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  1. #1
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    How Do You Train For The Second Hour?

    I am a 42 year old racer wanabie. I raced Beginner for a couple of years and actually won a couple of races at the end of the spring season. Have moved up to Sport and don't have any legs after about an hour on the bike. I feel like I have come a long way and am much stronger than I was a year ago, but need advice on how to get into race shape for the last half of the race. Like many of you, I don't have a lot of opportunity to get in 3 hour training rides, and when I do I cannot replicate the intensity of a race for more than an hour anyway. I almost feel like I need to ride for a couple of hours to get tired and then go at race pace to get in shape for the second lap. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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    one approach

    The attached file shows the power output variation for a pro on one lap of a mtb race. You can see that there are big spikes in the power output. Morris has proposed that most of the fatigue in a mtb race <3 hours is due to the accumulation of waste products in the muscles from these multiple efforts above threshold. To train for this, you are supposed to mimick the race conditions (according to the theory) with a workout that mimicks this type of power profile (scaled for your ability) for the time of your typical race (1.5 hrs?). This would involve closely spaced intervals at effort well above threshold with incomplete recovery between efforts. .

    BTW, you probably shouldn't try to do this kind of workout everyday. Check out Dave Morris' book or the blog by ashwinearl for more info on periodization, rest etc for this type of approach.

    It has helped me, but opinions vary
    Attached Files Attached Files

  3. #3
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    As above, the only way you are going to be able to last the race duration is if you train for it. You really need to be putting in bigger rides, 2hrs+ and some efforts at race-pace for the same duration as your races are. My training plan this season was to do race effort/duration once per week. You really can't do it too often or you will never recover properly.

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    When you do long rides, it's supposed to be low intensity. Basically you are training your system to resist lactic acid buildup, become efficient with nutrition, and be able to function for hours on end.

    You say you don't have time for long rides, but they work miracles. You really only do them for about 12 weeks or so in the training year. I keep recommending Joe Friel's book (Mountian Biker's Training Bible) because it explains all this. Buy it used on Amazon.com and read it on a rainy weekend this autumn.

  5. #5
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    I am a 44 year-old racer wannabe and I have been using intervals (on the road or on the spinner) to simulate the race conditions where bursts of power are constantly needed. I find it very hard to recuperate from such workouts (even though I only do this once a week). I also find that my improvement has been marginal.

    My lactate threshold seems to be around 155-160 bpm. Beyond this, I quickly go into a downward spiral and need longer and longer time to recuperate. This simply is not good enough in Sport class where top riders have average 170+ bpm.

    Frankly I am not sure how to improve. Of course one can ride/train more than I do, but I risk injury or over-training if I am not careful. I realize that I don't have the genetic advantages needed to succesfully compete in endurance events, but it is frustrating nevertheless.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgee
    When you do long rides, it's supposed to be low intensity. Basically you are training your system to resist lactic acid buildup, become efficient with nutrition, and be able to function for hours on end.

    You say you don't have time for long rides, but they work miracles. You really only do them for about 12 weeks or so in the training year. I keep recommending Joe Friel's book (Mountian Biker's Training Bible) because it explains all this. Buy it used on Amazon.com and read it on a rainy weekend this autumn.
    Ok. This is interesting. I have read Friel's book. (I am starting it for the third time.) I can do a moderate 3 hour road training ride (18 to 20 mph) no problem. I can do a 100K road race and stay with the group averaging 22 to 23 mph. It is the constant acceleration in an XC race that I can't do at a race pace for more than about an hour. I wear a HRM and my HR average is at or a little below my LT for a MTB race, and always lower for a road race. I can't get my mind around the idea that more low intensity miles in the base period is what I'm missing. I'm not disagreeing with you, just saying that it doesn't make sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    I can't get my mind around the idea that more low intensity miles in the base period is what I'm missing. I'm not disagreeing with you, just saying that it doesn't make sense to me.
    My training for this season included about 15 three-hour road rides in a four month period. Perhaps it's not if you can do a single three-hour road ride, but how many repeated three-hour road rides you can do that makes a difference in fitness. Try doing a three-hour road ride for three Sundays in a row, then rest on the fourth Sunday. On the fifth Sunday there should be a difference. This should be done after you've developed and worked up to your regular training, such as hour-long rides, swims, weights, etc. I start my long rides in late winter/early spring in order to get ready for racing.
    Last edited by cgee; 10-12-2006 at 10:47 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    Ok. This is interesting. I have read Friel's book. (I am starting it for the third time.) I can do a moderate 3 hour road training ride (18 to 20 mph) no problem. I can do a 100K road race and stay with the group averaging 22 to 23 mph. It is the constant acceleration in an XC race that I can't do at a race pace for more than about an hour. I wear a HRM and my HR average is at or a little below my LT for a MTB race, and always lower for a road race. I can't get my mind around the idea that more low intensity miles in the base period is what I'm missing. I'm not disagreeing with you, just saying that it doesn't make sense to me.
    Dude, complete Friel's self assesment from his book and you'll discover where your weak areas are. Once you have figured that out use his suggestions to improve in that area(s). I started racing at age 42 and found that the beginner class was way too easy so I moved into sport class within a year. Looking back now, it was probably a mistake, because there is a huge difference between beginner races and sport class races. Not only are the races longer, but of course the competition is alot better. It took me a season or two to adapt to the longer races, but eventually I became very competitive. The point I'm trying to make is that you have to continue to train smart and then eventually the needed endurance will develop. Good luck...be patient and have fun!

    Rob
    "Speed kills...oh well, we've all gotta go some time!"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgee
    When you do long rides, it's supposed to be low intensity. Basically you are training your system to resist lactic acid buildup, become efficient with nutrition, and be able to function for hours on end.

    You say you don't have time for long rides, but they work miracles. You really only do them for about 12 weeks or so in the training year. I keep recommending Joe Friel's book (Mountian Biker's Training Bible) because it explains all this. Buy it used on Amazon.com and read it on a rainy weekend this autumn.
    12 week of long easy rides! Unrealistic for my life. Devout morris plan follower here. 3weeks of long easy rides (with some sprints thrown in and muscle endurance work) is my endurance phase.

    However later in the season almost every Sunday is a race simulation which is 2-3hr XC riding at high intensity.

    It's not the time in the saddle that kills me. It's the high intensity. With the exception of long sustained climbs, mtb racing is just like that previous power file posted: High intensity followed by periods of insufficient recovery.

    Two kinds of workouts that I do are later in the year after my body has built tolerance to higher intensity work:
    -high intensity interval followed by shorter rest. For example early in the year I might do 1min on 1 min off. Later in the year I'll do 1min on 30seconds off.

    Another hallmark of mtb racing is riding at a sustainable pace and then having to go into the red for a short technical section or short climb. And then right after the redline you go back to a sustainable pace.

    The workout:
    butt kickers.
    1min at MSP (maximum sustainable power) 1 min at SMSP super max sus. power.
    Repeat for 8-12 minutes.

    Leadout intervals are the most painful thing but they are so applicable to mountain bike racing. The ability to increase your cadence while keeping the same gear is key for flying through technical sections while others flounder.

    Here is my primer on the Morris Off season approach:
    http://ashwinearl.blogspot.com/2005/...index-and.html

    Yeah. It's a departure from more traditional training philosophies like Friel. And it's hard, and it's training, etc. etc. But it is very time efficient. And no I'm not all that great but I get better ever year.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by cgee
    My training for this season included about 15 three-hour road rides in a four month period. Perhaps it's not if you can do a single three-hour road ride, but how many repeated three-hour road rides you can do that makes a difference in fitness. Try doing a three-hour road ride for three Sundays in a row, then rest on the fourth Sunday. On the fifth Sunday there should be a difference. This should be done after you've developed and worked up to your regular training, such as hour-long rides, swims, weights, etc. I start my long rides in late winter/early spring in order to get ready for racing.
    What HR zone are the base miles supposed to be in? Friel talks about low intensity, but lists aerobic endurance rides as about 78 to 80% of lactate threshold (120 to 130 bpm with my LT of 152), and I find that to be a tough effort if I am riding by myself.

  11. #11
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    I feel your pain, Serious ...

    I'm also a 44 year old wannabe sport racer. It sounds like you and I are in very much the same position. I agree that recovery is key. For me, it's been a big limiting factor.

    I have seen some improvement not hurting myself so much in XC training.

    I still do intervals but not so often. It just takes too long for me to recover. More often, I do a 1 hour ride on a tough xc course and practice attacking the hills then slowing the pace on the easier sections. This way I'm training my body to attack the hills- instead of just surviving them. And it's only a 1-hour mtb ride so I can recover from it quickly.

    It has helped me on race day.

    Good luck.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    I am a 42 year old racer wanabie. I raced Beginner for a couple of years and actually won a couple of races at the end of the spring season. Have moved up to Sport and don't have any legs after about an hour on the bike. I feel like I have come a long way and am much stronger than I was a year ago, but need advice on how to get into race shape for the last half of the race. Like many of you, I don't have a lot of opportunity to get in 3 hour training rides, and when I do I cannot replicate the intensity of a race for more than an hour anyway. I almost feel like I need to ride for a couple of hours to get tired and then go at race pace to get in shape for the second lap. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    At the risk of sounding obvious: the only way to get good at Sport level races is by doing Sport level races. You may have some poor results, but you need to be challenged by faster, better skilled riders to improve your skills and fitness.

    Oh, and do those 3 hour road rides!

  13. #13
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    what are your rest days like?

    Quote Originally Posted by serious
    I am a 44 year-old racer wannabe and I have been using intervals (on the road or on the spinner) to simulate the race conditions where bursts of power are constantly needed. I find it very hard to recuperate from such workouts (even though I only do this once a week). I also find that my improvement has been marginal.

    My lactate threshold seems to be around 155-160 bpm. Beyond this, I quickly go into a downward spiral and need longer and longer time to recuperate. This simply is not good enough in Sport class where top riders have average 170+ bpm.

    Frankly I am not sure how to improve. Of course one can ride/train more than I do, but I risk injury or over-training if I am not careful. I realize that I don't have the genetic advantages needed to succesfully compete in endurance events, but it is frustrating nevertheless.
    I found that as I started doing the longer lactate threshold (or maximum sustainable power) intervals and above threshold intervals that I needed really easy rest days--like completely off the bike. I even found that the Morris approach would work for me; I could do two or three hard interval days in a row as long as I followed that with two or three easy days where easy meant 'off the bike' for half of those days. The Morris approach reminds me of weight lifting, where you 'tear down' during a workout, and then get stronger on your rest days...but I really have to rest as hard as I work (I'm 48)

    Everyone is in agreement that a base build is still a prerequisite to get the most out of the hard intervals, but Morris and Friel disagree on how to build this base.



    .

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    What HR zone are the base miles supposed to be in? Friel talks about low intensity, but lists aerobic endurance rides as about 78 to 80% of lactate threshold (120 to 130 bpm with my LT of 152), and I find that to be a tough effort if I am riding by myself.
    I train for base miles in "basic endurance" (zone 2) and sometimes "tempo" (zone 3) zones. The tempo zone is rarer. For climbing I use "sub-threshold" (zone 4). A good aerobic pace is one where you can carry on a conversation with a riding partner with just a little bit of breathing effort.

    Are you sure of your heart rate? Friel tells you how to test on a trainer, or on the road.

    Are you sure you are in good health?
    Last edited by cgee; 10-16-2006 at 07:45 AM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    Ok. This is interesting. I have read Friel's book. (I am starting it for the third time.) I can do a moderate 3 hour road training ride (18 to 20 mph) no problem. I can do a 100K road race and stay with the group averaging 22 to 23 mph. It is the constant acceleration in an XC race that I can't do at a race pace for more than about an hour. I wear a HRM and my HR average is at or a little below my LT for a MTB race, and always lower for a road race. I can't get my mind around the idea that more low intensity miles in the base period is what I'm missing. I'm not disagreeing with you, just saying that it doesn't make sense to me.
    It sounds to me that you can't either put out the energy (kilojoules) required for a sport class MTB race or are weak at repeated efforts. In either case, this is where powermeters give great data.

    If you can't put out the KiloJoules required for a sport class race, then this could be a reason why you lose time the second hour. In this case, you need to get sufficient endurance history on your legs.

    If repeated efforts are you're problem, then you need to really concentrate on high quality intervals when the build periods come up; de-emphasize endurance workouts and emphasize intervals. Interval training should help you maintain power during repeated efforts.

    Another question; how do you do in criterium races?? Do you struggle with those repeated efforts?? Just want to get some zero-time repeat data.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli
    It sounds to me that you can't either put out the energy (kilojoules) required for a sport class MTB race or are weak at repeated efforts. In either case, this is where powermeters give great data.

    If you can't put out the KiloJoules required for a sport class race, then this could be a reason why you lose time the second hour. In this case, you need to get sufficient endurance history on your legs.

    If repeated efforts are you're problem, then you need to really concentrate on high quality intervals when the build periods come up; de-emphasize endurance workouts and emphasize intervals. Interval training should help you maintain power during repeated efforts.

    Another question; how do you do in criterium races?? Do you struggle with those repeated efforts?? Just want to get some zero-time repeat data.
    Ok. I did two crits (my first two ever) in August and September. In the first I raced Cat 5 with about 50 on the line. I finished with the "lead" group, which got lapped by one rider who was a professional triathlete or something like that. In the second race, I raced 40 plus. I was 6 of 7, about 200 yards off the back. (Our field raced with the Open women, and I would have been 2nd in the women's race.) Both races were 45 minutes. My fear before the first race was that I would be called out or get lapped, so I was frankly surprised that I was able to hang. To answer your question, I do struggle with repeated efforts, but I'm not sure that I struggle much more that others if the race is < 1 hour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    My fear before the first race was that I would be called out or get lapped, so I was frankly surprised that I was able to hang. To answer your question, I do struggle with repeated efforts, but I'm not sure that I struggle much more that others if the race is < 1 hour.
    Sounds like you did fine in the crit. Sounds like you didn't have problems with the accelerations and decelerations, especially if you were at the end of the lead group. The yo-yo affect is always worst at the tail end of a group in a crit. So repeated efforts is probably not your primary weakness. It's maintaining the power level of those efforts, and it's probably due to weak endurance.

    You need more time in the saddle. Can't avoid doing longer rides. There is no way really around this.

    Like they say: "If you want to go 30 mph, then you must ride 30 mph". like wise "If you want to race hard for 2 hours, then.........." you know the rest.

    Ponch

  18. #18
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    Do long rides without the pace

    Quote Originally Posted by bigandhuge
    Like many of you, I don't have a lot of opportunity to get in 3 hour training rides, and when I do I cannot replicate the intensity of a race for more than an hour anyway.
    I found that cruising for several hours on a road bike, at a moderate pace without anywhere near your lactate threshold, greatly improves your long distance endurance. This is best done on group rides with rolling terrain to also strengthen legs.

    I found I could hammer 3 hour rides without pooping out, while before this training I could only manage 1.5 to 2 hours. Science text books claim that long distance, slow to moderate pace rides increases your body's ability to use fat to fuel legs, rather than just glycogen. Glycogen reserves are quickly depleted from your body at race pace, and accounts for the dreaded "bonking".
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  19. #19
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    You really can't expect to go at race pace for 2 hours if your longest training ride is 2 hours at moderate pace. If you only have 5 hours a week to train, start with 1 hour rides 5 days a week and as you get into the race season, it should be 2 interval sessions and a 3+ hour ride staying below LT. You really need to make time for those longer rides. Or just suffer the consequences.
    Long Live Long Rides

  20. #20
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    Sporto

    I'm stuck in the 6 hour per week range with job/family/etc. and I can usually only ride two to four times a week.

    That schedule forces me to train with high intensity rides, and then take rest days off the bike. Early in the season, I was able to ride more often. I would do multiple 45 min to 1 hr 30 min rides. I found that I have a hard time recovering well enough to do high intensity days in a row, and my race results were mediocre.

    Later in the season, my schedule changed, and I ended up riding 3+ hours at moderate intensity on Sunday, 45 min moderate intensity Wed, and 2 hours moderate to high intensity on Thursday. All the sudden I was breaking records on my trianing rides and winning some races.

    The longer rides made all the difference to me. I always hear that you are better going for frequency over duration, but for me it was the other way around.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Homebrew
    You really can't expect to go at race pace for 2 hours if your longest training ride is 2 hours at moderate pace. You really need to make time for those longer rides. Or just suffer the consequences.
    Goes back to what I heard Chris Carmichael say during the Tour de France coverage one time. That he tries to make Lance's base rides equal to the same energy level (joules) as an average stage during the tour.

    So if you're holding say 250 Watts for 120 minutes during a race, then you expended 1,800,000 joules of energy.

    If you're base training power level is say 200 watts, in order to expend the equivalent energy, then you have to ride at this power level for 150 minutes. That's 2.5 hours.

    So during base training, you will always need to put out more time than you race, but I guess not that much more.

    Does anybody know if the power level numbers are realistic above??

    I don't train with a power meter, but I'd figure that base level training power is about 82% of threshold power.

  22. #22
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    Here's a power output profile for a pro

    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli
    Does anybody know if the power level numbers are realistic above??

    I don't train with a power meter, but I'd figure that base level training power is about 82% of threshold power.
    oops, I think I posted this profile before on this thread-sorry about that

    Anyway, looks like the average power output might be 250 W, but the power spikes are pretty serious. But look at the heart rate-pretty steady and probably pretty close to this guys max (guessing 90%?). The only way I can train myself for that type of effort, power output scaled way down for my pathetic abilities, is to mix in workouts of closely spaced intervals with incomplete recovery over the the total time of the event.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevemtu
    oops, I think I posted this profile before on this thread-sorry about that

    Anyway, looks like the average power output might be 250 W, but the power spikes are pretty serious. But look at the heart rate-pretty steady and probably pretty close to this guys max (guessing 90%?). The only way I can train myself for that type of effort, power output scaled way down for my pathetic abilities, is to mix in workouts of closely spaced intervals with incomplete recovery over the the total time of the event.
    No kidding about the heart rate, it almost looks like a flat line!! But then again, look at the scale.

    I guess a 250 average is realistic then, for a pro though!! He's probably doing it for a longer time as well.

    But the best way to find the total energy (joules) is to find the area under that curve. It would need to be a Watt-time curve though. The SRM software probably spits out that value.

    Once you got that joule number, "equivalent energy" base training time (per Carmichael) can be calculated.

    I wish I could let the bucks go for a power tap; neat numbers to play with.

    Once I stop improving with heart-rate based training, then I'll spring the bucks for a Powertap (SRM is definitely out of the question).

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