Returning to cycling after 20 year hiatus

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by ronniedee, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. ronniedee

    ronniedee New Member

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    I am a 54 y/o male returning to cycling. When I left HRM were just becoming vogue. My training consisted of riding ridingand more riding. I would ride with a club on a Saturday, get dropped in the hills. Lick my wounds and spend 3 weeks doing hill intervals. Go back ride with the club and challenge every hill. Someone would breakaway and I would chase em down. Well, those days are gone. 20 years older and everyone today has a powermeter. I have a computer program that estimates power. Not accurate in windy conditions. I put in almost 4000 miles last year. Believe it or not I was still smoking cigarettes. I did a little bit of hill work. This year I have 2500+ in and quit smoking as of June 7th. Here is my dilemma. I would ride at 145 average HR and not get winded. When I climbed hills I would be pushing 160, not winded. Now when I ride 150 I am breathing hard. My resting HR is 10 bpm lower. I know I am in better shape because I can climb for 30 or more minutes, something I could not do last year. My muscles do not burn during long hilly rides and as long as I keep hydrated, I do not cramp. I am 30 to 40 lbs overweight, but its coming off I was 70lbs overweight. I use deep breaths to keep my HR down. I usually drop my cadence down from 80-90 to 50-60. If I raise my cadence on the hills my breathing becomes labored. My self analysis is my heart is adequate to above average. My leg strength is adequate, but lung capacity is below average. Its alot better than it was, but it is weak. Right now I put in 200+ miles per week with about 4000 feet of elevation gain. I have incorporated more hill work the last two weeks, but improvement is stagnant. Do I just need to go out and blow up a few times in the hills? Push it until I am in oxygen debt? I can do hill sprints that are between a 1/4 and 1/2 mile and 5%. My HR goes to 154 to 158. I can recover within 2 minutes. At least HR goes down to 130-134. Still breathing hard tho. I know its alot of info to digest. I want to get back to riding with groups and not get dropped.
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Welcome back to cycling. I think your current approach is flawed, primarily because your training has no structure and secondly because you are measuring your intensity of effort with an unreliable metric for that purpose (heart rate). My suggestion is to buy a copy of Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan. Your first reaction is probably something like, "Why would I want to buy that book? I don't have a power meter!" Even though the book is primarily about training with a power meter, all of the training schema levels and training routines are also defined by rate of perceived effort (RPE). In fact, the schema levels are also defined by heart rate, but I think RPE is better than HR as a measure of intensity of effort. There are lots of reasons for this statement and I don't want to launch a debate about heart rate monitors. I'm simply saying that if I did not have a power meter, I would use RPE and not HR to manage my intensity of effort. Let me add that I have no financial interest in the book by Allen and Coggan. I simply think the information and training advice in the book is well-founded and well-presented.

    As to your immediate training objectives, I would put my focus on aerobic capacity. This is best targeted with intervals of at least 10 minutes and at an intensity of effort of at least 91% of your sustainable one-hour intensity of effort. So, let's say that you had a power meter (I know you don't) and you could ride at 200 watts for an hour maximum. Then, you would want to focus on 10+ minute efforts at 182 watts or greater. Once you have built up your aerobic capacity, you can focus on shorter efforts (e.g., VO2MAX and anaerobic power), but that depends on what your goals are. For example, you would want to increase your anaerobic capacity if you don't want to get dropped on short climbs. But, you will want to increase your aerobic capacity no matter what.

    Good luck and keep losing the weight. The difference is huge when the road tilts up.
     
  3. ronniedee

    ronniedee New Member

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    Thanks RapDaddyo! My bike computer estimates watts. Since it is just basic math and the numbers are relative, I should be able to apply and use the concepts you discussed. My 20 minute FTP is 140. When I plugged all the numbers into a bike calculator app, I got 175 watts. The 140 watts is 95% of my 20 minute test. Actual number was 147 watts. So I should shoot for 127 watts (140×91%) @ 10 minute intervals. How many of these mega intervals should I do? Til I cry? How much time between intervals? How many days/week? Finally how often should I retest for FTP? It has been at least 3 weeks since I tested. I have used excerpts from that book in the past. In fact thats how I arrived at my FTP. I am going to purchase the book. Amazon has it for 50% off cover price. I have dabbled a bit with power. My software has some cool graphs watts is one of them. I can see the corelation between RPE and watts. When I got back into cycling I had a three year plan. This is year two. So far my endurance is where I wanted to on be. I can ride for 4 plus hours on back to back days. My speed is faultering and I would have liked to have been better in the hills. Next year I want to complete 5 centuries. The one in June has over 9000 feet of climbing. Really would like to get in under 7 hours. I have a flat century scheduled in September. Shooting for under 6.i I have two 80 mile hilly rides in, so finishing will be no problem. It is pretty flat. Barring injury and inclement weather, I hope to have 2500 miles in by mid April. First century is 2nd Saturday in May, then the big one in June. July is 112 mile Gran Fondo or if I am further along, the STP. Seattle to Portland.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Deriving estimated power from speed doesn't work very well except on a significant upgrade (e.g., >6%). Speed at power is highly sensitive to resistances and resistances are difficult to measure. The only reason you get a reasonable estimate of power as a function of speed on upgrades is because the main resistance is gravity and weight can be estimated precisely. So, I wouldn't put much stock in your power calculator.

    The 10 minutes is the minimum duration for an L4 (aerobic) effort. There is no maximum, but you will necessarily have to ride longer intervals at a little less power. Just try to stay within 91% of your 1hr max effort. I often do my aerobic training efforts (L4s) at durations of 20 or 40 minutes, or even a full hour.

    You don't need to retest all that frequently. When a given effort begins to feel too easy, increase your intensity of effort. Hills are great for these efforts, because you can use speed to manage your intensity of effort. Do you have a long hill (e.g., 3+ miles) nearby?
     
  5. ronniedee

    ronniedee New Member

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    There are 3 hills close they are 1.8 miles 1.2 and 1.4. The ride out all three hills and back is about 50 some miles.they are all around 5% average gradient. 8-10% max. One kind of statair steps its 6% then flattens for a hundred yards then it hits around 9%. The long hills we have I do on a Saturday/Sunday ride.the one way it 4.6 miles average gradient of 3.6%, with a good majority in the 5-6% range. I have not reversed that loop yet. That hill is a little over 6 miles long with a total elevation gain of over 1200 feet. Just about 4% average. I have not done all three hills closer to my house yet. One just about kills me. I am sucking wind. The longer hills are actually easier to find a rhytymn. It is real steady. Not gentle but steady.
     
  6. maydog

    maydog Well-Known Member

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    Sorry to side-track the conversation, but what type of cycling computer estimates watts? The only one I know of is the Ibike, but that is dependent on a complicated calibration.

    Most methods of estimating power can be way off except for under very controlled conditions.
     
  7. ronniedee

    ronniedee New Member

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    I use a Sigma Rox 10.0. From what I can tell. It uses a preset formula based on gradient and speed. It appears to do a rolling average method of computing. The data that is transferred from computer (bike) to software program is always different. Example bike will say max watts is 475 when downloaded my max might be 413. The same with average watts tho the number is close, within 10%. I really like the Sigma, mostly because of the software. Its also about a 1/3 the cost of a Garmin 800. I can use it for running and hiking as well. It has a comparison, so I can compare rides. A good use of this would be comparing a Time Trial course or hill climbs or even favorite loops. I can have semi accurate data to see how my training is coming. Say I ride the same loop and my HR is in zone 2 most of the tiime and I average a 1/2 mile an hour fasterthan two weeks ago when I was in Z3 most of the time. Good indication I am getting stronger in both legs and cardio. The flaw is it does not take wind into account and the program assumes the cyclist is a 150 lbs with 6% body fat. The last part is opinion. While not accurate I think the power meteris relative so long as I ride alone and not draft. From moment to moment it is not going to be accurate but 10 minute averages should be close. I think that combining that info and putting an RPE to the segment will give me adequate feedback and attach a number to it. Big numbers guy. I understand data is not 100% correct, but it is consistent. Its like having a watch that is 1 minute per day off. You can still use the watch just derstand that a week from now it is 7 minutes off. I will not be able to be 100% accurate until I get a true power meter. I think I can make the best of what I got. While not perfect, it can still get me in the ballpark. I have been riding 5 to 7 days a week.i always have at least one day where I just spin and my average HR is below 125. RPE about 2 to 3.i generally have a long hilly ride or two. The rest of the time I just play it by how I feel legs heavy I spin easy gear. Legs frisky, I punish them. I would like a little more structure yet keep the flexibility in case I am tired.i do commute 10 miles to work if I am not working OT. since there are no shoeers at work I barely break a sweat. On the way home I ride 2 to 2 1/2 hours 30-40 miles. Depends on the heat as to how hard I ride.we are into triple digits right now. All in all I try to get around 15 hours in the saddle.
     
  8. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    Hi, just spent good few hours reading through many of your posts on this forum.
     
  9. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    Hi, just spent good few hours reading through many of your posts on this forum.

    Can I ask when I should switch to VO2MAX and anaerobic power intervals? Are these at 110% FTP? Also whilst focusing on aerobic how many minutes per week should I aim for L4? Is 2 x 20 3 times a week enough?
     
  10. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    You must be worn out from all that reading.[​IMG]

    As to when to incorporate anaerobic efforts in your training plan, it really depends on what your target events are and how far out they are. If, for example, your target events are TTs on flat courses, then you don't really need to focus on anaerobic efforts at all. If your target events are RRs and/or TTs on courses with climbs, then you will want to include some anaerobic efforts. Note that most RRs often involve anaerobic surges and the cumulative effect of these surges is often what results in getting shelled off the back. But, even if you do want to include some anaerobic efforts, you can delay them until a couple of months before your first target event. Like many others, I build a solid base of almost exclusively L4 efforts before I do any serious anaerobic work. As to how much L4 to do in a week, I would say "as much as your schedule permits." You can make progress with a total of 120 minutes per week, but you would make more progress and faster progress with more L4 time. For example, when I am in the early phase of a fitness build cycle, I try to ride at least 15 hours/week with 50% or more L4+, or about 7-8 hours/week. That's almost 4x what you would get with 2x20 3x per week.
     
  11. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    My target events are 12 & 24 hour events next year. Time is not a problem as I'm semi retired. So would you suggest 5 days of L4 per week plus a LSD L2 ride at the weekend? Thanks for your response.
     
  12. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    So what are you daily, weekly and monthly average TSS scores? What should I be aiming for?
     
  13. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    This depends on your available training routes and on your tolerance for L4s. If your courses lend themselves to long, constant power segments, and if you don't get too bored doing only L4s, then I'd say focus on L4 all week, every ride. But, if either of these assumptions is false, you can also make huge progress by doing a mix of L4-L6. For example, my favorite training routes include lots of climbs, both long and short. I do the short climbs at L5 or L6 and the long climbs at L4. So, even when I am focusing primarily on L4s, I still end up with a significant percentage of L5 and L6 time due to the nature of my routes. And, some riders simply get bored doing only L4s, so they do a bunch of L5s and L6s. This type of training plan works too (including significant increase in FTP), although it is less efficient because you are spending more time in recovery per hour than if you are doing L4 repeats.

    As to your long weekend rides, it really depends on whether you ride solo or do group rides. If you are doing solo rides, you can do a series of L4s with longer than normal recovery segments (e.g., 10mins instead of 5mins) or steady-state L3. If you are doing group rides, it's virtually impossible to do L4s unless the courses include long climbs. So, you're sort of stuck with doing L5s on front and L2s in back (sort of a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde pattern). For this reason, when I post rides I prefer routes with one or more long climbs, and everybody climbs at his/her own pace with a regroup at the top. This gives every rider in the group the opportunity to get in a solid L4 on the ride.
     
  14. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    I manage my training by week and by level. My daily numbers vary a lot, but I don't really care because I am only focused on the week. Before I share my typical numbers, I should warn you that I may have a higher than normal tolerance for training stress. So, my numbers may not be good targets for you. But, here goes. A typical week is 900-1000 minutes and 1000-1500 TSS pionts. In the early phase of training (i.e., 6 months before a target event), a typical breakdown by TSS is 50% high-intensity (L4-L7) and 50% low-intensity (L1-L3). Within the high-intensity part, a typical breakdown is L4 (67%), L5 (9%), L6 (21%) and L7 (3%). Again, the 33% in L5-L7 is driven by the nature of my favorite training routes. If I lived in Florida or someplace flat, I would have a higher percentage of L4 time.
     
  15. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    RapDaddyo I have been really inspired reading your posts. I realise now that a lot, or should I say most of my training has been a waste. In reality I have been training myself simply to ride long distances slowly. I will be honest and say I have not even done any specific training to increase my FTP.

    So I’m going to give this a bloody good go over the next 12 weeks to see what I can achieve. I’m going to blow the cobwebs off my Tacx Genius Trainer, which I will use for the core of my L4 intervals. I’m going to take your advice and for now stick to mainly L4’s. Over the next week I will test myself to see what sort of volume of L4s I can tolerate.
    My weekend ride is normally 5 to 6 hours so am I correct in saying that using my powertap I should simply target L4 intervals with L1 & L2 rest periods during the ride?

    Thanks for all your help.

    I'm pretty sure 1000 to 1500 TSS is way beyond me.
     
  16. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ramchip .
    My target events are 12 & 24 hour events next year. Time is not a problem as I'm semi retired. So would you suggest 5 days of L4 per week plus a LSD L2 ride at the weekend? Thanks for your response.


    12 hours is 200 mile or so. More importantly it is 12 hours. It is more about being on your bike for 12 hours than anything else. You need to be happy on your bike for 12 hours. You get that way by putting on 6-9 hour days.

    I noticed you have a misconception about LSD. LSD is long steady distance - at race pace. It is slow only compared to the surges and sprints in a normal race.

    You should ride as often and as long as necessary so that you miss riding on days off. After you get there you can worry about structured training. And you have a long way before you get there.

    When you do structured training, try to enjoy it.

    I don't do much structured raining. My goal in structured training is keeping my heart rate up. Currently I am doing 2 20-30 minute intervals a day near my 1 hour power. For about the last half I get my heart rate up to where it is doing my cardio/vascular system some good - near my LT. I either do the intervals near the middle of my 3 hour ride on the road or a couple hours apart on my trainer. (I ride my trainer on rainy days.)

    I also do some short intervals.But 4 minutes seems to be the shortest that do me any good.

    If I was planning on doing 12 hour events - even once, I would do a couple long rides on each weekend. Add 1/2 hour or so to them every month until I was riding the event time twice a weekend.
     
  17. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Glad you have been inspired by my posts. I had the good fortune to train with a 1-time USA Nationals road champion + 3-time USA Olympic road team member + 5-time World Championship USA road team member (still in his prime) in my early days, and he taught me a ton. So, sharing my thoughts on training and racing is just paying it forward.

    On the long weekend rides, yes you can do a series of L4s (e.g., 20mins at ~91% of your FTP) with recovery durations as long as necessary. For the recovery durations, it doesn't really matter. I often do my recovery segments at 150W regardless of my FTP. This is not much above a simple gravity-drop stroke. The purpose of a recovery segment is to rest, so you're defeating the purpose if you increase the intensity. FWIW, it's good to practice the gravity-drop stroke from time to time because that's what you'll use when you're 25 miles from the house and you're trashed.

    Nobody knows what you can tolerate in terms of cumulative training stress. Just do some experimenting, based on TSS. My breaking point is about 300 TSS in a single day and about 1500 TSS in a week. Find out what yours is by trial and error. Just be aware that when you ramp up the total training volume your high-intensity segments will be harder, not because you have decreased your fitness but because of cumulative training stress.
     
  18. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    Thanks for all your help. Gravity-drop stroke ?
     
  19. ramchip

    ramchip New Member

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    Found it :) Thanks again!
     
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