Unstructured ride to build ctl and improve ftp for casual racer

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Samuellauw, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. Samuellauw

    Samuellauw New Member

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    I am 43 years old male about finishing 8 months training with some structured interval, this year is my second year of cycling with about 10-13hours/weeks training(time is not an issue for me)

    I have been using powermeter since begining 2 years ago, but just started a structured training and using WKO+ software this year.

    I find structure training is very stressfull mentally and I realize my motivation to train is much lower compared to last year.

    I am thinking if my long term goal is improved FTP and endurance to enjoy long group ride, and casual long race(fast century), win some cat4 races, it will be more beneficial to use join more group ride(more pull at the front) and other unstructured ride, and using powermeter to log all the ride data to WKO+ plan to achieve higher CTL with 3 weeks "on" and 1 weeks "off" and adjust FTP once the best 60Minute NP exceed current FTP, my highest CTL this year is around 100, I think as long as it is not structured I can increase my CTL to 120.

    Any Thought?
     
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  2. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    One thing about using WKO and the PMC is one can often see the results quickly and determine if it is a good direction or not.

    I do not race, but I do train with the same principles of those that do race. I cannot say that all group rides are the same, but for me I started to see the positives and negatives of riding with my particular group a couple of years ago. The more I started seeing how being consistent in training with a PM and seeing how it impacted all those metrics like CTL it became apparent not only in the PMC, but also in real life that riding in a group was not helping me increase my FTP. I would not dare say this is true for everyone because I have seen other groups train with a unified goal. My group was/is unpredictable. Some days it could be a hammerfest from start to finish and other days there would be long store stops and all sorts of other things that go on that when I uploaded my data it really amounted to nothing beneficial for progressing FTP or training in general.

    For me it was listening to some veterans on this board taking about training in sustained submaximal level (typical L4 intervals at 20 minute plus sessions, SST and so on) and also looking at the results of certain rides or training in the PMC. So on one hand the PMC was verifying what the gurus here were saying and regarding the group ride I could see how I had a lot of match burning moments, but never really any sustained efforts. Now having some match burning moments is not necessarily a bad thing, but in my case it was impacting training for following days and that hurt consistency. Those hammerfests group rides with folk that rested all week long to be the weekend warrior and receive the mythical prize ribbon for being first back to the parking lot put such a hurtin' on me that I could not train L4 for several days and it forced extra rest days. This resulted in a drop of CTL (loss of fitness) rather than a gain.

    So in short for me and the group that I ride with I had to look at what I just did for training, what will be the result of the group ride and how will it impact the training days following. I had these thoughts early this year http://thecyclingaddiction.blogspot.com/2012/01/forward-thinking-training.html

    Maybe your group is a lot better or more disciplined. Best thing to do is just give it a try and you will see the group ride data and if it amounted to anything and after a few weeks watching the result in the PMC you can see if it working out or not and then change course if needed. One thing I have done as well is to do part of the ride with the group and then drop off the back if they are going too hard or go ahead if they are chatting too much or stopping too long or often.
     
  3. Samuellauw

    Samuellauw New Member

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    Thank you for the reply Felt_rider, our club has a about 3 group ride with very managable inensity, at least for me now(not last year/img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif), I will be at 100-120% ftp when pulling and 80-90% FTP when drafting with about 2 hours ride weekdays and 4 hours weekly, my strategy is join them and use them as a motivator, and if the projection of total TSS this week lower than my personal plan, I will add my personal ride so I will continue to rise my CTL until a few months, so I will spend about 60% time in group ride and 40% personal ride

    so my plan for next year is

    Jan --> 400-500-600-400 tss/day
    Feb --> 500-600-700-500
    Mar --> 600-700-800-600
    Apr --> 700-850-1000-700
    May --> 400-400-400-400
    June --> start new cycle

    do you think I can continue improve my Endurance and FTP this way
     
  4. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I think you mean tss/week not /day.

    If time is not an issue, why are you riding so little? (Endurance is increased best by doing long rides frequently.)

    ---

    If you have been using a power meter for 2 years you should know if what you are doing is achieving your goals or not. If you are improving, keep doing what you are doing. If not, change.

    I like group rides for training. I did a nice group century - 3 maybe 4 of us. I sat in the wind all day. Let them go on the flats. They let me go on the hills. Good training for me. Good motivation attempting to keep up on the flats.

    ---

    I know how my body responds. I am about 20% stronger for 1 hour and 6 hours than I was 6 months ago. I seldom work hard enough to get my heart rate up (5 minutes at threshhold in a 3 hour ride) - reflection of my condition improving. If I cared, my power could increase 20% by spring, but I don't care.

    After you determine how your body responds, you should train accordingly.
     
  5. Bigpikle

    Bigpikle New Member

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    I'd try a couple of rides and look carefully at the data.

    I've found that even the group rides that seem fairly steady and fast have me spending 50+% time in L1. I do get some good L3/4/5 time as well, but not in sustained periods as Felt mentions. Our club rides are very disciplined with timed rotations to keep everyone rotating through the pack, they are at a steady pace rather than mini races, so once you move off the front you are mostly in recovery time unless climbing hills. While they do have some advantages for the reasons you mention, like motivation to ride in winter etc and perhaps getting mileage under your tyres if thats a goal, I dont honestly believe them to be a good use of training time in the bigger picture. I rode 4.5 hrs on Sunday in a group ride and accumulated only half the time in L3/4 that I did on a solo 2.5 hr ride today!

    They are potentially a good thing to try in the off season though if you suffer with the mental aspects of structured training sessions. Mix the group rides with some good quality solo stuff and then get more structured again as you get nearer race season. Or dont, if you really dont want that, and just 'race' your events based on the training you enjoy and want to do. You might not get quite the same results but you might enjoy it more?
     
  6. Samuellauw

    Samuellauw New Member

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    Old guy you right, I should be able to do more riding, it is just minimum number in my target, because I am living in tropical area, so weather and daylight is not an issue.

    But comparing my first year and second year is difficult, because at the first year I just starting with no background in cycling and slightly overweight 78 Kg and 171cm, so my 160W FTP put me at 2W/kg FTP was very low, I am dieting and keep on training and at the end of first year I am at 64kg and 200W FTP 3.1W/Kg big improvement for me at least.

    Second year I started at 200 W at 64kg, and now about 220 60minutesAP(never do the test), best 20MP this season is 223W and 60MinutesNP is 229W, at 62Kg put me at 3.54W/Kg, my best 5MMP is 288W, 4.65W/kg

    so first year % of improvement is higher, but I think it happens to everybody and second year is about slightly more than 10%, but I noticed my endurance improved a lot now my heart rate at tempo zone also drop significant(about 10%), I can hold 90% of FTP for 2-3 hour race

    When I looked at the Power distribution chart and the summary I did not see a big difference between unstuctured and stuctured(I am using build period in 7 week of Charmichael TCTP Program) even I already at some additional set into the interval.

    Bigpikle Let say we have 2 Hours with 4 x 12 Min of L4 interval with 5-6 min rest, it will be 20 warm up and ride to the area I can do the interval, 4 x 12 = 48m, and 20-30min cool down and ride home, so totally it will be 45% Z1, 10-20% Z2, and 35-40% Z4

    So if combine 1-2 session of this ride/week and 1 session 6x3min vo2 max interval and long ride and the weekend(group ride), in the long run(one year), the power distribution will be very similar between structured and unstructured


    Total Time 360Hr 415Hr(in less than 10Months)
    Total Distance 7800Km 11.000Km
    First Year Second Year
    Z1 48% 44%
    Z2 24% 26.2%
    Z3 13% 12.5%
    Z4 7.3% 8.1%
    Z5-Z7 8% 9.5%

    So my point is, if it is similar, I can use my powermeter as a powerful datalogger just to make sure I keep increase my long term progression by adding personal ride in the week that my group ride does not provide

    1. enough TSS to achieve my weekly TSS target
    2. L3-L5 target time
    3. 500-550Hr total ride time

    So I can keep my motivation high and do not deplete my mental until it is needed in the event.

    My Goal is

    1. achieving 245W FTP at 60Kg, I think I still can lose 2 more Kg, I still have 14% Fat(thin built), so I can achieve slightly more than 4W/Kg FTP, and 5MMP almost 5W/Kg
    2. Hold 90% of that FTP for 2-3 hour long race with high Variability

    So do you think I can achieve my goal by doing this plan next year?

    Many thanks for the reply
     
  7. frost

    frost New Member

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    There's quite many questions areas to cover but I'll try to address at least some of them.

    However nice Power distribution chart is it doesn't tell the whole truth. You cannot look at the cumulative time in levels out of context. As Felt said it is about the sustained efforts that counts not the cumulative time in certain zone. When you start an effort the energy producing mechanisms in body take some time to achieve full functionality and especially this is relevant to aerobic pathway. Meaning in practise that if most of your riding is just noodling around and then some hard efforts to overcome a roller or catch a wheel in front, you never really give a change for the aerobic pathway to work at it's full extend but instead you are training the priming of this mechanism (that is of course also valuable). However to achieve the best out of the exercise for your ftp development you should sustain the effort (say L3--> the shorter the harder) for at least 10 minutes and in principle the more the better and this is one big reason for doing structured intervals. For optimal development I would try to have at least one or two days a week with more or less structured L3-L4 work.

    But that is not to say that the group rides are of no value. First of all if your target is a road race then the group ride dynamics are most closely mimicing the race and by the principle of specifity you get good at what you do, especially closing the racing period you should do workouts that resemble the race as close as possible. Obviously this means that the overall intensity must also be closer to race intensity than a "sunday ride". Second even talking about sustained effort and zones/levels above there is really no zones/levels in your body and no magic in working out at certain level just as long as you keep the important (for the goal of the workout) energy mechanisms active. For FTP/aerobic metabolism this means that you should not drop to too low intensity for too long. Too low would be bottom end of L2 and too long well that is bit how long is a piece of string but in any case it should not count in minutes. Meaning in practise that you don't really have to stress about pedalling every second of your ride (which in group ride could be a bit difficult) just as long as you keep your overall intensity at decent level most of the time. There's ways make most out of the group rides that have been discussed over and over so you may want to search the forum but in general finding a group that is a bit "too fast" for you, being active, taking pulls more often and longer, riding terrain with longer climbs (at least what I've seen Indonesia you shouldn't lack in the terrain department!), launching attacks and chases (especially when the racing season approaches), etc, etc.

    As you say the structured training is affecting your motivation. Keeping good motivation and training volume in long term is much more important than some individual workout so I would try to make most of your group rides but at the same time try to introduce/keep 1-2 structured workouts to your routine and try to find motivation for those eg. from some competition with a training partner. Not to mean that you should race 100% twice a week but having a friend at similar level escaping 50 meters in front of you makes wonders to your spirit and "suffer threshold".

    Other topics to cover (eg. CTL <> FTP) but this is already getting boringly long so maybe next time or some one else chimes in.
     
  8. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    I don't count Z1 time. I did compare my z2-z3 and z4-z7 times to yours.

    On easy rides my z4-z7 appears to be 120% of my z2-z3.
    On my hard rides my z1-z7 appears to be over 150% of my z2-z3.
    Yours appear to be 50%.

    I don't think you are riding hard enough.
     
  9. Samuellauw

    Samuellauw New Member

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    All, thanks for answering, my point is

    before we use power meter, the only way to quantify training load and keep progressing is quantify both Duration and interval time(based on RPE or HR)

    but today, thanks to the powermeter, we can quantify our training load easier, so for a casual racer want to improve, they can continue progressing the FTP and endurance if they can increase the CTL using unstructured group ride + some additional ride in the long run, and balancing the enjoyment of the ride.

    above method qualify for what Joe Friels said about

    1. Specificity(very similar to my goal and races)
    2. Individualization
    3. Progression
    4. Overload(If needed I will at a long hard ride at the week)


    http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/endurance-training-large-amounts-of-low-intensity-training-can-develop-base-conditioning-and-aid-recovery-41932

    the link state that the elite athlete also spend more than 80% of their training time at the endurance zone.

    So I think more endurance + tempo ride, and add VO2max effort here and there in the group ride should be good enough as long as the total training load keep increasing for 4-5 months with some 3-5 weeks transition period to start again, so I can have 2 cycle /year

    Is this valid point?
     
  10. frost

    frost New Member

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    Those elite endurance athletes also train 20--> hours a week so even with lowish intensity the overall training volume is very high and in addition the 20% that remains for the higher intensities is quite much in hours.

    If you have unlimited time to train and really love to spend time on the saddle then why not. Otherwise better not blindly follow the percentages from what professional athletes do.
     
  11. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    It comes as a surprise to many that pros are different than most of us. For the most part pros have reached 95-105% of their potential - drugs get them above 100%. They are trying to maintain their fitness not improve it.

    Since you are at 220w FTP and want 245w, it seems you think you have reached less than 80% of your potential. I don't think you are taking drugs. I do think you are trying to improve not maintain your fitness. Seems you have different concerns than pros. What works for pros might not work for you.

    You might notice that your link is about large amounts of endurance riding. I am all for that. But you are not doing large amounts of endurance riding.

    ---

    Just to show how differently preople can train: My easy rides are 80% efforts for 3-6 hours. My hard rides are 3 one hour intervals at 90-95%. None of my rides are hard enough that I cannot go out the next day and ride. They seem to work for me.

    Find what works for you.
     
  12. POGATA

    POGATA New Member

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    Can you recover enough to be able to produce your maximum power on your hard workouts?
     
  13. POGATA

    POGATA New Member

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    But some amateurs train similar number of hours at high intensity as the pros, but without the hundreds of hours at low intensity.
     
  14. An old Guy

    An old Guy Member

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    Yes.
     
  15. POGATA

    POGATA New Member

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    Are you sure it`s your maximum?

    Are you sure you wouldn`t be able to produce more watts with a different training/recovery programme?
     
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