Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 114 total)
  • The training mega thread
  • Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Following a suggestion by @13thfloormonk this is a thread for discussing training tips, plans, strategies and the like.

    Almost by definition this can get geeky so some definitions of common terms. Apologies to those for whom this is sucking eggs. Some of these are trademarked (usually by Training Peaks) so other companies sometimes use slightly different terms to get round this. The terms sort of build on those preceding.

    FTP: The power you can hold for between 45 – 75 minutes. Depends on how well trained, for holding power, you are. Sometimes referred to as your “Hour Power”.

    Normalised Power (NP): this is a weighted average power whereby high power intervals are favoured over lower ones or zero power output.

    Intensity Factor (IF): this is the ratio of your normalised power for a workout to your FTP.

    TSS: Training Stress Score. This is an attempt to quantify how much a workout (or series of workouts) affects you. The formula is TSS = (sec x NP® x IF®)/(FTP x 3600) x 100. (3600 is number of seconds in an hour). Generally a training plan will gradually increase the TSS week by week to give an increased workload and training stimulus then have a recovery week of much lower TSS to let the body catch up. One common refrain is that “Not all TSS is created equal”.

    Acute Training Load (ATL): The daily average TSS for the previous week. Also referred to as “fatigue”. It’s used in conjunction with the following

    Chronic Training Load (CTL): This is a weighted average daily TSS for the previous six weeks. Also referred to as “fitness”. CTL – ATL is referred to as “form”.

    Form: a measure of how much more stressful recent training (ATL) has been compared to your long term average (CTL). Usually this value is negative during training becoming positive during a period of tapering prior to an event or race.

    Obviously there are lots of training programmes (of varying quality) out there plus quite a few software programs to help. Cost varies from free to £12/month or so.

    Premier Icon r8jimbob88
    Free Member

    You forgot PLF – Pedal Like F….

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Full Member

    I have some book recommendations

    The Cyclist’s Training Bible by Joe Friel
    The Endurance Diet by Matt Fitzgerald

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Also:

    Training and Racing with a Power Meter by Hunter Allen and Andy Coggan

    And for those of us (cough) of a certain age:

    Fast after Fifty by Joe Friel

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    Beat me to it!

    Can I just request that any Zwift/Trainerroad/Sufferfest chat is kept as generic as possible, e.g. don’t just refer to workout name if non-subscribers won’t know what it is.

    I’ve tried a couple of 20 minute FTP tests and got 263W but never did the fabled third test which is apparently when you get the most accurate result, will try again in a couple of weeks.

    Meantime I’m taking it back to basics and alternating between various workouts pinched off GCN and wattkg.com:

    3×15 minute sweetspot (still not sure if I’m getting intensity right, it seems harder than I expect and am not sure I’d want to do one the next day!)

    3×10 30/15s @ 120% (have only completed a 3×8 but had legs to add an extra repeat at end of last set so can obviously do more)

    3×12 minute over-unders – 1 min over @ 110%, 2 min under @95%, repeat 4 times for 1 set, 3 sets. Finished a bit ragged last time and didn’t maintain 95% unders all the way till the end but it was close.

    4×7 threshold Tried this at 108% last time and failed miserably, will try again at 103% which is the lower end of wattkg’s suggested range.

    Just need to figure out nutrition as per my other thread, reading some Trianerroad blogs suggests Clif Bloks AND 500ml Torq energy for each workout, surprisingly few calories in that and if it helps me get on with my day afterwards then win-win

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Full Member

    Just out of curiousity, is there a medical term for that degree out of breath after working hard, perhaps uphill in the wrong gear for too long… that no matter how hard you try and control your breathing it feels like you are suffocating…

    Is it anaerobic capacity/threshold ?

    Premier Icon r8jimbob88
    Free Member

    @rickmeister – i’d call that lack of aerobic fitness!

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Ooh! Testing, a whole world of pain!

    There’s five protocols I can think of off-hand. All have their proponents and detractors so in a way it’s a case of “choose your poison”.

    The traditional method to find your FTP was either a 20 minute effort (after a warm up) and you took 95% of the average power of that, or two 8 minute efforts (again after a warm up) and you used 90%. The problem is that unless you’ve ridden a sustained 8 or 20 minute effort as hard and as evenly as you can, you don’t know how hard to do it. Thus …

    The Ramp test. As its name implies this is a straightforward increasing effort, usually one minute steps rather than an actual ramp. At some point you just can’t pedal any more. Your FTP is 75% of your highest one minute average power.

    The 4DP test. Aims to find not only your FTP but also your 5sec, 1min & 5min power values since not everyone fits the normal power curve assumed when just using FTP for everything. Never done this so no idea how accurate it is.

    Kolie-Moore.This is sort of a mixture between the 20min effort and a ramp test. Not done it.

    Premier Icon speedstar
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    I just want to add that I have attained my best FTP numbers in zwift races. Brings me to that level of caring.

    Premier Icon simster
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    perfect timing.
    Im looking for ways to improve the time i can hold my supposed ftp for. is that sweet spot training or a mix of some of those listed above?
    also not sure how to improve whilst racing (zwift) – should racing go on hold for a structured training block, or can you race say once a week and fit training round it?

    Premier Icon r8jimbob88
    Free Member

    I think any training plan starts with looking at your end goal and what you want to achieve, then work backwards. That way you know how many weeks / months you have to train which allows you to pick a suitable plan and know when to start it.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    The traditional method to find your FTP was either a 20 minute effort (after a warm up) and you took 95% of the average power of that, or two 8 minute efforts (again after a warm up) and you used 90%. The problem is that unless you’ve ridden a sustained 8 or 20 minute effort as hard and as evenly as you can, you don’t know how hard to do it. Thus …

    I didn’t see any harm in ‘practising’ the tests to find your zone, you’re still getting a workout anyway and it’s a good way to build a better understanding of your legs and your trainer! First attempt I went easy and finished feeling OK, next attempt I went just a bit too hard and couldn’t complete. Stands to reason FTP lies somewhere in between but the margin between the two was relatively fine so I didn’t see the merit in trying a third time as it would almost boil down to my ability to maintain a perfectly constant speed/cadence for the whole workout!

    Trying to remember which protocol I used, it builds in a 5 minute effort before the full 20 minute effort in order to deplete your anaerobic capacity and stop it contributing too much as FTP should be purely aerobic (I think, that was my understanding anyway).

    Premier Icon robbo1234biking
    Full Member

    @simster racing will improve your FTP as you will do threshold efforts that you didn’t think possible. Also we aren’t (well I am guessing we aren’t) professionals – the end goal should be to enjoy what we are doing so putting some races into the mix helps with the enjoyment aspect.

    Premier Icon simster
    Full Member

    @whitestone @speedstar if you have maxed out for an hour in a race do you use that as your ftp number, as opposed to the ftp test number?

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    perfect timing.
    Im looking for ways to improve the time i can hold my supposed ftp for. is that sweet spot training or a mix of some of those listed above?

    By definition, you can only hold FTP for one hour. If you want to hold that power for longer than 1 hour it is no longer your FTP. So e.g. if your FTP is currently 250W and you want to hold 250W for 2 hours, you would need to increase your FTP to something much higher, so that 250W is actually way under your FTP (I’ve no idea what percentage you should be able to hold for that sort of time though).

    My understanding is that Sweetspot is good when you are building base, and the harder/pointier workouts are better for the top end, so if you already have a lot of hours under your belt you might be best adding in more shorter/higher intensity workouts. That’s pretty much exactly what I’m doing at the moment and will add in the longer stuff as I get closer to my event next year (5 days climbing in the Pyrenees).

    Premier Icon DanW
    Free Member

    A thread I like (and tend to agree with “Tapeworm”) is:
    https://weightweenies.starbike.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=94503

    Hit different energy systems. Extend what you do. Rest well. Be consistent. Measure progress. If you don’t progress change what you do and give your body a new challenge.

    I think most people over complicate things and are held back by consistency rather than the specifics of what they actually do on a bike.

    Premier Icon andyr
    Full Member

    The 4DP test. Aims to find not only your FTP but also your 5sec, 1min & 5min power values since not everyone fits the normal power curve assumed when just using FTP for everything. Never done this so no idea how accurate it is.

    All the info on Sufferfests 4DP test here.

    Having done it a few times it’s a git. Designed by Neal Henderson of the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine/Apex Coaching who has trained a few world champs so I assume he knows his stuff. You do the FTP test after you’ve done your sprints and your 5 min effort. It uses 100% of the FTP test to gauge your FTP and can tell if you hold back on the 5 minute test. The 1 minute effort comes after. Have a bucket on standby.

    If you then commit to a training plan (there are many. e.g. FTP builder, volcano climbing plan, pre-season XC, 200km gravel) in the app the plans are adjusted according to your strengths/weaknesses. It also has yoga (with Abi Carver who has done some for Pinkbike), strength and mental toughness sections too. If you’re thinking of indoor training give the 14 day trail a go, you won’t be disappointed.

    Yes, it doesn’t have the social aspect of Zwift but I think it’s a better training tool. Plus they have my sense of humour in the videos.

    Premier Icon honeybadgerx
    Full Member

    I’ll just add from experience of following a long (6 month) plan last year, nutrition is really important – ideally avoiding processed stuff. I can recommend the Race Weight Cookbook, and the Feedzone Portables and Feedzone Cookbook for inspiration. I think I can now accurately chart my FTP against my pancake intake….

    Premier Icon DanW
    Free Member

    More terminology:

    CP (eg CP5) = Critical Power (Critical Power for 5 minutes)

    Best average power (measured in Watts) that you can produce on the bike in the given time frame. Another way to track improvements.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    @simster – fitting other riding around training. I do low volume plans, basically three sessions a week. I do them mid-week so as to leave the weekends free to do what I want, usually outside. Obviously if you are doing Zwift racing then you might want to fit any training around those. Depending on how hard/what type of racing you do, you might want to ease back on the training sessions. The point being it’s all got to be manageable long term without you overtraining. Recovery weeks are important.

    FTP is just a (useful) number that gets a lot of hype attached to it. For most training programmes it’s just a hook around which the relative effort of a workout is based. Without heading into a lab and being hooked up to gas and blood analysers most figures are just reasonable approximations. I tend to adjust my FTP by a percentage point or two in the weeks following a test depending on how I manage workouts but that relies on me knowing how they should feel. I have some “bellwether” workouts that I know how I react to, if I struggle then my FTP is too high, if they are easy then it’s too low. I don’t change things unnecessarily though.

    Sweet Spot is 85-94% of your FTP and is meant to be tough but readily repeatable. Similar to weight training if you want to bump your FTP you need to do some, big unresolved debate as to how much, riding above that level.

    @DanW – many of the training data analysis programs give you a power curve which is essentially all those values from 5 seconds to 2 hours. Of course you won’t have explicitly gone out for your 2m30s best power so it’s the best you have done, not the best you can do.

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager
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    if you have maxed out for an hour in a race do you use that as your ftp number, as opposed to the ftp test number?

    In principle, but it would be an unusual zwift race where you were just maxed steady for an hour – suggests no tactical racing at all. One hour-ish time trial would be spot on, and a 25 mile TT is the benchmark for this figure. Just takes a bit of practice to ride a 25 hard.

    Premier Icon longdog
    Free Member

    I’d caution using a ramp test to set your ftp for training programs.

    Both me and my friend seem to perform ‘well’ on ramp tests compared to 20minute FTP tests. Must be just some predisposition to that sort of effort, but I know we’re not alone.

    I can’t remember the figures ,but the last time I did one (over a year ago) , both a leisure centre one on a spin bike and then one at home on zwift my FTP was at least 40-50w higher than what I know I could manage for hour power. If that was put into zwift or trainer road you’d end up with some very unmanageable and demoralising sessions.

    My ftp for zwift is deliberately set conservatively at the moment to help me train consistently without over stressing my dicky ticker

    Premier Icon simster
    Full Member

    @longdog similar experience here. 269w on the ramp. no way i can hold that for an hour. have knocked it back to 250w.

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    That’s interesting, first FTP test I did (two years and a lower back surgery ago) was a ramp test on someone else’s smart trainer. Came out at 289W.

    Since injury/recovery and a solid year’s riding I was actually a bit disappointed to come in at 263W on the turbo doing a 20 minute test, but perhaps I also tested ‘high’ on the ramp.

    Either way, it’s just a number to pin the rest of your workouts on, my basis for progression will be partly based on being able to complete a workout at a given intensity before increasing, so now I’ve found the intensities I can “almost” complete, it feels like FTP is irrelevant, I just need to work at those intensities until they get easy, then increase.

    Premier Icon longdog
    Free Member

    Yeh sure mine came back at like 300/310w where as I was realistically 270 max.

    I think it’s important to be realistic and shelve the ego for these things. My current ftp with a new, definitely more accurate smart trainer and various health issues in that last year is only about 240w. I just have to suck it up work with what I have.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    Was that your max minute power or the calculated FTP, i.e. 75% of max? Were the bikes using calibrated power meters? Ten percent overtesting does seem odd – a few percent seems more normal either way.

    I undertest by about 3% on the ramp test, others overtest. As stated earlier not every test suits every individual. However if I’d a dodgy heart there’s no way I’d even undertake one! The ramp test is actually a Maximum Aerobic Power test and the 75% of max minute power has been taken from comparing that with riders’ actual FTP.

    I’ve never tried to hold my ramp test derived FTP for anywhere near an hour, fifteen to twenty minute max, but it would take some specific training to extend that and it’s not my short or long term focus.

    Edit: it doesn’t actually matter what the figure is, so long as you use the same kit in the same manner everything will be scaled correctly. As an example virtually everyone has different indoor FTP to outdoor even on the same bike so you need to test outdoors as well as indoors so working outside is properly aligned. There’s a difference between normal road bikes and TT bikes as well.

    Premier Icon longdog
    Free Member

    @whitestone I’d certainly question the calibration on my old turbo and the spin bikes, but my friend had a power tap wheel and his FTP also came out higher than expected for him. The figures for my discrepancy are from memory, but in the ball park.

    No I’m not doing a ramp or even ftp test anytime soon 😁

    Premier Icon jameso
    Full Member

    Interesting, will read/follow.

    One request – anyone with info or experience in relating Power/W tests and plans to those using only HRMs? Would be useful to have an overview of the basics there. I know Heart Rate isn’t related to Power, not as a constant anyway.
    Still, plenty of us start out in training with simpler tools and ime you can get some good results with just a basic HRM.

    Lactate Threshold Heart Rate, LTHR – The test for FTP is to get your max output over 20 mins, your FTP is that level less 5%. That FTP effort level is pretty much at your LTHR. As you get fitter your power output at your LTHR will go up (it’ll go up for any HR level).

    Premier Icon carbonfiend
    Free Member

    I’m currently doing a sport psychology degree & have a couple of friends that are letting me use them as guinea pigs using WKO5. Along with myself I focus on aims & objectives first then uses the metrics on the software depending on the physical attributes and motivations.
    Also incorporating HRV, sleep tracking, mitochondria health (zone 2) and as much as possible – mindfulness/self reflection & breathing technique’s. The idea being to incorporate life longevity overall wellbeing and mental health into cycling as much as the ‘fitness’ aspect.

    Premier Icon whitestone
    Free Member

    @longdog – there’s always likely to be a discrepancy between kit and again the only genuine way you’ll know your FTP is via a lab test.

    The true aim is consistency not accuracy, ideally we’d have both, my FTP is currently 272W as determined by the Trainerroad ramp test. Is it accurate? No idea! It will be in the right ball park but since I’m just using that figure for Trainerroad workouts using the same kit as for the test it’s neither here nor there.

    I’ve actually got a ramp test scheduled for next week, will be interesting to see how I do though it’s not changed much in the last few months anyway so unless it’s significantly improved (I occasionally bail really early on it) I’ll probably be just as likely to keep my existing figure.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
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    Timely thread this as I’m just about to start some sort of structured training in preparation for a SDW ride this summer (hopefully!). Done it before so know what to expect this time but want to come in under 12hrs, was 13.40 last time as I blew up on the last two hills due to pacing it wrong (too slow for the first 1/3, too fast after the halfway mark trying to make up time) so want to give myself the best chance of getting it done without collapsing in a heap at the end!

    I’m on Zwift so primarily looking at their structured plans but on a general note what would be the best area for me to target? Normally I can ride for 4-6 hours relatively easily, trails like Afan’s W2 and usually the Blue Scar combined in ~4hrs, but have always been low on power for the climbs. I can get up them fine but it can be a struggle towards the end of the ride. Ideally I’d like to improve my FTP, currently at 230w, but also bump up my endurance too. I’m guessing having a higher FTP means I can go for longer at a low power so should see endurance benefits just from that but would like to get a really good base heading into the warmer weather. Deciding between three options (all Zwift plans):

    FTP Builder to raise my overall power
    Fondo to improve my endurance with a bit of extra overall
    Dirt Destroyer which is aimed at MTBers but I don’t think it’ll give me any real endurance benefits

    Anyone have any thoughts? Even if it’s just on what areas to target rather than those specific plans it’ll be helpful.

    Premier Icon wonnyj
    Free Member

    Is anyone here lifting weights at the moment to build the legs? And how do you do it given lack of access to gyms?

    Premier Icon richardk
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    The 4DP test on Sufferfest has now been supplemented by their own version of a ramp test – ramp with 20W gains every minute, ride until you can’t.  Then ride within a set heart rate range for 20 minutes.  The ramp part determines your aerobic power (max power over 5 minutes) and the constrained heart rate section confirms your FTP.

    I did them within a couple of weeks of each other last month and there’s only 3 watts difference in the results.  Only difference was my LTHR was 10bpm higher on the 4DP test.

    That’s my 5th go at the 4DP test in 18 months, and the first one that felt like it went well – there is a learning curve to hitting 2 x 7s sprints, 5min max, 20min max, then 1min max at a sustainable pace and feeling spent at the end.

    It feels accurate – workouts based on these numbers are hard, really hard, and some are just unachievable.  I’ve had consistent gains, and can see that reflected in average speed increases out on the road.

    Premier Icon scud
    Full Member

    I have gone back to weight training in the first lockdown, i have kept it simple just doing the big compound exercises.

    Bench press/ squat/ deadlift (alternating normal and romanian)/ pull ups, shoulder press and some Good Mornings.

    I have found it has made a much bigger difference, not only to my riding, but i have actually lost some weight, which i struggled to do just riding), i have stopped suffering occasional back and neck pain too.

    In between the lifts, i do sets of planks, leg raises, crunches etc so i get the core work-in and it keeps heart rate up between sets.

    Coupled with 4 turbo sessions a week and a long ride at weekends.

    Turbo sessions i stole from having done the MTB Fitness program a few times.

    Twice a week i do a Sweet Spot session, built up from 2 X 15 mins, to 2 x 20 mins, now on 3 x 20 mins with 10 mins rest between.

    And once or twice a week, 10 mins warm up, 2 mins @ 100rpm cadence, 3 mins at 60rpm, started at 6 lots of this and built up to 9x, at a gear i am in Zone 5 for the whole of the second minute

    Premier Icon ferrals
    Free Member

    @wonnyj – I wondered about this in the past and was suggested low cadence high force intervals might be just as good if not better… good training for cx mud plugging too!

    As some point I’m going to start training again.. but each week I seem to put it off!

    edit. I have really struggled with the ramp test beacuse on a dumb trainer with a 9sp bike the changes in cadence throws me off as i try to keep matching power. However I think I under test using it because I mentally quit way before my legs do

    Premier Icon carbonfiend
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    @reluctantjumper do you use a power meter to train ?

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    On a Kickr Core and use a HR monitor so have wattage and HR to play with.

    Premier Icon carbonfiend
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    my first suggestion would be to buy a PM you can use in the real world. If not then from what you’re looking to achieve endurance is primary as well as good fuelling system. I wouldn’t get hung up on low power in fact for ultra endurance keeping power relatively low is a good thing. FTP is a denominator to base training on raising it is good as long as it periodised and also used correctly. Zone 2 is a great place for ultra endurance its a zone easily done with a HRM and it builds the amount of mitochondria in your system which allows you to reuse lactic quickly and efficiently. Keeping lactate blood levels low is critical for ultra endurance – its the classic go slower to go quicker.

    Premier Icon reluctantjumper
    Full Member

    Not going to buy a PM for all my bikes, too expensive!

    So best to go with the Fondo plan that’s aimed at endurance then? Couple that with the STW races and a bit of real-life riding and it should cover all the bases. Just want to build a solid block to build upon with some longer rides outdoors when we are allowed to travel further. As that’s probably a long way away, guessing April or longer, plenty of time to tweak things as I need to. Want to start training next week.

    Premier Icon davemonty
    Free Member

    @ rickmeister

    “Just out of curiousity, is there a medical term for that degree out of breath after working hard, perhaps uphill in the wrong gear for too long… that no matter how hard you try and control your breathing it feels like you are suffocating…

    Is it anaerobic capacity/threshold ?”

    Exercising at that intensity will be VO2 max or pretty damn close to it. Efforts in that region build oxygen debt, which is what your heavy breathing afterwards is trying to settle.

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