Volume / Sessions per week needed for some success??

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by TTer, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    This question is aimed at coaches and successful riders out there.

    I'm primarily a time trialler and have been training about 3 years now. I race at 25 miles (40km) TT and 10 miles (16km). My best times are around 60minutes and 23minutes respectively (my LT power is around 260-280W), but I feel I put in a lot of training in comparison to some of the training books I've read.

    For example, this season, since my weekday training is limited by work and daylight hours, I did most of my base by doing 2 rides a day of 45-1.5 hour duration. Saturday was a day off, and Sunday was a 2-3 hour ride. I focussed on increasing frequency to get the hours in, and ended up with 8-12hours training per week. When I moved into the intensity phase I reduced the hours a little (9 hours per week) but kept frequency quite high, maybe 2 sessions on 3 days per week, then 1 session on 3 days, with a rest day.

    I have noticed some improvements on this schedule, but I'm wondering whether I'm not focussing on recovery enough? The sessions I did this year were quite short, in Level 2 (HR 140-160BPM, power 190-230W (max HR is 194)) though probably long enough for my longest event, but since they were spread out and often I didn't really get much more than 16-20hours rest between sessions at the most. I felt recovered, but...

    I'm wondering whether this is too much training or is not the best use of my training time? I've just finished reading "High Performance Cycling", edited by Asker Jeukendrup, and in the last chapter he cites cyclists A, B & C. Cyclist A is an amateur doing 3 rides per week, yet achieving 300W output at LT. Cyclist B is a serious cat 2 racer doing 3-4 rides per week, with one long 4-hour ride, and yet is cat 2 and has an LT power of 400W. Other books have similar examples of low training frequency, yet very good power ability.

    I'm therefore wondering whether my high-frequency training is very un-optimal and is actually tiring me out, or not stressing me enough to induce bigger training effects (the sessions certainly felt tiring and power did improve over the 3months I did base)? Should I maybe think of reducing training to 5 days per week, with 2 rest days, and aim to build-in more rest (e.g. training in the AM one day, then PM the other to get 30+hours of rest)?

    What kind of training is necessary for 22minute 10's or 55minute 40km TTs? I've been training seriously for 3 years with a Joe Friel inspired plan and my own research/training observations. I feel I do more than enough but.... all comments welcome!
     
    Tags:


  2. CitizenErased

    CitizenErased New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    You could try the TT program on 53x12.com by Michelle Ferrari. I have being training with it myself, and I must say it was excellent!

    About your recovery, it really depends on what kind of sessions you perform. It is not only a matter of hours or km or hours of rest, but how you work them out all together, also about the spesific workouts. With 53x12.com and MF method I totally changed how I used to train.

    I'm a triathlete/duathlete and my racing season in full now, I've never felt like this before. I just finished the TT program and never over-trained or felt tired, which was my problem too.

    Anther thing: using your max HR to set your training "zones" is not so reliable... I used that too and was always very tired when I trained for races, but now I'm using MF method, which is using average HR to set intensities.

    I said... it completely changed my training! :D

    Markus
     
  3. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for your quick reply CitizenErased. Can you tell me more about the 53x12.com programme? What kind of training does MF have you doing each week? How does it differ to what you were doing previously? The 53x12.com site does not give much information about the programme.

    Also, how have your times improved? Can you give me some times from recent and past performances ?

    Thanks!
     
  4. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
     
  5. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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

    There is so much different advice on training out there. Let me just say that books are a good start, but you have to tailor a program to your life. That means your goals, your job, your family, places to train, etc. Everyone has different situations.

    Too many people follow books verbatim. If it says to "X" number of hours, they do "X" number of hours. You have been following a book now and are not improving the way you want to.

    Stop worrying about hours and zones. Once you get a program dialed in, you will get all the hours you need. You need to focus on speed. That's what time trials are all about. You also need to focus on recovery. The two go together hand in hand. Without recovery, you have nothing.

    To TT well, you need aerobic power and leg strength. Going fast means pushing bigger gears. Bigger gears require more pedal force. You have to be able to sustain the increase in pedal force with more aerobic power. In cycling, power = pedal force/time. As watts increase, so does pedal force.

    For example, if you rode at 90 rpm in a 53x15 that's about 25 mph, and requires about 19.2 lbs of pedal force for a bike+rider weight of 85 kg (187 lbs)using 170mm cranks on a windless, level course. To go 28 mph, you could increase your cadence to 100 rpm in the same gear. For the same rider, a 53x15 at 100 rpm would require around 23.6 lbs of pedal force. If your aerobic system is not as well developed, you could get to 28 mph by transferring the burden of power output to your leg muscles and use a 53x12 at 80 rpm. A 53x12 at 80 rpm requires around 29.5 lbs of pedal force.

    Now you know why the pros are spinning at high cadence. It saves your legs, but you need to have excellent aerobic power to do it. Either way, force means leg strength and you will need more of it to increase your power and go faster.

    Train for strength by doing isolated leg training (ILT). I have posted extensively about it's multitude of benefits on this board elsewhere. As a testament to ILT's effectiveness, one member on this board says he has increased his power by 20 watts since he started doing ILT. Also climb hills in big gears. On a 6% slope, try something like a 53x17 to start. Some people use a 53x12 or 53x11. Warning: It's hard on your knees and lower back. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Your cadence will be very low (30-60 rpm) and your legs will feel a huge load on them. To really do it right, if you have a TT bike, climb the hills in your aero position. Try to do 1-3 repeats to start. Go up to 4-8 or so, and do it once or twice a week for a few weeks then take a few or more weeks off. If you are over 35, it becomes more important to maintain strength year round. Stick to climbs of about a mile or so. Don't worry about heart rate, just get to the top.

    Increase aerobic power by riding at high pedal cadences of 100-110 rpm for 5-10 minutes. High cadences stress the heart more by taking the load off the legs. Go as hard as possible to complete the time. You should be around 90%+ of max heart rate, but don't really focus on it. There is not a good correlation between power output and heart rate. Heart rate goes up with power output in general, but you could put out more watts today at a lower heart rate than lesser watts at a higher heart rate yesterday. Just go as hard as you can to finish while maintaining the cadence.

    You are at the hour for 25 miles, which would be something like a 53x15 at 90 rpm, a 53x14 at 83 rpm, or a 53x13 at 77 rpm. You probably used one of these combinations. Training for aerobic power means spinning a 53x17 at over 100 rpm at 25 mph. As you get fitter, you will be doing 100 rpm in a 53x15, etc.

    Speed is what it's all about. You must get your head into specific gear combinations, and tell yourself you will turn them. Let's say you time trial at 80 rpm or so. At 25 mph, that's a 53x14 (83 rpm). You want to crack 22 minutes for a "10," and that's a little over 27 mph. At 83 rpm, that means a 53x13.

    You are never going to crack 22 minutes until you start turning a 53x13 at 83 rpm, even if it's only for a minute or two. In time, a minute or two turns into 5-10 minutes, and that eventually turns into 20-30-55 minutes.

    If you are TT'ing at around 25 mph, go as hard as possible for one mile on the flats at 27+ mph. Do it 3-5 times or so, once or twice a week for a few weeks, then take some time off. At first it might be very hard to hold the speed. In a few weeks or next month, you will be able to hold the speed the entire distance. At that point, bump up your speed to 28+ mph. If it's windy, ride with the wind to feel the speed and push faster.

    Also, set minimum standards of acceptable performance you expect from yourself. Tell yourself you will not currently accept anything less than 27 mph for at least one mile as a minimum performance standard. The days of "chillin" at 25 mph are over bro. It's time to take your game to a higher level.

    If you never ride 27 mph for 2-5 minutes, you will never ride 27 mph for 10 miles. Riders always want secret training methods that will make them fast. This is it, and is as simple as it gets. Heart rate is really meaningless for these efforts, but I love to monitor my 60 and 120 second recovery heart rates while pedalling easy at 80-90 rpm after the efforts. Really fit riders can recover 30-35 bpm or more from AT or higher heart rates in 30 seconds while pedalling easy. The more powerful your heart is (stroke volume) the faster your recovery times will be, and fast recovery is an excellent indicator of cardiovascular fitness.

    You are recovering not enough, probably too hard, and doing multiple workouts. Mulitple workouts have their place but not as a regular training protocol. Get your head into one goal-met workout per training day only.

    It's not possible to do a recovery ride too easy. You can't make them easy enough. Recovery rides are for recovery, not fitness. The harder you do a recovery ride, the less you will recover. My max is 180 bpm and I usually recover for an hour at around 95-100 bpm at around 13-14 mph in a 39x19 or so, slower if it's windy. I'll be a man about it and go into a 39x23 if I have to. Ride very slow for no more than an hour, at a very slow speed. Do these ride away from heavy traffic in a place you won't be tempted to ride fast. I prefer to do these rides while looking at bikini-clad women at the beach. Keep your cadence in the 80's or lower, and you shouldn't feel any pressure on the pedals at all. Go so slow, kids on BMX bikes blow past you.

    Doing speedwork will tire you out. You will start to feel deep, muscular fatigue, and may feel like going to bed sooner also. Get more sleep and be sure to recover well before resuming speed workouts. It can take a long time to recover and requires extreme patience and dicipline not to go hard before it's time.

    For example, last week was a recovery week for me after several back-to-back days of intensity the week before. My legs were toast on Sunday, my last day of hard training but I still pushed extremely hard. I took Monday and Tuesday off the bike completely, and rode 14 miles in about and hour on Wednesday and Thursday. My average heart rate for both days was about 99 bpm. I took friday off the bike also. Thursday night, I felt about 80-85% recovered. Friday night, I felt about 95% recovered. On Saturday I did more speedwork and had a noticeable increase in sustainable power and moved to a higher training level. Sometimes is takes weeks to perform well again. When you do, you will be faster than ever. Long recovery periods suit speed freaks very well and are mandatory.

    There are dozens of methods and strategies to performing intervals, these are the most basic. When in dought always err on the side of recovery. Work out specific gear combinations and cadences you plan to use to ride your 22 minute effort. Also do one long ride per week at any pace and do 2-4 30+ minute efforts 5-10 beats below AT (~83-86% max HR) at 80-100+ rpm weekly also.

    Good luck!!!
     
  6. Shibumi

    Shibumi New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ric, you said

    "one of the key sessions you should incorporate is 1 - 3 x 20 - 30mins at 90 - 100+% of TT power once to twice per week, for about 10 weeks to 45 weeks per year. These will increase the amount of power you can produce over typical TT distances, by raising your LT power (which is about 20% less than TT power). "

    If someone is actually doing one or two TTs per week, is there any point in this? I ask because I am struggling to see where I fit my TTs into my own training programme. I would have thought that shorter intervals, at or above TT power would be better.
     
  7. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    Shibumi,

    It's perfectly possible to replace some of the 20ish min TT intervals (above) with a TT, as an example, i have some of the riders i coach just do 2 evening 10's (e.g., finish 10, ride easy for 5mins and then do another).

    however, some people prefer to ride races when at they're best and not e.g., during a training phase when they might be fatigued, and thus there power is down (as it can be demoralising), so they might just do the training intervals above.

    also, as LT is ~ 20% *less* than TT power and to get increases in both LT and TT power you don't need to train routinely above TT power, there isn't always a need to train at shorter higher intensities.

    at shorter durations and higher power (e.g., 4mins) you'll tend to stimulate and increase VO2 max (and the power associated with VO2max). there's nothing wrong with that, but the volume of work that you can do at that level will be less than the 20mins TT type work, it's considerably more fatiguing and can take longer to recover from. If you've stopped seeing increases in TT power and been exclusively using the 20min sessions, then it's time to use a different set of intervals -- both lower intensity (e.g., zone 3) and the 4min type intervals.

    Ric
     
  8. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the extensive reply J-MAT. Very informative and thought provoking as usual.

    Ric, at what level do you perform the 20mins TT intervals? At TT power or at LT power (up to 20% lower than TT power you say)?

    I've done similar efforts, on the indoor trainer for repeatability, but have a hard time doing this 2x per week, maybe because I'm aiming too high (I aim for TT power rather than LT0. I can complete both intervals but it isn't a session I look forward to. Is it still worthwhile getting in 2 sessions per week of 2x20mins even if I reduce the power a little so it's more palatable?
     
  9. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    i tend to do these intervals for most of the year, as i see an improvement that doesn't plateau. however, i normally have maybe 6 to 8 weeks off from them, but when i restart, i test to see what i can do (e.g., a 10m TT power) and then start at 95%, gradually increasing over time. thus, after a period of time, i'll be exceeding what i did in the original test.

    Ric
     
  10. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry to be thick, Ric, but is that a 10minute TT "test" you do to find what power level to do, or a 10mile TT?

    How often do you increase the power level and by what amount? I've heard 5watts per 2weeks (4 workouts) mentioned before, if possible.

    Do you feel these intervals still do their magic when done at say 95% of the TT possible in a race? I find motivation for these intervals a big problem during training, and the suffering is just too much for me to stick at them for many weeks. OTOH I could happily race 2x per week, it's just hammering out TT-level efforts on the trainer seems tougher. Is 95% of TT power sufficiently close to raise TT/LT power, or do you need to be doing 105% of TT/LT power to raise it?
     
  11. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2003
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    0
    TT'er:

    Just an observation, but I think you are worried way too much about numbers and percentages. Here is all you need to worry about: Get your bike up to 27-28+ mph and hold it there as long as possible.

    You are time trialer. You need to ride faster and that means pushing harder. You will always suffer and feel pain when time trialing, you just get faster. Look at the faces of the pros. They are suffering intensly. That's what bike racing is about. Suffering. The rider who can suck up the pain and inflict it on the competition is probably going to be the winner.

    You can race twice a week no problem, but find it hard to do TT intervals. That's why time trials are the race of truth and criteriums are not. So much can happen tactic wise in a road race or crit to shelter you from having to put out the power, in a time trial there is no hiding. You are on "trial" and the clock is the judge, jury and executioner.

    As a time trialer you are a self-contained power unit that must do ALL the work. You have to be physically and mentally tough. Everything has it's time and place, and the electronic data riders gather is valuable, but races or time trials are not won by the rider with the most watts or the higest heart rate, anymore than boxing matches are won by the biggest fighter or the guy with the longest reach.

    In 2000, Chris Boardman set the new current hour record using the "real" bike standards of the great Eddy Merckx, which banned all the trick aero stuff. Boardman rode 49.441 kph (30.723 mph) for the hour. In 1972, King Eddy rode 49.431 kph (30.716 mph). Boardman beat The Cannibal's record by only 10 meters. 10 meters in only 28 years. What an improvement riders have made!!! Power meters and heart-rate monitors were not available 30 years ago.

    How did Eddy manage to ride so fast without this technology??? Do you think he worried about zones and percentages???

    If you asked Eddy Merckx what you need to do to ride 27 mph for 10 miles, what do you think he would tell you to do???

    You can sit and ponder how many watts and this and that you need to do, but the bottom line is going fast HURTS and if you cannot tolerate the pain, you will never accomplish your goal of riding a 22 minute 10. There are no special easy workouts you can do with a powermeter to make up for this. You have to suffer, and push yourself harder than you ever have before as a rider. You won't get any faster until you do. This means gritting your teeth, winding up a big gear, and holding a fast pace.

    There is no way you will be able to ride 27 mph for 10 miles unless you start riding 27 mph for a few minutes. Your comfort zone is 25 mph. You can tolerate the pain of a 25 mph ride. Pushing to 27 mph will hurt a lot more, and you have to be willing to bear the pain of that ride if you want to go that fast.

    You can't be afraid of bigger gears or more speed. Throw your bike in a 53x14 or 53x13 on a flat section of road, wind up your gear and hold 27+ mph for as long as possible. Do one mile. If you were able to hold 27 mph for 10 reps of 1 mile, you just basically rode your 22 minute 10. If you held 27 mph for 5 reps of 2 miles you just did the same thing. The motivation of competition and the adrenaline will help make up for the recovery times between reps.

    Hopefully, you will be motivated by the quick progress most riders make when doing these workouts. If you did 3-5 reps of 2-5 minutes at 27+ mph, once or twice a week for a few weeks, you will proabably ride a "10" at at least .5-1.0 mph faster than before in 3-4 weeks, and would also have to start bumping your interval pace up to 28+ mph. Time trials are won by the faster rider. That means the most mph. Get your head into mph. The watts will follow.

    Personally, I could care less how many watts I generated as long as I won the time trial. Being able to say you averaged 30 mph for a "10" means a lot more than saying you held 410 watts for 20 minutes. You may find you are capable of putting out more watts if you focus on your mph instead.

    TT'er, I'm not trying to come down on you, be overly harsh, or get you to stop using your power meter, but the real truth in the real world is that you can either wind up a big gear and hold it or you can't. Your Powertap or SRM is just tagging along for the ride like your water bottle!!!

    It would be nice if all we had to do was train easy, wake up in the morning and TT at 30+ mph without any discomfort, but it doesn't work that way. Seriously ask yourself how you think you will be able to ride 10 miles at 27 mph let alone 25 miles, if you never go 27 mph for at least one or two miles in training. Nearly every top amateur and professional trains for time trials this way. It's the only way to really get fast.

    Good luck!!!
     
  12. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    so, j-mat, what happens when you cycle down the road at 27+mph with a tailwind or on a slight downhill, that you might not be able to see as a downhill?

    Ric
     
  13. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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

    Ride faster!!!

    Glad you brought up the downhill scenario. It's actually harder to train properly downhill than anywhere else.

    Here's a mental toughness test to see how tough a rider really is. On a straight, one mile 6% or steeper slope, try to ride a few beats over your lactate threshold while pedalling downhill in a 53x11.

    Most people would coast down a 6% slope. A good pro will pedal at or above their lactate threshold, especially if time trialing or searching for time in a solo break.
     
  14. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    J-Mat,

    i don't think you understand the rhetorical nature of my question or just chose to ignore it...

    Ric


     
  15. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    TTer,

    my bad! i meant a 10mile TT.

    I increase the power as soon as possible --- this will vary from person to person (i.e., trainability) and also be dependent upon external factors (e.g., life stress).

    Yes, you'll get an increase in sustainable TT power at lower than TT power training (e.g., at ~ 95%). There's no reason why these intervals can't be done on the road (as opposed to the turbo trainer -- i did mine on the road yesterday!) and no reason why they can't be done as training (with the caveats that i mentioned yesterday -- i.e., you might not perform optimally due to fatigue of training etc).

    For trained cyclists, LT power is equivalent to ~ low level 2, zone 2 intensity, and TT power (for ~ 1hr) is about 20% higher.

    Ric
     
  16. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    I understand what you're saying J-MAT, but since I have a power meter I might as well use that! As Ric says, how do you know a road/tailwind is not deceiving you into 27mph. The power meter doesn't lie! 300watts is 300watts whether it's up or downhill -- you still have to do the work to hit 300watts, whereas on a false flat you can easily do 27mph and kid yourself it's a good workout (when infact it might be too easy and have no training effect). Similarly with a headwind it might be very hard to hit 27mph so this would be demoralising (the flat roads around here do tend to be open/windy).

    I know Merckx didn't have the benefit of a power meter, but if he had he would have used one! I also disagree when you say sort out the speed and the power(watts) will take care of themselves. While that's true, you have most definitely got this the wrong way around, especially considering the above re: speed/false flats/wind. If you take care of the power, the speed will come.
     
  17. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for clarifying that Ric. You answer raises another question!

    What do you define as low level 2 / zone 2 intensity? I know each coaches 'zones' differ slightly but generally level 2 is similar to BCF level 2 or endurance riding pace?

    When I've done the 2x20min intervals I normally ride them at about 87-92% of Max HR (sorry to use MHR, but it gives an idea of the intensity). Power-wise I usually ride them at 290-295W which is the power I can hold for 20minutes (just!) (260-280W for an hour is my best). Should I be aiming lower, aiming for 260-270W for the 20minute intervals even though I can manage 290-295W in a "guts on the floor" (yes J-MAT, this is a very very hard session) 2x20min session?
     
  18. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    TTer,

    You're correct -- coaches zones do tend to differ slightly! The low level 2 is part of the old British Cycling Federation's training zones, which were developed by Peter Keen and is 40 to 45 b/min below HRmax.

    The zone 2 i referred to is part of zone system i developed for training with a power meter (see: http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=powerstern). This was the first published training zone system that develops power zones from a single power output test.

    I assume from your previous messages that you have a power meter (as you mention specific power outputs) -- as sustainable power is what you want to increase (sorry J-Mat, not speed!) i'd ignore HR data (i.e., why train at a % of HRmax if you have a power meter) and just concentrate on a specific power zone. as i mentioned in a thread elsewhere on the board, my HR avg at TT power can vary by ~ 20/min depending on training etc., i.e., HR is pretty much useless (when you have a power meter) -- it does have a vague use when no power meter is available.

    Ric
     
  19. TTer

    TTer New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Messages:
    142
    Likes Received:
    0
    I realise HR is pretty much useless, but I used it just to convey the intensity along with my 1hour power. I have read your Power Zone training guide (excellent article, thanks for the link!) and am shocked to see the training level of zone 2. My HR is pretty stable from day to day (except if I race and train the following day, during training it's pretty stable) and your zone 2 puts me in the 150-155 BPM HR zone which is in the middle of my endurance rides (I use HR to pace on endurance rides rather than power). That sounds a heck of a lot lower than the effort I'm doing the 2x20mins at.

    I would have thought, looking at the zones, that the 2x20mins should be done in at least power zone 4, if not power zone 5??

    From what you're saying it sounds like I'm smoking myself on the 2x20min intervals and that's why I can't stomach them 2x per week for any extended period of time?
     
  20. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,866
    Likes Received:
    1
    TTer,

    There's some confusion somewhere... apologies if it's my fault...!! The 2 x 20mins (etc) is *supposed* to be done at ~ Zone 4 (i.e., TT power).

    I was just mentioning that the power output associated with LT is ~ zone 2 (i.e., LT power is about 20% lower than TT power). People often use LT power and TT power interchangeably, when they shouldn't -- they're different things!

    I often do the 2 x 20-mins followed by some shorter more intense intervals (~ 4 mins) to help with climbing (in road races). if you're doing the 20mins at the correct power (i.e., just below and up to TT power) it shouldn't be that fatiguing.

    Ric
     
Loading...
Loading...