Originally Posted by mingsta
... but this year I'm trying to take a more structured approach. I don't race but would like to be able to hang with the fast group on the club run and ride strongly over 50-100 miles...
Here's how its gone so far:
Nov/Dec - fairly patchy due to work and flu, maybe 3-4 hrs a week on average
Jan/Feb/March - consistent 4x1.5hrs spinning each week and a 3-4hr weekend ride every other weekend. During all of these sessions I've been trying to keep my heartrate fairly constant at around 70%.
Today, I did my first club run, which was a 35 mile loop plus 15 miles to get to the start point and back. As I'm not experienced with group riding, I started with the "17" group, there's also a faster "19" group and later in the year there will be a "21" group. I found the first 3/4 of the ride to be a very easy pace, then in the last 1/4 it became a bit of a free for all as the last 6 or so miles included a long straight drag with a slight upward gradient. I was able to stay with the stronger riders in the group, who broke away, but certainly felt that my body's not yet used to pulling out sustained high intensity efforts due to all these long slow miles that I've been doing.
So my question is, where should I take this next? I'd like to start doing more high intensity work, but have I done enough base miles? I'm weighing up the following options and would appreciate any suggestions from those of you who have a bit more of a clue about training that me!!! Thanks in advance for your help.
a) Keep doing the long slow miles for another month and then start on the intervals etc in mid April.
b) Mix things up a bit, maybe 2 x slow rides + 2 x high intensity workouts in the week + weekend ride
c) Do pure speed work in the week and try to ensure that I do a 4+ hour ride every weekend.
The "Long, slow distance" thing is often misinterpreted. Not sure how you see it. You mention 'spinning' somewhere in there, and that is an element. Base miles, IMO, are best used for training muscle efficiency. Whether that happens in the 'off season' or at any time, its ,again IMO, the cornerstone for anyone's best effort. 'Slow' gets you nowhere, 'steady' (as often rightfully substituted in the LSD expression) is really where 'base' needs to be. That means rides in tempo ranges that work the cardio and push muscle efficiency - higher rpms, lower gears, efforts to not 'push' but rather spin up the gears. Okay to do a variation of efforts, as long as the muscles are worked at and near 'max' rpm. The idea is to develop muscle memory where opposing muscles work less against each other during the entire pedal stroke revolution. If you look at pre/early season pro team training, they're doing 'steady' riding with high rpms and low gears.
Is this what you've dome for 'base'?
If not, rethink 'base'.
'Base' is irrespective of 'type', so even sprinters will work 'base', and continue that throughout a season - its just converted to some type of 'recovery' day - pace and rpm depending on how 'wooden' the legs may feel.
Once you're ability to 'spin' up gears and hold a 'pace' in a high rpm gear outstrips your ability to hold a reasonable larger gear at that same speed (less rpm of course), then 'power' workouts need to be added.
The idea is to keep the muscle memory of high rpm efficiency and be able to do it in increasingly higher gears - thats how you get fast.
Regardless of muscle type, if you can't hold a 90 -100 rpm range comfortably in a gear you're working with some effort, then you haven't really maximized your 'base' training.
There are many who will say "I ride more comfortably at a lower rpm and bigger gear". And that is all well and good, not to be looked down on, since cycling is really what you want it to be.
BUT, I will say that at that level, they will still be WAY off whatever potential they may have...
The best way to add 'power' workouts into your 'training' is climbing. The best way to add strong 'stayer' strength (and TT power proficiency) is to do longer hills, as long as possible, not too steep (under 10% grades), long, and seated.
Hate doin weight work in the gym? Find a really steep and short uphill, 250 to 400 yards, and do 'repeats', sprint style, out of the saddle.
Its the worst kind of pain. Never more than once a week, and with good 'recovery' after that day. sometimes 2 recovery days or more.
I'm at 1500 miles this year, mostly 'tempo' and some bigger gear work (short 1-2 mile sections during a mostly tempo ride) these past 3 weeks. This week starts 1 day of a 4 mile- 2000 ft climb. I'll do that almost every week until we lose daylight in the Fall.
I wouldn;t set absolute time frame to do any steps. Use the your body's condition to tell you when its time to add elements. A 'good; feeling day in the saddle will tell you a lot about where you are, then work the next stages.