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Decode / Demystify / Mix-And-Match Training Plans

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Old 01-08-19, 06:40 PM
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Decode / Demystify / Mix-And-Match Training Plans

I analyze training plans for a hobby. The first thing I do when analyzing an interval-based training plan is represent it thusly...



...so I can more easily what it's doing. For example, plans A, C and D above involve progressing on combined interval duration up to a practical limit (often based on available training time) followed by increases in intensity. You might also notice that plans A and D are similar with plan A requiring more substitution of intensity for time and with only a light dusting of 40/20 vs a dedicated day for this lactate clearing workout. Plan C is not altogether different but does have a more conservative ramp rate. Plan B is more about easing into threshold ==> VO2 to raise ceiling ==> longer threshold work.

Generalizing these plans somewhat allows one to play around a bit with alternatives / mix and match. For example, you might see a resemblance between Plan A above and the Advanced plan below...



For me, what this shows is that these plans really are simple enough to replace with a more responsive approach based more on load monitoring and adjustment while still following the general idea. For me this makes things such as interruptions easier to deal with especially when you understand things like how long before you need to revert your training based on energy system shelf life, etc. but I digress...

The most interesting thing to me about the above is how one can mix and match the various aspects of these plans to suit one's circumstances. For example, the 1x120 workouts in the middle two plans can be replaced with two 1x90 workouts from the Slow Recovery plan and so on. Additionally, you can see variations between the middle two plans with respect to hold vs restart progression on combined interval duration and that all plans share the same first column and so on...

So what's my point? I guess training plans just aren't that difficult to understand if they're based on something and if they aren't difficult to understand then perhaps some folks might become more comfortable making changes to them and monitoring load and making adjustments and learn more. One argument is that new cyclists will improve no matter what they do so I say that if they are going to improve anyway then why not start with something they understand so maybe they begin to start the process of learning earlier I dunno.
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Old 01-09-19, 11:13 AM
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I'll tell you straight up that using TrainingPeaks Premium is a revelation. That's how you see what a plan does to your body and thus when and how you have to modify and fiddle. There's actual science and math involved, not just making up charts. I only do training plans one week in advance now. There's tactics and then there's strategy. Takes both to make consistent progress. It also takes a lot of practice at being self-coached to figure out what's going on. Which is the reason people hire coaches. Just making up charts like you're doing is (sorry 'bout that) silly. You won't know what to do next until you see the result of what you just did. I call it "riding the knife edge" between doing too little and doing too much. Takes experience to know where that edge is, and as it is said, experience starts when you begin.
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Old 01-09-19, 12:23 PM
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Are you serious? I must really need to work on my communication skills. The whole point of my post (and most of my posts here) is to demystify training plans and encourage load monitoring instead. Sadly, many cyclists insist on having a schedule, likely due to all of the bots in discussion forum recommending Trainer Road to anyone with any kind of question.
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Old 01-09-19, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Are you serious? I must really need to work on my communication skills. The whole point of my post (and most of my posts here) is to demystify training plans and encourage load monitoring instead. Sadly, many cyclists insist on having a schedule, likely due to all of the bots in discussion forum recommending Trainer Road to anyone with any kind of question.
Wow. You don't seem to notice that I'm saying basically, "don't have a training plan, especially one like the canned plans you're pushing." TrainingPeaks is all about load monitoring, nothing about training plans. Learn before pontificating. You're the one insisting on having a schedule. Look at your own canned training plans.

Train more, post less. I gotta go for a run right now which I've been planning on for . . . 3 days at least.
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Old 01-09-19, 06:37 PM
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It's pull not push. People demand them. Sadly, the forces of training plans are too strong. But if you give them something to get them started and that supports measurement and comparison and include guidance on how to monitor and adjust then at least when the time comes that they realize adjustments are required they can begin to learn how to make the adjustments and ween themselves off of the plans. I just realized it doesn't look like my self-regulating plan program is in this forum. I'll add it momentarily and you'll see that I'm not pushing anything but trying to reach new cyclists is different ways and plans are one of them for most cyclists.

Edit - Simple + Self-Regulating FTP Plan posted

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Old 01-09-19, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
It's pull not push. People demand them. Sadly, the forces of training plans are too strong. But if you give them something to get them started and that supports measurement and comparison and include guidance on how to monitor and adjust then at least when the time comes that they realize adjustments are required they can begin to learn how to make the adjustments and ween themselves off of the plans. I just realized it doesn't look like my self-regulating plan program is in this forum. I'll add it momentarily and you'll see that I'm not pushing anything but trying to reach new cyclists is different ways and plans are one of them for most cyclists.

Edit - Simple + Self-Regulating FTP Plan posted
I get that it's your hobby and people love to share their hobbies with the world and hey, here's a place to do that. My hobby for the past 20+ years has been training. Many frequent posters here have more experience than that, though I think few have the documentation I have or have trained through the "change of life." I share my results here sometimes and the occasional suggestion, usually ignored. I don't feel bad. Thing is, "self-regulated" training is much more complicated that you seem to think it is, and there is already a plethora of systems to handle that aspect. I think we all agree that canned training plans are of limited utility. Friel's Bible is an example of what you're trying to do. It's still of limited utility simply because most readers lack the experience to put it into practice. And look how long and detailed that is!

So give it a rest with the plans. Instead, train and train and train until you've exhausted the possibilities inherent in any training endeavor and then start posting results - what did what. "Two years ago I tried x and such and this happened so last year I did y and such and my results were . . . so this year I'm trying . . ".You get the idea. That's somewhat usable information or maybe at least good to know, and you'll still get a lot of back-talk, but at least you can fool yourself into thinking you're doing something useful. Training plans are essentially not usable information. A better use of BF is asking questions. There's a wealth of knowledge here. Nobody wants to hear prescriptions, believe me.

There are much better and more experienced people than you out there writing and publishing plans. You'll never reach their level because you haven't been coaching scores of athletes for years and putting their "what did what" into your database. Full-time coaches will always be ahead of you. So relax and have fun. And yes, there is a market for training plans. It's small, but it's there, Thing is, you're not a famous coach and the folks who sell plans are.

BTW, 5-10% HR drift .. . lots wrong with that. not least that it's a silly amount, perhaps more that it's not necessarily a good idea, and more than that, it's a huge margin, how is one to know?. You should have known that - everyone else does and we're not pretending to prescribe for others. And there are damn few people who'd sit their trainer for 90 minutes anyway. All these prescriptions are out of context. All training has to be viewed in context.
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Old 01-10-19, 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Are you serious? I must really need to work on my communication skills.
Yes.

I took one look at your first post ... my eyes crossed ... and I thought that if I had to follow one of your plans, I'd probably quit cycling.


I also gained a deep appreciation for my own personal training plan.
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Old 01-10-19, 05:19 AM
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I have a hard time seeing the training plans at the top being Maximally helpful without the context of a macro level plan and where in that plan the blocks are positioned and the objective of the blocks. Looks like a prescription for hard work that will yield some fitness, just not optimal without more context. Also these don't seem target specific energy systems for each build block, curious why the departure from that approach?
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Old 01-10-19, 06:55 AM
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They're all Off-Season/Winter/Base indoor plans
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Old 01-10-19, 08:10 AM
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In response to other comments above...

If a new cyclist is going to insist on having a schedule (AKA "plan"), then he should at least have the opportunity to understand and learn from the inevitable issues he is going to run into.

This cannot occur if the plan being followed is inconsistent or incoherent.

An example of an inconsistent plan is one which introduces unnecessary variation, such as having 200 variations on a 3 x 12 sweetspot workout.

It is both unclear and unimportant whether this is done for known reasons (i.e. entertainment or illusion of sophistication) or unknown reasons.

What is important is for athletes to be able to understand how workouts are being progressed and for the manner of progression to enable measurement and comparison for purposes of determining the athlete's training status.

Since new cyclists will be on a linear progression (AKA they will improve easily), (1) it doesn't matter how they progress their training (i.e. duration vs intensity; as long as it is consistent) and (2) where they are most likely to fail is by doing too much or not recovering adequately.

Fortunately, fixed power under controlled conditions indoors empowers athletes to monitor their training more precisely and sensitively than ever because changes in performance can be more quickly and confidently attributable changes in training status instead of changes in environment, terrain, route, efficiency, etc.

Indoors, power can be fixed, the effort to produce that power is more consistent under controlled conditions, indicators of effort are more consistent and things that impact the indicators of effort, like hydration levels can also be more consistent.

More good news is that otherwise consistent plans can be corrected and made to be coherent by simply converting arbitrarily complex and variable workouts to proper interval workouts and displaying those workouts on a single page as I do in the OP.

This enables athletes to create a consistent and coherent plan from any reasonable plan (i.e. not Zwift plans which are hopelessly complex and incoherent and based on inferior outdoor measures of external load like TSS.)

And what this means is that ANY plan, including specialized plans which athletes can use as guides for event-specific periodization which can often be overwhelming to piece together.
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Old 01-10-19, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Yes.

I took one look at your first post ... my eyes crossed ... and I thought that if I had to follow one of your plans, I'd probably quit cycling.

I also gained a deep appreciation for my own personal training plan.
Word.

The entire sport of cycling is going through a transformative period and not for the better. As a market sector, cycling is down and participation in events is down especially racing. Bike forum posting is down. One way to counteract that trend is to provide more value and better content along with constructive help.

I would like to be constructive but I do not see how. OP, you are starting from a grossly negative premise about what others offer and critique in a very negative fashion what generally cyclists like and works. Cyclists like Zwift. Cyclists like software applicationss. Cyclists like subscription software. Cyclists like Peloton. Cyclists like high end spin studios. Cyclists like coaches with customized plans. And etc, etc. etc.

In general, cyclists do not like to ride on the trainer just to get "more fit". They want to be engaged in some way that makes indoor trainer work at home palatable and fun.

I would love to see you come up with something unique and more engaging that adds value to an indoor workout.

It is one thing to share what one does and get feedback or provide feedback to someone who is asking for help based upon personal experience and results. It is another to propose a better solution without any statement of credentials, independent studies or thesis such as your own PhD thesis or personal results and / or that of a group of athletes under ones control.

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Old 01-10-19, 10:43 AM
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https://www.researchgate.net/publica...nsus_Statement


https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/a...nd-decoupling/

https://fascatcoaching.com/tips/cycling-intervals/

Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Word.

The entire sport of cycling is going through a transformative period and not for the better. As a market sector, cycling is down and participation in events is down especially racing. Bike forum posting is down. One way to counteract that trend is to provide more value and better content along with constructive help.

I would like to be constructive but I do not see how. OP, you are starting from a grossly negative premise about what others offer and critique in a very negative fashion what generally cyclists like and works. Cyclists like Zwift. Cyclists like software applicationss. Cyclists like subscription software. Cyclists like Peloton. Cyclists like high end spin studios. Cyclists like coaches with customized plans. And etc, etc. etc.

In general, cyclists do not like to ride on the trainer just to get "more fit". They want to be engaged in some way that makes indoor trainer work at home palatable and fun.

I would love to see you come up with something unique and more engaging that adds value to an indoor workout.

It is one thing to share what one does and get feedback or provide feedback to someone who is asking for help based upon personal experience and results. It is another to propose a better solution without any statement of credentials, independent studies or thesis such as your own PhD thesis or personal results and / or that of a group of athletes under ones control.
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Old 01-10-19, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post

I would like to be constructive but I do not see how. OP, you are starting from a grossly negative premise about what others offer and critique in a very negative fashion what generally cyclists like and works. Cyclists like Zwift. Cyclists like software applicationss. Cyclists like subscription software. Cyclists like Peloton. Cyclists like high end spin studios. Cyclists like coaches with customized plans. And etc, etc. etc.

In general, cyclists do not like to ride on the trainer just to get "more fit". They want to be engaged in some way that makes indoor trainer work at home palatable and fun.
.
Indeed. But this is something he genuinely can't seem to fathom. It's been pointed out multiple times now.
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Old 01-10-19, 02:35 PM
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Against my instinct, I have to ask. What does any of what you guys are saying have to do with this thread?
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Old 01-10-19, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Against my instinct, I have to ask. What does any of what you guys are saying have to do with this thread?
It's a commentary on how you still lack the must fundamental understanding about training, and how you close your eyes and ignore this despite it being said in nearly every thread by multiple people, and how you keep on proselytizing as if copying and pasting another colorful random number generator will fool anyone.

There's a common thread running through your half dozen threads. Just wondering when you're going to finally acknowledge it.
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Old 01-10-19, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Against my instinct, I have to ask. What does any of what you guys are saying have to do with this thread?
We can demystify training for you if you'd like.
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Old 01-10-19, 07:26 PM
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So, nothing. Got it.
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