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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Plateauing with Training Any recommendations?

    Well i had a few questions regarding fitness. Ive been wrapping up my season and a few days i ago i did a 20 min FTP test. After doing all the math my FTP came up to be 230 watts. I weigh 116 lbs so that puts me at 52 kg which gives me 4.42w/kg. Im a Cat5 racer and im a pretty small guy 5'4 ish.

    This has been my FTP since like June and ive done intervals like crazy (without a power meter at the time) but it seems like im not improving. Some days i would do three straight days of intervals for an hour (very tiring). Do any of you have any tips or recommendations for training to break out of this plateau? Also i borrowed a friends bike with a power meter to do the test, in reality i don't train with power usually.

    I know its getting closer to the winter so ill be mostly working on base mileage but any tips that will point me in the right direction for next spring? Also any comments on my power to wight ratio? Good? bad? mediocre?

    Thanks, any help is appreciated
    Last edited by chocho13; 10-21-13 at 03:11 PM.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    Well i had a few questions regarding fitness. Ive been wrapping up my season and a few days i ago i did a 20 min FTP test. After doing all the math my FTP came up to be 230 watts. I weigh 116 lbs so that puts me at 52 kg which give me 4.42w/kg. Im a Cat5 racer and im a pretty small guy 5'4 ish.

    This has been my FTP since like June and ive done intervals like crazy (without a power meter at the time) but it seems like im not improving. Some days i would do three straight days of intervals for an hour (very tiring). Do any of you have any tips or recommendations for training to break out of this plateau? Also i borrowed a friends bike with a power meter to do the test, in reality i don't train with power usually.

    I know its getting closer to the winter so ill be mostly working on base mileage but any tips that will point me in the right direction for next spring? Also any comments on my power to wight ratio? Good? bad? mediocre?

    Thanks, any help is appreciated
    My FTP is a bit lower than yours at 160-181 lbs. I rarely break 3 w/kg.

    However this didn't prevent me from doing well enough to upgrade to Cat 2 (at 158-160 lbs). Short term power counts a lot too, although more so if you're racing with all ages vs just Juniors. My max power doesn't vary much, in races it's 1000-1200w peak, in training if I do a hard jump it's 1300-1500w peak (because I'm going really easy before I jump). But my avg power is much lower, in the 150-180w range.

    When I was a Junior we didn't have power meters but I was 103 lbs my last year as a Junior, same height as now, and my riding profile seemed very similar. No good at TT, no good at climbing, good sprint.

    In terms of improving you need to do cycles of training, meaning hard training then some recovery. Without recovery you're not going to improve. It's a long process, especially as a Junior. Your body isn't 100% mature so you won't be as strong as you will be later. My best overall fitness came at about 133-135 lbs but I was in my mid-late 20s by then.

    My best years have come when I do massive base miles in the winter, followed by racing as early and as often as possible. It helps to be psyched about racing - I did 10 years where I rode year round, raced March-October, and never felt mentally burnt out. Now I tend to ease off by late August and my year starts in October-November for the net year. I think long rides help a lot - they force you to develop muscles that are unique to cycling, i.e. after 3-4 hours on the bike your main cycling muscles will be fatigued and you'll recruit less used muscles (and stress and therefore develop them).

    Remember that regardless of your work ethic, training schedule, etc, you have a genetic limit. You can't change that limit and you must the general parameters your genetics dictate.

    In the 33 forum there's some mention about doping. A test study showed a massive improvement in FTP by taking EPO, 13% improvement. For me to hit that same number I'd have to improve 70%. That's not going to happen no matter what I do, doping, etc. Even if I put a 100w electric motor on my bike I'd be below the "before" FTP number. My body simply isn't made for FTP stuff. It's like intelligence (not wisdom, which you learn, but intelligence, which determines how you learn/think). At whatever your intelligence level if you deal with someone that's significantly less smart it's hard to realize that they just don't get it (try to explain to a 2 year old the workings of a derailleur). At the same time a super smart person will be totally above your head, like you can't even start to understand what they're trying to say (talk to a fluid dynamics expert about the implications of various rules governing body shape/size in F1 racing).

    Ultimately your physical ability is one aspect of your racing. It's capped, meaning it's genetically limited. You can't change that. It mainly limits your climbing and time trialing ability.

    Other aspects of (mass start) racing include drafting skills, tactics, and all the stuff related to the two. These things affect your performance much more than your physical limitations in flatter mass start racing. If I raced dumb at a 210-220w FTP I'd be dead in the water. Instead, because I raced smart, I could do well, dictate stuff, and earn enough points to upgrade to Cat 2. I wasn't even super fit, just "fit".

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    Thanks for your informative reply. I'll try to organize a good training schedule so i don't over-train. I would also like to get a new bike, the 25 pound tank i have right now doesn't help my hilly environment. I also hope that this amount of fitness isnt my genetic cap becuase if it is that would suck, i feel like i can actually improve. The thing that is demoralizing is trying to find the thing that you are good at.

    I suck at TT's (i do this loop and avg about 22-23mph with clip on aerobars,even tho the avg grade of the route itself is around 2.2% because of the hilly parts but its the flattest route i know) and i also havent had great luck placing high in races, i dont know if im racing dumb or maybe im just that bad. But i can say that im a pretty good climber, i tend to do better in hills and mountains then in the flats. Hopefully next year something good happens. Thank you for your reply!
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    In also wanted to state that i have only been training for about 1 year and 1 month to be exact. I started last year around August. Hopefully since its only been one year i can make improvements in the coming years.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    I just read something that would be applicable to your situation:
    http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/page/l...ews/?id=109787

    The part that seems important is that a Junior's current power/weight stuff doesn't correlate super well with their "grown up" numbers. There could be a lot of arguments to support or not support this theory but the conclusion is that you should focus on current numbers. Since your road season is essentially over you'll either be doing cross or basic off season stuff. My take on it is that you should just do what you're doing. You may suddenly break your plateau due to your body maturing.

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    Thanks for the article, it was pretty interesting. But its tottally true i should just focus on how im doing now and not worry about later in the future. Ill keep doing what im doing and see where that takes me. Thanks for your respones
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    Some days i would do three straight days of intervals for an hour (very tiring).
    If you can do a whole hour of intervals 3 days in a row then you're not going hard enough. If you do 2 or 3x20's one day @FTP or 20' max, you shouldn't be able to even finish them the next day. My $.02.

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    Thats probably true, maybe im not going as hard as i think am going.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    The trick to continuing development is to keep stressing your body in different ways. You've got some good numbers, so what you're doing is not bad. Sometimes you don't need to do an hours worth of intervals. Take a look at the workout recipe cookbook . I don't think it's good to do 3 hard days of intervals is an advantage. You just don't get enough rest, which is what hurts you in terms of recovery. If you don't recover, then you don't ride your next interval hard enough.

    Do a couple weeks of threshold type stuff, like 20 minute intervals. Rest. Then do a couple weeks of longer SST or sub-threshold. Rest. Then a couple weeks of 1-2-3 minute intervals. Rest. Keep changing it up and your body will continue to adapt. If you just ride the same interval all the time, then your body will stop adapting.

    You're doing a great job, keep it up!
    Austin doesn't have hippies. They have slightly rebellious Methodists. - Racer Ex

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Post up a typical training block including the rest week. That would help us make more constructive criticism. I bet you are doing too many training races and/or group rides and not getting enough rest.

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    A typical training block would be something like this:

    Monday:Rest/recovery ride

    Tuesday:1 Hour of hill intervals
    10 min warmup on trainer, 1 Hour of intervals,10 min cool down.

    Wednesday: 1 1/2 hour-2 hour of tempo riding.


    Thursday
    : (By this point im feeling good enough to do intervals again) Sprint intervals 10-15 intervals, short 5-10s.


    Friday: Another day of tempo riding


    Saturday:Recovery ride/rest (im usually busy on saturdays so i make it a easy day or rest day)

    Sunday:Long Endurance Ride 2 1/2 hours to 3 hours +.


    For next season i might try to make my endurance rides longer. Also i would like to add in more 2x20's intervals to help my FTP.

    Also i dont do any training races or group rides. Training for me is all solo.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    How many weeks like that before a rest week, and what does your rest week look like?

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    Ive actually never taken a full week off, this week has been my first week off ever (kinda) due to the cold weather. So basically ive been training non stop like that from like October of last year. Man now that you pointed it out, i should of really taken a week off
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I'm on the phone right now, but I promise you I will give you some specific feedback later today or tomorrow at the latest.

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    Alright man thanks, and take your time im of no importance haha. Thanks anyway
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    That's a nice training block for either late base or early build, but I would not be doing so much long recovery and tempo in race season. That will wear you down. If you don't have rest weeks, it's almost sure to wear you down and cause a plateau at some point.

    I look at rest in several ways: micro, macro, seasonal. Micro rest is the days off during the training week, no matter what part of the racing season you are in. You cannot string together too many hard days in a row without rest. Short recovery rides, like your Saturday rides, should always be optional. Macro rest is the rest you do between blocks, something I don't think you are doing at all. Someone your age might want to do three weeks on, one week off. A typical mid-season rest week for you might look like:

    Mon - 1 hr recovery
    Tue - day off
    Wed - 30 min recovery, 30 min tempo
    Thurs - day off
    Fri - openers
    Sat - race?
    Sun - race?

    The point is to give your body extended rest before starting up the next block. Seasonal rest is the rest between peaks in your season, or the rest after the season is over and before you start your base block. This is often overlooked as many racers want to "hold onto as much fitness as possible" before starting base. It's possible, but it's also very easy to dig a big hole for yourself that you cannot dig out of.

    I'd ask yourself how do you want to train for next season? Do you want to do base, build, and maintain, or do you have a few events during the season that you'd like to peak for? It can be hard to have it both ways. Something has to give. If you focus on one or two peaks during the season, you will be racing some races at a lower fitness level than if you had maintained all year, in order to have the extra for the peaks, where you will be stronger. Look at next year, figure out what you can realistically do, then work backwards to figure out when to start base and build, and if you want to try to peak.

    The long and short of it is:

    Make sure you are getting micro, macro, and seasonal rest
    Avoid a lot of long rides and tempo during the season unless it is part of a peaking type of plan
    Get rest and ride for enjoyment during the offseason

    One other factor that pertains particularly to Juniors is their age, category, and their aspirations once they age out of Juniors. If you are close to this and a Cat3 or higher then you should start working in longer and harder workouts and adding a little more rest as you acclimate to the higher workload. If you can, double up on criterium days, racing Juniors and your category on the same day, using the category race for training. You have to be very diligent about rest as you ramp up. You are ahead of the game by training solo. Too often I see egos drive training which ends up with disappointment.

    Good luck.

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    Wow that really gave me a good insight of how i should be integrating rest weeks and rest days. Everything is starting to make sense now, there were some weeks during the season where my body was like just stop and rest but i just thought that was me trying to be lazy or something. Im sadly still a Cat5 because i have to work to pay for the race registrations and help my dad pay for gas for when he drives me to races. Economically, thats the reason i can't race alot which sucks but thats how it is. Hopefully next year i can participate in many races.

    In November ill be starting my base and hopefully that gives me a good foundation for interval training in the early spring. Also what type of training schedule do you recommend for base training on the trainer?

    Thank you so much for being so elaborate with your response. Thanks!
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

  18. #18
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Working and racing is pretty much the norm until you get to Cat1 and/or Masters, but I can see where Juniors could be an exception. This is a difficult and expensive sport. Good for you for paying your way.

    If you can't race as much as you'd like, then that could be a good reason to focus on a single or multiple peak season. Look at the schedule. Plan on an 8 week build for the first peak and a 4 week build for the second peak, assuming you'll do 3 weeks on and 1 week off.

    Base training on the trainer is awful, but necessary where I live. I do a good bit of recovery, tempo, and intensity. If I have a longer ride (2-3 hours) on the schedule and the weather and roads won't support it, then I'll split the ride on half on the trainer, doing one half early and the other half late. It doesn't have to be cut in two, it could be 2 hours early and 1 hour late. Whatever works for you and your schedule. 90 minutes is about all I can take on the trainer before I want to quit.

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    Yes the sport is really costy. Im trying to save up for a new bike. Ill see how everything goes in terms of saving up this winter.

    Yeah i agree with you that being on the trainer for more than an hour or two can get boring. I try be on the trainer with music or sometimes watch tv or a movie at the same time.
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

  20. #20
    Senior Member jsutkeepspining's Avatar
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    get so strong eerything becomes free. trust me it makes the sport a lot of fun.
    cat 1-o-meter: wtf am i doing??????
    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    You're not dumb. You're just less smart.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    Yes the sport is really costy. Im trying to save up for a new bike. Ill see how everything goes in terms of saving up this winter.

    Yeah i agree with you that being on the trainer for more than an hour or two can get boring. I try be on the trainer with music or sometimes watch tv or a movie at the same time.
    Some ideas on saving on races - if you can carpool that would help. It might involve you having to ride to meet up with the driver. If you do this remember to have your dad sign a release for the race before you go - you should probably have a few signed releases stashed away somewhere (that's what one racing family does, they have a stack of releases in the car, for their 4 or 5 kids that race).

    When I had a Junior (14-15 yrs old) on the team he'd ride a couple miles to a commuter lot (off the Merritt in his case, in CT), I'd pick him up, and we'd head into NYC to race. I could pick him up at his house but it would take much longer because inevitably he'd be unprepared. If he had to ride to the lot then he knew he had everything when he left the house, even at 4 AM. I'd drop him off at his house on the way back because we wouldn't be pressed for time.

    You may be able to find someone that does some of the regular races during the summer (Bethel Summer Series for example) and try to figure out a carpool thing. You may need to do some extra work (like ride to a meeting spot) but if that can save you some money it'll be worth it.

    This might work for the Bethel Spring Series as well (disclaimer: I promote it), but it'll be tougher because it's the early season and you won't have met up with anyone, your dad may not feel comfortable with letting you go with someone he hasn't met or gotten to know, etc. However if you can make it then I'd focus on the last four weeks where I've committed to holding high school races for less experienced racers under 18 years old (no Cat 1s or 2s for sure, thinking about whether to allow 3s or not). The idea is not to have some Cat 1 blow the field apart but to have some reasonable group of riders who are realistically competitive with one another. If things go smoothly the last four weeks will be the last two Sundays in March and the first two Sundays in April, and the races will probably be scheduled for early morning, maybe 9:30 AM, maybe 8:00 AM (not sure where to slot it in still).
    "...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

  22. #22
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    Ive actually been wanting to join a club or something so that i can meet more people and probably get rides to races or something. Ill see how things go and see if i can get a ride to races.

    I actually want to race all the races of the Bethel Spring Series next year, as a cat5 of course. How many races do you think you will have next year? I know that this year you had like 7 races in total (i think). Last year i only raced a total of 3 races. In orchard beach i raced in two categories so basically 4. I just want to race as much as possible next year.

    Thanks for the response
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

  23. #23
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    Responding here reminded me to get the ball rolling for Bethel 2014. Plan is to have 7 weeks (all Sundays in March plus April 6, 13 - Easter is April 20 so no race that day so April 13th will be the last one). I'm asking the town for permission now, they'll get back to me in mid-November.

    We started with 6-7 races a year, went to 6 for a long, long time, and now I want to stay at 7, possibly even do 8. For 2014 the plan is seven weeks.
    "...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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    Hmm that sounds like a great plan, the more races the better Good luck with all the race planning!
    "I dont feel pain, i ride it."-Cho Cho

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chocho13 View Post
    In orchard beach
    Bad juju in turn two. I was taken out on lap three this year. Separated shoulder.

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