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  1. #1
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    Easier ways to do Threshold work

    In another post we talked about hills vs intervals ( or hill intervals ). But over the last couple years I found a couple of easier ways to hit threshold power, via external motivations.

    -Staggered TT Intervals with a partner: Get a friend who's about the same level as you, and decide on a route (5-10 miles) with little traffic. Give your friend (or you) a 50-100m lead then go out and chase. He doesn't want to get caught, and you want to catch him. Having that carrot in front I've hit better power averages. We typically take turns leading out.

    -Group Ride Chase Interval: Go out to a group ride and at some point after start of group ride, pull over to the side of the road for 30s or so. Then go out and chase the group. This drill doesn't always work since sometimes the group is too fast (group disappears and motivation gets lost) or too slow (keep catching group too easily and have to pull over again). Several times it worked pretty good (can see the group the whole time) and I chased for 30min+ holding steady threshold.

    Two ways of carrot chasing when you can't get a moto. It seems to work just as good. Anyone else done this?
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 06-28-2013 at 11:49 AM.

  2. #2
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    I tend to do threshold work on my own but shorter efforts (10 min or less) I like to do in group rides.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by upstateSC-rider View Post
    shorter efforts (10 min or less) I like to do in group rides.
    In group rides or chasing group rides?

    Within a group ride, a lot of time is actually not spent at threshold power. Usually above and below, and a lot of zero power pedaling (coasting).

  4. #4
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    I dunno...Pacing is very important as is proper recovery between efforts. It seems the most effective way to do this for me is solo. The mental aspect of it all is something that shouldn't be discounted either. The will to push it by yourself seems to make it easier to push it in a group. I think this is because in a group even 5 seconds relief from a 10-15 or 20 minute effort is 5 seconds too much. Have to learn to train the body to keep the power on the pedals relentlessly. If it's easy I know I'm not applying enough power. Easily verified with the ol' PM. jmo.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodys737 View Post
    The mental aspect of it all is something that shouldn't be discounted either. .
    That's probably where I'm having problems. With the methods above I go about 10-15W higher than trying to do it alone, on the same courses.

    Chasing something just gives me something else to focus on other than the pain.

  6. #6
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    Some of the best threshold work I have had was with a similarly matched partner. We would do our 2x20's side by side.

    I like to get some supra threshold work in when riding with a group by drilling it to the power needed at the front and staying on for the longer pull, or attacking off the front and trying to stay away for the interval.

    Another game (for fun/motivation) we used to play was send 2 up the road with a 30 second head start and have 3 chase. All working together. If you didn't catch or get caught in 10 minutes, that round is over. 5-10 minutes easy riding and repeat with a different mix.
    "The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed."......http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?reco...10490&page=275

    Feel free to PM me nutrition questions. I will answer them if I have time.....

  7. #7
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    Great ideas Ponch! I never thought of it this way until reading your post, but I do this when I roll off the front of my group ride during the slow rollout 2/3 way through the ride after a water stop. It's several miles to the sprint point and I know I have to build as much advantage as possible to have any chance of staying off as the group will do 30mph the last few miles. So I basically end up doing a threshold ride for several miles and usually the group pours it on when I'm in sight and gets me just before the sprint on the occasions I do this. Probably I should do this more often - thanks for putting the idea in my head!

    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    -Group Ride Chase Interval: Go out to a group ride and at some point after start of group ride, pull over to the side of the road for 30s or so. Then go out and chase the group. This drill doesn't always work since sometimes the group is too fast (group disappears and motivation gets lost) or too slow (keep catching group too easily and have to pull over again). Several times it worked pretty good (can see the group the whole time) and I chased for 30min+ holding steady threshold.
    miles to posts ratio is > 30:1

  8. #8
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    There's lots of ways. I used to coach a rider who refused to ride solo, always needed to be with the group (partly due to safety concerns having been hit by a car when solo and left in trouble, and partly because the groups rides always met/started at his home).

    But the training was inadequate for his needs. So we devised several ways to challenge him while still being with the group.

    One example would be if I wanted him to do a hard tempo/near threshold effort for 30-40 minutes, he got agreement from his group to sit on the front for that section of the ride, and his friends would simply take turns next him. He got the fitness, and the group actually enjoyed the games and they found they all benefited (but not as much as he did), and some just like being dragged along a bit faster - they then got more time at the cafe.

    We also came up with fox 'n' hound strategies, and I've used those many times in training groups, teaching the chase group how to work together to gradually reel in the breakaway rider(s). Quality tempo pacelines.

    In general though it only works when the group is smallish (10-12 or less). Larger than that and it's a social event, not training.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    In group rides or chasing group rides?

    Within a group ride, a lot of time is actually not spent at threshold power. Usually above and below, and a lot of zero power pedaling (coasting).
    Sorry, should've been more clear...the group is great to recover in but going off the front or chasing from behind is what I meant.
    In reference to the Assault on Mt Mitchell...
    Quote Originally Posted by merckx56
    The easier solution is to find a biker bar in Spartanburg the night before, go in and pick a fight. The ass-whipping you'll get will be far less painful than the one Mitchell will give you the next day!

  10. #10
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    I have a background in track and field and am used to training by timing. It's very addictive to set times/average speeds at fixed distances and then try to beat those, especially since conditions are always different.

    I guess my type of training is more typical for time trial/triathlon and the motivation has to come from within, so it might not be ideal for cyclists who are used to longer group rides. Still, it might work to have one fixed 20 mile course you can ride in order to set a time and chase it once a week.

    For me competition is always with myself (I never race) and I love exploring my limits like that. That's certainly not for everyone, but I can highly recommend it as a training alternative to mix things up a bit and train mental toughness.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wyville View Post
    For me competition is always with myself (I never race) and I love exploring my limits like that.
    You should give it a shot!! I just got home from a crit (this time a year I do a couple a week) and believe me, there's no other way to stretch yourself in the same magnitude . It hurts like hell and the mental toughness involved to hold those wheels is really something (especially in 95F temps, like today).

    It's not threshold training though, but when I went on an attack and the group caught and countered, I had to dig pretty deep mentally to hold on. I got gapped and managed to close the gap after a lap or so. I truly just wanted to give up because my head was about to explode.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 06-30-2013 at 01:00 PM.

  12. #12
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    maybe give motorpacing a try? i always found that the easiest for dialing in an effort level and just drilling it for a good bit.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    You should give it a shot!! I just got home from a crit (this time a year I do a couple a week) and believe me, there's no other way to stretch yourself in the same magnitude . It hurts like hell and the mental toughness involved to hold those wheels is really something (especially in 95F temps, like today).

    It's not threshold training though, but when I went on an attack and the group caught and countered, I had to dig pretty deep mentally to hold on. I got gapped and managed to close the gap after a lap or so. I truly just wanted to give up because my head was about to explode.
    I can see how that can push you to your absolute limit. Maybe at some point I will try a race, but I'm a real loner when it comes to rides and runs.

    I have done some competitions in other sports, but my talent is in the solo effort. It's probably quite unusual. Most athletes I have known over the years (at all levels) get their drive from their competitive nature and I found that I'm not like that. My drive comes from within and I'm a complete masochist when I'm training by myself. The more it hurts, the more I feel like pushing. That's probably why I've recently started thinking about long distance duathlon/triathlon races. Those are quite suited to my personality and experience, and at my age (34) I'm still not too old to compete at a reasonable level if I find I'm fast enough.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    maybe give motorpacing a try? i always found that the easiest for dialing in an effort level and just drilling it for a good bit.
    Yes. that's what I meant by "when you can't get a moto" above.

    It really is the best for threshold training, mainly because the moto gets bored riding at your threshold speed while he feels no pain. So he cranks it up a little, then he sees in his mirrors that your getting dropped, so he slows down slightly........then he gets bored again, so he cranks it up slightly........

    This just keeps repeated over and over which definitely keeps you suffering at high threshold. Also, the resultant power output is fairly flat and high, which is really what you want in a threshold workout.
    Last edited by Poncharelli; 07-01-2013 at 06:25 AM.

  15. #15
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    long climbs always seem like the 'easiest' way to do threshold, at least in terms of mental effort. I'll typically do a 4-5 hour ride midweek with a few long climbs and end up doing 1-1:30 hours at threshold. I focus on 'leg speed' by a weekly training crit.

  16. #16
    wots...uh the deal?
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    Hi Ponch,
    Yea, last year I was a half a step behind my fast group. So I went with the second group and did intervals OTB. (Much more polite than doing intervals off the front...that can upset the group.) As long as the group knows that you're "screwing around" and not accidentally dropped, it should be good. I did have a time or two where someone thought I was dropped and they sat up to pull me back to the group.

    I like a good chase back, especially if it's someone else who was dropped and I'm pulling them back to the group.
    martymoose

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