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



daveryanwyoming

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Yeah, I'm with Felt. Hitting a solid 20 minute AP in February that matches what you did in August which is likely a mid season high point is pretty encouraging! Add the cold weather and extra layers into the mix and you're likely on a very good track to pick things up a notch this season.

-Dave
 

daveryanwyoming

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Nice work teebone. Hard to do at times, but long term view is definitely the way to go.

This stuff takes time, often a lot of time.

Starting my 7th season of training with power and something like my 19th or 20th season overall (with a decade break thrown in there) and the improvements still come but they're smaller and further between noticeable performance jumps. But what gains I see I attribute to staying on course and not getting frustrated and throwing in the towel when the gains seemed to have stopped or even gone backwards for extended periods.

-Dave

Originally Posted by teebone .

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
 

gudujarlson

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Aug 30, 2012
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Originally Posted by Bigpikle .

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 ± 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
I hear ya. My FTP is about the same as its peak last season as well. The good news is that it hasn't decreased over the winter as it has in the past. The bad news is that no visible progress has been made even though I pulled out all the plugs this winter. It's possible that you are affected by cold air differently than me, but I can bust out a good 2x20 at 10F without a problem. I find excessive heat effects my performance more than the cold. However, one thing to watch out for is asthma triggered by cold/dry air. I can get asthma just standing outside in certain conditions. I take a hit of Albuterol before every ride if the temp is under 30F.
 

gudujarlson

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Another thought, Bigpikle, is that although some people seem to think that the success of the off-season (aka the base period) is measured by increases in FTP, that notion is not universal. For example, I've never heard Joe Friel state that FTP increases during base or that you should obtain a certain FTP before moving into the build phases of the season. He talks about building a base of "endurance" upon which all subsequent work is built upon. The problem I have with Friel's notion is that I don't know of any physiological way to measure "endurance". He talks about using heartrate/power decoupling to measure it, but I'm very skeptical that is a meaningful metric and I don't think I am the only one that thinks that. But anyway, if you buy into Friel's definition of base, we won't know if it was a success until later this season. We just have to have faith until then.
 

jsirabella

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bp, Improvement or not your numbers are NICE no matter how you cut them. Keep up the great work and I am sure you will hit your dream number. I would just add that based upon my own experience that it is really hard to plan a new high, atleast for me. It just comes when it is good and ready so just because it did not happen when you wanted it to is no indication to me that you are not already there. I am sure once the weather gets warmer, you have the right event, the blood is pumping, you will see that new high. You have a great work ethic.

guru, I would have to say that TB and BG pretty much nail it in that the honeymoon stage is short and sweet and you just have to believe a solid plan will eventually pay off. As far as why two sessions are not as good as one long L3 is cause by definition and L3 has to be atleast 3 hours atleast that is what I was told and like BG pointed out there is a long break time.

But looking at your schedule I would still stick with what RDO and others believe which to me is less junk miles and time on the bike and shorter harder sessions. I do believe all the reasons you listed can also be factors but in the end the plan has to be solid and right now I just would not do your type of workouts for racing. For touring or centuries, yes but not for racing.

I at one time also counted my commuting as training but looking back, was it? Hmmm hard to say. I mean I am sure given the right terrain and effort it is but that one is tough to say. I think it depends on the case and how you approach the commute. For most it is lots of stopping and going, etc, etc...

I do believe though you are focused now and obviously want to get on track. Take a step back and think about it and than attack again with a new start as opposed to fixing something that is not working?

-js
 

gudujarlson

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Originally Posted by jsirabella .

bp, Improvement or not your numbers are NICE no matter how you cut them. Keep up the great work and I am sure you will hit your dream number. I would just add that based upon my own experience that it is really hard to plan a new high, atleast for me. It just comes when it is good and ready so just because it did not happen when you wanted it to is no indication to me that you are not already there. I am sure once the weather gets warmer, you have the right event, the blood is pumping, you will see that new high. You have a great work ethic.

guru, I would have to say that TB and BG pretty much nail it in that the honeymoon stage is short and sweet and you just have to believe a solid plan will eventually pay off. As far as why two sessions are not as good as one long L3 is cause by definition and L3 has to be atleast 3 hours atleast that is what I was told and like BG pointed out there is a long break time.

But looking at your schedule I would still stick with what RDO and others believe which to me is less junk miles and time on the bike and shorter harder sessions. I do believe all the reasons you listed can also be factors but in the end the plan has to be solid and right now I just would not do your type of workouts for racing. For touring or centuries, yes but not for racing.

I at one time also counted my commuting as training but looking back, was it? Hmmm hard to say. I mean I am sure given the right terrain and effort it is but that one is tough to say. I think it depends on the case and how you approach the commute. For most it is lots of stopping and going, etc, etc...

I do believe though you are focused now and obviously want to get on track. Take a step back and think about it and than attack again with a new start as opposed to fixing something that is not working?

-js
If I hear you right, you are suggesting I decrease my volume and increase my intensity. I had that discussion on here back before I switched to the L3 weekly schedule and the conclusion I came away with was that it was not recommended to decrease my volume and increase my intensity. The 90% FTP all the time schedule seems to be popular with those that do 8-12 hours/week and a few others than can recover from daily 3 hour dose of 90% FTP. I have 10-20 hours available to me, I'm masters age, and don't have years and years of training in my legs and I have found that I cannot recover from a 3 hour dose of 90% FTP and then do the same thing the next day.

That said, I think my ability to recover from repeated bouts of 90% FTP has increased since September. It's possible that I needed to build up to it by doing a large volume of L3. My plan from now until my first race on April 13 is to increase my intensity and also my total training load.By the way, my first race is a 8-10 hour 105 mile hilly century. I don't plan to do any crits this year, but it's still an option. I'm going to focus on road races, TTs, and 100+ mile gravel grinders. I also like to simply do competitive group rides with the club; racing for the city limits and what not.
 

Bigpikle

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Aug 5, 2010
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cheers guys - I hear what you are all saying.

Personally I'm happy to hit the start of the year not having gone backwards. Lots of indoor time and loads of work travel meant inconsistent training and slightly less volume than I would have wanted. To hit the same numbers today is encouraging really, its just that I hit 295w indoors a few weeks ago, and usually I'm 20w down indoors, so expected/hoped for a little more.

I'm a firm believer that if you put the work in then the rewards will come, so I'm happy that the numbers will improve as I'm getting the work done. The flipside of my travel issues is occasional quiet times and I'm hitting one now, so I have another 6-7 weeks ahead of me with loads of daytime training time, so in many ways my real 'base' period lies ahead of me. I just hope the weather plays along...
 

bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Gudu- I don't think anyone is saying it all has to be 90%. For example, Tuesdays you could do 2x20 to and from work and just ride the rest of the commute, Wednesdays maybe 1hr @ 85% a.m./p.m., Thursdays another 2x20 to and from work. If at any point you feel you need more recovery just enjoy the commute.
 

jsirabella

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gudu, I re-read my response and was being a bit hard with the word "junk" miles. Cause actually if L3 is junk miles than I do alot but if you are going to do L3 than you need lots and like bg just posted it is really not so much decreasing the volume as much as increasing the rest, if you know what I mean, they are not as interchangeable as it sounds, just cause you are not riding as much does not mean we are getting enough rest cause of other things in life and than a plan like bg suggested or tb has been doing should work well.

-js
 

longandsteady

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Feb 21, 2013
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Originally Posted by RapDaddyo .

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.
So basically it comes down to the individuals ability to withstand that training load in a single session? As anything under 100% FTP (or 4mmol for the scientifically minded) should theoretically not accumulate enough blood lactate to effect maximum steady state output, it is more the ability of the athlete to hold that load. I ask this as my next 3 blocks (of 8 weeks each including 2 adaptation/recovery weeks) will be focused solely on two things;
  1. Increasing my FTP ceiling
  2. Increasing the duration at which I can hold the highest % of my FTP over 2.5hours, which I am assuming should be around 85%, anything above that will put my legs into to much disarray for the run (yes I'm a long course Triathlete /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif - please don't hate me).

I'm a bit numbed on how to structure the workouts within the weekly blocks. I want to spend some time doing 2x20 @ 92-95% and then secondly to increase as much time as I can spend at 85% of FTP at one time so a little unsure if its best to do;
  • 4 days of 2x20, 1 day of 2x40-60 @ 85% and 1 Long ride of 4-5hrs @ L2/L3.
  • 3 days of 2x20, 2 days of 2x40-60 @ 85% and 1 Long ride of 4-5hrs @ L2/L3
  • 2 days of 2x20, 2 days of 2x40-60 @ 85% and 2 Long ride of 4-5hrs @ L2/L3

In the past I have spent more time doing 4x10 @ FTP alternating with L2 Volume (in the 600-700km range) so i'm not quite sure how to best set it out on weekly basis. I think I would prefer along the lines of option 1 (given that the 2x40-60 will still be a 3hour total ride) as it will give me more time in that L3-L5 range that I need. I am accumulating a lot of total aerobic work from running and swimming also.
 

gudujarlson

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Teebone, thanks for the inspiring story.

jsirabella and bgoetz, the L3 rides are ridden at ~85% FTP (200-220w), the SST rides at ~90% (215-225), and the L4 at ~95% (230-240). This week has gone like this so far:

M: off
Tu PM: L5 L5 4x5 273,266,268,264 (indoors) 72 TSS
W PM: L4 2x20 240,230 105 TSS
Th AM: SST 90min (only about 45min was in the SST range due to icey roads) 93 TSS
Th: PM SST 90min (only about 45min was in the SST range due to icey roads) 97 TSS
F: off

Lots of residual fatigue on Friday and still some on Saturday, but I'm ready for some long steady rides to finish the week off with and then rest again on Monday.
 

curlew

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Aug 12, 2005
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Tyson and Rapdaddyo,

It's been an unusually long, cold, unrelenting winter here in the midwest. Every time it warms up into the 40's it rains. So most of my miles since November have been indoors on the trainer.

When I hopped off my bike after today's L4 trainer session, I had great numbers and wanted both of you to know the feeling of gratitude I had for both of you. It was the stories and knowledge that the two of you shared in the early days of this thread that helped me learn how to use a trainer and even enjoy it in a crazy sort of way.

So I just wanted you both to know that the fire this thread lit several years ago has burned brightly all winter long and produced my best winter training numbers ever.

Thank you both so much!

Curlew







PS. I wasn't even doing a CP60 test today. No big "Rocky" build up, just another hour of L4. I didn't even warm up. I just felt great after 20 minutes and kept ramping it up. So I didn't get 300 today but that will come someday real soon.
 

jsirabella

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Perfect day for the 3 hour jaunt on the trainer, raining out, was in no rush cause of work. I did well as 2nd in the week so I expect a bit lower ~175. Again only the last 30 minutes felt a bit tough and I did that in the TT bars. The only issue as I am sure some can relate on this board is not to feel frisky, too soon after a ride like that. The way I have my seat set to help with the lower back does not help other areas! I have a bag of ice now but not in the back this time! Man that was tougher than the ride! Maybe a bit of a case of TMI there.


 

RapDaddyo

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Originally Posted by curlew .
Wow! How cool is that? Great number, especially on a trainer in winter. Most cyclists find it more difficult to match their outdoors numbers indoors. That is very cool. Glad the thread was inspiring. And, I know that feeling of reaching your duration goal and just keeping going because it feels so good. Some of my best rides followed that scenario.
 

gudujarlson

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Nice numbers, Curlew!

As long as everyone is sharing their Saturday ride notes... It was sunny and 28F today. It was little too warm for great snowbiking, but the best day for road riding in many many weeks.. I made the most of it and did 4.5 hours on the road with an IF of .76. My legs felt heavy in the beginning but felt livelier after a long warmup. I think I had some residual fatigue. I was a little disappointed my IF was that low, because I was shooting for .8, but oh well. I took a scenic route around some lakes and stopped for coffee on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. It was of course frozen and covered in 6 inches of snow. It was good to get out and do some serious distance in the sun. At this rate, I might be tan by March; at least on my nose cause that's about all that was uncovered.
 

bgoetz

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Nov 25, 2010
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Finally back into some VO2 work and started AWC work. Did five 5x5 and then eight 1x5. They didn't go too bad, I only canned two of the five minute efforts early. When it came to the AWC my power was low, as expected given that I really have not done any AWC work and I just got done with some VO2 work. The odd thing was it didn't feel like my legs were loading up and causing me to quit or like I was going to vomit my lung onto the pavement, which is typically what limits my output. It was just that I simply could not produce the wattage, no pain, no agony. I can't say I recall being limited like that when doing AWC work.
 

longandsteady

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Feb 21, 2013
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Don't be too complacent, the vomited lung will come when your legs are out to play /img/vbsmilies/smilies/drool.gif. Do you do these on the trainer bgoetz? I Always find doing V02 on Hills, but i'm assuming your Northern Hemisphere and in Winter?

P.s. what do you mean by eight 1x5?
 

bgoetz

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I was outside. 1x5 is 1 minute on 5 off, AWC intervals. I do make more power on a hill, but I don't like to totally isolate myself to using hills.
 

daveryanwyoming

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Originally Posted by bgoetz .

Finally back into some VO2 work and started AWC work. Did five 5x5 and then eight 1x5. They didn't go too bad, I only canned two of the five minute efforts early. When it came to the AWC my power was low, as expected given that I really have not done any AWC work and I just got done with some VO2 work. The odd thing was it didn't feel like my legs were loading up and causing me to quit or like I was going to vomit my lung onto the pavement, which is typically what limits my output. It was just that I simply could not produce the wattage, no pain, no agony. I can't say I recall being limited like that when doing AWC work.
Have you typically done your L6 work on the same day as your L5 work? That certainly bucks conventional wisdom of being fresh and ready for your high end sessions. Not sure why you experienced what you did but I'd start by doing your L5 and L6 work on different days and on days when you can bring your best focus and effort into each system you target.

FWIW, I've always considered one of the challenges and opportunities of bike racing being that it's not possible to work every system all the time. IOW, we have to focus and pick and choose a bit which is one reason folks bring different strengths to the sport. Sure some folks have the talent to be either a track or road specialist but tend to specialize at different stages of their career or during different portions of their seasons. That's frustrating because it would be great to top up all systems but an opportunity because we have to be tactical and focus our training to areas of best return on our training investment and so does everyone else. Seems to me in your posts here you've discussed attempts to stack workouts or to hit multiple high end systems like L5 at the end of a very long ride or L6 following L5 on the same day. If you know that has worked for you in the past then great and maybe you just had an off day but it's not something I would try very often or prescribe for others. The feisty group ride or race where you hit lots of systems is one thing, structured blocks of intervals to defined power targets and rest intervals is quite different. You usually want to be very fresh before either an L5 or L6 session and it's hard to combine them and be sufficiently fresh for both of them.

If you do want a version that touches both systems you could try what I call 'three and hurts' or hill finishing intervals. Basically ride low L5 pacing for the first three minutes up a hill (would work fine on flats as well) and then punch the final minute as hard as you can manage. So around 105% to maybe 107% of FTP or so for 3 minutes then kill the final minute which should be well into L6. Five minutes recovery then do it again for a set of 5 or 6 of these. It touches both systems but in a way that's usually manageable for folks and it's not an entirely new interval set at a higher more intense level nor does it attempt the VO2 Max work near the rider's best repeatable power but backs that down a bit. You should have no problem eliciting VO2 Max during these efforts and you'll dig deep into AWC as well along with the mental and tactical aspect of training to really finish each effort which can translate nicely to creating separation over the top of shorter climbs.

Good luck,
-Dave