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  1. #1
    Senior Member Idioteque's Avatar
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    base training and a schedule

    So, i've never properly trained before. I know most of you have actual schedules, but with all the random college crap i basically ride whenever i have a window and only for as long as i can fit it in there.

    So i was wondering, is it alright to just simply do what i'm currently doing as base training.

    Just 140-150 bpm riding (i'm really not sure what my threshold is, but this summer i found myself riding around 160 consistently... maybe 155). I go out and ride and once in awhile push a bit on some hills, i do have a little log of how much i ride and perceived effort.

    I know that later for interval training i will need an actual schedule for each ride, but for now, is this alright? I've just heard too much inconclusive information, i mean, i just like to understand the theory behind base training. Most plausible i heard is the fact that you keep the effort consistent while riding base, and well you develop a baseline so to speak for your body. But then i hear all sorts of suggestions for effort levels during base.

    And i guess a little side question, can i completely ignore the weight room? It's just a pain going to the gym all the time, maybe it will be easier when snow is out on the streets or something. I find that just grinding through on high gears on a trainer is sort of like weight training, but it actually focuses on the exact muscle groups that you'd use riding, anyone employ this technique versus weight training?

    Sorry for a bunch of "noob" questions, just want some sort of confirmation that i'm not just wasting my time.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    I believe weight training has two places in cycling:

    1) Balancing out muscles in cases where people have muscle imbalances in the legs.

    2) Track sprinting.

    Otherwise, it's damn near useless. It won't make you faster; at least no studies have shown it does (for roadies).
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

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    Senior Member Idioteque's Avatar
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    hm, wonder why everyone is doing it on the forums (or so it seems). I do have a tiny leg muscle imbalance, but i think that can be taken care of without the gym. Heh thanks

  4. #4
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    A little resistence training for your core is a good idea.

    The only resistence trianing I do for my legs is on the bike, power starts ( big gear from a standing start for 15 seconds), stomps (from 10mph for 15 seconds in biggest gear) and muscle tension intervals. (5-10 minute intervals at 50 rpm in a big gear up a decent grade)

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    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idioteque View Post
    hm, wonder why everyone is doing it on the forums (or so it seems). I do have a tiny leg muscle imbalance, but i think that can be taken care of without the gym. Heh thanks
    I bet if you took a poll of the more experienced road racers on here (say Cat 3 and above) the majority would not be doing resistence training for their legs.

    Some may do some in the off season, but my bet is very very few do any significant lifting for their legs in season.

    There might be some age bias in the results. Weights in the base phase were definitely more popular when I started racing, but as the Duke points out, there's not data to back it up.

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    I'd recommend purchasing the Friel Training Bible for Cyclists, which will help you in doing some testing to approximate your lactate threshold heart rate, and set your training zones from there. Then you'll know if riding at HR = 140 - 150 bpm along with some terrain based higher efforts is OK. It will also help you in developing a schedule for riding and workouts to select for training purposes.

    Note - you'll probably get a bunch of pages worth of (conflicting and confusing) replies to your inquiry arguing the merits and pitfalls associated with using the friel training bible, and recommendations to do group rides only, 2x20s only, or whatever. Just know that alot of people have used Friel plans with alot of success, and have learned alot about training by following a Friel plan. IMO and IME, using a Friel type plan for someone just getting started is a great way to go ... you'll be surprised how much 8 to 10 hrs. of endurance mile type riding stresses your legs.

    Weight room - another topic that receives all kinds of conflicting info. If you enjoy lifting and have access to weights, lift. If you dont, dont. I personally find lifting weights as much fun as poking myself in the eyeball, so I dont hit the weights. However, I do core training, and follow the exercises in the book by Mark Gerstegan (cant remember the name of it right now).

    Lastly - if you're a college student (assuming you're a "traditional" college student and not someone who's working full time, taking classes, has a family, or whatever) you have more spare time on your hands than you'll ever have again. You should easily be able to find the time for alot of training.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    I bet if you took a poll of the more experienced road racers on here (say Cat 3 and above) the majority would not be doing resistence training for their legs.

    Some may do some in the off season, but my bet is very very few do any significant lifting for their legs in season.

    Of the 7 Cat1/2 guys that I ride with and talk to on a semi-regular basis, including myself, one of them does weight training during the winter. And that's to correct a problem with his knee. Three of the others are the current state Masters Crit, Masters RR, P/1/2TT champ and Masters Nats TT podium placers.

    During the season it's a waste of time. How lifting iron plates will make your bike go faster in a crit/RR, or why you'd replace time on the bike with time in the weight room, is beyond me.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  8. #8
    部門ニ/自転車オタク NomadVW's Avatar
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    I go to the weight room....

    on my way to the massage therapist on the other side of the room, once a month. The rest of my weight training involves lugging the bike clothes up/down the stairs.

    On schedule: I keep a meticulous schedule, because it helps me stay accountable to riding. (It also allows me to balance job, wife, 4 kids, college, etc..)

    Failure to plan is a plan for failure. I already have a "sketched" plan for the month of November. That way as the time goes by I can solidify about two weeks out.
    Envision, Energize, Enable

  9. #9
    Senior Member jkizzle's Avatar
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    i cut WAY back on drinking and started waking at 730 or 8 am most mornings to get my rides in (im in college too). when theres too much going on -im an architecture (aka suicide) major, i go late night to the student gym and hit the spin bikes.

    i try to do intervals once a week and ride hard at least 4 days, on a good week 7 days

  10. #10
    Senior Member jkizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    Of the 7 Cat1/2 guys that I ride with and talk to on a semi-regular basis, including myself, one of them does weight training during the winter. And that's to correct a problem with his knee. Three of the others are the current state Masters Crit, Masters RR, P/1/2TT champ and Masters Nats TT podium placers.

    During the season it's a waste of time. How lifting iron plates will make your bike go faster in a crit/RR, or why you'd replace time on the bike with time in the weight room, is beyond me.
    i know we have had this arguement before, but there is the potential that gaining muscle mass in the legs would allow for stronger pedal stroke, especially on hills. since its so cold and rainy right now and my ride this morning was miserable, im hitting the gym for squats, quads, hams and glutes today

  11. #11
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkizzle View Post
    i know we have had this arguement before, but there is the potential that gaining muscle mass in the legs would allow for stronger pedal stroke, especially on hills. since its so cold and rainy right now and my ride this morning was miserable, im hitting the gym for squats, quads, hams and glutes today
    How does gaining muscle mass do anything besides increase your MAXIMUM (sprint) potential power output?

    Anything else lower than that is based on your aerobic and anaerobic systems. To think anything other than that is ignoring basic and proven physiology.

    Seriously: how does gaining mass help improve your power (non-max) if you don't improve the aerobic/anaerobic system to actually produce the power?

    Think about that, then get back to me.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  12. #12
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    A little resistence training for your core is a good idea.

    The only resistence trianing I do for my legs is on the bike, power starts ( big gear from a standing start for 15 seconds), stomps (from 10mph for 15 seconds in biggest gear) and muscle tension intervals. (5-10 minute intervals at 50 rpm in a big gear up a decent grade)
    I found that just fighting my hamstrings with aggressive stretching is a great core workout. My first week of standing, I could barely keep my trunk straight.

    Yes, ignore the weight room unless it's some sort of motivator for you.

    I think base miles need to be long miles. I only get six hours/week to ride, in 1-hour or less bursts, so I never ride base miles. I ride recovery miles sometimes, but not base. I'm always focusing on some training interval -- everything from 15s explosive sprints to 60 minutes at threshold. I do this year-round. If I need some time off the intensity, I'll just keep all my intervals above 4 minutes for a couple weeks.

  13. #13
    A Member kukusz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    I only get six hours/week to ride, in 1-hour or less bursts, so I never ride base miles. I ride recovery miles sometimes, but not base.
    That brings up an interesting point. If I only have 6-8 hours a week on the bike, it does not make sense to try to ride any base since it does seem like a base ride should be 4 hours or so.

    Does anyone else train like waterrockets? This is definitely what my approach has been so far, I'm just wondering if there is any other success stories with this method.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Idioteque's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
    I found that just fighting my hamstrings with aggressive stretching is a great core workout. My first week of standing, I could barely keep my trunk straight.

    Yes, ignore the weight room unless it's some sort of motivator for you.

    I think base miles need to be long miles. I only get six hours/week to ride, in 1-hour or less bursts, so I never ride base miles. I ride recovery miles sometimes, but not base. I'm always focusing on some training interval -- everything from 15s explosive sprints to 60 minutes at threshold. I do this year-round. If I need some time off the intensity, I'll just keep all my intervals above 4 minutes for a couple weeks.
    wow, interesting, how does this work for you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    there's not data to back it up.

    But theres data to backup the claim weightlifting makes you slower and can reduce your AT. With that being said im lifting light weights this winter not to gain muscle but to build some sort of balance between my lower body and upper.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wfrogge View Post
    But theres data to backup the claim weightlifting makes you slower and can reduce your AT. With that being said im lifting light weights this winter not to gain muscle but to build some sort of balance between my lower body and upper.
    1) Agreed.

    2) I'll sell you some of mine...
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  17. #17
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    How does gaining muscle mass do anything besides increase your MAXIMUM (sprint) potential power output?
    Anything else lower than that is based on your aerobic and anaerobic systems. To think anything other than that is ignoring basic and proven physiology.

    Seriously: how does gaining mass help improve your power (non-max) if you don't improve the aerobic/anaerobic system to actually produce the power?

    Think about that, then get back to me.

    And this would be a bad thing how? Last time I checked most crits and road races end in a sprint. Why is everything around here have to be mutually exclusive. upgrades without fitness, weight lifting without riding. Maybe just maybe some of us crazy folks actually do both. Of the riders I've talked with around here(ranging from cat5's to a UCI pro) many of them do the gym AND I found this out while riding with them. Aerobic base and increased muscle mass for sprinting, I'm waiting for the black hole to open and suck me right off the road.

  18. #18
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idioteque View Post
    wow, interesting, how does this work for you?
    This is my first season out of "retirement" with a license again. I got reinstated as a Cat 3, and I mostly raced M35+. I've been hanging with the Cat 2s in the M35+, but I'm not to the point of beating them. I've gotten 2nd in a Cat 3/4 crit, and several top 5th places. I did six crits and one road race. Overall, I'm riding at a level even with, or better than, people who are training 4-6 hours/week more than me. The good guys who are in the 15 hour range are clearly stronger than me, but I still get into breaks with them and such (mixed cat training races).

    I'll have a power meter at Christmas, so we'll see where my real numbers are then. I think I'll look good on the short end and average on the long end.

    If I were to do a Cat 3 road race, I think the mileage (75 or so) would be a challenge for me. If I could get one long ride in each week, I'd fix that too, but that would put me up to 8 hours/week. At this point, I'm only planning on the M35+ road races at 45-55 miles, and I'm ok with that distance. I'm doing just fine with a 2/day crits at 26-28mph.

    That said, I'm in no danger of turning pro or anything

    If nothing else, this training schedule keeps me motivated. I hit the chipseal with an urgency to get as much out of those precious minutes as possible, and I live with a constant longing to ride more. That's so much nicer than searching for motivation to keep up with a 12 hr/wk schedule. I'm having an absolute blast, and I do it all on lunch breaks.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrennie View Post
    And this would be a bad thing how? Last time I checked most crits and road races end in a sprint. Why is everything around here have to be mutually exclusive. upgrades without fitness, weight lifting without riding. Maybe just maybe some of us crazy folks actually do both. Of the riders I've talked with around here(ranging from cat5's to a UCI pro) many of them do the gym AND I found this out while riding with them. Aerobic base and increased muscle mass for sprinting, I'm waiting for the black hole to open and suck me right off the road.

    For some people, especially beginner racers, their time is probably better spent elsewhere.

    When they start losing sprints by half a wheel in the P/1/2 or higher level, it might be time to think about adding a little bit more pure power. Until then, it's almost entirely your basic aerobic and anaerobic fitness, bike handling, and the ability to read a race. Have to get to the 200m mark fresh, then worry about what comes next.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  20. #20
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    Back to the why cant you do both? Why cant you log the long days and intervals along with the gym and proper rest. Why develop one part just to later find out you were lacking in another and start training all over. Why Why Why.
    Last edited by jrennie; 10-25-07 at 11:33 AM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jkizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    How does gaining muscle mass do anything besides increase your MAXIMUM (sprint) potential power output?

    Anything else lower than that is based on your aerobic and anaerobic systems. To think anything other than that is ignoring basic and proven physiology.

    Seriously: how does gaining mass help improve your power (non-max) if you don't improve the aerobic/anaerobic system to actually produce the power?

    Think about that, then get back to me.

    Sorry, you are right actually. i didnt mean mass, i just meant strength. im saying that lifting might be beneficial to some (like me). I dont lift often, once a week or less, but i feel like since i have focused my lifting on my legs, ive definitly become a better climber - which i am very poor at. since i live in kentucky, climbing is a major factor in most rides in this state.

    i completely agree with you that mass wont help power though. Im all about anaerobic/aerobic work right now, i am just trying to ween myself off lifting. When i started cycling, i was 5'9'' and 180 lbs of muscle. I still lift some so that i can retain some power, and focus my lifts on my legs more than my upper body at all anymore. In the last 3 months ive cut off about 10 pounds of muscle, I just dont feel right without a lift every now and then.

    If i remember right, you are some kind of physiology major, so i definitely trust what you are saying, Im just saying what (seems to) works for me. I have a hard time getting as much time in on the bike as i should, so in place of hard hill workouts i go to the gym when i have less than an hour of spare time rather than the 2+ hours i like to spend on my hill route.

    obviously you know more about this than i do, so is this a bad idea or should i just replace with a quick sprint work out?

  22. #22
    A Member kukusz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrennie View Post
    Back to the why cant you do both? Why cant you log the long days and intervals along with the gym and proper rest. Why develop one part just to later find out you were lacking in another and start training all over. Why Why Why.
    I hate to do this on BF...

    1) High resistance/low repetition vs. low resistance/high repetition training: effects on performance of trained cyclists.

    2) Combining explosive and high-resistance training improves performance in competitive cyclists.

    3) Impact of resistance training on endurance performance. A new form of cross-training?

    Cliffsnotes versions:

    1) No gain in trained cyclists by adding weight training.
    2) Gain when adding explosive/interval training, not heavy resistance training.
    3) Untrained individuals had performance gains from resistance training. duh.

    There is more of these studies out there. The gist of the ones that I have found is if you are already a reasonably trained individual adding pure gym work does not have an effect on cycling ability. Your time is better spent on the bike. One caveat, I only read the abstracts, not the studies, so I can't say whether they were performed well or not.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkizzle View Post
    Sorry, you are right actually. i didnt mean mass, i just meant strength. im saying that lifting might be beneficial to some (like me). I dont lift often, once a week or less, but i feel like since i have focused my lifting on my legs, ive definitly become a better climber - which i am very poor at. since i live in kentucky, climbing is a major factor in most rides in this state.

    i completely agree with you that mass wont help power though. Im all about anaerobic/aerobic work right now, i am just trying to ween myself off lifting. When i started cycling, i was 5'9'' and 180 lbs of muscle. I still lift some so that i can retain some power, and focus my lifts on my legs more than my upper body at all anymore. In the last 3 months ive cut off about 10 pounds of muscle, I just dont feel right without a lift every now and then.

    If i remember right, you are some kind of physiology major, so i definitely trust what you are saying, Im just saying what (seems to) works for me. I have a hard time getting as much time in on the bike as i should, so in place of hard hill workouts i go to the gym when i have less than an hour of spare time rather than the 2+ hours i like to spend on my hill route.

    obviously you know more about this than i do, so is this a bad idea or should i just replace with a quick sprint work out?
    I graduated with my degree in ecology, minor in biology. Know a bit about cell energy production systems, but I am not an expert.

    I ran track all through high school, and freshman year in college. Luckily, the coaches explained WHY we were doing what we doing. I also took the time to read up on the various coaching/training methodologies and their applications towards athletes of various aptitudes. Arthur Lydiard, Jack Daniels, Coe, Canova, etc.

    That said, I would never replace time on the bike with time in the gym. If you have time on the weekends, that's the time to do it.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  24. #24
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kukusz View Post
    I hate to do this on BF...

    Cliffsnotes versions:

    1) No gain in trained cyclists by adding weight training.
    2) Gain when adding explosive/interval training, not heavy resistance training.
    3) Untrained individuals had performance gains from resistance training. duh.
    This is something I've been meaning to dig up as well.

    Doing leg presses, curls, and the like is one thing.

    Doing the clean and jerk, and snatch are entirely different. I didn't add any weight and knocked .5s off my 100m (running) time as an 800m guy doing these. Seriously.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  25. #25
    NorCal Climbing Freak
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrennie View Post
    And this would be a bad thing how? Last time I checked most crits and road races end in a sprint. Why is everything around here have to be mutually exclusive. upgrades without fitness, weight lifting without riding. Maybe just maybe some of us crazy folks actually do both. Of the riders I've talked with around here(ranging from cat5's to a UCI pro) many of them do the gym AND I found this out while riding with them. Aerobic base and increased muscle mass for sprinting, I'm waiting for the black hole to open and suck me right off the road.
    Right. So, if you want to better your sprint, practice sprinting on the bike. The specificity principle is important here. Google it and you'll see it's an important aspect of any sort of training.

    There are dozens of reasons to go to the gym. Riding your bike faster in an aerobic event is not one of them. Personally, I do some leg work because I injured my knee last year, and find that strengthening it through motions not covered on the bike is important to its structural health.

    Also, doing both isn't really the answer. Heavy weight training of the legs will, by necessity, take away from quality time on the bike. If you're time limited, that simply isn't a good idea.

    If you're time limited, I'd recommend doing your rides at a slightly higher intensity. Proper endurance pace must be held for hours to be useful, in my opinion. If you have only an hour or two to ride, you'd be much better served riding it at a higher pace.

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