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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 9:25 pm 
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I would appreciate some input and advice on a training plan to improve times on my local climbs.

I often ride a 12 km 7.6% grade mountain that is near my house. I don't race and my main goal is to improve my climbing times/FTP. I'm 5'5" 123 lb so dropping weight is not an issue.

In the past, I haven't followed a training plan and have ridden like you're typical "hammerhead." As fast as I can on a given day, 6-7 days a week (7-10 hours) without designated easy days, typical diminishing returns from insufficient rest and lack of focused intervals. Sometimes the same local climb 2-3 days in a row.

This year I am using TrainerRoad w/ a KK trainer and VirtualPower twice a week, focusing on threshold work (taking cues from the "Sweet Spot" thread). I feel stronger than I have in years and my power is steadily improving.

I've currently settled into the following schedule. (I run 2x/week to get some weight-bearing exercise [low bone density] and because it gives me an aerobic workout without thrashing my cycling legs.)

Sunday: (1 hr) Z2 recovery ride or tempo run
Monday: (1.5 hr) 50 minutes @ 95%+ FTP
Tuesday: (1.5 hr) Z2 ride first half with short Z4 efforts at the end
Wednesday: (1 hr) Tempo run or rest day
Thursday: (1.5 hr) 50 minutes @ 95%+ FTP
Friday: (1 hr) Z2 recovery ride
Saturday: (2+ hrs) Distance ride (hills or long climb)

Any advice for fine-tuning my schedule/workouts? I will continue to increase my threshold workouts (time spent at or near FTP/shorter rest) as fitness improves; right now 2x/week seems hard enough in terms of frequency.

I am not exactly sure what to do with Tuesday, which is the day after my hardest threshold workout. My legs are usually spent from the previous day, but much better after a 30-45 minutes at Z2. Should I make this a harder day and more structured with threshold intervals?

Thanks in advance.


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PostPosted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:34 pm 
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What exactly do you do on Mon and Thur? Do you do a TTesque interval session, fixed at %95 of your FTP? If so, I think you should put some shorter intervals in the mix. That will improve your anaerobic system and you will be able to respond to changes in the grade/attacks from friends etc. stuff that require you to go into the red.
Sun and Tue look like easy days to me, I think you should place them further apart. After the hardest two days, maybe. But if you feel spent after Mon, keep Tue as a recovery day, don't flex your muscle.
My two cents.


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Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 11:34 pm 


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 5:26 am 
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Mon/Thurs are currently 5x10 or 4x12 at 95-102% FTP. 50% rest between intervals. I am working on reducing the rest time.

I don't have a powermeter, so I'd like to keep one TrainerRoad threshold session even in good weather. It keeps me honest. As weather allows, I will shift the 2nd threshold workout to 2x20s on my local climb, at minimum 95% FTP.

I've been skipping short/VO2 max intervals because I don't really need the punch (not racing). But maybe it is worth it to spur adapation. I basically have a recovery ride after each of the two threshold days. Should I instead be shooting for two hard days in a row then a recovery day?


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 8:09 am 
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These shorter intervals will increase your pain threshold so you can push harder near the end of a long effort, in addition to increasing your instantaneous power. I'd replace one of the hard days with a day of short intervals.

You can definitely do it like hard day-harder day-recovery.


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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:28 am 
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For such a well defined effort, it helps to take into account the specificity of training, and build up your shape progressively. E.g. if you start from a decent general form, in the first month do two weekly sessions of "VO2max" style workouts, something like 4-5x 5min (rest a bit shorter than effort), then in the second month do FTP-style 3x15min with 3-5min rest 2x/week, and in the final month do all-out efforts about taking about 80% of the planned finishing time twice a week.

Build your long rides and other workouts/rest days around that.

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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 11:39 am 
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Why don't you just follow one of the trainerroad plans?

I used them in the past and they were great

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PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2014 12:54 am 
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To improve on the 12 km climb keep doing the 12 km climb. To improve your climbing you do repeated climbs of the 12 km climb which is what your goal is now.
You want to train to improve climbing? You do climbs.

Work on your efficiency of climbing:

Climb seated,
Climb standing,
Do climbing intervals.
Do a climbing TT

Working on climbing improves....yeah you got it climbing.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 12:18 pm 
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A 12km climb will all be about your sustainable threshold power. As noted by other's short harder work (VO2max) will help with the longer sustainable power, and help with recovery from surges/efforts.

This is highly generic schedule listed. And this can work really well.. until it doesn't anymore. When it fails to yield the changes you need then more specific programming needs to be introduced.

Sunday: (1 hr) Z1 recovery ride.
Monday: (1.5 hr) 2 x 20mins @ 95%+ FTP. Up hill if possible.
Tuesday: (1.5 hr) Z2 easy ride, include 2 x [4 x 30sec HARD/30sec rest] with a minimum 5mins between efforts.
Wednesday: (1 hr) Tempo run or rest day
Thursday: (1.5 hr) 4 x 5mins @ VO2max (broken into 30sec slightly harder (105% FTP/30sec slightly easier 90% FTP). Up hill if possible. Don't change gears for the harder efforts - spin like a madman if you have to.
Friday: (1 hr) Z2 recovery ride
Saturday: (2+ hrs) Z2 - max time possible.

Every second or third week skip the Tuesday session and do a time trial up the chosen slope.

Stella does make the point of doing a lot of climbing. If it is available to you then doing a lot of climbing is advisable, the intricacies of low inertia peddling means that specificity is good for your goal. If you don't have the climb handy then improving your threshold will still help and you'll just have to work on whatever slope you can find.

However given that the easy days need to be EASY then unless you have insanely low gearing you'd be best to stick to the flatter terrain for those rides.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 5:23 pm 
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sanrensho wrote:
In the past, I haven't followed a training plan and have ridden like you're typical "hammerhead." As fast as I can on a given day, 6-7 days a week (7-10 hours) without designated easy days, typical diminishing returns from insufficient rest and lack of focused intervals. Sometimes the same local climb 2-3 days in a row.


That sounds a lot like me when I started. It works great for awhile, but you need to rest enough (very important)... and also specifically target aerobic and anaerobic systems. Your climb is perfect for a FTP effort, BTW.

I concur that VO2 intervals are a very good idea if you are building to a peak.

Not sure what others think but I'd cut out the running if you really want to do well on that climb. Only run in the off season. Walking is ok.

I'd also do one ride per week that is at least 4 hrs and preferably 5. Doesn't need to be a hard effort... you can even do it after a hard day.

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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 7:36 pm 
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Thanks for the advice everyone.

Point taken about mixing in some VO2 Max (Z5) intervals into the plan. I will add them to my 2nd hard day (Tuesday) and for now alternate FTP work/VO2 Max intervals on Thursdays. For Z5 intervals, do most of you to put these at the end of a ride and then shut it down for the day?

I'm sticking with the running due to low bone density issues. (Get your bone density checked out if you haven't!) I find I can get a good run in when my cycling legs would be dead, plus it provides a mental break.

All FTP work will be done on the aforementioned 12K climb. Lots of climbing and hills in my area, so it is actually challenging finding a flat route to do easy recovery rides.

I don't think I'll go back to doing the climb (it's 5 minutes away) endlessly for weeks on end. I found that the "lots of climbing" approach increased my capacity/endurance for climbing, but did not necessarily make me faster. I had one of my most mediocre years when I was doing the climb 3-4x/week for the better part of five months, with little improvement in my times. It certainly made me stronger in terms of handling the climb on consecutive days, but I couldn't go easy enough to do recovery/warm-up so that I could get quality work done.


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PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2014 7:39 pm 
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WMW, I would love to be able to throw in a 4+ hour ride every week. Most of my rides are 1-2 hours due to family obligations...but I make sure to get out 6-7x/week.


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PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 12:46 pm 
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sanrensho wrote:
For Z5 intervals, do most of you to put these at the end of a ride and then shut it down for the day?

When I do intervals for the day, just warmup, workout, and a bit of cooldown. There's no need for extra kilometers on such a day, in my book (I am on a time constrained training plan as well).

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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 7:30 am 
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Here's my fine-tuned weekly plan incorporating much of the suggestions I received.

Sunday: (1 hr) Z2 recovery ride or tempo run
Monday: (1.5 hr) Z4 (2x20, 4x12, etc.) threshold intervals on climb/TrainerRoad
Tuesday: (1.5 hr) Z2 warm-up, Z5 max effort intervals (5x5 w/3 min. rest) on climb
Wednesday: (1 hr) Tempo run or rest day
Thursday: (1.5 hr) Z4 (5x10, etc.) threshold intervals on climb/TR
Friday: (1 hr) Z2 recovery ride
Saturday: (2-3 hrs) Z2/Z3 distance ride (some hills)

This week I did the Z4 threshold work and long ride back-to-back. My legs were toast mid-way through the distance ride today. On the way home I could barely crawl up my usual hills.


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 12:53 pm 
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Hi there,

Actually I don't think any of those efforts should be Z4, should they ?


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Posted: Tue May 13, 2014 12:53 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2014 3:38 pm 
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I actually think your training plan looks quite good, with the exception of the Wednesday tempo run. I see no value in running for a climber. I think it would help to know if you have identified some area of weakness in the climb. Do you find that your pace softens toward the end or do you notice your form suffering? Do you need to resort to standing at times when you know it would be better to stay seated? These issues all have their own form of cure. I agree with others to mix in vo2max to lift the tide at all levels if you are climbing well but seeking a better pace.

By chance is this climb Wintergreen? The stats match up mighty close for it.


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