To keep the coach or not to that is the question?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by yamaniakit, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    Apologies for missing your answers to the earlier questions, maybe we were posting at the same time? Could just be me being slightly toasty. Some good advice above. IMO shorter intervals (2-3 min) can help from getting dropped somewhat by just developing a higher threshold for swimming in lactate, but also from any increases in fitness (or more appropriately stated increased efficiency via those energy pathways). The old timers used to call it "speedwork" for a reason. Personally I'd get on a steady diet twice weekly for a few weeks before the next race - 4 or 5 repetitions with double the time resting spent working making sure that quality is consistent through the entire set (i.e. if not able to complete the goal either went to hard to early or too many reps in the workout but that's really oversimplifying things). Over/Unders are also a good way to duplicate the demands during a race - going slightly above threshold for a couple minutes and then, unlike a traditional interval with resting by coming fully off the gas, recovering at slightly below threshold instead.
     


  2. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    So there are certainly several ways to skin the training cat... my only concern is that with your coaches current plan your fitness may need a bump before Danfoz's suggestion of 'speed work' gets you the desired result.
     
  3. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    More fitness is always good. The pitfall of what you are describing is essentially the weakness of Carmicheal's TCT plan, it's ok for shorter crits where bike handling skills can somewhat makeup for not being as fit as others but in a RR it's miserable getting strung out in no mans land between groups when the selections start. But I was meaning in the context of some regular riding having already happened, already thinking about a race 4 or 5 weeks away, even better 6 or 7 weeks down the road for maximum results. But deserves to be said the shorter the intervals in the plan, the greater the potential of mental burnout, unlike longer 10, 20, and 30+ min intervals which can pretty successfully be integrated year round, so imo it's really race focus stuff for the event lead up weeks. However it's still a surprise to me some folks who race go without some variation of these workouts though. Every cake need it's icing to be all the cake it can be.
     
  4. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    Danfoz, I think we are saying essentially the same thing. OP, I think you should discuss your concerns with your coach. He or she may be willing and even eager to change up your routine, if not they may be able to suggest another local coach who may be a better fit. If I were in your shoes I would also be having the same questions you are. But I think even before you asked the question you knew the answer, with TCTP (a relatively high intensity program) you had some success, under your coach's (fairly low intensity) program... not so much.
     
  5. yamaniakit

    yamaniakit New Member

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    Thanks for all the help!
     
  6. fluro2au

    fluro2au New Member

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    I'm coach

    The one tip I can give...Communicate your concerns with your coach. A good coach will reflect and adjust and work towards the best possible outcome for you. If not, move on. It's that simple, and precisely why my athletes keep coming back.

    The more information you provide to your coach the easier it will be for them to personalise a plan for you.

    Paul
     
  7. JibberJim

    JibberJim Member

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    I don't really agree with this, if the coach has let it go 9months without any improvement on a rider who is very unlikely to be anywhere near their limits, then that coach is not a good coach, it shouldn't need the athlete to provide any more information than they do with the results of their training and testing. Yes in general the more you can communicate with a coach is good, but a coach who fails to say "Look it's clear what we've been doing isn't working... let's try something different" is enough of a failure of a coach that it's not worth wasting more time.

    It always surprises me how willing untrained people are to accept poor results from coaches, when you're untrained (and 3 w/kg FTP with a healthy BMI is pretty untrained) then you're extremely unlikely to not see very rapid results, and if you don't then the reason isn't the coach has some long term plan, it's that they're not stressing you enough to drive any adaptation (obviously where the athlete is trained and gains are not as easy to get results are both less likely to be as quick, and harder to notice)

    Showing a typical week isn't that useful though - how has that week changed over the 9 months might be. If volume really has been consistently that low for 9months then I'm not in the slightest bit surprised he's getting dropped in a 4th cat race. Is there anyone with more than a few months of training behind them who cannot sustain more volume than that?

    As Quenya says, you may well need to get some basic fitness before any serious training.

    Certainly ditch the coach though. Please!
     
  8. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    You told us something about your training. You never told us about your coach, your conversations with your coach, or your compromises.

    Your training seems to be inconsistant with your goals, but it could be that is all you are willing to do.

    getting a new coach will not help if the problem is with your training ethic.
     
  9. yamaniakit

    yamaniakit New Member

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    Very limited conversations, maybe once a month usually initiated by me. I am time constricted by work, especially with my wacky schedule that varies each week (starting tomorrow I work 9 days in a row, then I will have 1 day off and be on a night shift for a few days). All that being said, I communicated this with my coach before signing up and posed this as one of the reasons I wanted a coach to help me adapt my training to a crazy schedule. After the second race this year, in which at about 16 miles there were 2 back-to-back efforts and I got dropped, I talked to my coach and he basically said I just need to do more group rides. That was a pretty awful answer considering my schedule and that I have a few friends that never do group rides and are fantastic in races. I think I have decided to go ahead and do my own thing with the help of the Training Peaks virtual coach and Hunter Allen's book.
     
  10. vspa

    vspa Active Member

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    maybe you should concentrate in your career and step down from races for the time being, keep on riding for personal satisfaction, see what the future brings,
     
  11. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    As I suspected, the problem is in your work ethic.

    You put other things above bicycle racing. I have no problem with that. It happens some times. It just means you are not going to do well against people who think that bike racing is more important.

    Find some scheduled group rides that challenge you. Do oyur own solo rides. Over time your life might change to make it easier for you to train for racing. Then you can decide if you want to race.
     
  12. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

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    He's putting work ahead of his bike racing, it has nothing to do with his work ethic. It's about prioritization. But you are correct that he is racing against some who put training above all else.
     
  13. yamaniakit

    yamaniakit New Member

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    I was going to right a long rebuttal to the comment on my work ethic, but decided I will take the high road.
     
  14. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    You've got nothing to defend about your work ethic. That's doubly the case when it comes to crass, unjustified comments from strangers. Almost all of us have to juggle work, family, and riding and as such don't have the liberty to train like pros.
     
  15. quenya

    quenya New Member

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    Pay no attention to that dude, an old guy is a friggin' troll! I wouldn't presume to question your work ethic, perhaps your expectations though.  Your schedule sounds familiar, my wife is a critical care nurse and while she loves many physical activities getting enough sleep to recover from 12 hard hours of work not to mention a training plan often proves to be impossible.   With that said, perhaps your training load is as much as you can handle...your coach may be prescribing the best possible mix for you given the circumstances (I doubt it but perhaps).  If your training really is maximizing your fitness potential given real life constraints then maybe the suggestion of adding group rides to work on tactics, driving skills, and top end power is something you should not dismiss.
     
  16. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    So the coach says "You need to ride with the local racers on fast training rides." And the kid says "I don't have time."

    Poor training/work ethic.

    Looking at his 10 hour training schedule. There is no indication that he is doing much work. If he is donig a 3 hour training ride once a week, he should not be dropped on the second surge of a 16 mile race. Most likely his 3 hour training ride is such a low effort that he is getting no benefit from it.

    Again poor training/work ethic.

    ----

    I am not his coach but ...

    Ride with your "few friends that never do group rides and are fantastic in races." Don't sit in. Keep your nose in the wind. Work your friends hard. You should come home well beat up.

    That is a profitable work ethic.

    ---

    I have a terrible training/work ethic. I do my 3 hours most days. But I can wlk and talk after the ride.
     
  17. teebone

    teebone New Member

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    OP - while the answer your coach gave you about more group rides may sound obtuse on the surface, the truth is that they offer many of the skillsets required to learn about racing. I would not determine the longevity of your coach-athlete relationship based on that answer. OTOH if it was given to you as a brush-off tactic that might be telling.

    Over the years I have learned how to incorporate group rides into my training. A couple observations on their lessons as it relates to me:

    1. They should not be a primary source of fitness. As much as cycling can (and should) be social, fitness is probably going to be built mostly by those lonely miles on the road/trainer.
    2. If/when you get dropped you can learn the hows and whys to incorporate into your training. Were you dropped on a steep climb? Were you dropped when the pace surged and gaps opened up that you had close on your own? Was the steady state too much to handle? These kinds of post ride analytics can help you figure out how to change your solo training to accommodate (but don't over-emphasize the high intensity work too early if that is what you are missing to hang in there - that will come as you add it).
    3. The biggest lesson in getting dropped on group rides is - NEVER give up. You learn a lot about who you are in those moments when you are desperately trying to hold that wheel in front of you and immediately after you know it is gone for good. Do you put the bit in your mouth and keep going or throw in the towel and cruise home? Are you willing to let yourself suffer more than your body would like? Etc....again, great learnings and mental preparation.
    4. They can do more harm than good depending on the mix of people. Safety, too much intensity too soon (e.g L1, L7, L1, L7 for January rides), learning from others with bad habits and etiquette, etc are all reasons to find another group or just ride on your own.
    5. It is better to fail at a group ride than in a race. Practice makes perfect. Try some things out. On climbs, use a match to get near the front at the base so you can catch wheels if you tend to drift back. When just cruising around pick a wheel and hold it. A lot of times following the right wheel makes all the difference (as will following a bad one). You can learn how and when to get the rest you need. But, don't be afraid to try out some ideas on honing your pack skills.
    6. Ask questions during or after the rides. There are a lot of people with great experience that are like encyclopedias. Typically they will share information when asked. It might help to pay them a compliment first....somehow cyclists (especially those that race) enjoy having an ego boost. "Hey man, you looked so strong moving through the pack on the ride today. Do you mind if I ask you how you are able to move around so easily and get to the front at will?"

    You've probably read a million times in this forum that L3/SST/L4 can provide nice gains when liberally integrated into your overall schedule. With your time availability it seems like a little more time closer to your threshold would provide significant benefit. Perhaps bumping your threshold intervals to 20 - 30 minutes would greatly aid your fitness. If surgy type riding is problematic try the Bill Black HOP style of longer intervals.

    Overall, think of your fitness as a standard pyramid shape - build a wide base earlier in your year and add intensity to generate a peak toward your key races (and think of some of the races along the way as training/learning and don't be concerned about being dropped). Sorry if this is all information you have wrestled with and incorporated.

    Best of luck.

    T
     
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