Volume / Sessions per week needed for some success??

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

  1. TTer

    TTer New Member

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    Sorry, that's my fault. I am using the terms interchangeably. So, is LT the point where lactate rises above 1mmol?

    And TT pace varies among individuals depending on how much lacate they can handle, but usually 4mmol or above where lactate levels stabalize?

    I'm glad to hear the 2x20mins LT intervals should be done at zone 4. I wondered whether I was overdoing it on them and that was why I couldn't gut it out (I'm not usually not a slacker :)). Is zone 5 even too high for intervals of this length?? Would zone 5 be more suitable for the shorter intervals (4-6mins) to raise VO2max?
     


  2. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    yes, LT is usually defined within scientific literature as a 1mmol increase over baseline levels.

    During a TT, you wouldn't necessarily expect lactate to stay constant (e.g., at 4mmol or any other figure). Firstly, lactate levels will be reflected by power (and as power is stochastic or varying outdoors it will change) and even indoors at a constant load, lactate will tend to increase as duration goes on (e.g., the last time i rode a 1-hr of power TT in the lab at a constant load, my lactate was sampled every 5-mins, and rose from ~2mmol to 7mmol during the test).

    For these 20(etc) min intervals i would base them on what you can routinely do for a TT. As fitness increases (and thus '20min' power goes up) - once it moves out of zone 4, i'd retest your MAP to recalculate your zones.

    Ric
     
  3. TTer

    TTer New Member

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    Thanks for sharing all this information Ric! I appreciate this is your business, and answering these messages doesn't earn you a living, but I think it reflects well on the kind of guy/coach you are. Thanks again! I will certainly seriously consider your coaching services for next year.
     
  4. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Thanks, glad you like the info. I like answering the questions -- it's easier than training :eek: -- which reminds me i must get on the turbo trainer.:(

    Should be plenty of queries answered next week at cyclingnews.com fitness section too! after a bit of a rest!

    Ric
     
  5. TTer

    TTer New Member

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    Combining this into a yearly of half-year programme then, is the best 'progression' as follows:

    1) Base/Aerobic training for 4-8weeks

    2) Start including zone 3, 'tempo' in some rides, for 4weeks. This is to 'bridge' the transition from easy aerobic 'volume' training to higher intensity stuff.

    3) Start 2x20min intervals, zone 4, for 4-12weeks or until no noticeable improvement.

    4) Do VO2max intervals, 6x4-5mins at zone 5, and since these are more fatiguing and 2x20mins couldn't be kept-up in the same week, start doing some tempo riding again to maintain LT/TT training effect.

    5) Race (or start racing toward end of (3) and in (4))

    Does this physiologically make sense? Is this the general outline most coaches use in developing a training plan for TTing (ie. no sprints included, as needed for road racing).
     
  6. Fatboy

    Fatboy New Member

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    Ric
    pardon my ignorance but does LT stand for lactic threshold.

    I recently did a 40km TT as a leg in triathlon team, it was my first effort at 'racing' and was over a hilly and windy course with 2 x 10 km out and 10km back. So you knew where the hills were.
    I read that my LT was equivalent to my average HR over the TT. Looking back my max is 183 and my average for my 1h16min effort was 160bpm. For a 44year old with only 2 years of riding I was quite happy at this.

    Keep up the good work on the forum it is great reading

    fatboycycling.org
     
  7. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    what you've suggested makes sense, but it's perfectly possible to train harder than that and do the 20+min intervals for longer. 4.5months later i'm still seeing increases. also, when (if) you get a plateau in the 20ishmin intervals doing more zone 3 is also beneficial at increasing TT power.

    on the other hand some people would need 'easier' training than that suggested.

    Ric
     
  8. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    yes, LT is lactate threshold. there's quite an idepth thread on it in the archives somewhere... maybe someone knows where it is!

    i'm not sure i understand the maths in your triathlon -- it only seems to add up to 30km...

    lots of coaches state that you ride a TT at your LT. This is untrue (unless you're very out of shape). LT is the effort associated with a 1mmol increase in lactate over baseline levels, and furthermore isn't actually measured with HR. It's either power output (bike) or treadmill speed (running).

    All you can really say is that your avg HR for *that* TT was 160 b/min.

    Ric
     
  9. TTer

    TTer New Member

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    Any advice coach on completing the 2x20mins session outdoors?

    The hardest part for me is finding a suitable road/route. I assume the route can include some drags (1-2% grades) as long as the target power level is attained?

    What about breaks? Do one or two short breaks, e.g. at a give-way/junction matter much, even if only having to ease off?

    Or is a long flat straightish (ie. no slowing down for turns) road the only way to do these intervals?
     
  10. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    I've done mine outside on steeper grades than 2% -- and i've also done them up a long climb (i.e., 20min climb). the problem (for most) is that outside if you get grades that are relatively steep with an equal 'descent' (might only be a couple hundred metres) then power can drop to almost zero and when 'climbing' you'll generally go to hard (e.g., closer to VO2max power) this will cause you to fatigue earlier and usually means a drop in average power. My average power can drop almost 20% outdoors on a rolling circuit compared to a flat, steady climb or indoors. however, you'll still get a good training effect from it.

    do you have no quiet(ish) roads near you that don't have stops/give ways? the slight break won't make much (if any difference) - i'm just thinking about this from a traffic/safety point of view.

    Ric
     
  11. J-MAT

    J-MAT New Member

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    ric:

    No, I understood your question, and I did answer it. The whole deal is you ride at your limit to complete the distance. If you are at 27 mph and it is too easy because of a tailwind or whatever, you need to push harder to 28-29-30+ mph to get the desired training effect. Shouldn't that be obvious???

    Everybody:

    It seems that powermeters are becoming psycological "crutches" just like heart rate monitors were 12 years ago when they were first out. These riders are lost without seeing data in the display. Hey all you powermeter freaks; disable your meter and do a 10 or 25 and see how well you do. If you do better your meter is holding you back, and if you didn't do as well, your self-knowlege("feel") is poor and your meter is a crutch.

    It is interesting to note that many top time trialers don't monitor heart rate or watts when training, they look at it later after the ride.

    Former World Record Holder Graem Obree never even used a computer, let alone a powermeter. He said he rode on feel alone, went as hard as possible, and didn't want a computer to tell him to speed up or slow down.

    UK time-trial ace Stuart Dangerfield rides 18 minute 10's, is a multiple British TT Champion, and doesn't do intervals over 5 minutes in length. He does 10 second sprints, 60 second intervals, and 5 minute intervals, and nobody can touch him.
    Dangerfield's coach, Senior ABCC coach Dr. Gordon Wright says this about short, high-intensity intervals: "Intense interval training will activate and develop both types of fast twitch muscle fibres and high power output and anaerobic performance improves. Although fast twitch fibres fatigue comparatively quickly, with repeated doses of high quality intense training they develop a significantly improved ability for lactic acid buffering."

    Dr. Wright also says this about how to correctly perform these intervals: "...it is all done on feel and each interval is ridden at the maximal effort he(dangerfield)can sustain for the duration of that interval effort..." That means not going by what your powermeter says. If you stop pushing yourself because your display says you have reached your "zone," and you could push harder, you are cheating yourself.

    Gordon Wright goes on further about how to ride these short intervals: "The idea is to go fast - very, very fast - and learn 'real speed', not fight against the conditions. For Stuart Dangerfield all out speed, power and a fast pedalling rhythm in these sessions is all important...using high cadence levels at high force achieves higher levels of sustainable power. This last effect leads to considerable 'motor learning' by rehearsing the time trial action at very high levels of power output. Good evidence that the fast twitch quick fatiguing fibres are very active during the long endurance intervals comes from the observation that Stuart can feel his thigh muscles begin to visibly swell during the effort." When Dr. Wright say high cadence at high force, he means spinning a big gear.

    Dr. Wright also says: "There is no doubt this is a very hard way to train, but it is very effective in the quest for higher performance cycling fitness...If you are very motivated to succeed then this approach can produce results which can be quite dramatic."

    In conclusion, Dr. Wright says this: "If it were possible to patent a training method then I would register the process and system I have described here. You can't do this so with Stuart's approval we are happy to share it with the world at large and Stuart is the proof of the benefits that can accrue. The benefits in Stuart's case also come from the effort he is prepared to put into his interval sessions. His motivation to train hard is very high and he will push himself to extreme efforts."

    If you want to have top performances you have to work very, very, hard.

    Good luck!!!
     
  12. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    J-Mat,

    Perhaps, you'd then like to explain why 200-m and 1-km track specialists aren't the fastest TTers in the land? Surely, they do training similar to that suggested...?

    Ric
     
  13. TTer

    TTer New Member

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    J-MAT, you are plucking out successful riders and claiming the methods they use to train make them champions. It doesn't work like that. These riders might be successful whatever training programme they use, power meter based or not. How many riders fall by the wayside trying to copy their idols training methods and are lost to the sport due to overtraining or fatigue? I wouldn't be suprised if a large part of Dangerfield's training isn't what we'd call 'tempo' training, and these intervals just put the icing on the cake and improve his lactate tolerance. He also has a lot of years of hard training behind him to the point where I guess 25mph is easy for him. He is already fast. He is obviously a gifted athlete.

    For amateur level riders, power meters are very useful. They might hold some back, but most of us still train on 'feel' and train very hard. The power meter gives you a number you can monitor in future sessions to see improvement. The power is also useful for pacing, for pacing those 1st and 2nd intervals of 6x5mins so you don't go out and ride very hard only to fade badly and not be able to complete more than 3 intervals.

    Racing with a power meter lets you pace yourself better. If you watch the first 5 minutes of a time trial you will often find your power is way over (25+%) over threshold, and you pay for it later in the race when you can't even get within 30% of threshold! Since you read the ABCC site, have a look at the article on pacing. Riding as hard as you can in a time trial just doesn't work. It must be an evenly paced effort for the fastest time. A power meter helps pace this rather than riding on feel and overcooking it.
     
  14. 2LAP

    2LAP New Member

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    I'm with Ric and TTer on this one.

    The dangerfield example goes to show the importance of specificity and I beleive that only a sample of his programme has been shown.
     
  15. lex

    lex New Member

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    I'm 60% with J-Mat on this one and 40% with Ric too. I don't think it's wrong to use both Speed and Watts in training. I'm a former college runner, and I never used watts while running (who does!?) but I do now that I'm cycling. I tend to follow J-Mat on my interval days. My intervals are usually either 10x1mile at 15% faster than 40k TT pace OR 5x2mile at 10% faster than TT pace. I'll look at my watts later, however I often use Perceived Excertion (I know, not that accurate). There is a 1 mile stretch of road near my home that I do these intervals on and sometime there is a tailwind and sometimes a headwind. Some days I'm riding at 25mph and others at 33mph - big difference in speed but my goal for these intervals are to ride AS FAST AS I CAN and AS HARD AS I CAN for the effort. This is mainly J-Mat's point, you have to ride like a banshee and put yourself into a world of hurt to get real fast.

    I see the advantage of watts and the fact that they don't lie. 300w is 300w period. However, I see wisdom in both approaches and I must say that my training became more fun and easier when I stopped trying to analyize every varient and just focused on the one that really counts...going fast...speed. I'm sure of one thing though, both J-Mat and Ric know more than I do. However, some riders respond to different approaches so I don't think Ric should slam J-Mat for his approach and vice versa. J-mat keeps it simple. Ric likes to slice it and dice it.

    I think the bottom line is that both methods will work for the right person. I admit that I followed Watts religiously for the last four years and less so this year...I've become faster this year! I have a Tacx trainer and would do all my interval/TT "Tests" on it and graph the improvement in watts, HR, speed vs. HR, Watts vs HR, etc...Finally, I had a sit down chat with a former Grand Tour rider about my TT'ing and his simple words were "To get fast you have to train fast." He did tell me that he uses a powertap when he trains, but that on his intervals he focuses on speed and only "looks" at the powertap to confirm hunches regarding headwind/tailwind and slopes. For example, he might ride as fast as he can for 5 minutes and his goal is to just hammer...but if he looks at his speedometer and he thinks "****, I'm going slower than normal but the road appears flat" he glances at his power and if it's as high as usual than he knows that it's slight uphill OR headwind. Basically, he embraces both threads of advice here. He focuses on going HARD and FAST during his intervals AND he "checks" his power at various points in the effort.

    I will say that one thing that is appealing to J-Mat's advice is it is very similar to the running intervals I did in college. As a 10k runner, we would do intervals on the track that were almost always 400m or 800m. For me those intervals would be 67 seconds and 2:30...the 400m time and distance was about 3.6% of my 10k PR. This was our speed work and we focused on ONE thing...speed. Not HR and of course not WATTS. However, one day per week we would also do 5x7minutes at AT which was about 23% of 10k time...which would support Ric's longer interval approach. I believe both led to an increase in my 10k time. So...what do I do now. I'll do an interval session one week where I focus on SPEED only...I just hammer until I want to puke. These are shorter efforts of about 2 minutes max! Then a few days later (with at least one recovery ride between) I'll do something similar to 5x7minutes at LT with 5 minutes of spin between. I believe the first (J'mat) intervals increases my strength, explosiveness and all out power...while the second (ric's) increases my ability to maintain that power at LT or above.

    That's my 2 cents...try both.
     
  16. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Lex,

    not sure if you're trying to inject some humour (!) apologies if u are, but you can't measure power when running!

    Nowhere have i said that you can't do short, higher intensity intervals, in fact, i think on page one or two of this thread i talked about 4-min intervals.

    I originally suggested 20-30 mins intervals and then various people decided to discuss such intervals.

    I haven't "slammed" J-Mat, i've asked a reasonable question as to why as a TTist would you want to work on mainly building anaerobic capacity. Going all-out to some vomit inducing level isn't really required for TTing. It might make you mentally tougher (that's a different issue), but then so would riding a 12-hr TT.

    As i said before, if really short intervals are great for TTing then why don't track sprinters and kilo riders win TTs?

    Nor do i see the need to analyse every single piece of data, in fact it looks like you and J-Mat want to analyse more. I'm just interested in power output!

    I'm all for keeping it simple, just concentrating on the defining issue (raising sustainable power output) is what it's all about. You can pactice sprints until you vomit, but TTs are about sustaining the highest average power possible (whilst also of course minimising air drag, and occasionally power to mass ratio when going uphill).

    Just because you've spoken with a Grand Tour rider doesn't mean that they necessarily understand the mechanics behind training -- they're already gifted athletes, who would (in general) be way beyond what the rest of us can attain no matter how they train (that's not to say that training doesn't affect them - it does).

    In the example of your GT friend, he's introducing extra work/variables analysis above and beyond what i suggest (i.e., speed, and power). Why not keep it simple by just saying i'll ride at xxx watts? Who cares what your speed or velocity is, it's primarily determined by your power output, topographical and environmental conditions (and air drag).

    As an example i rode my 20 min intervals the other day - on the way out i rode at xxx W and maintained the same power on the way back -- my speed however, was different by ~ 20 km/hr. Why? because one side was up a slight climb, and the other was down it. However, you get your training effect from riding at a power output, not from riding at a speed (else, we'd all get fit from coasting downhill at 60 km/hr, which clearly isn't the case!)

    The short, higher intensity intervals do *nothing* to affect or increase strength, and endurance cycling isn't strength limited. Why you'd only want to do 7-mins at LT i'm not sure, i routinely ride for ~2-hrs continuously at this power.

    By continually increasing the power at which you ride the 20 - 30 min intervals, it will increase your LT and your TT powers. By focusing on shorter intervals, you're more likely to change (increase) your VO2 max (and power associated with that) -- as i said previously there's nothing intrinsically wrong with that other than they're very fatiguing, bring you to a peak (and thus a drop off afterwards) quickly and are often more suited to road racing. Finally, to keep you short interval people happy (!), i wrote this article a couple of years ago http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/trainingstern.shtml

    Ric
     
  17. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    TTer,

    Spot on, most people start *waaaaay* to hard in a TT, and then sustainable power drops, as lactate accumulates. In fact, looking at a variety of peoples data, during the first fews seconds, people can be as high as 300% over TT power (e.g., 900 W, when the average is 300 W).

    Done correctly (i.e., iso power / even paced) the first few mins of a TT can feel unbelievably easy, but you'll sustain a far higher average to the finish that way (different pacing strategy is required for hilly TTs). And the highest average power is what anyone needs to sustain.

    Ric
     
  18. lex

    lex New Member

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    Hi Ric,

    Yep, I know you can't measure power while running which is why I said that "of course" we didn't monitor watts. (-:

    You're right about the GT rider, just because he was world class doesn't mean that what he uses the optimum method. I agree. There are plenty of great coaches (I'm not a Bobby Knight fan, but he comes to mind) that were not great players.

    I know CTS, you, and other coaches use power meters and that all the top coaches and cyclists in the world use them in some manner. However, my wife would light me on fire in my sleep if I spend a $ more on bike stuff this year. The thing that kind of stinks is that I needed a new HR monitor and she got me the Polar s720 for my b-day (that's not the part that sucks) and it's cool as it gives me HR, altitude, Temp, etc...and some "neat" graphs...but I hear the optional power meter is not accurate (the part that sucks) and that Powertap and SRM are far superior. Ric, do you think I would need an accurate power measurement system or would I be ok getting polar's system even though it's not accurate it should give me the same valuable feedback, right? So if I'm "really" putting out 270w but the meter is saying 285w, it doesn't matter as long as it's day to day readings are relative to the previous day. Does that sound right? Does that make sense?
     
  19. TTer

    TTer New Member

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    Ahhh, that's interesting... peaking. Is it true that the high intensity short (4minutes?) intervals will bring a rider to a peak? I did some short intervals after my base training, and in all honesty I think I hit them way too hard (VO2max type efforts -- JMAT would love me for the effort I put in). I think they were meant as a transition from aerobic base training to higher intensity stuff, but I think I did them too hard and came to a peak too early. My performance did seem to plateau after after base (12weeks), with little improvement, if any, to the point where I thought the intervals weren't helping and I should go back to doing more volume (in fact, after noticing the plateau I wondered whether i might be the type of rider that flourished on volume rather than intensity). I can maybe see now that I brought about a 'peak'.

    Any tips for avoiding peaking? Is it as simple as keeping the intervals relatively long (and lower intensity) until 4-8 weeks out from a peak when intervals should get shorter (4mins) and be reduced to say 1-2mins during the 2 weeks before peak?

    What is the phsyiology behind a peak? What changes in the body to cause it to reach a max and then start to fade/tire?

    Thanks in advance for the excellent reply :)

    PS: Any recommendations for good training books that cover the phsyiology behind training? A friend has lent me the Katch, Katch, McArdle book on Exercise Physiology which is an excellent read.
     
  20. ric_stern/RST

    ric_stern/RST New Member

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    Someone (Bob??) in the power forum decided to purchase an S710 power meter (because i think like you he already had the HR monitor), i don't think he was happy with it. I've never used one, so only had third hand reports, which in general haven't been good.

    There's also a recent study that's just been conducted by Gregoire Millet (can't recall the journal, maybe 2Lap knows it?), which compared the SRM to the S710 and the conclusion was (and i paraphrase here) that it was reasonably accurate, but it's accuracy altered as the absolute intensity increased (i.e., became more inaccurate), and that at a given power cadence affected power making it inaccurate. I assume (but not sure) that the SRM was properly calibrated...

    Ric
     
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