How Much Base Training??
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  1. #1
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    How Much Base Training??

    Hey all! Two seasons ago I got serious about my training got a coach (who was a local pro) and started in. I didn't have much base just a dozen or so rides off road as at that time I was strictly an MTB racer. My coach had me mixing long rides with sprints, LT intervals, hill repeats and form work like one -legged pedals all at the same time. This started in FEB and I was racing by April. I competed quite will during April and the first part of May. After that I burned out and that was it. I did not even want to ride for fun. Last season I had a neck injury (from sking) and did not race-just rode for fun. During my recovery I tried a couple of road races and was hooked. This season I want to get back into MTB and Road racing. But this time I want to do it right from the start. So, how much base should I get in prior to any serious LT type work? I have read Friel like everyone else but still there are so many different opinions out there. At this point my plan is to spend about 10 to 12 weeks just riding mosltly road in zones 1,2. and then pick up with the training plan that I mentioned above. Does that sound about right. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Old school wisdom was always to get in about 1000 miles before doing serious interval work. That's about 55-60 hours. But it's a lot more involved than that. You're building on previous seasons of work, dealing with limitations in your personal life and body, and what you're motivated to do.

    This is what works for me. One long ride a weak, three break through rides which early in the season focus on strength and leg speed and as the early season approaches, these become interval workouts, also two recovery rides and a day off. Variety is good, in effort and length. Figure out your aerobic threshold and base your workouts around that.

  3. #3
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    10-12 weeks base, 5 weeks build. Average about 10-12hrs/wk, including the horribly slow and dreaded winter months on the trainer (which are typically only 6-8hrs/wk).

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    is the burnout because the rider actually "lacks base" or is it mental?
    I'm not sure that I know what "lacking base" means. I know what it's supposed to mean, but the annual "base-building" period seems more about a few months of riding without hurting to preserve your mental health so that your brain is fresh enough to hurt when you really need to hurt.
    Not that mental burnout is to be dismissed, but I think people get way too dogmatic about this stuff. You see guys scolding you that you will waste your season if you ride too hard in December and January. That's BS. I rode hard last year, all year, with time and the rest of my life being my limiters pretty much all year round -- I have more time to train in the summer than in the winter, which is backwards from the gospel -- and I was never faster than last season. Last week I was out on a noon ride that in the summer is blazing fast, with the fastest riders of the district regularly killing each other. Well, there was maybe a little less bloodshed, but it still hurt like hell. Maybe not all of the district's fast guys were out there for that hour, but most of the guys out there were among the district's fastest.
    Train what you want to be able to do, pure and simple.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    is the burnout because the rider actually "lacks base" or is it mental?
    I'm not sure that I know what "lacking base" means. I know what it's supposed to mean, but the annual "base-building" period seems more about a few months of riding without hurting to preserve your mental health so that your brain is fresh enough to hurt when you really need to hurt.
    Not that mental burnout is to be dismissed, but I think people get way too dogmatic about this stuff. You see guys scolding you that you will waste your season if you ride too hard in December and January. That's BS. I rode hard last year, all year, with time and the rest of my life being my limiters pretty much all year round -- I have more time to train in the summer than in the winter, which is backwards from the gospel -- and I was never faster than last season. Last week I was out on a noon ride that in the summer is blazing fast, with the fastest riders of the district regularly killing each other. Well, there was maybe a little less bloodshed, but it still hurt like hell. Maybe not all of the district's fast guys were out there for that hour, but most of the guys out there were among the district's fastest.
    Train what you want to be able to do, pure and simple.
    But the idea is to peak when you want to. What good is being at 90% of your capabilities all the time when you need to be at 100% to win the big races?

    This is a lot more understandable if you were to test out trainingpeaks and get a grasp of FTP, CTL (chronic training load) and TSB (training stress balance). FTP being how fast you can go and CTL being how long you can go fast.

    Going hard all season long doesn't build your CTL to high levels.

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    well, I do have some knowledge of what those things are. but I would like to learn more.

    serious question -- not a smug challenge, but a serious question.

    how am I better off if my CTL looks like a mountain range versus a flat line, if the mountain tops never go higher than the flat line? because, if I understand this stuff at all -- which I may not, I know -- it seems that I'll put valleys in, but the mountains won't get any higher because my chief limiter is time. I may spend as much time as I can, but I don't think I ever scrape the top of what my body really could handle if I had all the time I needed to train.

    Periodization makes a lot more sense for the fifteen-twenty hour of week guys. for those of us who can put in 7 to 10, maybe 12 if we have a forgiving period in our lives, I am not at all sure that it offers much.

  7. #7
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    Periodisation is no more than breaking up one's training into block of training time (weeks/months) with a specific purpose. That purpose might be an endurance block, raising of power at LT, race specific prep etc.

    The use of periodisation is just as applicable to a 6-7 hr/week guy as it is to a 15-20 hr/week guy.

    Remember that the basis of CTL is the daily TSS. And TSS is a function of duration AND intensity. So when looking at the direction CTL is moving (up/down/plateau), one needs to also consider the composition of training.

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    with that definition of periodization, what do I get out of a block? If I'm doing long road races in May, a time trial in July, and cyclocross in October, okay, it makes sense to do training blocks like that. I'm going to train differently for these events. but that's not the way most of us with families and jobs view our seasons. we race when it gets warm enough to race, we race around soccer and visits to grandma, whatever the event, and much more thought than that can become self-defeating, because life comes at you fast, as the man says. maybe if I really focused my training around a much smaller handful of events I might have more success in those few events, but doesn't my approach depend on my goals?
    and, I have to say, some of the fastest, most successful guys I know don't really do this. they may take a little time off here and there, but for the most part they go hard. if they are breaking their training into defined blocks of weeks/months, I've seen no evidence of it.
    I have a reputation for arguing to horse, beaten, dead. I don't want to do this. I want to understand.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    and, I have to say, some of the fastest, most successful guys I know don't really do this. they may take a little time off here and there, but for the most part they go hard. if they are breaking their training into defined blocks of weeks/months, I've seen no evidence of it.
    I hear what you're saying and agree with much of what you said, but the devil's advocate on the above is: Are they riding well because of the way they go about their training or in spite of it?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kytyree
    I hear what you're saying and agree with much of what you said, but the devil's advocate on the above is: Are they riding well because of the way they go about their training or in spite of it?
    Building on what kytyree said, how do you know they are going fast all the time or what their definition of fast is? Group rides are a different mentality and speedwork is usually the primary goal. Maybe they're doing less anaerobic sprint work and more 5min pulls to work VO2max. They may still be doing those 5min pulls at 30mph...

    For example, I used to ride with a domestic pro (leadout man for Baden Cooke). He would regularly do 3-4hr rides at 23mph average, with me sucking his wheel the whole time hoping not to get dropped. Is that fast? To me, it was; to him, it was just an endurance ride.

    Buy or go to the library and get this book. It does wonders explaining even the finder details.
    http://www.amazon.com/Periodization-...3062237&sr=8-1

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    I think that there is some of that -- emphasis on longer duration efforts -- VO2 max, higher effort aerobic -- rather than sitting in, sitting in, and then jump or sprint. to that extent, yes they likely are using periodization, but the difference is subtle. and it's not as if they're never jumping or sprinting, but they are using more of their matches on a killer three minute pull.
    I think what a lot of guys have in their heads is that they will ruin their season if they breathe hard in January, and that's more what I'm talking about.

  12. #12
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    Bill, you're neglecting a critical element of periodization: if you train at the same level all the time you're not training hard enough - adaptation depends on progressive training stimuli, not a constant training load. One of the reasons so many amateur cyclists first rapidly gain fitness and then plateau (never get out of a 3 or 4 category) is because they don't progress in their training load. This doesn't have to be 20+ hours/week. It can be an increase in interval intensity, volume etc. In fact, I think most US amateur cyclists should focus on intense training precisely because this is the main limiter in US racing (unless you're doing a 250km race). If you have limited time, shift to VO2max work, etc (look up Peter Laursen for Tmax intervals). You need to build in substantial recovery time with these - after all, it's during recovery when your body makes its adaptations...

  13. #13
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    I understand the principle -- that to improve you need to up the level of performance progressively. the way that this has worked for me is to mix it up on rides and training races with 1's and 2's, who push me harder than any interval I can wrap my brain around.
    but periodization as it has been preached is this period of time off, followed by a loooonggg period of aerobic training, followed by increasing intensity, followed by a race period and then a peak period, where your volume is way down but intensity remains up. That's not terribly realistic for the weekend warrior, nor does it seem necessary, because it entails de-training and then rebuilding. Why should that be necessary, barring mental burnout?
    Look also at the inherent contradiction in what you're saying -- I need to increase my training load, but that increase doesn't have to involve greater volume. Really? I can increase volume or intensity. or both, but I think we all agree that that doesn't work terribly well. so, if I increase intensity, I'm losing volume. Looks zero sum to me, unless I deliberately work valleys into the program. which doesn't seem to me to increase the training load any higher than if I plateaued. If I deliberately de-trained in order to work in those valleys, I don't think I would be riding with the 1's and 2's.

    I, too, have read that it is during rest that the adaptations occur, but is there evidence for this? how about those guys that "ride into" the Tour de France or whatever? I don't know man.

    that's not to see that there aren't seasons. but for the weekend warrior whose mental attitude remains good and whose limiter is time, they all involve a fair level of intensity, and it's about more or less rather than this or that.

  14. #14
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    you're only considering the macrocycle component of periodization - I agree with you that it should be different for a weekend warrior compared to a professional cyclist. But, the principle of microcycles and mesocycles are important to the amateur cyclist - my own experience is that most amateur cyclists do not incorporate nearly enough mesocycle structure into their training.

    Yes, riders who race into shape definitely take time to recover between major races and particularly focus on tapering before a major stage race...

  15. #15
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    well, resting in anticipation of a target event is not the same thing as adaptation requiring rest. you must be rested in order to perform your best at any given level of fitness, but it is not at all clear (to me, anyway) that the adaptations that bring you to a level of fitness require rest. the little cellular adaptations theoretically could occur without rest, and I have yet to see this issue addressed scientifically.

  16. #16
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    Hey I have that book along with

    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    Buy or go to the library and get this book. It does wonders explaining even the finder details.
    http://www.amazon.com/Periodization-...3062237&sr=8-1
    many others and a few semester of school too

    The whole time is about what energy system are you using, progressive overload is required and thats the way it is. Now how much base and how hard, depends on many factors your current shape, prior training, target races and so on.

    So no easy answers, listen to your body it will definetly tell you if your pushing too hard. But as you adapt you become stronger, so you have to change your training to keep your body from a plateu. Back to real work.
    All I've ever asked of my Marines is for them to obey my orders as they would the word of God.

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  17. #17
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    Wow,

    2 points!!
    I am kinda with Bill on this. Based on my realtive inexperience (3yrs of road about 5k per year) and riding as a weekend warrior who has 6hr to 10hrs at best, the go hard and feel works. Winter training on mtb biking sub zero once or twice per week plus 1-2 indoor training rides is all that is doable with work and kids.

    Spring time my goal is to stay on with the racers on their group rides. So far it has worked.

    Where is my base? from last year? maintaining what I have. No power meter just heart rate training, in zones. Trying to stick with 2 x 15, 3x15, 3x20 steady state intervals.

    How do I measure my watts? and know if I am improving? By staying with the faster guys that eat drink and live by this stuff.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    but periodization as it has been preached is this period of time off, followed by a loooonggg period of aerobic training, followed by increasing intensity, followed by a race period and then a peak period, where your volume is way down but intensity remains up.
    Who's preaching that?

    Periodisation is about doing the right block of training at the right time for your individual needs. Those needs vary for each individual.

    I'm unaware that periodisation means following some pre-determined path as you describe.

    Certainly there is some sense in choosing carefully when to do a block focussed on super-threshold work (since the time course for resulting adaptations is not all that long - weeks - compared to months for LT) but that doesn't mean one shouldn't do some super-threshold work early on in a training plan. Indeed it might well be the best thing to do, particularly if training time is limited.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex_Simmons/RST
    Who's preaching that?

    Periodisation is about doing the right block of training at the right time for your individual needs. Those needs vary for each individual.

    I'm unaware that periodisation means following some pre-determined path as you describe.

    Certainly there is some sense in choosing carefully when to do a block focussed on super-threshold work (since the time course for resulting adaptations is not all that long - weeks - compared to months for LT) but that doesn't mean one shouldn't do some super-threshold work early on in a training plan. Indeed it might well be the best thing to do, particularly if training time is limited.
    if you read Friel's book -- although his latest edition has got more nuanced -- basically that's what he teaches. and an awful lot of people believe it. fewer than even a few years ago, but a lot.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    if you read Friel's book -- although his latest edition has got more nuanced -- basically that's what he teaches. and an awful lot of people believe it. fewer than even a few years ago, but a lot.
    That is periodization. But, the problem is that it is a blanket book that tries to turn a cookie-cutter plan into the right one (read: "personalized") for everyone. What works for someone looking to peak once or twice a year on some super stage race is very different than preparing for cross nats, a 2-day-3-stage race, a 1 or 3 week tour...and changes a lot based on body, experience, and event.

    Not quite personalized...but you can label it a periodization plan. Just not the periodization plan.

  21. #21
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    Bill,

    Everything you have said makes a lot of sense and really isn't that much different from the people who have a slightly different point of view. The people that you are really disagreeing with aren't even here to defend themselves.

    I think outsiders do not realize just how beneficial those lunch times rides are (HP, correct?). I would be shocked if there are a significant number of people who get better workouts in 60 minutes than the people really putting in an effort on those lunchtime rides. Those rides are amazing for improving power efforts for 5 sec. to about 10 min (plus variable repeated efforts which is probably where most of the benefit lies) and even gives you some solid threshold work as well.

    As for peaks and valleys on your CTL... I would guess that your CTL is still increasing assuming you don't do the exact same thing every week. You can get as fast as you need to be for racing with only 7-10 hours of training and doing the fastest group rides around is probably the best way. Obviously if you are doing a lot of 4+ hour races or 40K TT's then you would have to balance the group rides out a little more with more specific work.

    As for peaking...I would be very nervous about structuring my training based on 1/2 peaks per year. The large, large majority or races for most people are not decided by FTP or W/kg... there are way too many other factors that go into race results. Striving to improve FTP is a goal that everybody should shoot for but many people win races year round even when they aren't peaking.

    For the record, basically the first thing I do after a ride is download my data and analyze it.

  22. #22
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    HP is the bomb.
    I love it. Absolutely love it.
    Although to look at my power profile, I probably am a bit of a V kind of guy. Although my real short term power, my sprint, is for sh*t, I can hit some big numbers for about a minute, and my twenty minute power is pretty good. there is a bit of a dropoff at around 1:30. I think I need to up my VO2 max, which is something I've been working on.

  23. #23
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    I'm with him (Bill)

    OK, I have to chime in on this as well.

    I have been racing and training for 18 years now, the majority of it at the cat 1/2 level. All of this has been done while I have had a full-time job except for one season early on in my cycling life. I have done it several different ways - periodized, methodical training and race-into-shape. What I have found is that I am not able to adequately follow a rigid periodized plan, mostly due to variables that are often out of my control. For example, winter weather is one variable. Work is another variable. I cannot speak from the perspective of those who have kids, but that is probably the largest variable. In my world, I have anywhere from 8 to maybe 14 hours per week to train but most of my weeks are 10-12 hours.

    My best seasons have been when my winter training has consisted of steady 8-12 hour weeks making sure I get in one long ride of 4 hours, and adding intensity on the shorter rides. I don't follow a structured intensity plan, some days I do sprints, some days hills, and some days sweet-spot. I train largely by the annoying and intangible method of "how I feel on the day". My rest periods tend to be forced, either due to travel or exceptionally bad weather rolling in. My big weeks are usually if I have a couple of days off work and the weather is exceptional.

    Now, I am not completely naive or stupid when it comes to periodization. I do tend to work on sub-threshold efforts and sweet-spot efforts early in my preparation and I focus more on sprints and maximum efforts as the racing season nears, but I rely on the racing to really sharpen up my top end. If I have a race coming up in a month that I am focusing on then I will address training needs as required. But in general, I start racing in March, the form builds and in a normal season sometime from late May through mid-July I am usually in good form. Sometimes it comes on earlier, sometimes later.

    My main point is this: I think a lot of guys who are racing amateur and who have other major commitments in life are kind of missing out on a lot of great racing opportunities when they follow a very structured periodized program. And in the past 8 or 9 years this has become more of a common thing, as coaching has evolved to an industry. There are a lot of guys racing with disposable income who are perfectly happy to spend money on a coach and program and follow it blindly when, IMO, they would be better off racing more frequently and taking the form (and results) as it comes. Of course this flies in the face of this forum to some degree.

  24. #24
    extremely biased
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    Quote Originally Posted by bill
    Look also at the inherent contradiction in what you're saying -- I need to increase my training load, but that increase doesn't have to involve greater volume. Really? I can increase volume or intensity. or both, but I think we all agree that that doesn't work terribly well. so, if I increase intensity, I'm losing volume. Looks zero sum to me, unless I deliberately work valleys into the program. which doesn't seem to me to increase the training load any higher than if I plateaued. If I deliberately de-trained in order to work in those valleys, I don't think I would be riding with the 1's and 2's.

    I, too, have read that it is during rest that the adaptations occur, but is there evidence for this? how about those guys that "ride into" the Tour de France or whatever? I don't know man.
    There is a huge assumption here; not all TSS is created equal. The adaptations from a LSD ride in low zone two for 5 hours is wholely and totally different than adaptaions from a 2.5-3 hours zone three/tempo. While the TSS score for the two ride may be similar, the effects will not be. Thus the reason the PMC chart as only as good as what you put into it. Given enough time, anyone can increase their CTL to acceptable "racing" levels but a CTL whole built on LSD is not going to do much for you, unless you're doing 24 hours mtb races or something.

    Periodization and specificity still rule in training. When was the last time one of your races was longer than an hour and lower than zone three for NP?

    It's a loaded question........


    Starnut

  25. #25
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    This is the latest and greatest in sports periodization, its called the Block Training System. While similar to the traditional periodization models originally developed by L.P.Matveyev and made popular in the states by Tudor Bompa, (Periodization Training for Sports, Joe Friels Training Bible) this form of training was originally developed for track and field athletes that needed multiple peaks throughout the year. It is now being used in a wide variety of sports including cycling. Heres a few links to check out. The youtube video is just an introduction to the BTS and a little hard to watch, but give it a chance.

    http://www.amazon.com/Block-Periodiz.../dp/0981718000

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGkJ4jcdcZM

    http://www.athleticscoaching.ca/User...20training.pdf

    http://www.verkhoshansky.com/

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