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Training Plan Deconstruction (AKA Everything I Need to Know About Training I...

Old 02-20-19, 08:01 AM
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fstrnu
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Training Plan Deconstruction (AKA Everything I Need to Know About Training I...

...Learned in the Kitchen)

My friend Roger who runs the Kitchen Counter Podcast give us four tips for how to begin improvising in the kitchen:
  • Start simple by learning how to (truly) master a few meals
  • Begin improvising by making small changes to these meals such as decreasing spice level or changing the type of cheese
  • Stock your kitchen and pantry so you can do things like lighten something savory with the acidity of a lemon or bring heat to something that might otherwise be overly sweet
The same principles can be applied to training, starting with keeping it simple by mastering a few, key concepts and eliminating unnecessary variation. One way to do this is to deconstruct your training plan.

Edit - By "training plan", I mean an existing training plan, i.e. one which already lays out so many weeks for base followed by so many weeks of build, etc. Such a training plan will also define specific workouts on specific days with progression from week to week, rest weeks between blocks, FTP tests at the beginning of a block and so on.

Plan deconstruction is the process of breaking your training plan down into its basic elements in order to remove arbitrary variability so you can better understand and monitor your training.

What's cool about it is that it allows new cyclists, who are intimated by setting up their own plan, can still lean on a generic plan for the overall structure of their training while still learning and taking progressively more control over their training from the bottom up.

The process is simple and starts with removing random variation from the plan's "interval" workouts. An example of random variation is a "3 x 12" workout in which the first interval is at 89% FTP, the second interval is at 93% FTP and the third interval is at 91% FTP. This should be converted into 3 x 12 @ 91%. Why? Because it makes sense. 91% is in the middle of sweet spot and 3 x 12 @ 91% gets you precisely 36 minutes at sweetspot, which is what this workout accomplishes; nothing more.

Until a cyclist can identify that a spade is a spade, he will never learn how to assemble things into a coherent whole.

36 minutes at sweetspot makes sense.

36 minutes at sweetspot can be related to 72 minutes of sweetspot per week and how time is prioritized across intensities at the block and phase levels as energy systems go from being the focus to being maintained or prepare the body for higher levels of intensity or "raise the ceiling", etc.

36 minutes at sweetspot can be compared to 32 minutes of sweetspot and 40 minutes of sweetspot.

Patterns such as progressing time up to a practical limit, followed by an increase in intensity, followed by progressing time again up to a practical limit become clear while the value of paying for software becomes as murky as that which it obfuscates.

Interval workouts are both easy to perform using manual ERG mode which doesn't required special software.

Manual ERG mode allows athletes to ensure adequate workout stimulus and preserve workout quality by adding, extending and splitting intervals as needed in real-time.

Interval workouts enable athletes to fully leverage faster and more reliable performance monitoring possible with the internal to external load ratio when using fixed power under controlled conditions. The ability to perform an identical workout under identical conditions with less effort is an indisputable sign of improvement. An increasing cardiac drift is an indisputable sign of fatigue accumulation. Cardiac drift can inform proper workout duration and so on. Fatigue can be balanced with rest week frequency and so on. Maximum sustainable intensity renders FTP irrelevant and so on. The scenarios are endless. None of this is possible with random, arbitrary variation.

Inevitably, and sooner than expected, cyclists will realize they need to stray from their training plans and head out on their own as they see first hand the principle of individualization in action.

Like in the kitchen, where Roger recommends:
  • Start simple by learning how to (truly) master a few meals
  • Begin improvising by making small changes to these meals such as decreasing spice level or changing the type of cheese
  • Stock your kitchen and pantry so you can do things like lighten something savory with the acidity of a lemon or bring heat to something that might otherwise be overly sweet
Starting simple, mastering a small number of workouts, making small/RELEVANT changes to these workouts (such as meaningful progression), and stocking up on meaningful metrics and experience accumulation through education, awareness and trend analysis will dramatically accelerate rider development.

For many riders, it can all start with training plan deconstruction.

Last edited by fstrnu; 02-25-19 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 02-20-19, 09:01 AM
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Winter is hell. It's too cold (and/or wet) to ride your bike outside unless you can HTFU, which is hard. Trainer rides are boring. So you're left with making up a training plan, and making up metrics for the training plan, and arguing with people who've actually ridden their bikes, as ways to kill time until spring.
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Old 02-20-19, 09:22 AM
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I'd rather ride outside when it's 35F than even think about an "indoor training plan." Wanna improve your cycling ability? Do it. Ride a bicycle. Stop making excuses.

It is currently 35F outside, which in SoCal terms might as well be -10F. It is quite likely I won't see another bike out on the road today. But I'll be out there getting my miles in before the promised storm arrives in the afternoon. High today of 44, better cold than cold and wet.
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Old 02-20-19, 09:43 AM
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Been a miserable winter for training in CA. It's either rain, frost, or strong cold winds. Every. Freakin. Day. This is about the worst winter I can remember in a long while, so plenty of excuses, but here's to hoping for a good spring once the days get a little longer. And a mild summer too, hopefully.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:03 AM
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Clear and cool today waiting for the temp to get into the 60s go for a ride then saw down some dead trees for fire pit wood. Have the conditioning and resistance spectrums all covered today.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
The process is simple and starts with removing random variation from the plan's "interval" workouts. An example of random variation is a "3 x 12" workout in which the first interval is at 89% FTP, the second interval is at 93% FTP and the third interval is at 91% FTP. This should be converted into 3 x 12 @ 91%. Why? Because it makes sense. 91% is in the middle of sweet spot and 3 x 12 @ 91% gets you precisely 36 minutes at sweetspot, which is what this workout accomplishes; nothing more.
I stopped reading here as this is utter horse****. Because it makes sense? Precisely 36 min at sweetspot is the definition of an oxymoron.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:27 AM
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Riding outdoors is an excellent way to train for a Cat 5 race.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Hondo Gravel View Post
Clear and cool today waiting for the temp to get into the 60s go for a ride then saw down some dead trees for fire pit wood. Have the conditioning and resistance spectrums all covered today.
60s is kinda high, no? I prefer 50s.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I stopped reading here as this is utter horse****. Because it makes sense? Precisely 36 min at sweetspot is the definition of an oxymoron.
I was waiting for this. First, that is what is called an example. Second, that is a TrainerRoad workout
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Old 02-20-19, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Riding outdoors is an excellent way to train for a Cat 5 race.
https://www.strava.com/activities/2157893740
Seems like a pretty good way to train for a pro race as well.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
I was waiting for this. First, that is what is called an example. Second, that is a TrainerRoad workout
Oh, you really burned them here. Yeah, they have 3x12 sweet spot, and they progress users to 30min sweet spot intervals. I may have increased my FTP 20w by doing the SSB HV plans this winter. It's a product I like and use and I can pick and choose workouts that suit my needs, whether or not I'm following a plan or doing my own plans during race season. And I take advantage of erg mode and focus on the workout rather than futzing with a head unit and watching the clock to change intervals.

No one has said it, but I will: you need to chill with the topics. This forum isn't your personal rambling ground, go start a blog. No one here or on slowtwitch has taken any interest to your topics, so why do you persist? You claim to demystify training plans, you've clearly overcomplicated things and have attached yourself to things that no mainstream people do. Eventually, if everyone is saying you're offbase while you convince yourself you're onto something, you need to take a step back and re-examine things and maybe realize you're off the target with this.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:59 AM
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Old 02-20-19, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
https://www.strava.com/activities/2157893740
Seems like a pretty good way to train for a pro race as well.
As well as having experience and a coach.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
I stopped reading here as this is utter horse****. Because it makes sense? Precisely 36 min at sweetspot is the definition of an oxymoron.
Originally Posted by hubcyclist View Post
Yeah, they have 3x12 sweet spot, and they progress users to 30min sweet spot intervals.
Care to reply, gregf83?

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Old 02-20-19, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Riding outdoors is an excellent way to train for a Cat 5 race.
Before the trolls get here, I never said it's bad for anything else. The easiest way to explain it is using a local group ride. While not ideal by any means, simply riding local terrain is at least specific training for a group ride in that time will be naturally distributed among energy systems in alignment with your 'event'. That's a good thing. Not a bad thing. Leave your neighborhood, however, and it's time to get a coach or go indoors.
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Old 02-20-19, 11:41 AM
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Here's another way to put it: Suppose in a relationship your favorite thing to do is have sex. If that's all you do, that relationship isn't going to last long, even if it's the best sex you ever had. You need to do other things to keep the interpersonal interest up.

Same with training. The way to keep up the interest is to have variety. Same with food, too. My wife has a list of over 400 favorite recipes. Let's see, 34 and rainy today so I'll see if I can get the shop up to 50 so I can do a 40' FastPedal workout. Tomorrow I'll go Alpine skiing and then come back and go to the gym for some heavy weight work. If I can walk OK the next day, I might try heating the shop again or just go to the gym for a spin bike, which is OK but too easy to spin on, like a fixie.

The first club event ride is this weekend. Forecast is 34 and amazingly not raining, but might be bad on the hilltops from the previous night's rain and snow. I'll probably stay home and do a long roller interval, go snowshoeing the next day. Gotta make it fun or it's not happening. OTOH if the legs don't have any snap, it won't be fun on that first competitive group ride when we finally have a decent day. The fun has to be constructive or in the long run it's not fun because the results are disappointing. It's all a balance. It's good to have winter fun in winter because you sure can't do it in the summer.

Nice to chat with y'all anyway while I wait for the shop to warm up. Wife's off to her dressage lesson, toe warmers in. Our bird feeding station is quite active. A Merlin has discovered it, so it's a process of seeds becoming Merlin. We'd like him to only eat the exotics, English Sparrows and Eurasian Banded Doves.
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Old 02-20-19, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Here's another way to put it: Suppose in a relationship your favorite thing to do is have sex. If that's all you do, that relationship isn't going to last long, even if it's the best sex you ever had. You need to do other things to keep the interpersonal interest up.

Same with training. The way to keep up the interest is to have variety. Same with food, too. My wife has a list of over 400 favorite recipes. Let's see, 34 and rainy today so I'll see if I can get the shop up to 50 so I can do a 40' FastPedal workout. Tomorrow I'll go Alpine skiing and then come back and go to the gym for some heavy weight work. If I can walk OK the next day, I might try heating the shop again or just go to the gym for a spin bike, which is OK but too easy to spin on, like a fixie.

The first club event ride is this weekend. Forecast is 34 and amazingly not raining, but might be bad on the hilltops from the previous night's rain and snow. I'll probably stay home and do a long roller interval, go snowshoeing the next day. Gotta make it fun or it's not happening. OTOH if the legs don't have any snap, it won't be fun on that first competitive group ride when we finally have a decent day. The fun has to be constructive or in the long run it's not fun because the results are disappointing. It's all a balance. It's good to have winter fun in winter because you sure can't do it in the summer.

Nice to chat with y'all anyway while I wait for the shop to warm up. Wife's off to her dressage lesson, toe warmers in. Our bird feeding station is quite active. A Merlin has discovered it, so it's a process of seeds becoming Merlin. We'd like him to only eat the exotics, English Sparrows and Eurasian Banded Doves.
Sorry I just realized that I inadvertently deleted the word 'indoors' from my title when I had to split it up because it was too long.
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Old 02-20-19, 12:27 PM
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But what about outdoor training?

As you can see this has already come up twice which is partially my fault for accidentally omitting the word 'indoor' from my title.

Incidentally, however, many of these concepts can also apply to the outdoors albeit over a long enough time such that variation comes out in the wash. What this means is that improvements and changes to other metrics will need to be more pronounced and consistent before they are detected. For example, when rides around your neighborhood become laps around your neighborhood or average speed for the same effort becomes consistently faster then you are improving. This is the natural and intuitive application of the internal to external ratio we all do even if we don't know what it's called.

I'm not an advocate for indoor training. I just choose to do it because it suits my personality and also I don't want to die from being hit by someone who is texting.
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Old 02-20-19, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Our bird feeding station is quite active. A Merlin has discovered it, so it's a process of seeds becoming Merlin. We'd like him to only eat the exotics, English Sparrows and Eurasian Banded Doves.
But the merlin probably thinks the chickadees and cardinals taste much better, right?

Just imaging how good that merlin could be at catching his dinner if he'd spent the last month doing an optimum indoor flapping training program...
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Old 02-20-19, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Care to reply, gregf83?

There's clearly no point.
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Old 02-20-19, 03:10 PM
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Everything I Need to Know About Training was put forth in a seasonal program by my 1st coach to build the skills, techniques, pace-line etiquette, endurance, power, speed and timing to cycle effectively in 1968.
The Basics were and still are the Basics, these have been refined with high specificity to what works for me to strengthen my weaknesses, maintain my strengths and reach each season's goals.
As a cyclist those goals are ridden 100% in the outdoors.

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Old 02-20-19, 03:16 PM
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Originally Posted by OBoile View Post
https://www.strava.com/activities/2157893740
Seems like a pretty good way to train for a pro race as well.
We went to Girona last spring and did basically that same route down to the beach. Girona is a fantastic area for training; plenty of variety, respectful drivers and great food. We rented a house and had pros living on either side of us. No structure, just lots of volume, great way to spend 10 days.


Beach near Tossa De Mar

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Old 02-20-19, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bandera View Post
Everything I Need to Know About Training was put forth in a seasonal program by my 1st coach to build the skills, techniques, pace-line etiquette, endurance, power, speed and timing to cycle effectively in 1968.

The Basics were and still are the Basics, these have been refined with high specificity to what works for me to strengthen my weaknesses, maintain my strengths and reach each season's goals.

As a cyclist those goals are ridden 100% in the outdoors.


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Dont forget about the recovery chicken fried steak with a giant salad and the sides at OST.
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Old 02-20-19, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
But the merlin probably thinks the chickadees and cardinals taste much better, right?

Just imaging how good that merlin could be at catching his dinner if he'd spent the last month doing an optimum indoor flapping training program...
Chickadees aren't afraid of him. We don't have Cardinals. He really likes him some nice Eurasian dove. I just did a heckuva indoor flapping workout. Was good.
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Old 02-20-19, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fstrnu View Post
Sorry I just realized that I inadvertently deleted the word 'indoors' from my title when I had to split it up because it was too long.
I just did what's usually a difficult workout for me: 40' of FastPedal on my resistance rollers, 1:10 total time. The FastPedal is to be done at steady VT1. My legs did the workout just fine and they used to be the weak spot. My strength work and crosstraining has been very good for my legs.

Age is tripping me up a bit - I could only pedal 110-115 at VT1. Used to be faster. The big BUT is that I had about 8 beats of drift and my quads burned just under the skin when I was done, meaning I had generated some lactate. Shouldn't be doing that at VT1 and shouldn't have that much drift. Too late in the winter - I should be better than that. I was shocked, shocked I tell you! I'm going to stop just trying to do the FastPedal once a week and missing it too often. and start doing it maybe every other day until that drift comes down. Cycling is a pedaling sport and if I can't pedal, I can't do squat. So we'll see. DH skiing and weights tomorrow.

I counted the drift from when my HR stopped rising at a steady cadence, maybe 5' into the FastPedal. To stay at VT1, I had to keep pedaling faster as my rollers warmed up. I started at 110, finished at 115. I can touch 150 on the rollers without bouncing.
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