What's a 'quality' ride?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Shrike
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by Shrike

Massively confused about training at the moment. More I learn every day the worse it's getting.

So, another newb training question :lol:

Been on other forums reading threads and arguments. Mostly trying to work out what to do over summer. I see some guys saying they do 2 quality days, 2 easy days and at the weekend 2 days of mixed z2/3.

One day off I guess then.

So.. trying to work out what a quality day is in terms of my own riding. Here's an example of a ride I'd do if I just went out for a fun spin, but putting some effort into it. Can you tell me if this is enough to be a 'quality' ride or do I need to go harder, or be more specific? Bolded the parts that make me think I've maybe done enough work to improve.

Z1 Active Recovery 1 - 156 W 10:32 8%
Z2 Endurance 157 - 213 W 13:15 10%
Z3 Tempo 214 - 255 W 30:21 24%
Z4 Threshold 256 - 298 W 39:46 31%
Z5 VO2Max 299 - 340 W 21:36 17%
Z6 Anaerobic 341 - 426 W 9:47 8%
Z7 Neuromuscular 426+ W 3:37 3%

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basilic
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by basilic

hey Shrike, to answer your question : I have no idea.
But if I go by what I've heard others say, you seem to be doing way too much in a single session. A proper coach would have you do just anaerobic intervals one day, threshold work another, etc. And if you call this a "fun ride" you deserve a proper coach.

slick1
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by slick1

A quality ride if I can't get out on the road is jumping on my Wahoo Kickr and wrecking myself with The Sufferfest Revolver or another one of their workouts using Trainerroad.

Best bang for back IMO.

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jekyll man
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by jekyll man

Throw enough sh*t at the wall and some is bound to stick ;-)

Really it depends on how what your aims for the session are, and how you've hit the levels (ie duration etc).
Riding for ridings sake is probably not conducive to it being "quality".

A "quality" session could be a Z1 recovery ride of about 45mins with the majority of time around that zone. A Z1 recovery ride of 2hrs isnt a "quality" session, its just adding fatigue with no benefit.

Likewise a 3hr "tempo" ride with a few sweetspot intervals (15-30 mins) in there can be a good quality session. Stuff that needs you to remain focussed, without it necessarily being a smashfest. If you have a similar total amount of sweetspot, but its only piddling little intervals, then thats perhaps not "quality"...
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kode54
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by kode54

quality ride probably means something different to every rider out there.

my quality ride is to get out and ride. training? i try to ride with several different groups of different levels. if i can't keep up with one group...it shows me that i have to ride more.
great weather and great roads = quality ride.
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Shrike
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by Shrike

Thanks guys, yes last summer I'd pretty much just ride and did improve (well as a new rider that's expected), but now I'm starting to copy workouts to some extent. Like that one I posted, I was trying to do 2x20 min threshold and the rest easy, but hills and things mess with it and I go over sometimes.

I plateau'd really hard last summer, (was riding to speed and judging myself by average speed) and come October I was getting much slower. Looking back I think I was just doing the same sort of rides too often (usually a few 50 to 100 mile rides a week, but always full out). That's why I'm trying to sort myself out now :o

Main problem is knowing how much threshold/endurance/anaerobic/neuromuscular work I should do per week.. thinking it varies per person and I have no specific goals - just want everything to be better :x

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by fromtrektocolnago

To me a quality ride is if I'm enjoyed myself and broken a few personal records on some level. It's all about building a positive experience otherwise you don't want to continue
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kode54
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by kode54

Shrike wrote:Thanks guys, yes last summer I'd pretty much just ride and did improve (well as a new rider that's expected), but now I'm starting to copy workouts to some extent. Like that one I posted, I was trying to do 2x20 min threshold and the rest easy, but hills and things mess with it and I go over sometimes.

I plateau'd really hard last summer, (was riding to speed and judging myself by average speed) and come October I was getting much slower. Looking back I think I was just doing the same sort of rides too often (usually a few 50 to 100 mile rides a week, but always full out). That's why I'm trying to sort myself out now :o

Main problem is knowing how much threshold/endurance/anaerobic/neuromuscular work I should do per week.. thinking it varies per person and I have no specific goals - just want everything to be better :x


ride with guys faster than you. that always adds to the mix. you'll get tired of getting dropped and will force yourself to push harder.
i don't race, so i'm the wrong person to answer your question, i'm sure.
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glepore
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by glepore

Jelyls last paragraph hit it. % time in zone is meaningless unless done in a focused manner.


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byron505
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by byron505

not sure if i agree with all the above. i went from years of structured training to very lax, only riding with other people, rides. my fitness is still improving.

it looks like you got a lot of quality time spent in zones and you will walk away, after recovery, with better fitness.
time in specific zones in a ride doesn't paint a good picture though - 40' at threshhold, if constant, would be killer and you would want to rest, but i assume this was a group ride with times that are more punchy than others (adding up to a 21' time spent at vo2 max when it should really only be held for at 4-5' at a time). could the ride been more productive fitness-wise? yes, absolutely, with structure and holding certain zones straight for a longer time. would it also be more fun? thats your call.

i also assume that you've started to (fairly) recently want to start putting more structured time in on a bike. time and consistence will get you the best results.

i kind of structure my riding around hills i want to bury it for sustained efforts and do race rides to be able to get that 'pop' of acceleration + the ability to recovery/burn matches more quickly. my 20' sustained power has suffered being that i dont do them often.

tl;dr - you are getting quite a bit of benefit as long as you recover smart. could it be better? probably with more structure, but it comes at a cost.
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AJS914
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by AJS914

Shrike wrote:Main problem is knowing how much threshold/endurance/anaerobic/neuromuscular work I should do per week.. thinking it varies per person and I have no specific goals - just want everything to be better :x



I'd recommend the Velonews Fast Talk podcasts. They cover all of these issues.

http://www.velonews.com/tag/fast-talk-podcast

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byron505
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by byron505

AJS914 wrote:
Shrike wrote:Main problem is knowing how much threshold/endurance/anaerobic/neuromuscular work I should do per week.. thinking it varies per person and I have no specific goals - just want everything to be better :x



I'd recommend the Velonews Fast Talk podcasts. They cover all of these issues.

http://www.velonews.com/tag/fast-talk-podcast


this is how i used to approach training - i just want to be better than i was yesterday.

i think for most, its best to set your goals on a very specific event. will help focus your training efforts/planning for a specific day and type of ride. at the end of the day, you will not only have better fitness, but you'll also have a much more pointed peak for whatever you really concentrated on.
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KWalker
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by KWalker

I would almost agree, but honestly it depends on the rider, their local terrain, past aerobic sport experience, and general abilities. I've seen some former runners take up cycling and actually know their bodies as well as training sensations enough to immediately get ahold of training for racing. Also, they were so dominant that it made sense.

Most riders aren't this. They come from a background of sporadic sporting experience, sometimes could work on off bike stuff to make a huge difference (mobility, weight loss, and diet can help to improve everything from aero to recovery), and generally need to learn themselves in relation to a pack (precisely how hard to snap to bridge to a wheel, where they tend to feel most at ease in a pack, when to actually attack). Lots of this can come from group riding if the ride is hard enough and terrain challenging enough AND the rider can actually not get dropped super early.

I'll use myself as an example. When I moved back to the U.S. I did a power test and held 365w at a bodyweight of 150. I was thinking I'd just ride away from fields and destroy local group rides. Unfortunately I was super fit but basically from riding tons of hours solo in the Alps. I got dropped and shat out the back in a few races because I had no clue that, for me, I have to be in the top 20 wheels (preferrably top 20) in a group ride or race to not have the surges burn me out neuromuscularly or I would attack too hard to cover a move (I'd jump at 1000w, then try to bridge at 600 when jumping softer at 600 and bridging at 400 only elongated the effort by a few seconds but I wasn't dead when I got there. I also didn't identify when exactly I wanted to ride as easily as possible versus when I wanted to go cross-eyed. Hard was hard right?

I ended up learning myself by failing, unfortunately, but a few friends took a ton of time to help me identify weak spots like this simply by practicing it on rides or doing some of the local group rides. I trained with power for years, but for the most part found that the basics got me most of the actual race fitness and the structured interval work just evened it out or polished it off. Most high level racers already have this intuition and for them structured training is the last remaining puzzle piece so they recommend it to others, but that's often a mistake.

From reading your other posts you should honestly just ride as much as you can. Easy, hard, medium. Do the fastest group rides in your area. Screw up a bit. End up a bit too tired. End up not tired enough. Record qualitative notes in a spreadsheet as well as power files. Feel it out. If you have a few days do some basic bread and butter workouts- an over/under, 2x20, or even just some sprint drills. Stay rounded and be patient. Once this fails you, then worry and get specific and cut out a group ride for a training session. Don't be like I was and have all the fitness and no f'ing clue of how to use it.

I mention off the bike stuff because for a lot of people some work on mobility and improving their fit could net them a decent aero difference. They could lose extra weight, which helps overall. A good diet can improve metabolic efficiency, recovery, and even inflammation. They need to be healthier all around before applying the training principles of those that have that stuff ironed out without thinking.
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glepore
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by glepore

Karsten- ww post of the year. Forgive you now for the Stinner.


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TwiggyTN
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by TwiggyTN

Yeah, that is f*cking the best post I've read on this site in years. Just ride lots, with people faster and more experienced than you if you can, observe and LISTEN, don't talk, and just feel it out as mentioned above. Pay attention to your body, what works and what doesn't, and be patient. Depending on where you're coming from athletically it could take years to get a good feel but if you really love the sport who cares. Enjoy the journey man.

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