Best Bang for the Buck
Let's say you're limited to riding 5 hrs a week. What is the best way to train? Five 1 hr rides at 95-100% of your FTP and 2 days off the bike?
I'm kind of starting over after 2 yrs off the bike and I live in a very hilly area. Even when I go out to try and take it easy the hills usually put my normalized power at around 90%-100% of my FTP every time on a little 1 hr ride. Am I going to burn out if I keep that up? Do I need to concentrate on getting recovery rides in the mix?
It depends. What are your goals? Are you trying to be a crit specialist? A road racer? Survive a century? Or just trying to get "fit"?
It's great if you can do it but I suspect that if you can your FTP is set too low. I find 1 hr with NP at 100% FTP is easier than 1 hr with AP at 100%.
Originally Posted by PeanutDance
You might have a look at Carmichael's plan for the time crunched cyclist.
Yup, I'm sure you can get some reasonable answers here on the forum, but for what you want this book is pretty much custom written for you:
Originally Posted by gregf83
Originally Posted by jmX
One important thing is your approach to your limited time. So you realize you don't have enough time to train. What is the best response? Well, you could do what the majority would do and think: “It’s not worth it, I’ll train tomorrow.” Or you could be positive and proactive and think: “How can I use this hour to get the maximum possible benefit? Maybe a one-hour time trial? Or an intensive interval session?”
From a strict point of time effectiveness, I would recommend you to mix your FTP workouts with VO2 max sessions. Why? In my view, there is a common myth that training at threshold power is the optimum way to train. In fact, there is nothing magical about training exactly at functional threshold power. This is because training a little above or below threshold power boosts performance in almost the same way.
I think athletes should train close to their VO2 max because it helps them improve BOTH their VO2 max and threshold power. A combination of VO2 max and threshold power training can benefit ALL riders and, done correctly, they will achieve fantastic results using either threshold or VO2 intervals - or possibly a perfect combination of both.
When performed at the right intensity, VO2 intervals can have a positive impact on your performance and they are also are extremely time effective. I believe that riders of all levels should include them in their sessions and that they should definitely become an integral part of training programs for elite and professional cyclists.
Elite and pro riders need training at (or very close to) VO2max to keep further progress. Thus, VO2 intervals are always included in the training programs I design for top athletes and I will also strongly recommend them to any ambitious athlete who wants to continue their progress.
What are you "training" for?
Originally Posted by PeanutDance
Do you race or do you just want to be in good shape? If you don't have a goal you really aren't training, you are just riding.
Thanks for all your replies. I'll definitely check out the time crunched cyclist and try and throw in some VO2 sessions.
I'm not training for anything in particular, I don't race or anything, I just want to get as fast as I can. I guess one of my goals has always been to get my FTP up to 300W, maybe enter something like the Triple Bypass or Ride the Rockies. In the future I suppose I would like to try road races but I'm guessing that means lots of base miles and a lot more time on the bike.
you dont need that book!!
your 1 hour ftp efforts are good for limited time. you can also break those efforts up into 20min intervals which would make it eaiser on you mentally. A group ride on the weekends will help you get in your vo2 intervals too, just do 3 min timed intervals on the front.
tues 1 hour ftp intervals
wed 1 hour at sweet spot
sat 2 hour group ride w/ timed ftp
sun 1 hour sweet spot or 85%ftp depending on how you feel
You can make serious imporvements in ftp with only 5 hours.
The Carmichael plan is good - it also works, as I've done part of a training cycle and definitely improved.
The only caveats:
- Powertap is recommended, as HR is a poor measure for the short intervals as it lags far too much for short intervals like 1min on 1min off. You can, however, use trainer speed to extrapolate power based on published curves for KK and Cycleops2 trainers.
- You'll be doing a lot of trainer time, as you can't really 'time-crunch' without cutting out hills and coasting. Typical weekday ride is 60-90mins on the trainer. This can get old quick if you don't like your trainer.
- You still put in real training time on weekends. A 2-3 hour ride on one weekend day and a 1.5-2.5 hr ride the other weekend day on average. It's not epic mileage, but for a typical racing roadie, that's enough distance to put some serious intensity and endurance in to improve at any level.
Totally disagree with this. I spend half my year as a triathlete without a discrete race in mind, but still doing regular speedwork sessions and 3-4 hr rides, because I enjoy being in near-race shape without the structure and time commitment I need for racing season. I don't think you'd call my typical offseason workout schedule a walk in the park; it most definitely qualifies as training, even if it's not quite as intense or high volume as racing season. I think most competitive road racers are in a similar situation - they go pretty hard on training even when there's no goal race (but do go harder when there is a goal race.)
Originally Posted by estabro