Newbie Training Advice Request
Started collegiate racing this fall and the best I do is typically 50th percentile in beginner category. I want to do better next year and I also want to be able to work towards 24 hr solo non-race rides. It seems that lots of people say base training is good if you have the time for it. The next three weeks I'm on winter break and have pretty much unlimited time and wanted advice on the best way to train. Should I go for max hours LSD on road bike?
Here's a better idea:
Ask your teammates what works for them.
I'd be willing to bet that there are some Pro MTB/Cat1/2 road dudes on your team that would be happy to take you under their proverbial wing, and help set you straight.
Why am I saying this? Because we have no clue what your season entails, where you live, the conditions, etc. All of which will influence what you can do, for how long, at what time of the year.
If you have unlimited time, I would say definitely ride lots. I like the big, medium, small pattern:
Weeks 1: 15+ hours
Week 2: 10-15 hours
Week 3: 7-8 hour rest week
Repeat the pattern 4 times and try to step up the volume each cycle. 2nd and 3rd cycle you should be integrating tempo. 4th cycle threshold.
That training should precede your race season. Definitely continue threshold training through the season and pull back when you want a nice peak.
I believe collegiate racing starts spring semester, correct? I remember entering a collegiate race in March up in my area (they had a Masters class, just to raise some money for their team).
Road racing is spring. Mountain is in the fall! My team is very small but we take pride in helping out and discussing training with beginners. I managed to be competitive in B's with just riding lots without structure. Didn't work so well once I moved to A though.
Newbie Training Advice Request
It's difficult to say without knowing how much riding you've been doing previously and what you're intending to do training wise in future.
The main point I'd make is that what gets you good improvements in fitness is riding regularly week in week out, rather than the odd block of solid riding and very little riding for the rest of the time. Blowing your doors off with three tough weeks riding in December, and then reverting back to not doing much riding January, February, March isn't going to see you in good condition when your racing season starts. Keeping the momentum going throughout the coming months is the priority.
If you haven't done much riding and weekly volume previously I wouldn't go too crazy with three weeks doing long road rides every day. If you want to do volume I'd be inclined to do a ramp, rather than a taper. Start off with shorter rides and less overall volume in the first week and then build up until you do the longest rides and most overall volume in the final week.
This does two things:
If you start off with long rides and big volume in the first week (that you're not currently used to) you're more likely to wind up with saddle soreness, aching hands, back etc early on, which makes it more uncomfortable to ride on subsequent days and increases the possibility that you won't do as much riding as intended in the later weeks.
It also means that you're not going to be overly tired after the first week and will still have some energy left for riding in the later weeks.
I'd do some MTB rides too. For fun and also for bike handling practice. Maybe a 2hr offroad ride one day, a 2hr road ride the following day, a 2hr offroad ride the next day and so on.
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