training for 3-minute steep hill climb -- by duration or watts?

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by smaryka, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    It's hill climb season here in the UK and for the first time I'm taking it pretty seriously. I usually do lots of climbs on my long rides, they tend to be 5-8 min and I do them at 115-120% of my FTP, so I feel pretty confident that my power at Vo2max is pretty developed. Been doing several weeks of specific hill repeats so now it's just refining my technique and power. The National hill climb champs is in 3 weeks and I hope to race it in around 3.5 minutes.

    Here are my numbers (all-time bests). I'm generally a poor sprinter but have a very good 1-min and 5-min. FTP is decent though AP is always ~10-15w lower than NP on my one-hour efforts, so I suspect I've just not trained enough at long isopower efforts to bring AP up to NP level. Female, 52.5kg, 38 years old.

    5 sec: 750w, 14.3w/kg
    30 sec: 520w, 9.9w/kg
    1 min: 440w, 8.3w/kg
    5 min: 310w, 5.9w/kg
    FTP: 240w (NP), 4.5w/kg

    The Coggan book compares two IPers -- relevant I think as the IP is a similar length of time to my hill climb, though clearly a different inertia being on the flat track! -- one of whom is weak at FTP and the other in anaerobic power. The latter should try to develop the anaerobic system more to get faster/better. I think I may fall into this category.

    So the question is, is it better for me to do race duration intervals at a lower power (obviously) than I can do on race day? Or is it better to do shorter intervals at target race power? Or something different altogether, say 30 sec L6 efforts?
     
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  2. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    For any targeted adaptation, I always do longer duration efforts at the bottom end of the intensity range early in a build phase and gradually increase the intensity and reduce the duration late in a build phase. So, if I were in your situation with your objective I would be doing 3min efforts at 90% of my 3min max sustainable power now, and progressively shortening the durations to 30sec at 100% of my 30sec max sustainable power as I approached the target event. I would maintain a solid amount of aerobic efforts, but L6s would make up about half of my high-intensity efforts (at least as measured by TSS). Basically, it's volume early and intensity late.
     
  3. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    Thanks, I think that's good advice. I did 6 x 2.5-3 min intervals last week at about 90% of my peak 3 min power so I'm on the right track.

    Poring over my peak power chart, I can see that my 2-min to 5-min power is back where it was 2 years ago (when I was at my peak -- have had a baby since then) but for durations under 2 mins and particularly under 60 secs, my power is still significantly below where I was before. So I think there's some work to do there.

    What kind of recovery time for these shorter intervals is good? I always thought that for L6 efforts, the recovery had to be 3-4 times the interval to fully recover, whereas for L5 it tends to be a 1:1 interval:rest ratio. Don't think I could hit 100% of my 30 sec max power repeatedly without lots of rest between!

    As for the rest of my training, I've got a couple hours of SST (towing the baby trailer around our local park or riding a 1-hour TT effort on our training loop), one or two longer rides with various efforts within them, and in the case of this weekend, morning and afternoon hill climbs about 2.5 min in length. Slowly losing all that CTL I've been building up since March but wary of not being rested enough to do well in the hill climb races that matter, so I'm erring on the side of less volume these days.
     
  4. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    Anaerobic capacity recovery has a 30s half-life, thus 5min is sufficient for full recovery. I also taper my volume approaching a target event, although you don't have to start your taper 3 weeks out.
     
  5. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    It is curious that you listed your 1 and 5 minute power records but not your 3 minute record. And you seem to know it.

    The questions I would have for you is "What is your goal 3 minute power output?" (average power not this NP garbage) And "What is your current 3 minute power?"


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    If you are the kind of person who believes in warm-ups, you should work on determining the best warm-up for your 3 minute effort.

    If the hill is not a uniform grade, you should practice on the hill to determine the proper gearing for the event. That means doing lots of intervals on the hill at 100% of your 3 minute power. It would be nice to break the hill into 2 or 3 pieces and do 60-90 second intervals but you lose the heart rate corelation by doing that. (If this was a 1 hour event, you could break the hill into 3 20 minute sections and train each section after doing a 5-10 minute preface to get your heart rate up. But that will not work for short rides.)

    That seems like enough training for the hill climb. No need for additional.
     
  6. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    BTW, what is the course? Do you have a GPS tracking file for the course. It may be that you can make use of a variable power pacing strategy if the grade and/or wind direction varies significantly on the course. Depending on how many distinct segments there are, it may be possible to identify some trigger point landmarks for change in power. I have even taped my strategy on my bars (e.g., 5K elevation: xxxW, split tree: xxxW, road fork: xxxW, etc.). I realize the race is only 3-4 minutes, but one can potentially cut elapsed time by 2-5% with a VP pacing strategy.
     
  7. smaryka

    smaryka Member

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    Unfortunately I won't get to ride the course til the day before, but I'll have a good look at the Strava segment, other people's reports of it (it's been used before for races) and Google Streetview. That's the best I can do, as I can't travel up there before the event.

    I have used a variable pacing strategy in the past on climbs that have varying gradients and head/tailwinds, so will do that again if required.

    Two races this weekend up steep hills about ~2.5 min long so will get a good idea of my peak power and what I can do for the nationals.
     
  8. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

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    If you know the route, you can create a GPS tracking file with one of the route mapping programs such as MapMyRide.com or RideWithGPS.com. It's not perfect because the elevation interpolation algorithm results in some elevation error (which is critical for a climb route), but it's better than nothing.
     
  9. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    In your original post you say "I'm taking it pretty seriously." Now you say "I won't get to ride the course til the day before."

    The serious riders around here used to drive for 6-8 hours on Friday night to "important event routes". They would ride the route all day Saturday and most of Sunday. Drive home late Sunday.

    If you are serious, go ride the route. It is only a 4 minute ride. You can do 20-50 repeats in a weekend. That is serious.

    You can take your family and have a nice time.
     
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