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Old 09-13-07, 06:14 PM   #1
cat4ever
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Best ways to get back to race fitness...?

...after an extensive layoff? What would you do with 3.5 months to train for the upcoming road season after being off the bike for up to 8 weeks?

I am forgoing any weights in my shortened 'off' season. Originally, I wanted to hit the weight room but I think my time is better spent on the road.

I'm also planning one long e2 ride per week, progressively getting longer to the 4 hour mark. Shorter rides during the week will consist of tempo and short "catch up" intervals of 30 seconds to a minute. Length of tempo to increase weekly. Interval length will probably not increase until later in 2008

What would you do to prepare to resume road racing in late February/early March, given that the earliest you can start is mid-November? Early road races around here are roughly 50 miles long.

I'm a Cat 3 back of the pack rider with a Powertap. I'm trying to do as much tempo as I can before I am forced to shut it down at the end of this month.

Thanks.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:32 PM   #2
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For the next 2 1/2 months, it would be all SST oriented. There's some debate if starting with VO2max workouts in the mix will "raise the cap" of your FTP improvement capability. I personally found that out this year. I went into summer "base" training in July, and 1 month of a good VO2max workout 1 day per week, and I had much better improvements in August.

But it's turning to the time for base training, and to me that only means a focus on threshold improvement. My VO2max stuff is in pretty good shape, so I'm more concerned about bringing up threshold to it's cap.

I'm actually debating abandoning priority for my November racing and resetting my base season in November and December instead of late December into January.
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Old 09-13-07, 07:52 PM   #3
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I wouldn't let the 8 weeks off alter your normal plans (unless you're normally overtrained now or something). If you like base miles, for winter, do that. If you like focused intensity year-round, do that.
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Old 09-13-07, 08:29 PM   #4
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I have a teamate that last Winter did tempo outside during the week (roughly 75 miles) and then did a 40-50 mile on Sat or Sun with climbing. This is obviously fitting in road miles around the snow and freezing rain we get. He came out in February blazing. It took me till April to catch him. We will be riding this Winter on Saturday usually afternoon because it's warmer later in the day in Bellbrook/Waynesville/Corwin. I did the rollers / inside thing last Winter and skipped these rides and payed bigtime in March. You know your always welcome to join us.
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Old 09-14-07, 06:09 AM   #5
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For the next 2 1/2 months, it would be all SST oriented. There's some debate if starting with VO2max workouts in the mix will "raise the cap" of your FTP improvement capability. I personally found that out this year. I went into summer "base" training in July, and 1 month of a good VO2max workout 1 day per week, and I had much better improvements in August.

But it's turning to the time for base training, and to me that only means a focus on threshold improvement. My VO2max stuff is in pretty good shape, so I'm more concerned about bringing up threshold to it's cap.

I'm actually debating abandoning priority for my November racing and resetting my base season in November and December instead of late December into January.
Ok, I am a newb when it comes to "base" training. After this Sunday, I think I am heading into "base" mode until next season, since there really aren't any races left close by, and I can't afford a 'cross bike.

So what is this SST you are referring to? I assume it is a power meter ability, which means I have no meter, so I can't use it. So what should I focus on in "base" period? Long and slow? Or some tempo?
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Old 09-14-07, 06:19 AM   #6
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When I used to ride base, I'd just concentrate on aerobic efforts and a several long rides each week. If you can find time to really stress your aerobic system a few times during the winter, say 2 or 3 500 mile week (not too fast) four or five weeks apart, then you'll be able to bring a lot of aerobic fitness into your intervals when you begin them in January, which will make them more effective.

You'll feel some stress in January and February when you realize how crappy your 1-minute to 5-minute intensity is, but it will come back in a 3-6 weeks.

My volume is so low (because of life schedule) that I wouldn't be able to commit to a real base miles program (75 mile/week wouldn't count). So, I keep the same workouts in my cycle year-round, but there is some rotation to that.
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Old 09-14-07, 06:38 AM   #7
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SST is not a power training concept, though it's derived from lessons learned from training with power.

"Sweet Spot Training" is best defined here: http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspot.html

Without a power meter, it's training at the point at which it gets uncomfortable to grab the water bottle for more than a gulp and pushing. Long SLOW miles doesn't exist. It's long steady miles, if you have time. I have 18 hours per week training time, so I can afford to do a couple days of long STEADY miles, L2/L3 (Coggan) in power, but what would end up being mid L1/L2 heart rate training zones (Friel defined).

If I was time crunched, those days would disappear in preference to solid steady threshold improvement. That means training for improvement of 1 hour power. 2x20 minute intervals are the top end of SST. The bottom end of SST as shown in the referenced article is shown as upper L2. But the reality is that for the time you'd need to spend in that range, you'd might as well move into the upper L3. It's not that much more fatigue for quite a bit less time.

In power training, we quantify the stress on the body based on "TSS" - or Training Stress Score. As listed elsewhere, 100 TSS in 1 hour would be a max effort 40km TT. It's would be an effort that would be felt the next day for most folks, but you should still be able to go pretty hard following a 100 TSS day. Run a couple of them together, and most folks will need a bit of a break.

2, 20 minute intervals @ threshold power ( your average heart rate would probably start below LTHR, but would end above LTHR by the end of the interval ) is "worth" 66.7 TSS. Mind you, 20 minute intervals @ threshold power suck big time.

In keeping with "sweet spot" mentality, 3 x 20 minute intervals @ 91% of threshold are "worth" 82.8 TSS. Most of the folks here would tell you that 91% of threshold is a world of difference in PE from 100%. 91% threshold power for me, with a LTHR of 177, puts me at an average HR of 165-168.

Based on TSS, one could argue that 3 x 20 minute intervals will benefit you more, with a lower PE penalty while doing them. Toss in 5 minutes recovery between intervals, and 10 minutes warm up/cool down and you have a great 1.5 hour workout.

One of my favorite workouts is to just pop it at 91% threshold and hammer for up to 2 hours. I'll toss in 3-4 VO2max "pushes" on climbs nearby to change up the pace with 30-45 seconds recovery on the other end and get both threshold improvement and VO2max improvement all in one workout. I love this workout.
My average heart rate has typically been 165-168 for these workouts, but I don't always wear the HR strap.

On the side notes, the last time I did this workout with VO2max stuff, my average power was 89.5% threshold for 1 hr 45 minutes, 3 VO2max intervals mixed throughout based on the route I was doing, and it was worth 141 TSS before pedaling on into the mountains for a couple hours. Avg heart rate was down to 162 for the workout, which indicates to me it might be time to bump the workouts up a bit and consider my threshold power to be higher than what I'm considering it to be now.

So the next time I did the workout I only did 1 hour, but I held it at 94% threshold power. Avg heart rate for the second half was 168, which is closer to what it should be on a regular basis. This is my indication that what I'm calling 94% might actually be 91% and I've just been sandbagging for a month.

End of the day, your best bang for your buck is being shown over and over by sweet spot training.
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Old 09-14-07, 07:41 AM   #8
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"Sweet Spot Training" is best defined here: http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspot.html

.


Thanks for the link. That seems to be my typical ride lately.
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Old 09-14-07, 08:26 AM   #9
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I'll echo the sentiment of working SST. Thats what I'm going to be focusing on from now through January/February.

The top end work will be riding 'cross.
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Old 09-14-07, 08:56 AM   #10
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I'll echo the sentiment of working SST. Thats what I'm going to be focusing on from now through January/February.

The top end work will be riding 'cross.
same although the BIG thing for me is that I need to up total hours per week. I'm aiming to go from ~10 hrs per week to ~12-15 depending on phase. P-1-2 field out here is no joke so as a new 2 I've got a lot of work to do. The 3's do not prepare one for P-1-2 races, at least here in Boulder.
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Old 09-14-07, 11:18 AM   #11
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I don't think that off period will be a problem. I was mostly off from mid-November to the first of the year as I got hit by a car, and to my surprise I had my best early season to date (2nd in the OVR cat 3 series -- we've met at a few races if you happen to remember).

For me, pre-season training is all about burning the kilojoules, which means a steady pace at the maximum intensity I can maintain for the length of the ride. So lots of SST. And for length, since our races are usually around 2.5 hours, I don't think there's much to be gained by going longer than that at a lower intensity, so I'd redistribute some of that 4 hour ride during the week. I try to work up to ~92% FTP for 2-2.5 hours. If I'm forced onto the trainer (under 20F), I'll do something like 2x20 or 4x10, just because SST on the trainer burns too much mental energy. Even if the weather's good I'll do one 2x20 per week just to mix it up a bit.

Late February/early March I'll introduce some VO2max intervals, 4x4 at first then 5x4. I never do weights, both because the studies don't show much benefit and because strength is not a limiter for me (hauling my quads up the hills behind the skinny guys is a different story).

This year I'm thinking of adding a little more intensity and speed changes earlier. I had a good diesel engine and good stamina in the early season but lacked a little on the accelerations.

Good luck. I hope whatever's keeping you off the bike isn't too traumatic!
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