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 Post subject: Time crunched training
PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:20 pm 
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Hi all, a few questions and some advice and opinions needed please concerning training for endurance events/races 40-100miles. How would you structure your training week(s) during base if you only had 6-10hrs per wk available to train?

Is it possible to build a good enough base to allow solid progression into the build periods ready for races of this length? What type of workouts would be best during this period?

I’m 41yo and starting November will be my forth season of racing following a fairly standard endurance training model aiming to peak usually no more than twice, every year I tweak it as I go along to accommodate what ever changes and requirements I feel necessary. Every year I seem to be making progress and I can be fairly competitive and hold a good pace during 40-60mile races, but I’m keen to be the best I can be during 100mile races and always want to be faster.

During build & peaks reduced training hours is not a problem as the most of the workouts are of high-very high intensity and I welcome the rest days in between, but I never know if I am getting the best out of my base periods as I’m sure, like others I am unable to commit to 20-30hr training weeks doing long zone 2 rides that are required to build a strong enough endurance base.

Most of my base will be done either on the road or on the trainer during the bad weather. This year during base 1 & 2 I am going to concentrate mainly on a few shorter 1-2hr tempo (Z3) road/trainer rides during the week with a longer 3-5hr (Z1-2) road ride at the weekend. I plan on completing base 3 twice, with the inclusion of some short to longer low cadence hill intervals and later on some short threshold intervals so among other things I can step up and get straight into some solid 2x20 threshold workouts during the 8-10wk build & peak periods.

Thanks for reading, I often wonder how others manage their base training and get the most out of what time they have to train, any thoughts?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:27 pm 
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Well there are good bits of info on the forum if you search the archives.

What's you free time to train look like? From there I could make suggestions.

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Posted: Tue Oct 11, 2011 10:27 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:13 am 
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I can manage about 1-2hrs a day during the week and at weekends I can usually get in a longer 2-4hr ride.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:29 am 
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What a lot of people don't do who are time crunched, but probably should, is just a system of linear progression. It's not very exciting but yields a far simpler and straight forward way of training and tracking progress (not to mention managing time). So here's an example of something I would recommend (all rides should include a 10min warm up/cool down):-

Day 1: [4x30sec efforts ON/30 sec off] x 2, minimum 10mins recovery.
Day 2: 2x20min efforts at TT pace, minimum 10mins recovery in between.
Day 3: Long very easy ride.
Day 4: 5x5mins @ TT pace +5-10%, 1 mins rest between efforts.
Day 5: Long easy ride (plus 4x sprints if you need it).
Day 6: Very long ride (~4hrs)
Day 7: Rest

This hits all your energy systems. If you have power it's easy to track progress. As soon as you stop making gains is when you need to stop and reassess the training.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:58 am 
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Thank you, very helpful, interesting though that you suggest training at threshold during base periods.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:25 am 
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Just my opinion but I don't believe in "base periods". Never saw the point.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:19 am 
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I'm always open to new ideas and I'd be interested in hearing your opinions, why the move away from the conventional endurance training model, how do you build aerobic fitness if you don't impose a training load to create enough stress to develop those physiological areas? Do you follow any kind of periodisation?

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:57 am 
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If you have a look at the way the training I wrote out there is more than enough stimuli of all the energy systems. There are many ways to "skin the FTP cat". Many people cannot do very long slow distance rides, day in, day out early in the season. By pushing your body to lactate threshold (i.e.: by the 2x20mins) this will induce the kind of adaptation required to raise the FTP.

I also don't prescribe to any strict periodisation as such, more of a slight emphasis of one energy system over another but never excluding any (except perhaps sprints, not applicable for those looking at TTs only for example). As long as adequate rest is factored in throughout the training programme there is no reason why intensity should not be introduced early in the season.

Another line of thinking is that efforts such as sprinting and the anaerobic (<1min) effort carry with them a certain amount of stress for the central nervous system and hence its good to start to introduce these earlier where you can recover more easily if you dig a deep hole too soon.

As mentioned, there are many many way to build fitness, this is just one I have found to work for those short on time.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 12, 2011 2:53 pm 
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Very interesting reading, thank you, always good to hear someone else's opinions and training methods. :thumbup:

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:21 pm 
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far as i can see the only people who still do long, slow distance miles religiously in the off season are the old boys who grew up doing it for social reasons in the (not very time crunched) days before broadband, LCD TV's, X-boxes and the like :-)

i would concur with tapeworm, do a bit of everything, most of the time, to flex all of the energy systems, spreading out the stresses and - in the case of the LSD rides - spreading out the boredom. sure you'll want to emphasise or demphasise some things more than others at different times of the year but I think it's becoming a bit old fashioned to think in terms of strict, prolonged blocks of specific types of ride, of which some can clearly be mighty time consuming.

i would also agree with the suggestion that a mixed week might best be structured with the high intensity stuff first, stepping down to an LSD ride before resting and repeating.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:20 pm 
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I think that a lot of us are in the same boat.

I tend to agree with Tapeworm on a lot of these matters. Personally, I have come to believe that if you are not doing 200km racing days regularly, you can really get away without doing the same base miles early on that we used to have to do when we were racing. For shorter races and rides, a programme of closely-structured intervals (with periodic MAP testing in order to re-set your wattage targets) and just the odd longer ride works perfectly. I had stumbled across that training solution about 10 years ago and it has been very effective given my schedule. The PowerMeter is a very helpful tool in that regard.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:24 am 
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Tapeworm wrote:
What a lot of people don't do who are time crunched, but probably should, is just a system of linear progression. It's not very exciting but yields a far simpler and straight forward way of training and tracking progress (not to mention managing time). So here's an example of something I would recommend (all rides should include a 10min warm up/cool down):-

Day 1: [4x30sec efforts ON/30 sec off] x 2, minimum 10mins recovery.
Day 2: 2x20min efforts at TT pace, minimum 10mins recovery in between.
Day 3: Long very easy ride.
Day 4: 5x5mins @ TT pace +5-10%, 1 mins rest between efforts.
Day 5: Long easy ride (plus 4x sprints if you need it).
Day 6: Very long ride (~4hrs)
Day 7: Rest

This hits all your energy systems. If you have power it's easy to track progress. As soon as you stop making gains is when you need to stop and reassess the training.


If I stole this training program, what would be the consequences of skipping the long rides ? I too have a young family and am very short on time ; I can never do the long rides. I'm just looking to improve fitness / not lose what I have.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:45 am 
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The principals of specificity reign, that is to say by skipping repeated long distance rides (5 hrs+) you loose your ability to ride this distance effectively. You start to delve into grey physiological zones such as efficiency and economy etc.

Now at the best of times I know I do NOT race multiple consecutive days of racing at distances greater than 100km, hence the lack of long distance rides is of little consequence. For pros is it essential hence why they train the way they do.

There are numerous examples of highly specific training being used for the task. One that comes to mind was Boardman's Hour Record. Apparently all intervals were at or higher than threshold OR it was recovery peddaling in-between, way way way below threshold.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:43 pm 
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Agreed.

From the perspective of modifying the 'plan', the basic 'rule' of periodized training programmes (designed around Sunday as race day) is:

Monday: Rest day (generally a recovery ride, not sleeping on the couch);
Tuesday: Intervals (I use this as my 'short' - high-intensity - day);
Wednesday: Longer mid-week ride (Tempo);
Thursday: Intervals (I use this as my 'long' - lower-intensity - day);
Friday: Longer (steady pace, below Tempo);
Saturday: Longest day (steady pace, below Tempo);
Sunday: Longer day (road race pace), or race day.

If Sunday is a TT, I would switch Saturday for another recovery ride. Lots of guys will disagree strongly with that, but that is just how my body reacts for ITT.

Wednesday is kind of boring and painful, as it is usually a series of long, intervals. You can mix-it-up a bit with 4x10's or 2x20's. I would'nt go longer than that (especially indoors, your brain might explode).

Tuesday can really be a lot of fun (seriously). You can really play with lots of different MAP Intervals, of which there are hundreds and hundreds of different combinations.

Personally, I like to do my MAP Testing, set my MAP wattage and then produce a detailed, day-by-day plan for the entire Macrocycle, print it, put it in a plastic sheet and leave it by the trainer. That way, when I clip-in I know exactly what I have to do every day. No ducking it or arsing-around. It doesn't matter if it is 19:30 or 22:30, you just get on and do your 'job'. That is the best way to get through the winter and come out relatively unscathed on the other end. If you don't have a plan in writing for every day, I guarantee you that some excuse or other (usually camouflaged as a 'reason') will come-up and stop you.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:44 pm 
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I still use the term base, but only in the sense that my training focus is such that it provides the bare bones on which I will attempt to build race-specific fitness later on. As such I aim for workouts that prepare my neuromuscular system, aerobic system, and get me mentally ready for the workouts that I will do later on. Right now my coach has me doing 11-13 hours for base training, but every workout has a purpose and I get in some length where and when I can. People don't realize that energy systems are trained over time not always by total time so you stand to benefit more from altering how you do your intervals to how many you do or how often you do them.

For example:
During 'base' I might do quite a bit of tempo. It won't sky rocket fitness, but I get in the habit of doing intervals, doing them back-to-back, and getting my body used to doing a workout and recovering to do 1 48 hours later. I still get in my other energy systems a tad by doing 10-20 second bursts during my rides, by maybe hopping on a group ride once a week and mixing it up in some sprints, or by pushing the pace on a day where I feel good. The key is to not dig a hole and set myself up for what I will do later on by making sure that I'm still at least ticking every box.

During a build I might do more vo2 max work to change how much each box is ticked and how its getting ticked. Tempo might be reduced and I might lengthen a weekend ride or start doing dedicated sprint workouts. I've done non-specific L7 work with the aforementioned bursts and I'm used to intervals and their associated recovery time (through my tempo work or a group ride) so when it comes time to ramp it up I've already performed the work and don't have to spend much time acclimating. The systems are ready to go and be trained and no time is wasted.

The problem with traditional linear plans is that you see a lot of transition time from one phase to another. Doing specific amounts all the time allows you to avoid this hurdle and you can tailor your specific work to the goals of that period be it off-season recovery, race pace training, FTP build, etc.

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Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 3:44 pm 


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