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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:15 am 
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^ pro level anecdotes actually lend nothing to the actual physiology and training methodology discussion.

It does lend, however, that those at the pointy end have excellent genetics and succeed sometimes in spite of training and not because of it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:26 am 
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I respect Rodriguez opinion but I agree with the above. Sometimes some pro would benefit a few good reads and a tiny bit of education on training methodologies


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Posted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:26 am 


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:52 am 
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Well, my 2013 was my first year over the past decade to ride injury free, which also translated to more miles and hours on the road. On the performance side, I reached a personal best FTP, and it's still improving since I can train consistently pain free. In absolute numbers, I started the year holding only 125 watts in my high z2 (after months off recovering from injury and overall bike malaise). In my ride today, I could hold 175 watts in my z2 even three hours in. I won't be winning anything of significance now (or ever), but the improvement is real.

As for the pros benefiting from "education", Freddie isn't an uneducated hick. He'll talk your ear off on the latest research on training methodologies. You have a different approach? Obviously. It doesn't mean yours is the only way. For me, someone with little natural athletic gifts, working with a coach doing things like Hill repeats and intervals and whatnot led to injury and plateuing performance. Doing z2-dominant training has me at my fittest level ever at age 42, and I see no slowing in my improvement. YMMV.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:13 am 
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Aye, there are many, many ways to skin the fitness cat. Some are better than others though.

But things like...

kos wrote:
...someone with little natural athletic gifts, working with a coach doing things like Hill repeats and intervals and whatnot led to injury and plateuing performance...


...is just pure tripe.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:26 am 
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Quote:
...is just pure tripe.


Oops. Sorry. I forgot you had access to all my training data. I stand corrected coach.

Adding on to this for a more productive comment. There's data:

Quote:
Endurance training involves manipulation of intensity, duration, and frequency of training sessions. The relative impact of short, high-intensity training versus longer, slower distance training has been studied and debated for decades among athletes, coaches, and scientists. Currently, the popularity pendulum has swung towards high-intensity interval training. Many fitness experts, as well as some scientists, now argue that brief, high-intensity interval work is the only form of training necessary for performance optimization. Research on the impact of interval and continuous training with untrained to moderately trained subjects does not support the current interval craze, but the evidence does suggest that short intense training bouts and longer continuous exercise sessions should both be a part of effective endurance training. Elite endurance athletes perform 80 % or more of their training at intensities clearly below their lactate threshold and use high-intensity training surprisingly sparingly. Studies involving intensification of training in already well-trained athletes have shown equivocal results at best. The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low-intensity training with careful use of high-intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best-practice model for development of endurance performance.


Same study cites another (unpublished) study finding that recreational athletes also benefited from greater low-intensity work:

Quote:
"Elite endurance athletes train 10-12 sessions and 15-30 h each week. Is the pattern of 80 % below and 20 % above lactate threshold appropriate for recreational athletes training 4-5 times and 6-10 hours per week? There are almost no published data addressing this question. Recently Esteve-Lanao (personal communication) completed an interesting study on recreational runners comparing a program that was designed to reproduce the polarized training of successful endurance athletes and compare it with a program built around much more threshold training in keeping with the ACSM exercise guidelines.
..
The recreational group that trained more polarized, with more training time at lower intensity, actually improved their 10-km performance significantly more at 7 and 11 wk. "


So there are studies and data that suggests that low-intensity work, sprinkled sparingly with z4 high-intensity stuff, is the best approach. And I'm sure you can pull out a study on the benefits of interval training. And no one disputes that interval training improves performance. But it comes at a cost -- the need for recovery (thus less time on bike) and the greater chance of injury. For a time-crunched cyclist, then sure, you won't get much out of 6-8 hours of low-intensity z1-2 work. So in that situation, then intervals are the best option. For the typical amateur without a fully developed base? That's a different story.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:47 am 
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^ you were injured because of hill repeats and intervals? Or because a correct training load and recovery wasn't applied by the coach?

As the two are not equal in any way shape or form.

As for the studies, they are good reading. Note some of the key words within each however.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 2:01 pm 
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kos wrote:
Well, my 2013 was my first year over the past decade to ride injury free, which also translated to more miles and hours on the road. On the performance side, I reached a personal best FTP, and it's still improving since I can train consistently pain free. In absolute numbers, I started the year holding only 125 watts in my high z2 (after months off recovering from injury and overall bike malaise). In my ride today, I could hold 175 watts in my z2 even three hours in. I won't be winning anything of significance now (or ever), but the improvement is real.

As for the pros benefiting from "education", Freddie isn't an uneducated hick. He'll talk your ear off on the latest research on training methodologies. You have a different approach? Obviously. It doesn't mean yours is the only way. For me, someone with little natural athletic gifts, working with a coach doing things like Hill repeats and intervals and whatnot led to injury and plateuing performance. Doing z2-dominant training has me at my fittest level ever at age 42, and I see no slowing in my improvement. YMMV.



Oh, mine is not the only way and I have said it numerous time on here. Some of the things you mention about FR just lead me to think he would benefit a few reads, because it sounded way off.

Edit: I do agree with the bucketload of low intensity riding though


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 6:57 pm 
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Quote:
I do agree with the bucketload of low intensity riding though

Then we don't disagree. The question was about Z3 training, "no man's land". From that study I previously cited:

Quote:
The available evidence suggests that combining large volumes of low-intensity training with careful use of high-intensity interval training throughout the annual training cycle is the best-practice mode

The biggest danger is this:

Quote:
Comparing the intended and achieved distributions highlights a typical training error committed by recreational athletes. We can call it falling into a training intensity “black hole.” It is hard to keep recreational people training 45-60 min a day 3-5 days a week from accumulating a lot of training time at their lactate threshold. Training intended to be longer and slower becomes too fast and shorter in duration, and interval training fails to reach the desired intensity. The result is that most training sessions end up being performed at the same threshold intensity. Foster et al. (2001b) also found that athletes tend to run harder on easy days and easier on hard days, compared to coaches' training plans.

That "same threshold intensity" is z3, which *feels* like hard work, but it's that no man's land.

Freddie's point is that before you even get into the z4 stuff, you should have a well-developed base engine -- something that few recreational cyclists have. He himself lives that -- genetics may have gifted him a huge engine, but making sure it is properly developed is his top priority. Race-induced intensity will get him that last little bit of performance. But when he trains, it's all z1-2.

Once you have no cardiac drift, then intervals and other high-intensity work will squeeze out the last few percentages of your genetic potential performance. There should be nothing controversial about that -- it's the whole idea behind base training, and the myriad "ride slower to go faster" headlines in the cycling press. Thing is, most people don't do that. Z2 is boring.

As to why I would get injured with more aggressive high intensity work, like I said, I'm not a naturally gifted athlete. I have fragile knees and lower back issues. High-Intensity work aggravated those problems. I also got sick more often. And my motivation would suffer. None of that is an issue with my low-intensity program, which means I get to spend more time on the bike training instead of recovering, hence consistent improvements. I just finished Strava's 500 km challenge for the last week of the year. In my pre z2-training life, there's no way I could've gone out and done a week of (mostly) consecutive 60-70-mile rides.

Also important for me: getting good lights so I could train at night, after my family goes to bed, was huge in getting me the training volume I need for this sort of plan (10-14 hours a week). I'm not a morning person, so I wasn't about to get up early to train.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 9:56 pm 
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As an interested observer of this thread I'd LOVE to read each of; Tapeworm, Kos and Devinci's breakdown of an average, ideal, in-season and out of season workouts.

i.e.,
-Monday
-tues
-wed
-thurs etc

I'm seeing merits in each methodology but very interested in a particular breakdown for a week.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:11 pm 
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SLCBrandon

I'd love to see that too, but unfortunately, I personnaly think it does not exist for many reasons. I also hate giving some sample week for the same reasons: we must know the rider's history, experience, goals, discipline, constraints, etc, etc.

People also often tend to stick to those sample weeks, week after week, and proper rest might be skewed when following such a template.

In order words: it depends. On so many things...


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:08 pm 
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kos wrote:
...you should have a well-developed base engine -- something that few recreational cyclists have...


What, exactly, is a "well-developed base engine"? What parameters are used to define this?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:34 pm 
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SLCBrandon wrote:
As an interested observer of this thread I'd LOVE to read each of; Tapeworm, Kos and Devinci's breakdown of an average, ideal, in-season and out of season workouts.

i.e.,
-Monday
-tues
-wed
-thurs etc

I'm seeing merits in each methodology but very interested in a particular breakdown for a week.


Yeah, as devinci mentioned it's not that helpful, as one week merely forms part of a cycle for the year, and sometimes years. In the "Training Routines" thread above I have outlined some very basic rotating week schedules. These work great... until they don't.

For example, a domestic pro's schedule may look like*:-
Mon:- "3x3mins", Tues:- "Long easy ride Z2", Wed:-"3x30mins Z4 (motopacing)", Thurs:- "6x5min hill repeats", Fri:-"2x 6x30sec intervals", Sat:- "Long easy ride z2", Sun:- "Crit".

* (not actually something I have prescribed, but similar)

You could conclude from this that the intensity level is exceptional high... but maybe this is just one week in part of specific block of two weeks prior to a race taper.

The factors that always need to be considered:- the demands of the racing to be undertaken, the availability to train, the ability to recover from the training, the mindset of the athlete. There are plenty of other factors but these are the main ones.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:33 am 
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Quote:
What, exactly, is a "well-developed base engine"?


The ability to ride hours without cardiac drift. In other words, your heart rate doesn't go up for the same power output deep into a ride. There is decoupling between heart rate and power.

As for a plan, mine is "ride in zone 2 as long as I can, whenever I can", with individual rides lasting 2-3 hours, 3-4 times during the week, and a longer 4-6 hour ride on the weekend if family responsibilities allow it. Pretty simple. That's obviously tough for people with busy lives. That's why I got lights and started riding at night. There was no way I could keep such a schedule with work and two young kids and coaching soccer and all the other things life throws at me.

I admit, I cheat every once in a while to stave off boredom. But even then, I make sure I keep my zones tightly controlled -- the bulk of the ride in z2, with some z4 work up a climb or three. It's actually a cool way to ride -- I'm pretty fresh when I hit the climbs so I can punch them hard. And even on those rides, I'm still in z1-2 for 75-80% of the ride.

Freddie's rule of thumb is 95 percent of work in z1-2. The study above says 80-85%. I'm running at about 90, but the more fit I become, the higher that number becomes. I don't hit z3 over slight inclines or small hills and the like anymore.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:07 am 
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kos wrote:
Freddie's rule of thumb is 95 percent of work in z1-2. The study above says 80-85%. I'm running at about 90, but the more fit I become, the higher that number becomes. I don't hit z3 over slight inclines or small hills and the like anymore.


I think what needs to be considered here is the amount of time devoted to training, sure Freddy might spend 95% of his work in Z1/Z2 but if he is riding 30hrs per week he is still spending 90mins a week doing higher intensity stuff, given the huge volume this might be all that is needed to sharpen the pencil that little bit more.

As quoted previously there are a number of ways to skin the FTP cat, riding huge volumes at lower intensities is said to be one of them - the rest of us however do not have 30hrs per week to ride a bike and opt for things like 2 x 20's, Tempo intervals, 3 x 3mins and the like to boost our FTP to the best of our ability in the time that we have available.

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Posted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:07 am 


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 2:24 am 
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Tapeworm wrote:
^ pro level anecdotes actually lend nothing to the actual physiology and training methodology discussion.

It does lend, however, that those at the pointy end have excellent genetics and succeed sometimes in spite of training and not because of it.


So what you are saying is that the training programs of the pros are not that great and they are able to muddle through on superior genetics and natural talent :roll:

I will not discredit just how talented these guys are, I have seen it first hand and felt every watt of it with my less talented legs, but to think they are not following some of the best training plans is just delusional. Keep in mind there are a couple hundred other guys out there just as talented/genetically gifted, if there is a better way to do it you had better damn well believe they would be doing it! You don't think that if someone said "you can get the same or better results on half the effort" they would not be all over it. I guess they just like the 30+ hr weeks so much they won't change OR wait they have never heard of HIT or Tabatas before, that must be it. If any one of them read this they would be laughing all the way through tomorrow's 6hr training ride.


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