Training Theory - Only threshold rides/intervals for time trialists

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by awilki01, Jun 29, 2012.

  1. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    First, let me state that I do not plan on doing this, but I do have the question nagging at me because I keep reading that if you want to get better at something, training that particular system is quintessential at making it stronger.

    If someone like Joe Athlete wanted to improve FTP and time trial times (lets assume anything from a 20k to a 40k), what benefit/detriment would occur if ALL his rides were threshold intensity focused? Let's assume Joe plans on doing 5 workouts/week with 2 rest days. On each workout, his TSS remained less than 150.

    Towards the build phase, Joe would probably wind up lowering the overall volume so as to focus on some VO2 and Anaerobic intervals as well.

    According to the book, "Training and Racing with a Power Meter", it states that an athlete that does a workout of TSS <150/day is usually recovered by the next day. Of course, I realize this will depend on the individual, but let's assume it's true for Joe Athlete. The book also shows some really nice physiological adaptations in the Threshold (Zone 4) range that seem to carry nicely into not only building the aerobic engine but also at increasing FTP.

    So, what kind of cyclist would this type of training produce? Would it make them the ideal time trialist? Or, would their lack of Zone 2/3 riding produce some ill side effect that would eventually make them slower?
     
    Tags:


  2. acoggan

    acoggan Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2003
    Messages:
    3,047
    Likes Received:
    9
    Lots of thoughts/questions in there, so hopefully I don't miss anything...

    1. Although a TSS of <150 falls at the low end of the scale I provided, a better way of looking at things is to use the Performance Manager approach, and focus on CTL. IOW, just because a single workout yielding a TSS of 150 or less doesn't generally require you to take a recovery day afterwards, that doesn't necessarily mean that you can do such workouts day after day after day after day after day. Indeed, for most people a CTL of 100-150 TSS/d* represents a heavy training load, and I've never seen anyone crack 200 TSS/d.

    *90-140 TSS/d actually seems a little closer to reality.

    2. As for a TT specialist eschewing all level 2/3 training, I think that doing so would make it difficult to achieve a sufficiently high overall training load to maximize performance. You could, however, probably come close.

    3. On the flip side of things, I think that level 5/6/7 training is actually less necessary.

    4. Note that 2 and 3 above are based in part on personal experience w/ different approaches to training for TTs.
     
  3. speedysniff

    speedysniff New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1
    I can't argue with the Doc! But I would like to add to my confusion...

    1) I can see why Level 6/7 training is not necessary, but level 5 training always adds another 10-20 watts to my FTP in just a few weeks. Wouldn't that improve my TT?

    2) My CTL is around 75TSS/day and I can't imagine I can get it that much higher on 8-10hrs of training a week. Is it possible without increasing volume?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  4. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    Hey Andy, first off, thanks for the reply! I very much appreciate it! Regarding the above quote, wouldn't it be possible to get in 100 - 150 TSS rides doing L4/FTP intervals 5 days/week? Wouldn't that be enough to maximize performance?

    Again, and as I originally stated, I have no plans on doing this. I feel the regimen would get mundane and could be a nice recipe for burnout. I was merely trying to understand the workload and subsequent physiological adaptations. It just seemed to me that this would be the best place for a TT'ist to spend most of their time (assuming they do not have many hours to train to begin with) - if they could get past the repetition and boredom of it.
     
  5. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    Yeah, I can't really argue with him either. I'm a newb just trying to learn as much as I can in this new found hobby of mine.

    You have gained 10-20 watts of FTP in just a few weeks doing L5 training??? Wow!!! I'm impressed. I didn't gain much of anything during my last build phase doing them. But, there could have been other factors involved.

    On your question 2, the only way to get your TSS/d higher with a set volume is to increase intensity. It's really that simple - at least I think so. But, you just need to make sure you stress the right systems. I wouldn't go out and do anaerobic intervals all year just to increase TSS. Save that for the build/peak. Just my opinion.
     
  6. speedysniff

    speedysniff New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2012
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    1

    I'm a newbie myself and have been lurking around learning from this great community!  I do my level 5 work based on my 5min power which is at 120-125% of my FTP.. The workout is always done indoors, on a computrainer in ERG mode which controls the power,  and is based on clinical trials.. 3:36min on and 7:12 off x 5 sets.. After a couple of weeks of this 1-2 times a week and some level 6 work.. My FTP is up! As for the second part. That's  exactly my question! Is it even possible to increase CTL that high with only an increase in intensity? For me, I don't think I can do hard intervals at 120-150% of FTP more than twice a week especially with hard riding and racing!  Any guys out there who get their CTL above 100 in 8-10hrs a week?? How do you do it?
     
  7. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    (s x W x IF)
    TSS = ----------------- x 100
    (FTP x 3600)

    Where:
    s = duration in seconds
    W = normalized power
    IF = intensity factor
    FTP = functional threshold power

    Source: Training and Racing with a Power Meter (2nd edition)

    There you have it.

    You have to increase volume (s), normalized power (W), or intensity factor (IF) to increase TSS. You could also lower FTP to increase TSS, but I don't think that would be a great goal to have. So, if you are limited to say 10 hours/week of training, the ONLY way to increase TSS is to up the intensity. But, like you said, you can't do high intensity all the time. Or, can you? You could maybe change your Zone 2 rides to Zone 3 rides instead. There's more "bang for the buck" there anyway. Of course, I'm assuming you are doing Zone 2 rides.

    Anyone, please feel free to correct anything I may have misstated.
     
  8. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    2
    I'm not Andy but I'll answer anyway. Most people would have trouble doing quality L4 workouts 5 days/wk. Among other things this would require back to back to back L4 three days in a row, and I doubt these three workouts would all be high quality. Think about it. If you really go for it and do a solid 3x15-20 one day, can you really do that again the very next day and even a third? I don't think so. Or suppose you do a 1x60 at 90% (so low L4), how are you going to feel the next day? Not great if you have your FTP set correctly. If you really want to maximize your L4 time I suppose you *could* do L4 four days/wk. This would be a mentally tough and monotonous workout schedule though, and honestly this would be way more L4 than most pretty good amateur racers do.

    I would recommend doing L4 more like 2-3 days/wk, and then doing a bunch of L3 and also mixing some other stuff in there (like a smattering of L5, some "surf the zones" days, some long rides, etc). L3 is really good for building FTP too, and yet you recover from it much faster. You can also easily do L4 one day, then L3, then L4 again and have both L4 days be quality days (if you do that I would highly recommend that the L3 day be *low* L3).
     
  9. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    I'll depart from the consensus of this thread and say that, yes, you could do L4 efforts 5 days/week, even at 150TSS points per ride. Note that I specified L4 and not L4/FTP. Note that L4 includes down to and including 91%FTP. So, let's say that your current FTP is 250W. You can do your L4 rides at 227W and greater. This is a manageable intensity, even in 2 hr blocks 5x/week. In fact, I have done such weeks and more than once. In fact, when I am in the build phase of my training cycle, I do a huge percentage of L4+ per week (e.g., 70%). I use L4+ rather than L4 because I have that statistic more readily available. So, a typical week in this phase would be 700-1000 TSS points per week with about 70% L4+. One year I logged 17 such weeks.

    But, I'll take issue with your theory that you need not be concerned with L5+ for TTs. That may be true if all your TTs are flat with no wind. But, that's never true, so it means that if you want to use your available power to maximum advantage you will ride some sections at your sustainable power for the duration (e.g., FTP for a 40K TT) and other sections at above or below your sustainable power for the duration. Hence, the payoff for working on L5+, even if one is focused on TTs.

    Finally, there is a residual benefit to FTP of L5+ efforts. In fact, some studies have documented the FTP benefits of short-duration intervals exclusively. So, there is little reason to ride such a workout schedule.
     
  10. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thanks for the reply! I think you may have hit on something here. Perhaps this would be a good form of block training. Keep doing it over and over through a period of days until you can't do it anymore - rest - repeat. Sounds like a great build phase routine.
     
  11. lanierb

    lanierb New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    495
    Likes Received:
    2
    A couple comments: usually I agree with RapDaddyo but I don't really this time. First, the stat of "70% L4" I don't think is really quite measuring the right thing. Power output is very stochastic. Even when you do an L2 ride, when you get home and compute "time in zone" you're likely to find that it says you did something like 20% L4. The truth is you didn't do any L4 because it doesn't count unless you average L4 power for at least 5-10 minutes. Thus the 70% is a clear overestimate.

    Second, you have to realize that RapDaddyo is simply capable of doing more L4 than other people are. Many of his workouts seem crazy to me, and many of my workouts seem crazy to other people (other amateur racers) so that's saying something! I've often wondered whether he has his FTP set right, though obviously he's experienced at this so I assume he does. However, just because he can do it doesn't mean you can. 2hrs at 90% is a very hard workout ONCE per week. I have to get mentally psyched up for that, get good sleep, drink caffeine, etc. In many races I don't even hit that. Doing it FIVE TIMES in one week? Either you're a genetic freak or a crazy fool (or your name is RapDaddyo)!
     
  12. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Your first paragraph would be true if I were using the WKO+ built-in time at level chart. That chart is a simple frequency distribution of power observations and, as you pointed out, does not take into account duration. But, I long ago recognized the need for a true ride file parsing application, so I built one about six years ago and have been using it since 2006. So, the 70% is not an overestiimate (in my case). But, the point of your second paragraph has been echoed a few times on this forum. I suppose I do have a high tolerance for training stress because I regularly do 2hrs at L4 multiple times per week. So, I guess I would qualify my initial response with something like, yes, it is possible but you should work up to it cautiously and make sure your body can take the training stress.
     
  13. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,257
    Likes Received:
    27
    I love this post from the "Its killing me" thread. It was one of the first few posts made on that thread and I seems to come to mind quite often.

    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  14. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,257
    Likes Received:
    27
    I am hoping to get there someday in cycling, but my body is not reacting as nicely to endurance training as it once did with resistance training.
    I was there with weight training at one point and did a training volume on leg day that most people doubted that I could do until they tried training with me. It took me many years to get up to that type of volume.
     
  15. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2011
    Messages:
    1,380
    Likes Received:
    21
    Buy a bike built for time trialing. Buy some aero gear. Get a wind tunnel test to reduce your drag. You will reduce your times much more than increasing your power.

    Train for the specific course. If you have a hill, do repeats on it until you optimize your power output to match the hill (the longer the hill the lower oyur power output will be). Plan to arrive at the hill with enough power left to do the hill without suffering.

    Ride lots in your Time Trial position.
     
  16. awilki01

    awilki01 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2011
    Messages:
    194
    Likes Received:
    1
    I'm not going to entertain you with a proper response.
     
  17. LongDuckDong

    LongDuckDong New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Interestingly I have been doing exactly this for off season training after a 1 month maintenance block following nationals here (NZ) in May, inspired by the 'It's killing me but...' thread a few months back. Schedule is: Sat 2hrs with [email protected]% FTP Sun 2x20 on TT bike Tues/Weds/Thurs 2x20 Road bike 1st in drops 2nd on hoods 2x20s done at max repeatable power. 5min warmup/break/warmdown all on Lemond Revolution. Have seen a great increase in 2x20 power from 355/354 ave power 5 weeks ago to a best this week of 388/381 on 6hrs training time a week. This is not simply a return to baseline as these are my best ever 20 min numbers. This started as an experiment in an attempt to get the best results for least input time and I am amazed at the results possible with consistent progression. Obviously not for everyone, the midweek rides are hard but I find are helped by drinking a nice big cup of HTFU (double espresso) prior.
     
  18. RapDaddyo

    RapDaddyo Active Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Messages:
    5,088
    Likes Received:
    41
    Nice! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
  19. danfoz

    danfoz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2011
    Messages:
    2,432
    Likes Received:
    92
    Shows consistent focused training goes a long way. Good job!
     
  20. 858lnb123

    858lnb123 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2012
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a similar plan to LongDuckDong that is also based on the "It's killing me but..." thread, but I have a question on the effort level for my 2x20s on Tues, Wed, & Thurs. I don't have a powermeter, so on these days I ride my rollers at a specific tire pressure and Kreitler fan at the same spot. By tracking my average speed during the intervals I figure I have a rough gauge to measure effort and improvement over time.

    I think I'm doing these intervals at max repeatable power. I don't think I could keep the same effort for 60 minutes, like in an FTP test. So this would imply I'm working at a level above my FTP. But like lanierb states, the common understanding is that I shouldn't be able to do this much work. Even if my effort level is incorrect, how can LongDuckDong (a more experienced and talented rider) sustain the heavy workload? Is there a way to explain this?

    As background I am an avid cyclist trying not to be so slow. Here is what I try to do each week for three weeks with a recovery week at the end:

    Mon: rest
    Tues, Wed, Thurs: 2x20 at max repeatable effort
    Fri: rest
    Sat: 50 mile ride trying to push myself
    Sun: 25 mile ride at an easy pace
    Work and family often eliminate one ride a week. With the exception of work in May, I've been able to follow this rough plan since early April.
     
Loading...
Loading...