Training sessions required to improve climbing & attacking at Race pace

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by Andrew Larigo, May 26, 2003.

  1. Andrew Larigo

    Andrew Larigo New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've just begun racing & am 2 races into this season. Evaluating my performances so far has been easy.

    I'm struggling every time it goes uphill with the pace. I'm ensuring I'm close to the front to allow for the slide back, but wish to eradicate this (In time) and be a strong player at the front. I'm 5"8" & weigh 56kg, so should be in a climber mould.

    Does anybody have any sessions I can introduce into my training to make some headway improvement on this?

    Another area would be riding near the front & when attempting an attack, having the requirement to carry that attack rather than fading back to the bunch immediately.

    Thanks for any positive responses.

    Andy
    4th Cat UK.
     
    Tags:


  2. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    Andy:

    First of all, understand that as a category 4 rider, you have a lot of room for improvement. Although you may not think so, this is a good thing. If you were a pro and having the same problem, you might be genetically "tapped out" and incapable of any more improvment. You can undoughtably improve.

    How long have you been riding??? Some of your fellow competitors may have been riding much longer than you. This "base" is very important, because it will influence how much intensity your body can absorb. Training hard without a good base will make you much more prone to overtraining and knee injuries.

    Assuming you have a decent base, you should work on increasing your overall power. You also need to develop a solid anaerobic power capacity. Power is best developed through hard 3-5 minute intervals, usually at an intensity of 90% of max heart rate or higher.

    This applies to time trailing on the flats and also climbing, so do them on the flats and climbs. Don't worry about your heart rate though, just go as hard as possible to complete the 3-5 minutes. 3 minute efforts are faster and harder than 5 minute efforts. If you are attempting a 5 minute effort and can only hold it for 3.5 minutes, you are going too fast. There are many strategies to performing these intervals with regard to pacing, cadence, and intensity, but these are the basics.

    As for anaerobic power, you need it to survive racing. You need lots of it to gap off the front (OTF). Anaerobic efforts also generate lactic acid, which the body does not like. Anaerobic training will help your body to tolerate this acid environment. See the posts on "regrouping after breakaway(page 2)" and "MTB specific training" for more info.

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    Almost certainly, this suggests that your lactate threshold isn't high enough, thus affecting your recovery. As you exceed your LT there's an increased stress on your system. To increase your LT you need to do quality endurance work (zone 2 see http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=powerstern or low level 2 HR) and some moderate intensity intervals (i.e., 1 to 2 x 20-30 mins @ just below TT power/HR once to twice per week).

    By increasing your LT, your sustainable TT power will go up and it will take longer for you to struggle when climbing. As you approach your peak level of fitness zone 5 and 6 training can also be introduced (e.g., three to eight x 4 mins @ just above TT power once to twice per week), which will increase VO2 max and power at VO2 max -- which will increase your power up hills up to 10 mins in duration.

    Ric
     
  4. unshaven

    unshaven New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with Rick here you really need to improve your basic form in other words the Power you can produce just before you start to produce loads of that painful lactate acid. To train this you have a almost unlimited amount of options from long 3hr rides at a hard pace (hard to talk pace) down to your 10-20min intervals which are done at about TT pace.

    The more basic form you can get the more rested you will be in the bunch & on the hill. If your in a state of relative rest in the bunch then attacking then becomes a viable option !

    Phil

    Racing in Belgium
     
  5. Andrew Larigo

    Andrew Larigo New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    All

    Thanks for posting back. I read your comments with interest, however the type of training you mention has been my staple Sunday run since Mid March building up to 4 hrs at Upper Level 2, Low level 3. I do not see how it is now possible to introduce 3hr+ rides now that I'm racing and working full time during the week??

    My typical week looks like this now:
    Mon- Rest
    Tues- 30-40 mins spin 39/17 turbo Av 100rpm
    Wed- 25min warm up steady to long, flat road. 5x2min intervals hard as possible up to 30mph and holding it as close for the duration. Usually equates to 11/2 hrs with the ride out & home. (I am thinking of changing this to hill reps rather than flat reps.)
    Thurs- As Tuesday
    Fri- Same ride out as Wednesday but 10x 10 Sec intervals at same intensity as Wednesday. Same ride home. 1hr duration
    Sat- Steady 1hr ride undulating to spin the legs.
    Sun - Race!

    I've been on a progressive guidance plan since Feb & am not a novice rider. I've rode at club level since a Junior, but 10 years on this year has been the first I've dedicated to a RR season.

    I did my 3rd race today & changed my tactics to be more aggressive near the front & attempting to pull away an attack. One double backed climb, needed to be ridden on the 39 which was only 3k(ish) from the finish. Last time up I blew. Maybe down to the hard efforts I did early on, but also I feel comes back to my initial issue with the explosive effort needed on short climbs, typical of Racing in UK.

    The sessions you mention, how can I introduce these now??

    Thanks for any further responses.
    Andy
     
  6. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    Andrew:

    Prescribing workouts is always a bit of hit or miss. Certain principles apply to all riders, but programs are highly individual.

    First off, you are not riding enough hours. You are training about 6 hours or so without your races, and they are probably and hour or so giving you less than 8 hours a week. This is really an absolute minimum. Cycling is a sport where you get what you put into it. You will get more out of it if you put in more time.

    You are not doing any endurance rides. This is a big mistake. You must have a lot more endurance in your legs for whatever distance you will be racing. Race 50 miles, you better have at least 80 miles in your legs. Race 100 miles and you better have at least 150 miles in your legs. You have 0 endurance miles in your legs right now.

    Your body is like a battery. Long endurance rides are like putting your body on a charger overnight. You will develop a "strength reserve" that will let you attack over and over without getting tired. If all you ever did for endurance was to ride 50 miles easy, and you typically raced for 35 miles, you will probably get tired around 25-30 miles. If you did 80-90 miles on endurance rides, you would probably feel fresh at mile 35 in a race. You might even feel like doing another race the same day if time allowed.

    Do one or two "long" rides per week. As a "4" I would say around 80 miles or so, the longer the better. Endurance is not cumulative. Riding 70 miles a day, 7 days a week will not allow you to ride 150 miles in one day. To do that, you need to ride 150 miles in one day.

    You are doing good with the flat intervals. Work up to 30+ mph for 5 minutes as a goal. However, you are not doing any climbing at all, and you are having trouble attacking on the climbs. Climb, climb, climb. That's the only way to get better at climbing. Don't drop the flat intervals though. You need both.

    Since you race and work, you need to always think about recovery. Consider dropping you turbo cadence on easy days from 100 rpm to 60-80 rpm. The idea is to pump blood through the legs, not focus on legspeed. Higher cadence on recovery days will work you legs harder. My max is 180 bpm. I usually do recovery rides at around 100 bpm and with slow cadence.

    Your friday workout "10x10" is not at the correct intensity. 10-20 second efforts should be "all out" as hard as possible. Don't hold back or pace on anything under 20 seconds. Do some sprints from a standing start, others from a 15-20 mph roll. Go as hard as possible. 10 reps is too much also. Cut back to 3-5 or so, maybe 6-8 max. If you are doing the 10x10 for lactate tolerance training instead of sprinting, 10 seconds is way too short. 30-45-60 seconds is what you need for this. Also, doing them on friday is not the best day either.

    You have to integrate different workouts on the same day. Always do the most intense workout first, ending with the lowest/slowest training.
    Here is a schedule for you:

    Mon: Off/easy day.

    Tue: Speedwork. 30 minute warmup. 3x10-15 second max effort sprints, cadence 120+ rpm, speed well over 33 mph. Recover 10-20+ minutes. 2x1 minutes at 31-33 + mph, cadence 105-110 rpm. Recover 10-20 minutes. 2x3-5 minutes at 26-28+ mph, cadence 95-100 rpm. Some weeks, drop the 3-5 minute intervals and do a 20-30 minute TT effort at 23-25 mph instead. Keep riding easy (e.g., 39x21) when recovering between sets, keep heart rate low (~50-60%). Recovery between reps should be long also, at least 5 minutes. Ride with the wind if possible. On 3-5 minute efforts or 20-30 minute TT's try to get pr's to 90% or higher of max heart rate. Don't worry about heart rate on the others. 30 minute easy cooldown.

    Wed: Hills. 30 minute warmup, then do 3-4 x1-2 miles, on a slope with a gradient you will be racing/attacking on. Hit the base from a slow roll, and attack/sprint as hard as you can and hold it for as long as you can. Blow up. Since you are on a climb, where are you going to go??? Keep riding at whatever pace you have to until you get some strength back. Attack again as hard as possible. Recover/attack until the climb is over. Do some attacks seated and others standing. Eventually, you will get faster and be able to attack the climbs several times without getting tired. Recover at least 10-20 minutes between climbs. The recovery periods are critically important to prevent excessive lactate buildup and muscle damage. Always keep the pedals turning slowly when recovering. The first few weeks, just ride up the hills at any pace with no attacks to get used to the program. Some weeks find a longer (10-40 km)climb and ride it anyway you feel like. 30 minute easy cooldown.

    Thurs: Endurance day. Ride 80 miles easy over flat-rolling terrain. Don't push too hard, keep pr's around 65-80% of max heart rate. Eat and drink plenty on the ride.

    Friday: Off/easy day.

    Saturday: Warm up 10-20 minutes, and ride moderately for about 1.5 hours or so. Do a couple of 10-15 second sprints to loosen the legs. You can push hard for short periods, but the idea is to get ready for Sunday, not to have Saturday be a "training" day. Cool down 20 minutes. At the end of Saturday's ride, you should feel fresh and be hungry to tear up the race on Sunday.

    Sunday: Race.


    This is only a guide. Try it and see how it works for you. The first week or two you might be sore and tired. The first 3-4 weeks maybe consider not racing on Sunday to give you extra recovery and to get used to more miles and intensity. If the workouts have too many repetions, drop the number.
    It's better to maintain intensity and cut down on the sets than to reduce the intensity and do more sets.

    It is also very important to keep your cadence high on the short, intense efforts, although you should vary your cadence on just about everything. Climb/TT at 40-60 rpm (hard on the knees/lower back) for muscle strength and at 85-105 rpm for aerobic power.

    Also, it's important not to do the same stuff week after week. Work on different skills. Identify your weaknesses and train them. Get more sleep, don't skip meals, and back off at the first signs of overtraining, like insomnia, disinclination to train, poor appetite, depression, etc. When in dought, always go for an easy ride. The idea behind the low number of intervals is to "dose" yourself with just enough to grow, but not enough to dig yourself in a hole. Without the proper recovery, you will have nothing.

    Try different routines, and maybe go hard one week, easy the next. If you don't race on Sunday, add 1 or 2 20-30 minute sustained TT efforts over a 2-4 hour easy/moderate ride. Possibly take Sundays off the first 2-4 weeks also, since the endurance rides on Thursday will bump up your mileage a lot.

    There is a very wide range of variability between riders. It takes time to figure out what works best for you. Again, recovery is what is most important. Often, it's not getting riders to train more that is hard; getting them to ride easy is!!!

    If your performance drops or you find it difficult to get your head into the workouts, just go out for an easy ride with no structure and have fun.

    Some days will be better than others. Don't beat up on yourself if you have a bad day. We are living creatures, not machines!!!

    Good luck!!!
     
  7. bikerjoe

    bikerjoe New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2002
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree with J-Mat, you have got to put more hours in on the bike during the week if you are racing.At least 2 hard sessions during the week
     
  8. unshaven

    unshaven New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2002
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    80 miles is not necessary for a 4th cat ! Ive been 1st cat for 9years & I almost never rode more then 3.5hrs in one go in training (even in the winter)Yet I always race at my best towards the end of 100-110mile races. I would prefer to train endurance at a pace where you just start to use a little carbs this for most riders would mean about 2-3hrs at a pace where talking is hard before running out energy. I would also say that 8hrs a week (including a race) is ample time to get enough form for your 3rd cat license (as long as you spend that time either racing or training at a good pace (hard on hills,flat descents or motor pacing behind a friends Moped & minimizing any rests).
     
  9. Andrew Larigo

    Andrew Larigo New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    26
    Likes Received:
    0
    All

    Firstly Thanks!! for the time & effort that you have put into your response (s) Especially to JMat. Attempting to obtain guidance to follow from a forum will always be difficult as everybody has their own ideas of coaching, be it actually as a coach or as a quality rider aiming to pass on their knowledge gained from years of racing at a higher level. This is where I gained my programme. My friend races Elite in the UK and so felt that his advice where I am choosing to 'suck it & see' this year was a low key risk where any structure was better than none & not as yet wanting to pay out for coaching advice.

    My races are average 80km for 3/4 and can be as high as 110km. If I choose to ride 1/2/3/4 they touch out at 130km.

    This Sunday I rode 80km & blew at 3km to go. It wasn't a physical tiredness, just that my legs seized on the climb & for want of trying couldn't get any wheel, (Not even neutral service!! Ha! Ha!). The same the week before, last but one climb - out the back. It's disappointing as I felt I could have had something out of this w/ends race, but the positives for me were that I was not a 'Bunch Engine' sitting in, doing nothing. I felt I rode an aggressive race but possibly paid for this at the end.

    The one problem I see though is how on the basis of working a 40hr week can I ride 80miles 1 day?? Unless I take every Thursday off as holiday until my season ends I do not see this as a realistic session to uphold. I work a rotating weekly shift. 7.30am-4.30pm and 10.00am-6.30pm

    I will introduce some of the sessions you mention & report back on how things have changed.

    Thanks again guys for your comments & keep em' coming if anybody else has advice or opinions.

    Andy.
     
  10. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    Unshaven:

    Hopfully you are winning every race you enter. You won't find any professional riding only 3.5 hours for races like the Ronde or TDF. 8 hours is enough to make it to Cat 1 for some exceptional riders, but these riders could only be competitive in short crits or TT's. They would fall apart in a long road race with lots of climbing and attacks due to their lack of endurance.

    Andy: 80 miles sounds like a lot, but you can fit it in. I can tell you there will be some 4th cat riders in your area who are doing 80 miles once a week, maybe more. These riders probably won't be "4's" for very long.

    Let me give you a few examples of professional endurance rides. When I first started racing, my team's shop had great people working there. One guy was a "2" and the other was a "1." the "1" got picked up by large team and turned pro after winning a 23 mile mountain road race loaded with switchbacks starting on the flats and ending at over 5,000 feet. He averaged over 19.5 mph!!! He was a fantastic climber.

    Once a professional, his weekly schedule at one point was 140 miles with many miles of climbing twice a week, two 80 mile "easy" rides per week and racing on the weekends.

    Another professional on the same team (an Olympic gold medalist) went on a long ride with a friend, a cat 3. They were going to do 180 miles over rolling terrain. The "3" couldn't finish the ride and had to have someone pick him up. Of course, the pro finished the ride no problem.

    If you had 180 miles in your legs, you would laugh at a race only 100 miles long.

    If you have 80 miles in your legs you will laugh at races 80 km long. I'd do 90-100 miles for 100km races. Someone you will be racing against will do these miles. Who do you think will have more left at the end???

    Now how to fit it in.

    You will have to fit in your long ride on Sunday. If you race, consider riding to the race and riding home if possible. If you have to drive long distance to the race, do more miles easy after the race and go home, or drive home and do more miles once there. You can let several hours pass and still get the same or nearly the same benefit. If you raced 50 miles, drove home 3 hours, and did another 3 hours once home, it will be the same or nearly the same as riding the whole thing at once.

    Where I 'm at, it is quite common to see riders riding home easy after doing 2 crits earlier in the day. This is how you will have to get your extra miles, on Sunday, rather than Thursday.

    Since you won't be doing a long ride on Thursday, you could take Wednesday as a recovery day and do hills on Thursday, but I have found that back-to-back hard days are best. The first hard day gets your legs "with the program" and they are ready for more the next day. If you take a traditional recovery/easy day on Wednesday your legs might go to "sleep" and not be "awake" for going hard on Thursday. This is personal though. Try both ways and see what gives the best results. If you go hard Tue and Wed, ride however long you can easy on Thursday.

    You can do the speedwork with great results on a trainer. It might be the best really, since there are no obstacles in the way that you might have to slow for, and it is the best for time management. You can put phonebooks or boards under the front wheel to simulate climbing, but there is nothing like the real attraction of gravity trying to pull you backwards on a real climb. Graehm Obree did much of his successful Hour Record training on a beat up "turbo."

    It's better to be getting dropped after working like a madman than to sit in. It's a sign of your personality, the personality necessary for successfully upgrading to a faster category. People who sit in will never go anywhere in racing.

    It's the same thing for street fighting or boxing/kickboxing. Even if you are smaller/weaker, if you start throwing punches/kicks it forces your opponent to take the defensive role. He must back up or block, taking away from his own goal of putting you on the run. Some people with weak spirits just sit up if you make things nasty enough in a race for them.

    In the Army, we were taught the elements of a successful ambush: "Surprise" and "violence of action." Surprise is obvious. Violence of action means you don't just fire an enemy patrol up, you hit them up with so much firepower, a group 5 times the size wouldn't survive. Catastophic, overwhelming force. Racing is a form of warfare. When your opponents least expect it, attack with catastrophic, overwhelming force. Sounds like you have the mental part down. Get some more miles under your belt and I think you will be able to make your attacks stick. Attack, attack, attack!!!

    Good luck man!!!
     
Loading...
Loading...