Obsessively Detailed Training

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Pendejo, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. Pendejo

    Pendejo Member

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    No doubt training has to be structured to some extent to be sure that the physical requirements of your event(s) are being honed. However, as I read these posts I am amazed by the micromanagement of heart rate zones, power zones, interval durations, etc. It sounds more like mission control at NASA than training for an athletic event. I would recommend reading the excellent book "Flying Scotsman: Cycling to Triumph Through my Darkest Hours," by Graeme Obree. Obree achieved the world hour record and was a major star on the European track and road circuit in the 90s. He trained by intuition alone and did not, as a rule, even wear a heart rate monitor. I think a lot of you in this forum would enjoy cycling more and possible improve your results by ceasing to be such a slave to one or the other of the "scientific methods."
     
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  2. asgelle

    asgelle New Member

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    Can you tell me what I should have for dinner so that I enjoy it as much as possible?
     
  3. mtbnewbie

    mtbnewbie New Member

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    Let your intuition guide you...
    Why not have a slice of pecan pie, after all you'll be doing 100km tomorrow.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Why limit it to scientific training methods? Why not ignore the other scientific advances in aero wheels, frames and helmets, low rolling resistance tires, nutritional supplements? Let's just roll the technology clock back ~50 years.
     
  5. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    What brings you to an internet forum about cycling training, BTW? Are you just sampling the intuitive practices from the world in general, or hoping to find training advice from people who might know something more about it?
     
  6. Pendejo

    Pendejo Member

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    To answer a few questions:

    What brings me to this forum is the fact that I'm a time trialist, love cycling, and am interested in others' experiences in it.

    The obvious reason why, if you're trying to maximize your performance, you shouldn't ignore advances in technology is that they work and can easily be proven to work. This is clearly not the case with various training "systems." If it were, then all knowledgable coaches would be teaching the same methods. And all the training books would be the same. This forum itself is a showcase for the disagreements among cycling veterans and coaches on even the most basic of issues: for example, should we do weight work for our legs or not? Are very short intervals (30 seconds) at max power helpful or not? Should we train two or three hard days in a row, or always go hard/easy?

    Nobody knows. Or, at least, nobody knows what's best for YOU. That's where your own experience and intuition come in.
     
  7. fergie

    fergie Member

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    Yes, and thanks to things like power meters we now have a better idea if we are improving or not. We can track whether it's 30sec intervals at 175% of of MAP or 5min efforts at our MAP are more effective. We can better test if it's a disc wheel on the back or a deep section rim in cross winds.

    I suggest if you love TTs and follow an intuitive approach then you will be beaten by people who train smarter and do a better job of selecting their equipment.

    Basing your cycling philosophy on one rider is pointless. I am sure there are far more people not maximising their potential because they try and copy Lance or Jan without really understanding how complete their training was and with years of scientific input how specific to them it became.

    Hamish Ferguson
    Cycling Coach
     
  8. frenchyge

    frenchyge New Member

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    If you sample a variety of commonly available "systems" you'll find that they are, indeed, very similar on most points.

    But the point remains: if you're professing that we'd do better by just following our own intuition, then why not follow your own rather than lurking on an internet forum? OTOH, if you'd like to read other people's experiences, then wouldn't you like to read them in a lot of detail? Or would you rather read an entire forum of posts saying "oh, I just did what I felt would be helpful, then got better, and then won my TT?"

    Most of the posters here seem to be looking for quite a bit of detail in the responses, and some justification (scientific, or other) for the advice given. If seems somehow offensive to you, then the "Bike Cafe" forum might be less so.
     
  9. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Sure Pendejo,

    If one races on a regular basis, doing everything unplugged can be good.

    Do you know a lot of riders doing that? Me I know one. A very good female rider. Trained and raced unplugged. She tested positive to epo recently and has been banned.

    Pendejo, do you have a slight idea of this subject's physical abilities?

    I am not that lucky, at least not in sports. So for me, not using those tools would probably translate into slower performances instead of winning the "hour".

    That been said, I respect your opinion, and understand why you want to raise a debate about it.
     
  10. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    This sounds like a post from some of the gang at bikeforums.net. They like the lack of science over there. ;) Go read some of the crappy advice by Koffee Brown. She definitely lacks any kind of scientific approach, and yet somehow calls herself a trainer. Bah!

    Even if someone is a recreational cyclist and wants to maximize their time in the saddle, they are better off using a scientific approach than just going by the seat of their lycra cycling shorts or winging it.
     
  11. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    Actually, this is a great, important point, and one that is typically overlooked. Endurance training isn't a "technology"; nobody reallly knows what works, in part because everything works pretty well. Historically, people have done some amazing things on bicycles before the invention of heart rate monitors; a lot of them did it smoking cigarettes and sipping brandy and strychnine, too. While most of those records have since been bettered, they have not been bettered by that much, and it is hard to fully separate out the contributions of training, equipment, and the larger gene pool from which athletes are drawn. A plausible case can be made that, while we know much more about exercise physiology than we did thirty years ago, we're not really any more effective at training endurance athletes now than we were then.

    I'm always flogging "Lore of Running" by Tim Noakes, even though it's not about our sport, because I think many of the demands of our sports are similar. Chapter 6, "Learning from the Experts", includes some mind-blowing accounts of the early champions of running. These guys accomplished truly amazing things on "training" that wouldn't be considered sufficient for your average 10k charity runner today. In 1863, the native American runner Deerfoot set the hour record for running at 11 miles 970 yards, a record that took 90 years to beat. Deerfoot claimed not to train at all, though he raced somewhat frequently. William Cummings, a professional in the late 19th century who ran many a low-4:teens mile in races, trained mostly with 10 mile walks, taking "LSD" to a new level of "S".

    So, what I personally like about power meters isn't the elaborately structured workouts they make possible. What I like is that it makes unstructured training still purposeful and measurable. With a power meter, I can see the fine increments of progress, that would otherwise be lost in all the noise of a typical outdoor training. E.g., if I tack on 10 watts to my FT power, that is clearly visible using power data, but could easily be swallowed up by changes in wind, temperature, tire pressure, etc. with lower-tech methods. I also really LOVE TSS, which I consider the "killer app" for power meters. If you believe, as I tend to, that stress and recovery are close to being all that matters, TSS provides a reliable, easily measured metric for both stress and recovery.
     
  12. Squint

    Squint New Member

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    I have to agree, you guys are too easily trolled. A new user with the username of Pendejo?

    I'm glad I'm not the only one that Bikeforums and Koffee Brown piss off. The amount of ignorance on that site is astounding and you're wasting your energy if you try and correct any of their "traditional" thinking.

    Roadbikereview, Bicycling, and Bikeforums are basically all at the same end of the spectrum. At the other end is Biketechreview, Cyclingforums, and Wattage. Somewhere in between is Slowtwicth, Weightweenies and Serotta.



     
  13. MichaelB

    MichaelB New Member

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    You are a touchy bunch aren't you? Maybe you should buy a Fiesta and 'get out more.'
     
  14. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    It's easy to pick out a few examples of highly talented individual athletes and say not much has changed with the advent of more structured training with more accurate assessments of the training, but the number of athletes performing at their potential has increased tremendously. This goes for the athletes at the top of their sport, to the ones with a more casual, yet still effective approach for their training.

    Yes, any training plan is better than no plan, and you can do lots of things wrong, or below optimal and still race with the cat 3's and below, but if you want to get very close to your potential you can either be one in twenty or so who manage to do that with no structure, or 4 of 5 who do it with lots of structure and objective evaluation.

    You can train with what works okay, or works well, or works really well.
     
  15. BlueJersey

    BlueJersey New Member

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    Yeah, look at Eddy M. Right? Any other examples??? Are you a troll or what? BTW, wasn't Obree frame design banned because it has too many aero advantage. Therefore, his frame designed was scientifically engineered. How ironic that you claim all he did was just riding his bike. :D I LOVE my power meter. I don't have to fool myself about how good I am just because I rode so and so 60 miles at so and so places. I could do loops around my local park and getting better training result.

     
  16. Pendejo

    Pendejo Member

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    Some of you seem to be misinterpreting my original post, where the key word was "obsessively."

    1) I'm assuming my audience is experienced, disciplined, competitive cyclists. You know the difference between power, leg speed, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, etc. And you know the general principles for improving each.

    2) There is nothing wrong with using HRMs and power meters (or intervals). I am questioning the usefulness of using these to the point of scheduling your workouts to the minute at certain levels, etc., rather than more intuitively going "hard," or "moderate," or "easy."

    3) I am perplexed by those of you who are arguing that there is little difference between different training regimens advocated by those in the know. Just go back a week or so in this forum and review the topics "Gyming to improve power," "It's killing me but," "Microintervals better than," "Don't hold your breath," and "Hill vs. Flat training." I also find it interesting that a few of you (who have taken issue with me here) in those other topics have made statements such as "it depends on the individual," or "you have to discover this yourself through experience." Exactly.

    4) If you find that micromanagement of your workouts helps you psychologically, then that's the best way for you. But that's different from arguing that such micromanagement is the most efficient way to improve physiologically. Back in my running days, I once ran four years without missing a single day. It wasn't because I thought that missing a day would negatively impact my training. It was because I found it easier to do it this way than to have to decide every day whether to go out or not.

    5) I have the utmost respect for every one of you and anyone who busts their ass in endurance sports. It involves an aspect of character that is very valuable. And rare.
     
  17. whoawhoa

    whoawhoa New Member

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    Actually, I don't, since many of those are related and can't really be separated from one another (e.g "muscular endurance" and "cardiovascular endurance"

    I don't know of anyone, except for Rapdaddyo, (who does it for different reasons) who track power minute-by-minute on non-interval rides.

    If you'd read those threads carefully, you would realize that one side typically has very little evidence, while the other the bulk.
     
  18. acoggan

    acoggan Member

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    Ditto.
     
  19. SolarEnergy

    SolarEnergy New Member

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    Do you have examples of what you consider excessive?


    Again here. Do you have examples? Who said that micromanagement was the most efficient way to improve physiologically?

    I don't want to confront here. I am just being curious.
     
  20. WarrenG

    WarrenG New Member

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    I'm someone who does schedule intervals to the minute, but I do vary the power a bit sometimes if I think I can handle more, or should do less. My coach does it this way, and has for many years, with great success. One of the reasons is that he knows exactly how much work I've done, of several certain types, and how I have responded to the amount of work in each area. This applies from week to week, many weeks, and year to year. This accurate work and response allows him to provide future training schedules that are very accurate and most appropriate for my goals.

    Another thing I like about the detailed schedule is the time and detailed progression of training stimuli keeps me busy and thinking about what's coming next, within the hour, or in the next days, weeks, or month. For example, this week it's 4x3' of something, next week it's 4x4', then 5x4', or 2 sets of 3 of something, and in two weeks it will be 3 sets of 3, or 3 sets of 2, and I know the reason(s) for each of those changes.

    I've been at this a long, long time but with this detailed approach to training I don't get bored at all, and I have great confidence in a clear, detailed approach that has worked really well for me and other riders my coach has worked with.

    As Levi Leipheimer (same coach) said in a recent article in VeloNews, this approach allows him/us to just focus on the training and not have to think about whether it's too much, too little, the right training, whether we'll be ready for the training to follow, etc.

    http://www.velonews.com/race/dom/articles/9493.0.html
    "Leipheimer agreed that connecting with Dr. Testa was one of the smartest moves in his career. "I think the biggest difference is, he gives me a training program and it's really spelled out. I look at it, I visualize what route I'm gonna take, so [when] I go out the door, I know exactly what I'm doing and I can just leave my brain behind....

    "Sounds kinda strange, but I don't think at all [when I'm training]. A lot of times I over-think. That's my weak point. So now I just do the training.... Obviously, I understand the training. We agree about it, but it's to the point that I can go out and train so much harder that way. Just doing it. Not thinking, ‘Is this the right thing, or the wrong thing, should I do something else?' Just do it."

    I think your point above is not the same as saying something about the detail of one's training plans. Yes, different people need different stimuli, and in different sequences and amounts, but even though my training is different from some other rider my coach works with, the plans are just as detailed. Lots of experience reduces the need for experimenting to discover the best training, but as my coach has said, the first year with a rider is the hardest (because of the experimenting or uncertainty about the best training), but after that, it's easy (to coach the rider).

    As for differences among training regimens advocated by those in the know, well, I see some things advocated here that my coach and I would not agree with, so I think it would depend on who it is "in the know" that you're asking, and just how successful (or not) they have been with what they advocate.
     
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