I know this is covered some on this forum, but I am looking for a little advice for the average guy with regards to staying sharp this season.
What I mean is, I have tons of base miles from the fall and winter. I managed to actually lose weight this winter for once. I am starting out this season in pretty good shape. Down to 135#. Have done some RR's a couple crits and TT's already with a few 1sts and the rest top 1o's (Cat 5/4).
BUT I am a beginner at the track. I went for an introductory training thing at t-town. We got some advice on tactics and rules and did some mock races. I did pretty well at the mock races with a mixed group of experience there. My flying 200 was nothing to brag about (12.5) but I won a scratch race and got top tens in other races. I think due to decent fitness def. not skills.
As all of you probably know. I am hooked! My wife bought me a new track bike and I want to focus on hitting the Masters and Rookies races every saturday this season. My question is.....what do I do inbetween saturdays?
For the RR's and Crits I do I am putting in 2 longer slow days 2hrs. + . Two days race pace 1 to 1.5 hrs. and two days of hill repeats and or sprint intervals with recovery miles inbetween for 2hrs. total.10 to 12 hours on the bike a week I guess. I don't use a computer of any kind so I couldn't tell you what my HR or watts is. I have usd them in the past and now have a good idea of my body, I just prefer not to ride by numbers. So what do you guys reccomend I do to stay sharp? Less volume more intensity? More sprints? More LT stuff? I can get to t-town once a week besides saturday to do training/practice. Is anybody else there training during the week. The efforts involvrd in track seem so different from what I am used to so I just want to know how to hone in on simulating and improving those types of efforts in my training. But in general terms, not % of max whatever and average watts, just more like" hey I do 3 minutes at FT then 3 minutes recovery, repeat 4 times blah blah...."
Sorry for the long newb post but I would love to hear your opinions. I have searched and read the threads on training, but I guess I still feel a little confused so I was hoping for a little more tailored to my inquiry. By the way I want to focus on Scratch, points and I want to do a good flying 200 and kilo too.
I'm not an expert by any means, but it sounds like you've got a pretty good program and might only want to make minor changes for the track stuff.
The biggest difference seems to be the intensity of the high end on the track-- I'm much more trackie than road, and see a lot of guys who look really strong out on the road (and have the results to prove it) but are missing the high end and the reaction time of the track. The two things that made the biggest difference for me last year were going to ADT once a week (sometimes twice) for intervals, and going to Roger Young's "race school" that ran once a week for 10 weeks, and then restarted a few months later every saturday afternoon. When it was on saturdays, if there wasn't a real race I would do a long ride in the morning and then go to race school in the afternoon. A bunch of other people were doing the same thing, so we'd all show up with 60-100 miles in our legs already. If you can add something like both of them to your program (even on alternate weeks) it would probably help you a lot.
The intervals are much more than just sprint intervals-- they're a two hour session that Roger puts together and anybody who's allowed on the track can ride for only $5 more than the open training fee (a bargain). It's generally a group warmup, intervals that change every week or two that work on different parts of your racing, and then a motorpaced points race that has no sprints, but where the motor acts as the pack and people try to take laps. The intervals are sometimes very top end oriented, where its 30 seconds full gas, 30 s partial recovery ~5-10 times, with maybe 4 reps, and other times endurance oriented where it might be one set alternating zone 3 and zone 1 for 2-3 minutes at a time, for 10 times or so. I'd recommend substituting something like this for your sprint intervals, and on the track if there's something like it at T-town. Like you, I also don't use any electronics and I don't think it hurts my training. A friend of mine has all the stuff (HRM, power, spends bucks on the latest aero wheels) and ends up focusing more on that than on what it feels like, or what else is going on on the track, so in a race he doesn't have as good a feel for his limits and capabilities without looking, and doesn't have the pack sense to be able to know where to be and get there.
One of the nice things about doing it at the track is that you can sometimes hop in with faster people and do the prescribed intensity at a much higher speed than you're used to because some strong guys zone 3 in front might put you in zone 3 on his wheel. It gets you used to the feel of the race speeds. The motor game at the end of our sessions works both your endurance and some track skills, and gets you used to the feel of being out there alone or in a small group trying to take a lap or catch a break. Occasionally the rules require that everyone take a solo lap before they can go with a group, just so a lot of the people who wouldn't otherwise try to take a lap get a chance to see what it feels like.
The second thing that helped a lot, and would probably help you too, is something like the race school, or practice races if they have them. Mass start track racing is just like road racing, only more so. It distills away all the points in the race where nothing is happening, and leaves just the high intensity breaks, chases, attacks, sprints, etc, sometimes complicated by having to do math in your head to keep score while you can't breathe. Things happen faster, and little gaps turn into dangerous gaps in an instant. A lead that you wouldn't worry about in a crit (a few hundred meters) is suddenly a lap and 20 points on the track. The race school was training races where Roger would cover one type of race each week (scratch, points, eliminations, TTs) and give a short talk, followed by splitting into two or three groups and doing several practice races, often with handicaps, sometimes with video to look at afterward, generally with a lot of commentary on the PA during the race (the PA there is *really* easy to hear, and despite being a really simple thing it adds a lot to the training sessions, because you can hear full sentences clearly, even when you're going blind from oxygen deficit). A lot of times we would cover more distance and more intensity than in a full omnium of racing where they have to fit in more categories so you get less racing time. Ultimately it all comes down to position, and what position you want to be in when, and how to get there.
If you can find something like this, where you can experiment and get feedback, it's a great help-- there's nothing at all riding on it (unlike a regular race), so you can focus more on subsets of what you need to do to do well. In one really memorable race school session, there were people all the way from Cat 1s who score medals at nats, down to a 12 year old girl who can't weigh 100 lbs including the bike, and we did a 50 lap scratch race, with the motorcycle on the track to mess with us. If people were falling back and in danger of getting dropped, he would drop back and motorpace them back up, and if there was a break that was getting away he would collect the pack behind it and chase it down. There were probably 30 people on the track, and nobody gained a lap, and only one person lost a lap, and I don't think anyone dropped out. There was a post-mortem discussion afterward that was interesting, and then me and my carpool partner were so wrecked that we missed our exit going home, and got off somewhere where we should have known where we were, but went the wrong way and got lost for 10 minutes.
I just want to jump back in after reading these replies and say thanks alot for the input! I really appreciate you guys taking the time to post such thoughtful and insightful responses. I will integrate your advica and ideas into what I am doing right now. Thanks again and keep em' coming!