Training With Zero Metrics

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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scapie
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:19 am

by scapie

I thought I’d post up a bit about what I personally do and some of my own opinions as someone called me out for not contributing anything and calling out others but providing zero discussion and just using the vague term ‘experience’ instead...fair call.

Please note, these are just some of my thoughts, this is absolutely not a recommendation on what you, or anyone else should do.

I class myself as an average road rider. I have a 9-5 job and ride 6 days per week. I take my health and fitness seriously but I’m absolutely under no illusion as to where I fit on the bell curve of real athletes. I am in my mid 30s, have been riding for almost 15 years and consistently 15-18hrs/wk for the past 12-13. My vo2 max is just over 75. My weight is 70kg. For power I can do 1min – 775, 3min 525, 5min 440-450, 10min 400. I don’t race that much anymore, I work out just as much though, as I still enjoy it.

I don’t train every week all year but when I do I will do 2 sessions per week and 1 harder ride on the weekend. After a few weeks when my fitness has started to come up I will ad in a tempo session mid week. For the rest of the time I just ride easy.

I have a power meter on my bike but I only use it for pacing when I want to test my legs. I never use heartrate. I’m not at all interested in FTP. All of the interval training I do is no longer than 5 minutes.

I do all my training sessions on the trainer with it set on slope mode. I never use the heartrate or power function. I pre-program my sessions on the tacx website and set the slope value to 2.5-3%.

When I do an interval session I treat all the efforts like individual reps. So when I start a set of 10 efforts I don’t start the first one knowing I am doing 10 and go a bit easy. I start the first effort and ride it as hard as I can maintain for that duration. I then do this for each effort in the set. So for those 10 reps you can imagine that the first few have the highest average power then the more reps that I do the average power for each one is less and the last couple are probably pretty bad.

When I do 20 or 30 second efforts I start it as hard as I can for 5 second and then just try to keep it going. Usually the power peaks high at the start and slowly goes down to the end.

That’s covers the basis of my training plan. When I train I make sure I press hard on the pedals. When I am not, I go easy. I think that is very important and probably the bit that most people miss. When they train they never really train hard enough and when they should be recovering they are always going a little too hard. I never ride around at that moderate tempo, like 6-7/10, it doesn’t really make you strong it just makes you tired.

I’m not sure this will be of interest to people as it just seems old school. I’m happy to share more if it is though.

I think most new cyclists seem to think there is some secret programming routine that you can do which makes you fast. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. You get strong by pushing hard on the pedals. There is no shortcuts. Some people are just better.

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onemanpeloton
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by onemanpeloton

I respect what you do and it obviously works for you, that's great. But you can't deny that a possibility exists whereby you could improve more/quicker by way of taking various measurements.

Some people may well be better, but that doesn't mean that 2 amateur athletes can't reach the same performance levels.
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by Weenie


AeroObsessive
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:42 am

by AeroObsessive

Probably the biggest issue for a lot of amateurs cyclists (not all) in their quest to improve their performance on the bike isnt the training itself.

It is everything that revolves around it. As the pithy saying goes "stress is non-specific". Work stress, family stress,life stress, it all adds up. Then combine it with poor sleep (kids are just the *worst), poor diet etc. What you get is a less than optimal situation for recovery and adaptation.

If you have all of this nailed, just riding hard now and again, and going long now and again will probably yield good results. As good as structured and monitored training? Probably not, but taking training "seriously" can be quite... stressful. :D

jasjas
Posts: 162
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:15 am

by jasjas

With a Vo2 of 75, you are way above most amateur riders, 15 to 18hrs per week is also more than most.

Volume always helps!

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kytyree
Posts: 653
Joined: Thu Oct 09, 2008 4:55 am
Location: US

by kytyree

Can you elaborate on what that tempo session might look like that you mentioned adding in?

Thanks

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DOUG
Posts: 286
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:54 pm

by DOUG

jasjas wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:48 pm
With a Vo2 of 75, you are way above most amateur riders, 15 to 18hrs per week is also more than most.

Volume always helps!
Also 5min@6.4W/kg and 10min@5.7W/kg puts him up there with domestic Pro's or at the very least a very strong Cat 1 rider. Definitely not an "average road rider" and a long way from your typical amatuer cyclist.

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DOUG
Posts: 286
Joined: Thu Mar 31, 2016 9:54 pm

by DOUG

scapie wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:44 am
I thought I’d post up a bit about what I personally do and some of my own opinions as someone called me out for not contributing anything and calling out others but providing zero discussion and just using the vague term ‘experience’ instead...fair call.

Please note, these are just some of my thoughts, this is absolutely not a recommendation on what you, or anyone else should do.

I class myself as an average road rider. I have a 9-5 job and ride 6 days per week. I take my health and fitness seriously but I’m absolutely under no illusion as to where I fit on the bell curve of real athletes. I am in my mid 30s, have been riding for almost 15 years and consistently 15-18hrs/wk for the past 12-13. My vo2 max is just over 75. My weight is 70kg. For power I can do 1min – 775, 3min 525, 5min 440-450, 10min 400. I don’t race that much anymore, I work out just as much though, as I still enjoy it.

I don’t train every week all year but when I do I will do 2 sessions per week and 1 harder ride on the weekend. After a few weeks when my fitness has started to come up I will ad in a tempo session mid week. For the rest of the time I just ride easy.

I have a power meter on my bike but I only use it for pacing when I want to test my legs. I never use heartrate. I’m not at all interested in FTP. All of the interval training I do is no longer than 5 minutes.

I do all my training sessions on the trainer with it set on slope mode. I never use the heartrate or power function. I pre-program my sessions on the tacx website and set the slope value to 2.5-3%.

When I do an interval session I treat all the efforts like individual reps. So when I start a set of 10 efforts I don’t start the first one knowing I am doing 10 and go a bit easy. I start the first effort and ride it as hard as I can maintain for that duration. I then do this for each effort in the set. So for those 10 reps you can imagine that the first few have the highest average power then the more reps that I do the average power for each one is less and the last couple are probably pretty bad.

When I do 20 or 30 second efforts I start it as hard as I can for 5 second and then just try to keep it going. Usually the power peaks high at the start and slowly goes down to the end.

That’s covers the basis of my training plan. When I train I make sure I press hard on the pedals. When I am not, I go easy. I think that is very important and probably the bit that most people miss. When they train they never really train hard enough and when they should be recovering they are always going a little too hard. I never ride around at that moderate tempo, like 6-7/10, it doesn’t really make you strong it just makes you tired.

I’m not sure this will be of interest to people as it just seems old school. I’m happy to share more if it is though.

I think most new cyclists seem to think there is some secret programming routine that you can do which makes you fast. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. You get strong by pushing hard on the pedals. There is no shortcuts. Some people are just better.
Im confused, the thread title is "training with zero metrics" but you have a power meter on your bike and use it to "pace" your efforts. Soooo....you're training with power?

And when you say you dont use the power function on your smart trainer but you "pre-program" the sessions on the Tacx website, do you mean you simply dont look at or record the power during these sessions? Because if you program the intervals and then ride to power based on the program you send to the trainer (unless Im missing something) isn't that just training with power?

It actually sounds like all of your rides are done either using a PM or on the trainer using pre programmed intervals based on power.

vanillaflyweight
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:54 am

by vanillaflyweight

DOUG wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:40 am
Also 5min@6.4W/kg and 10min@5.7W/kg puts him up there with domestic Pro's or at the very least a very strong Cat 1 rider. Definitely not an "average road rider" and a long way from your typical amatuer cyclist.
With 11.1w/kg that is a world class 1min power too..

scapie
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:19 am

by scapie

DOUG wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:40 am
jasjas wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 8:48 pm
With a Vo2 of 75, you are way above most amateur riders, 15 to 18hrs per week is also more than most.

Volume always helps!
Also 5min@6.4W/kg and 10min@5.7W/kg puts him up there with domestic Pro's or at the very least a very strong Cat 1 rider. Definitely not an "average road rider" and a long way from your typical amatuer cyclist.
vo2 max isn't really that important. for all you know i could have made that up. it is weight dependant, so the lighter you are the the higher it will be. also the way it is tested and the accuracy of the machine has a big impact on the end result. IMO its not really that relevant to anything. If you can get over 60 then you're going good.

in terms of power, i agree with you doug. i cherry picked those numbers from strava koms. its not like i can do that anytime i like. those are some of the best numbers i've done in the past 6 or so months. the thing with bike racing is there is so much more to it than just raw power. being able to make a couple of one off efforts at reasonably high power does not make you a good bike racer and it absolutely does not mean you will win races.

imo an amateur rider is someone who doesn't get paid to ride. that covers pretty much everyone who races except for a very very small number of the population. what you need to do is differentiate by experience. someone who has been riding for 1-2 years won't be the same as someone who has been riding for 5 or 6+ years. if you have done some racing you will have a far deeper understanding of the sport and of your own body, what you are good at, what you are not etc..

scapie
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:19 am

by scapie

DOUG wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 12:52 am
Im confused, the thread title is "training with zero metrics" but you have a power meter on your bike and use it to "pace" your efforts. Soooo....you're training with power?

And when you say you dont use the power function on your smart trainer but you "pre-program" the sessions on the Tacx website, do you mean you simply dont look at or record the power during these sessions? Because if you program the intervals and then ride to power based on the program you send to the trainer (unless Im missing something) isn't that just training with power?

It actually sounds like all of your rides are done either using a PM or on the trainer using pre programmed intervals based on power.
lol, yeah, i've noticed a bit of confusion on the few recent posts thats why i thought i would contribute.

i have a powermeter on my bike and therefore every ride i do it records. the same with my trainer. it records power, speed etc and hr if you use the strap. what i use my powermeter for is to test if my fitness is good. i don't do this very often, maybe once every couple of months.

i think you need to re-read the section i wrote about intervals, you might find it interesting as it is probably where what i do is different from other people. like i mentioned the intervals i do are preprogramed on slope. and example session might be 30min warmup and then 10x 30sec on @ 2.2% 30sec off

cdncyclist
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:10 am

by cdncyclist

This is great that this works for you. You have been riding a long time it sounds like - often one can train by feel because you know what works (or know what a certain power output feels like). I might be reading too much into it, but it sounds a lot like what you do by feel very closely simulates a power based training plan, but with your experience you no longer need the numbers.

One caveat is that there is no counterfactual - that is, what would be your performance if you did power and HR based structured training (and how different would it be from what you do already)?. This is an area where controlled studies are needed and I tend to rely on evidence rather than anecdote.

I do agree though that folks seem to focus too much on numbers - consistency, structure, and rest are probably far more important, as well less frequently discussed aspects (i.e. repeatability, or performance a the end of a race, etc.).

Cheers

scapie
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:19 am

by scapie

kytyree wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 9:16 pm
Can you elaborate on what that tempo session might look like that you mentioned adding in?

Thanks
sure. what i do is head out for say 2.5-3hrs. i'll do a little warmup in the first hour and then i will ride for 45-60 mins solid. i would rate that probably at around 7.5/10 in terms of effort. i mostly focus on having good cadence and keeping the effort continuous. So when the road goes up i'll make sure that i go a little easier on the way up, keep it going over the top and push a little harder down the other side. Never really smashing any climbs or rollers and then coasting down the otherside if you know what i mean.

by doing a this type of session straight after an interval session and before another one it overloads you a little and you come into the thursday session feeling a bit tired. i find that good for adaptation provided that you take the next day or two easy to let your body recover.

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kytyree
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Location: US

by kytyree

gotcha, thank you

scapie
Posts: 52
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:19 am

by scapie

cdncyclist wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 am
This is great that this works for you. You have been riding a long time it sounds like - often one can train by feel because you know what works (or know what a certain power output feels like). I might be reading too much into it, but it sounds a lot like what you do by feel very closely simulates a power based training plan, but with your experience you no longer need the numbers.

One caveat is that there is no counterfactual - that is, what would be your performance if you did power and HR based structured training (and how different would it be from what you do already)?. This is an area where controlled studies are needed and I tend to rely on evidence rather than anecdote.

I do agree though that folks seem to focus too much on numbers - consistency, structure, and rest are probably far more important, as well less frequently discussed aspects (i.e. repeatability, or performance a the end of a race, etc.).

Cheers
you're pretty much spot on.. although i wouldn't really say it similulates a power based training plan, i'd say its just a training plan that is setup around structure and routine. using power (or hr, or rpe) is a way to quantify that structure. depending on the individual and the purpose i think thats more or less important.. but like i said its strictly my opinion and that opinion is nothing more than anecdotal.

cdncyclist
Posts: 81
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2016 12:10 am

by cdncyclist

scapie wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 3:48 am
cdncyclist wrote:
Fri May 31, 2019 1:37 am
This is great that this works for you. You have been riding a long time it sounds like - often one can train by feel because you know what works (or know what a certain power output feels like). I might be reading too much into it, but it sounds a lot like what you do by feel very closely simulates a power based training plan, but with your experience you no longer need the numbers.

One caveat is that there is no counterfactual - that is, what would be your performance if you did power and HR based structured training (and how different would it be from what you do already)?. This is an area where controlled studies are needed and I tend to rely on evidence rather than anecdote.

I do agree though that folks seem to focus too much on numbers - consistency, structure, and rest are probably far more important, as well less frequently discussed aspects (i.e. repeatability, or performance a the end of a race, etc.).

Cheers
you're pretty much spot on.. although i wouldn't really say it similulates a power based training plan, i'd say its just a training plan that is setup around structure and routine. using power (or hr, or rpe) is a way to quantify that structure. depending on the individual and the purpose i think thats more or less important.. but like i said its strictly my opinion and that opinion is nothing more than anecdotal.
Good point. I wonder how much of the gains that come with people initiating a power based training plan is due to those other factors (starting a training plan, perhaps getting a coach, etc), and nothing to do with the one single element of 'power' - which I suppose is the point of your post.

by Weenie


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