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  1. #1
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    I need help developing winter training plan with power. First race March 27, 2011

    I'll make this short and sweet. I've been riding for 2 years as of 2 months ago. Just received my Powertap one week ago. Currently getting used to seeing wattage. Haven't done official testing yet, but training is testing, testing is training. I've read Hunter and Andy Coggan's bible, and am currently re-reading it. So I'm now familiar with the concepts of training with power. I just need to figure out an actual training plan.

    Two nights this week on the trainer in a 76 degree room with only an overhead ceiling fan I've managed 210 watts for 50 minutes. Next day on the road the same 210 watts felt like 150 watts on the trainer. (weird the difference in feeling on the trainer and on the road, but that's an entirely different topic). I'm guessing my real FTP is going to be 230ish... if not a bit higher? I'll know in the next week or so after I have a chance to rest properly and then get on the road and do some real testing. I'm 71kg so if it's only 210w I'm looking at at least 3w/kg.

    I plan to start racing next year, cat 5. My first crit will be March 27 2011. So basically 4 and a half months until then. I have 10-15 hours available per week to ride as follows:

    3 hours each day on Saturdays and Sundays
    3 hours each day on two days of the week
    1-2 hours one day of the week (this is a work day and I usually use this day for interval work on the trainer after I get home from work which is usually around 8pm; too late to get on the road)

    Two days of the week I'm basically unable to ride due to work. I work three 12 hour days per week.

    Any ideas how I should proceed with training, starting NOW, to be ready to start racing next year, starting March 27?

  2. #2
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    One workout system that worked very well for me this year went something like this:

    Day 1: 2 or 3 by 20 minutes at 95-100% of threshold
    Day 2: 2 or 3 by 20 At 90-94% of Threshold
    Day 3: 1 full hour at 85-90% of threshold
    Rest a day and then repeat.

    I know that may not fully work with your schedule, its just a suggestion. For your limited time work on real quality at a pace near or just below Threshold. If you have a longer workout day make sure you spend a good amount of time at tempo, dont just tool around on the bike wasting time.

    I was off for a full month in the early part of the year due to Tendonitis. With this plan I was able to go from about 310 watts FTP to 360 in about 3.5 weeks. Not totally up to my full potential, but it is a system that really does work. Give it a try and see if it works for
    you.

    Best of luck! You will be tearing it up next year if you stay focused over the winter

  3. #3
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    The first thing I would do is get a fitness test done at a center. The one near me will give me wattage values plus a vo2 max score. I will use these values going into the training season.

    Not every training plan works for everyone. But from now until New years I would hit the gym and try to build some strength in the legs, core and upper body. For at least one day a week (if not 2) I would try to do some form of endurance work such as 2 hours of zone 2 (based on cat 5, it should be sufficient).

    Come January start to incorporate some kinds of intervals into your routine. I usually start with intervals that emphasize my strengths first simply because by the time the race season begins I want to have my strengths near fully developed. I start to incorporate intervals that emphasize my weaknesses around the 3rd week of January. By February I will have my schedule looking like this:

    Monday: rest
    Tuesday: 2-3 hours high zone 2
    Wednesday: weights
    Thursday: rest
    Friday: 2x20's or 6x6
    Saturday: 2 hours zone 2
    Sunday: 2 minutes on 2 minutes off intervals. I stop when my power begins to fade significantly.

    Don't stick with one style of interval for more than 6 weeks as your body will adapt to it and you will see minimal gains. Instead switch to something different for a few weeks.

  4. #4
    The Slow One.
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    Read up on periodization. The three steps forward and one or two steps back every cycle will help you avoid stagnation. Plenty of books out there based on the principle to develop training plans and keep you focused. Just hammering away at the same thing week after week is a sure path to mediocre results. Ask me how I know.

  5. #5
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    http://www.cycle-smart.com/articles/find.php?search=1

    Ride lots. Get lean and comfortable on the bike. Don't get obsessed with the balls-out intervals right now.

  6. #6
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    No offense to anyone intended... I am just amazed that people who have never raced are buying power meters and doing vo2 tests.

    OP didn't mention group rides... do them. Lots of them. With racer-types.
    * posted by Creakybot 2013 all rights reserved.
    * not actually waterproof.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creakyknees
    No offense to anyone intended... I am just amazed that people who have never raced are buying power meters and doing vo2 tests.

    OP didn't mention group rides... do them. Lots of them. With racer-types.
    I was about to mention the same thing. All the powermeter readings in the world won't do you any good until you get in a group of peers and test yourself.

    Don't wait until it's race time to get into mock races as it's often too late to make up for lost time.

    As a Cat 5 racer don't be concerned with long rides that eat up lots of time. You're going to need to be able to go all out for about 60 minutes for a road race and about 30 minutes for a crit. 3 hours of riding, while it's a nice way to toughen up and get used to riding your bike, it won't make you faster, and it doesn't correlate to the type of racing you'll be doing.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by heathb
    As a Cat 5 racer don't be concerned with long rides that eat up lots of time. You're going to need to be able to go all out for about 60 minutes for a road race and about 30 minutes for a crit. 3 hours of riding, while it's a nice way to toughen up and get used to riding your bike, it won't make you faster, and it doesn't correlate to the type of racing you'll be doing.
    I think that your comment about riding for 3 hours not making you faster is simply false. Since the OP has a limited amount of time to train he should be riding as much as possible, but the time spent on the bike needs to be quality! Those 3 hours should include a good hour to an hour and a half at tempo pace. With the way his time is set up I would recommend the Threshold efforts on the shorter time days, so you dont add extra training load on top of an already difficult workout.

    There are plenty of cat 5 races that will be close to or at 3 hours long. The extra riding is not going to hurt him at all, as long as he makes the most of them.

  9. #9
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    I tried to avoid making the original post to very long b/c we all know posts like that only get skimmed, not read. In my attempt to keep it short, perhaps I did not include other necessary info. To clear things up:

    I do group rides with racers who range anywhere from Cat 3 to several Pro 2s and a couple Pro 1s and a couple Masters. I know what it feels like to have my legs ripped off every Thursday during the weekly world championships. The competition involved is what started my interest in racing. After a season of these Thursday nights I was totally turned on by the idea of actually racing. So...

    ...I did 5 road races between July 17- Sept 11 this year. Not a one of them was less than an hour and forty-five minutes long. Two were in fact pushing close to the 3 hour mark. All of the Cat 5 road races around this area are at least 40 miles and range up to 65 miles. I managed one 2nd place, one 3rd place one 6th place and two 9th places. The two 9th places were my last two and I had decided that since I was learning how to race and "placement" wasn't at the top of my concerns I would go out and find out what would happen and how my legs would respond by chasing down EVERY attack, doing my share at the front pulling, and initiating breakaways during each race (my legs felt like they took a beating).

    I have never raced in any crits but have decided to start. And so my original question was an attempt to see how I should best approach training in terms of periodization over the course of the next 4 months to be ready when the crits start. I do not want to incorporate such a heavy amount of L4-L6 work over the next 4 months that I feel burned up by race time. But I don't want to keep the efforts so low and easy that I'm unprepared when race time gets here.

    I was basically hoping some of the more experienced RACERS here could help me make my time most efficient over the next 4 months so that I can hopefully be in top form when it's time to start. So there is not misunderstanding, I'm not looking for someone to develop specific training plans. I'm not trying to get personalized coaching for free. I'm just looking general concepts for weekly training and levels for the next 4 months.

    Hope I've made things a little more clear?

  10. #10
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    Just a very general comment based on my interpretation of your stressing March 27th in your op .

    4 months from now is a lot of time training wise. Enough so, if you find the time, you could be at a peak for that first race. But the point I want to caution against (unless you feel otherwise) if putting too much stock in this first race March 27. There will be peaks and valleys and in the long run I don't think it's good plan in the long run to focus on one race that happens to be the first race of the year.

    I know where you're coming from, you want to hit the ground running because it'll be your first full season, and I'm not suggesting you just goof off all winter but whatever training program you come up with just don't put all your eggs in the basket of this first race or you'll be burnt when it starts to matter in the middle of the summer.

    What's worked well for me is taking December totally off from leg workouts and focusing on core strengh (I generally kill it October and November so time off is needed). Then January I think miles miles miles and then in February I'll add some pretty hard intervals then in March with any luck I can get on the road and start accessing what needs the most work. If my sprint is off, I'll focus on sprints, if I suck at hills I do hills ect (basically I try to spot the flaws in how my winter training translates to the road).
    Then by mid April I'm in good form and my late May when races really start where I live I'm good to go.

    I guess all I'm trying to say is it'll be a long summer with peaks and valleys so don't get to worked up about March 27.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by heathb
    As a Cat 5 racer don't be concerned with long rides that eat up lots of time. You're going to need to be able to go all out for about 60 minutes for a road race and about 30 minutes for a crit. 3 hours of riding, while it's a nice way to toughen up and get used to riding your bike, it won't make you faster, and it doesn't correlate to the type of racing you'll be doing.
    Interesting perspective. How do you explain pursuit riders who race for only a little over 4 minutes doing training rides of over 4 hours and putting in yearly totals over 20,000 km?

  12. #12
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    You might want to pick up a copy of Friel's training bible. The portions on figuring out your strengths and weaknesses is good, as is the part on planning a racing season. You can peak twice (maybe) during the season, for a couple weeks or so. The March 27th race may be one of your A races if it's really important to you. Mar 27th might be the Tour of Podunk but if that's your home town race you might want to do well there. But if it's not as important as some other races, you should gear your training plan around those races instead. If your district's 2011 calendar isn't out yet you can look at 2010 and get a good idea when the races will be.

    Also, power numbers on a trainer is bogus, especially if you didn't have enough fans to cool off (you can afford a power tap but not a box fan?). Being overheated kills your power, and for some reason most people can't put out as much power on a trainer even when they aren't overheated.

    Technically, cat 1s and 2s are not pros. They usually race with them in the P/1/2 field, they may be getting paid a pittance, but they don't have a pro license.

  13. #13
    a$$hole
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    Thanks for the responses. I do think I'm going to pick up a copy of Friel's CTB. The March 27 race is the first race of the year, locally speaking, and the shop I ride for put's on the crit. 80% of my team race mountain bikes and have little competitive interest in road. I thought it would be nice if I could podium at our crit. Being the first local (meaning state) crit of the year, I don't expect anyone to really be in "top form." I just wanted to be at a point that I could do well at this crit.

    Eric, I only mentioned the P/1/2 b/c another posted was apparently under the impression that I do not take part in group rides that basically work like a race...when in fact I do take part in those rides.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by chase196126
    I think that your comment about riding for 3 hours not making you faster is simply false. Since the OP has a limited amount of time to train he should be riding as much as possible, but the time spent on the bike needs to be quality! Those 3 hours should include a good hour to an hour and a half at tempo pace. With the way his time is set up I would recommend the Threshold efforts on the shorter time days, so you dont add extra training load on top of an already difficult workout.

    There are plenty of cat 5 races that will be close to or at 3 hours long. The extra riding is not going to hurt him at all, as long as he makes the most of them.

    The extra riding day after day isn't going to make you a faster rider however. I to used to ride at least 60 miles every single day, with two 100 miles rides on Sat/Sun for years. Guess what it didn't make me faster at all. The fastest guys in a Cat 5/4/3 were actually spending more time in the gym lifting weights than they were on the road. The average guy in the top 5 spots was spending no more than 1 hour a day riding and the rest were in the Gym, with one longish ride on the weekends. I don't sit around and theorize or look to the great tour masters or even the Cat 1 guys that I know are doing lots of miles because they have longer races. I collected my notes at the races, I asked the guys that were consistently at the top what their training plans entailed, what their teams used to consistently get at the top.

    And when I was a Cat 5 we never did a race even close to 3 hours, they were short and sweet, never over 65 miles and most of the time around 40 miles in which case it was hard from the start and never let up. If your local scene has longer races, then by all means spend more time in the saddle.

    As far as picking up a copy of Friel's CTB, I personally donated my copies to the local library. Friels bibles lack specific training plans. I'd rather get Friel's knowledge for free at
    http://cptips.com/ and pick up a copy of Arnie Bakers "Smart Cycling" written back in '97.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by heathb
    The extra riding day after day isn't going to make you a faster rider however. I to used to ride at least 60 miles every single day, with two 100 miles rides on Sat/Sun for years. Guess what it didn't make me faster at all. The fastest guys in a Cat 5/4/3 were actually spending more time in the gym lifting weights than they were on the road. The average guy in the top 5 spots was spending no more than 1 hour a day riding and the rest were in the Gym, with one longish ride on the weekends. I don't sit around and theorize or look to the great tour masters or even the Cat 1 guys that I know are doing lots of miles because they have longer races. I collected my notes at the races, I asked the guys that were consistently at the top what their training plans entailed, what their teams used to consistently get at the top.

    .
    I know that it is a subject of much contention but I am of the school of thought that weight lifting is not beneficial for a road cyclist and can even be detrimental.

    One study my coach, Massimo Testa, did with the Mapei cycling institute showed that of 3 groups (1 control, one weight lifting, and one doing low cadence drills) the weight lifting group did significantly worse on post winter training lactate tests. I unfortunately do not have the exact data because it is still the property of Mapei, but it was presented by Testa in a college class I took last fall. The study was done on ProTour level riders.

    Your mileage may vary though. I know there are other studies out there that have come to different conclusions.

  16. #16
    a$$hole
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    Quote Originally Posted by chase196126
    I know that it is a subject of much contention but I am of the school of thought that weight lifting is not beneficial for a road cyclist and can even be detrimental.
    Agreed. If nothing else, time spent lifting weights is time that could have been spent on the bike.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmSpecialized
    Any ideas how I should proceed with training, starting NOW, to be ready to start racing next year, starting March 27?
    As you can see, you'll get as many opinions on how to train as there are cyclists/posters.

    You have more than enough training time to improve a lot.

    Execute against a plan which follows fundamental principles of training and you will improve (i.e. a progressive sustainable overload, recovery as needed, emphasis on raising threshold power and work on elements of specificity for goal events).

    For what it's worth, I do custom designed training plans using power to take the guess work out of it. These plans account for your actual available training time/days, your training history, current fitness level and goals.

    There are also other non-customised plans available from other sources.

    see link below for details

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAmSpecialized
    Thanks for the responses. I do think I'm going to pick up a copy of Friel's CTB. The March 27 race is the first race of the year, locally speaking, and the shop I ride for put's on the crit. 80% of my team race mountain bikes and have little competitive interest in road. I thought it would be nice if I could podium at our crit. Being the first local (meaning state) crit of the year, I don't expect anyone to really be in "top form." I just wanted to be at a point that I could do well at this crit.

    Eric, I only mentioned the P/1/2 b/c another posted was apparently under the impression that I do not take part in group rides that basically work like a race...when in fact I do take part in those rides.
    After reading your posts, I gotta say that I like your attitude and approach (to both racing and training). Top notch.
    If you're putting this much work and thinking into it now, provided that your sprint is good, I can almost guarantee you'll podium at a crit. You're taking chances in races, asking the right questions afterward, and WAY ahead of the curve.

    Good luck. You'll do well.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by brians647
    After reading your posts, I gotta say that I like your attitude and approach (to both racing and training). Top notch.
    If you're putting this much work and thinking into it now, provided that your sprint is good, I can almost guarantee you'll podium at a crit. You're taking chances in races, asking the right questions afterward, and WAY ahead of the curve.

    Good luck. You'll do well.

    Thanks! I'm just the guy who feels like I've done about as much as I can do and progressed about as much as I can progress without adding real structure to training. And at the same time just happened to realize I'm becoming addicted to the competitive side of this, and want to really start racing. I'm just starting to get really serious about being on the bike, meaning it's not just about going out and riding hard anymore. I want to race and do well.

    So I'm trying to use the experienced guys here for their guidance. I'm not posting here b/c i have nothing better to do with my time. I'm posting because I'm taking training seriously now and I am determined to do well (meaning I will push myself and train as hard as i can possibly train and will race as smart and as hard as I can).

    I've got an FTP of 3.5w/kg right now, so i feel like I've at least got a base to build on and prepare to start racing in the spring. I'm just trying to get a few pointers between here and there.

  20. #20
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    Reading through the posts, I agree with much of what people said. I'd say 10-15 hours is way more than enough to do well in cat 5-3, even p1/2. Hours are one thing, structure is another. In my prior life, when I basically raced full time, I trained 20-25 hrs/week, but now with a demanding job, I am closer to 12-15 (15 being the top end). Even with those hours, I can be competative in p1/2 race and/or masters, as long as there is some good structure. Of course, I've got 10 years of hard core training in my legs to rely on.

    One thing that really helped give a big jump to fitness and give a good overload (in the winter) was doing blocks of hard days. I know there is some research out recently that says that there isn't a huge benefit to doing blocks, but I've found them pretty effective. For example, I'd do 2 hrs 3x20 on Tuesday, 2 hrs, 3-4x10 on Weds, and, if I still feel okay, hardish day on Thursday. Rest or easy Mon and Fri and long on Sat/Sun. Long not being LSD, but long with effort.
    YMMV

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979
    You might want to pick up a copy of Friel's training bible.
    +1, this will answer the majority of your training questions and will give you the knowledge necessary to put together a plan that makes sense for you.

  22. #22
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    Thomas Chapple's Base Building for Cyclists - where Friel touches on base building in one chapter, Chapple devotes a whole book to it. That should give you alot of good info and get you sorted.

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