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after breaking through a plateau/ceiling

Old 10-09-09, 10:06 AM
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njlonghorn
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after breaking through a plateau/ceiling

Until last week, I'd been in a training rut, not really improving all that much. Last weekend, I went on my first-ever long-distance tour (227 miles over 3 days). I took Monday-Wednesday off to recover, then went to my regular spin class Thursday morning. I had been told to expect a big leap forward in fitness, but I didn't expect it to be sooo big. The spin bikes I use have numbered gears, and I was able to ride for extended periods in hard gears that I have never used at all before. What a great feeling!

What is the best way to keep on the path of improvement? If I continue working out with the same frequency as before, should I expect the bump to last or will I fade back to where I was -- or perhaps somewhere in between? Will I continue to improve for a while, ultimately reaching a new plateau even higher than I am now?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 10-09-09, 04:08 PM
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Well, so you know what it was that you just did, that gave you that bump? Do more of that.

OTOH, doesn't have to be 3 consecutive days. Can be as little as 4 days/week, totalling as little as 170 miles. One day 25 miles flat or rollers, as fast as you can, one day climbing repeats, one longish recovery day, and a longer ride on the weekend 40-80 miles depending on season. You can add more short recovery rides into a schedule like that to get more butt miles and low end endurance. And spin class is always good to get a few short intervals in. I'd say that if you go back to doing what you were doing, you'll slide back to where you were.
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Old 10-09-09, 09:15 PM
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remember the recovery.
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Old 10-10-09, 08:06 PM
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On a recent long ride / personal record 3 day event I did I had the opposite experience, i.e. must have overexerted. I was interested to read your post, and I think that you might be able to keep up the higher resistance at the spin class, and even up your times too.
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Old 10-11-09, 07:40 AM
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I'd say that if you go back to doing what you were doing, you'll slide back to where you were.
I guess I should have been clearer with my question. Obviously, I won't go back to doing EXACTLY what I was doing. What I hope to do is go back to working out as often as I used to, and for the same duration, but with the higher intensity that I can now handle. If I do that, will I (a) regress back to where I was, (b) stay where I am now, or (c) continue to advance for a while until I hit a new plateau? I'm hoping for (c), would willingly accept (b), but fear that (a) may be the correct answer.
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Old 10-11-09, 07:51 AM
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In what age group are you?

Knocking out two and a quarter centuries in three days, taking a few days off then exploding with energy... I'd guess you're relatively young.

Good job, by the way. It sure feels great when you notice a marked improvement. Keep up the good work.


`
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Old 10-11-09, 08:31 AM
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I can't exactly answer your question but I ride much stronger the week following a 60-75 weekend ride. Especially the first weekday ride. By Friday I am burned out from chasing all the fast guys
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Old 10-11-09, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by njlonghorn View Post
I guess I should have been clearer with my question. Obviously, I won't go back to doing EXACTLY what I was doing. What I hope to do is go back to working out as often as I used to, and for the same duration, but with the higher intensity that I can now handle. If I do that, will I (a) regress back to where I was, (b) stay where I am now, or (c) continue to advance for a while until I hit a new plateau? I'm hoping for (c), would willingly accept (b), but fear that (a) may be the correct answer.
Nah, you get the intensity up, you'll get the overall fitness up. It's doing intense intervals, then recovering, that gives you max benefit. I vote for (c).

Doing intense intervals takes a lot of willpower. Then having the patience to wait for recovery - that takes willpower, too.
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Old 10-11-09, 10:26 AM
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The spin bikes I use have numbered gears, and I was able to ride for extended periods in hard gears that I have never used at all before. What a great feeling!
That's nice. But your experience doesn't prove that any training adaptations have taken place.

Your recent spin bike enjoyment does support the notion that when rested - they seem easier to pedal.

You'll have to gain considerably more experience and investigate even more detailed training logging and measuring devices if you are to be able to learn what your "plateau" may or may not be - and how to break through it.

One aspect of training science that does indeed apply to you is the concept of "diminishing returns."

This principle holds that as a given person's training status - or fitness - improves, the person will have to perform ever more specific, and in most cases - ever more intense training sessions to improve.

Essentially this means you improve a lot when you first start training, but find it harder and harder to keep improving after you have reached a higher level of fitness. For right now, enjoy your new found sense of fitness. Later on - you'll have to focus your efforts to improve.
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Old 10-11-09, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by LJ325 View Post
In what age group are you?`
I'm 40. My kids think I'm old, but I still think of myself as young. Or at least young-ish.

This morning, I didn't have much time so I went on my standard 30-minute loop. My best time previously had been a hair over 29:00, which had been holding fairly steady of late. This morning I made it in 26:36. At least half of the time savings was on the one climb, which I was able to attack much more aggressively than before.

I sure hope this lasts. There is no concrete reason for me to care, because I'm not gonna win any races or anything. But its fun to be faster than I used to be.
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Old 10-13-09, 03:04 PM
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My best time previously had been a hair over 29:00, which had been holding fairly steady of late.
And before you try to go ride it at 26:39 again - be sure to go ride it at 32:00 - you have to ride slowly, to support rides, or train for rides you want to race.

Another tip - try and ride the 2nd half of the course at speeds faster than the first half. (assuming even difficulty)
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