I have a supported tour coming up in September. 7 days, three of which have some decent climbing. Distances range from 45-82. This is not a race, nor will I be trying to be Joe racer on this casual supported tour. I do however want to increase my overall riding speed and climbing ability.
Very novice racing in my 20's. Some short time trialing. Several centuries, one 200 mile day.
5 months from my last chemo treatment. Chemo for the most part no longer affecting me. Loss of lower right lobe due to last surgery. Last five months I have commuted two days a week, for a total of 60 miles a week. An occasional short weekend ride.
48, 180lbs (about 5lbs from where I will be at ride time).
Increase overall riding speed, improve climbing.
4 days a week of riding. 2 of these minimum will be commuting with a possible RT mileage of 30-50 miles. The third day will be either another commute or short evening ride. The fourth day is the day with the most flexibility as to what I do with it.
So for the most part Im trying to come up with what I will use my flexible fourth day for (long rides, hard climbing, intervals?) and the timing of these activities.
Commute is a solo ride, with possibilities of incorparation some more intense work on the trip home. The commute has two hills. One about a mile long, the other steeper, about .5 miles. I have a 10 mile TT available to me during the Spring and Summer.
So, suggestions for a General outline of a 6 month training schedule with those goals and limitations in mind?
I have a similar commitment. My fitness is also down the john at this time. This is the short version of my sched:
March - short day = one-legged pedaling drills plus easy ride or 15 minute LT intervals; long day = 2-2.5 hrs.
April - short day = 15 minute LT intervals 2 wks, then 10 minute muscle tension intervals 2 wks; long day = 3-3.5 hrs.
May - long and short days = 15 minute LT intervals, long day = 2-2.5 hrs.
June - long and short days = 5 minute high cadence power intervals (over LT), long day = 2-3 hrs.
July - short day = 15 minute LT intervals; long day = 3 minute power intervals, long day = 2-3 hrs.
August - short day = 30 minute LT intervals or 45 second sprint intervals; long day = 3 minute power intervals, long day - 3 hrs.
Except last two weeks before the trip, no intervals or hard riding, and only about 7 hrs/wk total riding.
You can simulate the formal sessions on the long day by using a group ride and attacking or pulling at high speed, about as shown.
On days when you don't ride, if you can get up early and just ride a trainer or rollers for 30 minutes in zone 1 (no need to shower), it will be well worth it.
November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
Kevin: 1st, congrats on completing your chemo and getting back on the bike! (my wife went thru this a few years ago and her dance/aerobics classes helped a lot for maintaining her sanity as well as strength.) The tour sounds like it will be a blast and a good way to celebrate! My take is you want the endurance to be able to ride roughly 2x your current commute distance for 7 days straight. Plus better cruising speed and climbing ability.
I would take advantage of your commuting to build up day-after-day endurance, and work some drills and intervals into the ride, especially the ride home and climbing drills on those 2 hills. Hill repeats on days you feel ambitious! I would try to increase the number of weekly commutes if possible so you get used to more back to back riding at the desired tempo.
Use the weekly long ride for general endurance and tweaking equipment, fit, & on-ride nutrition. Friel's "Cycling Past Fifty" has a training plan for preparing for a multiday tour that may be useful. A few years ago, Bicycling published a Fast Century training plan that was based on a cycle of interval rides 2x/week, 1 weekly long ride, rest were recovery rides or x-training or rest days. Some of the drills or the entire program may prove useful. The interval rides were targeted for approx 1 hr duration, so they should fit nicely into your return commutes with plenty of warm up and cool down time. I would also ask the company or group providing the support, or better yet, someone who's been on this itinerary, for their recommendations as far as fitness, training, terrain on route, and equipment (like particularly low gears for climbing).
I did read the Bicyling article, which had got me thinking in the direction of some sort of intervals.
Im wondering what type of intervals I should concentrate on? Been out of the game except for commuting for some time now. I think the hill repeats on the shorter hill will definatly find a place. The long hill is actually a bridge, and a pain to ride on.
I also want to avoid some burnout, and I still get fatigued overall more than I used to. So my question on commuting next month is wether I want to increase my days, miles or intensity for what Im doing already.
So my choices look something like this.
2x 30 RT commutes (my present), add a hill repeat or two, or interval work on one of the days.
2x 40 RT (25 miles morning, 15 miles evening)
3x 30 RT
2x 50 RT (not sure Im ready for that just yet, makes the ride home long at the end of the day)
My schedule has one rest day/week, although I will usually do the 1/2 hour of recovery before breakfast. Other than the long ride times quoted above, other rides vary between 1 hour and the long time, but are mostly restricted to zone 2 or about 85% of LT. I will peak at about 11 hours/week. IOW, keep the effort down more than you'd think for your usual rides and only go really high heart rate once or twice a week. But, even on the zone 2 rides I'll give it some gas on the occasional short rise, even a little standing over an overpass or whatever. When summer comes, I'll do one Z2 "ride" a week as a hike. I'll also do some spin classes and pump a little iron, but not much and nothing that interferes with riding.
A recent study showed optimal training totals being 70/10/20, meaning 70% easy, 10% medium, and 20% hard.
To improve your climbing you should do some climbing, preferably similar in character to what's in the event. If that climbing is lots of small hills, do that. If it's big climbs, do the biggest climbs you can find locally. Lots of little hill repeats don't replicate the feel of an hour long climb, although they're better than no climbing.
I'll disagree with the others about intervals. Sure, if you like them, do them. They'll make you faster. But if they turn riding from fun to a chore, you don't have to do them. You're not racing this tour, you're riding to finish. So all you really need is endurance, and climbing practice for the climbing days. If you only started riding again five months ago, pretty much any sort of riding will increase your fitness.
I understand about the intervals. I went out today, and while its early, I lack any pop when I would like it. So I think I will include some sort of half arsed intervals at some point.
So considering I have 6 months or so and I want to eventually include the following at some point, intervals, short hard hill work, long (10 mile plus) sustained climbing, TT (mostly for some painful fun) and an overall increase in distance, when should I concentrate on what, or should I just gradually increase the work in all those areas as I progress?
I will tell you what, its easier to talk about training, thats why Im writing about it now instead of riding. smile. Actually got out today earlier.
The general formula is to build a base, then progress to shorter more intense work as the goal approaches. The reason for that is that the endurance fades more gradually than the adaptations to short hard intervals. So you can "coast" on your previous endurance work for a while while you tune up your short distance power with intervals as the event you are peaking for approaches.
But that's for racing, and that's not what you are doing. And since endurance is the most important factor, actually the only factor, for your event, losing even a little to gain short distance power that you won't need seems counter-productive.
If it were me, I'd concentrate on endurance. The primary thing would be to get in one or two long rides each week, making them longer until you have gotten them as long as the average ride in the tour or a bit longer. Then do them faster, or with more climbing. Do a number of two long days in a row to get used to that. Try three on a three day weekend if you can. Study the route and make sure that you're comfortable on the different types of terrain. Climbing days are obvious but if there's flat riding into the wind, or a day of endless rolling hills, do some of that too. On the weekday rides, you can go faster than that endurance ride pace. Do whatever you feel like- if you want to ride a TT or hill repeats or do Tabatas till you puke, do that. If you're tired, do a recovery ride.
Keep in mind that I don't believe in rigid training plans, especially for people who don't actually need them. I've burnt out on cycling from following a plan too rigidly, so my plans now have a lot of flexibility. I think that some people think they need a rigid plan because they think there is only one right way to train and they want to be doing that. But there are a lot ways to train that can get any given person to their goals. There is no one way that is right and all the others wrong... its more of a spectrum.