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SST success stories?

Old 12-20-11, 12:11 PM
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HMF
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SST success stories?

I'd really like to raise my FTP. It's not really a race limiter right now as I am able to keep up with a fast paceline without problem, but it'd still be nice to have that arrow in the quiver.

Right now I'm at 4.12-4.19 w/kg, but that's only because my Kg is in the low 60's. When the road goes uphill, I find myself at the front of the group, but when rounding corners in a crit, it's almost everything I have to not lose positions.

I only have about 12k miles in my legs, and last year 2x20's really helped, although I can't quantify by how much because I didn't have a power meter then. As this coming season is fast approaching, I'd like to get my threshold up even higher

What's a reasonable gain to expect from doing SST intervals 2x per week for 6 weeks or so? 10 watts? 15? Is this really all there is to it?
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Old 12-20-11, 01:44 PM
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Six weeks is maybe a bit long for an SST focus. You should change up your threshold workouts. SST is awesome, and I've gained a lot from it, but you'll stagnate. Maybe 3 weeks of SST followed by 3 weeks of supra-FTP workouts (like ZCI™s). You want to change it up between pushing FTP up from below and pulling it up from above. Once you start getting comfortable with a workout, I find I'm close to a plateau and need to change.

No way to speculate on possible gains. Too many variables, but you can get stronger.
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Old 12-20-11, 02:26 PM
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This is what works for me. I won't claim that it works for everybody or even anybody else. If it did I could write a book or be a coach.

What worked for me in years past is a couple of days of SST for 1.5 hours and one day of slightly above threshold 2x20's (usually with a "failure" late in the second one) mixed in with some easy days and one long day (4+ hours). Always a super easy day the day after the 2x20's. I find that just doing SST leads to stagnation, but you get really good at it. Too many 2x20's above threshold leads to "burn out" from insufficient recovery. A mix of the two works for me.

You can substitute ZCI intervals for the 2x20's, but I do them a bit harder and so they are more for later in the training cycle. I only heard about them a few years ago on BF and I can see how they can fit into a training program nicely.

I do a few of weeks of SST/2x20's after building winter base. Typically four weeks with two "throw away" training races put on by the competing local race team during that phase. I pay the entry fee, line up, and fit in whatever is on the training menu for that day into the "race".

Then I would start the short, but intense stuff: 1 minute intervals and standing 10 second sprints in huge gears.

After that it is "in season" and I do whatever feels like the right thing to do that week based on racing schedule and how my body is reacting. Time constraints also play a role.

Travel, work, various aches and pains prevented doing that this year and now it feels like I'm starting from scratch.
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Old 12-20-11, 02:46 PM
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Come on mollusk, we know you don't really ride anymore except to the local coffee shop to show off your carbon wheels.

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Old 12-20-11, 03:00 PM
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Mollusk,

Your weeks must look pretty similar to mine. I don't know if it's 100% right, but it's not 100% wrong.

--------------------------------------------------

HMF,

One way to change things up a little on the SST work is to make them longer. 90 @ 90 is a great, but tough workout for me. I do 90 straight minutes at 90% ftp. I really feel like it helps on the threshold side, but it also helps on just basic aerobic fitness. At some point it stops being a physical game and starts to become a mental one. Your muscles can do it, but you just have to get real serious about making them do it.

If you're really having trouble in crits at over 4 W/kg (assuming Cat 3 or 4), then how you're riding is going to be an issue. With that level of ftp, you should be able to sit in comfortably on nearly any race. It's not enough that you can ride away from the group (because your W/CdA probably doesn't rank nearly as well as your W/Kg), but you should be able to draft well enough that holding your position is not _that_ difficult.
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Old 12-20-11, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
If you're really having trouble in crits at over 4 W/kg (assuming Cat 3 or 4), then how you're riding is going to be an issue. With that level of ftp, you should be able to sit in comfortably on nearly any race. It's not enough that you can ride away from the group (because your W/CdA probably doesn't rank nearly as well as your W/Kg), but you should be able to draft well enough that holding your position is not _that_ difficult.
Agreed. And losing positions on the corners is not optimal but it's not abnormal, either. It's what you have to do to get them back that counts. Corner harder and you'll be the one pushing riders back.

I use the ftp program from the book. 16 weeks. Mixed tempo, threshold, sprints, neuro. 3 weeks on, then a rest week. I start racing in week 12.
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Old 12-20-11, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
At some point it stops being a physical game and starts to become a mental one.
So true.

Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
If you're really having trouble in crits at over 4 W/kg (assuming Cat 3 or 4), then how you're riding is going to be an issue. With that level of ftp, you should be able to sit in comfortably on nearly any race. It's not enough that you can ride away from the group (because your W/CdA probably doesn't rank nearly as well as your W/Kg), but you should be able to draft well enough that holding your position is not _that_ difficult.
I guess it's safe to say that the crit isn't really harder for me than the rest of the peloton, but when the guys lay down the hammer in the last lap I start to lose places unless I'm on the right wheel. It'd be nice to lay down the hammer myself from time to time.
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Old 12-20-11, 03:23 PM
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Once you get that hammer, don't waste it in the field.
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Old 12-20-11, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by HMF View Post
I guess it's safe to say that the crit isn't really harder for me than the rest of the peloton, but when the guys lay down the hammer in the last lap I start to lose places unless I'm on the right wheel. It'd be nice to lay down the hammer myself from time to time.
Sounds to me like ftp is not your problem then... maybe cornering / comfort cornering at speed in a group, and likely your vo2 and anaerobic power, since you're talking about the last lap.

Just my .02
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Old 12-20-11, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
Sounds to me like ftp is not your problem then... maybe cornering / comfort cornering at speed in a group, and likely your vo2 and anaerobic power, since you're talking about the last lap.

Just my .02
Then for planning purposes, about how long would it take to bring those physiological elements up to "a high level". I've got a race in early March that I want to do well in.
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Old 12-20-11, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by HMF View Post
Then for planning purposes, about how long would it take to bring those physiological elements up to "a high level". I've got a race in early March that I want to do well in.
Cornering just takes practice. VO2Max and NP type workouts are short and very intense. You need to break them up with short endurance and rest the week afterwards. You should also build up to them or you might burn out or get hurt. I wouldn't do a lot of that kind of work until mid-February and then get some rest before the race.
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Old 12-20-11, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
Come on mollusk, we know you don't really ride anymore except to the local coffee shop to show off your carbon wheels.

Ouch.

Not true in the details, but hitting a bit too close to home.
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Old 12-20-11, 08:49 PM
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4W/Kg? You should be OK.
I can only dream about 4w/kg and I can hang in most 35+ races.
Wait a minute?! Perhaps the sub 4.0 FTP is my problem since I can ONLY hang.
Maybe the low FTP is the reason why I'm still a Cat 4 so dont even listen to anything I post around here
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Old 12-20-11, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by HMF View Post
I guess it's safe to say that the crit isn't really harder for me than the rest of the peloton, but when the guys lay down the hammer in the last lap I start to lose places unless I'm on the right wheel. It'd be nice to lay down the hammer myself from time to time.
There's a couple things here. First, the last lap is tough for everyone. You need fitness, but just as much as that, you need to get mean. Honestly, attitude has a lot to do with it. Mentally you just have to refuse to give in.

Fitness-wise, putting the knife in the drawer is ftp. Putting the final edge on that knife is the anaerobic stuff. In 3-6 weeks you can get a hell of a lot of anaerobic work done. The aerobic stuff is the hard part, to fully develop your aerobic systems takes years.
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Old 12-21-11, 01:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
There's a couple things here. First, the last lap is tough for everyone. You need fitness, but just as much as that, you need to get mean. Honestly, attitude has a lot to do with it. Mentally you just have to refuse to give in.

Fitness-wise, putting the knife in the drawer is ftp. Putting the final edge on that knife is the anaerobic stuff. In 3-6 weeks you can get a hell of a lot of anaerobic work done. The aerobic stuff is the hard part, to fully develop your aerobic systems takes years.
I was about to pipe up and say that I've had years where I've done very little high end work (but lots of base miles) and gotten a win or a close to win in the first weekend of March. But then I realized that, oh, right, the 20-odd years of racing would help with base.

Having said that, a good friend of mine (who will readily admit he can't sprint) did a whole (unemployed) winter of just toodling around, basically long steady stuff at well below threshold. He never worked on sprinting or anything, just that steady power. He went to the first race of the year with a lot of miles/hours on his legs, maybe 4th or 5th year of racing. He was a 3. He launched an attack in that first race, a big A race (Cat 1-2-3 - no pros allowed to race with amateurs at the time). A very, very strong Cat 1 (later domestic pro) went with him. They traded pulls until half a lap to go when my friend flatted. He basically stopped, not really thinking of just rolling around to the finish. With a 1:20 or so lead on the field he could have, but he didn't. The next winter I rode with him (2 days a week until it became unbearably cold, typically 120-130 miles each day, prob Aug-Dec). We did no speed work, went to Belgium in March, did 9 super hard days in 3 weeks, and then we were unstoppable for the rest of the season.

The last lap is hard, but it's different kinds of hard. In races where I'm absolutely totally focused on the win, where I'm convinced it's my race to lose, it's hard to remember or even notice pain. It's more a matter of focusing on the task at hand, thinking furiously (and I mean furiously) of the tactical issues in front of me at that moment.

Here's a clip that gets me revved up when I watch it. I have a lot of memories of that day, but there are a few interesting things.
1. I went into the race so nervous I could barely sleep. I was trembling with adrenaline at the start. This is very unusual for me since I rarely get stoked for a race anymore. It's like driving a car (which for me was a really big deal). It used to be so exciting to drive, I'd be totally bug-eyed, etc etc. Now I get in, turn on the dash cam, and go. Driving is fun, I love it, but it's no longer the huge deal it used to be.
2. I was so focused on trying to monitor the front that I totally lost track of laps. When my teammate (and eventual leadout man) yells that it's 4 to go, it's the first time I knew how many laps were left in the race. At that point I thought it was 10 or 15 laps to go, and I was getting ready to sit in and recover for the 5-7 laps before the last few frantic laps for the finish.
3. During the leadout my heart rate drops 4 or 5 bpm.
4. I had total and absolute confidence that I'd win the race even though I couldn't see the break with half lap to go. I couldn't believe it when the one guy (Chad D) managed to win.
5. In the field, on many laps, I'd drag the brakes as I came up over the hill (start/finish area). I was absolutely flying, felt incredible, and I didn't want to give away just how good I felt.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqrPaW4FWyQg
In other races, where I have doubt, where I don't have absolute belief in myself, where I think the other guys will kick my butt, it's a bit different. I remember the legs numb with lactic acid, the absurd speed, etc.

It's a bit interesting that my legs are much more sore after the races where I think I'm going to do well, versus the races where I thought it was hard.

Originally Posted by HMF View Post
Then for planning purposes, about how long would it take to bring those physiological elements up to "a high level". I've got a race in early March that I want to do well in.
Me too; my goal is to do well in the Bethel Spring Series (again), March through April 15th. My plan, with a huge reliance on my prior 20-odd years' base, is to do base work until Feb. I'll try and do a massive week or two in Jan/Feb (20-30+ hours in a week). By mid Feb I lose a lot of training time since I have to do stuff to prepare for the event (I promote it so I get busy at that time). Those last two weeks are usually rest, close to rest, with very little riding, a natural off period after intense training. I'll go to Bethel with maybe 8-9 hours in the two weeks beforehand, maybe 100 hours steady stuff before that, with very little sprint/anaerobic work done.

I should add that training-wise during the Series I don't have much time between working and doing race promoter stuff each week. I try and get 1-3 hours of training each week for the 6 weeks, with a longer week on the week off (Easter Sunday week), typically 6-10 hours that week. This means I only add 35-40 hours of training/riding in 6-7 weeks. My racing is my training. In 2010 I could pretty much do the whole P123 race after the 34 race, although technically, legally, I didn't finish any of them (three of them I stopped just before the finish to check on crashed riders or once just to chat with friends; two I didn't start because of pouring rain and because on the last week of the Series I can't spare the time to race two races; one I came off).
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Old 12-21-11, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
In other races, where I have doubt, where I don't have absolute belief in myself, where I think the other guys will kick my butt, it's a bit different. I remember the legs numb with lactic acid, the absurd speed, etc.

It's a bit interesting that my legs are much more sore after the races where I think I'm going to do well, versus the races where I thought it was hard.
So true, at least for me. When I'm going flat out for a prime, making a bridge effort, taking the first few pulls in a break, I don't feel much of anything but effort. No pain. I'm too jacked up to even notice. Once things settle down, though, it creeps back in, and it becomes a mental challenge to tune it out. This comes with experience. It's a good thing to work on in training races.
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Old 12-21-11, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by HMF View Post
I guess it's safe to say that the crit isn't really harder for me than the rest of the peloton, but when the guys lay down the hammer in the last lap I start to lose places unless I'm on the right wheel. It'd be nice to lay down the hammer myself from time to time.
Originally Posted by Creakyknees View Post
Sounds to me like ftp is not your problem then... maybe cornering / comfort cornering at speed in a group, and likely your vo2 and anaerobic power, since you're talking about the last lap.

Just my .02
+$0.02, sounds like FTP is not what you need to work on like Creaky said. I think you need to work on leg speed so that when things get fast, you can go faster. And cornering too obviously.

Also, I would like to point out that true "SST" is something like a 6% range (.88-.94 IF?); so what people really mean when they say "I threw in some SST at the end of my ride" is actually "I rode tempo". Unless of course y'all are hitting that 6% "sweet spot" for more than 20 mins, then by all means, enjoy the SST! Otherwise, please just call it tempo. I don't know why this annoys me since I don't even ride with a PT anymore, but it does.
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Old 12-21-11, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mattm View Post
Also, I would like to point out that true "SST" is something like a 6% range (.88-.94 IF?); ...
The original article by Frank Overton puts it from 70%-100% FTP. http://www.pezcyclingnews.com/defaul...lstory&id=3232
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Old 12-21-11, 01:02 PM
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Coggan's book puts it at the intersection of the "training effect" curve (for increasing functional threshold) and the "maximum duration" curve (the maximum time which can be spent at intensity).

http://www.fascatcoaching.com/sweetspotpartdeux.html
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