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  1. #1
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    Endurance training vs XC training- Base mile version

    This came up a couple years ago http://forums.mtbr.com/endurance-rac...ng-471566.html but mostly seemed to center on in season training.

    I don't do many XC races anymore...none really I suppose and mainly focus on 12/24 hr lap races, 100 milers, and various others of the endurance flavor. I feel like I know pretty well what to do in season but a bit lost with base stuff.

    Last year I did pretty traditional base stuff I gathered from Lydiard articles. Lots of steady base miles, some tempo, some SS mtn rides and felt it worked well. I did no structured anaerobic training all year.

    I have read some about endurance racers using a method of going from non specific to specific training doing harder intervals in the winter to build top end power then focusing more on tempo and SST stuff and long rides in season. In other words, race specific in race season. I have seen this called "reverse periodization".

    Thoughts? ANyone done their base miles both ways and found one better?

  2. #2
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    Everybody who's serious about training goes from non-specific to specific, this is a classic periodization, I'm unsure as to why somebody would called it "reversed"... The thing with endurance racing though is that the specific training is what is usually done in the base phase, namely long steady rides.

    Honestly, I've always been a bit confused about training for endurance races. How does your build diverges from the base if your base is long steady rides??? I've never seen a clear periodization for endurance racing in text books. I read the Ironman training bible from Friel looking for answers but then again it went from long steady rides to longer steady rides.

    With that said, here is how my experience turned out in the last 2 seasons. Last season I focused on endurance races. My goal was finishing the races ranging from 4 hours XCM up to an 8H solo. So along the season I increased ride length and it went fine. Along the way I gained an incredible amount of endurance which allowed me to train much more steadily this season, 5-7 days a week in the off season.

    This season I chose to focus on XC racing so I did a classic periodization. Winter was force & speed skills with one longer ride per week (3-4 hours). Then I moved to anaerobic & sprints, etc. and dropped the longer rides. Now that the XC season is over, I'm racing longer races and I find the 4H30 races to be very easy on my legs. I feel fresh the next day, I don't need the 3-4 days of rest I required last season.

    So I believe a classic periodization can work fine for endurance racing if you throw in a longer ride per week. The thing with starting the season with anaerobic work and then moving to endurance is that you'll most likely lose your explosive/anaerobic power which is lost quickly if not trained as opposed to endurance that can stick with you for long periods of time as long as you ride somewhat regularly.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    Everybody who's serious about training goes from non-specific to specific, this is a classic periodization, I'm unsure as to why somebody would called it "reversed"... The thing with endurance racing though is that the specific training is what is usually done in the base phase, namely long steady rides.

    Honestly, I've always been a bit confused about training for endurance races. How does your build diverges from the base if your base is long steady rides??? I've never seen a clear periodization for endurance racing in text books. I read the Ironman training bible from Friel looking for answers but then again it went from long steady rides to longer steady rides.

    With that said, here is how my experience turned out in the last 2 seasons. Last season I focused on endurance races. My goal was finishing the races ranging from 4 hours XCM up to an 8H solo. So along the season I increased ride length and it went fine. Along the way I gained an incredible amount of endurance which allowed me to train much more steadily this season, 5-7 days a week in the off season.

    This season I chose to focus on XC racing so I did a classic periodization. Winter was force & speed skills with one longer ride per week (3-4 hours). Then I moved to anaerobic & sprints, etc. and dropped the longer rides. Now that the XC season is over, I'm racing longer races and I find the 4H30 races to be very easy on my legs. I feel fresh the next day, I don't need the 3-4 days of rest I required last season.

    So I believe a classic periodization can work fine for endurance racing if you throw in a longer ride per week. The thing with starting the season with anaerobic work and then moving to endurance is that you'll most likely lose your explosive/anaerobic power which is lost quickly if not trained as opposed to endurance that can stick with you for long periods of time as long as you ride somewhat regularly.
    Yeah, I suppose classic base was what I did last year and it worked well.

    The condundrum is that intervals in the winter and moving to more specific stuff makes sense in a periodization model but it almost seems like it will be wasted work and the top end power you gain will be gone come race season...UNLESS the hard work raises FTP from the top so to say then you can maintain that bigger FTP with aerobic work.

    Honestly the more I ride the better I do and the structure itself does not seem to matter all that much.

  4. #4
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    I still think you need vo2 work for mountain bike racing of any kind because the terrain demands it. I would definitely focus on some vo2 work in the last 8 weeks leading up to your a events because it'll give you more snap when you need to power through something. The danger in doing only base is two-fold. One, it leaves you without any matches when the terrain or another competitor demands it and 2, threshold power is dependent on vo2 power. If you can raise your vo2, your threshold has room to expand into, so to speak, and the level of power you'll be able to deliver over the period of a long race will be higher.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny K View Post
    This came up a couple years ago http://forums.mtbr.com/endurance-rac...ng-471566.html but mostly seemed to center on in season training.

    I don't do many XC races anymore...none really I suppose and mainly focus on 12/24 hr lap races, 100 milers, and various others of the endurance flavor. I feel like I know pretty well what to do in season but a bit lost with base stuff.

    Last year I did pretty traditional base stuff I gathered from Lydiard articles. Lots of steady base miles, some tempo, some SS mtn rides and felt it worked well. I did no structured anaerobic training all year.

    I have read some about endurance racers using a method of going from non specific to specific training doing harder intervals in the winter to build top end power then focusing more on tempo and SST stuff and long rides in season. In other words, race specific in race season. I have seen this called "reverse periodization".

    Thoughts? ANyone done their base miles both ways and found one better?
    Long distance triathletes usually bike train like this during the winter, reduce it down to a 2-3 hour weekend ride and 2-3 1 hour trainer sessions during the week doing a lot of 2x20's and raising FTP, when spring comes around focus on mileage. Lots of succesful guys have trained like this (they are doing a lot of crosstraining in the winter though, xc skiing/running/swimming)

  6. #6
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    I'm good friends with one of our better, national level, endurance racers.

    I didn't know all the details of her training plan, but I remember one January afternnoon, joining her for 3 hours out of her 7 hour Sunday ride. Her coach at the time thought it was a good idea to get this type of saddle time in the winter.

    I thought it was crazy.
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  7. #7
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    Long and steady miles are great....until the Endurance race goes up and down some mountain passes etc....then you need some intervals etc...to stay fast.

  8. #8
    LMN
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    The trend in any endurance sport right is moving back to a "traditional" volume based program. I made that move in all my athletes programs this year and nearly every one had far and away their best season ever. A lot of people forget that long steady rides work on just about everything. 90% of your form is developed through steady base work, the last 10% is what intensity training is for.

    My take on endurance program is they are very similar to an XCO program. The main difference is the length of the long rides. Where an XCO racer may top out at 4hr rides an endurance racer needs to go longer. Consequently the endurance racer can't do the same quality/quanity of intensity on other days. They need to recover from their long ride.

    I am not sure that doing a lot of intensity work right now would help racing next year. I am firm believer that everybody should include some intensity throughout the year, but there is limits. Last year I had my athletes do a MAP block in November, they had good seasons, but I am not sure if I will do that again.

    I think a lot of people do too many intervals, spending the winter doing 2x20 minutes on the trainer in your basement is more like to burn you out than make you fast. Intervals and intesity should be saved for the "right" time. It is shocking how little intervals you need to do to be really fast if you have a good solid base.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    The trend in any endurance sport right is moving back to a "traditional" volume based program. I made that move in all my athletes programs this year and nearly every one had far and away their best season ever. A lot of people forget that long steady rides work on just about everything. 90% of your form is developed through steady base work, the last 10% is what intensity training is for.

    My take on endurance program is they are very similar to an XCO program. The main difference is the length of the long rides. Where an XCO racer may top out at 4hr rides an endurance racer needs to go longer. Consequently the endurance racer can't do the same quality/quanity of intensity on other days. They need to recover from their long ride.

    I am not sure that doing a lot of intensity work right now would help racing next year. I am firm believer that everybody should include some intensity throughout the year, but there is limits. Last year I had my athletes do a MAP block in November, they had good seasons, but I am not sure if I will do that again.

    I think a lot of people do too many intervals, spending the winter doing 2x20 minutes on the trainer in your basement is more like to burn you out than make you fast. Intervals and intesity should be saved for the "right" time. It is shocking how little intervals you need to do to be really fast if you have a good solid base.
    Good solid advice as usual. Thanks, LMN. I was pretty surprised how good I felt on the mountain bike after a couple months of steady road riding last year...looks like I am headed that way again. Now if I can only avoid head colds this winter I'll be good to go.

    Here's one for you. We all have to ride rollers some in the winter, what would you suggest for a "safe" roller workout in the winter one wouldn't be likely to burn out or over train on given the session was around 90 minutes? Thanks.

  10. #10
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    OK I don't mean to hijack this thread but this raises a huge question for me.

    I don't know how to just get up on the rollers or trainer in the winter and just straight ride for more then an hour, I really can't make it past 40 min just riding at an LSD pace. So the only way I can actually get any time on the rollers in the winter is to do some type of structured workout, the changes in pace make it easier to stay on the bike and not be board. So is there any workouts or intensities that people would suggest to prevent burnout.

    I do agree that long slower rides and putting in those base miles in the first few years is the most important thing to do.
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  11. #11
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    Trainer time pretty much makes me want to commit suicide so I moved someplace where I can ride most of the winter.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrastories View Post
    So is there any workouts or intensities that people would suggest to prevent burnout.
    I do around 30 minute intervals of Tempo pace, then rest for 10-15 and repeat. You can get long workouts this way since the intervals remains under the time one can sustain without getting bored.

    You can of course mix it up a bit, say 20 minutes Tempo, 10 Sweet spot, 15 Rest and you won't tire too much for multi hour trainer "rides". Repeat that set 4 times and you just got a 3 hour non-stop pedaling ride, which I estimate equals roughly a 4H ride outside where you coast downhills.
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  13. #13
    LMN
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    I would love to say "don't ride the trainer" but unfortunately if you live where you can't ride outside in the winter the trainer is necessary.

    Still, if you live in a winter climate take up XC skiing and do most your aerobic work on skis. If you do that, the purpose of your two 1hr weekly steady trainer rides is to keep your tendon and ligamentous in shape. I usually do some intensity in those rides, but it is more a case of it feels like intensity rather than actually being intensity.

    Another good way to get volume if you are forced to ride trainers is to do a couple of brick workouts. Go out for a run, snow shoe, XC ski and then come back in and ride the trainer for an hour or so.

    I do find that the more I ride the trainer the easier mentally it is to handle it. Good movies help, Kill Bill excellent trainer movie.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

  14. #14
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    For a non-pro.... This:

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnny K View Post
    Honestly the more I ride the better I do and the structure itself does not seem to matter all that much.

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