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Thread: 2x20s

  1. #1
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    2x20s

    So what's the magic here? Are 2x20s the best interval for XC? I've got a gravel grinder out-and-back of steep hills mapped out from my house especially for these on Strava, it's fun and challenging. I am in the midst of XC season so looking to go fast and stay at peak for the next 30 days.

    I can't complain, but I am used to doing either 3-4 hour rides or anaerobic intervals but am trying to train FTP, with or without power. I thought Zone 3 was the forbidden zone. What gives?

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    Good question. there do seen to be a lot of conflicting opinions on training intensity out there.

    I think what you are doing now falls under
    Does Polarized Training Improve Performance in Recreational Runners?

    SIX WEEKS OF A POLARISED TRAINING INTENSITY DISTRIBUTION LEADS TO GREATER PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PERFORMANCE ADAPTATIONS THAN A THRESHOLD MODEL IN TRAINED CYCLISTS

    and data like this (and there is quite a bit of it) make it seem like threshold intervals are to be avoided, especially during race season (since you get that intensity during racing). On the other hand, I can see the utility of dong some threshold interval sessions in the training period right before racing season to let the body adjust to what is coming up, especially if you don't have any B races to use for training.

    But what i have come to realize is that everyone responds to training stimulus somewhat differently, and other than spending a lot of time on the bike as the main principle, there is no magical training plan that will fit everyone.
    Last edited by stevemtu; 10-06-2013 at 08:25 AM. Reason: added a second reference

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu View Post
    On the other hand, I can see the utility of dong some threshold interval sessions in the training period right before racing season to let the body adjust to what is coming up, especially if you don't have any B races to use for training.
    Yes. I typically do threshold training for a month, before the month I want to be fast.

    Then again, riding near daily with decent volume (aerobic with some tempo) is about 90% of it. Threshold training gives me that little extra......sometimes.
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    I think I can contribute some insider information on the history here.

    In the early 2000s, 2x20 was a staple of Andy Coggan's training as he was developing his work on power meter usage. I had the good fortune of having him ride with my road race club while he was in Maryland, and we would talk about training while on rides.

    The magic I recall was this: he felt, while then training for master's racing and time trials, that he wanted about 40 or more minutes of threshold training on his work days. He also happened to do a fair bit of work on a trainer. Answering my question about the 2x20, he replied that it was easier mentally to sustain the desired effort over 2 20 minute intervals rather than try to sustain a single 40+ minute effort.

    The main point was to exercise at an effort and duration that exercised the aerobic metabolism. He felt that 20 minutes was about the minimum duration necessary to exercise aerobic energy metabolism effectively.

    I hope I recalled our conversations correctly, Andy.


    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    So what's the magic here? Are 2x20s the best interval for XC? I've got a gravel grinder out-and-back of steep hills mapped out from my house especially for these on Strava, it's fun and challenging. I am in the midst of XC season so looking to go fast and stay at peak for the next 30 days.

    I can't complain, but I am used to doing either 3-4 hour rides or anaerobic intervals but am trying to train FTP, with or without power. I thought Zone 3 was the forbidden zone. What gives?

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    Like Poncharelli, longer intervals work for me before i want to go fast.

    Other than that, break FTP down to it's fundamental elements.

    1. The ability for your legs to do the work.
    2. The ability of cardiovascular to supply resources for the workers

    I leave racing and a couple of weeks before the time to push both simultaneously.
    I leave the mental effort of riding hard for 20 minutes to racing.

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    I do 2x20mins the entire season.

    However, I'll vary the intensity. Towards or during racing season, those 20min efforts will be above my 1hr threshold. I will be crosseyed at the end. I might need to sit down after the second one.

    In the winter, I'll go pretty hard, but I could do another one if need be.

    Threshold is the basis for everything. Recovery, and just how hard you can push for 5-10min is based on that. The higher you push your threshold, the higher your shorter duration power.

    I should caveat these statements and say that I recover very, very well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post

    I should caveat these statements and say that I recover very, very well.
    Wish i could say the same...

    It would take me two days to recover from a workout with 40 minutes above race pace (ouch).

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    chomxxo,

    If I read your post above correctly "I've got a gravel grinder out-and-back of steep hills mapped out" - This is a series of multiple hills? If so, this would not be the course for 2x20's in the traditional sense to increase/maintain FTP. They would be done on a flat course or trainer with steady pace. Depending on length of hills, this would probably be more of an anaerobic endurance workout

    +1 on 2x20's @ L4. That is all I did last winter (along with SST these helped get me to "the next level") - just remember that they help build/maintain a "bigger engine" Hunter Allen Peaks Coaching Group: December 2010 - not simulating the power demands of a MTB race.

    See Jerimiah Bishop's Mountain Bike Racing Files for 2hr race How Important is Anaerobic Energy in Cycling? Part*2 - Posts - TrainingPeaks Blog 8% of time @ L4, 8% @ L5 AND 15% @ L6.

    This article is pretty good on explaining demands of MTB power
    Mountain Bike Power | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists

    This may help with zones
    Sweet Spot Part Deux | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists

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    Thanks for the links everyone, I'm reading them in detail. About the gravel hills, I was wondering if someone was going to nip me on that Yes I admit I was probably simulating the demands of an XC race in a readily all-weather environment more than doing proper 2x20s.

    Tell me this, are 20-minute intervals a time-crunched substitute for base, a better alternative to anaerobic intervals, or something else? I can schedule the time for up to 18 hours per week of Zone 2, and I did so over the summer, but it's go-fast time now for me until mid-November.

    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    chomxxo,

    If I read your post above correctly "I've got a gravel grinder out-and-back of steep hills mapped out" - This is a series of multiple hills? If so, this would not be the course for 2x20's in the traditional sense to increase/maintain FTP. They would be done on a flat course or trainer with steady pace. Depending on length of hills, this would probably be more of an anaerobic endurance workout

    +1 on 2x20's @ L4. That is all I did last winter (along with SST these helped get me to "the next level") - just remember that they help build/maintain a "bigger engine" Hunter Allen Peaks Coaching Group: December 2010 - not simulating the power demands of a MTB race.

    See Jerimiah Bishop's Mountain Bike Racing Files for 2hr race How Important is Anaerobic Energy in Cycling? Part*2 - Posts - TrainingPeaks Blog 8% of time @ L4, 8% @ L5 AND 15% @ L6.

    This article is pretty good on explaining demands of MTB power
    Mountain Bike Power | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists

    This may help with zones
    Sweet Spot Part Deux | FasCat Coaching :: Cycling Coach for all Cyclists

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    Thanks for the links everyone, I'm reading them in detail. About the gravel hills, I was wondering if someone was going to nip me on that Yes I admit I was probably simulating the demands of an XC race in a readily all-weather environment more than doing proper 2x20s.

    Tell me this, are 20-minute intervals a time-crunched substitute for base, a better alternative to anaerobic intervals, or something else? I can schedule the time for up to 18 hours per week of Zone 2, and I did so over the summer, but it's go-fast time now for me until mid-November.
    In my opinion, out of your three options: a time-crunched substitute for base. I do not put the hours in like you. This was my plan last winter (pretty much all on trainer during winter) - to get a bigger "engine", then fine tune intensity closer to race season, I did nothing structured, just race pace MTB rides and hill attacks. . It worked for me.
    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

    Hunter Allen prescribes SST work in the offseason
    http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/Ar...20Training.pdf

    http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/fe..._Power_Nov.pdf

    As far as your race season, Joe Friel says "The closer you get to the day of your A-priority race the more like the race your training should become. This seems obvious but itís easy to lose sight of the purpose of your training and focus your limited energy and time on stuff that is unimportant. The biggest mistake made by athletes before peaking is putting too much of their time and energy into training volume."
    Joe Friel's Blog: Volume vs. Race Specificity

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu View Post
    Wish i could say the same...

    It would take me two days to recover from a workout with 40 minutes above race pace (ouch).
    2x20 is usually done just below threshold, not above race pace. In fact, you should be able to do a third interval, if you have the time and motivation.

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    20 minute MTB intervals at around the same perceived exertion as a just below threshold road effort is also a worthwhile workout to use in your program.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mudge View Post
    2x20 is usually done just below threshold, not above race pace. In fact, you should be able to do a third interval, if you have the time and motivation.
    I should further clarify: In the early part of the season, I can, and often do, do another interval. I'll move from 2x20min to 3x20min or 2x25-30min, as the winter goes on.
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    What do you take for rest on something like this? Just finished my first season of racing so although I could hazard guesses, it is my first off-season where I actually have an idea of what races demand and first off-season of focused training as a result.

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    2x20s

    Quote Originally Posted by AVann6 View Post
    What do you take for rest on something like this? Just finished my first season of racing so although I could hazard guesses, it is my first off-season where I actually have an idea of what races demand and first off-season of focused training as a result.
    Good question. I'm doing ten minute rest periods for 2x20 and 3x20 sets now.

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    One more comprehensive review training intensity distribution

    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu View Post
    Good question. there do seen to be a lot of conflicting opinions on training intensity out there.

    I think what you are doing now falls under
    Does Polarized Training Improve Performance in Recreational Runners?

    SIX WEEKS OF A POLARISED TRAINING INTENSITY DISTRIBUTION LEADS TO GREATER PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PERFORMANCE ADAPTATIONS THAN A THRESHOLD MODEL IN TRAINED CYCLISTS

    and data like this (and there is quite a bit of it) make it seem like threshold intervals are to be avoided, especially during race season (since you get that intensity during racing). On the other hand, I can see the utility of dong some threshold interval sessions in the training period right before racing season to let the body adjust to what is coming up, especially if you don't have any B races to use for training.

    But what i have come to realize is that everyone responds to training stimulus somewhat differently, and other than spending a lot of time on the bike as the main principle, there is no magical training plan that will fit everyone.
    I thought this was relevant to the discussion

    http://www.sportsci.org/2009/ss.pdf

    I thought page 45 about non-responders and page 46 about recreational athletes were particularly pertinent

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    +1 to the No One Size Fits All coment

    there are many ways to induce some aerobic adaptations when training. Polarized, threshold, etc are all different ways to skin the cat.

    One needs to choose an approach wisely according to goals, time available, history, constraints, etc.

    For those of us stuck on the trainer 4-5 months a year, a higher intensity training regime might be good.

    I personnaly prefer a high intensity approach to a threshold approach. I seem to plateau quickly with threshold workouts days in days out. They are also hard to recover from compared to higher intensity/lower work volume workouts. A mix of both is also interesting and should be considered

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post

    For those of us stuck on the trainer 4-5 months a year, a higher intensity training regime might be good.

    I personnaly prefer a high intensity approach to a threshold approach.
    Do you use this high intensity approach during the non-competitive season on trainer? If so, what are some example workouts?

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    Stevemtu: have you tried Hammer Nutrition Recoverite? I bought a package to try after a long hard race a few months ago, it was the longest ride (not to mention race) with the most climbing I'd done in a long time (3 laps, 7.5m 1600' vert per lap), all of my other recent races and training had been a bit shorter. I don't travel to train, and the longest hill near me is about 8min.
    I was actually surprised how good (relatively) I felt in the days after. I've been using that after races, and cyclocross counts as a really hard 40min+ (there is no 'above race pace'). I will continue to use those after races because I believe I feel noticeably better the next day than otherwise (I do not sell Hammer), and $3 a package is cheap if it helps me get some work done on Monday.
    If you haven't tried it, I would recommend giving it a try after your next race or super-hard workout.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    Good question. I'm doing ten minute rest periods for 2x20 and 3x20 sets now.
    That seems to long to me. I generally do 5 min between 2X20 or 2X30. I think the rest interval on these are more for a mental break than a desired recovery. The idea in these intervals is to go as hard as you could go for an hour (threshold), not as hard as you can go for 20 mins then recover and do it again. Ideally you shouldnt need any recovery between sets and getting to much kindof defeats the purpose.

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    If you can't find time to ride 12 to 16 hours per week I've found nothing better than 2x20s to increase my threshold. I do mine on the trainer and like to have the entire workout completed in 1 hours. I warm up for 10 minutes, 20 minute threshold interval, 5 minute recovery, 20 minute threshold interval, and 5 minute cool down. I like to do my 20 minute intervals around 90 to 95 % of my functional threshold.

    I recently started doing the 20 minute intervals again and increased my FTP by 40 watts in 2 months. It works for me but everybody responds differently to training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stonerider View Post
    If you can't find time to ride 12 to 16 hours per week I've found nothing better than 2x20s to increase my threshold. I do mine on the trainer and like to have the entire workout completed in 1 hours. I warm up for 10 minutes, 20 minute threshold interval, 5 minute recovery, 20 minute threshold interval, and 5 minute cool down. I like to do my 20 minute intervals around 90 to 95 % of my functional threshold.

    I recently started doing the 20 minute intervals again and increased my FTP by 40 watts in 2 months. It works for me but everybody responds differently to training.
    +1 That is pretty much my non-competitive season on the trainer.

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    How many times a week would you do that workout?

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    scottz123

    I do use the HIIT approach during winter time. There is a purpose to each of my workouts, they target different qualities and energy systems. I do not exclude the good old 2x20 during winter but I am far from living on a steady diet of those.

    I can do high end aerobic work: 2 x 4 x 30s @ 175-2005 FTP / 30s easy or any other kind of micro intervals really. I might do longer blocks at lower wattage too.

    I also include a dedicated L5 period during winter, where I build up work time at L5 with efforts lasting 4 or 5 minutes. I prefer those durations because they seem effective at stimulating max O2 consumption in relation to intensity. If doing 2 or 3 minutes, I need to bump the intensity quite a bit and it becomes a very gueling mental challenge.

    Whilst im not saying 2x20 are not effectives at inducing adaptations, I do think people tend to stick to the sweet spot dogma too much and forget to explore other alternatives which could only be benefical to their form, especially if they have been living on a strict threshold diet for some time.

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    Yes, I'm just not personally a fan of threshold work. I can do long rides day in, day out, and have the faith to do them because I know they'll increase endurance. I can feel it in my legs this season, no cramps on the third lap or even after the race.

    I can go for killer tabata sessions, even 2-a-days because I know they'll increase VO2 max. This mid-level stuff seems like a good tool to have when time is limited, and my schedule like most non-pros is not always convenient to training.

    Somebody please convince me that something other than long rides or <5 minute intervals helps increase FTP.

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    A lot fo different riding helps increase FTP. FTP is an abstract measure of endurance ''performance'' and not a physiological measure of any kind.

    Different type of rides induces different molecular signaling and then, adaptations, both central and peripheral.

    I do not thing falling into a training paradigm is a good way to approach your training plan, i-e. don't just stick to one training phylosophy, because there is not one-size-fits-all training method to increase your form, aka FTP for most. Diversity in training is always an aspect one should not forget.

    Mixing both high intensity intervals with long rides if time allows is a sound approach, but nothings tells you you shouldn't include *some* sustained, moderate intensity efforts in there. Some discipline will require more sustained intensity work then others but I actually think it is a good, specific way to work on sustainable % of your VO2max power.

    I personnaly like the more polarized method because 1- long rides are easy to recover from, as opposed to long tempo or threshold work and 2- high intensity intervals do not require high total work volume and I feel they are not too hard to recover from as well.

    The trap is thinking there is one magical or better way to train, there is not. There are general training principles and phenomenon around which a training plan should articulate.

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    Never tried Hammer

    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    Stevemtu: have you tried Hammer Nutrition Recoverite? .
    Thanks for the suggestion...I'll have to give that a try.

    (there is no 'above race pace')
    Maybe I should have said 'above threshold'...but if my average power output for a 1.5 hr race is 240 W and I do 3x3 minute intervals at 325 W, isn't that above threshold and above race pace?

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    Quote Originally Posted by spsoon View Post
    How many times a week would you do that workout?
    This was my last off-season - it worked for me.
    Preparing for first MTB race of the season

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    Quote Originally Posted by spec4life View Post
    That seems to long to me. I generally do 5 min between 2X20 or 2X30. I think the rest interval on these are more for a mental break than a desired recovery. The idea in these intervals is to go as hard as you could go for an hour (threshold), not as hard as you can go for 20 mins then recover and do it again. Ideally you shouldnt need any recovery between sets and getting to much kindof defeats the purpose.
    spec4life

    I see your point, but respectfully, I think it is a "it depends" answer.

    I (most people?) base my 20's on a "personal best" 20m power on trainer (smoked w/no stops, hills, etc. I could not/would not want to do another one) then do the .95 multiplier to come up with the 'rough' FTP number.

    This "personal best" is derived being fully rested, etc. Not every workout, I would think is done fully recovered physically or mentally with work, family, school demands let alone training.

    So I guess what I am saying is that FTP varies for me from day to day, someday's I can push 100% for 2x20m while other day's 90% feels like 100%. That being the case more recovery may be needed to finish 2nd interval.

    peace

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottz123 View Post
    spec4life

    I see your point, but respectfully, I think it is a "it depends" answer.

    I (most people?) base my 20's on a "personal best" 20m power on trainer (smoked w/no stops, hills, etc. I could not/would not want to do another one) then do the .95 multiplier to come up with the 'rough' FTP number.

    This "personal best" is derived being fully rested, etc. Not every workout, I would think is done fully recovered physically or mentally with work, family, school demands let alone training.

    So I guess what I am saying is that FTP varies for me from day to day, someday's I can push 100% for 2x20m while other day's 90% feels like 100%. That being the case more recovery may be needed to finish 2nd interval.

    peace
    no doubt, there are more days than i can count that i have to add a minute between intervals or back off at the end in order to finish. Sometimes if im doing a 2(3X3) set i will even have to cut the last interval off. This all depends on the things you listed. There is obviously nothing wrong with that and is a better idea than going "to hard" in some instances.

    However, I guess i am referring to the ideal 2x20 or 2x30 set. At least what you should be aiming for to get the most out of the set.

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    "there is no above race pace" - I was making a half joke, - I think I'm funnier than I often am.
    And I just did a 2x20 on the trainer after I put the kids to bed, -wife out of town so I couldn't get away on the bike, the kids are small. Maybe I did the 20s at too high an intensity, -ouch!!, but I can see how those would be good on a regular basis, I feel like that was a solid workout.

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    Not to belabor the point but I feel that I do Tabata intervals at above-race pace, or earnestly attempt to. As most of us probably discovered at some point while racing, it's possible to blow up in the first five minutes of the race with a similar anaerobic effort, and that makes for a long day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stonerider View Post
    If you can't find time to ride 12 to 16 hours per week I've found nothing better than 2x20s to increase my threshold. I do mine on the trainer and like to have the entire workout completed in 1 hours. I warm up for 10 minutes, 20 minute threshold interval, 5 minute recovery, 20 minute threshold interval, and 5 minute cool down. I like to do my 20 minute intervals around 90 to 95 % of my functional threshold.

    I recently started doing the 20 minute intervals again and increased my FTP by 40 watts in 2 months. It works for me but everybody responds differently to training.
    How many days a week are you doing 2x20's?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    Somebody please convince me that something other than long rides or <5 minute intervals helps increase FTP.
    The aim of the game for efforts at or around FTP is to induce mitochondrial biogenesis (creation of more mitochondria). The more you stress the system the greater the adaptation signals. When you start to go over FTP you start to limit the duration of the stress due to other limiters (ie: o2 delivery, lactate build-up etc). Stay below FTP and you sustain the stress for far longer then there is a greater margin of stress. Which means a greater enzyme release. Which mean the greater the mitocondrial growth. In realm of 90-95% of FTP generally seems to be the point at which the system is not limited by gas exchange and that lactate clearance is optimal hence the duration can sustained as long as the fuel for the cells can be provided.

    Conversely, stress the system too much for too long OR at too low an intensity for too long and the enzyme release fails to occur and the adaptations cease and the gross metabolic efficiency falls.

    Recovery and appropriate scheduling of easy and hard days essential.

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    "To low an intensity for too long" - Please explain, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by TapewormWW View Post
    The aim of the game for efforts at or around FTP is to induce mitochondrial biogenesis (creation of more mitochondria). The more you stress the system the greater the adaptation signals. When you start to go over FTP you start to limit the duration of the stress due to other limiters (ie: o2 delivery, lactate build-up etc). Stay below FTP and you sustain the stress for far longer then there is a greater margin of stress. Which means a greater enzyme release. Which mean the greater the mitocondrial growth. In realm of 90-95% of FTP generally seems to be the point at which the system is not limited by gas exchange and that lactate clearance is optimal hence the duration can sustained as long as the fuel for the cells can be provided.

    Conversely, stress the system too much for too long OR at too low an intensity for too long and the enzyme release fails to occur and the adaptations cease and the gross metabolic efficiency falls.

    Recovery and appropriate scheduling of easy and hard days essential.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    "To low an intensity for too long" - Please explain, thanks.
    A 5 hour ride at L1 for example. Not doing much for you as it relates to FTP.

    Hence the "sweet spot" or "Goldilocks" terminology. Not too hard, not too soft, just right.

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    OK, what about a 5 hour ride in Zone 2?

    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    A 5 hour ride at L1 for example. Not doing much for you as it relates to FTP.

    Hence the "sweet spot" or "Goldilocks" terminology. Not too hard, not too soft, just right.

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    Re: 2x20s

    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    OK, what about a 5 hour ride in Zone 2?
    That would help in a number of areas but not building FTP. Not enough intensity to do anything for FTP otherwise that'd be fool proof and "easy". Only build FTP at L3/L4+ (?).

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    That would help in a number of areas but not building FTP. Not enough intensity to do anything for FTP otherwise that'd be fool proof and "easy". Only build FTP at L3/L4+ (?).
    It has been explained to me that everything really builds FTP. It's just that you would have to do a lot of Zone 2 to match the FTP building benefits of a shorter time spent at 90-100% FTP. The reason it's not fool proof and easy is because it takes a big time commitment which is tough for most people. Which is why it's tough to beat 2 x 20s when it comes to FTP building.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    "To low an intensity for too long" - Please explain, thanks.
    I think he just meant "Too low" because adding the too long part doesn't really make sense here...

    Tapeworm - great explanation btw. Thanks!

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    Exactly. Forgive the leading questions but I think we've worked through the process of training and why the typical grand tour rider would choose to hit 6-hour days of Zone 2. I can now appreciate the better FTP time bargain for Z3-Z4 work in 2x20 and 2x30 intervals, and also in the typical fun-fast group rides.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    It has been explained to me that everything really builds FTP. It's just that you would have to do a lot of Zone 2 to match the FTP building benefits of a shorter time spent at 90-100% FTP. The reason it's not fool proof and easy is because it takes a big time commitment which is tough for most people. Which is why it's tough to beat 2 x 20s when it comes to FTP building.
    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    I think he just meant "Too low" because adding the too long part doesn't really make sense here...

    Tapeworm - great explanation btw. Thanks!

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    Yep! And I've been favoring the hard rides lately. They really help keep it fun and I think, if you go hard enough, the benefit comes close to a more structured workout. However I'm sure 2x20s will find their way back into my program!

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    any riding providing enough stimulus will increase form, or your FTP if you prefer it that way. Riding for 5h at an endurance pace is far from easy, sustaining mid-Z2 is quite challenging indeed. So long endurance ride, sustained steady work, 3-5 minutes hard efforts and micro intervals can and will all build your FTP depending on where you are in your training experience and past history. In addition to what TW said, training at around 90% of VO2max as been shown to induce skeletal muscle adaptations like mitochindrial biogenesis.

    The thing with long rides is it takes both the volume AND the frequency to be as effective as it can be. Long rides also do induce adaptations but at a certain level of training, an athlete needs to step up the intensity to keep forcing adaptations and increase power output.

    Depending on your goal events, long ride may or may not be useful. Just like chomxxo said, L3-L4 is a tradeoff in duration and intensity, just like about any other training intensity.

    I think a question we should ask ourselves is: what is the recovery implications regarding dose/response relation when comparing L3-L4 effort VS higher intensity efforts such as L5? In other words: do you use more glycogen when spending x time at 95% of FTP or y time at 110% of FTP? Do you get the same acute inflammatory response? Do you get the same hormonal response?

    These are all factors that may have an impact on recovery. I personnaly find I recover a bit better from a 20-24 minutes L5 workout then from a 40 minutes L4 workout overnight.

    It could have implications on the weekly training load

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcm01 View Post
    It has been explained to me that everything really builds FTP. It's just that you would have to do a lot of Zone 2 to match the FTP building benefits of a shorter time spent at 90-100% FTP. The reason it's not fool proof and easy is because it takes a big time commitment which is tough for most people. Which is why it's tough to beat 2 x 20s when it comes to FTP building.
    Sorry, replied from phone, should have been more clear or more verbose. I simply meant that if you are wanting to get the most bang for your buck, a 5hr zone 2 ride isn't where you want to spend your time. It will take you 2-3x as much volume to get similar results to training in low L3 to high L4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    any riding providing enough stimulus will increase form, or your FTP if you prefer it that way. Riding for 5h at an endurance pace is far from easy, sustaining mid-Z2 is quite challenging indeed. So long endurance ride, sustained steady work, 3-5 minutes hard efforts and micro intervals can and will all build your FTP depending on where you are in your training experience and past history. In addition to what TW said, training at around 90% of VO2max as been shown to induce skeletal muscle adaptations like mitochindrial biogenesis.

    The thing with long rides is it takes both the volume AND the frequency to be as effective as it can be. Long rides also do induce adaptations but at a certain level of training, an athlete needs to step up the intensity to keep forcing adaptations and increase power output.
    I said "easy" in relation to high intensity. I can ride L2-low L3 for 3-5hrs almost everyday and still recover. Once I get into L3-L4 that goes out the window and a 2-3 hr ride puts me out for 2-3 days of similar effort riding. I can do that because I have done lots of those endurance paced rides so I've adapted (specificity). That has also caused a significant slowing of FTP growth so as you say above, need to step it up and train for more significant increase in FTP.

    If you look at any major coach's plans nobody structures majority LSD rides anymore for a reason, EVEN in specific plans for endurance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    Sorry, replied from phone, should have been more clear or more verbose. I simply meant that if you are wanting to get the most bang for your buck, a 5hr zone 2 ride isn't where you want to spend your time. It will take you 2-3x as much volume to get similar results to training in low L3 to high L4.

    I said "easy" in relation to high intensity. I can ride L2-low L3 for 3-5hrs almost everyday and still recover. Once I get into L3-L4 that goes out the window and a 2-3 hr ride puts me out for 2-3 days of similar effort riding. I can do that because I have done lots of those endurance paced rides so I've adapted (specificity). That has also caused a significant slowing of FTP growth so as you say above, need to step it up and train for more significant increase in FTP.

    If you look at any major coach's plans nobody structures majority LSD rides anymore for a reason, EVEN in specific plans for endurance.

    By definition, you shouldn't be able to ride in Zone 3 for 3-6 hours daily and recover. You may be able to ride at a higher wattage than you used to. After all training zones aren't levels of performance, they're levels exertion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    By definition, you shouldn't be able to ride in Zone 3 for 3-6 hours daily and recover. You may be able to ride at a higher wattage than you used to. After all training zones aren't levels of performance, they're levels exertion.
    Not sure that's right (and not exactly what I said above) - see Coggan: "Recovery from level 3 training sessions more difficult than after level 2 workouts, but consecutive days of level 3 training still possible if duration is not excessive and dietary carbohydrate intake is adequate." Have fun defining "excessive duration"...

    With my most recent outdoor FTP test, Zone 2 is 169-228 watts and Zone 3 is 229-273. So my statement above is I can ride 169-~240 for 3-5 hours a day. If I ride 5 hrs, my NP will be on the low end of that, at 3 hrs it'd be on the high end. Anything more than that and I become fatigued and need to take passive recovery days. Those 3-5 hr rides include breaks as well, not non-stop all out efforts. Classic all-day pacing. I don't do this often as I don't have that kind of time, which is why we're talking about 2x20s...

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    Quote Originally Posted by mbeardsl View Post
    Sorry, replied from phone, should have been more clear or more verbose. I simply meant that if you are wanting to get the most bang for your buck, a 5hr zone 2 ride isn't where you want to spend your time. It will take you 2-3x as much volume to get similar results to training in low L3 to high L4.



    I said "easy" in relation to high intensity. I can ride L2-low L3 for 3-5hrs almost everyday and still recover. Once I get into L3-L4 that goes out the window and a 2-3 hr ride puts me out for 2-3 days of similar effort riding. I can do that because I have done lots of those endurance paced rides so I've adapted (specificity). That has also caused a significant slowing of FTP growth so as you say above, need to step it up and train for more significant increase in FTP.

    If you look at any major coach's plans nobody structures majority LSD rides anymore for a reason, EVEN in specific plans for endurance.
    Planning endurance rides or not depends on the athlete's available time to train. It's not like there is a magic to shorter more intense efforts and everyone should do it.

    I get your point RE L2 being easier to recover from. That's why I question de dose/response relations and time at a given intensity, it has major recovery implications that could influence an athlete's training plan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Devincicx View Post
    Planning endurance rides or not depends on the athlete's available time to train. It's not like there is a magic to shorter more intense efforts and everyone should do it.

    I get your point RE L2 being easier to recover from. That's why I question de dose/response relations and time at a given intensity, it has major recovery implications that could influence an athlete's training plan.
    I agree 100%. I find 3-4 rides @ 1-2.5 hrs of mixed intensities plus one long (4-5+hr) endurance ride a week the most enjoyable way to spend my time (of which I have more than most). It also keeps it form getting boring and/or feeling like another job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chomxxo View Post
    Somebody please convince me that something other than long rides or <5 minute intervals helps increase FTP.
    I don't know if I will convince you, but if Hunter Allen says so, I will go with it.

    "Focus on doing longer intervals at or very near your functional threshold power (FTP). " Hunter Allen

    Hunter Allen Peaks Coaching Group: The Next Level

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    Even if Allen, Friel, Coggan, or whoever you want says you should do x or y type of efforts, I would not listen to them.... blindly.

    Level 3 and Level 4 intensity are not the magic trick to getting a good FTP. They are an arrow in the quiver, that's it.

    Before making recommendations, one needs to know the athletes background.

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