TCTP

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Mac_Biker, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. Mac_Biker

    Mac_Biker New Member

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    What is the consensus on using Carmichael's TIme Crunch Cyclist Training Plan?
    Based off a 8min test.
    Most of the intervals are way less than 20 minutes.
    He has power intervals at 3mins, and steady states at 10-12 min.

    I've been doing a lot of Low z4 work now. Not sure how much I'm improving anymore.
    I was on the wattage group recently reading some of the threads. A poster stated he was 142 lbs with an FTP of 216.
    Thats very similar to my last testing. People were stating that 216 watts was very low.

    Now I have a sudden urge of wanting to raise it to something that's not "low".

    I'm thinking about starting the TCTP, or is doing massive volumes of z4 work the best way to raise FTP.
    Currently I'm doing 2x20 with 5m RBI about 3x/week. Usually I keep around 205-210 watts for the 20 minute duration.
    I also incorporate some of Dave's intervals where I go high tempo and every 3 min jump to 300+ watts for 15 secs, or I end up doing the power interval video from Robbie Ventura.


    Thanks.
     
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  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Personally I've had much better luck with longer L4 intervals at slightly lower power compared to 10 to 12 minute L4 intervals at higher power. My current favorite L4 intervals are a full 1x60 minute sustained effort at roughly 95% of FTP or more typical 2x20, 3x20 style efforts. I've definitely tried extended blocks of 5x10 and 6x10 L4 intervals and although my 10 minute power climbed over time my FTP stagnated till I got back on track with longer interval work.
     
  3. Mac_Biker

    Mac_Biker New Member

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    quick question not really relating to tctp.
    what if I'm running short on time in the mornings?
    can I do a 20min L4 session in the morning, then when I get home do another 20 min L4 session?
    is that helpful at all or just too short?
     
  4. rbarker76

    rbarker76 New Member

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    I'd say too short. It's better than nothing but there is a difference when splitting the workout up.




    If you are only doing 2x20m 3x's a week I would say your problem is training load. There are 4 other days in the week. You can't do 2x20 at FTP every day but you probably could do an hour sustained SST on those other days. Start off at a lower power for the SST and as your training load comes up you'll be able to increase the power you can hold for those efforts. I would probably also back off a bit on the power for the 2x20 to maybe 95% and save the 100% FTP efforts for later.
     
  5. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I am old. I don't race. I have a bad leg. I have a FTP of about 210-220. I get dropped on hills putting out 350w by guys doing easy training rides. So I suspect your FTP is low.

    You need to do some longer hard rides (measured by power). Over time your heart rate should fall and you can increase your power. TCTP does not really help much.

    You indicated your power output but not your heart rate. (When I do a z4 (power) ride, my heart is at z2.) You need to train using both.
     
  6. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    a FTP of 215W for a 150lb (68kg) rider is indicative of a strong Cat4 power to weight ratio. If you are a Cat5, 215 is a very good number, if you are a Cat3, not so good.

    If you are a Cat4 (or better) over 155lbs, you better get cracking on your training. In my experience though, someone who races Cat4 and doesn't get dropped, will have no problem on almost any "group" ride (even with elites) and will easily CRUSH most non-racers.

    The best way to raise your FTP in my opinion is plenty of sub-threshold work (right below your TT pace) - 60-90 minutes/week at least (that's assuming other hard workouts during the week). Also, VO2 Max work is good because while the subthreshold work raises your threshold within your ceiling, VO2 work actually raises that ceiling!

    Just my 2 cents.


    PS. and btw I did the TCTP last season with some really good results (probably because I also added in bi-weekly 3 hour hilly rides), this season have used the plan for quick fitness but started getting really drained halfway though the plan and by week six was thinking of reasons to skip the PI's. It's probably because last year was unemployed and sleeping 9 hours a night, and now have a job and lucky if I get 7 hours. Amazing what 2 hours a night will do! Good luck.
     
  7. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

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    Hey Mac_Biker- You haven't given us much to go on other than you're about 142lbs and FTP about 215. What are your goals and how much time do you have? I checked out your blog and there was only one post on a crit so that didn't help much. Having the highest FTP/kg in the pack isn't going to win you many crits I don't think.

    If you want to build your FTP you're almost surely going to have to build up your CTL, which will mean adding on some L3 time. However, if you're very time constrained, then sticking to 2x20s and 1x60 SST is probably best. On the other hand, if you want to train for crits you are going to need some top end. So, what are you trying to achieve and how much time do you have?
     
  8. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I checked the usual chart and you appear to be correct that 215w is a strong cat4, but ...

    215w is not enough to ride on the fast local friendly rides (no racers certainly not elite level). 215w gets you dropped on the first minor hill. Or the first time you let a gap develop.
     
  9. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Lot's of good advice above, particularly WRT maintaining training load. I assumed you're doing some training on the days when you aren't doing 2x20 work, but that's a big assumption. FWIW, I rarely do 3 dedicated L4 days per week as I find it takes too much recovery and my other days suffer. Personally I prefer one or two pure L4 days unless I'm doing a really focused Threshold block (for instance in the run up to the state 40K TT), do a couple or three Tempo days and perhaps one other day with intensity(often a group ride or race) that varies depending on my near term goals.

    Successful training plans strike a balance between: session intensity, total weekly workload, and training frequency as in how often you get on the bike to train. You want to find the blend of those three that works within your life constraints and is directed towards your goals as lanierb mentioned above.

    In terms of running out of morning time, splitting half and half is sure better than not doing the second session but I agree it's not optimal. One thought is not to get too caught up in 20 minutes as a magic number. It's definitely a good starting point for L4 work as it takes roughly the first 8 minutes of a steady Threshold effort to fully engage metabolic processes (basically to exhaust higher end systems that you're drawing on in the opening minutes). So one way to think of it is that the first 8 minutes is just getting ready for really targeting the Threshold training in the remaining 12 minutes of a 20 minute effort. From that standpoint it makes a lot of sense to stretch these when you can so you only pay that price of entry once.

    So if you're running out of am time and a 2x20 isn't going to work, how about a 1x30 or 1x25 to get a bit more quality time out of the morning Threshold effort. I'd then pair that up with say 60 or 90 minutes of Tempo/SST in the evening both to support the overall workload goals and to avoid making each and every training session so mentally daunting that you risk burnout and avoiding those evening sessions. That's also a pretty good strategy if you have to double sessions and also plan a morning session the subsequent morning. It's hard to do two a days that are both intense and then rebound overnight to do another decent session. Evening Tempo sessions are easier to rebound from if you plan to train the next morning.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  10. Mac_Biker

    Mac_Biker New Member

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    My goals are to race and not get drop. Not looking to winning races just yet. But being in contention wouldn't hurt.
    The time I have available is roughly 6-8 hours a week. Weekdays I have roughly 1 hour blocks in the morning after dropping the wife off at work.

    My workouts on days that I don't do my 2x20s I do L3 1 hour or so nonstop.
    1 day of the week I will try to do the power video from robbie ventura.

    Thanks for all the tips.

     
  11. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    From one old guy to another... 215W FTP on a 142 pounder is going to produce very different results than 215W on 170 pounder... could this be our disconnect?

    Are Cat4 races that much slower than fast friendly group rides? Are strong Cat4's getting dropped regularly on fast group rides but still somehow winning Cat4 races? As a Cat4 myself (granted an old guy Cat4) I can say with confidence that non-elite group "rides" are not usually faster than our races. Up here in Brooklyn, our strong Cat4's are winning combined Cat 3/4 races. I understand there is the occasional group ride from hell that spits casualties out the back, but that is not the norm. Also my racing experience is almost exclusively in NY/NJ, are 4's in the rest of the country just a sad bunch? I understand your point, but there may be something more to the story than just numbers.

     
  12. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    There are a lot of disconnects in life. Using one number (1hr max power output) as a gage may be the cause of our disconnect. When I was younger I weighed 130-135. Now I weigh 135-140. So weight should not be an issue.

    I remember back when I used to ride with the local "long distance" guys - 100+ miles on Saturday and on Sunday. Above 22mph. No surges. Just tempo. mostly flat. Even sitting in took over 215w for much more than an hour.

    Just this week I was passed on a bike path: by a woman while I was doing 200w, by a man on the flats who I could not catch doing 300w (and he had no idea I was trying to catch him), and by a guy who climbed effortlessly past while I was doing 300-350w. These people were just doing casual rides. I have a FTP of 210-220 about what we agree is a strong CAT4. I could never do an hour or three with these people.
     
  13. Mac_Biker

    Mac_Biker New Member

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    As for group rides. We have a fast local group ride. I do not get dropped in it...
    I stay on pace the whole time. On short climbs, I feel stronger.
    But there is one long climb 3-4 minutes, that I cannot keep up with.
    But we all stop at the gas station at the top to regroup.

    My FTP is measured on the trainer, I'm guessing it may be higher outside.
     
  14. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Something's not right there, you sure you've got a calibrated and torque zeroed PM???

    People are NOT climbing past a rider holding 5-5.5 w/kg 'effortlessly'. I've survived five to ten minute hills in combined 1/2/3 races with less power and go off the front of 3's races climbing much above 5 w/kg even on three to five minute power climbs.

    300 watts at 140 pounds is 4.7 w/kg. Your aerodymamics are god awful if that's not enough to run down your average rider on the flats unless you're sitting bolt upright and he's riding his TT bike or he was an usually strong rider and working hard.

    At 150 pounds and an FTP of 310 it's very rare to get passed by casual folks when I'm actually riding hard. Sure I've been passed plenty but by other racers out training hard or when I'm cruising. Something's not adding up here. You riding MTB tires or something?
     
  15. LT Intolerant

    LT Intolerant New Member

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    Not sure where you are riding but even the best riders (Cat 2s, 3s) in SCal aren't climbing "effortlessly" at 350w. A 70kg rider would be putting out 5 w/kg at 350, and that would put you at the front of a typical hilly Masters 45 race in SCal, and in that race you'll encounter a few district, national, and world masters champions.

    Insofar as a Cat 4 w a 216w FTP weighing 142 lbs being a "strong" Cat 4 I'd beg to differ despite what's shown in TRwaPM. IME Cat 4s w a w/kg of 3.5 would be considered "middle of the pack", while the front of the pack would be closer to 4.2+, again in SCal and NCal.

    Last, what's worked for me in raising FTP (with a thank you to Dave R for all his great insight over the years) is a steady diet of...

    SST(10-12 weeks) then...
    FTP(4-6 weeks) then...
    Vo2 (last 3 weeks before a target event)
    Short Taper
    Race

    My feeling is you can be a competitive Cat 4 on 8 hours a week with a highly focused, disciplined approach, but you'll be at a disadvantage if others with the same disciplined approach are putting in 12 hours/week, which is pretty much par in this neck of the woods.

    gene r
     
  16. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    These are 1-2 minute 10% ramps on minor hills. Knowing my speed, weight, and elevation gain I can tell my power meter is correct. And when I was young I could climb like the guys who pass me.

    I compare apples to apples. Guys with modern road bikes with hands on the hoods. 300w (while comfortable for a short spell) was too much for me to hold for long and finish my ride comfortably. and certainly not enough to catch the fellow. I suppose that riders that get away from me on the flat might have different purposes. They may be holding well over 300w for 5 or 10 minutes just because it feels good. When they slow down, they are out of sight.

    There are a lot of guys out there who may or may not race who are really strong. Even you with a 310w FTP could ride away from a guy with a 210FTP. Even on a casual ride. That is all I am saying.

    ---

    Yesterday I was just finishing up my ride. A fellow passed me. I expected him to get away from me, but for some reason I was keeping up with him. He kicked the pace up to 250w on a little hill. I followed. About a mile later I was still behind him but we were only doing 170w. I was getting impatient because I usually try to say above 200w in preparation for the final hill. I kicked up my pace and never saw him again.

    The point of the story is that he had a powertap on his bike. He might have been a low CAT racer. But I could have asked him what his power output was and compared that to mine. (I really need to be more social.)
     
  17. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Ahhh, that makes more sense so your post could be better interpreted as:

    I was riding uphill at 300-350 watts (for a handful of seconds) and couldn't catch a casual rider up the road so therefore a Cat 4 rider who can hold 215 watts for a full hour can't possibly compete. Yeah that's almost a compelling argument.

    But sure, all in all a higher FTP is a very good thing and will only help. If you read through the thousands of posts I've penned on these boards in the last five years you'll see we definitely agree on that point. Racers should always work towards raising their FTP and give it a place in their training even when they transition to more focused high end work.

    But having said that, I've worked with several Cat 4 and 5 racers that have held their own with relatively low FTPs. Sure we've always worked to increase their sustainable power but if they had some high end(which is pretty typical for racers who stick with the sport for a while even though they lack sustainable power) and reasonable riding skills they've done all right even placing in races particularly when they chose their courses well and rode them smart. Sure they weren't likely to win in solo breakaways and weren't likely to ride clear of the field on big climbs nor win many time trials but they often did all right on flatter races and crits if they played their cards well.

    I agree with you entirely that a rider in that position should put a lot of focus on increasing their sustainable power in their training. In the meantime it also makes sense to 'run what ya brung' and race to the best of their capabilities. If nothing else newer racers have to learn the art and skills of racing and it's hard to do that if they don't race till their FTP rises up high enough. Sure if they can't even stay with the field long enough to learn and improve their skills then more solo training with an SST/L4 focus is in order but an FTP of 3+ w/kg should be enough to survive flatter races and to begin to play the game.

    -Dave
     
  18. Mac_Biker

    Mac_Biker New Member

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    What type of higher end power will help me in crits?
    15s, 30s, 1m, 3m?
    My FTP is surely not going to win any races, but hopefully working on some of the higher end work will make more competitive.
    I've yet to retest my FTP, but feel that it's probably a little higher now, especially if I get outside.

    Thanks.
     
  19. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    The ability to quickly and repeatedly burst up to twice or more of your current FTP is key for crits. IOW, even on an FTP of 215 watts, the ability to repeatedly accelerate out of corners and to cover gaps with short power bursts up to 400-600 watts for perhaps 10 to 20 seconds at a time is key. The ability to continue doing that with very little rest between the bursts will start to tax your FTP so you'll want to maximize your recovery between them and minimize both the duration and intensity of the bursts by riding right on the wheels of fast and smooth riders and staying off your brakes as much as possible. If you can carry speed through the corners and stay on good wheels you can ride crits with far less power than riders that allow gaps to open up through inattention or lack of fast cornering skills.

    If crits are your focus I'd strongly recommend at least a day per week of HOP style micro-interval work. The idea is to work dynamics into your riding, work on rapid muscle recruitment on demand and to work on recovery in motion at moderately high workloads. There are many variations of micro-intervals, but start with a basic type where you ramp up to mid Tempo pace and then try as short seated burst for ten to fifteen seconds every two minutes. Whip up your legs instantly for each burst as you're main focus for these is rapid acceleration. At the end of each burst get back to your base mid Tempo pace as quickly as possible and get ready for the next burst. Sustain these as you would pure iso-power Threshold work, IOW for 20, 30 or 60 minutes per effort blocked into intervals like 2x20s or 4x15s if necessary. The overall workout based on average power should end up as low to mid L4 work but with a strong dynamic emphasis and a strong 'recovery in motion' emphasis. If they're too hard then stretch the recovery intervals a bit but don't do half hearted bursts (nor do you have to jump out of the saddle and do race winning sprints, just rapid seated accelerations up to 2-3 times your FTP but don't worry about the PM while bursting focus on quickness and review the data later to see how you managed), you can also decrease the mid Tempo 'base pace' a bit but try to keep it up into Tempo at least. If they feel too easy you can burst more often or raise the base pace or over time you can stretch the length of the bursts.

    These are gold for crit riders and if you do them as sustained micro-interval work as opposed to more typical L6 efforts with recovery between each interval you'll get a nice blend of ride dynamics and crit specific work along with some very good Threshold/SST training.

    Here's a screenshot of a 20 minute set of micro-intervals I did earlier this winter in the format I described above. [​IMG]

    -Dave
     
  20. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    daveryanwyoming ---

    I would suggest that since the hill is a mile long (under 4 minutes for me; under 3 minutes if I were to keep up with the guys passing me) that 5 minute power might be more representative of that one element.

    There is no reason to believe that these guys are not capable of more than you give them credit for.

    ---

    But I think you miss my point. You said that 215w FPT would allow a CAT4, the original poster, to ride with most group rides. You claim a FPT of 315w. If a group of riders were to ride at 310w for an hour ride (certainly a pace that a group of people of your strength could manage; certainly a pace that most fast group rides are capable of), a person would require a FPT of over 215w (70% of 310w) just to sit in. It is unlikely that that person, the original poster, could draft well enough to stay with the group.

    I don't think 1 hour FPT is the right measure to support your statements. But I think your comments that the original poster could do well is true.
     
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