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Old 12-19-10, 05:22 PM   #1
Gios78
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Got some extra training time...what to do?

This has been my schedule over the last couple of months. Over the next 2-3 weeks I have the opportunity to put in some big miles in during the week instead of a trainer workout. I'm not really sure what I should do. I also just came off a rest week where I rode only 3 times. I start racing at the end of Jan.

October and November
m-2x20
t-cadence drills/ easy spinning for an 1hr to 1 1/2 hrs
W-2x20
th-cadence drills/ easy spinning for an 1hr to 1 1/2 hrs
fr-100 + miles of mostly easy riding with some tempo and sprints thrown in over rolling terrain
Sa-100 + miles of mostly easy riding with some tempo and sprints thrown in over rolling terrain
Su-Off

December
m-6x5x1 + 1 hour of sst
t-cadence drills/ easy spinning for an 1hr to 1 1/2 hrs
w-6x5x1 x + 1 hour of sst
th-cadence drills/ easy spinning for an 1hr to 1 1/2 hrs
fr-100 + miles of mostly easy riding with some tempo and sprints thrown in over rolling terrain
Sa-100 + miles of mostly easy riding with some tempo and sprints thrown in over rolling terrain
Su-Off
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Old 12-19-10, 05:44 PM   #2
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I'm old school and the old school approach in this circumstance is to put in a lot of volume over the next 3 weeks with each week getting larger. If I can do it I like to do 15 hours, 18 hours 21 hours, but work usually gets in the way. It is called "base" or LSD which stands for "long STEADY distance" and not "long SLOW distance". You do that in such a way that you can survive a solid block of work (6 days) without needing a rest day, but after each day's ride you will want to eat a huge amount of food and take a nap.

After that cut back on the hours and ramp up intensity.

Other folks will disagree, and that if good. Training is not "cookie cutter" because everyone is different and everyone changes with age. Eventually you will need to figure out what works for you and your own personal goals.
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Old 12-19-10, 06:25 PM   #3
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Gios78... you skipped anything remotely like base training. Don't do that. I've skipped base a lot of times, but the last two winters I haven't... and it really makes a difference.

Do long rides at a steady pace, so that you are tired at the end but not wasted. Since you have a lot of time, err on the easy side of things and try to ride every day (with one day off per week). Do *not* mix hard efforts into these rides, or do intervals or anything else like that. If you get tired, then take a day or two to spin.

Really, it would have been better if you had done this earlier, but better now than never. Also, I'd keep up this up for two months... even though you won't have time to do a long ride every day, you can still just do a steady endurance ride that is appropriate for the time you have. No you won't be in race shape to the end of Jan, but you can start using your races to do higher intensity work.
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Old 12-19-10, 06:34 PM   #4
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i don't know what you're training for, but unless you are doing 4-5 hour races you don't need to be riding 100 miles each day on the weekend.
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Old 12-19-10, 07:16 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention that I started doing base miles during the end of summer till the end of Sept due to a shoulder injury. Right now I'm trying to get better at road races which seem to be an Achilles heel for me.

Thanks for the responses.

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Gios78... you skipped anything remotely like base training. Don't do that. I've skipped base a lot of times, but the last two winters I haven't... and it really makes a difference.

Do long rides at a steady pace, so that you are tired at the end but not wasted. Since you have a lot of time, err on the easy side of things and try to ride every day (with one day off per week). Do *not* mix hard efforts into these rides, or do intervals or anything else like that. If you get tired, then take a day or two to spin.

Really, it would have been better if you had done this earlier, but better now than never. Also, I'd keep up this up for two months... even though you won't have time to do a long ride every day, you can still just do a steady endurance ride that is appropriate for the time you have. No you won't be in race shape to the end of Jan, but you can start using your races to do higher intensity work.
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Old 12-19-10, 08:21 PM   #6
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Figure out when your one or two 'A' races will be and set up your schedule for them. There's no point in peaking for the Tour of Podunk in February if the race you really care about is the Mega Suffer Stage Race in May.

You can have two peaks if they're at least three months apart. A peak will last for a couple weeks (for us regular slobs, the pros can hold for longer).

BTW starting base early was what made me quit racing and riding last time. A 12 month season is plenty. No one needs a 16 month season.
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Old 12-20-10, 12:39 AM   #7
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I'd still recommend doing endurance (and only endurance) now, since you have the time. It will help later on. Like ericm979 said, figure out when your target events are, and work backwards from them to set up a schedule. Usually start a build phase ~9 weeks before wherein you progressively overload with intensity and then rest- repeat, for two cycles... with a taper at the end. Prior to that you want at least 8 weeks of base, with rest prior to that. You can do races during the build phases but not during base. Later in the season you might be able to shorten the base part, but you don't want to skimp on that now.

Above all make sure you are getting enough rest... without adequate recovery, you will just dig a hole...
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Old 12-20-10, 12:49 AM   #8
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Above all make sure you are getting enough rest... without adequate recovery, you will just dig a hole...
I admittedly know next to nothing about training compared to most people on this forum after only having one season under my belt, but this is the best advice you will ever get. I ignored it this year, and my legs were a pile of pudding by the end of the season. Pair recovery with proper nutirition, and you have a solid "base" for a successful training program. Again, take this with a grain of salt.
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Old 12-20-10, 01:13 AM   #9
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i don't know what you're training for, but unless you are doing 4-5 hour races you don't need to be riding 100 miles each day on the weekend.
Yes you do.
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Old 12-20-10, 06:36 AM   #10
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+1

Long rides, esp for "newer" (say less than 10 years racing) riders, help build and enforce form. It also gives you a broader foundation for your form/fitness through the year. I don't enter races that last much more than an hour but I regularly do, as part of base stuff, 4-5-6 hour rides.

Don't break them up either. The 5th hour of a ride is very different from the 5th hour riding of the day.

Mind you I don't do the long rides once the season starts unless there's some fluke thing (I did a century with my teammate this summer). But in Jan/Feb, SoCal, I'm disappointed if I don't do a few 3-4 hour rides and a couple 5-6 hour rides (during a 10-12 day training trip).

cdr
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Old 12-20-10, 07:51 AM   #11
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go big. if you've got nothing in your way, 20 hrs./week minimum 3 weeks straight, cut in half on 4th week and do nothing but just turn over the pedals for recovery. get rid of the 2x20s and 6x5s, the intensity will kill you, incorporate the structure for when you need to reduce volume and be on the trainer again.

if you start to dread the bike time, then adjust.

re the if you arent doing 4 to 5 hr races point of view ... dont think short sighted on this, you build form from year to year, so even if you dont have 4 hr. races in 2011, you will in the future assuming you progress. although it's absurd to suggest that in 2015 a few big weeks from late 2010 will make or break your form, putting those miles in your legs will provide a bigger platform on which to build the rest of this season and seasons ahead.

the best racers i know are doing >20 up to 32 hrs./week. they're racing on trek/livestrong, radioshack, geox, cal giant, us armed forces, and a few who are older and racing on local teams. there's a reason they're successful beyond just being talented, and also a reason they're doing that volume. it benefits them, and they have the time/desire.
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Old 12-20-10, 07:57 AM   #12
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Figure out when your one or two 'A' races will be and set up your schedule for them. There's no point in peaking for the Tour of Podunk in February if the race you really care about is the Mega Suffer Stage Race in May.

You can have two peaks if they're at least three months apart. A peak will last for a couple weeks (for us regular slobs, the pros can hold for longer).

BTW starting base early was what made me quit racing and riding last time. A 12 month season is plenty. No one needs a 16 month season.
I what if my goal is to win every race from March until Labor Day?
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Old 12-20-10, 10:09 AM   #13
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+1

Long rides, esp for "newer" (say less than 10 years racing) riders, help build and enforce form. It also gives you a broader foundation for your form/fitness through the year. I don't enter races that last much more than an hour but I regularly do, as part of base stuff, 4-5-6 hour rides.

Don't break them up either. The 5th hour of a ride is very different from the 5th hour riding of the day.

Mind you I don't do the long rides once the season starts unless there's some fluke thing (I did a century with my teammate this summer). But in Jan/Feb, SoCal, I'm disappointed if I don't do a few 3-4 hour rides and a couple 5-6 hour rides (during a 10-12 day training trip).

cdr
as ze always says "the larger the base, the higher the peak."
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Old 12-20-10, 11:28 AM   #14
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I what if my goal is to win every race from March until Labor Day?
With you, not a problem.

For others, problem.
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Old 12-20-10, 08:30 PM   #15
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the best racers i know are doing >20 up to 32 hrs./week. they're racing on trek/livestrong, radioshack, geox, cal giant, us armed forces, and a few who are older and racing on local teams. there's a reason they're successful beyond just being talented, and also a reason they're doing that volume. it benefits them, and they have the time/desire.
It bears repeating... especially because I think the OP is fairly new to the sport. There is no substitute for volume (and only volume) for a substantial part of your training cycle. I don't think anyone truly understands why, but it causes adaptations that improve aerobic endurance that will simply not occur otherwise. And every race you do depends on aerobic performance. Don't mix in some intervals or sprints because you will just screw it up. Just lay down the miles at a pace that you can sustain. The higher intensity performance takes far less time to max out, and you can work on that when you are building up to a peak.

It's almost like I got religion. I'm old, and I've been avoiding this for 25 years. You will see big and quick gains with high intensity training, but then you will plateau and go nowhere.
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Old 12-20-10, 09:04 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the info guys! I do subscribe to the "more base the better" training program. As I mentioned earlier I was kind of forced to start base early because of an injury. So, for awhile I was able to put in a lot of 20+hour weeks before Nov. The only reason I started doing 2x20 and 6x5s was because I was hating the bike at that point. At this point I'm afraid of plateauing or burnout but I do feel extremely strong. I just don't want to lose any fitness gained by going on a 3-4 week block of endurance rides.
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Old 12-20-10, 09:36 PM   #17
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wens used the term "capillary bed" in another thread somewhere. It refers to the growth of capillaries in areas that demand more blood flow. I read about it when studying effects of pregnancy on women - they grow new capillaries that help support the baby, and in turn end up with higher potential blood flow to the area even after pregnancy. I wasn't sure if it applied to cycling but I bet it does. And I bet that doing long long rides helps develop those capillary beds.

I think this is part of the whole volume thing. It takes time to get the body to adapt to the unusual demands of cycling. I've seen more than a few mentions where someone ("expert") says it takes about three years to realize where you'll be in racing. You need to build your aerobic system, some odd muscles, and some neuromuscular memory/coordination/whatever. In other words you have to get race fit, get used to holding a road bike posture, and you need to pedal fluently.

Long rides, even for those that have already developed what capillary beds will happen (i.e. guys like me who've been racing forever) still benefit from long rides. When you're fatigued you recruit fresh muscles, and in that way you learn more neuromuscular coordination. I relearn tricks all the time on long rides - how to get more power by making slight posture changes (possibly invisible to most riders), how to keep from cramping by pedaling a bit differently. It's amazing how hard you can go when you have other muscles groups to recruit. It's also amazing how limited a rider is when they can't recruit more muscles because they don't know how.

I watched a racer in my Aug 31 cam clip whose form just screamed "I'm through and I have no more muscles to recruit". He's obviously suffering but cannot recruit new muscles to take over. I've learned (the hard way) to do that, and I make it to the finish. He does not (he leaves a gap that the Savvy Guy has to close, and I follow Mr Savvy).

The guy in green, who leaves the first gap in that little bit, also has trouble recruiting muscles. His form is such that he cannot use certain muscles well; he lacks power and cannot go beyond a certain speed. He is in a Plainville clip (2009 I think) and I attack past him after he launches an attack. You can see that he isn't very low (which recruits more glutes). He doesn't hold that position because it seems he's not conditioned to it. Therefore he misses a good 10-20-30% of his potential power. It's a lot to lose. In the 2010 clip at the Rent he unfortunately has not conditioned his body any differently - he still cannot recruit his glutes. He lacks the power to close gaps when under duress. I mean, yeah, I lack it too, but I'm using everything I have, even as I lose the ability to do x in my pedal stroke, I start doing y. Then when y goes away, I do z. And when z goes away, I try x again. Etc.

What all this means is that go on a long, long ride. After 4 hours you'll feel sore and tired. You'll also start finding what folks misname "your second wind". It's not that, it's you figuring out what new muscle groups you can use to keep going. It's you bending over a bit more because it's easier on your back, as counter-intuitive as it sounds. It's you figuring out how to lift your leg a bit so you don't have to push down so hard with the other leg. It's you learning to relax your incredibly fatigued shoulders and neck and upper back so that you can keep going without getting dizzy - but it also helps you use less energy overall. You'll start to think that a lower stem may help, or a longer one. Or both. And maybe you need to move your saddle this way or that.

When you get a few of these rides in, that's when you'll start thinking, "oh, wait, when I was really tired I felt a bit better when I did this, this, and this with my position. Let me try it again... hey, this is great. I can feel that odd muscle I never knew existed but it's not too tired today and now I feel like I can spin AND I can use a bigger gear..."

cdr
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Old 12-20-10, 11:47 PM   #18
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At this point I'm afraid of plateauing or burnout but I do feel extremely strong. I just don't want to lose any fitness gained by going on a 3-4 week block of endurance rides.
I can relate, but that isn't how it works. Base is like building engine displacement, while the high intensity work adds a supercharger and other performance tweaks. You have to do this stuff in order, and after everything clicks for a few weeks, the parts wear out and get sloppy and it's time for an overall... ie rest, recoup and start over.

Don't worry about losing fitness... you'll get it back and then some.
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Old 12-30-10, 06:03 PM   #19
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wens used the term "capillary bed" in another thread somewhere. It refers to the growth of capillaries in areas that demand more blood flow. I read about it when studying effects of pregnancy on women - they grow new capillaries that help support the baby, and in turn end up with higher potential blood flow to the area even after pregnancy. I wasn't sure if it applied to cycling but I bet it does. And I bet that doing long long rides helps develop those capillary beds.

I think this is part of the whole volume thing. It takes time to get the body to adapt to the unusual demands of cycling. I've seen more than a few mentions where someone ("expert") says it takes about three years to realize where you'll be in racing. You need to build your aerobic system, some odd muscles, and some neuromuscular memory/coordination/whatever. In other words you have to get race fit, get used to holding a road bike posture, and you need to pedal fluently.

Long rides, even for those that have already developed what capillary beds will happen (i.e. guys like me who've been racing forever) still benefit from long rides. When you're fatigued you recruit fresh muscles, and in that way you learn more neuromuscular coordination. I relearn tricks all the time on long rides - how to get more power by making slight posture changes (possibly invisible to most riders), how to keep from cramping by pedaling a bit differently. It's amazing how hard you can go when you have other muscles groups to recruit. It's also amazing how limited a rider is when they can't recruit more muscles because they don't know how.

I watched a racer in my Aug 31 cam clip whose form just screamed "I'm through and I have no more muscles to recruit". He's obviously suffering but cannot recruit new muscles to take over. I've learned (the hard way) to do that, and I make it to the finish. He does not (he leaves a gap that the Savvy Guy has to close, and I follow Mr Savvy).

The guy in green, who leaves the first gap in that little bit, also has trouble recruiting muscles. His form is such that he cannot use certain muscles well; he lacks power and cannot go beyond a certain speed. He is in a Plainville clip (2009 I think) and I attack past him after he launches an attack. You can see that he isn't very low (which recruits more glutes). He doesn't hold that position because it seems he's not conditioned to it. Therefore he misses a good 10-20-30% of his potential power. It's a lot to lose. In the 2010 clip at the Rent he unfortunately has not conditioned his body any differently - he still cannot recruit his glutes. He lacks the power to close gaps when under duress. I mean, yeah, I lack it too, but I'm using everything I have, even as I lose the ability to do x in my pedal stroke, I start doing y. Then when y goes away, I do z. And when z goes away, I try x again. Etc.

What all this means is that go on a long, long ride. After 4 hours you'll feel sore and tired. You'll also start finding what folks misname "your second wind". It's not that, it's you figuring out what new muscle groups you can use to keep going. It's you bending over a bit more because it's easier on your back, as counter-intuitive as it sounds. It's you figuring out how to lift your leg a bit so you don't have to push down so hard with the other leg. It's you learning to relax your incredibly fatigued shoulders and neck and upper back so that you can keep going without getting dizzy - but it also helps you use less energy overall. You'll start to think that a lower stem may help, or a longer one. Or both. And maybe you need to move your saddle this way or that.

When you get a few of these rides in, that's when you'll start thinking, "oh, wait, when I was really tired I felt a bit better when I did this, this, and this with my position. Let me try it again... hey, this is great. I can feel that odd muscle I never knew existed but it's not too tired today and now I feel like I can spin AND I can use a bigger gear..."

cdr
CDR, this is probably one of the greatest posts I've seen on this forum thus far. When I try to get more power out of my intervals, the only thing I worry about is hand placement. Usually, if I get tired, I just start to rest my wrists, forearm or even almost my elbows on my tops.

Another great trick is the "saddle shuffle" that you'll see from time to time...

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