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I need a better training regimen

Old 07-29-07, 12:34 PM
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F = MA
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I need a better training regimen

According to Powertap Agent, I'm spending ~40% of my race in the recovery power zone and ~30% in the Max power zone - typical of a local crit I would assume.
One thing that concerns me is that I'm spending ~80% of my race in max HR zone. That's not too surprising, but I think that is what limits my performance in the final sprint.

Which training regimen would benefit my races the most?
1) Train my HR zones so I spend 80% of the race in the endurance zone rather than max
2) Forget my HR and just do power intervals

I need to change something in my training, because I can get close but never actually get that #1 spot
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Old 07-29-07, 02:09 PM
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Steady state intervals
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Old 07-29-07, 02:10 PM
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Are *you* setting the HR zones or are you letting PowerAgent do it for you?
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Old 07-29-07, 04:04 PM
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Forget heart rate, start doing 2x20's, 3x20's or long steady state FTP work (I often do 90 min - 2 hrs @ 90-91% FTP, which I find much more bearable than 2x20's @ FTP). Your aerobic system will come in line.
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Old 07-29-07, 07:04 PM
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Yeah, I set my power and HR zones myself.

So just train to raise FTP?
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Old 07-29-07, 07:18 PM
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maybe the lack of desired results is not training related but rather just not racing properly.
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Old 07-31-07, 07:37 AM
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Can someone please clarify 2x20's and 2x20's?
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Old 07-31-07, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by F = MA View Post
I need to change something in my training, because I can get close but never actually get that #1 spot
How close are you getting?
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Old 07-31-07, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by VT Biker View Post
Can someone please clarify 2x20's and 2x20's?
2 is the quantity, 20 is the duration in minutes. Rest period is usually 2-5 mins.
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Old 07-31-07, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Squint View Post
2 is the quantity, 20 is the duration in minutes. Rest period is usually 2-5 mins.
I would think that the rest time is more like 5 to 10 min for this particular set.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Cromulent View Post
How close are you getting?
4,5,6,9,10 ...
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Old 07-31-07, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by F = MA View Post
4,5,6,9,10 ...
That's really close. Maybe there's just something tactically you need to do to get the win. Can you take a flyer before the final sprint to distance yourself from the group? Or is there any way you can conserve a little more energy during the race?

If you're getting fourth, you should be able to win. I am, of course, speaking as someone who's never even seen fourth place. But I need to be in better shape and race smarter. In other words, I'm old, slow, and I suck. From your results it seems like the fitness is more than there.

It depends on what you're doing now, but I recommend a group sprint ride for the all-out efforts and the tactics that go into it. Just my humble and probably ill-informed opinion.
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Old 07-31-07, 01:34 PM
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What's your weakness? Is it your sprint, your ability to go with the surges/attacks, or are you getting to the finish completely wasted? Or is your fitness solid and is it your tactics that are the issue?

NomadVW's advice is on the money for the average racer because while most of us think that our limiter is our sprint, or our ability to go anaerobic and recover, most people arrive at the finish of a race wasted (weak FTP).

Raise you FTP, and you have a solid foundation upon which to build your 5 minute power, your 1 minute power, and arrive at the finish fresher, and ready to attack/sprint.

Andrew Coggan, power guru extraordinaire, spent 3 months this year working on his FTP (which by the is his strength). His program (which he shared on the power forum) looked like this...

M: 1 h @ approx. 90% of FTP
T: 1 h w/ 2 x 20 min @ 100% of FTP (1 hour sustainable power)
W: same as M
Th: same as T
F: same as M
S and S: 1-2 h at level 3 - (75% -90% of FTP)

good luck

gene r
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Old 07-31-07, 04:50 PM
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I don't think its a matter of power - I think the power is there. During the race, my HR is almost always at or near threshold (185bpm). I thought I should work to lower that during the race
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Old 07-31-07, 05:56 PM
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I think you should do sprint training. If you are finishing in the top 5-10, you have the LT power to hang and be near the front going into the final sprint. You just need the guns to finish the job.
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Old 07-31-07, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by F = MA View Post
I don't think its a matter of power - I think the power is there. During the race, my HR is almost always at or near threshold (185bpm). I thought I should work to lower that during the race
Again, you can have power but if you're running at/near threshold for the entire event - you don't have the aerobic system to sustain it. The determining factor to performance is your functional threshold. If it's not high enough, and you're operating above it for the large portions of the race, you're going to be tapped by the end. If you don't feel tapped at the end then this may not be your problem - it's probably race tactics. Of course, if you're working too hard on the front/outside of the pack, it could be a combination of the two.

How long did you train "base" before moving into the higher intensity efforts? You will not achieve maximum performance without a solid aerobic base to build on. This base is not long slow distance, it's a steady dosage of functional threshold training to establish a baseline for higher intensity. Too many people I've talked to in my area and through email correspondence have moved into hill intervals, sprint workouts, etc... without having built an aerobic base and are continually frustrated by their lack of ability to respond at the end of a race, long group ride, training day. If you can put out 700 watts for 1 minute on fresh legs, but show up to the last 1 minute of race having worked @/above threshold (whether due to poor tactics OR low FTP) for the last 45 minutes, that 1 minute power is useless to you.

(edited: on my way out the door now to do 2 hrs @ 90%, mmm.. pain)
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Old 07-31-07, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by F = MA View Post
4,5,6,9,10 ...
Without knowing anything else, just looking at those results, I dont think its a matter of training, but rather an issue of either just racing better (positioning, timing, bike handling, etc.) or you just need things to go your way (luck) and you'll get a podium or win soon. When it comes right down to it, the difference between winning and 10th is usually a matter of race smarts and skills moreso than fitness.
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Old 07-31-07, 07:36 PM
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Originally Posted by F = MA View Post
I don't think its a matter of power - I think the power is there. During the race, my HR is almost always at or near threshold (185bpm). I thought I should work to lower that during the race
Actually, that's exactly what it is. Being a small little guy, I don't have the huge max power output like the 180lb dudes. But, I can produce just as much if not more than them for the duration of a crit. And I generally like to think that I use it sensibly. The power is "there" for the big guys too, but I'm better at using mine.

So, basically what you need to do is increase your ability to produce power at threshold, or in other terms, increase the amount of power that you're producing at that threshold of 185bpm. Then, you'll be able to stay in the field and at the front at the same amount of power output as before, but due to your increased fitness level, your heart rate at that wattage will be lower.
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Old 08-01-07, 05:44 AM
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Duke and Nomad hit it right. You need more sustained power. If you are racing 80-100% of a crit at, or near your red zone and the guys winning your event are racing in the red only 20-50% of the time, you'll be cooked when it comes crunch time.
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Old 08-01-07, 08:58 AM
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Timely thread. I am sprint challenged. I've been in a position to win 4 out my last 5 races (your basic local 4/5 crits and a cat 5 at Prospect Park) but never close the deal. I have decent speed and have bridged to breaks. My observed max HR is 187 and I can ride 5 miles with an avg HR of 180 (pulling possibly meaningless data from a 2 man break in a recent crit).

Reviewing the data from Sunday, my heart rate hit zone 5 (~168, letting the Garmin 305 determine it) only 4 times before the final mile. I was well rested and when it was time to go, I was there. I flatted that time but I was fighting for 2nd place. The winner, who has beaten me before, is just that much faster than me when it's on.

My best guess is that my flat road, still air maximum speed is about 33 mph. Living near the ocean, flat is easy to find, still air not so much.

Our team monster thinks I need to concentrate on pure, 40 pedal stroke sprints. Thoughts?
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Old 08-01-07, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mfennell View Post
Timely thread. I am sprint challenged. I've been in a position to win 4 out my last 5 races (your basic local 4/5 crits and a cat 5 at Prospect Park) but never close the deal. I have decent speed and have bridged to breaks. My observed max HR is 187 and I can ride 5 miles with an avg HR of 180 (pulling possibly meaningless data from a 2 man break in a recent crit).

Reviewing the data from Sunday, my heart rate hit zone 5 (~168, letting the Garmin 305 determine it) only 4 times before the final mile. I was well rested and when it was time to go, I was there. I flatted that time but I was fighting for 2nd place. The winner, who has beaten me before, is just that much faster than me when it's on.

My best guess is that my flat road, still air maximum speed is about 33 mph. Living near the ocean, flat is easy to find, still air not so much.

Our team monster thinks I need to concentrate on pure, 40 pedal stroke sprints. Thoughts?

The two statements I put in bold tell it all. Either you need serious work on your technique, or you are "fast twitch chellenged". Which one is it? or is it both?

Don't worry though. If you are strong, you'll fly off to wins soon enough, just have to be aggressive. If it's a sprint techinique thing holding you back, then by all means, learn by doing.

btw- there are tons of ProTour guys that can't sprint over 40mph without a helping wind, but they can go 34mph for long stretches and 25mph all day.

Last edited by YMCA; 08-01-07 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 08-01-07, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
The two statements I put in bold tell it all. Either you need serious work on your technique, or you are "fast twitch chellenged". Which one is it? or is it both?
I dunno. That's what I'm trying to work out. I guess 33 is pretty slow but people aren't exactly running away from me. 1 or 2 bike lengths. (Caveat: 4/5 races...)

In retrospect, I see where better timing might have made the difference in a couple of the races. I'm getting a good feel for how hard I can go for longer distances but not at an all-out effort. As a result I'm reactive, rather than proactive.

In fact, 33 may be too high. I'm looking at some data from training rides and seeing 34/35 peaks at our little sprint spots at 20 & 30 miles and I know we always have at least some tail wind. 28/29 on the same day sprinting into the wind. Call it 32. sigh...
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Old 08-01-07, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by mfennell View Post
As a result I'm reactive, rather than proactive.

Therein lies a big issue with lower cats. Cat3-4-5's have many bunch sprints. Too many. Seems like most of the guys are worrying about getting a top10 or 20 and not worrying about winning.

There are always going to be a couple of guys that can sprint 38-42mph in those cats after getting drug around steadily for an hour. If you are not one of them, then start being proactive.

"First or die trying", that should be your mantra. After a while, you'll start getting more confidence in your ability to attack and not overanalyze every situation. Your main goal should be to learn through relentless aggression, not to stagnate hanging in the pack, hoping to get another top5.
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Old 08-01-07, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by YMCA View Post
Therein lies a big issue with lower cats. Cat3-4-5's have many bunch sprints. Too many. Seems like most of the guys are worrying about getting a top10 or 20 and not worrying about winning.

There are always going to be a couple of guys that can sprint 38-42mph in those cats after getting drug around steadily for an hour. If you are not one of them, then start being proactive.

"First or die trying", that should be your mantra. After a while, you'll start getting more confidence in your ability to attack and not overanalyze every situation. Your main goal should be to learn through relentless aggression, not to stagnate hanging in the pack, hoping to get another top5.

He speaketh the truth. If you are sprint challenged, you need to open up the gas as hard and as often as your body will allow during the course of the race, to break down the legs of those who might be faster than you in the finishing gallop, or to get away in general.

Now, I'm not saying launch a suicide attack and get yourself blown out the back two laps later. I'm saying that you need to get to the point where you can throw multiple attacks up the road, and if the right combination of 3 or 4 other dudes comes with you, you can make it stick to the line. Then your chances will be significantly better against 4 other guys who have put themselves in the pain cave for the last hour with you, than against 3 sprinters who haven't sniffed clean air all day.

Learning how to sprint in the pack still has it's place, obviously, but some people aren't ever going to win a field sprint, regardless of the category. I haven't quite resigned myself to that state just yet, but it's getting there. This year, I've either made the break, or blown up and been pack fill in crits. I've been places 3rd through 11th, and 28th to around 40th. No middle-high pack finishes.
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Old 08-02-07, 11:23 AM
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Thanks guys. I guess I need to: a) work on my weaknesses and b) race to my strengths, these things being relative.

Certainly the most fun I've had in a race was bridging to a 2 man break, dropping one, and working with the remaining guy to the finish. Where he beat me to the line.
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