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Developing Strengths vs. Weaknesses

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Developing Strengths vs. Weaknesses

Old 07-29-07, 04:53 PM
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EvilGoodGuy
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Developing Strengths vs. Weaknesses

I'm relatively new to cycling (6months pure cycling, 2 years as a duathlete) but I've noticed that I tend to enjoy 2x 20min at FTP in contrast to short 30sec to 1 min bursts. Looking at my power profile, my FTP has developed much faster than my sprinting power. Currently, I do two threshold workouts and two sprint workouts per week. At what point, do you decide its better to develop your strengths than weaknesses?
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Old 07-29-07, 04:57 PM
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What races do you plan on doing?
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Old 07-29-07, 05:03 PM
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More often than not, I race crits due to availability. However, I'm not a fan of crits. I'd prefer to do better in road races.
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Old 07-29-07, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by EvilGoodGuy View Post
At what point, do you decide its better to develop your strengths than weaknesses?
Look at your target events, identify the attributes necessary for success, assess yourself relative to these attributes and identify those that are limiting your performance, develop a plan to improve those areas which are limiting, re-assess periodically and adjust accordingly. You'll notice there is no explicit account of strengths and weaknesses.
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Old 07-29-07, 08:05 PM
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Also, consider targeting events that exploit your strengths. You should develop your weaknesses so they are managed, but concentrate on developing your strengths and use those to crush souls.
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Old 07-29-07, 08:39 PM
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For most domestic racing I would suggest the following:

If your strength is sprinting work on your strength, if your weakness is sprinting work on your weakness. This advise will serve you well, especially in the lower Cats.
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Old 07-30-07, 01:11 PM
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The way I've always thought about it: train your weaknesses; race your strengths. Revisit and change training/racing strategy as necessary.

I realize that's vague, but it seems to work for me. YMMV, of course.
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Old 07-30-07, 01:20 PM
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Of course you enjoy 2x20' over 30" max! But don't think that you need tons of anaerobic stuff. Small bits will do just fine and most of that can come from races/group rides. Also, to keep the short stuff more enjoyable, do it fartlek style. Jump to catch trucks, beat red lights, etc...
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Old 07-30-07, 07:29 PM
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Yeah, having a quick jump and high sprinting top-speed will help you more with racing in the U.S. than aerobic development. Especially if your FTP has been increasing at a faster rate than your 30-60s bursts. Do more sprints and intervals.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:58 PM
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At what point do you train your strengths rather than weaknesses? Assuming you are doing all three race types (TT, Crit, and RR) you start training strengths rather than weaknesses when you get to be a pro. I don't believe that anyone should specialize early in their racing careers at all. Give it a few years of solid training and ask the question again.

If you plan on only doing one type of race (TTs for instance) then you can train more specifically for them.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
Give it a few years of solid training and ask the question again.

If you plan on only doing one type of race (TTs for instance) then you can train more specifically for them.
Agreed. Early on it's hard to define what you're good at, because physiologically you haven't developed. You might be a good TT guy once you have trained for a few years, you might be a good sprinter if you've spent some time working on that.

That being said, there's a pretty clear path to becoming better (though not necessarily "good" ) at each discipline, as the Doc has stated.

If your lucky, you'll find one thing you're really good at, concentrate on it, and lay wood ala the Doc. If you're not, you'll find you're slightly above average at everything, then you can go suffer in stage races against the genetically gifted.
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Old 07-30-07, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DannoXYZ View Post
Yeah, having a quick jump and high sprinting top-speed will help you more with racing in the U.S. than aerobic development. Especially if your FTP has been increasing at a faster rate than your 30-60s bursts. Do more sprints and intervals.

Oddly enough, damn near every Pro/1/2 and 3's race I've been in or seen this year has had a break go off, and stay off the front to take the top placings. Very few mass sprints for the win.

So yes, while a good sprint will help you in the 4s and 5s, once you hit the 3s, you better have the engine to make and stick it in a break. Unless you have an absolutely incredible team who will chase down anyone that even sniffs still air and provides a wicked leadout, you gotta be able to burn for a long time.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
Agreed. Early on it's hard to define what you're good at, because physiologically you haven't developed. You might be a good TT guy once you have trained for a few years, you might be a good sprinter if you've spent some time working on that.

That being said, there's a pretty clear path to becoming better (though not necessarily "good" ) at each discipline, as the Doc has stated.

If your lucky, you'll find one thing you're really good at, concentrate on it, and lay wood ala the Doc. If you're not, you'll find you're slightly above average at everything, then you can go suffer in stage races against the genetically gifted.
If you have reliable coaching and mentoring assisting in indentifying your true strength I would agree. If you are mislead, eg a natural sprinter gets trained to be a TT guy, you will still be a pretty good sprinter but nowhere near your potential. IMO this happens all too often.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
Oddly enough, damn near every Pro/1/2 and 3's race I've been in or seen this year has had a break go off, and stay off the front to take the top placings. Very few mass sprints for the win.

So yes, while a good sprint will help you in the 4s and 5s, once you hit the 3s, you better have the engine to make and stick it in a break. Unless you have an absolutely incredible team who will chase down anyone that even sniffs still air and provides a wicked leadout, you gotta be able to burn for a long time.

Agree with this in a race situation, however having a sprint also means having tactical speed necessary to GET in a break in higher cats. So we are talking about more than just winning field sprints. In domestic racing no sprint/speed = defensless. Racing a lot will develop the necessary recovery in leau of specific LT or interval training. But you need to train your body very specifically to gain acceleration and top speed.

We are riding Crits not grand tours.
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Old 07-31-07, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Voodoo76 View Post
We are riding Crits not grand tours.
Around here we live on a diet of hilly to mountainous road races. Other than the mid week Crit series and State Crit Championships, there are no Crits on the race calendar
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Old 07-31-07, 01:20 PM
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Crits outnumber RRs in the SC, NC, Ga area. I'm built to climb...
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Old 07-31-07, 02:32 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Around here we live on a diet of hilly to mountainous road races. Other than the mid week Crit series and State Crit Championships, there are no Crits on the race calendar
Albuquerque: Quite possibly the promised land.
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Old 07-31-07, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by EvilGoodGuy View Post
I'm relatively new to cycling (6months pure cycling, 2 years as a duathlete) but I've noticed that I tend to enjoy 2x 20min at FTP in contrast to short 30sec to 1 min bursts.
It is pretty obvious why you are better at FTP than bursts. You spent 2 years doing Time Trials, and you are one sick man to enjoy Threshold training, haha.
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Old 07-31-07, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Around here we live on a diet of hilly to mountainous road races. Other than the mid week Crit series and State Crit Championships, there are no Crits on the race calendar
In Northern California and here in Nevada we get a wide mix. Flat road races, hilly road races, flat crits, hilly crits, flat TT's and hilly TT's. No wonder why we have a lot of good stage racers.
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Old 08-01-07, 05:47 AM
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Guess I lived in the Midwest too long. 40 crits a year can do things to your mind! I still would suggest that a novice cyclist concentrate on training speed and jump regardless of the racing mix. The greatest strength you can have, and the most common weakness.
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