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Old 01-22-08, 03:22 PM   #1
bdcheung
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Frustrated.

After talking to a variety of different racers on my team, from CatIV's all the way up to CatII's, I've come to the conclusion that training philosophies vary as much as opinions. Which leaves me frustrated. Do I want to keep building base right now, doing easy Zone2/3 riding? What about periodization? Or what about saying "**** it" to all of that and just ride how I feel like it? Why not do a little of everything over a 4-week period? Arrrgh.

And then, I tell myself that since I'm just a CatV, I should just focus on riding and enjoying my remaining 6 starts before I become a IV. Then I can figure out what to do for a training program.

/rant off.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:25 PM   #2
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After talking to a variety of different racers on my team, from CatIV's all the way up to CatII's, I've come to the conclusion that training philosophies vary as much as opinions. Which leaves me frustrated. Do I want to keep building base right now, doing easy Zone2/3 riding? What about periodization? Or what about saying "**** it" to all of that and just ride how I feel like it? Why not do a little of everything over a 4-week period? Arrrgh.

And then,
I tell myself that since I'm just a CatV, I should just focus on riding and enjoying my remaining 6 starts before I become a IV. Then I can figure out what to do for a training program.

/rant off.
duh.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:25 PM   #3
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Is the purpose of this thread to identify more opinions? Figure out what you believe and go with it.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:26 PM   #4
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Is the purpose of this thread to identify more opinions?
That's one of the objectives, yes.

See, this is why I hate winter. Crappy road conditions lead to too much time indoors, which in turn causes frivolous worrying and trains of thought without destinations.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:27 PM   #5
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I'm cat 4 but I don't really like racing. I like group/team rides better. I guess I'm poosy like that.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:27 PM   #6
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It's never too early to start training effectively. Determine what you want to do (race year round/peak for various events/train consistently/sporadically/how much time you are willing to devote) then devise a plan around that. You don't need a training plan yet, but perhaps you should be getting an idea of what your goals are?
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Old 01-22-08, 03:28 PM   #7
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I'm a total believer in whatever Andy Coggan says. So join up with the Wattage email list and get all geeky in your training approach.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:42 PM   #8
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That's one of the objectives, yes.

See, this is why I hate winter. Crappy road conditions lead to too much time indoors, which in turn causes frivolous worrying and trains of thought without destinations.
You need a sun lamp for your SAD. [sorta j/k]

B, just have fun. When it's time to get more serious about that stuff, get a coach. Or, join TeamBBC... we have two coaches as of this year! One coach preps the training schedules (one for advanced and one for beginner, dependent on your aerobic fitness and experience) and the other is for conditioning and tactics.

They are brand new, so don't ask me my opinion of them. I wouldn't be able to give you an informed answer.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:44 PM   #9
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I'm a believer in smart training but I'm a bigger believer in enjoying bike racing and knowing and being able to execute good tactics and bike handling.

Amateur bike racing isn't about being a super fit robot without any real world experience.

I'd say continue training, do group rides once a week and race as often as possible. Once you accumulate some experience and decide you like the bike racing thing, then get more structured.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:47 PM   #10
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It's never too early to start training effectively. Determine what you want to do (race year round/peak for various events/train consistently/sporadically/how much time you are willing to devote) then devise a plan around that. You don't need a training plan yet, but perhaps you should be getting an idea of what your goals are?
incorrect.
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Old 01-22-08, 03:59 PM   #11
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I'm a believer in being in good form all year round - trying to peak for a race is just asking for a let-down. What if you get a flat? Or crash out? Or a teammate is in a break and you're stuck blocking? Too many variables that could lead to disappointment. I'd rather be in good form throughout the season and go for a win every single time I pin on a number.

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It's never too early to start training effectively. Determine what you want to do (race year round/peak for various events/train consistently/sporadically/how much time you are willing to devote) then devise a plan around that. You don't need a training plan yet, but perhaps you should be getting an idea of what your goals are?
I can dedicate myself to riding 5 days a week at minimum, or around 10 hours a week. My goals for this season:
1) CatIV
2) Raise my FTP (it's at 239w right now)
3) One Top-20 finish
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Old 01-22-08, 04:06 PM   #12
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You should go with some sort of "structure", but it doesn't have to be so rigid that you're miserable. Maybe the structure is as simple as "go ride T,W,Th, and a group ride on the weekends and try to sprint for a few city limit signs on the group ride."

You'll probably get sufficient benefit from that without making it a chore.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:09 PM   #13
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I'm a believer in being in good form all year round - trying to peak for a race is just asking for a let-down. What if you get a flat? Or crash out? Or a teammate is in a break and you're stuck blocking? Too many variables that could lead to disappointment. I'd rather be in good form throughout the season and go for a win every single time I pin on a number.
dude, you're a cat 5. you've got to learn how to race, and not crash. that's what your main goal should be for the first part of the season.

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I can dedicate myself to riding 5 days a week at minimum, or around 10 hours a week. My goals for this season:
1) CatIV
that's easy enough.

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2) Raise my FTP (it's at 239w right now)
3) One Top-20 finish
if you can't finish at least once in the top 20, then there's not much point in racing. just saying.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:11 PM   #14
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trying to peak for a race is just asking for a let-down.
Welcome to the world of sports.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:17 PM   #15
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Averaging 10 hours minimum of training is really quite a bit if you are incorporating any kind of intensity at all.

I accumulated over 40 upgrade points in 4 months training about 10 hours average per week, maybe even less.

First thing to do is race lots and learn what kind of races you like, what racing you are good at and what you need to improve. After you've got some experience and know you like bike racing then it is time to focus on your weakness. For me it was FTP. I did gobs of work focused solely on that last winter and spring and then was able to reap the rewards once the racing started.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:19 PM   #16
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First off, you don't need much fitness to race 4/5. So don't get stressed about it.

However, I understand that you still want to train effectively and gain fitness.

I agree with whoever said that you can incorporate some minimal structure without planning out every ride in advance or making bike racing into a chore.

For instance, one of the few hard-fast rules that I actually follow in my training is that every fourth or fifth week there must be a rest period. Usually only 4 days or so, but enough to let my body recover.

Read more if you like, but as someone who reads way too much about exercise physiology (i.e. at least a quarter as much as Enthalpic) I will say that knowing the science behind training just isn't that important. Your body will get you 99% of the way there if you just ride hard and rest hard.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:24 PM   #17
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You dont need any fitness to go from 5 to 4. Long as you can START 10 times you can upgrade.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:40 PM   #18
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Thanks for all the replies, I know that I just need to start 6 more races to upgrade, but my drive for fitness goes beyond what category racer I am. I wanna go out there and be competitive, not just pack fodder (lofty goal?). Based on what the majority of people say, I think I'm going to shoot for a 5-10% increase in TSS each week with a rest week every 4th week. Aside from the overall objectives of gradually increasing TSS and resting every 4th week, the content of my other rides will be unplanned.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:40 PM   #19
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Personally, I'd focus on getting stronger, period, before I'd even consider "peaking", periodization or any of that.

Base training is for those who have arrived at a point where they are strong enough to do very well in there respective category; they are building a base to reach a higher peak for the upcoming season. If you're struggling in the lower categories, you haven't hit that level yet, and you need to reach a competitive level before you worry about being at your absolute highest fitness level.

I'm hoping to upgrade to the 1s this year, and I plan on doing 20hrs a week, damn near every week, with a 10-12 recovery week once a month. Just riding, not planning on peaking. I'd rather come in with good fitness, learn in the early part of the season this year and take 10th in a race, than get shelled early in the year, learn nothing, and maybe improve a few spots if and when I "peak".
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Old 01-22-08, 04:45 PM   #20
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Having plan with a peak or two doesn't mean that you won't try your best in races at other times, or that you'll be slow. It means that you'll be extra ready for the races that are important to you.

Top-20 finish in what kind of race? It makes a difference. Also, which race? Dr W's right, identify your goals. Go over the calendar, find a couple races that have courses you like or your girlfriend's going to come out to watch, and then work backwards so you do the work to get yourself ready for that course on that day. BTW "raise FTP" is an objective, not a goal, and it's a poor one at that. How do you know if you're done? Is 1 watt enough? 10? 30? "Raise FTP 20 watts by august" is a better way to put it.

Also, don't listen to the Internet bravado here. Setting goals that are too hard to achieve are a waste of time. If you've never finished in the top 40 of your favorite event or finished it at all, then top-20 may be a good goal for you. Goals are supposed to be a reach but attainable if you are dilligent and put in the work that you have committed to.


Friel's Training Bible book is a good template for figuring out your goals and the objectives you need to achieve to reach them, and setting up framework of a training plan.
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Old 01-22-08, 04:52 PM   #21
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Don't stress out so much on racing you hate riding...one of my friends and riding partners (extremely talented CAT2) did that, and now he's 30lbs heavier, and doesn't ride his bike, at all.

Fun first, stress second
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Old 01-22-08, 04:56 PM   #22
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Top-20 finish in what kind of race? It makes a difference. Also, which race?
Ideally, Jefferson Cup since it's my favorite race on the calendar. I feel like last year I definitely had the strength to win the race, but I didn't have the smarts. I pulled the pack around and got shelled at the end. I really didn't understand how much energy you save just by sitting in.

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BTW "raise FTP" is an objective, not a goal, and it's a poor one at that. How do you know if you're done? Is 1 watt enough? 10? 30? "Raise FTP 20 watts by august" is a better way to put it.
I'm not sure what a reasonable goal is. I'm at 239w right now (67kg), but I have no idea how high I can go in a given timeframe.

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Friel's Training Bible book is a good template for figuring out your goals and the objectives you need to achieve to reach them, and setting up framework of a training plan.
Got an ISBN?
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Old 01-22-08, 04:59 PM   #23
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Got an ISBN?
Only because it's literally right in my lap: 1-931382-21-2
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Old 01-22-08, 05:00 PM   #24
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Here is my suggestion for a beginner's training plan:

1. Pick a general training philosophy - be it Friel's or Coggan or whoever, but one that you can use to map out an entire season (I don't think Coggan/Hunter do this well in thier power book).
2. Pick a time to peak - not a specific race because, as you said you might be let down. More like, I want to peak for the month of June. Whatever time has a bunch of races that you'd like to target - you wont get a flat in all of them.
3. Map out a general plan based on 1 and 2 that gives you the type of training you want to focus on in a given tiime period. Mine looks something like - a bunch of tempo and sweet spot training in December. Ramp it up to add LT intervals in January, add in anaerobic intervals around Feb 1, and killer 1 min, 30 second/tabata intervals around Mid-march. I do some tempo and sprint training through the whole season.
4. Go out and do as many group rides as you can (without beating yourself into the ground). When there is a group ride ignore #1 - 3 and have fun whether that means going hard or easy, engaging in the sprints, leading them out, or sitting back and watching. You will gain more through knowledge and experience in group rides than you will through the increased fitness of a rigid training plan. Try to ride with a group at least 2 times/wk.
5. When there isn't a group ride available or you are too busy or the weather sucks, take a look at your plan you mapped out in #3. Factor in the intensity and type of riding you've been doing with the groups, and use it to decide on a workout. Don't try to map out rides more than about a week in advance.
6. Make sure you are recovering well between hard rides. This may be the most important point for a beginner.
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Old 01-22-08, 05:03 PM   #25
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My like to ride with slow people now and again so that I can feel fast but a race teaches you how outclassed you can be tactically with a good team, even with peak fitness.
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