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Old 09-25-12, 06:22 PM   #1
cd34
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Faster and Faster, need some training tips

I try to ride a 50k each day and average 28kmh. On Saturday, I have stepped up to 100k, and on Sunday I usually do a 75k. No rest days unless it is raining really hard.

I've set up some long pyramid intervals and am using Strava to track performance and wrote a quick site to check my segment trends to ensure improvement. In the last three months, I've gained about 4kmh, but for the last 30-45 days, I've plateaued. I did bump up from 27kmh to 28kmh fairly consistently in the last week or so.

On Strava segments, I'll hit a 3km segment and average 32kmh and try to keep recovery above 27kmh.

Cadence is one issue. My brain wants to push me back to 75rpm and it is a struggle to keep bringing myself back to 85rpm. I am spending more time in the 80-85rpm range than I used to, but, when I start to feel the pressure, I mash at 75rpm to finish a segment.

I felt really good after my 100k on Saturday - unlike the 75k I did two weeks ago. Eeking out a 50k on that next Sunday was a colossal effort.

I need to concentrate on keeping my cadence in the 80-85rpm range. More intervals? Regrettably, my city is very difficult to ride intervals as there are no simple fixed distances. Our city is a planned community, so, the roads curve to prevent the sun from shining down a street and blinding people too much. We don't have regular city 'blocks' and developments have no set distance between them. Light poles are sporadic at best (underground wiring), so, I've been trying to find some decent roads.

I do have an 'almost' 15k TT loop that I can ride and was thinking of doing that twice, three times a week, then, filling the rest of my riding in as normal.

Thoughts? Pointers? Suggestions?
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Old 09-25-12, 06:36 PM   #2
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What are your goals? Why are you training?

Riding hard every day is a bad way to train. You need both stress and rest to improve, and you need to be reasonbly well rested to do hard training.... if you're tired you can't go hard enough to get maximum benefit.

Do your intervals by time. Recovery between intervals should generally be easy riding.
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Old 09-25-12, 06:50 PM   #3
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You need recovery rides. As in, once a week (or more) go for an hour ride and make 27kph your maximum.
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Old 09-25-12, 10:28 PM   #4
cd34
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Solo Imperial Century in under 5 hours in 2012
Better 15k TT times commensurate with my age bracket - at 31m, would like to be at 23m in 2012

200k/300k/400k/600k Brevets in 2013, 1000k/1200k in late 2013

Possible RAAM attempt in 2014
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Old 09-26-12, 01:52 PM   #5
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Solo Imperial Century in under 5 hours in 2012
Better 15k TT times commensurate with my age bracket - at 31m, would like to be at 23m in 2012

200k/300k/400k/600k Brevets in 2013, 1000k/1200k in late 2013

Possible RAAM attempt in 2014
If you want to do a fast century you should first make sure you have a proper bike fit and that you can comfortably ride in an aero position for 5 hrs.

Next, stop worrying about your average speed as it will just hold you back. If you want to raise your threshold power a steady diet of 2x20 min intervals with 5 min rest is the standard. Do these 3-4 times per week and you should see some gains. Don't worry about what your average speed for the day is, concentrate on the power you can put out during the 20 min interval.

On the days you're not doing intervals go for easier rides. These could be a 1 hr recovery ride or a longer 3-4 hr endurance ride. Again, don't worry about your average speed on these rides. If you ride them too hard you'll interfere with your ability to ride hard during the 20 min intervals.

You want to stress your body and allow it to adapt. If you keep riding the same pace all the time you won't be forcing your body to adapt.

As far as the randonneuring events, I think you just need to ride a lot more. You don't need speed for those.
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Old 09-26-12, 02:03 PM   #6
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What Greg said.

Average speed is a poor metric and leads you to train poorly. Chasing Strava does that too.

Pick up Friel's training bible. It's aimed at road racers so you'll need to keep in mind that except for the TT, your goals are different, but it's still useful for showing you how to find your strengths and weaknesses and to make a training plan. I'd use the same layout (there is a spreadsheet out there) but do somewhat different kinds of training- FTP building intervals and endurance rides, leaving out the shorter higher intensity intervals that you won't need.
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Old 09-26-12, 03:42 PM   #7
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If you want to do a fast century you should first make sure you have a proper bike fit and that you can comfortably ride in an aero position for 5 hrs.

Next, stop worrying about your average speed as it will just hold you back. If you want to raise your threshold power a steady diet of 2x20 min intervals with 5 min rest is the standard. Do these 3-4 times per week and you should see some gains. Don't worry about what your average speed for the day is, concentrate on the power you can put out during the 20 min interval.

On the days you're not doing intervals go for easier rides. These could be a 1 hr recovery ride or a longer 3-4 hr endurance ride. Again, don't worry about your average speed on these rides. If you ride them too hard you'll interfere with your ability to ride hard during the 20 min intervals.
I don't have a power meter currently, so, average speed is what I've been using to judge. However, wind conditions around here are quite variable, so, I don't really know by speed whether it was a good day or not. Was looking at 2x20s three days a week which would allow me to take my longer ride on Saturday.

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Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
Average speed is a poor metric and leads you to train poorly. Chasing Strava does that too.

Pick up Friel's training bible. It's aimed at road racers so you'll need to keep in mind that except for the TT, your goals are different, but it's still useful for showing you how to find your strengths and weaknesses and to make a training plan. I'd use the same layout (there is a spreadsheet out there) but do somewhat different kinds of training- FTP building intervals and endurance rides, leaving out the shorter higher intensity intervals that you won't need.
I ordered a copy of Friel's book yesterday as it seemed to be highly recommended.

My current riding is roughly two hours per night with a loop that comprises a number of Strava segments so I can gauge relative performance, but, when I hit the plateau I got stuck.

22 years since riding competitively and I don't recall ever hitting a plateau like this that more riding didn't fix, but, that wasn't helping, so, figured I'd ask for advice.

Thanks for the pointers!
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Old 09-26-12, 05:50 PM   #8
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I don't have a power meter currently, so, average speed is what I've been using to judge. However, wind conditions around here are quite variable, so, I don't really know by speed whether it was a good day or not. Was looking at 2x20s three days a week which would allow me to take my longer ride on Saturday.
You don't need a powermeter. If you have a HRM that would be helpful but you can do these on perceived exertion. They don't need to be done at a precise power number, usually a range between 90-100% of your threshold power is good. If you start doing them regularly you will understand how they feel throughout the interval.

If you do them at constant power they should feel hard, but manageable, for the first 5 min. You should be breathing hard but not panting. After 5 min you might start to feel a burning sensation in your legs and it will become more difficult. Keep riding on the edge of that burning sensation. The last 5 min will be harder but the end will be in sight so you should be able to make it. If you're totally gassed at the end of 20 min you probably went too hard and may have trouble on your next interval. Your HR should slowly rise throughout the interval.

A hill with a steady grade that is an excellent substitute for a powermeter. You can use speed on the hill as your guide. If you have a straight flat section without traffic you might be able to use speed to maintain a steady effort but I don't have access to anything that isn't affected by wind or vehicles. Below is an interval from yesterday. Note how the power is relatively constant but the speed varies from about 32 to 42kph. I was doing a loop that took around 12min.
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File Type: jpg 20min interval2.jpg (48.3 KB, 8 views)

Last edited by gregf83; 09-26-12 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 09-26-12, 10:23 PM   #9
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A hill with a steady grade that is an excellent substitute for a powermeter. You can use speed on the hill as your guide. If you have a straight flat section without traffic you might be able to use speed to maintain a steady effort but I don't have access to anything that isn't affected by wind or vehicles. Below is an interval from yesterday. Note how the power is relatively constant but the speed varies from about 32 to 42kph. I was doing a loop that took around 12min.
South Florida, so, hills are few and far between. I was going to ride this twice, three times a week: http://app.strava.com/segments/2275724 As straight as I have without any stops, though three roundabouts. Typically our wind comes from the East so it would be a crosswind for that route.

So I should find a speed that is 90-100%, but, remain constant - this actually is where I was going to focus on 85rpm. 100% effort at 85rpm is roughly my 52/16 for a 15k.

I'm debating which Garmin to get - looking hard at the 500 with cadence/heart rate, but, the 800 looks more useful for randonneurs.
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Old 09-27-12, 08:57 AM   #10
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South Florida, so, hills are few and far between. I was going to ride this twice, three times a week: http://app.strava.com/segments/2275724 As straight as I have without any stops, though three roundabouts. Typically our wind comes from the East so it would be a crosswind for that route.

So I should find a speed that is 90-100%, but, remain constant - this actually is where I was going to focus on 85rpm. 100% effort at 85rpm is roughly my 52/16 for a 15k.

I'm debating which Garmin to get - looking hard at the 500 with cadence/heart rate, but, the 800 looks more useful for randonneurs.
If you're going to get a garmin you should base your pacing off HR. If you look at my graph above my HR is reasonably steady and will let you know if you are backing off and need to push harder. If you use speed a truck driving by will up your speed by a couple of mph or if you keep your speed constant it will reduce your power significantly.
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Old 09-27-12, 08:06 PM   #11
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If you use speed a truck driving by will up your speed by a couple of mph or if you keep your speed constant it will reduce your power significantly.
Thankfully, that road is very lightly travelled. The few times I've ridden it, I've only seen one car. It is sort of at the edge of our city, very limited access, but, point taken and understood.

Should have a Garmin in the next week or so and should have the Cyclist's Bible tomorrow (hopefully).

Thanks again for the tips.
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