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  1. #1
    Giant Anthem
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    Good job! This training got me faster; BUT I need to improve.

    Now that the season is closing I'm reflecting on how to get faster for next season (I guess most of us are)

    I've made some good improvements on my race starts and short steep climbing ability by hitting some nice interval workouts this summer. BUT...I'm not sure what to work on to get faster for next season. I usually finish anywhere from 2-6 minutes behind the race winner and end up 2nd, 3rd, or 4th place. (much improved over last season)

    When racing (I'm category 2, sport) I have 2 strategies. 1 is start very fast (I'm good at this) then barely hold on the rest of the race and get passed by the winner OR start slow and come on strong towards the end-either way I end up 2-6 minutes behind the leader.

    So, here is my in season training plan in a nutshell=
    An off-road race distance ride once per week trying to ride close to race pace as possible (sometimes I increase the distance by 15-20% for muscular endurance if I have time)

    A half race distance ride (about 7 miles) where I sprint 4-5 of the climbs (off road local course) hard as possible (this hurts)

    Also, I do 4, 45 second hard and fast as possible intervals on the trainer (these have been a big help) I do this workout 70% of the time and skip it if my legs are too tired.

    I do 1 light resistance training workout for core and upper body as well.

    Overall, my training only takes about 5 hours per week (kids and family)

    So, please share any suggestions or experiences on whats worked for you to get better/faster-

    Thanks guys

    PS I'm 5'8.5" 153 pounds. I'm an average climber and this is probably my weakest area.
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  2. #2
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    Sounds like you're doing pretty good if you're almost winning races and always in the top 5. Maybe just having another year of experience will make all the difference. If you're lean and ripped at 153 great, if not try to lose the fat. Not too much. You'll know or your wife will tell you when you've gone too far.

  3. #3
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    The solution is pretty simple (ha ha, yeah right), don't start too fast, but don't let anyone leave you behind, either. IOW, just make sure that you're in 2nd, maybe 3rd, going into the first singletrack of the race and hang about 3 meters back from the rider in front of you so you don't get caught in any mishaps they may have. Move up if the leader starts to gap you or anyone in front of you. As long as you never go any harder than you need to so that the leader doesn't drop you, you'll automatically be pacing yourself better than going out too hard and being passed by the ultimate leader who clearly didn't start as hard as you. Let the leader show you the lines, follow 'em around and make sure they know you're always right there ready to pounce, and eventually they'll screw something up. Save your starting burst for the finishing stretch (whether it's a finish line sprint or last 2 mile surge) and you'll be fine.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like you've improved quite a bit this year. Just keeping it consistent is one big part of the puzzle!

    If you'd like to have a professionally-written AND truly affordable training plan to follow, you can check out my new approach to coaching at AlisonDunlapCoaching.com. From the Learn More page, you can download a free sample plan if you'd like. If you follow my program consistently, you'll get faster - and you won't have to worry about whether you're doing the right thing. Check it out!
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  5. #5
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    I would say you need to focus on improving your power at threshold--doing some steady, hard efforts of 15-30 mins each. The one workout which is race length and race pace is probably the only thing that helps your threshold power effectively. The other workouts seemed focused on anaerobic efforts (2 min or less) and VO2max efforts (2-5 mins). Threshold power workouts seem lacking.
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  6. #6
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    threshold workouts

    Quote Originally Posted by millennium
    I would say you need to focus on improving your power at threshold--doing some steady, hard efforts of 15-30 mins each. The one workout which is race length and race pace is probably the only thing that helps your threshold power effectively. The other workouts seemed focused on anaerobic efforts (2 min or less) and VO2max efforts (2-5 mins). Threshold power workouts seem lacking.
    I've heard of sweet spot training which is supposed to increase Threshold power-does anyone know how to guesstimate Functional threshold power without a power meter? Is it the same or close to lactate threshold/TT heart rate?

    I looked up a bunch of articles on functional threshold power and it's sounds good but since I don't have a power meter i'm not sure what intensity to use.

    Thanks
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  7. #7
    CB2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u
    An off-road race distance ride once per week trying to ride close to race pace as possible (sometimes I increase the distance by 15-20% for muscular endurance if I have time)
    Try and eek out enough time to do this ride more often so you you can finish your race strong without having to make any compromises to your start.
    The up coming months are a great time to increase you endurance.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u
    I've heard of sweet spot training which is supposed to increase Threshold power-does anyone know how to guesstimate Functional threshold power without a power meter? Is it the same or close to lactate threshold/TT heart rate?

    I looked up a bunch of articles on functional threshold power and it's sounds good but since I don't have a power meter i'm not sure what intensity to use.
    Sweet Spot Training is basically a good hard ride. Technically its an IF of .88 to .94, which is roughly what a reasonably trained cyclist can hold for a few hours.. but at the end of that few hours, you'll be toast. Its an exhausting effort that puts a stress on the system similar to a High Tempo/Threshold workout, but you don't necessarily do it in a structured interval format.

    If I have an hour or so to work with, I'd just do long intervals. If I have 2hrs+, and want a stiff ride but not interested in the structure of intervals.. a sweet spot ride might work good.

    I have routes of 2hr, 3hr, 4hr, etc, and if I plan to ride one of them in a sweet spot style, I'll take off with the goal of setting a course record, or comming close to my best time for the route. Start hard, ride hard, keep riding hard, and finish hard. Go till you blow or just can't hold the pace any longer. It should be a depleting ride and rack up lots of KJ (energy expenditure) and TSS (training stress). At least thats the way I use it

  9. #9
    LMN
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    Your sucess on that little training is quite impressive.

    A bit more volume would be benificial, but that can be difficult to manage with other stuff.

    If I was racing on that volume then I would make every ride count. You need to introduce the maximum amount of stress in that time. I would keep it simple, do 15 minutes easy warm-up and then go as hard as possible for the rest of the ride.

  10. #10
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    if you are training for around 10-12 hrs per week or 4-6 times per week how much time should be spent doing "sweet spot training"?

  11. #11
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    putting it together

    I have time to throw in another workout during the week bringing the weekly hours up-but I have a hard time knowing how long to let my legs rest for the next workout. The current workouts make my legs tired/fatigued for 2-3 days. When I don't rest enough my legs feel like crap on the bike. Last years plan was 7-9 hours a week and wasn't very effective (probably not enough intensity) This years plan is only 4-5 hours a week with oodles of intensity and has produced way better results than a 8-9 hour plan. I probably need to strike a balance between the 2.

    I think I need to periodize my training more thoughtfully and increase my ability to ride strong at the last half of the race after a strong fast start. I'll be pondering this for awhile as I plan for next season (still have one more race this sunday) I'm tempted to get a coach or buying a training plan but I think I can do a good job of self coaching if I think it through enough. I guess part of the trick is to train smarter and more efficiently not necessarily more.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbal
    if you are training for around 10-12 hrs per week or 4-6 times per week how much time should be spent doing "sweet spot training"?
    It depends on what you can handle. If 10-12 hours is more than you've ever done in the past, then you might not be able to do more than a couple of tough workouts per week and even the Sweet Spot workouts might qualify as tough.

    If, otoh, you are used to that much training, then you could probably do SST for most of your workouts, especially heading into the "off-season" or whatever we're calling the next three months. That's pretty much what I'll be doing.

    Your body will probably tell you ( but you have to be listening) which category you fall into and when you can handle more

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2fst4u
    I have time to throw in another workout during the week bringing the weekly hours up-but I have a hard time knowing how long to let my legs rest for the next workout. The current workouts make my legs tired/fatigued for 2-3 days. When I don't rest enough my legs feel like crap on the bike. Last years plan was 7-9 hours a week and wasn't very effective (probably not enough intensity) This years plan is only 4-5 hours a week with oodles of intensity and has produced way better results than a 8-9 hour plan. I probably need to strike a balance between the 2.

    I think I need to periodize my training more thoughtfully and increase my ability to ride strong at the last half of the race after a strong fast start. I'll be pondering this for awhile as I plan for next season (still have one more race this sunday) I'm tempted to get a coach or buying a training plan but I think I can do a good job of self coaching if I think it through enough. I guess part of the trick is to train smarter and more efficiently not necessarily more.
    How do you recover from your workouts in terms of nutrition and rest? There might be something there.

    Also, any chance of adding one longer ride per week (not necessarily easy, but not crazy hard), and gradually increasing the time? I think that recovery from workouts is easier and faster when you have a bigger base (in old terms...miles in your legs)and the endurance itself is something you acknowledge you need.

  14. #14
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    In my opinion, you build up to the volume you want (measured in time) on real easy efforts, then you start adding intensity gradually so you figure out what is sustainable.

    If climbing is your biggest weakness, guess what you should work on most?

  15. #15
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    more volume. it sounds like you have good intensity. If you can get a ride in over three hrs atleast once a week it would help. You do need a recovery day somewhere. maybe try some form of block training.....3-4 days hard day off, repeat.
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  16. #16
    Giant Anthem
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    Good stuff

    Thanks guys for all the suggestions-Sorry I haven't posted up on this thread lately. I started another thread "help me be a climber" so a lot of you have kicked in some advice on that one as well. Thinking this through I realize that my training plan got me faster than last year (still only 2.5 years old racing age so gains have come quick) but I haven't improved much since I peaked in early summer. Like LMN said it's challenging for a rider to improve throughout the season and takes a well put together plan to do so. This season I got stuck doing the same thing the last half of the year. Anywho, with as much advice as everyone is helping with, I hope to improve the weak areas and do well next season. Anaerobic power/power at threshold all needs to improve-thanks for all the suggestions guys.
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