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Balancing my training efforts

Old 09-15-22, 12:11 PM
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Balancing my training efforts

For those who deliberately train (as opposed to just riding for fun), what sort of weekly schedule do you use? I want to balance various workout formats to achieve a combination of results. I've been doing the following:

- Intervals: Pushing to anaerobic intensity and often to max HR for ~30 seconds multiple times, separated by a few minutes at moderate intensity... I try to do this once a week
- Medium distance and pace: Typically 20 to 30 miles with most of the ride at tempo pace (approaching but not quite reaching anaerobic level, output near my FTP for ~1 hour)... I usually do this once a week
- Endurance distance: 50+ miles at easy pace, but sometimes including big hills that can drive my exertion higher for extended periods... I wish I could do more of these, but you know, I have a family and a job and stuff, so I usually only ride this far about once per month.

Most weeks I ride two or three times and run at least once. Running might entail a 5k race, an interval workout (jog 300m/sprint 100m, repeated six or eight times), or moderate pace for 5+ miles.

I want to develop my abilities for multiple disciplines. I'm entering my first crit race in a few weeks, but don't have aspirations for racing often in this format, it's just a fun one-time or maybe once-a-year event. The very next day, I'll enter a 27 mile road race. And I like long distance races and relays, like four-man teams taking turns to do ~500 miles (including mountain passes) in 30 hours or less, or even a lone rider doing 205 miles in one shot, i.e. Lotoja, which I plan to enter next September. Therefore, I think I need to train for various athletic abilities; I can't just focus on climbing, sprinting, or endurance alone.

What advice can you give me for an effective weekly plan? If it helps, I am 52 years old and moderately fit. I've been a pretty avid cyclist all my life, but really don't know much about training.

Last edited by Broctoon; 09-15-22 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 09-15-22, 12:22 PM
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Maybe this question would get more response in the Training & Nutrition section.
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Old 09-15-22, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
Maybe this question would get more response in the Training & Nutrition section.
Ah, good point! Mods, will you kindly move the thread?
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Old 09-15-22, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
Ah, good point! Mods, will you kindly move the thread?
Yeah, you'll get better feedback in the Training and Nutrition subforum.

In the meantime: buy (or find online) a good training plan and try it. I use Joe Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible for 17 years and am happy with it.

If you want some general advice, here's mine: go hard a couple (2-3) times per week, and focus on recovery in-between those rides. Most people (including me) don't take recovery seriously enough -- you have to pedal less, pedal at lower cadence and intensity, and get good sleep and good nutrition. And I was about your age when I realized that I needed more recovery -- old bodies don't recover and adapt as quickly. That's when I started modifying the Friel plan: it recommends increasing intensity for three weeks followed by one week of R&R, and I now do two weeks of increasing intensity followed by a recovery week.
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Old 09-15-22, 03:32 PM
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I'll put in a word for Trainerroad and their plan builder. Put in your events, and they'll design a training plan for the events and schedule you want,

Note that a few weeks isn't much time to train for any event. Best case scenario is that you can practice the specific skills you'll need (i.e. VO2Max repeats for a crit or short road race), but if you give a training plan adequate time (think in months and seasons), you'll find you can make substantial progress and really hone in on the specific systems and skills you need.
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Old 09-15-22, 09:13 PM
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Despite being a ďfor funĒ cyclist, Iíve had a coach for a couple years and seen great gains.
highly recommended.

Barry
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Old 09-16-22, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
I'll put in a word for Trainerroad and their plan builder. Put in your events, and they'll design a training plan for the events and schedule you want,
+1
Or a structured plan from Training Peaks etc.
A structured training plan (especially if adaptive too) is more efficient than just repeating the same few ride styles every week.
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Old 09-16-22, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
I'll put in a word for Trainerroad and their plan builder. Put in your events, and they'll design a training plan for the events and schedule you want,

Note that a few weeks isn't much time to train for any event. Best case scenario is that you can practice the specific skills you'll need (i.e. VO2Max repeats for a crit or short road race), but if you give a training plan adequate time (think in months and seasons), you'll find you can make substantial progress and really hone in on the specific systems and skills you need.
I appreciate the tip on Trainerroad. I'll look into that app.

I get that it's too late to really prepare for the races coming up early next month. I'll just hope that what I've been doing will be good enough. It's definitely not too late to start training for next year's stuff. I especially want to prep for the big one in September. My goals for it are 1) At least finish, 2) Finish in less than 12 hours. I plan to start a good, structured plan this winter on my indoor trainer, where this kind of thing can be easier to manage, and then transition it to riding in the real world come spring.
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Old 09-16-22, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I get that it's too late to really prepare for the races coming up early next month.
Too late to build muscle maybe, but not too late to plan your taper!

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Old 09-18-22, 08:06 AM
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Moved from General to T&N.
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Old 09-18-22, 09:42 AM
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Years ago, we had a rider on here who did ultras, Homeyba, maybe some remember him. He posted the following once:

"No, you don't just ride a lot. Actually you don't need to ride a ton of miles. What is more important is the quality of the miles that you put in. Speed and climbing work are essential. When I train for an ultra I usually ride 3-4 times a week. One day of speed work about 25 miles, one day of climbing repeats also about 25 miles (1 1/2hrs) one recovery day ride 30-35miles and a longer ride on the weekend 45-75miles. I'll thrown in centuries and double centuries here and there just for fun."

I think he's got it just right. That weekend ride needs to be hilly and ridden hard. This is stupid simple and seems to work for everything.
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Old 09-21-22, 08:45 AM
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Broctoon Sorry that your thread has died here in T&N. I moved it for you since it was not getting much response in General and you requested the move.

It is interesting that BF is much like a large party in a large house where everyone is in the kitchen having conversation about multiple topics and not much action in other rooms.

Training questions seem to get better responses that are more focused versus requesting a training plan. And you are all over the place - crits, long distance, running 5k and etc. I would have no idea how to plan out something for that assuming that I am interesting in planning anything.

I have been using a cycling coach since 2007 and plan to continue into the future and I set the goals and he comes up with the plan, advice and feedback plus I workout with his other athletes. YMMV
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Old 09-21-22, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
It is interesting that BF is much like a large party in a large house where everyone is in the kitchen having conversation about multiple topics and not much action in other rooms.
if you start your conversation in the “Kitchen”, expect the kitchen types to chme in.



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Old 09-21-22, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
Broctoon Sorry that your thread has died here in T&N. I moved it for you since it was not getting much response in General and you requested the move.

It is interesting that BF is much like a large party in a large house where everyone is in the kitchen having conversation about multiple topics and not much action in other rooms.

Training questions seem to get better responses that are more focused versus requesting a training plan. And you are all over the place - crits, long distance, running 5k and etc. I would have no idea how to plan out something for that assuming that I am interesting in planning anything.

I have been using a cycling coach since 2007 and plan to continue into the future and I set the goals and he comes up with the plan, advice and feedback plus I workout with his other athletes. YMMV
I'm usually in the kitchen because that's where the women are. Their conversations are always more interesting than sports and such nonsense.

Of course you are correct about the paucity of response.

I do several different sports with different training requirements. I find that strength and aerobic training of whatever sort helps everything. Whatever you do, it's just important that you do it, and do it well. Strength training seems applicable everywhere, especially core work. Doing high rep sets to exhaustion has a lot of application, say 3 X 30, all same weight, chosen so last set cannot be completed. Ski season is coming (I hope).

My wife and I came back from our annual 10-day backpack 10 days ago. I was weak because I'd been focusing on endurance bike work and hadn't done any weight work to speak of for a couple months. Error. I was sore for a week. The bike has this rigid frame that supports you so well that your core hardly has to do anything, and then the pedals are so light to push on that your leg strength vanishes, plus you're trying to drop a little weight for the climbs and some of that's going to be muscle . . . Then try putting on a 60 lb. pack and negotiating 20% rough trail through rugged, exposed terrain. Uh-huh. Of course that's way outside the envelope that the OP is talking about. His case is easier. I'm going back to basics.
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Old 09-21-22, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Barry2 View Post
if you start your conversation in the ďKitchenĒ, expect the kitchen types to chme in.



Barry

The problem is that the kitchen is where many of the people who have something to say of value are located. In BFís case, many who know a lot about T&N are in General, Road and Racing. And many who add no value whatsoever other than disrupt threads are located there as well. And there are many in T&N who think they know a lot about training and nutrition that do not. So it goes.

Letís get back on topic and not disrupt this thread.
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Old 09-21-22, 12:35 PM
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Here are a couple of ideas for you. Join us in the road racing forum.

We have a sticky with topics on racing and training.

https://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-b...s-tip-two.html

https://www.bikeforums.net/33-road-b...cipe-book.html

Limit your ambition to very specific goals. The sharper the focus the better the chance of putting together a good plan and result.
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Old 09-22-22, 06:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
For those who deliberately train (as opposed to just riding for fun), what sort of weekly schedule do you use? I want to balance various workout formats to achieve a combination of results. I've been doing the following:

- Intervals: Pushing to anaerobic intensity and often to max HR for ~30 seconds multiple times, separated by a few minutes at moderate intensity... I try to do this once a week
- Medium distance and pace: Typically 20 to 30 miles with most of the ride at tempo pace (approaching but not quite reaching anaerobic level, output near my FTP for ~1 hour)... I usually do this once a week
- Endurance distance: 50+ miles at easy pace, but sometimes including big hills that can drive my exertion higher for extended periods... I wish I could do more of these, but you know, I have a family and a job and stuff, so I usually only ride this far about once per month.

Most weeks I ride two or three times and run at least once. Running might entail a 5k race, an interval workout (jog 300m/sprint 100m, repeated six or eight times), or moderate pace for 5+ miles.

I want to develop my abilities for multiple disciplines. I'm entering my first crit race in a few weeks, but don't have aspirations for racing often in this format, it's just a fun one-time or maybe once-a-year event. The very next day, I'll enter a 27 mile road race. And I like long distance races and relays, like four-man teams taking turns to do ~500 miles (including mountain passes) in 30 hours or less, or even a lone rider doing 205 miles in one shot, i.e. Lotoja, which I plan to enter next September. Therefore, I think I need to train for various athletic abilities; I can't just focus on climbing, sprinting, or endurance alone.

What advice can you give me for an effective weekly plan? If it helps, I am 52 years old and moderately fit. I've been a pretty avid cyclist all my life, but really don't know much about training.
A bit to unpack here.

1. Why do you choose to do those workouts? If you cannot explain why, you need to set some desired outcomes (goals) first. Your later statements are the broadest smattering of cycling events pretty much possible. From the shortest events with the most demand for anaerobic and sprint power to the longest audax events requiring at very efficient fat burning body. You need to be OK with sucking and suffering through either the crit/road race OR the audax and specializing in something. Jacks of all trades are masters of none. For bike racing lookup "specificity". You need it to do well.

2. This statement is contradictory: "Typically 20 to 30 miles with most of the ride at tempo pace (approaching but not quite reaching anaerobic level, output near my FTP for ~1 hour)". Most of the ride isn't at tempo if your output is near ftp for ~1 hour out of 20 to 30 miles. On the other hand, tempo isn't "output near my ftp" either. Tempo is something you could do for several hours. Is it tempo, or threshold? Lookup the % output ranges for those online then decide which way the ride actually takes place.

3. Nothing wrong with an effort or two on an "endurance ride" so long as the fun doesn't end up causing detriment to the goal of accumulating lots of time in Z2 for these rides. If it causes you to drop into really low Z2 or Z1 to makeup for the fun of going over then need to dial it back and dial up the discipline.

4. I played the "run sometimes" game for a while. Honestly, run volume doesn't work well like that. Running requires very regular, frequent, lower intensity focus to both make gains and to also not have the training stress from those irregular runs cannibalizing your bike fitness. Duathaletes and triathletes run very frequently. Most abide by the 80/20 rule of one-in-5 workouts has intensity and of the total time (time in intensity zone PLUS rest between sets time) you get 90/10 per week at intensity. You're not running enough if you care about running and you're running too much if you really care about cycling. A lot of the cyclists as pros you see ticking off 16min 5k's are former elite collegiate runners turned cyclists. Ignore that noise.

The best advice I can give you is that you need to choose what you really care about. Do you care about the crit/road race? Do you care about audax? Do you care about multisport? Fondos? Then from there, research the training plans that are specific to those events.

Choose crit/road racing: 80/20 plan with your intensity focus on the specificity of those needing a good repeatable VO2 engine and a sprint.
Choose audax: put in a LOT of zone 1 fat burning miles per week
Choose multisport: research a sprint or olympic distance duathlon training plan and pretty much just follow it. You'll run at least 4x a week and ride 3x or so a week. Meaning, you will run and ride the same day a few times either separate times of day or in the same workout.
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Old 09-22-22, 08:22 AM
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burnthesheep I like your post a lot. It is very well written and thoughtful.
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Old 09-22-22, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
4. I played the "run sometimes" game for a while. Honestly, run volume doesn't work well like that. Running requires very regular, frequent, lower intensity focus to both make gains and to also not have the training stress from those irregular runs cannibalizing your bike fitness.

​​​​​​This was my experience as well.
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Old 09-22-22, 02:47 PM
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I really appreciate the insightful comments already offered, which have helped me think through what Iíd like to get out of my training. Iíll address questions from @burnthesheep below.

​​​
Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
1. Why do you choose to do those workouts? If you cannot explain why, you need to set some desired outcomes (goals) first. Your later statements are the broadest smattering of cycling events pretty much possible. From the shortest events with the most demand for anaerobic and sprint power to the longest audax events requiring at very efficient fat burning body. You need to be OK with sucking and suffering through either the crit/road race OR the audax and specializing in something. Jacks of all trades are masters of none. For bike racing lookup "specificity". You need it to do well.


Youíre exactly right. My realization of the fact that I have no focus is part of my reason for the original questions. If some experienced riders had commented something like, ďany training you do will benefit you in some way across multiple events,Ē Iíd resolve to just step up my efforts a bit, with no major changes. A professional coach could probably look at my fitness level and abilities and make some recommendations, not just for a specific training plan, but for what kind of race format might fit me. Like probably 90% of riders, I started out just riding for fun. After many years Iíve come to realize Iím okay at it. Not a podium contender, but not a total scrub either. I have a mild competitive streak, so I want to try my hand at some races. Iíve done a hill climb once and several long relays. So with that background and looking at what kinds of rides I enjoy, Iím stumbling into it.

​​​
Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
2. This statement is contradictory: "Typically 20 to 30 miles with most of the ride at tempo pace (approaching but not quite reaching anaerobic level, output near my FTP for ~1 hour)". Most of the ride isn't at tempo if your output is near ftp for ~1 hour out of 20 to 30 miles. On the other hand, tempo isn't "output near my ftp" either. Tempo is something you could do for several hours. Is it tempo, or threshold? Lookup the % output ranges for those online then decide which way the ride actually takes place.


I appreciate your correction. I had a misunderstanding about tempo training, in terms of the effort and duration it involves. I thought tempo is around 85-90% HR, or right below the cusp between aerobic and anaerobic. I believe a good athlete can sustain this for an hour, but no way for two or three hours. In other words, I thought tempo means training at FTP for about an hour. I really need to remember to put on a HR monitor (chest strap) before my rides. I always remember it when I ride indoors, and when Iím running, my watch uses wrist based HR. But my bike computer of course has no way of measuring it directly. I *think* I know what Zone 2, Zone 3, and Zone 4 feel like, but seeing the numbers before me (during and after a workout) would be much more accurate.

​​​
Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
3. Nothing wrong with an effort or two on an "endurance ride" so long as the fun doesn't end up causing detriment to the goal of accumulating lots of time in Z2 for these rides. If it causes you to drop into really low Z2 or Z1 to makeup for the fun of going over then need to dial it back and dial up the discipline.


I think youíre saying that if I ride at such an easy pace as to hardly elevate my HR above resting level, no matter the distance, thatís not really helping me. Itís recreation, not training. Likewise, I should watch out to not push too high an effort during the endurance rides. Iíll take closer note of my HR during longer rides and if necessary step it up half a notch so my time isnít wasted, while being sure not to over-do it.

​​​
Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
4. I played the "run sometimes" game for a while. Honestly, run volume doesn't work well like that. Running requires very regular, frequent, lower intensity focus to both make gains and to also not have the training stress from those irregular runs cannibalizing your bike fitness. Duathaletes and triathletes run very frequently. Most abide by the 80/20 rule of one-in-5 workouts has intensity and of the total time (time in intensity zone PLUS rest between sets time) you get 90/10 per week at intensity. You're not running enough if you care about running and you're running too much if you really care about cycling. A lot of the cyclists as pros you see ticking off 16min 5k's are former elite collegiate runners turned cyclists. Ignore that noise.


Biking is really my focus, or at least I want it to be. Iíve long believed that biking and running can complement each other, so didnít think Iím taking away anything when I go out for a run instead of a ride. My running involves sixteen 5k races each year (Iím in a cross country club that does one race per week for two months each spring and fall), a mile challenge with some friends once per month, and an Air Force PT test once per year, plus some prep runs once or twice a week for a few months leading up to it. That sounds like a lot, but itís really only 35 to 40 runs per year, less than once per week on average. Iím not trying to justify the time I spend running or insist that it isnít taking away from my bike training. Iím just telling you what my approach has been in the past.

​​​
Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
The best advice I can give you is that you need to choose what you really care about. Do you care about the crit/road race? Do you care about audax? Do you care about multisport? Fondos? Then from there, research the training plans that are specific to those events.

Choose crit/road racing: 80/20 plan with your intensity focus on the specificity of those needing a good repeatable VO2 engine and a sprint.
Choose audax: put in a LOT of zone 1 fat burning miles per week
Choose multisport: research a sprint or olympic distance duathlon training plan and pretty much just follow it. You'll run at least 4x a week and ride 3x or so a week. Meaning, you will run and ride the same day a few times either separate times of day or in the same workout.

Thinking through it the past week or two, Iíve decided next year I want to focus on Lotoja. It claims to be the longest single day bike race in the U.S. Itís about 205 miles and something like 10,000 feet of climbing. One can enter it in competitive category or cyclosportive, which is sort of like a short audax. I would do the latter and have it as my goal to simply finish. I have friends I could train with who know what theyíre doing and finish it in about 11 hours. For safety reasons, the organizers set a cutoff at 12 hours (to get riders in before dark). Iíve done every leg of the course at least once, when riding on a two man relay team two separate years, so Iím familiar with the terrain and conditions Iíll be facing. Iíve just never ridden more than 150-ish miles in one day. Iím sure if I proceed with this objective, I can tailor my training accordingly. Iíll still run from time to time and might enter a shorter road race or two, but will not make these my priorities.

Audax or randonneuring sound like fun, but I donít have the time to put in big miles every week for training. I might enjoy crit racing, but I doubt Iíd be good at it; Iím not at that level of intensity. At any rate, in a couple weeks Iíll try some racing. My first crit is on a Wednesday, a 27 mile road race is Thursday, Iíll take a day to rest on Friday, and then Iíll run a 5k on Saturday. All this will be with a bunch of other guys over 50 years old. In other words, there are only masters categories for the entire weekís events. Itís called the Huntsman World Senior Games, and at 52, Iíll probably be one of the younger guys there. Maybe Iíll learn a few things from this experience, but in any case I plan to soon start training for the Lotoja.

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Old 09-22-22, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I appreciate your correction. I had a misunderstanding about tempo training, in terms of the effort and duration it involves. I thought tempo is around 85-90% HR, or right below the cusp between aerobic and anaerobic. I believe a good athlete can sustain this for an hour, but no way for two or three hours. In other words, I thought tempo means training at FTP for about an hour. I really need to remember to put on a HR monitor (chest strap) before my rides. I always remember it when I ride indoors, and when Iím running, my watch uses wrist based HR. But my bike computer of course has no way of measuring it directly. I *think* I know what Zone 2, Zone 3, and Zone 4 feel like, but seeing the numbers before me (during and after a workout) would be much more accurate.


You're playing a little fast and loose with the terminology there. First and foremost, FTP is a measurement of power. If you aren't using a power meter, then you don't know what your FTP is, and you obviously can't determine training zones that depend on power. It is possible to train to HR, albeit not as effectively, but you need to use the proper terminology so people can understand what you're doing.
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Old 09-22-22, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
You're playing a little fast and loose with the terminology there. First and foremost, FTP is a measurement of power. If you aren't using a power meter, then you don't know what your FTP is, and you obviously can't determine training zones that depend on power. It is possible to train to HR, albeit not as effectively, but you need to use the proper terminology so people can understand what you're doing.
I know my FTP, and I know what it feels like to put out that much power for a sustained timeframe. Although I donít have power metering on my bike, I do on my trainer, and I ride it a lot in the winter. So Iím pretty familiar with the relationship between HR and power production for me.
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Old 09-23-22, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Broctoon View Post
I know my FTP, and I know what it feels like to put out that much power for a sustained timeframe. Although I donít have power metering on my bike, I do on my trainer, and I ride it a lot in the winter. So Iím pretty familiar with the relationship between HR and power production for me.
Well OK then! Good luck at the races.
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Old 09-23-22, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by bbbean View Post
Well OK then! Good luck at the races.
Thanks! Now that I have a specific goal in mind, I can start developing a plan. And I'm starting eleven months in advance--should be long enough. I found a very general training plan online for this event. It gives suggestions for distance and intensity month to month, starting in April. I still have to refine it and set up a weekly plan for myself. Through the winter I'll probably just get on the indoor trainer (I have a TACX machine that I really like) two or three times a week for an hour or so of moderately high power/mostly steady state grinding, and go outside when the weather permits... maybe some intervals or some easy spins according to my mood. Come spring, it gets serious. I will certainly look into the apps recommended upthread here.
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Old 09-24-22, 11:43 AM
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For doing long event rides, I found it very helpful to ride a Super Randonneur (SR) series with a randoneuring club. Preceding the SR series, many clubs also put on a Populaire of 100k, just to get the rhythm of randoing, riding with rando folks, doing controls, that sort of thing. The SR series is 200k, 300k, 400k, 600k with one long rest stop, usually at ~400K. That's good for getting used to pacing, hydration, fueling, and discomfort, that sort of thing.

However, I never, ever, put in long Z1 miles. My training plan was a competitive group ride in hilly terrain of 3-5 hours, once a week, then Z2 rides of 1-2 hours during the week. Once I'd done the SR series and knew what rando felt like, I only did that training regimen and the occasional 400k or double century. For a rider with a low FTP, I did OK, finishing in the top 10% or higher. It's all about precise nutrition and pacing. I use both a HRM and a PM. I put a hard cap on HR for long events, the number depending on length of event. For instance near the end of a hard-ridden hilly 200k, accelerate hard and see what your max attainable HR is. That'll be your cap for 300k, etc.

I found that going hard on hill after hill for no more than 5 hours, to exhaustion, while consuming one's max carbs/hour was the best endurance training for moderately long events like you're contemplating. Getting close to a target event, I did 2 or 3 mountain rides of over 100 miles or over 6000' or both, again to exhaustion. I found it helpful to find my limits and what that felt like. I didn't run, but I went to the gym twice a week until that wasn't an option due to energy and muscle limits. I did almost no formal intervals. At the most, 45" hill sprints. Riding hills of varying lengths, 50'-3000' is very good training.
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