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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 03-25-04, 07:56 PM   #1
flyefisher
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Fat and Plateaus

OK. So, the racing season is almost here. Since Mid-February, I've been training pretty hard. I ride hard on weekends with the team and some hard rides mid-week, though I make sure to incorporate some recovery.

Last two weeks of February my fitness improved very rapidly. For the past 3 weeks, however, my performance has not improved much. I know this based on logs of average heart rate vs. average speed. I get a general idea of where things are.

Also I've put on 3 pounds or so. This could perhaps be muscle build due to the harder training...

Now that I've more or less plateaued, what kinds of things can I do to move to the next level?
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Old 03-26-04, 01:38 AM   #2
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Intervals.
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Old 03-26-04, 07:42 PM   #3
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...and a good training software package.

It sounds like most of your improvement so far occured in the first two weeks of your build-phase work, so I'm assuming you were coming off of a month or two of low intensity foundation work. I'm guessing that was more of a muscle tone and conditioning response than the result of your work-outs, there just wasn't enough time for real development.

How would you characterize the efforts in your work-outs and team rides? Are they along the lines of high intensity endurance and lactic threshold work, with hill attacks that exceed your anaerobic threshold for several minutes at a time? If so, than maybe you're already getting your intervals?

Could be, too, that you just aren't recovering quite enough to reap/see the benefits of your work. If you haven't taken an easy week since mid-February, you're overdue anyway. Take a week of much-reduced mileage and intensity, and then start back about 10% easier than before the rest week and continue building for a month. I'll bet your numbers for the week after the rest week will be a happy surprise.

Finally, sometimes just looking too closely at numbers can be counter-productive. Improvement takes time, and if you follow the basic principals training works. Trust your training. If you have a copy of Joe Friel's Cyclist's Training Bible, re-scan Chapter 2, and the "10 Commandments of Training," a quick and easy way to calibrate what you're doing against the basics.

Good luck for a kick-@ss season!
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Old 03-26-04, 08:06 PM   #4
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One of the biggest things people obsess over is there weight.. Best thing to do is buy a Tanita scale that measure weight and Body Fat.. They are pretty accurate. What you will notice if you are training hard is that it is possible to gain pounds but lose body fat.. This means your body is building muscle, muscle is heavier than fat.. So look at the body fat and not your weight...
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Old 03-27-04, 06:53 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great replies! I had done about 1500-2000 miles of foundational base training since late October. In mid-feb I started to turn on the heat a bit. I saw quick gains within the first 2-3 weeks, then plateau. People around me definitely say I am in good form - I get these compliments onsolicited. Still, the numbers say I'm plateaued. The recovery week may be a great idea. I have had a couple of 3-4 day periods of slow riding/no riding since then. I definitely need to get a copy of Friel's book. I've heard many great things about it. I also need a fat scale. I just keep putting it off... I guess what irritates me is that even when down to 160 pounds, I still have a ring of fat around my belly! It just gets on my nerves because nothing short of total starvation or liposuction is going to get rid of it.

My rides are either short 45 minute intense lunchtime rides, 45 minute recovery rides, during the week (until daylight savings hits in one week, then I can go longer after work). My weekend rides are 3-5 hours of tempo with some training races mixed in. I try to cruise at 70% and do pulls at around lactate or just below when pulling... My focus for right now is building strength and high cruising speed. Once I hit April, I'll change focus more to hills. I have in the past tended to overtrain when preparing over 1-2 months for races, so perhaps this is what is happening now...
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Old 03-28-04, 08:36 AM   #6
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I hear you. I've been stuck in the same performance/weight rut all month (March). Mixing up your routine and adding some lower intensity is good advice...

FWIW, I have a Tatina BF scale. I find the better shape you are in, the less accurate they seem to be. The number fluctuates as much as 4% throughout the day. I was disturbed by the BF reading so much on my scale that I checked it against other methods including a hydrostatic dunk. The Tatina was the LEAST accurate (for me) and was more than 7% different than the hydrostatic result (thankfully). Calipers were within a percent and the body measurement method was within 3% of the hydrostatic number.

Try not to get too hung up on the numbers (I should take my own advice ...). In my own experience my best peaks have come after an extended plateau.
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Old 03-28-04, 08:22 PM   #7
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The fluctuation you see is normal unfortunately.. The more dehydrated your body the higher the reading.. I find it is most accurate by using the athlete mode and taking a reading at the same time each day.. I take mine in the morning right after a shower.. I find that if I am real dehydrated it will read on the high side, properly hydrated and it is pretty accurate..
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Old 04-03-04, 08:32 PM   #8
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I took it easy this week after a hard weekend last week and voi-la, the numbers for the week got better. I went back and did weekly averages of average speed and average heart rate and saw improvement from mid feb to mid march, but declining for the last two weeks of march, followed by significant improvement this last week, even better than the same week one month ago. It looks like I had reached the point of overreaching and then kept going for a week, at which point it became overtraining. Now I'm doing better, but at 5'11" and 164 pounds, I want to lose a few. Recovery works!
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