- High Intensity Training and the off season
I have been doing a fair bit of high intensity interval training this season with quite good results after a more traditional base building phase in the spring. Now that my racing season is over I am trying to figure out how to approach the autumn and winter.
I have signed up for some winter mountainbike races during the winter months for a bit of intensity, but I can’t quite figure out what I should be doing on a weekly basis during the winter other than fitting in a long (cold) ride at the weekends and some turbo sessions in the week.
I suppose the question is, what should those turbo sessions be?
I don’t want to carry on with the Chris Carmichael time crunched intervals all winter (they work, but it’s not fun) as I think I’ll burn out pretty quickly (mentally if not physically)
What are you going to do?Posted 6 years agoourmaninthenorthSubscriber
Running in the rain is refreshing, cycling in the stuff is horrid.
I love riding in the rain. I know, I’m perverse.
Just about to try to kickstart a return to fitness with a period of interval training, and some longer miles thrown in.
I’ll then back off to longer miles in Jan for a couple of months, then start intervals again.Posted 6 years agoalanbill99Subscriber
I had the same dilemma last winter and discovered Cyclocross. Not ideal on a mountain bike, but it can be done – just get some skinny tyres.
I can’t face a turbo – but do run when it’s wet.
Also – I hook up with a couple of Local Bike Clubs who run very fast Chaingangs on Tuesday and Thursday’s. Fits in perfectly with racing at the weekend at CX races too. I cycle there and back and get in 40+ miles on each at very high intensity.Posted 6 years ago
I’ve been wondering this. If you follow a lot of the classic training principles (especially the pete read manual) it’s all about base training in the winter and progressively building intensity to intervals around march. (don’t want to be a christmas star as they call it)
This is obviously based on the road racing season (starts april)
I’ve been told by a lot of roadie guys that race that there’s no point in doing intervals in the winter if the race season starts in April as it only takes 3-4 weeks to get top end fitness.
(getting geeky) I have wondered how you maintain/improve your FTP throughout the winterPosted 6 years agoourmaninthenorthSubscriber
Track riding in winter.
Maybe I was too useless, but I never found the Thursday SQTs to be much good. Should prob have made the time for Tues or Sun A/B sessions. Anyway, just sold my rack bike.
I will also be “racing” the cross season, but I’m so unfit I fully expect to be last each race..!Posted 6 years ago
(getting geeky) I have wondered how you maintain/improve your FTP throughout the winter
To do this you must understand the physiological determinants of FTP – that is the ability to transport oxygen to the muscle (so essentially haemoglobin concentration), and the ability to use that oxygen within the muscle. The latter is the important part as you can’t really alter the former without having a good doctor or moving house.
Four things make a difference here… capillary and mitochondrial density within the muscle (generally increased with endurance training) and oxidative enzymes and the capacity for glycolysis (generally increased with interval training). You can kill the same bird* with many stones.
ps. Pete Reads book was written in the 1980’s… scientific understanding has moved on somewhat since then… although human physiology has not evolved much since that time.
*no birds were harmed in the writing of this post.Posted 6 years ago
To do this you must understand the physiological determinants of FTP
I knew what my FTP was back at the start of the season through a fitness test. I just assumed i would do specific workouts (detailed in the hunter and allen training book) e.g 2 x 20 to maintain or improve this
Plus have regular tests to ascertain the levelPosted 6 years ago
so the simple question of
I have wondered how you maintain/improve your FTP throughout the winter
and the answer is yes, I do know how this is possible through specific workouts which target my threshold power. and i didn’t need to know my … capillary and mitochondrial density, capacity for glycolysis and haemoglobin concentration 😀Posted 6 years agogreenboyMember
You can’t mix weight training and racing! You have to prioritise your racing and then sort out the training periods to suit: Base bulding, pre-competition, competition. Weights are part of a base building regime (Strength training)as is stability work, plyometrics, technique and skill development work. Build ing a good base is like the foundations of a house (good and deep and it’ll stand forever, shallow and it’ll fall!). If you want to do everything all the time then you will only ever be at best average. However with a periodized training regime you can and will make considerable gains on what you have previously attained. You can use races to practice new techniques and develop your skill but keep the intensity low inthe ‘off’ season!Posted 6 years ago
I do know how this is possible through specific workouts which target my threshold power. and i didn’t need to know my … capillary and mitochondrial density, capacity for glycolysis and haemoglobin concentration
Generic work outs performed close to threshold power will likely increase threshold power… simple really.
But, lets say you have a low enzyme density – and this is the weak link to your FTP – then some work outs target the enzymes specifically will increase your FTP more than doing your ‘specific’ FTP work outs.
A lab can tell you specifically what the weak link in your system is – or you can essentially make an educated guess from your performance time at different power outputs.
Well I enjoyed labmonkey’s post … ty
ps. Geek corner is closed. Unless encouraged further.Posted 6 years ago
interested to hear more Labmonkey!
Oh god… look what I have started!
Can HR zones be related to work outs targeting capillary/mitochondria vs enzymes/glcolysis?
In theory – Yes – but traditional HR ‘zones’ are in essence related to ‘aerobic’ energy transfer and so work best during ‘endurance’ type exercise – the type that increases capillary density and mitochondria.
More intense exercise is required to stimulate enzyme production, and by extension, anaerobic glycolysis.
FTP has an ‘aerobic’ and ‘anaerobic’ component – the former has by far the largest ‘capacity’ but the latter tends to be where the gains can be made in most trained individuals.
EDIT: If you for example knew your time to exhaustion at a range of exercise intensities – for example 500W, 400W, 200W – it is possible to make a good guess which of these parts of your physiology is likely holding you back. This is because you can mathematically model the relationship between the imposed power output and the time to exhaustion – this then provides a value for the combined ‘aerobic capacity’ (similar, but a little lower than FTP) and the ‘anaerobic capacity’ also. The relative proportion of each indicates which system is strongest.
ps. sorry ro5ey.
[sorry – made a mistake there – time to exhaustion at a given time makes no sense – well it is quite obvious]Posted 6 years ago
so work above my HR (polar) zone 3 (80-90 % HRmax)would be the level to really work on anaerobic capacity? (appreciate the real definition is probably ‘work at power above anaerobic threshold’, but don’t have a power meter anyway…).
Sounds reasonable since Polar talk about zone 3 only being briefly maintainable, while I know that I can maintain it for some hours while trying to keep up with fast mates.
using the polar to make sure I’m doing more training in zone 1 and 2 definitely seems to help though, endurance wise.Posted 6 years ago
B17 – that would sound about right. But of course, I don’t know at what percentage on HRmax your FTP occurs at so I can’t be more specific.
Your FTP would roughly equate to the highest CONSTANT speed (or power) at which your HR will stabilise. Above this ‘effort level’ HR increases as a function of power and time – i.e., cardiovascular drift… or you have overloaded your ‘aerobic’ type I muscle fibres… they can’t work any harder… you need to recruit type II fibres (the anaerobic ones) and these need the enzymes I mentioned earlier to work efficiently. Lack of enzymes means your HR increases faster (as you have to recruit proportionally more of these less efficient fibres to maintain the effort) and so you have to stop riding so hard sooner (as you hit HRmax).Posted 6 years agoKryton57Subscriber
Currently per week:
1 x High intensity ride Wednesdays, going up to two 6 weeks pre-race then tapering in the week before.
1 x time 50k high intensity Road Ride Saturdays to increase aerobic base
1 x Social ride Sunday, using first up the hills principle to simulate intervals, and build on the previous days ride for endurance.
In the winter, I’ll swap my Wednesday ride for Kettlebell workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with the weekend staying the same/reverting to a Turbo Trainer if its really that bad outside.
Thats the best I can do with my time at the moment, worked well this year though.Posted 6 years ago
Thanks LM – do you have any links to online lit? (might have access to some journals through work – uni, but not sport sci…)
I’m interested because I started training with the polar, which seems to help, combined with shifting some weight now that I’ve stopped rugby.
Doing the first hard mtb rides with it made me question the zones, since from the polar book one would assume you can’t stay in zone 3 long – first ride was 70 km xc (undulating, no long climbs) at about 20 kmph average with average HR of 162. FWIW I’m 30 so assumed max of 190 (which seems about right based on this sunday’s ride). i.e. basically 3 hrs in zone 3.
based on your info, hr 162 could pretty much be my ftp HR?
next obvious question really (sorry!) is whether more endurance training will raise the HR I can sustain, or prob better and more likely, raise the pace I can sustain at that hr of 162…?
good to get proper geeky on here for a change, since I’m a neuroscientist with a vested interest in being fit!Posted 6 years ago
B17 – I have a little over 1000 papers on this stuff… I am just finishing my PhD at the moment… it is due in next Friday.
Send me an email to jon [at] rstsport [dot] com and I may send a few things back your way – but it will all be mechanistic stuff – perfect for geeks!
Power output full stop is complicated as it jumps about so much (even on the road) – then consider off road (pedal/not pedal) and the constant change of pace, inclination, cornering etc… its all over the place. Then consider the lag in HR… you have nightmare making sense of everything as your HR only tells half the story.
But simply – raising power or speed for a given physiological effort (this could be HR) is the aim… how you do this best depends upon what part of your physiology is causing the performance bottleneck.Posted 6 years ago
Thanks! I’ll mail you.
final q before I’ve gotta go for a while – only REAL way to find the bottleneck is testing I imagine, but maybe I can make some assumptions… having always played rugby, reasonably well, as a forward, and done a good bit of weight training for that, I might assume an OK anaerobic capacity. Therefore a focus on endurance and lower level training could be sensible?Posted 6 years ago
B17 – ‘anaerobic capacity’ is meant in an energetic context – so the ability to supply energy to the muscle without requiring atmospheric oxygen. Although this could be associated with the ‘strength and power’ of rugby… (both use phosphocreatine in the muscle for example) they are still not really the same thing with regard to cycling type exercise.
If you make a ‘maximal’ effort on the bike you will use all of your phosphocreatine up in ~8 seconds… as with 100 m runners as they tend to be slowing down form ~80 m. But the 400/800 m guys need to be able to deliver maximal ‘aerobic power’ and to sustain as high a percentage of their ‘anaerobic metabolism’ (different to capacity) for the race duration. The difference in the muscle mass of 100 vs. 400/800 m runners may show you the difference?Posted 6 years ago
probably a shame I’m a good bit closer to the build of a 100m runner than an 800 then!
I read an interesting article online about the effect of bodyweight on speed produced for a given power. Couldn’t get any serious background on the calcs, but it sounded like 10 kg cost 20% output at a given power uphill. bummer!Posted 6 years ago
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