One year of structured training?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:01 pm

by denzity

I have a complete year free that I've decided to dedicate to cycling (can train any time of the day, make any meals, even move to somewhere warmer during the winter). I already have a power meter and am looking to get the most I can out of the training. I'd like to be a cat2 racer by the end of next summer, but want to improve in all areas of cycling.

Right now I'm getting as many solid basemiles in as possible as well as doing one 10 mile TT a week and one day of 1min intervals (my 1min/5min power is weak). Current FTP is somewhere around 240w.

Recovery from 100-120km rides takes about 2-3 days right now and I've been waiting until my legs can get used to that sort of distance before seeking structured training. I've read 'Training and racing with a power meter' but it doesn't really help me in figuring out what mix of training I should do on each day, or when to do each bit of training (e.g. do I do intervals the day after the TT or two days after?).

Any sort of guidance on what I should be doing is appreciated. I was thinking of getting a coach, but I don't like paying for something I could do on my own with some research.


Posts: 223
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:19 pm

by phourgenres

To quickly sum up an annual periodization plan your going to want a:

build up period: 2-4 months of purely zone 2 with some zone 3 work. This consists of 2-3 long (4+hr rides) a week with recovery rides between.
-purpose: building an aerobic base.

pre-race: start out doing 10-20 minute intervals in the first couple of weeks, then work down to 5 minute intervals, then in the weeks leading up the races start doing 1 minute intervals, and vo2 max workouts - zone 5 and 6. 12-15weeks

Race season - This will depend on the number of races you are doing in a week 2-3 - just recovery days in between. 1-2 - throw a interval or TT day in your week.

If you plan on racing 3 months, take an easy 3 weeks in the middle to give your body a recovery, and even take a whole week off.

off-season - try to take up swimming or running or cross-country skiing. This gives your legs a full break so you recover to your fullest extent. You can ride, but only do zone 2 or less, and no 4+ hour rides. 4-6 weeks.

The Friel and Allen Book pretty much sum up with their cases how you should build your pre-race period. If you want to do TT's do more of those and less intervals, etc. The Friel book goes to explain HR and power, and how to measure whether you have built a solid aerobic base. Use that as a guide as to when to end your 'build-up period'. If want to do periodization, that means not training in zone 4-6 all year long. Try to test every 4-6 weeks to recalculate your zones for building your workouts. Most importantly, listen to your body - we all have different recovery times. Don't schedule two back to back zone 5 days, if you're hurting too much after day one.

The new Allen book goes to explain the types of periodization. There is a type where you train soley on your performance, block training I think it's called. It essentially says if you're doing zone 5 interval work one day and do a similar workout the next day, they pay attention to your power loss. If it is less than 10 percent do another consecutive day of zone 5, and do so until your power goes below 10 percent of your max potential.

User avatar
Posts: 2585
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 10:39 am

by Tapeworm

I don't go for the "classical" model of periodisation phourgenres mentions above. That is not to say it is not effective. Speak to 10 coaches and you'll get 10 different approaches.

In my opinion no "zone" of level of intensity should ever be eschewed. The percentage of time spent in these zones should vary however. Depending on where you are in the world the "off-season" may or may not actually exist. Here in the land of Oz there isn't really a break from racing, if you so wish. Hence ignore an aspect during training and it will often come to bite you in racing.

On the point of a coach - there is much to a coach, and reaches far beyond just writing a plan for you to follow. Some may be able to write their own programs, motivate themselves, guide themselves, advise on race strategy etc... but sometimes it is darn handy to have someone to do all that for you. Objectivity can be a useful (if sometimes harsh) thing to have.
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

User avatar
Posts: 572
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:04 pm

by Tomstr

I agree on finding a trainer. I would suggest you talk to some people you trust to find out who they are working with. Ideally you want someone with cycling experience and some real background. (certificates etc.)

Next thing would be to talk your goals over and do some base testing to see where your form currently is. Over here they offer a power-profile test to see what type of cycling suits you best (ie, sprinting, timetrials, etc). That could also be useful to get some direction if you need it.

One or two weekly grouprides can also have a big influence. They are sources of experience and can keep you on the bike in a lesser period.

Last on the list is diversity. Some mountainbiking or CX can help your handling and pedal stroke as well as being good fun to do. I usually did power intervals on the mountainbike on a steep slope with poor grip to really develop a smooth power delivery while pushing big watts. Of course the descending was good fun too.

Very last but most important of all -> Have a good time!
Ride it like you stole it

Posts: 301
Joined: Tue Sep 16, 2008 12:03 am
Location: Melbourne

by mvogt46

I read an interesting article on Wiggins on Cyclingnews that talks about his new approach to training. Similar to Tapeworm it sounds as if he too does not prescribe to the 'standard' annual periodization model.

Posts: 96
Joined: Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:01 pm

by denzity

Thanks for the reply guys. I went and got a proper bike fit recently (TT saddle lowered 55mm :shock: and road saddle increased by 30mm) and did a TT today. FTP is now around 275w based on a TT and a hard 3hr group ride on the weekend - what a difference position can make!

Because I have so much time I don't really plan on taking an 'off-season' or rest break. My plan is to steadily build on my FTP and race all the while, rather than undergo periodisation. However, I still don't know how to structure my blocks of training.

Is it better to have weekly blocks (e.g. one LSD, one hard group ride, one TT, one interval speed session etc.) of training that I repeat every week, or to have blocks of training that last longer than a week? For example, one week of primarily LSDs followed by a week of intervals?

I had a little google but couldn't find much on what type of training blocks are most effective. I probably need to get a coach so I'll start looking around. How can I tell if one coach is going to be better for me than another?

mvogt46 wrote:I read an interesting article on Wiggins on Cyclingnews that talks about his new approach to training. Similar to Tapeworm it sounds as if he too does not prescribe to the 'standard' annual periodization model.

That's an interesting read because he's been on top form all year - at least enough for me to bet on him for the TdF :D . Too bad it doesn't go in to any detail of what his specific training is though.

User avatar
Tinea Pedis
Posts: 8453
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:08 am
Location: Geelong

by Tinea Pedis

denzity wrote:I had a little google but couldn't find much on what type of training blocks are most effective.

Tapeworm wrote:Speak to 10 coaches and you'll get 10 different approaches.

Coaches wise, mine is excellent and a perfect fit. However mates of mine have had to go through more than one coach to find one that works best for them.

This also is not to say mine blows sunshine up my proverbial, if I'm not going hard enough or more effort is needed then I'm told.

Posts: 5861
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:30 pm
Location: Bay Area

by KWalker

Start by adding yourself to the wattage list, order the latest version of the Coggan/Allen book, and find some texts on sports science, basically energy systems physiology, and general texts on periodization methods.

You didn't mention two key things:

1. Your weight.

2. Your racing history.

If you aren't weighing in at less than 140 lbs, that w/kg would not win you any cat 3 hilly road races around here.

I agree with everyone on the different approaches. I just went through 1 coach and he was great and responsive, but his methods did not work for me and I've had the worst season I've ever had.

I also agree about periodization. Trying to move up the ranks will require a lot of racing, learning skills, and thus recovery. Block periodization generally works great during these times, but I find that people fixate on 3 on/1 off type stuff way too much. For me, a block length depends on entirely on intensity/frequency, and what kind of work the athlete is trying to do. I have an athlete that is preparing from a week in which he will race 7 crits 7 days in a row. He also responds very well to vo2 max work so a few weeks back we had him take off of a few races and hit a very intense 9 day long vo2 max overload where he did intervals up to 2x/day. I wouldn't put most people on such a plan, but I had 2 full seasons of data from his other coaches plus his qualitative and quantitative race results I was confident he would respond well. And he has- really well. The point isn't my ability, but rather that it just takes time to figure out the minutae of what works so its going to take some experimenting so start basic and safe, keep track of your workouts and what works, and go from there. You can also pay a coach to do this if you like.

Most importantly you better learn how to race. Wiggins can go train at altitude and barely race all year, but he's at the top of the sport. Your local cat 2 is often just as fast as a cat 1, but lacks the strategy and wining edge to pull off wins and get their upgrade. Then, you can be a king shit local 1, but that won't mean anything on a bigger level. Where you race and what the local scene is like also matters. It won't mean shit if you have a wicked awesome threshold in w/kg for those climbs that aren't in your 55 local crits that you'll spend the majority of the year racing.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
Failed Custom Bike

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post