been dreaming of for soooooo long /img/vbsmilies/smilies/cool.gif

16. ### bgoetz Member

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I am not trying to debate with you, I am trying to provide perspective why you MAY not be getting the results you want. Frankly, there is no way in hell I am putting that type of an effort for someone who isn't really listening/reading anyway.

17. ### Felt_Rider Active Member

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In my book that is good news being that it is tough IMO to hit top numbers when it is ultra cold, gulping in cold air to the lungs and wearing more layers.
Keep pushing!

18. ### Bigpikle New Member

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I'll take that - thanks /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

19. ### ira41 New Member

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Yeah I agree, the difference between 45 degrees in the garage and 60 is substantial for me. Cant imagine temps that low, but I know it would impact my performance.

20. ### teebone New Member

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Gudujarlson,

Let me provide a personal anecdote that may help you (or not). I think you path is similar to mine. Your stagnation and approach seem to be a pretty good parallel to mine.

I started as a recreational rider just looking to get my lazy rear off the couch. I graduated through a couple MTB's and into my first road bike. I connected in with a group and did the typically Tuesday night hammer-fest and Saturday long group ride. All was good as I learned and had others off the back with me. Then a buddy introduced me to racing. I was hooked, but had a very difficult time with cat 5 races. Crits were especially hard. I had delusions of grandeur coming into my first race....which were quickly dispelled when I got SHELLED off the back in the first 5 laps. I struggled to stay with the group. I did my 10 races (crashed hard once, finished with the group once) and "catted up". My training was a combo of things and continued with several iterations of Friel/buddy's advice/local cat 1, etc. In the 4's, I started to improve a bit and most often could stay connected with a crit, but still struggled with road races.

A year of two into the cat 4 career I was developing (sigh....) I got a power meter and started reading the forums. I started in with a self-coached, DaveRyan/RDO inspired plan (SST....L4.....long rides) and expected to grow fast. My FTP was ~240 when I started a power based plan. A year and a half later it was ~250. Ugh. Each L4 workout felt like it was pressing hard into my fitness. I felt exposed and frustrated. I have always been competitive and active, so I expected results. Further, I had lost fitness and gained weight the previous few years so I figured the results would even be accelerated with this new approach.

By 2010 I was ready to throw in the towel. But, I bought into the idea that fitness is built over the long haul and gave it another year. Steady builds, threshold focus, and removing non-essential work (e.g. 1 leg drills) began a slow push up. By the end of 2010 that steady focus pushed up my fitness to an FTP ~275. Results in races followed. I was finishing regulary in the teens of cat 4 races. No big deal, but a marked improvement in my placings....but more importantly my confidence in the longer term view of fitness. 2011 was even better. FTP ~285 and placings in the top 10, including harder races.

In 2012 I upgraded to 3, won a race, lots of top 5's, etc.

There is no magic bullet. L5-L7 is awesome...and it works. But only to sharpen the blade for a while. Hang in there. Keep focused on the long term view of your fitness. You'll go through periods of stagnation. Mix it up and do some higher L4 occasionally, however, don't lose confidence in your approach. That confidence will keep you moving through those valleys (which lasted 6 months at a time for me). When (not if) you get your breakthrough the fist-pumps are super sweet.

T