Base miles or no base miles?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Base miles or no base miles?

    I'm planning on racing(finishing) either the High Cascades 100 or the Breck 100 next summer. Gave the HC100 a shot a few years ago but crapped out at 50 miles. Now I want redemption.

    That year I focused mostly on high intensity intervals thinking all the climbing would kill me coming from Texas. Which it did but I think it was the long slow constant climbs that killed me not the short, intense, steep hills I get around here.

    I didn't accumulate many base miles early in my training. I've been reading a lot and half of what I come across says, you must have loads of zone 2 base miles. The other half says it's a waste of time, focus on short intense efforts. "If you train slow you will be slow." Confused.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  2. #2
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    The answer is....both. If you are just looking to finish, you can probably get by with mostly base miles. A minimalist plan might look like:

    Weekday A: easy/moderate 1-2 hour ride
    Weekday B: 1 hr intense intervals/hills
    Weekend: slow pace, add time/distance steadily each weekend until you are doing 80% of your expected finish time. Make sure the elevation gain is close.

    Maybe add 1 other day with long slow cardio crosstraining, and 1 day for some strength, stretching, body maintenance.

    I hope that's enough because it's all I have time for!


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  3. #3
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    It always depends on the training time available. High volume makes only sense when you have enough time available.

    However, there is no substitute for saddle time in endurance racing.

  4. #4
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    I think the type of training may be different for the two races. I can only speak for my 2 DNFs in the Breck 100. Both times I had plenty in the tank to finish but missed the time cut offs at 70 and 60 miles. This year was not a normal year though, so don't use it to gage from. I would have probably made the finish if not for the hell on lap 1. No words can really describe what we were racing in at 6 am.

    For the breck, you need to be able to climb 10-20% grade quickly for 30-40 minutes at a time. And do that the whole day. So base miles are very important. I did alot of shorter intensity training this year which helped, but miles 30-60 is a series of 1500 ft climbs of 15-20% grade.

    The time cutoffs are not easy to make and you have to be able to climb quickly with very little stopped time. I didn't have the big climbing miles in this year do balancing family and I definitely felt it.

  5. #5
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    You are talking about two different things. To train for huge volume you have to do huge volume. To be fast at hot laps you do hot laps. Ideally you do both for either one but the fastest way to see improvements is to focus on specific stuff. If you want to have better fitness focus more on base because that builds and isnt fleeting. Then you can always increase your hot lap form over short periods of intense stuff.

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  6. #6
    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumblefish29er View Post
    The answer is....both. If you are just looking to finish, you can probably get by with mostly base miles. A minimalist plan might look like:

    Weekday A: easy/moderate 1-2 hour ride
    Weekday B: 1 hr intense intervals/hills
    Weekend: slow pace, add time/distance steadily each weekend until you are doing 80% of your expected finish time. Make sure the elevation gain is close.

    Maybe add 1 other day with long slow cardio crosstraining, and 1 day for some strength, stretching, body maintenance.

    I hope that's enough because it's all I have time for!


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    I try and do..

    Monday 2hr local 15mph group ride
    Tuesday 2hr cat1 hammering road or mtb
    Wednesday 1.5hr riding my bike around town. Jumping curbs riding stairs etc. Zero strain on legs. Ss is ideal.
    Thursday 2hr cat1 hammering road
    Friday recovery spin of 30-1hr
    Saturday 3-5 hrs below zone 4 mtb
    Sunday 3 hrs coffee ride road

    If you are super organized even the busiest person can swing that. Which will have you able to do endurance or shorter xc and not necessarily podium either at the highest level but definitely be out there racing and being competitive with your peers.

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlkAdder42 View Post
    No words can really describe what we were racing in at 6 am.
    Weather?
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  8. #8
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    Woke up at 4 am with a steady rain, which is unusual for Breck. It let up to a light mist at 6 am. By the time we were at the top of the first climb we were back to soaking rain. Wasn't alot of mud but the trails were under water for the rest of the lap. Temps in the low 40s. Lots of people pulled out after that lap, pretty much everyone not prepared for the weather. 5 hours in and it finally let up. Rest of the day was perfect racing weather. The top pro was almost 50 minutes slower then last year. Too much stopped time for me, changing gloves, socks. Trying to get drivetrains to work. Epic conditions.

    Great reports from this year.
    Breckenridge 100 – 2017
    Breckenridge 100 & 68 | MTB Race News

    For training wise, I am going to concentrate heavily on anything to do with climbing. You have to be quick on the climbs and enjoy it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    If you are super organized even the busiest person can swing that.
    Maybe, but if you have young kids and a job you'll have to sacrifice sleep.
    I brake for stinkbugs

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    Wednesday 1.5hr riding my bike around town. Jumping curbs riding stairs etc. Zero strain on legs. Ss is ideal.
    Funny. I do this every couple of weeks. I call it "Kid On a Bike Day"!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    Maybe, but if you have young kids and a job you'll have to sacrifice sleep.
    Yep, this. And sacrificing sleep is a price paid by my kids and marriage which is not how my priorities are stacked.

    Base miles are good. Great even. You can't screw them up. But they aren't the answer (IMO) when you don't have a lot of time at your disposal. High intensity work is the bulk of my volume and I try to get 1 or 2 long rides (over 3hrs) in before the endurance season starts. My longest ride this season prior to Wilderness 101 was a 5hr road ride. And I only got one of those. I dove right in on a 50 mile race (6hr finish time) before my hundos started. I was on track for a low 9hr finish at Wilderness (broken spokes/wheel DNF), finished CM100 in 11hrs and SM100 in a little over 10hrs. I find that my strength training pays bigger dividends per unit time invested than base miles in the saddle. Don't get me wrong though, around mile 60 the lack of base and volume really makes the suffering worse IMO. Years where I get more long rides in before the season starts I find I can endure the pain after 60 miles a little easier than years without. YMMV

  12. #12
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    Perhaps look into sweet spot training if you're short on hours but are looking for similar adaptation. Another option is to get a trainer, most people say you get about 1.5x time benefit from the trainer (ie. 1hr on the trainer is equal to 1.5hrs outside) because you pedal against resistance with no breaks (similar to climbing for one hour straight).

  13. #13
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    Thanks everyone. Sweet spot is lower zone 4? Using 1-5 zone heart rates. I don't have a power meter.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

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    I am very limited by time as well. Got a good quality light and spend many pre dawn and post dusk hours. Even getting in 2 hour rides during the week helps. Also beats a hour session on the trainer any day. Just be careful with cars if you don't have trails you can ride at night. Planning on including at least 1 day/night of hill sprints on my neighborhood streets to try and increase my climbing pace.

    Remember, racing 100s you generally want to stay well below threshhold, at altitude, you will not recover from a hard effort.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    Thanks everyone. Sweet spot is lower zone 4? Using 1-5 zone heart rates. I don't have a power meter.
    SST is where powermeters shine. Because of cardiac drift I find it difficult to hit this zone with heart rate only. With HR there is a tendency to start in the threshold range, hence to high. And it is difficult to stay in SST because HR moves. Then add slow responsiveness of HR on second or third days of training.

    With HR only people often do more threshold than SST training.

  16. #16
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    Lenny-

    Frank Overton has a really nice chart and article about SST training. He doesn't use the 1-5 HR zone paradigm, but, nonetheless, I think you'll be able to translate it.

    https://fascatcoaching.com/tips/how-...spot-training/

  17. #17
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    Agree w/ trainer comment. Not sure where you are, but if you have cold winters and snow a trainer w/ a good plan is a great (sometimes boring) way to get ready for the racing season.

    Get a smart trainer if possible and follow some TrainerRoad, Training Peaks, or other plans. I'm a bad example because something always comes up and I screw up my winter training. But when I'm consistent I see some nice gains in both endurance and power.

  18. #18
    It ain't easy being Green
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    Two seasons ago I switched from high volume training to high intensity and my endurance race results have improved. It's weird, non-obvious and I don't know why it works but it does (for me). My longest training ride, road or MTB, is three hours but on every non-recovery ride I'm pushing for PR's on every hill. Also I try to ride every day if possible, even if it's only a commute. After a winter of doing that I raced a 130 miler in May, no problem, the Breck Epic in August and the Silver State 508 (2X relay) just last week. YMMV obviously. The SoCal weather allows me to ride year-round, if you live in a "winter" area I agree with G-Choro that a structured trainer workout is the way to go.

  19. #19
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    This isn't necessarily training method specific, but losing weight off my body instantly makes me a better climber and more tolerant of hours in the saddle, regardless of training method. Even just 5-10 lbs lighter from the winter makes a huge difference. As far as "hacks" for getting the most out of training, i'd put weight loss near the top; it's all about power-to-weight ratio.

  20. #20
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    AT 6'1" 155 I may have to remove a kidney to lose weight. I'm not against it but I'm not sure insurance would cover it.
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

  21. #21
    DLd
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    Haha. You got that part down then. I think, as others have said, it's a combination of the two, not one or the other. I follow more of a polarization plan, as opposed to SST, and I've seen big gains since I switched. Polarization is you have days you do base miles in Zone 2, and then you have 2-3 days a week where you do high intensity intervals that are more Zone 5-6, so above threshold efforts. An example of two interval plans I really like are https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/gc...ast-super-fast and https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/gc...ut-fast-vo2-ac

    For my typical week, Monday is a rest day, then Tuesday would be one of the above workouts, Wednesday 1 hour or more of Zone 2 endurance, Thursday, the other one of the workouts above. Friday, 45min-1hr active recovery zone 1. Saturday, big fun 3 hour mountain bike ride, where I attack a few 10 minute climbs, and maybe attack a 2-3 minute climb 3 times near the end of the ride, with taking it easy on some of the climbs, and trying to maintain an endurance pace and focus on my cornering skills, and just have fun mountain biking during the rest of the ride. Sunday is usually try to get in a sort of big endurance day, maybe on the road bike, or maybe on mountain if I'm near trails that are well-suited to it. 2-3 hours of Zone 2 essentially. With polarization you essentially don't spend any time really, in Tempo, Sweetspot or Threshold, it's all either Zone 1-2, or above threshold.

    Whereas Sweet Spot training is like gently trying to push your FTP up from below, doing 4x8 minutes @110% FTP is more like dragging it up the stairs by the hair. The workouts are brutally hard and difficult to finish, whereas SweetSpot training by definition is easy, you're generally only doing 20-30 minutes at a time at a pace that's only 90% of what you know you could hold for an hour. It doesn't mean there's no place for Sweetspot though. It seems to be effective for someone who only has 6-8 hours/week to train, since you can recover from it faster and hence do it more often. The downside to polarization, is that to get enough of the Zone 2 in, generally requires more training time overall, so it's effective if you have 9+ hours a week to train.

    I'll sometimes do a workout that is at Tempo or Threshold, but with harder efforts interspersed, so that you have to do your recovery at the Tempo or Threshold. It trains your body to recover from hard efforts while you're still going at race pace, like preparing you for powering through a rock garden, or up a technical section during a long climb. Something like this: https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/60...aris-roubaix-1 or this https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/gc...tspot-w-steeps

    Finally, for some of my long endurance days, it makes it a lot more interesting to insert some sprints every 10-15 minutes or so into a 2-3 hours endurance ride, staying in Zone 2 for your recovery. Generally all-out sprint for about 10 secs, then right back into Zone 2. Supposedly it helps recruit more of your fast twitch muscles for endurance efforts. It also helps keep boredom away and reminds you to stand up. Here's an example. https://whatsonzwift.com/workouts/12...d/week-1-day-6
    That's like polarization in just one workout. Shows a workout doesn't have to just be base, or HIIT. One workout can be both.

    EDIT: A summation of my workout strategy could be, go easy on your easy days, and hard on your hard days. If you're not looking forward to your recovery rides, you didn't go hard enough on your hard days.
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  22. #22
    Ride Fast Take Chances :)
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    Some good advice here. I also wanted to add that you need to not over train. Listen to your body and when your knees are aching or your back is hurting, take some time off.
    I would plan on several 100 mile rides before the race to get used to spending that much time on the bike. This is a great time to make sure your food and water intake is sufficient. Fueling for a 100 mile ride is important.
    Intervals make your legs strong, distance makes your taint strong. You need both.

  23. #23
    DLd
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    Some good advice here. I also wanted to add that you need to not over train. Listen to your body and when your knees are aching or your back is hurting, take some time off.
    I would plan on several 100 mile rides before the race to get used to spending that much time on the bike. This is a great time to make sure your food and water intake is sufficient. Fueling for a 100 mile ride is important.
    Intervals make your legs strong, distance makes your taint strong. You need both.
    +1
    I forgot to mention. I'll usually do 3 weeks of hard training like above, then one week easy, usually with an FTP test at the end of the easy week, then back at it.
    Fall is here. Woo-hoo!

  24. #24
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    I'm in the "it's the volume" camp.

    1) annecdotal evidence: last winter I upped my training from 10-14 h/wk to >20 h/wk. I maintained this high volume during the season, though with a different structure.

    I'm not a newbie, I race since my junior years (with the common years off because of life circumstances). I'm now in my early 40s. Because of the change in training my race results changed drastically. I'm now a podium candidate in my age group. And a top 10-30 rider overall. In more competitive races like UCI Marathon World series races. I even managed to get some world cup points. This was a massive improvement to previous years.

    2) epidemiological evidence: there are studies looking into the relationship of factors explaining race rankings. One study looked into this relationship for a mountain bike marathon in Switzerland (120km, 5000m elev gain)

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21522074

    Interestingly, only total training volume and "short distance performance" explained racing time. Other factors like body mass index or so did not have an impact.


    But in the end, all/many roads lead to rome. Whatever works for someone ...

  25. #25
    eri
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    After 3 years of less structured training I spent 3 years doing hiit at home on trainer, riding hard intervals whenever I rode trails. Really enjoyed sufferfest workouts. I made progress on longer events but improvements felt pretty marginal and riding longer races my pace was slow and I still hurt lots.

    Past winter I did several units (almost 3 but weather and daylight returned) of trainerroad high volume traditional base. Was from 9 to 12.7 hours per week. My riding was transformed, much less pain and never need to stop. Most interesting was how my heart rate changed month after month. The workouts were time consuming and boring and was a very new sort of pain (first Few hours are boring watching YouTube and last few were sometimes excruciatingly painful, counting pedal strokes.)

    My belief now is that experienced and fast people already have a 'base' and us slow beginners benefit lots more from base training.
    the truth is always a gift because it offers the recipient of that information the chance to change the outcome - Grace Choi

  26. #26
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    ride more road centuries or other LONG road rides. it gets you used to long days in the saddle but doesn't beat you up as much as long mtb rides.

    if you crapped out at 50 miles due to your own engine, you either need to harden up or ride more; probably both?

    maybe not you BUT i find lots of people give up to easily... sure you'll feel like absolute shit at some point during a long race like this; maybe slow down but KEEP GOING; it will get better...

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by max-a-mill View Post
    maybe not you BUT i find lots of people give up to easily... sure you'll feel like absolute shit at some point during a long race like this; maybe slow down but KEEP GOING; it will get better...
    This. And those who give up easy in an endurance race are probably not working hard enough during an interval to make an interval based HIIT training program effective.

  28. #28
    eri
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    This. And those who give up easy in an endurance race are probably not working hard enough during an interval to make an interval based HIIT training program effective.
    Respectfully I think you are full of 'it'. Improvements are 'path dependent', what works depends on your current state. Rather than blame folks for lack of guts, realize for untrained folk it is actually pretty easy to go too hard.

    I was an elite athlete in earlier days, no stranger to the deepest depths of pain cave (rowing) I started doing endurance races at an older age and the pain and consequences of those first races were beyond what I will tolerate now that I know better. Think riding zombie who can't stay on the trail. Lucky to have survived those crashes and rides without injury.

    Now that I know how to fuel and hydrate and have a base I'm able to actually race 50-100 mile instead of just survive. Yeah it hurts the same in the moment, maybe more, but Body stays more coherent, I'm not shaking and can keep my balance. I give almost no credit to the hiit (which I adore - sufferfest!) and much to the boring 3-4 months doing long z2 on trainer (12-15 hours week.) Hard hiit I'm only good for 4-5 week.

    I'm still not 'competitive' (top riders 30% faster) but at least I'm in the game now thanks to base work. At least For Me my base was and still is the deficit I need to improve.
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  29. #29
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    Ride your bike for more than the distance of the race. My experience is coming from touring, but I had a mental barrier that was completely shattered when i road from pittsburgh to DC. 350 miles in roughly 80 - 100 mile days. Since then, long days, long climbs, steep hills are completely different. Things have become more doable than they previously were.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaneDetroitCity View Post
    You are talking about two different things. To train for huge volume you have to do huge volume. To be fast at hot laps you do hot laps. Ideally you do both for either one but the fastest way to see improvements is to focus on specific stuff. If you want to have better fitness focus more on base because that builds and isnt fleeting. Then you can always increase your hot lap form over short periods of intense stuff.

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    Good advice, essentially how the top CX guys train too. People always assume for short hard race, short hard training is all you need. Top CX guys that race for an hour only, train 30+ hrs a week in off-season, long and slow. They ramp up with specificity closer to the actual season.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    After 3 years of less structured training I spent 3 years doing hiit at home on trainer, riding hard intervals whenever I rode trails. Really enjoyed sufferfest workouts. I made progress on longer events but improvements felt pretty marginal and riding longer races my pace was slow and I still hurt lots.

    Past winter I did several units (almost 3 but weather and daylight returned) of trainerroad high volume traditional base. Was from 9 to 12.7 hours per week. My riding was transformed, much less pain and never need to stop. Most interesting was how my heart rate changed month after month. The workouts were time consuming and boring and was a very new sort of pain (first Few hours are boring watching YouTube and last few were sometimes excruciatingly painful, counting pedal strokes.)

    My belief now is that experienced and fast people already have a 'base' and us slow beginners benefit lots more from base training.
    Eri - very well said. I come from a rowing background too. When I first started racing I attacked the course like a 2k, usually cramped up and suffered through the last 30 min.

    Most 'beginners' that do well in cycling, from what I have seen come from a running background....'new' cyclists but not 'new' at having a massive base. They get good and fast quick.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    Past winter I did several units (almost 3 but weather and daylight returned) of trainerroad high volume traditional base. Was from 9 to 12.7 hours per week.
    How do you divide up those 9-13 hours a week?
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

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    Different sport but a co-worker used to run the 5k at a top D1 program.....weekly training mileage was 60-90 per week!! Tons of base miles fitting 5-15 miles in multiple times per day, consistently over time....his marathon pace at age 35 is pretty much my 400m sprint....that's the kind of speed that comes from a huge base with occasional focus on speed work.

    Quote Originally Posted by ArizRider View Post
    Good advice, essentially how the top CX guys train too. People always assume for short hard race, short hard training is all you need. Top CX guys that race for an hour only, train 30+ hrs a week in off-season, long and slow. They ramp up with specificity closer to the actual season.

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    Base miles = long and slow? I'd rather say long and steady. Base miles are only slow if the aerobic engine is poorly developed. I would say this is one of the greatest misconceptions about base training. Probably a left over from over 30 years ago when some coaches advocated noodling around in the small chainring. However, the "inventors" of base training (Lydiard and others) never advocated this. Base training had to be close to the aerobic threshold.

    This is where using a heart rate monitor in combination with a powermeter shines. Heart rate isn't dead yet, there is still tremendious value for base training. Ride your base miles at your lower threshold heart rate (in my experience all the estimation methods out there yield similar results .... Friel or Maffetone). If your aerobic engine is weak speed/wattage will be slow/low initially. But as the engine develops you get faster and faster, building those precious mitochondria - the foundation for intensity later. The bigger/stronger the foundation, the more intensity you can pack on it later.

  35. #35
    eri
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    How do you divide up those 9-13 hours a week?
    A bunch of time below 40-50% ftp. Heart rate would start out at 125 (my max is 195) and rise to 165 after 3.5 hours.

    The later sessions had some days that spent 20-40 minutes above Lt, then below. In 10 weeks there was nothing above 65-70% unless I chose to retest ftp.

    Something happened at 5-6 weeks in, my heart rate started getting and staying lower, long sessions became much less painful. And then it started in with the lt stuff and more pain.

    The base stuff was effective for me and the gains seem very durable.

  36. #36
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    Yep and plenty, never enough. Is need for recovery and intensive work, is very simple. Homeostasis is need it, comes from a lots of work. How much is up to our schedule, goals and so on. Also you need some longgg ride, as long as you can. I just finished a 100km Saturday and a 50km a week ago. Also the four kids I coach.

  37. #37
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    Need both.

    HIIT training expands your range of abilities. You need to spend time high intensity with that "I am going to puke" feeling. This pushes your limits quite a bit.

    However for long endurance stuff you still need to have base miles. You need to know how hard you can push to ride all day long. You can't go 100% max effort like you do for a interval for 50 to 100 miles. You will blow up. So you need to back off for the long rides. Base miles help.

    Here another way to look at it.

    Lets say your start out at 250watts of power for a typical climb under 30 minutes.

    HIIT training pushes you to 350watts for 2-10 mintues. Then rest. That 350watts will be brutal and hard.

    However once you have done that then you will find you can handle 300 watts for 30 mintues instead of just 250. Of course at this point you 100% flat out pace should be 400 watts.

    Now for 50-100 mile distance with 60 min climbs you may be down to 250 watts again, but that is stil better than where you stated. They key is you still need base miles to push the watts over time longer and longer. HIIT increases your watts, but base helps expand the duration.

    Note base miles should not be a 100watts for 3 hrs. That does not do much, but 200 watts for 3 hrs with pushes to 250 or 300 is what you need

    I think too many people think base miles are just easy spinning. No! Unless you are doing proper recovery think those are garbage miles.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post

    I didn't accumulate many base miles early in my training.
    My recollection is you went overboard from the 1st of the year to April that year, and then burned out right when you should have been ramping up. You have the opposite issues the rest of us have since you live in Texas; training conditions get harder as you get closer to peak endurance race season.
    There are 9 months between now and those races, so lay out a sensible calendar. Where are you fitness wise? When was your last break?
    Does it have to be one of those two races? If you've never done a 100 (IIRC you've done a couple 100ks but not a 100 miler) why add the physiologic strain of arid racing and altitude when you are from a humid flat location? What about the Cohutta and/or Shenandoah next year and an altitude race in 2019?

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    Quote Originally Posted by euro-trash View Post
    My recollection is you went overboard from the 1st of the year to April that year, and then burned out right when you should have been ramping up. You have the opposite issues the rest of us have since you live in Texas; training conditions get harder as you get closer to peak endurance race season.
    There are 9 months between now and those races, so lay out a sensible calendar. Where are you fitness wise? When was your last break?
    Does it have to be one of those two races? If you've never done a 100 (IIRC you've done a couple 100ks but not a 100 miler) why add the physiologic strain of arid racing and altitude when you are from a humid flat location? What about the Cohutta and/or Shenandoah next year and an altitude race in 2019?
    I'm open to other races at lower altitude. However, I'm a teacher and I'm off for the summer so races between June and early August are ideal as far as travel goes. The High Cascades altitude didn't seem to get to me. The long climbs did. My legs gave out. Here all I did for climbing training was short hill repeats and it didn't get me ready for the constant load of a 15-30 minute climb. I've started a Sweet spot plan and I like the sustained intensity. Feel like it might prepare me more than the hill repeats did. Any other race suggestions that fall between June and August?
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

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    There is a different effort required for 15-30 or 60 min climbs vs 5 min sprint climbs. You can simulate with long hard pulls on a road bike. Even on flat ground. Just hammer hard for 30-40 min at max watts. Over time you should be able to push more watts for longer. Then when you hit the big long hills you are ready for that level of effort/duration. Even if you do an hour and 15 min road ride you can get in two 30 min long intervals. Warm up 5-10 min, Go hard for 30, rest for 5, go hard for 30. Cool down. Ok maybe more like hour 1:20 to 1:30, but you get the idea. The key is long constant efforts. This often hard to do a mtn bike without long hills given the nature of most trails. However Texas long dirt roads a good too. Your "resistance" will be wind even on level ground.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdcadbiker View Post
    Two seasons ago I switched from high volume training to high intensity and my endurance race results have improved. It's weird, non-obvious and I don't know why it works but it does (for me). My longest training ride, road or MTB, is three hours but on every non-recovery ride I'm pushing for PR's on every hill. Also I try to ride every day if possible, even if it's only a commute. After a winter of doing that I raced a 130 miler in May, no problem, the Breck Epic in August and the Silver State 508 (2X relay) just last week. YMMV obviously. The SoCal weather allows me to ride year-round, if you live in a "winter" area I agree with G-Choro that a structured trainer workout is the way to go.
    But I bet all those years of high volume training probably gave you a great base to work with moving forward. I know a few 'seasoned' riders than can jump in and do a long ride no problem but are not particular fast when it comes to the high intensity stuff.

  42. #42
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    Base miles for adaptation to long endurance events. Then build on speed. Dont shortcut it as you will know what you have missed when you go up against someone who put the time in, and did the base work. Your call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eri View Post
    Respectfully I think you are full of 'it'. Improvements are 'path dependent', what works depends on your current state. Rather than blame folks for lack of guts, realize for untrained folk it is actually pretty easy to go too hard.
    I think maybe you are reading more into what I wrote than is there. See my earlier post, we aren't exactly disagreeing here. For the record, I'm not bashing anyone, just stating a general observation. I'm a slow starter, and combined with being on an SS, I get passed by a LOT of people early in a race and thus get to see a higher percentage of people who ultimately drop out. At SM100 I was riding with people who were hoping for a 13hr finish at one point. CM100 I was 3rd from DFL before we hit the single track. Likewise at Wilderness 101. My ultimate pace is slow because I don't have the time to put in a lot of base miles and long rides. I know I'd be faster with these, but for a goal of "finish" I don't think base miles is the ONLY way to skin that cat.

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    When you guys/girls race do you keep an eye on your HR monitor or power meter or just go by feel?
    Small ring in front makes it easier. Small ring in back makes it harder. That blows my mind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    When you guys/girls race do you keep an eye on your HR monitor or power meter or just go by feel?
    feel mostly but all of the above as it's easy to get excited at the beginning. Depending on the length you may have a second or third wind to keep in check as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    I'm open to other races at lower altitude. However, I'm a teacher and I'm off for the summer so races between June and early August are ideal as far as travel goes.
    Take a look at the MTBR endurance calendar: Endurance Mountain Bike Race Calendar - Mountain Bike Radio It has mostly 2017 events but that will give you a good idea of the rough timing of events in 2018. You obviously need to find an event that excites you to stay motivated.
    Adding plane travel, unfamiliar trails, altitude, and severe changes in humidity to your first 100 is a brutal combo for anyone. I'd say choose an event that has 2 of those maximum.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    When you guys/girls race do you keep an eye on your HR monitor or power meter or just go by feel?
    I don't have power on my mountain bike. In some ways I'm glad I don't have it to look at during a race, it would be one more thing to think about, and unless you're on a road portion it just varies so much on mountain bike. I do leave HR on the display, and I'll glance at it once in a while but I really mostly go by feel. I suppose if I saw my HR pretty low, I might be like "guess I'm recovered, time to step it up" but I don't usually make any changes to my pace based on HR, I just note where it is and sort of think about if it makes sense with the way I'm feeling. When I taper for a race, typically I'm able to achieve a much higher average heart rate then I usually see during training when I'm carrying a lot of fatigue. Times when my heart rate is highest I'm usually so busy riding that I don't even see that till after when I look at my data.

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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lenny7 View Post
    When you guys/girls race do you keep an eye on your HR monitor or power meter or just go by feel?
    I go by feel. Even if you do heart rate the same thing applies. This where you need to learn how hard you can push your body for a certain distance. If you have 90 min sprint race or I have 60 min laps on a 24 hr team race I know I can pretty much go 100% and leave all out there. Recover and then do it again later. However for 5-14 hour single push things are very different. I can't go flat out that entire time and finish. I have to learn how hard I can go for an "all day" pace. I happen to do it by feel, but you can look at heart rate and say "I can sustain 130 bpm all day, but I can't handle 160 for more than 60 min and if I go to 180 bpm I am too deep in the red and will burning a match". When I did the Arizona trail 300 bikepack race I tried to stay low in peak effort because I knew I had 4-5 full days of riding 14-18hrs each day. So as soon as I felt was going over 85% on a climb I pulled the plug and walked it. That race was about not blowing up and just maintain a steady pace for days. A simple 100 mile race does not require that level of control of max effort, but you do still need to know hard you can push your body. Peak interval trailing expands you capacity, but you still need to know how hard you can push. Can you go 95% max effort for 12 hrs? Or do you need to go 90% so you don't crack at 8hrs in. That takes some effort to ride distance to see where you are. You can call it training, but maybe is better understood as learning. More mental learning than physical training.
    Joe
    '18 Specialized Epic 29", Vassago Verhauen SS 29", '13 Santa Cruz Solo 27.5", XC, AM, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  49. #49
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    I try to keep an eye on the avg, HR during the first few hours. Because most likely you are ready, excited and in shape. So you'll hammer down, and it works for about 3hrs or so. Then the tank goes empty, the suffering begins, especially if your intake of food wasn't optimal.

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