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 Post subject: L2 volume v frequency
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:35 am 
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What would be the minimum requirement in terms of volume & frequency needed to develop the aerobic system i.e. the physiological changes that come from training at L2?

I understand that certain changes and adaptations occur from training at this level but at what point does it become ineffective in terms of volume & frequency? i.e. I’m sure that 20hrs per week @ L2 4-5hrs a day would bring about massive changes but would there be any point in training say 6hrs per week at L2 @ 1hr a day or would just one 6hr L2 session be better?

I’ve also read that there are certain changes that only start to occur after the first hour or so spent at L2, so I’m assuming it would be better in terms of physiological changes to complete 2hrs continuously rather than break it up into two 1hr sessions.
I hope this is making some sense and I understand that is dependent upon a great many factors but I am just curious to know.

Thanks for reading


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:02 pm 
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I wouldnt bother with many 1h L2 sessions. If you can plug in a 5h+ L2 session, then go for it, especially if you race marathon. Other then that I'd stay at L4, SST, and L6


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Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:02 pm 


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:58 am 
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I don't think there is much to be gained by doing a bunch of 1-hour long L2 rides.
If you only have one hour to ride, it should probably either be a recovery ride, or something with some degree of intensity.

As for 6 sessions of 1 hr in L2 versus 1 session of 6 hrs at L2, I'd vote for the latter, but my choice would also depend on what you would be doing the other 6 days of the week for that option.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 2:15 pm 
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Hi all, looking for some advice concerning the best use of some newly found additional time I am able to devote to training. A planned change in my overall working pattern and reduced working hours will mean that shortly I will soon have a bit more time to train which also won't negatively impact on my family life. I am a 43yo male who has been training for a number of years with my main interest being mtb xcm racing and events 60-100mile. A major part of my time is focused on training on the road or on the trainer, currently I use hr & rpe as my main training metrics along with sporttracks on the pc. Currently as I will soon be moving in the first of one of my planned build periods my week looks something like this.

Mon off
Tue 90min session on the trainer, intervals some where around85-105% LTHR
We'd off
Thur 90min session on the trainer, some form of 2x20 at around 90-95% LTHR
Fri off
Sat 2hrs with 3x20min SST
Sun 3-5hrs LSD with some tempo/SST added

Of course all this is dependant upon the weather and family etc.

I am looking at adding an additional few hours after work on Wednesday (once I get my new lights), and I will have a 1.5hr am commute on Friday with a ride home again pm anywhere from 1.5-2hrs.

Any ideas how I could best use these extra hours? Thanks for reading.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:20 pm 
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Maybe try to polarize your schedule a bit more? Purely z1-z2 work on the weekends and add some vO2max intervals to the commute.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:46 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, could you explain what you mean by polarize.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 1:47 am 
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^ this will answer many questions :- http://www.canal-insep.fr/fr/training-p ... seiler-mov

Well worth the watch. Return here with questions if things aren't clear.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 1:03 pm 
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Thanks, very interesting, I understand that easy sessions should be easy and hard sessions be hard but the studies
Seem to only involve athletes who are spending a huge amount of time at below threshold intensity, how do you think this polarised approach would work with some one with limited time?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:25 pm 
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Not sure if you got to the bit at the end but they did look at the polarised protocol for recreational runners and it was slightly better even for amateurs than the more threshold focus. Also that "longer" Vo2max intervals seemed to yield better gains than the shorter stuff, i.e.: 8mins intervals rather than 4min intervals.

These are all things to consider and are not definitives however.

Also, if XCM is a focus then I would consider a tad less threshold work and a bit more L5, even the odd L6 session and bucket loads more L2 if that is what the time affords you. Any more intensity to what you are doing that the moment and I think you'll start to go backwards.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:07 am 
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While Tapeworm is probably more qualified then myself, however I've raced enough XCM / Endurance events, and experimented enough to know what’s required to get though them.

I'd be inclined to take Tapeworms advise and drop some of the threshold work, maybe add a little more intensity. While longer Vo2 Max sessions yield better gains, in mountain bike racing you need to back it up again, and again, and again! I've found doing over/under intervals a fantastic way to improve the repeatability.

I'd also try and add an hour of easy spinning on Wednesday if at all possible; this will bump up your volume a little and also aid recovery from Tuesday's session.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:25 am 
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keep in mind training should not always be ultra specific. There are times where you may want to go a bit unspecific in duration and intensity to yield better adaptations, modulate load or diversify stimulus.


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Posted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 1:25 am 


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2014 3:23 pm 
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I only use shorter L2 sessions to bridge harder sessions. While there are lots of polarized studies out there that have fairly aligned results, I see them as a way to add TSS during a build without adding a ton of stress. If I switch 1 ride a week to 2hrs of L2 instead of a 1hr spin that is an additional ~60 TSS and while not a lot, is enough to increase training stress without adding too much risk. Otherwise, I can see them being useful if done to bridge harder sessions as long as you can recover because the half life of many of the primary adaptations of L2 riding are fairly short and it helps to keep plasma volume high and capillaries/mitochondria active and processing blood/fuel. Plus, I think most low volume riders are really not in danger of overtraining and it probably won't hurt them to add in more work. Cycling is still an aerobic sport. If you add in just 1hr of L2 a week for half of the year, that is an extra 26hrs of riding. An extra 50hrs/year is not trivial. Think long term.

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