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  1. #1
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    Group Ride Training Schedule?

    Sorry, bit of a long one but I need to get my thoughts down...

    At present I don't have any training goals for this year apart from keeping up on my group ride, so far this year ive been following Joe Friels Cyclists Training Bible using his periodization plan and training methods, however I don’t feel these fit very well with my available training time etc.

    Basically I’m limited on training time so I’ve kind of split my time based on Joe's periodization plan as below

    Base example:

    Monday – 1.5 hours zone 3 on turbo
    Tuesday - Rest
    Wednesday – 1.5 hours zone 4 on turbo
    Thursday - Rest
    Friday – 1.5 hours zone 3 on turbo
    Saturday - Rest
    Sunday - Group ride, normally 3 or 4 hour ride in zone 2 / 3 / 4

    Im doing the zone 3 work as I cannot put in the time to do long zone 2 rides to boost my base, so ive been doing zone 3 work instead after reading a lot about substituting distance with intensity to get similar results.

    Build example:

    Monday - 1.5 hours zone 4 on turbo
    Tuesday - Rest
    Wednesday - 1.5 hours zone 3 on turbo
    Thursday - Rest
    Friday - 1.5 hours zone 4 on turbo
    Saturday - Rest
    Sunday - Group ride, normally 3 or 4 hour ride in zone 2 / 3 / 4

    Ive read that 2 threshold sessions a week is good, so that’s what ive been doing with a tempo session mid-week.

    In the Peak period I swap the zone 4 work for another tempo session and 1 Vo2max session.

    As you can see there isnt much variation, but ive planned it that way to get in a rest day after each workout to avoid over training.

    My available days I can workout are on a Monday or Tuesday for 1.5 hrs, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday again 1.5 hours, Saturday mornings are free, again 1.5 hrs and Sunday for a long ride up to 4 hours on a sunday, so although I can get in the days and some reasonable hours, apart from Sunday these are all turbo sessions and I dont think I can manage more than 1.5hrs on one!

    Basically I want to be able to keep up on the group rides and actually have some fun, rather than being dropped at the first hill and spending the next 10 or 15min trying to catch up only to get dropped on the next hill, this tends to be how my group rides are these days, summer is even worse when the guys average more and they start turning into mini races!!

    A lot of posts recommend riding with the faster guys to make you fast, but im wondering if these guys are too fast for me!

    The normal distance is 60 miles, which solo I average 14mph at the moment, it was a bit higher last year but ive obviously lost some fitness over winter on Sunday I rode with the guys for 2 hours before giving up as I was fed-up of them waiting for me all the time, they went on to average 16mph for the 60m ride after waiting for me a lot, normally when im not with them they average 17mph at this time of year and up to 19 or 20mph during the summer months.... so im a seriously long way off!

    Ive tried searching for other groups that are slower but there are none that are local, so im kind of stuck with riding solo or struggling to keep up with these fast guys. I do enjoy the group rides as its nice to ride with someone, but its so disheartening being dropped all the time.

    Normally I alternate the group rides, so one Sunday I can ride solo at zone 2 to help with my base, the next Sunday is the group ride and so on, that way I get some long zone 2 work rather than getting knackered each Sunday….

    So after that bit of background, im trying to get an annual training plan together, based on the durations and days I can do so that I can hopefully get quicker and keep up on these group rides.

    As above, im currently doing a lot of threshold work as im in the first build period and im getting some gains on my average speeds, but can anyone offer any advice on how I can plan my week better to avoid overtraining yet try and get in some good sessions to help with increasing my average speed.

    Should I forget Joe’s period approach to training as I just don’t have the time available to make it work as that requires a lot of miles during the base winter period with zone 2 / 3 rides and build periods during spring and summer with lots of threshold work, as week to week my training time is set so the long steady distance rides in winter and the same duration as summer… and any turbo sessions during the week are set to 1.5hrs max, so I can’t do the big miles approach, hence why ive included zone 3 tempo work instead of the longer zone 2 rides whilst trying to increase my threshold.

    Im starting to think about doing the below year round rather than the base, build etc periods to see if it works?

    Monday - 1 hours zone 5 on turbo
    Tuesday - Rest
    Wednesday - 1.5 hours zone 3 on turbo
    Thursday - Rest
    Friday - 1 hours zone 4 on turbo
    Saturday - Rest
    Sunday - Group ride, normally 3 or 4 hour ride in zone 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

    The problem im going to have is the Monday session wont be great because of the lack of rest from Sunday, yet I still need rest days after each workout…. I need an 8 day week LOL

    This is really doing my head in, I wish I had more time as I could plan things a lot better, but as I don’t so im struggling to put an annual plan together that will produce gains yet fit my lifestyle…..

  2. #2
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    I should also mention as its probably not clear from the above, I have a fairly good understanding of training, as in what sort of workouts to do and at what intensity, plus the nutritional side of things, but what im stuggling with is putting it all together in an annual training plan.

  3. #3
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Did you do the exercises in Friels' book to determine your strengths and weaknesses? Do that.

    I see that your plan has no intervals. Most group rides have fast parts (over small hills or city limits sprints) which is where people get dropped. You need shorter more intense work to train for that. 1.5 hours in z4 (which would be very difficult, assuming you're using a normal definition for z4) won't give you the short term power to keep up when the pack is sprinting. (well, anything that raises FTP will help z5 on a z1-5 scale too, but not like specific work would).

    As far as an annual periodicized plan goes, you need have a major goal. Its usually a race that's important to you, but it could be any ride that you feel is the most important that you do well at. Then you work backwards from there to determine your periods. Its right there in Friel's book. If you don't have a goal and you want to do a periodicized plan, pick some time in august or september to peak. But you don't have to have an 'A' event if you really don't want to... there's no law saying that you have to periodicize your training. Or that you have to "train" for that matter. It's supposed to be fun, not a chore.

    Consider doing SST instead of threshold to raise your FTP. It's nearly as effective yet doesn't tear your down as much, so you can do more of it.

    Last, you probably don't need a rest day after every ride unless you're really out of shape now.

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    For many years, I've ridden with a group that's just like you describe. At 14 mph, you are way off the pace, just like you say. First thing you do is get someone in the group to make you a cue sheet so you can find your own way when you get dropped. Then you won't feel so bad about being slower. Here's what I did to get faster:

    Put away Friel's book. Not applicable. You have B races every Sunday. Whole different deal. You should periodize, but using a different method. Most of the periodization will be taken care of for you by the group ride leader.

    First thing you do is buy a recording, downloadable HRM. I'd recommend the Polar RS800CX. The reason for this is because you'll have to keep track of your time-in-zone for each week. Just guessing isn't good enough. This is much more important than a lighter bike.

    Next thing is to realize that you'll have to be rested for the Sunday ride. Then give that ride everything. I'll frequently have over an hour of LT and over just in that one day. That's the full week's dose. You should try to never get over an hour of LT-and-over per week. You probably don't need to do a formal LT test. You'll figure it out very quickly, and it varies anyway. I never saw much utility in it if you're going to be going all out every week.

    Once you've totally slaughtered yourself on Sunday, the next job is to recover for next week, while still adding base. This is the hard part.

    Monday: I usually hike in Z1 for several hours on Monday. If that's not possible, and it probably isn't, try a long fast-ish walk. 1.5 hrs would be fine. Keep it in Z1. Up and down hill is good. That'll hurt plenty.

    Tuesday: I do a mix of Z1 and either FastPedal or one-legged pedaling for a steady 15-45 minutes. Don't exceed Z2 in the work part. I do the FastPedal at 115-120 cadence and Z2, so low gears. Try to find empty road or use your trainer or rollers. Very important that this be continuous and not interrupted. This is an important recovery ride because it works your legs and neuromuscular coordination, but not your heart. Z1 for warmup and cooldown.

    Wednesday: Z2 on the flat.

    Thursday: This is the day for intervals. Start with Z3 muscle tension intervals for 3 weeks. Then move to Z4 sub-LT intervals for a month. Then do long Z3 high cadence (100+ average) for a month. By then the summer rides will probably be hard enough that you can't do mid-week intervals anymore. If you still have interval energy, switch to 45 second all-out uphill sprints. If on any interval day you can't get your HR up to where it's supposed to be, ride Z2 instead and forget the intervals that week.

    Friday: Z2 on the flat, and not too much. I usually just do an hour.

    Saturday: Rest. Check your tires for glass. Lube your chain. Get your food and gear together for Sunday. No alcohol.

    Sunday: Eat a high-carb breakfast at least 2 hours before the ride. Get there early, so you'll have time to sort your gear, pee, warm up, etc. Presumably you know how to eat and hydrate during the ride. Don't obsess about getting dropped on the early climbs. Just hold it at LT, nice and steady. When you go over the top, get in the drops, keep it at LT, and you'll get them back. They'll back off and rest from the effort. You don't get to do that. When you get stronger you can hit Z5 on the climbs. I used to tell the stronger newbies to hold their wheel until the blood starts from their eyesockets.

    Only take short pulls at the front. At intersections, start a little slower and drift to the back. Tell the ride leader what you're going to do and not to wait for you at the top of every hill. Do the Sunday ride every week. If you miss a week, it'll be a setback. I rode those suckers 52 weeks/year. Occasionally we'd have a snow day but I'm in the PNW, so not often. Riding in the rain is actually fun.

    Tuesday and Thursday are also good days for weights if you want to try doing them. Lift after the ride, never before. Use moderate weights and do sets of 30, just like in the preparation phase in Friel's book. Back when I recovered well, I used to do 3 sets of 30, and found it best to not progress on to the later phases. Mostly this builds late-in-the-ride toughness. You'll need it.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 03-10-10 at 09:37 AM.

  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    And another thing: the schedule I've laid out is not easy. If you have trouble, keep the format, but back off the amount of intensity. If you can't do the long leg work on Tuesday, do it, but do less of it until you get stronger. Etc.

    When I say Z2 ride, mostly cap it there, but it's good to go a little hard every now and again on short rises, etc. Just no long Z3 climbs, etc.
    Last edited by Carbonfiberboy; 03-10-10 at 09:32 AM.

  6. #6
    Because I thought I could ks1g's Avatar
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    +1 to cfb's posts. A starts-next-week-weeknight-multi-group-hammerfest is my weekly "B" race. Fortunately, they provide cue sheets, I know most of the routes by now so I can take short cuts, and usually grab a cue for the next slower group in case I get dropped. My goal for each year has been to move up within my current group or make the jump to the next group.

    Definitely get a route description or better a cue sheet from the ride leader; ask if there's anyone in the group planning on doing a slower ride who you can ride with, see if the ride leader can provide a short cut to a mid-ride rally point so you aren't solo the entire ride (because what's the point of the group ride?). They already know you are slower but still game, when you are riding with them, try to get into a pace line, stay in their draft and never take a pull. Hard as it can be sometimes, ride your own ride. Don't obsess about holding them back - if they were REALLY bothered by it, I think they'd find a way to suggest that this isn't the best ride for you.

    A friend who rides with a similar over-achiever group noticed over the past season that between the weekly rides and a long term weight loss program, he's now hanging with and sometimes dropping some of his group's hammerheads on climbs.

  7. #7
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    Thank you guys, alot of good information there, I was always wondering if you actually needed a rest day after each workout, maybe because im doing alot of Z3, Z4 workouts?

    Ive got a Garmin Edge 305 and download all my data, I love looking at that, but it is depressing on the other hand...

    So to summarise your weekly routine:

    Monday - Rest, or off the bike easy walks etc
    Tuesday - Z1 / Z2 spinning
    Wednesday - Z2 ride
    Thursday - Intervals, Z3 progressing to Z4
    Friday Z2 ride
    Saturday - Rest
    Sunday - Group Ride

    That is alot of Z2 work, will just 1 to 1.5 hour sessions of Z2 be of any benefit to base work, and will the 1 interval session and 1 group ride a week be enough to help improve my speed, I always thought I needed more threshold work and use Z3 instead of Z2 for an hour as that is wasted miles??

    Also, you mention about heart rate, not being able to get it up which could be a sign of overtraining, on the road this is easy, on the turbo this takes ages, it can take me 20min of hard pedalling to get it into z4, on the road I can get it there within 5min!

    Regarding food, ive done loads of research and I always feel I have energy, just the legs don't do my energy levels justice

    Regarding periodization, can you expand on that a bit more?

    Another thing (sorry lots of questions) could you explain the benefits of the high cadence spinning sessions, is it just for recovery or is there something else?

    Thanks again for the advise guys, a big help as it looks like I have it all wrong which could explain why im struggling to get my hr up, and probably why ive had a few colds recently - overtraining!

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    And a ++ to the other posters on this thread.

    Comments:
    Z1 is not that easy a walk. Use your HRM and keep it up to 65%-70% of LTHR. You want to circulate blood through your legs.

    That's not much Z2, really. You'd like to get 6-7 hours/week of Z2, but you can't. So we bias it toward the harder workouts. But yes, it'll help and help a lot.

    The group ride will be plenty to improve your speed. If you have the energy for the Thursday intervals they'll help, too.

    Try hard to stay out of Z3 during mid-week training. You'll get more of that than is good on the group ride. The Z3 I've specified is during carefully targeted intervals, 10-20 minutes at a time, the rest of those rides being Z2. I use 90% of LT, so they could be classed as sub-LT intervals.

    Yes, HR comes up much more easily on the road. Since you have a trainer, you may find the Tuesday workouts are best on it.

    In general, periodization starts by building base, then gradually adding harder efforts and workouts. There are usually stages one tries to go through. The workouts I've suggested do that to some extent. As examples of a macrocycle, I'll usually do the FastPedal workouts all winter, because I think of them as a Fundamental. By now, I'm doing one-legged pedaling on those days because I'm starting to build strength for the summer climbing to come. The muscle tension intervals are for strength and give way to LT intervals for sustained climbing power, which give way to high cadence intervals to increase climbing cadence, which give way to long "sprints" to target anaerobic energy production.

    You should also include mesocycles - three weeks of increasing intensity and volume and then an "easy" week of decreased intensity and volume. You will peak at some point - watch for it so you'll understand what it took to get you there. Unfortunately, you can't hold a peak for long, so try to get it to come at some future ride you'll like to do - a hilly double or something. You probably won't get it to come out right your first year of this, so don't worry about it too much, other than trying to notice.

    The high cadence spinning is to get your motor neurons to fire in the right sequence. Pedaling fast seems to do that the best. Doing it a couple days after a hard ride helps to supple your legs again. A very great deal of being able to ride fast and long is simple pedaling mechanics.

    A few more specifics: During FastPedal, use a very low gear, and pedal as fast as you can and still stay in Z2 and not bounce. 42X25 is not too low. Don't worry if you can't hit over 115 to start with. That comes.

    During OLP, try 2 minutes eash leg, then 2 minutes legs together at 90 cadence and repeat. Do one at 50-55 cadence and the next at 80-85 cadence. Never allow the chain to slacken. Use the same gear for the slow OLP and the legs together.

    During muscle tension intervals, use a long shallow hill (4%-8%) and pedal as close to 50 cadence as you can, in the saddle, while holding your upper body perfectly still. The pros do it in aero position, but I'm not that good and have to use the bar tops. Take a Z2 recovery between intervals that is as long as the interval. Do it until you don't get as far up the hill in the same amount of time. This can also be done on the trainer.

  9. #9
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    Thanks again, your a star

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