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    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Timing peaks in your season with available races

    So in my neck of the woods, it seems to be pretty standard that you don't know when a race or series of races will be scheduled till January/February or even later. For those of you that like to prepare a yearly plan, typically starting base build in October/November, how do you form a flexible enough plan that will allow you to peak at a certain time, given that you might be off a week or two with estimates on when the races will be scheduled for? That is the correct way to plan a season, right? A races, B races, C races, with the A races during your peak?

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    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
    So in my neck of the woods, it seems to be pretty standard that you don't know when a race or series of races will be scheduled till January/February or even later. For those of you that like to prepare a yearly plan, typically starting base build in October/November, how do you form a flexible enough plan that will allow you to peak at a certain time, given that you might be off a week or two with estimates on when the races will be scheduled for? That is the correct way to plan a season, right? A races, B races, C races, with the A races during your peak?
    I guess you could take a stab at a specific month of the year, but surely you can't keep proper racing form for a month long. You eventually will need to recover and restart mileage, right?

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
    I guess you could take a stab at a specific month of the year, but surely you can't keep proper racing form for a month long. You eventually will need to recover and restart mileage, right?

    racing is so much timing, application of ability, and race craft that I think it's absolutely possible to keep good enough form for months on end.

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    Races in an area typically follow a familiar/similar schedule. You can base the broad framework of your schedule on the prior year's schedule. You might be off by a week or so here and there but it shouldn't affect your overall schedule. Pick races you enjoy or that challenged you.
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Makes sense. And that's what I was thinking. I suffer from analysis paralysis sometimes. :-(

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    For me my peaks and everything don't really decide base miles as much as the weather and time of year. Also Base miles don't really affect when you are going to peak, so unless you are 2 or 3 months off, planning your season should be pretty easy. Get you base miles in as soon as you can tolerate the weather outside and have rested enough and caught up on your real life. Keep working on base miles for an extra few weeks with maybe a few moderate efforts tossed in until the calendar comes out and then you can start working on your race specific training in March.

    You should have some idea how your area schedules enough to know I like the early road season, or the crit season, cross season, etc to time your base miles enough to get them in before you need to start getting specific. My base mile training can change from only one month upto 2 plus months, it just doesn't matter IMO. You are trying to maintain general fitness and build aerobic condition, so you could do it for 3 months and it would not hurt your season - other than mental fatigue.

    So just get your base miles in and then once the calendar comes out then start planing your season in reverse starting with your A races and moving back to today. And if you are like most of us here, don't forget to schedule in some life breaks as my calendar has tons of extra space in it to ensure I have extra time built in as it rarely goes as planned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
    I guess you could take a stab at a specific month of the year, but surely you can't keep proper racing form for a month long. You eventually will need to recover and restart mileage, right?
    I've had periods where I've been flying for 2 months or so. I was careful not to go too hard in training, esp group rides, and I doled out my efforts. A week of easier riding and I was back on fire for another 2 months. Our season here is usually 6 months (March - August) so that means just two off periods to carry you through the whole season. We're not pros, racing and riding 400-600 miles a week. It's a bit different holding good form when you don't have to race day in and day out.

    My best season was when I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to race in Belgium, in March or so. I trained really hard through the winter for the trip, like insane hours/miles, doing a 100 mile ride (technically about 110 or so) two days a week for months, training with the teammate that would go to Belgium with me. I never considered if I'd be so burnt out that I wouldn't want to race, I just wanted to be "really good" for Belgium. Well after getting my butt handed to me in Belgium (our goal became to make one 5-7 km lap before getting shelled) I came back and had an absolutely great year racing. My teammate and I raced the whole year, going everywhere to race. I wasn't burnt out and I was aching to race again after the last race of the season (I think we went to a race in Baltimore, a 5+ hour drive, in mid-November).
    "...during the Lance years, being fit became the No. 1 thing. Totally the only thing. It’s a big part of what we do, but fitness is not the only thing. There’s skills, there’s tactics … there’s all kinds of stuff..." Tim Johnson

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    You don't have to peak for races to be successful. Peaking puts a lot of physical and mental stress on the A race. Unforeseen circumstances and life events can alter plans. Make sure this is what you really want to do. A rough plan can be built from last year's schedule but that won't include new races.

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    Senior Member grolby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    You don't have to peak for races to be successful. Peaking puts a lot of physical and mental stress on the A race. Unforeseen circumstances and life events can alter plans. Make sure this is what you really want to do. A rough plan can be built from last year's schedule but that won't include new races.
    +1. It also assumes you time the peak correctly. Realizing you peaked two weeks before your A races and threw away epic form on a race you had no real chance of winning is pretty frustrating. Ok, seriously, I think timing the peak is a matter of experience, but that's just to pile onto the point that strict periodization is extremely effective for full-time athletes, but it isn't the only way to plan a season.

  10. #10
    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    I had such a late start this year after having a ton of unplanned time off during the winter (crash in 2012 in March, moved to different state for a new job in October, moved to a different apartment because of bad neighbors at the first place). I didn't start getting base mileage in till March. Now we have a 2nd that's due in August! So yeah, I hear you on keeping a flexible plan/schedule. I'm such a type A personality that I need that structure though.

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    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grolby View Post
    +1. It also assumes you time the peak correctly. Realizing you peaked two weeks before your A races and threw away epic form on a race you had no real chance of winning is pretty frustrating. Ok, seriously, I think timing the peak is a matter of experience, but that's just to pile onto the point that strict periodization is extremely effective for full-time athletes, but it isn't the only way to plan a season.
    So how do some of you plan your seasons? I've read Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible and I follow most of that to a T. I'm looking into trainerroad to use during this coming winter to make the most use of my time and since I don't have a power meter (and won't have one for a while). I see trainerroad has some 'plans' that go from base to race ready. But I'm so used to building my seasons out as Friel suggests. I just need to figure out what I want to do. I appreciate everyone's feedback though.

  12. #12
    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
    So how do some of you plan your seasons? I've read Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible and I follow most of that to a T. I'm looking into trainerroad to use during this coming winter to make the most use of my time and since I don't have a power meter (and won't have one for a while). I see trainerroad has some 'plans' that go from base to race ready. But I'm so used to building my seasons out as Friel suggests. I just need to figure out what I want to do. I appreciate everyone's feedback though.
    you are not supposed to. that thing is descriptive, not prescriptive. The only thing prescriptive out there is a training plan from a coach who has taken into account your situation. Everything else you should take with a grain of salt with respect to how well it would work for you. Takes years of experience to know what level of exertion your body is capable of sustaining. I used to do 3 week on, 1 week off for build, but would be running ragged by the third week. But hey, everyone else is doing 3 on, 1 off, so i thought that it was the way to go. I've now switched to 2 on, 1 off for build, and i haven't gotten slower because of it.

    no one here can help you that much because peaking is more art than science, and it's a very personalized thing to start with. You can either go the least money spent route and try out different things yourself or you could hire a pair of outside eyes that may save you a lot of time

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevmk81 View Post
    I've read Joe Friel's Cyclist Training Bible and I follow most of that to a T.
    Maybe you can help then. I understand the annual planning, the weekly hours, and the limiters. What I don't get is how do you plan the workouts to do each week ? There's a sample in the book, but it's only an example, for other limiters. So, how do you do that ?

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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    dunno. ask my coach.

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    fuggitivo solitario echappist's Avatar
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    previously: i thought i knew; i didn't, and the results showed the same

    Quote Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
    dunno. ask my coach.
    funny you say that. i was about to type the same thing

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    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lorill View Post
    Maybe you can help then. I understand the annual planning, the weekly hours, and the limiters. What I don't get is how do you plan the workouts to do each week ? There's a sample in the book, but it's only an example, for other limiters. So, how do you do that ?
    I guess it's just different for everyone. The book does guide you on which ones to choose from, in the appendix. Tells you which ones are for base, build, peak, race, etc... I don't have long high grades here where I live, so those are already a no-go. I can cross off ones like motor pacing. Yeah, my wife and son will want to motor pace me for a training ride. lol. So yeah, for me, I just choose a couple I've always sucked at the most, work hard, rinse & repeat for each phase. I do still work on a strength every week as well. So usually 3 of the workouts per week, excluding group rides with town sprints.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    I crashed in September last year and had the flu this year in January. IMO, peaking is overrated. The experienced racers in here will tell you it's not about form and strength anyway, it's about skill, right?

    I'm on a 5-year build. Peaking can wait until I stop seeing season to season improvement.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
    peaking is overrated
    For myself, I completely disagree. Maybe it's age or basic physiological makeup, but I simply can't maintain a high level of fitness throughout the entire season without mentally and physically falling apart. I need to build for targeted events, then let things go for a while and build it back up again.

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    powered by Racer Ex gsteinb's Avatar
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    Agree with the surly gentleman from the left coast. My peak runs march-sept.

  20. #20
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    For myself, I completely disagree. Maybe it's age or basic physiological makeup, but I simply can't maintain a high level of fitness throughout the entire season without mentally and physically falling apart. I need to build for targeted events, then let things go for a while and build it back up again.
    I'm the same way personally.

    And even though I agree fudgy's approach seems to work for him and pays off, I'd be curious to know in an alternate lifetime how his fitness would be if he did follow a more structured cycle. /shrug
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Well the left and right coasts agree and I suspect each "gentleman" has a different muscle make up as well (slow v fast). I'm satisfied.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

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    Senior Member kevmk81's Avatar
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    It's definitely interesting seeing all of the opinions though. I like to be able to try my best at a few 'a' races, and let the others be 'b' or 'c' races. Less stress on those races, but I still have a possibility I could do well, and having a structured plan year round gives me time off from training. Also provides some structure for someone that has a busy work and home life! But I understand those that try to stay in race shape all year, or most of the year. I couldn't do that. I'd burn out and tick my wife off. :-/

  23. #23
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I've tried it three ways, all with structure: roller coaster, single peak, build and maintain. With coaching and without. I have had success with every approach. The biggest difference to me is mental. There are pros and cons of focusing on a few target races. With multiple peaks at least if one doesn't go well you have another to try. Single peaks can be motivating to train for. With build and maintain you end up doing a lot of the same workouts over and over with little wiggle room to JRA. However the stress is lower once the build is stable.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    I've tried it three ways, all with structure: roller coaster, single peak, build and maintain. With coaching and without. I have had success with every approach.
    There's as many correct ways to do it as there are people trying. I imagine that the same people are going to make success for themselves, regardless of varying approaches.

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    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Ygduf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    I'm the same way personally.

    And even though I agree fudgy's approach seems to work for him and pays off, I'd be curious to know in an alternate lifetime how his fitness would be if he did follow a more structured cycle. /shrug
    I always wonder how strong guys could be if they quit letting off the minute they felt "peaked", too!

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