Time at L2/L3 to increase endurance?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Bigpikle, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm trying to establish how long I need to be spending at L2/L3 to build my endurance for the 80-110 mile distance? I know I dont need to be riding huge long distances all the time, but does completing lots of 50 mile rides primarily in L2/L3 build my endurance for those longer distances effectively?

    I'm into my 2nd year of serious riding and training. Last year I covered almost 4000 miles, with a fair number of 50's, a few 80's and a century last summer. YTD I've covered almost 800 miles, which has included six 50's, a couple of longer rides and a good amount of SST sessions like 2x15's, 2x20's etc. I got a Powertap in January and my first FTP test gives me a result of 210w.

    I took a few days rest last week and completed an 82 mile reliability ride yesterday, non-stop over a fairly challenging course and rode really well - strong enough to bridge to and stay with a fast group, and even dropping them at one stage when I got on the front (not by plan). The only challenge was the final 10 miles home from the finish (miles 72-82) felt tough. In hindsight it was probably my strongest ride to date in many respects so I feel like my training is really paying off, but my goals this year are some long multi-day rides covering 100+ miles per day, and I feel like I still have work to do if I'm going to finish those last 20-30 miles 'strongly'.

    I plan to do a lot more L4 work to develop my FTP in the form of 2x20's etc, but am really trying to determine whether I should be investing time in these medium distance L2/L3 rides or if simply riding 50's makes me good at riding 50's? I seem to remember reading that you can continue to see endurance benefits from rides of 90-120 mins but I'm not sure if this is really true? I have a few weeks coming where I have loads of time to train so I could easily do a block of several weeks of longer L2/L3 rides if they are beneficial?

    Appreciate any advice. Thanks
     
    Tags:


  2. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2006
    Messages:
    3,857
    Likes Received:
    97
    I'm not sure I'm completely following your questions but I'll take a stab at what I thought I heard:

    - Sure you can dramatically increase your endurance without doing long rides at all or not doing a lot of them. Increase your FTP and your endurance will increase with it so you could in theory do only L4 work and still see lots of improvement but there are reasons why that may not be the best approach.

    - You can't ride L4 every day and most that try burn out pretty quickly and then hang up the bike for a while which isn't going to do anything for your fitness. So a blend of focused L4 work directed at increasing your FTP makes sense but so does planning some lower intensity rides into your training week.

    - L3 and L2 riding can have tremendous benefit to both endurance and to raising your FTP if you do enough of it, often enough and recover well enough to do more of it. But the lower the intensity the more of it you want to do per session and the more of it you want to accumulate. So in general L3 rides should be longer than L4 sessions and L2 rides longer yet.

    - As stated above you don't 'need' to do 75 or 100 mile rides to prepare for 100+ mile riding but if you have the available time and you build up to it such that you recover well from some longer days in the saddle it can pay off big time in terms of deeper training base (higher CTL in power speak) and better fatigue resistance as well as just more confidence as you approach the latter stages of long or multi-day rides.

    - You can't 'cram' for fitness and attempts to do so don't usually work so well unless you follow an extra big training block (like a training camp) with extra rest before resuming a more sustainable schedule. So if you're going to add longer rides to your schedule it makes sense to work up to them and to try to do them fairly often like every couple to every few weeks rather than the occasional big ride out of the blue.

    In a nutshell, if your goal is 100+ mile rides or back to back long days then it makes sense to include some longer riding in your schedule but that doesn't mean you want to give up on your more focused L4 days as they also have big benefits. So think about a weekly schedule that combines shorter more focused weekday riding with some longer weekend riding. How long you go on the weekends depends on available time, motivation, and the current depth of your training base. How hard you go on the long rides depends again on your training to date as well as the length of the ride and how well you've been recovering from similar efforts. IMO, it makes more sense to do three to four hours where you rack up as much solid Tempo as you can than to slog out a slow five or six hour ride just for the additional miles. IOW, try to find a balance between total ride time and ride quality that doesn't leave you limping slowly home from really long rides. Better to cut the rides a bit shorter till you've built up enough that you can maintain sufficient focus and ride at least high L2 - low L3 for most of the ride.

    So if you've got more time to train and you approach it intelligently it's almost certainly in your interest to train more as long as you balance recovery needs and don't try to ramp up your training load too quickly. For instance don't double your weekly TSS or weekly hours on the bike just because more time becomes available unless you're intentionally trying to dig a big deep training hole with a plan for additional recovery at the end of the block.

    Maybe I missed the gist of your question, but yeah more riding is generally a good thing but not at the expense of your quality sessions and generally not at the expense of even the quality of your longest rides. Ramp if you can but do so slowly (< 5 CTL points per week if you use the WKO+ Performance Manager to track training load) and try to make sure your longest rides don't become long slow slogs, keep them snappy and limit their distance if that's not an option as it's not really the miles you ride, but how you ride those miles that counts.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  3. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    1
    Dave - thanks for the reply and I think you answered my question very well. I guess I just wanted to hear confirmation that doing 3 hour L2/L3 rides would continue to benefit my endurance even for 5-6+ hour events.

    I have built my LTS (Golden Cheetah CTL numbers) from about 60 to 120 since Christmas in a steady way that has included a good mix of longer rides, and weeks of lots of miles, as well as shorter L3/4 rides. 2 weeks ago I had a week off work where I set, and achieved, a goal of riding 200+ miles in a week including some back to back long rides. I had a work trip last week so couldnt ride much and got some good recovery time. Last weekend was my 80 and the next 3 weeks I have loads of time again, so plan to get as many longer L2/3 rides in a possible, based on your advice. I can monitor my LTS/TSS carefully to avoid any huge increases and I have another work trip at the end of it that will keep me off the bike for 4-5 days, so I know I'll get a period of enforced rest then as well. I'll aim for a '2 on/1 off' schedule if weather permits, as I know I need that time for recovery every few days and also to keep motivation high.

    My work means constant trips almost every week, and no two weeks are ever the same. It makes consistency almost impossible to achieve but does mean I often get quality time during the week, albeit more some weeks than others, and periods where I cant train even if I want to. My longer term plan is also as you suggest, with a mix of shorter L3/4 sessions and longer rides during the week with regular longer rides at weekends building up to the target events. We have a full calendar of 80-130 mile 'C' target events most weekends to make sure we get the saddle time and the first 'B event' is a 3 day 320 mile event late in May. The 'A ride' is to cross the Pyrenees in Sept in 100 hours on the Raid Pyrenean, so want to build up to being able to ride 4 long days in the mountains 'strongly'.
     
  4. Nate Pearson

    Nate Pearson New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2010
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Damn, Dave has the forum on lock down.

    I think we read the same books because I always agree with him.
     
  5. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    What's the 320mile ride in May like? This is a little more pressing that the Raid in September and you may be glad to hear that the Pyrenean climbs, with their newer road surfaces, are not as mythically hard as they once were.

    You have a fair bit of time till May, so with the news of the last ride being fairly good you're heading in the right direction as far as endurace goes. For 50 mile rides I'd peg those squarely in L3. 2 to 3 hour rides are prime hard SST and hard work here pays massive dividends later. You don't want to smash yourself every ride but you'll probably want to get off the bike and be elsewhere when you're done.

    All training helps, training for the Raid is going to be mostly L3 and L4 with some nice long L2 rides too but dont discount some L5 and L6. It's all well and good being Mr Diesel but it's also fun to spice it up a bit and add variety.

    As for the Raid - weight. It's all about low weight. I've not ridden the eastern pyrenean cols but I'd say the Marie Blanque is going to be the biggest challenge followed by the Tourmalet, the rest are significantly less ballbusting. Gear for the Marie Blanques last 5km, which is greater than 10% in a lot of places. If you get the heat and the flies you'll swear it's 15%+. Do you have any big hills where you live?
     
  6. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    1
    The ride in May is the Tour of Wessex in SW England - 3 days of 100-110 miles, with up to 10,000ft climbing on each one. Challenging days with unpredictable weather but I'm riding with a small group of much fitter and faster riders so I know I have support for the tough bits. I'm expecting it to be tough with all the climbing as they are typically shorter steeper climbs than the Pyrenees etc.

    I dont have mountains or really big climbs near me, but do have a local range of hills that provide a lot of opportunity for shorter steeper climbs. I went out to Gran Canaria in january and in 3 rides we did 20,000ft climbing up mountains of a similar style to the Alps etc - 20km, grades up to 15-17% etc, so have an idea what to expect. It will be impossible to replicate those conditions here though, but I can certainly spend time on the hills.

    I went out for another 50 this morning on a flatter route and when I look at the ride data I'm still spending more time in L1 than I wanted. 3.5 hours with almost 1 hour L1, 1 hour L2, 45 mins L3, 20 mins L4 and the rest L5 & 6. I did feel some fatigue from last weekends ride towards the end so ended up easing up a little more than usual, but even so, I want to get that L1 time to 30 mins max I guess. Looking back over similar rides the last few weeks I have spent 30-40 mins in L1 on a 3-4 hour ride typically. I did have a mindset today to 'take it easy' and hold back from pushing along at L4 on the longer drags, and to deliberately stay more in L3. I have a lot of time the next few weeks and didnt want to over do it today, after last weekends effort, and then not make the most of the coming time.

    I'm 77kg and 6'0 tall, so need to lose a little more weight. I got to about 74-5kg last summer at my best and any lighter isnt sustainable for me really. I'll get back to that by May as well and should be able to keep at that level through to the Raid. I can feel the extra weight on the climbs right now as I'm not dropping my riding buddies in the way I was last summer, but I know that will come back.

    Thanks for the advice and thoughts. Please keep them coming. I'm thinking some good solid 2 hour L3 rides might be a good idea to include the next few weeks as well now...
     
  7. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    You do need to keep an eye on the powermeter while training, especially when you first start to do new sessions with it. Over time you get more familiar with a particular effort and it becomes a lot easier to stay at the right pace but you'll get there eventually.

    With your last comment I have to ask - do you have a good plan laid out for the year? Without a plan everything just becomes one big ball of clag. With a plan things are much easier, especially much easier to deal with mentally, when training starts to get hard. Some people can deal with a constant grind of a big workload, some get bored and training ends up unproductive. You didn't say if you raced or not, but if not you can do a reversal of the usual seasonal training and do the long and hard L2 rides in the summer when it's more pleasant and you have more daylight hours - especially if you're "training time challenged" due to family commitments. If you have "peak 1" for the ride in May, the long days and early sunrise of June/July would be ace times to get some big L2 rides in as you aim for what could be called "peak 2" in September.

    What's the weather like in the hills of the South of France in September?

    You'll also get used to the initial feeling at fatigue from previous sessions when you make an effort to up the training load. As long as the jump in load isn't too great what you'll probably notice is that the first 20 minutes feels a little harder than you expected and the legs will feel stiff but you'll ride through it. If you're doing 2x20s or 3x20's then the first will feel like crap and the second, given a 5 or more minute rest, will feel significantly better. This is normal...

    I used to live in North West England until I moved out to sunny California just over 11 years ago and I'm familiar with the lumpy nature of the South, having spent a bit of time racing down there. When it's time for some harder/faster work in the summer, find some hills that are 4 to 8 minutes in length and use those for L5.

    Your weight doesn't have to be at a sustainable weight when you do the Raid - it just has to be as low as possible without affecting performance. Factor in that the first day is easy, the really hard climbing day is day 2 and the last day is pretty much all down hill... Piece o' cake. ;)

    Just because you were lighter doesn't mean that you will be lighter again. Never assume...

    Analyticcyling.com is a great place to play with calculations about cycling and it's a good place to get the math behind the calculations too if you want to make your own rider planner for the Raid in a spreadsheet. If you do your own ride planner and you're using calculations based on your own power then factor in not only your sustainable power for the duration of each day but also the effect of altitude. Power gets depressingly low on rides over 100 miles when you factor in being close to 7,000ft at times. LOL

    The book by Coggan and Allen about training with a powermeter is a worthy investment.
     
  8. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    1
    I've read the Coggan book a few times, before and after getting my Powertap. I'm using Golden Cheetah and understand what is happening and how all the numbers work, its just being only in year 2 I still have a lot to learn about 'how' to train for my goals. I'm not road racing but did do some CX racing last year and plan to get more serious for the next season. I may do some TT's with my club through the year for a little variety and a gauge of fitness etc but they are not a priority in any way.

    I dont have a detailed plan with every workout in it, for a couple of reasons. Primarily because my work is different every week and changes at short notice so I have no way to even know how many days I'll be in the UK for a given week until I'm a few weeks away. I do have a looser plan based around some key blocks of work, with some specific events scheduled through the season that will push me and test my readiness for the Wessex event and Raid. The reason for my last comment was that I suddenly had a block of work get postponed that has left me with a couple of weeks with loads of available training time that I didnt expect to have. This is what prompted my original question as I'm wondering how best to use this time? I'm usually restricted to 1-2 long rides and 1-2 shorter rides per week, but for the next 2 weeks I can do what I want and I know I have a week of forced rest afterwards...

    As its only year 2, and I only did one full century last year, I still have a mental issue about being able to complete the distances involved, which I know is driving my desire to get the miles in early and prove to myself I can do it. Last Sunday was a very positive step for me and really boosted my confidence that even after a relatively short period of training I've built a good base. Its just taking it to the next level so I become just as confident at completing 100-120 miles strongly. I want to get plenty more threshold work done over the coming months and would love to see my FTP hit 250w before the Raid. I have a highly regarded coach I'm hoping will take me on later in the year, and she has talked about a period of L5/6 work before the Raid as the start of my training for CX later in the year, so I hope that will give me that little extra you mentioned as well. I really struggled with the high intensity involved in 'cross last season so I need to put the work in this year!

    Where are you living now? My company is based near San Diego and I've been all over S California the last 10 years. It would be great to take my bike over on one trip and enjoy some riding out there for a change.
     
  9. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    With regard to the TT's: That's what they all say - no big deal, not a priority, blah blah blah... Until they get hooked and it's all about the soul destroying, mental anguish and physical destruction that only riding spuds out for a fixed distance can bring. ;) You'll start of at club events and before you know it you'll be doing the "middle markers" events on the faster courses and hoping to get a float day on the E72 or one of the H25 courses. You'll sell your soul to the time trialing gods somewhere between the finish line and the back seat of your car at your first event.

    I'm sure others may have different suggestions but for those weeks where you have lots of available training time I wouldn't go nuts on the training, unless you normally have a job that involves lots of manual labour. Tacking on extra bike time to compensate for the lack of work (at work) shouldn't be too bad but if you spend most of the day sitting behind a desk then getting a big extra dose of training done over two weeks may leave you feeling a bit wrecked at the end of the period. Personally, I might change a couple of the long L3 sessions to include about an hour L2 in the middle or tack on an extra 20 minute interval for a 3x20 and on the other days just go for a ride that's getting upto L2 - just to get out, spin the wheels, smell the roses and burn off some calories...

    I'm up in northern California - not a million miles away from the Napa Valley and Sacramento. There's some amazing roads not to far from home and I'm only about 2.5 hours from Lake Tahoe and the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
     
  10. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks Swampy

    That scenario happened to me when I started CX racing last Oct...but what I found is that 40 year old bodies dont bounce quite so well and the abuse from CX was tough to take the first few times out! When my rear mech snapped at full tilt up a steep bank and I went down very hard and cracked 2 ribs, I wondered if I was losing my mind thinking about continuing... I dont see TT's as being my thing really but have a mate who has been talking about reliving his glory days for the last 12 months without actually entering one, so I'm bound to get pulled into one eventually.

    I'm no manual worker and being a touch older find I do need the recovery time more now, so will take it a little easy and see what happens. I set a goal of 500 miles and am 130 in already, so with the weather forecast looking increasingly poor, I'll probably be forced to mix up shorter and longer rides and get the rest. I was also just offered my dream frame at a great price so may end up taking some of the time building up a summer bike as well /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  11. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    Messages:
    10,057
    Likes Received:
    185
    You might want to check what the weather is like in the high mountains of the Pyrenees in September and the get out on the bike for some long, hard rides in the cold and the rain... I know from first hand experience that the Cols in the area of the Circle of Death have weather that changes in a heartbeat in June. Same deal during Tour time too... ... Besides, as long as you're warm-ish it's all good after you finally got completely soaked to the bone.
     
  12. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    1
    We're going in a fully supported group, and having spoken with the leaders they say we should avoid the highest temperatures of summer and hopefully not be too bad based on recent years, but of course its very changeable. Funnily enough we were riding in the rain yesterday and commenting it was good to get used to the conditions as we would no doubt face them on at least some of our longer events! At least being fully supported with 2 vans on the route each day we have the opportunity to change kit as we go along, if we do face a lot of changes.

    Part of my training plan is to get out in all weathers and MTFU a bit, in terms of distances, weather etc etc. Getting into proper mountains in January, out in the best of the UK winter conditions recently and getting some longer rides in are already helping me mentally as I know I have faced, and completed, some tough stuff. Now I just need to stick at it for the next few months!
     
Loading...
Loading...