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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:16 pm 
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Hi guys. I know there are lots of requests for training advice (as well as the mediocrity training thread), but I don't have any of the baseline data or power numbers that could make those threads helpful to me.

Background: I've been riding for 3 years. I've ridden more seriously the last 2 years and began racing this summer. Until now, I've never followed any kind of structured training. I bought the time crunched Carmichael book and did 2 months worth of trainer workouts (based solely on RPE at that point) and made some great gains. I absolutely died during our hill climbs, but then I finished in the top 10% of a huge, open-field, 100+ mile road race.

The goal: There are 8 time trials in 2014 ending with the Championships in September. I'd really like to focus on this series and get on the podium by then. I now have a Garmin 500 with HR and cadence, so I can begin collecting data beyond RPE.

My problem is that I don't know how to train, both in terms of numbers and analysis as well as in terms of time/distance. The Carmichael book worked well for me (most likely because I've never truly "trained"), but it's a revolving program geared towards crits and shortish road races. I'll have 3-4 days per week for training.

What sayeth our esteemed TTers?


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:25 pm 
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AGW wrote:
What sayeth our esteemed TTers?

Get a power meter.


Not a wind up. Really, if these races are you aims then something like a Stages will be worth every penny.

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Posted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 7:25 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:39 pm 
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Yep, a power meter is a massive boon to time trialling training - not just for training but for also determining aero testing.

That being said there are plenty of ways of doing it without a PM.

The training for a time trial is not that dissimilar to any aerobic cycling training with the one exception being that I fully encourage training in the time trial position regularly- and actually training the position very aggressively. This means spending a lot of time tweaking the bike and tweaking (NOT twerking!) the body to be in an effective position for aerodynamics and power output. Stretching (if you are actually inflexible enough, very few are), and general "conditioning" to hold the arms, head, shoulders in a tight position.

You can sacrifice power for aero... if you're a LOT more aero. And you'll only know that through testing. So I have all manner of mirrors and a camera on a tripod to record hard efforts in the TT position to check that the body is solid, arms are narrow, head is down etc. This is then checked and double checked through testing to make sure it is fast. Aero gets a "bad rap" sometimes, the amount of times I've heard or seen stronger riders "dismiss" the finer points of a good time trial setup and then complain when they get beat - then you see the photos - head up, looking far ahead, parachute chest, huge cable loops, flapping skin suit (wrong size), helmet/body interface all over the place, wide shoulders/arms etcetc.

Alex Simmons has this excellent chart for a "ready reckoner" for performance of approximate w/cda. http://s220.photobucket.com/user/ASimmo ... 6.jpg.html

As for the actual training, as mentioned above, not a huge amount changes. I generally prescribe either a lot of volume well below FTP or FTP and above. I even very occasionally have short "sprints" programmed - in the TT position of course!

As you may have seen from past threads a basic week or two programme can work very well... until it doesn't. The favourite 2x20mins are good, but not the only TT training tool in the box.

Also the other big boon to time trialling is the pre race "ritual". Get into a set program of how you setup and prepare for a TT and do every TT in the same way. This helps the mental aspect and preparation and helps control the mental arousal before starting.

Depending on the distance most of the training will be largely the same unless you're going for some stupid 160km TT, only an idiot would try that distance... twice. :roll:

Oh and the last bit of advice for ANY TT... don't start too hard.

Any questions, let me know.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:24 am 
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Thanks for the response Tape. Sometimes the choice is between a power meter and paying down your mortgage before your first kid pops. If I could just get a power meter, I wouldn't have posted this thread...

I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm very flexible, so I'm looking forward to tweaking my position. I have a new adamo on the way and a decent set of clip-on bars and a -17 stem to work with, so that will be something I'll work on this month. My wife has a nice camera as well.

All of these TTs are 20-30k, so I can focus my efforts on these distances. I'll eventually have to decide which, though, because sometimes you have to choose a distance and stick with it for the 2-3 races in each series. I'll get my position dialed in and HR zones straightened out first, and then sort out my efforts from there.

Goodbye 3x10, hello 2x20.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 5:58 am 
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Fully understand the choices, alls you can do is alls you can do, and the family comes first. I had my best TT season prior to power meter use, the training doesn't really change. Aero testing can be done via roll down testing. FWIW, clip ons are good but if you could use a proper TT base bar it makes a difference, as does a tidy cable setup etc and especially tyre choice.

And don't ditch the 10min efforts just yet ;)

I'd would also include a regular "TT" test ~8km-16km in length which is as flat and non-windy as possible. Benchmark the speed and time on this course and it will be an excellent proxy for power testing. I like to do these "full aero" and again in the above mentioned "TT ritual". An outdoor velodrome can fill this role and also be used for the aero testing too.

Fortunately the training for 20km vs 30km won't vary really - personally I like the longer ones... actually that's a lie, I like all TTs, even the uphill ones. But I do better at the longer ones, hence if given a choice, I would opt for the longer distance.

For the fit I bought some Oval bars back in the day and they were super adjustable and coupled with an adjustable stem was able to ratchet that position down and in. Whilst I am not a fan of trying to emulate one particular Pro's position you can look at the TT monsters out there and some similarities will present as to which are the elements to strive for where possible, depending on what your individual morphology allows for.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:52 pm 
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Heart rate can work but its just not the best tool. You have your zones so use them. The issue is the heart plays catch up to the rest of the body. Sometimes you can have blown up and by the time the heart tells you that its too late.

Have fun at the time trials and use each one as a training tool to better yourself for the next. Constant improvement is what its all about.

When you can get a power meter you will love it. All of my tt's this year of the same distance are within a minute of each other in spite of weather conditions. Plus for the most part they got consistently faster as the year progressed.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 03, 2013 10:52 pm 
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If Stages hadn't just hit, at some great price point, then I wouldn't have suggested it.

Save a coffee a week, 6 months in you might be surprised at what you'll have saved towards one.

As mentioned, it was not a wind up. I've done tt's with and without a pm, it's a worthwhile investment.


Other suggestions, and carrying on Tape's aero thoughts, are easy upgrades like: shoe covers, tight skinsuit (you'll be amazed how many racers have ones that are too big), not wearing gloves if it can be helped and asking other (faster) racers what they have found helped them. TT's tend to attract a more relaxed crowd than road, with a lot more racers willing to give me pointers when I first started out.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:49 pm 
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I started out doing TT's on just RPE, then got HR and did that for several years. Got a PM and am still using it. For a newer rider, the PM can really help with knowing how hard you're REALLY going. That's hyper important for the first 5-7 minutes of a TT. After the first minutes, a PM isn't as important on a flat course. Your heartrate will likely have caught up and then threshold is threshold "generally".

If you have a long headwind section, the PM helps keep you from overcooking it also. It's so easy to freak out a bit seeing your actual speed dropping and dig in more. That will only happen for so long until you're totally anaerobic and cooked.

If you can train on the same road as the course, that's a big help. Knowing about any tight corners, exposed areas, places where shelter may be available from trees, shrubs etc. Study wind patterns for that time of year.

I like to ride to a time check schedule (leftover method from riding pursuit in the 70's) and have markers to check against. That's really for reference but I like the milestones along the way. If you get behind on the schedule, don't panic.

Remember that RPE, HR and power are all tools. Elapsed time is what ultimately counts. Otherwise, results would be determined off PM's which they obviously aren't.

You said "goodbye 3 x 15, hello 2 x 20. I disagree. Work at ftp is work at ftp. 4 x 10', 3 x 15', 2 x 20' are all good. Mentally, I find 2 x 20's or 2 x 30's more difficult.

Avoid the temptation to do threshold workouts on most rides. They're called "quality" workouts and should be a couple times a week at most. You can dig a deep deficit hole with too much threshold work. Don't ignore longer aerobic rides and consider some sweet spot training as well.


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Posted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:49 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:39 pm 
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AGW, similar approach and constraints here, although I primarily do uphill TTs.
I think you can get pretty far without a PM. I'm doing my short intervals (up to say 5min) based on speed. Of course that's a bit easier uphill, as i have consistent ramps long enough, but maybe you can find a nice flat section of road. For 15min, 20min and similar, I've sometimes been using heart rate.

You can also look at how track runners train, and emulate it on the bike -- distance, time, repetitions. Last year I had good success with simple 2min uphill efforts (2min break). Started at 6-7 reps to full exhaustion, then over the weeks added one rep whenever I could. At 12reps same time/distance after 2 months, I knew progress had been made.

This year, for a short hillclimb around 13min, I'd like to emulate training 5k runners do, alternating short very hard and longer intervals. The short ones are supposed to build up lactic acid, and the longer ones teach the system how to process and utilize it under load.

Another thing that is very important is periodization, but I'm only dabbling there myself. One concept I'm looking to take over from running this season is "funnel periodization". Basically you start your buildup with longer low intensity workouts, and very hard short ones (sprints). The closer the key event comes, both ends of the spectrum move towards the goal intensity.

(My background is in MD running, so that sort of training feels quite natural to me, and again, I claim no experience in cycling training.)

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