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Which workouts prepared you best for a 40K TT?

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Which workouts prepared you best for a 40K TT?

Old 05-17-10, 07:37 PM
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Which workouts prepared you best for a 40K TT?

I've got a 40K TT in three weeks. I've been using Friel's book to guide my training and felt well-prepared for the 20K TT I did last week. Visualizing how I would ride the 20K course helped a lot, and honestly my sessions on the trainer were tougher than the actual race.

I'm finding it difficult to visualize how the 40K TT might shake out. I'd like to be disciplined enough to break the race into four sections and build my effort as each section passes by the boards. The course is a flat loop.

Curious what kinds of workouts you all do to prepare for such 40K TT efforts. I want to get in a zone that feels as much like the actual race as possible.

Thanks
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Old 05-17-10, 07:47 PM
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I know when I asked a similar question a few weeks ago, L responded by saying that he was preparing for upcoming TTs by just doing TTs on similar courses. Helps you to prepare mentally and physically. I also think that raising ftp is of priority, so that would lead me to believe that 5*5*1 and 2*20' intervals would also be good training. But I'm sure some of the more educated guys on here can fill you in with more details.
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Old 05-18-10, 04:55 AM
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It's hard to describe how a 40k feels actually. To me the only way to really prepare for a long TT is by doing long TTs. I don't have the stomach to do solo intervals of 60:00, so I am fortunate to live in a place where there is a TT every week (including two different 40k courses and a 20 miler). I haven't found much in common between 20k pacing and 40k pacing. Generally, I will hold back quite a bit on the first 30:00 of the 40k and after that, the endorphins should have kicked in anyway and I can treat the rest of it like an all-out 20k effort.

That said, climbing Whiteface is a one-hour TT for me. Even though I was as alone as possible (the whole thing is closed until May 21) it felt a lot like a 40k, except for the low cadence and climbing position.
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Old 05-18-10, 05:31 AM
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Thanks guys, I've been leaning toward adding a race-type ride to my training, problem is finding a course with no stops! I alternate between 2x20s and shorter intervals when on the trainer, now I need to get 60 mins uninterrupted on the road. It is doable, but will involve 1500 feet of climbing. Oh well...
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Old 05-18-10, 08:04 AM
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4X15 threshold intervals
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Old 05-18-10, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55 View Post
4X15 threshold intervals
haven't tried these yet, how much rest in between?
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Old 05-18-10, 08:52 AM
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Assuming you've been doing the threshold work, I'd start doing TT intervals, i.e. 8-10 minutes pretty much all you got, which should be something between 103 and 108% of FTP.

Personally, I would not suggest a steady diet of 40k TT's in training. It's going to be a killer mentally, and I think you'll get faster with some over threshold work.

4-5 TT intervals will be pretty close to the workload you'll get in your 40k, are much easier to do psychologically, and will build your speed.
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Old 05-18-10, 09:50 AM
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While I agree that shorter efforts should be part of the mix, I have been mixing in one long TT effort (40-60 min) per week. I don't do enough TTs to get used to hammering for over an hour. As hard as that might be mentally, I think it's very hard to race at a distance/time span that you're not familiar with from training.
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Old 05-19-10, 06:25 AM
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3 weeks isn't much time..

I wrote the following note up, which was basically a blog, on my training for the Florida State Championship TT. It was my first 40k, I did it on a road bike w/clip-ons, and came in at 55:48 which was good enough to put me in 3rd place for both cat3 and 40-44 (and 35-39, and I would have won 30-34).

The State TT championship is on May 1st. It's a pancake flat 40k, it'll also be my first official 40k. And I'm doing it on a road bike with clip-ons.

Six weeks ago is when we found out that the date had been moved from May 29th up by 4 weeks. Needless to say, many people who had based their training plans on a May 29th date, myself included, were surprised by this date change. One person even implied this just goes to show how little respect TT's get in Florida.

At any rate, knowing I had to kick it into high gear and get serious with my training, I adjusted my schedule accordingly.

Block 1
At any rate, coming into the first training block, I really wanted to focus on threshold work and raising my threshold power. Block one gave me the opportunity to get my body back used to doing 20' intervals and suffering for extended periods of time.

I came into the first block with my threshold power sitting somewhere between 310 and 315w. To achieve my primary goal (breaking 60 minutes in the 40k), I knew I needed to raise my threshold power to as high as possible, and since my peak power in 2009 was about 10w higher than where I was sitting in mid-March, I knew I had room for improvement. My schedule for block 1 essentially came down to plenty of threshold work.

Mondays are always rest days for me, but Tuesdays I did a series of intervals on the computrainer at the UF Sports Performance Center. These intervals were basically six sets of 5' intervals with only 1' of recovery, at about 105-110% of my threshold. Surprisingly, the first time I did one of these workouts it was more challenging than I thought it would be, and by the 35th minute into the session my HR was close to my vo2max range (191).

I alternated Wednesdays and Thursdays with each other, depending on how my legs felt. One of the days I did 3x20' intervals, trying to push myself above threshold for each of them, but usually only succeeding on the first two and then cracking a little on the final 20' interval resulting in averaging about 95-98% of threshold for that final effort. The other day I just did a 3-3.5 hour endurance ride, strictly in zone 2 (hr in the 130s-150s, power from 180-210).

I celebrated most Fridays with a nice easy 90 minute to 2 hour "piano ride" with some friends. These rides almost always consisted of us rolling around at 12-15mph while trying to carry on a discussion over the noise of weekend traffic and wind.

Saturday's were either a race (see Sugarloaf), or the local GCC hammerfest. And Sunday's were more of the same.

Normally between training blocks I take a full week for recovery, but I was already under the gun because of the date shift. So, after the last 3x20' session in Block 1, I took a "compressed/accelerated recovery week" -- basically I hopped off the bike on Wednesday morning, then drove down to S. Florida and stayed away from the bike for five days, I skipped the final weekend in Block 1, and instead using that for recovery by taking my god children to the fair.

Block 2
After some coaxing on his part, Jeff convinced me to do some vo2 work in block 2. I really really really hate vo2 work because, quite frankly, it hurts like hell. There is no way to sugar coat it, when your heart rate is just shy of maximum for the duration of an interval, you're suffering. In my case, being a "hummingbird" and having a max hr of 206, vo2 work means bringing my HR up and over 191bpm -- not fun.

Also, because the duration of the vo2 work is so short, it's really beneficial to use a powermeter to help meter the effort. Although I have a Quarq powermeter, the vo2 work was done at the Sports Performance Center on their computrainer.

The first week I was supposed to do 8x3' intervals @370w. Unfortunately, the computrainer was a little messed up and according to my own powermeter, the first three intervals were done at around 400w. This left me pretty cooked, and I blew up spectacularly on #4. But after about 15 minutes of easy spinning I did another 5x3' intervals @370 (we had to manually adjust the computrainer, it was reading 350w when my powermeter was reading 370w).

Because we are running a local TT series in Gainesville, and that event coincided with week 1 of block 2, I did my 3x20's on that first Wednesday and rode easy on Thursday and Friday, hoping to go into the local TT with fresh legs and using it to gauge my fitness.

There's an old saying, "don't mess with success," and I forgot about it on the Saturday of that TT. I changed up my breakfast routine, and let's just say the change led to miserable failure. Although I hoped to hammer the hell out of the TT, I showed up at the TT course feeling ill, and I wasn't even able to maintain the same wattages I had been doing on my 3x20's.

I wasn't even close.

But, I wasn't discouraged, I just thought of it as a learning experience and moved on. Going into week 2 of the 2nd block, Jeff had sent the computrainer to be fixed and he surprised me on Tuesday with 8x3' intervals at 380w. Although I busted through the first five pretty easily, I cracked hard on # 6 and was sent home with my tail between my legs.

I followed up with a recovery ride on Wednesday, and then Thursday morning I did 2x30' intervals with only 5' of recovery between them, with the idea being to get my body used to doing longer efforts while minimizing the recovery. Being the longest intervals I had done in 2010 to date, I wanted to keep my effort at about 95% just to be able to make sure I finished both of them. Not being entirely sure where my threshold power was sitting, I gauged my effort based on my HR and my perceived effort, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I averaged right around 310w for both intervals yet felt like I still had gas in the tank after.

Having done a hard effort Thursday morning, I did a recovery spin Thursday evening just to flush the legs out.

I followed up Friday with another 2 hour "piano" ride with Mike and Jayson, then Saturday was once again the local hammerfest. This past Sunday I rolled around for 120 minutes in zone 1, pre-riding the TT course with Jayson, and then Sandy and I did a yoga class in the evening to help stretch out my sore leg muscles. If you're feeling tight, there's nothing like yoga for stretching out.

Final week, Block 2
My plan for this week was to do vo2's on Tuesday, a Wednesday "easy ride", and a 50' interval on Thursday before beginning to taper.

Tuesday, Jeff beat me up again with the 8x3' @ 380w intervals. However, I think resting on Sunday rather than hammering myself to smithereens paid off as I smashed through all of the intervals and felt like I could do another set. My body was feeling good, and I was definitely making progress.

Wednesday I rode easy for 2 hours, but in the middle of it I threw out a 20' effort at just under 330w. In all honesty, because of some work related stress I had intended to do my 50' interval Wednesday afternoon instead of Thursday, but 19 minutes into the effort I just lost interest. It wasn't that I was particularly fatigued, I just "sat up" -- strange. Still, I was really surprised to see that 329w number, especially since I had been gauging my effort on RPE, but I knew I still wanted to get that one final 50' effort in just so my body would know how to suffer for long periods of time, and more importantly, to let my mind know it could suffer for long periods of time.

After the "miserable failure, but partial success" on Wednesday, I decided to get a solid nights sleep and hit the sack by 8PM. I woke up feeling energized and refreshed at 6AM Thursday morning, and I could tell just by how I was feeling that I'd get that last 50' interval out of the way. I ate a banana and cliff bar, filled my water bottles with water, and then waited for the sun to come up before hitting the road.

This time the goal was to just do 50', and try to keep the effort between 95-98%, so there would be a bit of gas still in the tank. Given that I basically had pretty tired legs being at the end of the block, and I did the effort on just water, a banana, and a cliff bar, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I averaged 314w and my average HR was 3 beats below my LT HR. And I even had enough juice left that for the last two minutes I kept my power above 360w!

However, I was definitely pretty bonked by the time I got back home. In 1:50 total ride time (25 minutes warm-up, 50 minutes effort, 35 minutes cool-down on the ride home), I burned through a little more than 1550 kjoules of energy. Taking into account that cycling is only about 20-25% efficient, this basically works out to around 1500 calories, and the banana and cliff bar were not enough; note to self -- bring sports drink and pop a gel right before the 40k, maybe pack a 2nd gel to pop at the turn-around.

Last night I rolled around for a 75 minute recovery ride, spinning easily just to flush out the crap in my legs, and now I'm basically tapering for the big day next Saturday.

So, although I haven't done a formal test, I feel as though my "well rested" threshold power is probably sitting somewhere between 325 and 330w, and I feel confident that I can suffer long enough and hard enough to break the hour.
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Old 05-19-10, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
While I agree that shorter efforts should be part of the mix, I have been mixing in one long TT effort (40-60 min) per week. I don't do enough TTs to get used to hammering for over an hour. As hard as that might be mentally, I think it's very hard to race at a distance/time span that you're not familiar with from training.
Doing 2x 20's, 3x20's, 4x15, 5x10's you are working the same system as doing a 1x40 or 1x60.

The psychological cost of doing a full on 1x60 on a recurrent basis is too high IMHO. You can do 2-3 days of 2x20's in a week. If you really do an all out 1x60, it's likely to cook you for a week.

Also, I'm willing to bet if you did 4x15's, your average watts for the 15 minute efforts would be higher than the 1x60. Thus I think you get more advantage by being able to pull your FTP up a bit.

As for familiarity, and pacing, if you've never done a 40k, I could see the merit of doing one in training. However, I think you're going to get a pretty good idea of what's involved and appropriate pacing from 20 minute efforts.
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Old 05-19-10, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Doing 2x 20's, 3x20's, 4x15, 5x10's you are working the same system as doing a 1x40 or 1x60.

The psychological cost of doing a full on 1x60 on a recurrent basis is too high IMHO. You can do 2-3 days of 2x20's in a week. If you really do an all out 1x60, it's likely to cook you for a week.

Also, I'm willing to bet if you did 4x15's, your average watts for the 15 minute efforts would be higher than the 1x60. Thus I think you get more advantage by being able to pull your FTP up a bit.

As for familiarity, and pacing, if you've never done a 40k, I could see the merit of doing one in training. However, I think you're going to get a pretty good idea of what's involved and appropriate pacing from 20 minute efforts.
I don't think so. It's not even close to the kind of load that I get from a 60mi road race.
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Old 05-19-10, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
3 weeks isn't much time..

I wrote the following note up, which was basically a blog, on my training for the Florida State Championship TT. It was my first 40k, I did it on a road bike w/clip-ons, and came in at 55:48 which was good enough to put me in 3rd place for both cat3 and 40-44 (and 35-39, and I would have won 30-34).
Thanks. Lots of good info here. I don't have a power meter, but I train with my 305 and pay close attention to HR zones and cadence, so I can approximate.

I like the idea of the 8 x 3' intervals. I've done a 4 x 6' session before. And I do plan on something close to your 50' ride on my last peak weak.
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Old 05-19-10, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Doing 2x 20's, 3x20's, 4x15, 5x10's you are working the same system as doing a 1x40 or 1x60.

The psychological cost of doing a full on 1x60 on a recurrent basis is too high IMHO. You can do 2-3 days of 2x20's in a week. If you really do an all out 1x60, it's likely to cook you for a week.

Also, I'm willing to bet if you did 4x15's, your average watts for the 15 minute efforts would be higher than the 1x60. Thus I think you get more advantage by being able to pull your FTP up a bit.

As for familiarity, and pacing, if you've never done a 40k, I could see the merit of doing one in training. However, I think you're going to get a pretty good idea of what's involved and appropriate pacing from 20 minute efforts.
I tend to agree on the shorter intervals, though as noted above I will attempt something like the 50' effort the week before the race. This 40k will be run again in a few months, so my goal is to feel it out as much as possible the first time around, see what I can learn about the course and my body, then really work it later in the summer. Of course the best laid plans often fall apart when the adrenaline tap is opened ;-)
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Old 05-19-10, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Grumpy McTrumpy View Post
I don't think so. It's not even close to the kind of load that I get from a 60mi road race.
For me after the State TT championship, I'm pretty wiped for the next couple of days.

If you look at Kensuf's blog, it looks like he did one 50 minute effort before the State Championship.

In the last 5 years, working with a coach before the State TT championship, neither of my coaches has had me do more than 30 minute efforts at or above threshold.

The approach has always been, threhold intervals (10-20 minutes), then TT intervals (above threshold) 6-10 minutes. Not that my results really show it, I think that's going to make you faster (and keep you saner) than repeatedly doing one hour efforts.
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Old 05-19-10, 09:24 AM
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Lots of great advice here already, but...

If it were me, I'd want not only the physiological bennafits of the sorter intervals (2x20's, 4x15's , for example) but the psychological bennefits of having done a long TT.

Trying to do 60 minutes on the aero position for the first time on race day sounds silly to me, if you want to do as well as possible.

With only 3 weeks, I'd sacrifice a few watts (which are only theoretical watts as 3 weeks may not be enough time to actually realize any true fitness boost) and try and prioritize 50-70' TTs on the same bike/position/course as your race.

Depending on your other racing/training time I might do 3 day blocks of training, like this:

day 1: 50' TT @ race pace
day 2: 70' TT at tempo pace
day 3: rest, stretch, rest.

repeat.

if you get 3 solid blocks in you should still have time to taper for your A race and do a bit of other racing, if you want.

boring. but so is TT'ing. gotta get used to it.

(please remember that this suggestion is specific to the OP's situation, and should not be taken as ldesfor1's opinion on threshold development, mental sanity-training or any other not OP related subject. )
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Old 05-19-10, 09:28 AM
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The buildup essentially was:

week 1: one session of zci's, one session of 3x20's
week 2: one session of zci's, one session of 3x20's
week 3: one session of 5x3's, one session of 3x20's/massive rest
week 4: one session of 8x3's, one session of 2x30's w/5' recovery
week 5: one session of 8x3's, one 50' (10 days before event)
week 6: taper / race

Taper was lots of rest, no rides more than 2 hours, and with the exception of one ride 5 days out, all were zone 1 (5 days out I did a pretty hard but short ride, but hard enough I felt blood coming from my ears and tasted iron in my mouth), high cadence on the easy days to keep the legs fresh. When I started the taper (10 days before the event) I had a "tsb" of -30, which bumped up to a +10 by race day.

My feeling is that doing one 50' interval @95% a week and a half out from the event gave me a decent amount of self-confidence going into the 40k. I can see how doing multiple 50's would leave you pretty mentally crispy, but I'd keep one in there 10 days out from the target event just so you build up some mental grit.

Honestly, I didn't find the 40k that tough. It was more daunting before doing it, but the time I spent doing longer intervals gave me the self-confidence going into the thing that next year I plan to win my age group.
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Old 05-19-10, 10:19 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Doing 2x 20's, 3x20's, 4x15, 5x10's you are working the same system as doing a 1x40 or 1x60.

The psychological cost of doing a full on 1x60 on a recurrent basis is too high IMHO. You can do 2-3 days of 2x20's in a week. If you really do an all out 1x60, it's likely to cook you for a week.

Also, I'm willing to bet if you did 4x15's, your average watts for the 15 minute efforts would be higher than the 1x60. Thus I think you get more advantage by being able to pull your FTP up a bit.

As for familiarity, and pacing, if you've never done a 40k, I could see the merit of doing one in training. However, I think you're going to get a pretty good idea of what's involved and appropriate pacing from 20 minute efforts.
Bullhonky. 1 hour at TT pace will make you sore the next day, but no more than that.

OP, if you are indoors, do 2x20min intervals at TT pace. Rest 5 minutes between - you break it up because you will probably overheat otherwise, unless you have some industrial strength fan or blower to keep you cool. If you are on the road, find a stretch of road with no stops that is between 10 and 12 miles long, with light traffic and flat-ish and do a full out and back TT at pace (this will be something like a 1x45 or a 1x60 depending on the length of your road). Do these twice a week, with at least a full day rest between. Do these on your TT setup. The week of the race, do only one session, and give yourself three days of rest before the race. No need for any more taper than that.

Given you don't really have a huge amount of time to increase your fitness, this is more about adapting your body to your bike, tuning your bike to your body, and learning your body's limits than it is about increasing your actual power at threshold. Basically, doing three weeks of intervals will get you closer to producing your true threshold on the day of the race. Most people back off from their true limits; your goal is to go right up to the line. You shouldn't be doing a time trial that is easier than your training efforts. At the end of the time trial, you should be utterly thrashed. Like can't even see straight thrashed. Otherwise you didn't get the best time you could get.
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Old 05-19-10, 10:50 AM
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For those of you scheduling an interval workouts on consecutive days, do you find you have recovered enough the next day? Right now, i find that i need at least one day of rest between hard efforts, but that just may be because I have just gotten serious about cycling since last year.
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Old 05-19-10, 11:07 AM
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What's a "zci" (just when I figured out what a "wri" was)?
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Old 05-19-10, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
What's a "zci" (just when I figured out what a "wri" was)?
zci: ZeCannon Intervals, 6x5x1 at 103-108% FTP
wri: waterrocket intervals
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Old 05-19-10, 11:12 AM
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http://docs.google.com/Doc?docid=0AR...bmprbmQ2&hl=en

"ZeCannon Intervals"
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Old 05-19-10, 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
Bullhonky. 1 hour at TT pace will make you sore the next day, but no more than that.

. If you are on the road, find a stretch of road with no stops that is between 10 and 12 miles long, with light traffic and flat-ish and do a full out and back TT at pace (this will be something like a 1x45 or a 1x60 depending on the length of your road). Do these twice a week, with at least a full day rest between.
If you can do 2 40k TT's a week, week in week out, more power to you. Personally, I'd quit the sport, or put a bullet through my skull before I did that.
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Old 05-19-10, 11:50 AM
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I would add to all of the above - what type of course are you riding?

Example 1 - I'm doing the bike leg of the Philly Triathlon at the end of June - it's about 1/2 dead flat and 1/4 up hill and 1/4 down (2 laps, 4 hills per lap). I NEED to do hill work outs to prepare for that. Usually, I do my 5-6x3' hard intervals on hills once a week.

Example 2 - I've done the Church Creek 40K ITT a few times. Dead flat, but there is always a firm headwind in the middle third. It really bites. I'm experimenting a bit here, but I try to do my LT intervals with the middle at stiffer gearing/lower cadence/slightly higher RPE to emulate the added stress of a headwind.

I'm not saying these are perfect (any constructive criticism is welcome) but some consideration of conditions is warranted.

also - tried zci's this afternoon - probably a little lower intensity than I should have, as I finished six, but definitely something I will work into the rotation.
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Old 05-19-10, 01:26 PM
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4X15 -3 minutes rest . Longer intervals have incremental benefit.
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Old 05-20-10, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Assuming you've been doing the threshold work, I'd start doing TT intervals, i.e. 8-10 minutes pretty much all you got, which should be something between 103 and 108% of FTP.
"All I got" for 8-10 minutes is 130% of FTP... but then I'd want the rest interval to be ~24hrs...

IMO there are all sorts of intervals of various durations you can do where the work interval is a little over FTP, and the rest interval is short enough so that when you string them together NP and total work ends up being close to a 1 hr max effort. Probably best to mix these up... and of course do some actual 50-60 min efforts at close to race pace to get a feel for it.

BTW... with 3 weeks til the race, you really only have 2 weeks to train... but that is enough to see some benefits.

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