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First time "training" for a long time cyclist

Old 01-29-23, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I will cut down on overall volume.
Are you tracking your Training Stress Score (TSS)? That might help your volume stay within "budget", and keep you from overtraining.

When I'm feeling strong, I keep adding to the volume. But that can come back and bite me, as it did last year. I did a steep 12-week ramp up for an October event, but I ended up getting sick and missed the event.

Here's my ramp-up from last year, from Training Peaks. In retrospect, I should never have let my "form" number (orange line) get so low.


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Old 01-29-23, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Are you tracking your Training Stress Score (TSS)? That might help your volume stay within "budget", and keep you from overtraining.

When I'm feeling strong, I keep adding to the volume. But that can come back and bite me, as it did last year. I did a steep 12-week ramp up for an October event, but I ended up getting sick and missed the event.

Here's my ramp-up from last year, from Training Peaks. In retrospect, I should never have let my "form" number (orange line) get so low.
Yes, it's really good to have some sort of performance management software to use. When I ramp up, I try not to let my Form go below -20. I'm a geezer though. I think youngers are not so delicate. I also use TrainingPeaks.
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Old 01-31-23, 06:08 AM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Are you tracking your Training Stress Score (TSS)? That might help your volume stay within "budget", and keep you from overtraining.

When I'm feeling strong, I keep adding to the volume. But that can come back and bite me, as it did last year. I did a steep 12-week ramp up for an October event, but I ended up getting sick and missed the event.

Here's my ramp-up from last year, from Training Peaks. In retrospect, I should never have let my "form" number (orange line) get so low.


I'm just learning about this now. My Garmin lists a training load - very confusing to me. I just did a week of easy/recovery type rides and Garmin said may training load was overreaching and nonproductive. Last night I did the hardest VO2 max session to date and, my training load number went way high, and the ole Garmin said "good job"!! you are right in the zone.

More stuff to figure out...
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Old 01-31-23, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I'm just learning about this now. My Garmin lists a training load - very confusing to me. I just did a week of easy/recovery type rides and Garmin said may training load was overreaching and nonproductive. Last night I did the hardest VO2 max session to date and, my training load number went way high, and the ole Garmin said "good job"!! you are right in the zone.

More stuff to figure out...
I get really wierd stuff from Garmin on this front and consequently dont trust it. Its hard to see how it is even arrived at.
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Old 01-31-23, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by force10
I get really wierd stuff from Garmin on this front and consequently dont trust it. Its hard to see how it is even arrived at.
Last week it told me I was "peaking" after finishing a 30 minute warm up. WTF???
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Old 01-31-23, 12:45 PM
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I would definitely ignore an instrument like a Garmin, FitBit, etc. Too many reports of similar stupidity on the part of such gadgets. Diagnosing overreaching, peaking, etc. . . it's getting into an area where pro coaches can disagree. Apps like TrainingPeaks present you with data and the results of well-proven calculations relating to the decay rate of training impulses. But no decisions! Just the data. You have to try to figure out what that means according to your personal experience, and everyone's different, and so the same exact data will mean different things to different people.

Yeah, it's complicated and it takes personal experience to figure out what your response should be to the data presented. You're a lot smarter than a Garmin. Thus we definitely see many riders who say "screw that, I'm going by feel." Which is not a bad response either, but if one is working on a long term project, like prepping for an event, or slowly improving fitness, the apps rule. It took me a couple of years to accumulate enough data and experience with same that I could predict future results of current training just by looking at the numbers. It was worth the effort. I plan my training a couple of weeks in advance by putting various workouts on my calendar and then I see how that goes. Usually I have an exact rate of increase in fitness in mind and I try to put that into practice.

TraningPeaks is so named because the idea is to have some goal in mind and to then engineer a peak fitness for it by doing what I'm talking about. Which means one has to have some idea of what fitness numbers mean and etc., which is the experience part of it. Or one can simply work on getting more fit, but there is an upper limit on what one's fitness numbers can be and on how long one can sustain those numbers, more experience.
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Old 01-31-23, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
I'm just learning about this now. My Garmin lists a training load - very confusing to me. I just did a week of easy/recovery type rides and Garmin said may training load was overreaching and nonproductive. Last night I did the hardest VO2 max session to date and, my training load number went way high, and the ole Garmin said "good job"!! you are right in the zone.
Yeah, that Garmin training status report can be goofy.

But the 7-day training load is fairly consistent and a decent measure of your weekly training stress. It can also show goofy "optimal range" when it has only a few days of data to measure:


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Old 01-31-23, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse

It can also show goofy "optimal range" when it has only a few days of data to measure:

This is my guess - I rode all summer without heart rate data. I typically only put my HR monitor on during training efforts. Probably screws the maths up.
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Old 01-31-23, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
This is my guess - I rode all summer without heart rate data. I typically only put my HR monitor on during training efforts. Probably screws the maths up.
Yeah, you have to have HR data for for everything, even walks in your neighborhood, gym, everything. I use a Garmin on the bike and a sports watch for everything else. Data isn't helpful unless you have all of it, as you see, it can mislead you.
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Old 02-01-23, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
This is my guess - I rode all summer without heart rate data. I typically only put my HR monitor on during training efforts. Probably screws the maths up.
Yeah, you need HR (and ideally power) recorded consistently for the algorithms to make any sense. I've used platforms like Training Peaks in the past and they are pretty useful for tracking training metrics, but now I'm using PILLAR, which is a dynamic virtual coaching App. This is the first winter I've used PILLAR for my training plan and the results are looking good. It's doing a great job of managing my training stress and recovery, with an overall plan tailored toward my key summer events.
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Old 02-03-23, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
Yeah, you need HR (and ideally power) recorded consistently for the algorithms to make any sense. I've used platforms like Training Peaks in the past and they are pretty useful for tracking training metrics, but now I'm using PILLAR, which is a dynamic virtual coaching App. This is the first winter I've used PILLAR for my training plan and the results are looking good. It's doing a great job of managing my training stress and recovery, with an overall plan tailored toward my key summer events.
Great post. This type of post where a member is using a product or service, and finds it useful, offers the most value to me. With respect to training, the service is providing results and the results are against a goal.

Although, maybe Pillar is just Chatgpt in disguise.
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Old 02-20-23, 12:52 PM
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3 x 2.5 week training blocks complete - now I'm just out riding around and feel some massive differences.

Did a 4 min+/- strava segment the other day - previous PB back in August was 276w average over the run, this run was 332w. So, the VO2 max zone has been raised a good bit. Goal was to be able to ride around all day at 200-215w range, vs 175-190w range. Looks like most of that happened, I regularly look down and see 200+ while I'm just cruising along. Instead of being all out on short/steep grades, now I can ride easily up the hill or give it more gas if I want... and recover better.

I'm going to just ride around now/zone 2 type riding for the next few weeks, then do 2 more cycles of intensity & get ready for the spring rides.

Good to see that some of the gains stuck.
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Old 02-20-23, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
3 x 2.5 week training blocks complete - now I'm just out riding around and feel some massive differences.
Congratulations on the gains, it's inspiring to see positive results like yours.

I'm just plugging along with zone 2-ish rides, plus a few short blasts up rollers here and there, and I'm tracking my EF (Efficiency Factor -- average power divided by heart rate). My current EF is about where it was last September, which is encouraging.
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Old 02-20-23, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
3 x 2.5 week training blocks complete - now I'm just out riding around and feel some massive differences.

Did a 4 min+/- strava segment the other day - previous PB back in August was 276w average over the run, this run was 332w. So, the VO2 max zone has been raised a good bit. Goal was to be able to ride around all day at 200-215w range, vs 175-190w range. Looks like most of that happened, I regularly look down and see 200+ while I'm just cruising along. Instead of being all out on short/steep grades, now I can ride easily up the hill or give it more gas if I want... and recover better.

I'm going to just ride around now/zone 2 type riding for the next few weeks, then do 2 more cycles of intensity & get ready for the spring rides.

Good to see that some of the gains stuck.
That is a big improvement, well done. I think it's a good plan to back off for a couple of weeks before pushing on again. My plan follows along those lines too, but does include a few short VO2 efforts once a week during those base weeks. Just enough to maintain the power gains, but not enough to cause significant fatigue.
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Old 08-10-23, 11:38 AM
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OK - thread reboot.

Trained all winter, tune up trained for a week in the high mountains 2 months later... past few months I've just been doing z2 volume, unstructured rides of all intensities, and some occasional intervals thrown in...

Went out and attempted a FTP test, was looking at the 2x8 min version.

Not knowing where to start, going off my previous 5 min power record of 311w from before the winter training sessions, I set to ride 8 min at 300w. Flat out died at 4 min @ 303w. Flat died. Tried again 5 min later at 280w, bzzzt, fail.

Now I'm somehow weaker than last years levels at higher mid range power levels. But my lower ranges are higher, and my top peak is higher (with no training in that zone).

I guess there is a question in here, or two...

How long will results from training stick around? And how often do you need to repeat training blocks to avoid losing gains?

And the big question - if you do lose the gains, do you get them back quicker since you already laid those tracks?
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Old 08-10-23, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
OK - thread reboot.

Trained all winter, tune up trained for a week in the high mountains 2 months later... past few months I've just been doing z2 volume, unstructured rides of all intensities, and some occasional intervals thrown in...

Went out and attempted a FTP test, was looking at the 2x8 min version.

Not knowing where to start, going off my previous 5 min power record of 311w from before the winter training sessions, I set to ride 8 min at 300w. Flat out died at 4 min @ 303w. Flat died. Tried again 5 min later at 280w, bzzzt, fail.

Now I'm somehow weaker than last years levels at higher mid range power levels. But my lower ranges are higher, and my top peak is higher (with no training in that zone).

I guess there is a question in here, or two...

How long will results from training stick around? And how often do you need to repeat training blocks to avoid losing gains?

And the big question - if you do lose the gains, do you get them back quicker since you already laid those tracks?
In 2-3 days, plasma volume drops and aerobic capacity by 3-5%

In 2 weeks, cardiac output is down bringing loses to 15% or more.

Going beyond 2 weeks, mitochondria function drops and at around 3-4 weeks, VO2 max is down at least 20% if you are doing no exercise.

Peak fitness is less ephemeral for those who have been training for many, many years.
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Old 08-10-23, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
OK - thread reboot.


And the big question - if you do lose the gains, do you get them back quicker since you already laid those tracks?
A very fit person who detrains will regain fitness quicker. They will also heal injuries quicker than an unfit person.

In the past 2 years, I had to deal with a major crash, a trip to the trauma center with 11 broken bones with two surgeries and then Covid that morphed into long Covid. But I am 65. They told me PT and full healing on the bones would be a year. I did a 200Km ride in under 4 months from the crash and started riding on day 29 but my aerobic power took 9 months to return compared to the power the day before the crash. It took me 8 months from the time I got Covid to build my chronic training load (CTL of 90-95) back to where it was in November in the off season and about the same time to build my peak 5 minute power to the same level, my FTP is still off 10% but my fractional utilization is down to about 79% from 89% (ridiculously high but old people have higher percentage). But who knows how much your lack of training impacted your fitness, there isn't much info given.

In short, I am sure a long time athlete's legs have memory and they can retrain quicker than a newbie would gain. All you can do is work with what you have and don't be upset. I went from like 350 watts down to like 240 watts (or lower really) due to covid and climbing out of that hole just took time and patience. It sounds like you are not so bad off. Without knowing your CP and W', it is hard to say but you probably were trying too high a wattage on the 8 minutes even if your fitness was as good as last winter.

I bet you just need two blocks ( say 7-8 weeks) and you would be back to your old level. GL
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Old 08-14-23, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed
OK - thread reboot.

Trained all winter, tune up trained for a week in the high mountains 2 months later... past few months I've just been doing z2 volume, unstructured rides of all intensities, and some occasional intervals thrown in...

Went out and attempted a FTP test, was looking at the 2x8 min version.

Not knowing where to start, going off my previous 5 min power record of 311w from before the winter training sessions, I set to ride 8 min at 300w. Flat out died at 4 min @ 303w. Flat died. Tried again 5 min later at 280w, bzzzt, fail.

Now I'm somehow weaker than last years levels at higher mid range power levels. But my lower ranges are higher, and my top peak is higher (with no training in that zone).

I guess there is a question in here, or two...

How long will results from training stick around? And how often do you need to repeat training blocks to avoid losing gains?

And the big question - if you do lose the gains, do you get them back quicker since you already laid those tracks?
First thing is that you tried to go very close to your previous record high as your new starting baseline. Almost guaranteed to fail, so no surprise there.

Secondly, you have noted that your lower ranges and peaks are both higher. So if you go into a progressive build phase you will probably beat your previous records. Just donít expect it to happen without doing the building blocks.

How long will gains last? Maybe a couple of months at most before you need some rest and recovery. Thatís why pro riders donít try to win all 3 Grand Tours in the same season. Form requires both peaks and troughs and how you manage those is key to longer term consistency. The only way to achieve a constant flat level of fitness is to underperform your potential peak.

So start thinking in terms of a sinusoidal performance curve with a slight long term upward trend. It seems like your current trough is a bit higher than before, so consider that a win and try to build slightly above your previous peak in the next wave.
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Old 08-14-23, 09:54 AM
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Reboot comment: I suspect most of the "losses" are due to diet and your Type II problem. Your diet range maybe really narrow for good performance. Do you use a nutritionist for your meals to maximize power and recovery while managing your Type II?

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Old 08-18-23, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski
First thing is that you tried to go very close to your previous record high as your new starting baseline. Almost guaranteed to fail, so no surprise there.

Secondly, you have noted that your lower ranges and peaks are both higher. So if you go into a progressive build phase you will probably beat your previous records. Just donít expect it to happen without doing the building blocks.

How long will gains last? Maybe a couple of months at most before you need some rest and recovery. Thatís why pro riders donít try to win all 3 Grand Tours in the same season. Form requires both peaks and troughs and how you manage those is key to longer term consistency. The only way to achieve a constant flat level of fitness is to underperform your potential peak.

So start thinking in terms of a sinusoidal performance curve with a slight long term upward trend. It seems like your current trough is a bit higher than before, so consider that a win and try to build slightly above your previous peak in the next wave.
makes sense. Just got finished a few days in the mountains - my base/sustained power is way better than this time last year, just not peak power.

looking forward to see the results after a major training block.
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Old 08-18-23, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes
Reboot comment: I suspect most of the "losses" are due to diet and your Type II problem. Your diet range maybe really narrow for good performance. Do you use a nutritionist for your meals to maximize power and recovery while managing your Type II?

Nutritionist and T2 typically = eat carbs and take meds to cover the carbs = long term disease progression.

I know my recovery/gains are limited by the restrictive diet - but the diet is constant, so gains/losses should be as well.


Im kinda stuck with what I have at this point.
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