I recently stopped, earlier this year, racing road races since I just don't have the time (family, work, commute, same old middle age story) to put in the training time, and started racings crits instead. I have found that I just don't have the acceleration or ability to keep up the high pace for such a short distance, more of a long distance, lower intensity endurance rider.
Up to now I have been doing short intervals with the HR in zone 5 and it seems to help me with keeping up the intensity to a degree (seem to have hit a ceiling though), but I am trying to put together a good training program that I can squeeze into an hour or two a day, with open weekends to train however I need to.
Is this even do-able? Any tips?
What about weight training, sprint drills, hill drills etc? I am just not that good at coming up with scientific training plans.
Did you post in the Road Racing sub-forum (of Road bikes)? I think you'd get a lot of responses.
I'm declining to respond since I'm about the least scientific training person there is. I typically train 1-2 hours a week, at least till recently, and I rarely do weekend rides unless I race.
I would mention category and experience level.
I'm a Cat 3, have been forever. I have relatively low FTP - about 220-240watts (many Cat 3s are 250-300+), train at about 15-17 mph, etc. Racing the field usually averages 25-28 mph and I can be somewhat competitive in races, winning one every now and then. I get dropped quickly when fitness matters, and I am usually close to last in TTs. Part of racing crits is saving energy, i.e. riding tactically. That's more my speed.
I used to train about 3 hours a day with 5 hour rides on weekends, and now am lucky to get two hours a day, but I have spent 30 years training my body for low intensity, all day long efforts. Now that I am trying to change it, I am totally clueless.
I'd focus on shorter, more intense efforts, with less rest than optimal between. I think of those "old fashioned" intervals like in the SufferFest videos, where you go hard, recover only slightly, then go hard again.
Ultimately you need to work on being able to put out peak power, the power you need to respond to accelerations and such.
Also, work on tactics, on riding smarter, out of the wind, using energy only when you need to.
Drafting closely and properly is important:
I never realized how hard I work to close minor gaps, but that work saves me a lot of energy overall.
You can reduce your minimum draft distance too:
Talking about practicing re: sphere in the following:
Again, though, I'd post in the racing subforum.
Hope this helps,
According to a lot of current thinking it's probably close to optimum. Look up "high intensity interval training", "sprint interval training", "base training", and "lactate threshold training" on google. Short training sessions at high intensity, with lots of rest, are a Good Thing even for endurance athletes.
Originally Posted by benajah
If you want a simple routine to start with, find a hill. Warm up and the ride to it for 20 minutes, sprint ***all out*** - standing - up hill for a minute, coast back down and goof around at moderate effort level (equivalent to a jog) for 4 minutes. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Set the gear that makes you breathe hardest, not the hill climbing gear you would normally use. Ride slowly home. Take the next off the bike or ride slowly on the flat using the little ring - your muscles will be full of micro tears and very sore on these rest days if you're working out at proper intensity. Use the rest days to practise spinning or some such thing. Don't be scared to take two rest days if you are sore. Use the heart rate monitor to make sure you don't make more than minimal effort on the bike on rest days - it will mess up recovery, reducing the muscle growth you're trying to create.
When you get fitter, find a steeper hill. If you don't have a hill, then just sprint from standing pace in a *stiff* gear. Or for real craziness just sprinting an MTB with slicks on a beach (use BMX pedals not clipless - or the sudden loss traction on some patches will cost you a broken collar bone.)
Useful place to start reading:
Oh - 4 minutes is the right interval because:
"It was recognized that creatine phosphate recovery can take about 4 minutes between maximal sprints (McCartney 1986). Bogdanis (1995) reported after a 30 second cycle ergometer sprint, PCr resynthesis reached 64% of pre-exercise levels after 90 seconds rest and 85% of pre-exercise levels after 6 minutes rest. Full PCr repletion may take longer after repeated sprints than following a single sprint"
Anyway, the idea is that doing this sort of training maxes raises your "base level" which raises performance at all intensities. Once you've done the above for, say, a month then switch to riding 20 mins warm up, 20 mins as fast as you can on a circuit, 20 cool down - again an easy day in between and true maximum effort, and *one* day a week where you make best speed for an hour. Then a month where you do both work outs in a week.
Other advice: the only stretching book worth a damn is Kurz's Stretching Scientifically - and never stretch before any other form of training - or racing - it won't help performance and it will mess up the proprioceptors that warn of muscle or tendon damage. Forget weight training, but when your legs are **really** strong consider plyometrics if you need more sprinting power.
(Advice based on my own net and paper research, dating two biochemists, and getting advice on training from a racer I did courier work with.)
..And I thought this article and the one's linked in the contents bar are good
- at least one is written by a crit racer.