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@Ypsylon Yes, if your goal event is a 20km TT then you do not need to eschew this distance or similar time frame or that intensity. However that time frame, at that distance, at that race intensity usually is avoided apart from, as mentioned, specific course tests and the race itself. The reason for this is that a properly executed race like that will potentially take you days to recovery from. Hence the usual approach of efforts at goal power but for shorter time, or slightly below power for longer, or for goal time at lower power but repeated etc (note: very rough analogy but you get the idea).
For practice on a given course (say a couple of days before an important TT) I prefer efforts at key parts i.e.: a particular hill, corner etc.
I agree also with KWalker about testing of race kit especially if TTs are not a regular feature leading to a key event. I know with my old club 30-40 TTs a year made for easy rehearsing of "race situations" leading to 3-4 championship events. Knowing how a disc handles, deep fronts in wind, aero helmet position etc can be very important. Not to mention using Chung method for working out how slippery you are.
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG
Riding the TT bike is essential to performance on TT bike. They handle differently, and your will be more cramped in a good TT position. I train about 60+% of my turbo time on the TT bike with all long intervals(4min+) on it. I now produced a higher FTP in my TT position. This is good for me as thats what my LBS "sponsors" me to do! this is despite a 21cm saddle to pad drop and a UCI legal position.
Practise racing with deep aero wheels is essential. I ride upwards of 50* TTs a year and even i took an excursion into a hedge last week on a seemingly innocuous nights 25mileTT, through being caught out by a large gust from a hedgerow gap. I can tell you that a trispoke catches the wind rather well at high yaw! especially scary at ~30mph. Practise gives you more confidence if something unexpected happens.
I would then recommend a selection of 3min intervals 5min intervals and 20min intervals. usually at 1:1 interval: rest with high levels of repetition to generate a total work time building to your race time frame.
Specificity is an issue. I am good at long intervals at near constant intensity, some people are more suited to lots of high intervals with swift recovery. It is important to train your weakness so in that vein i tend to have at least 1 10*30second intervals at 120+FTP. Admittedly this is only good if you have lots of shorter TTs where you can afford to over power on hills and out of corners etc.
Given the OPs statement i'd say 3 sessions per week.
5-8 *3mins ON @ 120%FTP 3mins OFF,
4-6 *5mins ON @ 100%FTP 4-5mins OFF
and 2 *20mins ON @ 90-100%FTP 20mins off
Regarding TT bike specificity: Start off by renting a TT bike for competitions. Once you get a TT rig, start by using the heat training days to get comfortable in the position you chose.
Periodically adjust your training and make sure to rest and recover between. 4-5wk Vo2max, 1.5 week rest, 3-4wk FTP. 1 workout then 2 days recovery heat training. repeat.
To increase vo2max, I like the Tmax approach http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/how-red-hot-interval-training-fires-up-performance-in-seasoned-cyclists-54 I have good results with a 15x1.5min@v02max power, 3min recovery between sets. first 5 intervals build up to Pmax, 5 at Pmax, then suffer through 5 more below Pmax.
For FTP I would try to replicate a TT as often as possible. After your normal warmup, 30min at 70%FTP then 30min at 85%FTP, then 10min at 100%, and finish it off with another 10min increasing power to whatever power you can hold.
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