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Basic training concepts for Masters? "MOSTLY HARD"?

Old 05-18-19, 11:30 AM
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JeffOYB
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Basic training concepts for Masters? "MOSTLY HARD"?

I recall back in the 90's when I was following training concepts more closely that word came down from VeloNews or somebody that Masters racers were likely going to be building programs around MANY FEWER easy hours. ...And that there was a basic way to stay race fit while holding down a job and raising kids. This basic concept was built around training about an hour day. That kind of limitation. Now, per my words just now this is not about "50-plus" training. I also recall it being built around "keeping your legs year round" and nearly all big-ring training, like 20mph-plus, even quite a bit higher. And including, as i vaguely recall, year-round weights. There was still periodizing and special missions for each day. But it was mostly hard or "definitely working at it" sessions of various kinds.

...And basically no place for a "month in the little ring in the spring" or for 4-hr little ring LSD outings.

Am I totally imagining all this? Was that a thing back then? Is it all different today, w watt-meters, Strava, Zwift and data?

I'd think the thing that hasn't changed is the "hour a day" limitation.

Is there now a really basic, non-customized fundamental notion for riders in their 30's, early-40's in this "time of life" situation? That is, a general concept that is totally OUT of the weeds. I understand that minutae can be a thing at any age. I'm not curious about that, but about this really broad concept that i recall from back then.
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Old 05-18-19, 12:11 PM
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Pretty much describes my training. Except for the weight room which i consider a waste of valuable training time.

Granted, I'm coming off lots of 10k mile years and a lot of race experience, so I can be successful with it where others may not

Ideally I'd do 10 to 12 hours a week. For now 5 to 7 has to do.
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Old 05-18-19, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Pretty much describes my training. Except for the weight room which i consider a waste of valuable training time.

Granted, I'm coming off lots of 10k mile years and a lot of race experience, so I can be successful with it where others may not

Ideally I'd do 10 to 12 hours a week. For now 5 to 7 has to do.
If that's your conclusion then you're not doing it right. If all you care about is riding, then that's one thing. But if overall health, fitness and quality of life is your goal, then weight training is just as valuable as anything else. It most certainly is never a waste of time.
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Old 05-18-19, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
If that's your conclusion then you're not doing it right. If all you care about is riding, then that's one thing. But if overall health, fitness and quality of life is your goal, then weight training is just as valuable as anything else. It most certainly is never a waste of time.
For riding, yes, all I care about is riding.

That's my conclusion based on many seasons with many, many results.

So yes, waste of time. Whether or not it's a waste of time for you isn't quite within the scope of my post.
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Old 05-19-19, 04:37 PM
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Weights year round are considered a must for Masters especially because they start losing muscle mass without ability to replace it. However this may well be running over into the Over 50 zone, which is different from my OP Masters scenario.

My impression from both living and reading about the Over 50 scene is that we DO need year round weights FOR SURE. Also that even on an hour a day our ability to tolerate work loads is less. Our peaks are lower, less frequent and over quicker. We have to be careful and parse out our peaks for when we really want them.

My impression is that we are NO LONGER in the zone of "if you only have an hour, go hard."

...I haven't figured it out yet. But I sense it's getting trickier.

A month off, though, seems disaster. So as with younger Masters I think it's critical to MAINTAIN a high year round level.

At 58 I occasionally have month long wretched colds -- where I lose a lot of fitness that is very hard to reacquire. And I occasionally have the usual injuries nab me. And these also might know me out a month. But for a real injury where IMMOBILIZATION is involved, it nearly spells disaster. Getting back to my usual year round steady state is now nearly impossible. Like, in past few yrs I've broken an arm and a leg. These have been quick minor incidents but a month of immobility has meant DISASTROUS atrophy. My leg nearly disappeared! And it wasn't even casted! ARGH! Anyway it's what I'm dealing with now. But it's different from other Masters issues, I think. ...Specifically I mean YOUNG Masters.
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Old 05-19-19, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by rubiksoval View Post
Pretty much describes my training. Except for the weight room which i consider a waste of valuable training time.
Weight room isn't training for cycling, except for sprinters and trackies. But it's still valuable, especially for road cyclists. Coggan fell off his bike and broke his hip! In his 20s or early 30s!
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Old 05-20-19, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Weight room isn't training for cycling, except for sprinters and trackies. But it's still valuable, especially for road cyclists. Coggan fell off his bike and broke his hip! In his 20s or early 30s!
I run a lot chasing kids around. Not too worried about it at this point.

If I had the extra few hours necessary to hit the gym, I'd use them on the bike instead and actually get some proper fitness this season instead of sucking wind every time I get into a break!
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Old 05-20-19, 05:37 AM
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As a "young master", I took five months off at the end of last year and after five months I'm still not back to where I was. Threshold is still 10% lower than this time last year. Of course, I still haven't cracked 9 hours in a single week, either, which I think is the single biggest inhibitor. I'm thinking a 3-4 week block of 10-12 hours a week would likely kick things into gear

But I agree with year round fitness. Once you have that it can be maintained with lower hours decently enough (for me at least). But it seems it takes a bit more to get up to that level if you do take time off. In the last few years I hadn't taken off more than 2-3 weeks at a time and it only seemed to take 2-3 weeks back to get to where I was. So much easier and less frustrating!
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Old 05-20-19, 06:44 AM
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I'm in a suck place. I started riding in 2016. At that point I was 31/32 at the time. Riding like 35 to 40mi a week. In 2017 I picked up the time and started doing some structured stuff.

I never had the chance at a big build early on like some folks have had.

Only shots are lining up a big gravel grinder in fall/winter and maybe a long fondo in "season" for which I can get some "honey please" time to get in some Z1/2/3 riding volume.

Otherwise, it's hiit workouts for me.

It's just what I can fit in. I run sometimes for impact workouts. It can be fun to attempt a duathlon or something if your bike pace is good.

Gains are hard now that the easy early gains are over. Gains that would be easier with a base.

If you're on less than 7 hours a week, HIIT it is.

The limiter also is that for those easy rides to matter they need to be long duration.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:12 AM
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I hear ya. i think this is at the heart of the Masters training conundrum. Less than 7 hrs/wk = HIIT. And, yes, LSD seems to need to be 2-4 hrs. At least in the lore.

What I think might be cool is I suspect there's room here for Secret Recipes. How to get most bang for the buck on 5-7 hrs.

My advice might be to make one of those sessions Motorpacing. ...But that's only if you are actually road/crit racing. Find a friend w a moped. Or get one and recruit a friend to ride it in front of you. THAT IS A MASSIVE HOUR OF GAIN. ...For those pinning on numbers.

Another angle for me has been to lateral over to CYCLOCROSS. There's a sport that likes shorter workouts. Tho to get better results as you move up you need the Real Racer legs.

Naysayers to contrary, I'm thinking weights are indeed actually key in this sort of hours wasteland.

Another big trick involving luck of circumstance is if you live near a VELODROME. Another super top secret recipe to any kind of bike racing success. An hour on the track playing reindeer games is gold. But it might be that getting yourself a beater fixie if you don't live near a track could also be a very very high ROI for one of your weekly hours.

Lastly, body weight -- anything you can do to stay skinny as you lose muscle in your elder years is huge. Even in my younger Masters years I figured out that fitness+10lbs overweight was suffering death compared to raceweight and fewer hours.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:23 AM
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Lon Haldeman's "One Hour Per Week, At 90 per cent" method:


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Old 05-20-19, 07:39 AM
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This guy went hard on every workout https://www.runnersworld.com/advance...s-swift-at-60/ While a runner rather than cyclist I submit that the training principles are the same.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:42 AM
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i do like Lon's notion of doing whatever it takes to get an hour at near your max.


i dunno about Lon's 90% idea. coz the last time i measured my heart rates in events i was 50 yrs old and doing a half hour to an hour races at 180bpm ave. which calculated to 90% of my max. so i found that level to be tolerable.

...i wonder what my numbers are now at age 58.

the last 2 yrs i've gotten bored w riding straight so have backed way off on my fast group riding, which used to be my key to keeping my high base and my raceweight. rats. i still want to do fun cyclocross but i'm 10 lbs up and searching for my own HIIT secret recipe. for me there's kinda nothing like a rotating paceline at 28mph for a 1.5 hr session to keep the engine honed. but i haven't been able to endure the boredom lately. even tho big group rides start from only a mile or 2 from our house!

i'm attempting to stay fit for xc skiing and cyclocross by doing crazy things on nearby trails, such as dragging TWO car tires on a bungie using ski poles. we dont have any good uphills around here! a big uphill would be awesome. that's a cure for most any ailment.
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Old 05-20-19, 07:46 AM
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OP, do you plan on racing and if so, which races - time trial, hill climb, mass start (criterium/road race) velodrome (mass start / timed), cyclocross or gravel? Or are you looking for aerobic / general fitness?
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Old 05-20-19, 07:59 AM
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i was just interested in the most general outline of current best practice for old farts on a short leash.

i got a bit into the weeds w my secret detail tips for those pinning on numbers but that wasn't my interest in my OP. ...i'm wondering more about today's main rough outline.

i suppose i'm mostly wondering if for Masters on 5-7 hrs/week, if light easy outings simply don't have a place. LSD and the like. It kind of seems like HIIT is the thing. ...For keeping base zest and action. I find I can do a weights/calis routine about twice a week -- not really enough even to maintain but better than nothing.

At the same time, a walk around the block every night after dinner seems smart. : )

Hey, here's another thing: What about stretching and things like yoga for old-timers? ...ROI for high end fun? Personally, I feel like I have good ROM. Sufficient for what I want to do. No tendencies to tendon injuries. Indeed, I find that flexing/bending joints in ways that stress them causes discomfort w/o corresponding bounce-back benefit. So in recent years I've omitted all that and haven't noticed a downside.

another thing as I age, i do like being fit for specific events/action and I know how to add in those details, but even more i just want to be generally fit for life so i can do everything and not get hurt. i can tell if i just focused on bike fitness that my upper body wd disappear. then i'd be in trouble for yardwork and other life needs. so i'm a fan of all around weights and calisthenics.

i've lost a lot of pushup / chinup ability and my running sucks w/o special attention -- but all those things i mostly attribute to the dread extra 15 lbs i've acquired since losing my love of the road-ride burn.

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Old 05-20-19, 09:26 AM
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in addition to HIIT it seems that most will be using wattmeters and data to advantage to further dial in efforts for specific results.

since i dont have specific goals i find i just use HIIT. i haven't had a data-device on a bike in a decade. no time to process the data anyway. no time to install a device!

my specific goals are to not get dropped in fast group rides and to have fun in CX. havent found a device relevant.

...tho i'm starting to have higher expectations in CX. i think a device might help: i shd monitor fatigue w data and i shd train in what i find to be a good zone for me now. simple HR wd do it. i do have devices around here somewhere! i have no idea what my numbers might now be! i often dont even have the time to change clothes! i just grab a session as i can a few days/wk.

i used to have to be careful to avoid going too hard to avoid going under. lately i haven't had to. don't know why. maybe i'm no longer fit enough to go under! ha. that's not true: i can go hard enough to get confused in a CX race. but generally it's not a risk in most events like it used to be. i needed data to keep myself in check because my sensitivity wasn't enough. if i saw 190 in first mile of a race that was bad. 183 was nice. but i couldn't really feel the difference.

i find as i age that i can suffer more and go longer. but my power is way way down. i no longer have enuf muscle to hurt!

so far my approach has been simple: to enjoy fast group rides twice/wk, i need to go on fast group rides. to enjoy CX, i need to practice CX daily. ...and most of all i need to lose 15 lbs!

but maybe lots of old Masters w less than 7 hrs/wk are finding a wattmeter to be key? and maybe better than a HRM? i have no idea!
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Old 05-20-19, 09:46 AM
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I don't recall the specifics, but the main message of Friel's "Fit After Fifty" was to keep the intensity, drop the volume. I no longer do the long slow rides, especially during the season. Right now, most of my training is short and sharp: VO2max and above.

[on edit]

In previous seasons, I had averaged about 11 hours a week. This season, due to work, life, and weather issues, I'm down to 7 or 8. If I'm honest, I'd say I'm about 2 months behind. Mid-May, I have the fitness I was hoping to have in March. Take that for what you will.

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Old 05-20-19, 10:48 AM
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Have we totally forgotten about Carmichael and "Time Crunched Cyclist" stuff? Or did I miss something?
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Old 05-20-19, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by JeffOYB View Post
but maybe lots of old Masters w less than 7 hrs/wk are finding a wattmeter to be key? and maybe better than a HRM? i have no idea!
If you're convinced the answer is HIIT, your heart don't respond fast enough to be off any use for titrating your effort. Power meters are immediate feedback.
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Old 05-20-19, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
If you're convinced the answer is HIIT, your heart don't respond fast enough to be off any use for titrating your effort. Power meters are immediate feedback.
i've found HRM to be sensitive. "whoa that's high!" back off and a few seconds later "ah that's more like it."
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Old 05-20-19, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex View Post
Have we totally forgotten about Carmichael and "Time Crunched Cyclist" stuff? Or did I miss something?
any summary of his teaching?

i've found the thick books to get way more off into the details and weeds than the scope of my interest in gen'l concepts.

i'm wondering if post-wattmeter things have changed. How does Carm fit into the timeline? I'd think he might be pre-wattmeter, for the genl publi anyway. Or if he included wattmeters (Lance used them) then pre-Strava and pre-Garmin. It seems like there might be some major innovations in last 5-10 yrs. Or is it more fine points?
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Old 05-20-19, 11:14 AM
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I am a data junkie so I ride with power on my bikes - road and track. And I think it is more fun to have metrics at the end of the ride and a power meter and software make it easy. I have over 10 years of power data with workouts that provide a nice history as reference and I can look back at rides and see how I may have changed.

I think intensity is important. Besides making ones muscles stronger and improving aerobic and anaerobic performance, it seems to impact epigenetics. According to some aging research, genes turn on and off as we age. https://www.whatisepigenetics.com/to...tics-exercise/ HIIT may improve genetic regulation keeping the good ones on and the bad ones off i.e. one stays genetically younger. In another aging theory, telomere shortening over time increases the effects of aging. https://www.statnews.com/2017/01/03/...lomere-effect/ I read her book - excellent. Telomeres are the ends of our DNA. Over time, the telomeres shorten until they disappear. Telomerase is produced by the body to maintain the integrity of the telomeres. HIIT / exercise, in general, may increases telomerase.

I am a trackie so I get a lot of intensity versus longer duration lower power efforts. In general, I do not do much z1/low z2 riding. The last two sessions with my coach, he killed us with motor work. The beauty of motor work is one cannot slow down and one gets used to speed over time. And with speed comes intensity and economy.

I like to do jumps, starts (seated and standing) plus accelerations to get my leg strength training on the bike. I use the gym as an adjunct to the on the bike strength training.

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Old 05-20-19, 11:29 AM
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Epigenetics is a really fascinating subject, the idea that we can subtly alter our DNA through diet and exercise, and not only that, pass those alterations and adaptations on to our kids.
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Old 05-20-19, 12:22 PM
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It depends on what you're trying to do, i.e. what is your definition of fast? I and some other geezer folks I ride with are into the Death Ride and similar pursuits. Volume is key, right along with intensity, maybe twice a week. Which basically means conditioning, because it keeps getting harder to keep the volume up and still be able to do the intensity and vice versa. I've been doing 11 hours/week. 73 y.o. I've been riding tandem with my wife, but she was on the mildly injured list this weekend, so I rode my single with the faster boys, 10-20 years younger. Dropped me on every hill, but I kept getting them back. 1:06 of Z4 in 66 miles. We didn't have hills bigger than about 700', so my program was 15' of Z4, recover a little, hit it again. I don't do HIIT. Snow's melting. First pass ride of the season next Sunday.

I don't thing anyone ever advocated long slow rides. They just make you slow. Long steady rides OTOH are exhausting. If they aren't, you're going it wrong. 3-4 hours should pretty much have you wishing it was over. I see some riders coasting or taking it easy on the descents or downwind flats. Don't do that. Ride like you're on your rollers, holding steady zone 2. Never let off the pedal pressure.

Tandem makes me strong. It's not true that you can get just as strong on a light bike. You want to get strong, ride tandem for 60 miles of hills with your wife every weekend, whether she's a cyclist or not. Fix you right up, oh yeah..

I've been lifting weights for about 20 years. My periodization has gradually evolved. During the season, which is already here, I'm trying to do one session of 50 minutes per week, like 2 sets of 4-5 reps, max on the last set. OTOH, if it has to be between 2 X 20 or weights, I do the 2 X 20. I do the weights after an hour of so of Z2 or pedaling drills on the rollers. Of course I do more weight work in the winter, but never more than 2 hours/week. More than that, you're doing it wrong.
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Old 05-20-19, 12:38 PM
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I don't actually do hard intervals all that much anymore, but instead focus on threshold for most of the winter and spring. That gets curttailed in the summer because it's too hot and humid for much of any intensity. But I have the most race success when my threshold is highest, and tabatas and vo2 and similar really don't do much for me. I do like periodic 30s seated high power efforts with 60 sec recoveries workouts for nm work. But suprathreshold work really doesnt seem to give me much gains compared to threshold.

A 45 to 90 min sweetspot interval or 30 to 60 min threshold interval are my go-to now.
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