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  1. #1
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    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    LDC is ded,deth by trollz
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    Thank you for sharing

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    Speakes volumes

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    Thank you excellent read and I'm a fan of hers.

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    aren't all Elite Scandinavians training polarised? I see so much tempo and threshold in her TID. I guess she didn't get the Seiler memo ;-)

    Really interesting read and once again proof that Elite training is actually quite simple:

    * volume
    * training hard means really hard, dark red. It does not matter if 4x4, 4x8 or 4x16. All that matters is that you push hard. Harder than before to spark those adaptions.

    Who has written the text, her coach? There is no author given.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    Who has written the text, her coach? There is no author given.
    My name is Thomas and Annika is my better half. Ive been riding since the early 90s but was never as successful as Annika. So I had to come up with something else to do. That something else turned out to be studying which led to a phd-position at the University of Copenhagen with Nikolai Nordsborg. The guy that got me into all this studying and research however is Carsten Lundby. A professor at the University of Zrich, my co-supervisor, a keen athlete and good friend. Today I work as a coach for some talented riders (Simon Andreassen, Sebastian Fini and Andreas Kron among others) and am very much influenced by the time Ive spend with both Nikolai and Carsten.

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    It is always very interesting to read what the elite are doing.

    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    aren't all Elite Scandinavians training polarised? I see so much tempo and threshold in her TID. I guess she didn't get the Seiler memo ;-)
    I assume you mean Zones 3 and 4 for Tempo and Threshold. Is 17-19% a lot of time?

    She is still spending about 75% in zones 1 and 2 (so under Tempo I assume).

    I am familiar with Polarized training, 80/20. Is it not difficult to be completely polarized (80/20) with MTB racing because we spend a lot of time racing around Z4?

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    Just as another data set: Catharine in the last 365 days. By power:
    Zone 1: 50%
    Zone 2: 23%
    Zone 3: 12%
    Zone 4: 7%
    Zone 5: 3.5%
    Zone 6: 3.5%

    By HR
    Zone 1 and 2: 80%
    Zone 3 and 4: 12%
    Zone 5 and 6: 8%
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    I was hoping they'd list her CP3 and CP12 numbers, and racing weight.
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    I'm more interested in knowing her NP for those events. Average power doesn't do much. Also, I just did a quick search and she's listed at 5'9 and 140 pounds. Not sure how accurate that is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    I'm more interested in knowing her NP for those events. Average power doesn't do much. Also, I just did a quick search and she's listed at 5'9 and 140 pounds. Not sure how accurate that is.
    140lb seems heavy for those power numbers. I would suspect that to win with those numbers that race weight is between 130 and 135.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    140lb seems heavy for those power numbers. I would suspect that to win with those numbers that race weight is between 130 and 135.
    At first glance 140 at 59 does seem a little high considering Im 58 and when Im 140 Im still not super lean. I dont know what a top female at that height *should*, but Id expect less.

    I still dont know what kind of insight avg power would give you for an xc race. You are neck deep in this stuff - what kind of np would you expect from her given those avg power numbers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    At first glance 140 at 59 does seem a little high considering Im 58 and when Im 140 Im still not super lean. I dont know what a top female at that height *should*, but Id expect less.

    I still dont know what kind of insight avg power would give you for an xc race. You are neck deep in this stuff - what kind of np would you expect from her given those avg power numbers?
    I actually find average power is a better predictor of placing then NP for XC racing. I have a ton of power files and done regression analysis of both norm and average and found that average watts/kg is a better predictor of finish than NP/kg.

    I would expect that her NP for S.A. is 4.5-4.9 watts/kg.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    I actually find average power is a better predictor of placing then NP for XC racing. I have a ton of power files and done regression analysis of both norm and average and found that average watts/kg is a better predictor of finish than NP/kg.

    I would expect that her NP for S.A. is 4.5-4.9 watts/kg.
    Not to put words in your mouth, but:

    Is AP/kg better than NP/kg because it might indicate a steadier effort? And, might NP be indicative of working through a lot of traffic? Surge, pass, recover, repeat?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    Not to put words in your mouth, but:

    Is AP/kg better than NP/kg because it might indicate a steadier effort? And, might NP be indicative of working through a lot of traffic? Surge, pass, recover, repeat?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

    I think the Norm Power algorithm isn't that great for mountain biking. Mountain bike racing, particularly WC MTB racing, is super high wattages followed by zero watts. I don't think the algorithm was designed to model that type of racing. Works great on road, but not as good on the dirt.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    I actually find average power is a better predictor of placing then NP for XC racing. I have a ton of power files and done regression analysis of both norm and average and found that average watts/kg is a better predictor of finish than NP/kg.

    I would expect that her NP for S.A. is 4.5-4.9 watts/kg.
    Interesting, I wouldn't have thought this was the case. I was thinking along the lines of average power not being as useful because if a rider was smoother with less braking, and therefore less accelerating, they would show a lower average power; thus not telling an accurate overall story.

    I have never used a power meter on a mtn bike, so I don't have much experience in this area. Thanks for the info.

    Edit: I suppose the same criticism could be used for NP - if the rider wasn't smooth and braking too much and having to reaccelerate, then their NP would be inflated.

    Comparing the gap between AP and NP could be quire useful to give some insight into the demands and/or how efficient the rider was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    I think the Norm Power algorithm isn't that great for mountain biking. Mountain bike racing, particularly WC MTB racing, is super high wattages followed by zero watts. I don't think the algorithm was designed to model that type of racing. Works great on road, but not as good on the dirt.
    This is interesting to note given Miller's findings (below) that intermittent power seems to predict XCO outcomes better than FTP. And this seems to agree with LMN's observation of high watts/no watts efforts in XCO. I don't know the NP algorithm in detail but my former coach tells me it tracks better to intermittent power than average power; which would lead me to believe NP predicts XC success (intermittent power) more so than Avg Power. I've got more to learn.

    Validity of using functional threshold power and intermittent power to predict cross-country mountain bike race outcome | Miller | Journal of Science and Cycling

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    Great read, thanks for sharing. I'm beginning to see a link between XCO and XCM performance myself, definitely viewed them as mutually exclusive in some ways before.
    -DC, just some XC Bum from FL in NW Arkansas

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    I read it, I really didn't think it was that great.

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    Hey folks!

    I'm the one who wrote the two pieces on Annikas website. I'll have to admit that the last was not as thorough as I would've liked it to be. But hopefully joining this discussion will add a bit.
    Regarding NP (as with almost all other concepts coming from TrainingPeaks) I have to say that it is not something we use very much. Very little of the stuff TrainingPeaks put out is scientifically validated. However, this does not mean that it's not usuable in a functional way. It's bit like the argument of "no pain, no gain" as long as you inflict adequate amount of pain you'll improve. And it doesn't matter if you're using one system or the other. But given my background in physiology I like working with models that are openly shared and published so that others can confirm (or reject) the concepts. Hence, the use of CP and not mFTP. The equivalent to NP would be xPower (but then again not the same) and for the marathon race, XCO and CX the xPower is 261, 254 and 200 watts, respectively. In this case the xPower for CX is with the running sections included.
    FYI can tell that we're trying to publish (the gruop I'm working in at the August Krogh Institute in Copenhagen) a paper on the physiological demands in XC-mtb. We did a bunch of measurements in and outside the lab and while can't give to much away (since it isn't published yet) I can tell that repeated sprint performance didn't correllate nearly as strong with performance as some of the aerobic measurements. We have a relatively well trained group from the danish national team including Simon Andreassen and Sebastian Fini Carstensen.

    I think an important point is that the racing and the course is just as important as say NP. If you look at the numbers from Annikas XCM win last year you need to keep in mind that it was a fast course with a lot of bunch racing. So the dynamics of the race was very different than at XCM Worlds in 2015 (Val Gardena) where the climbs were long and the field was split after a few miles. That would've probably be a very different power file

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    We did a bunch of measurements in and outside the lab and while can't give to much away (since it isn't published yet) I can tell that repeated sprint performance didn't correllate nearly as strong with performance as some of the aerobic measurements.
    Thank-you for coming on here and expanding on your post!

    I know you don't want to give too many details regarding the testing you are doing with mtn biking performance - I'm just trying to understand what you are saying above - are you saying that the ability to sprint repeatedly doesn't correlate with overall race performance as well as say a high CP or V02max?

    If that is what you are saying, then I'm just wondering how you would isolate the two of them and come to this conclusion?

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    I just want to say that I love this discussion as well as it's application to other endurance sports such as running. Thanks!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    Hey folks!

    I'm the one who wrote the two pieces on Annikas website. I'll have to admit that the last was not as thorough as I would've liked it to be. But hopefully joining this discussion will add a bit.
    Regarding NP (as with almost all other concepts coming from TrainingPeaks) I have to say that it is not something we use very much. Very little of the stuff TrainingPeaks put out is scientifically validated. However, this does not mean that it's not usuable in a functional way. It's bit like the argument of "no pain, no gain" as long as you inflict adequate amount of pain you'll improve. And it doesn't matter if you're using one system or the other. But given my background in physiology I like working with models that are openly shared and published so that others can confirm (or reject) the concepts. Hence, the use of CP and not mFTP. The equivalent to NP would be xPower (but then again not the same) and for the marathon race, XCO and CX the xPower is 261, 254 and 200 watts, respectively. In this case the xPower for CX is with the running sections included.
    FYI can tell that we're trying to publish (the gruop I'm working in at the August Krogh Institute in Copenhagen) a paper on the physiological demands in XC-mtb. We did a bunch of measurements in and outside the lab and while can't give to much away (since it isn't published yet) I can tell that repeated sprint performance didn't correllate nearly as strong with performance as some of the aerobic measurements. We have a relatively well trained group from the danish national team including Simon Andreassen and Sebastian Fini Carstensen.

    I think an important point is that the racing and the course is just as important as say NP. If you look at the numbers from Annikas XCM win last year you need to keep in mind that it was a fast course with a lot of bunch racing. So the dynamics of the race was very different than at XCM Worlds in 2015 (Val Gardena) where the climbs were long and the field was split after a few miles. That would've probably be a very different power file
    Welcome, and thanks for expanding on the concepts. This is extremely helpful. It is surprising to me that Annika's xPower in XCM and XCO were comparable. I would have thought XCO would have seen higher numbers overall and, in specific, higher spikes of power outputs (which I think generally correlate to higher xPower and NP values). Can you talk through this a little?

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    Sprint vs. aerobic comment is interesting, but like the above question, how can the two be separated since one would need to start at the same baseline possibly in different years? Also, I think the common reason many of us rely on repeated sprint type intervals is the time issue. We know that 6 hour rides at a low intensity to build aerobic is better, but again, its a time issue. Also, thanks a ton for posting, I really appreciate it!

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    As a general comment, I think runners have known this for years! I'm talking about the training that has proven to be successful for shorter distances vs. longer distances for the same discipline.

    For instance, the training volume and intensity for a runner specializing in the mile (around 4min. give or take some seconds) is very similar to the volume and intensity for a marathoner (2:05-2:10) at the elite level. This is an extreme example - you could probably even bring that down to 800m for running to be honest.

    Obviously the training in my example isn't identical, but it wouldn't require much tweaking to go from an elite miler to an elite marathoner. You do see this happening during running careers. Normally it's more of a step process though - going up to 10,000m then up to the marathon.

    Back to mtn biking though. Going from a 90 min. race to a 4 hour race really should be pretty darn close from a training and physiological sense. Just a bit of fine tuning I would think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litemike View Post
    Sprint vs. aerobic comment is interesting, but like the above question, how can the two be separated since one would need to start at the same baseline possibly in different years? Also, I think the common reason many of us rely on repeated sprint type intervals is the time issue. We know that 6 hour rides at a low intensity to build aerobic is better, but again, its a time issue. Also, thanks a ton for posting, I really appreciate it!
    A very valid point! Personally and for some of the athletes I've worked with (this year i only have three) this also holds true. If you don't have time for 6 hour rides and the following recovery (probably more important than the 6 hours!) I would do a lot more "pain" by including efforts with higher intensity. In the spring of 2017 when Annika was studying full time we reduced volume and had a lot more high intensity training.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "how can the two be separated since one would need to start at the same baseline possibly in different years?"?

    But regarding the two provided race files I suspect some bias in that the XCM wasn't really that long (3hours) and it was a big group of strong riders (Annika, Spitz, Dahle-Flesjaa, Neff) against each to the end. And as I recall it was a bit "stop and go" the entire race. For the Cape Epic the files are actualle much more "steady state".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Litemike View Post
    Sprint vs. aerobic comment is interesting, but like the above question, how can the two be separated since one would need to start at the same baseline possibly in different years? Also, I think the common reason many of us rely on repeated sprint type intervals is the time issue. We know that 6 hour rides at a low intensity to build aerobic is better, but again, its a time issue. Also, thanks a ton for posting, I really appreciate it!
    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    Thank-you for coming on here and expanding on your post!

    I know you don't want to give too many details regarding the testing you are doing with mtn biking performance - I'm just trying to understand what you are saying above - are you saying that the ability to sprint repeatedly doesn't correlate with overall race performance as well as say a high CP or V02max?

    If that is what you are saying, then I'm just wondering how you would isolate the two of them and come to this conclusion?
    In that particular study the repetaed sprint test was four Wingate-tests (30 sec all out) with two min recovery between each. They did correlate significantly with performance but VO2max showed an even stronger correlation. For performance we used the national championship lap times.

    Remember that repeated sprint test like this isn't NP or xPower but I think of it as kind of a "surrogate" in this discussion. I don't really think that it's one or the other. You need to have both to be a fast mtb'er. In my mind the discipline (XCO and/or XCM) is the most complex of disciplines. I just think that people often tend to focus on many other things as important for performance in this sport than a highly developed aerobic energy system. Keep in mind that good aerobic system (likely) means a higher hemoglobin mass. And as the red blood cells can take up a H+ ion you'll also increase your buffer capacity by having a good aerobic system.

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    "Going from a 90 min. race to a 4 hour race really should be pretty darn close from a training and physiological sense. Just a bit of fine tuning I would think."

    You're better at getting my point through than me !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Overkill View Post
    As a general comment, I think runners have known this for years! I'm talking about the training that has proven to be successful for shorter distances vs. longer distances for the same discipline.
    Even if you were to look at rowers (6 minute race) you would see that their training is very similar to cyclist in both volume and intensity distribution. Although, cyclist do spend more time around threshold. Which makes sense given that their races are generally at threshold.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    In that particular study the repetaed sprint test was four Wingate-tests (30 sec all out) with two min recovery between each. They did correlate significantly with performance but VO2max showed an even stronger correlation. For performance we used the national championship lap times.

    Remember that repeated sprint test like this isn't NP or xPower but I think of it as kind of a "surrogate" in this discussion. I don't really think that it's one or the other. You need to have both to be a fast mtb'er. In my mind the discipline (XCO and/or XCM) is the most complex of disciplines. I just think that people often tend to focus on many other things as important for performance in this sport than a highly developed aerobic energy system. Keep in mind that good aerobic system (likely) means a higher hemoglobin mass. And as the red blood cells can take up a H+ ion you'll also increase your buffer capacity by having a good aerobic system.
    Thanks, I agree with this for sure. This sounds very familiar to Dr. Skiba's theory on W'? The ability to quickly replenish your anaerobic fuel tank (so to speak) would be pretty handy in an xc race!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Even if you were to look at rowers (6 minute race) you would see that their training is very similar to cyclist in both volume and intensity distribution. Although, cyclist do spend more time around threshold. Which makes sense given that their races are generally at threshold.
    From a casual observer, one thing I've noticed among runners and cyclists at the elite in particular, is you can see the type of training and different energy systems used just by looking at their body-type. Events lasting less than 1min. (100m and 200m runners) and short track cycling events 200m to kilo. These guys are mainly relying on the anaerobic system where generating extreme force is required and hence are very muscular. I would think training for these events would look very different (lots of form work and weights combined with very short explosive efforts). I have no idea - just guessing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Even if you were to look at rowers (6 minute race) you would see that their training is very similar to cyclist in both volume and intensity distribution. Although, cyclist do spend more time around threshold. Which makes sense given that their races are generally at threshold.
    When it comes to sports like rowing and nordic skiing, could it be that they spend a lot of time in lower zones just working on technique and technical details? So that is a reason their training often seems so polarized.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kevbikemad View Post
    When it comes to sports like rowing and nordic skiing, could it be that they spend a lot of time in lower zones just working on technique and technical details? So that is a reason their training often seems so polarized.
    That is a hypothesis that I have made too. Swimming also falls into the same parameter.

    I would also argue that in those sport their race intensity is much higher then what we see in cycling. When they do short intervals they are actually are training at race intensity. The same doesn't hold for mountain biking.

    For mountain bikers the trend I am seeing in training is:
    Zone 1, 2: 70%
    Zone 3, 4: 20%
    Zone 5, 6: 10%.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Another interesting take away is the massive jump in hours from 2013 to 2014.

    I suspect that jump was a bit too large, and Annika under performed in 2014 and 2015 relative to her potential. When the 2016 season came around she had the capacity to handle the training the load and became the dominant rider that she is now.

    The interesting question is did those two massive seasons create the champion she is now, or would a more conservative progression in training have had the same effect, and resulted in better and more consistent results in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    That is a hypothesis that I have made too. Swimming also falls into the same parameter.

    I would also argue that in those sport their race intensity is much higher then what we see in cycling. When they do short intervals they are actually are training at race intensity. The same doesn't hold for mountain biking.

    For mountain bikers the trend I am seeing in training is:
    Zone 1, 2: 70%
    Zone 3, 4: 20%
    Zone 5, 6: 10%.
    What is the denominator here? Time, TSS, kj?

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    Quote Originally Posted by winters.benjamin View Post
    What is the denominator here? Time, TSS, kj?
    It's time.

    Imo...

    Zone 1, 2: 70%
    Zone 3, 4: 20%
    Zone 5, 6: 10%.

    isn't that polarized, but I believe that distribution holds somewhat true when in racing season.

    Out of racing season I believe keeping z3-4 lower than 10% seems to be more common.

    Something polarized in my book would be

    LIT 75%
    MIT 8%
    HIT 17%



    Great comments BonneT, I enjoyed the read and glad you were able to join the discussion and share your knowledge with us.

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    One of the main problems of attempting any comparision of Seiler's polarized model with cycling in general is the non match of the different zones.

    Firtst of all, Seiler talks about number of sessions not time spent. Secondly, he uses heart rate and not power.

    These two points alone should prohibit any comparision.

    Furthermore, the Seiler thresholds do not necessarily match up with the commonly used threshold definitions in cycling, e.g. FTP or CP.

    Those elite Norwegian XC skiiers have their thresholds measured in the lab, either simple lactate testing or more elaborate spiroergometry. When cyclists do these lab tests the upper threshold LT2/VT2 or however you want to call it is often much lower than FTP or CP.

    Therefore, when translated into the cycling zonal model the polarized-exlusion-of-the-middle-zone may turn into a typical pyramidial intensity disitribution mentioned by LMN.

    Furthermore, there is quite some uncertainty what training in this highest zone actually means. Look at the popular Seiler study where 16min, 8min, and 4 min intervals are compared. 4x8min with 2min rest yielded the highest effect on typical lab testing physiological parameters (are these really relevant for race success?? ... whatever ...).

    Since it came from Seiler the interwebs were fully praise for 8min HIT intervals. HIT?? Ever done 4x8min with 2min rest? This is a pure threshold workout. Perhaps borderline between threshold and VO2max but not HIT in the common sense.

    People are looking for the magical bullet, some "science based" coaches and systems (like XERT) sell this polarized model. And many people buy into it. It's science, isn't it. But they are missing completely the point, like BooneT said: "no pain, no gain". You have to overload the system in order to trigger adaptions. How to overload isn't actually that important and can be tailored to the individual. Some people thrive on SST/threshold, others on VO2max, others on a combination. This is the critical aspect of developing young talent: learning what works for oneself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LMN View Post
    Another interesting take away is the massive jump in hours from 2013 to 2014.

    I suspect that jump was a bit too large, and Annika under performed in 2014 and 2015 relative to her potential. When the 2016 season came around she had the capacity to handle the training the load and became the dominant rider that she is now.

    The interesting question is did those two massive seasons create the champion she is now, or would a more conservative progression in training have had the same effect, and resulted in better and more consistent results in the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
    No doubt that she's become better over the past seasons and most likely as a result of adapting to the training. But even with the jump in volume from 2013 to 2014 I will argue that performance increased.

    2013 World Cup results:
    14th
    22nd
    27th
    24th
    9th

    other 2013 results: 2nd Sea Otter, 4th XCM Worlds, 13th TT Worlds

    2014 World Cup results:
    4th
    6th
    8th
    3rd
    11th

    other 2014 results: 1st Cape Epic, 1st XCM Worlds, 1st HC race Heubach.

    One thing to note is that in 2014 she did the Cape Epic for the first time and prepared for it by doing a higher volume which was a more or less 'natural' way of increasing the volume. And she also rode Swiss Epic at the end of the year. Those two races alone made for many hours extra. I also agree that taking a different approach could have yielded the same result. Remember though that Annika over the past years has done many races that most "xc-racers" wouldn't do like Cape Epic (although we're seing more now), Leadville etc. When looking at a season spanding from early March to the end of Septmeber with multiple stage races, Leadville and World Cups, I think volume adds a kind of robustness needed if you want to be able to get through that.

    When it comes to the performance in 2016 there's key thing no one can't know: 2016 was the first year we/Annika commited fully to cycling. We moved from Denmark to mid-Europe (to be closer to racing) and did nothing else but focus on cycling. No studies or anything to disturb. Christoph Sauser came onboard the time full time to work with the athletes and brought a lot of confidence to Annika. Getting the head right was probably more important than any training (coming from someone who's supposed to prescribe training for a living).

    One thing I'd love to get your take one is the intensity distribution regarding the polarized training regime. When I analyze training using power files I almost never see the classicly described 80-20 distribution. I don't believe that the training for xc-skiers are that different. Would we see the polarized distribution puncture if skiers trained with power?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    No doubt that she's become better over the past seasons and most likely as a result of adapting to the training. But even with the jump in volume from 2013 to 2014 I will argue that performance increased.

    2013 World Cup results:
    14th
    22nd
    27th
    24th
    9th

    other 2013 results: 2nd Sea Otter, 4th XCM Worlds, 13th TT Worlds

    2014 World Cup results:
    4th
    6th
    8th
    3rd
    11th

    other 2014 results: 1st Cape Epic, 1st XCM Worlds, 1st HC race Heubach.

    One thing to note is that in 2014 she did the Cape Epic for the first time and prepared for it by doing a higher volume which was a more or less 'natural' way of increasing the volume. And she also rode Swiss Epic at the end of the year. Those two races alone made for many hours extra. I also agree that taking a different approach could have yielded the same result. Remember though that Annika over the past years has done many races that most "xc-racers" wouldn't do like Cape Epic (although we're seing more now), Leadville etc. When looking at a season spanding from early March to the end of Septmeber with multiple stage races, Leadville and World Cups, I think volume adds a kind of robustness needed if you want to be able to get through that.

    When it comes to the performance in 2016 there's key thing no one can't know: 2016 was the first year we/Annika commited fully to cycling. We moved from Denmark to mid-Europe (to be closer to racing) and did nothing else but focus on cycling. No studies or anything to disturb. Christoph Sauser came onboard the time full time to work with the athletes and brought a lot of confidence to Annika. Getting the head right was probably more important than any training (coming from someone who's supposed to prescribe training for a living).

    One thing I'd love to get your take one is the intensity distribution regarding the polarized training regime. When I analyze training using power files I almost never see the classicly described 80-20 distribution. I don't believe that the training for xc-skiers are that different. Would we see the polarized distribution puncture if skiers trained with power?
    I don't think you would see anything different if XC skiers trained with power. Heart rate training and perceived effort are very good analogues for power IMO.

    I think sometimes we forget that these categories of training are a little arbitrary and difficult to compare to one another. Every coach and training has a slightly different definition of what zone 1 is for example.

    The best athletes all spend lots of time practicing their sports. The majority of the training is at a very easy level and some of the time the workouts are very hard. I think the more yearly hours an athlete trains, the more they need to focus on very slow easy days. Increasing intensity and quantity at the same time rarely works (especially if you're already training >500 hours a year).

    I do notice that xc skiing is a little harder than mountain biking in terms of effort on the heart. Especially in classic skiing, it's really hard for the body to adjust from a 100% upper body effort (double pole) to 95% lower body effort (uphill skiing). It's a strange thing to feel, but XC skiing is just a little bit harder than an cycling effort because of the whole body effort required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    One thing I'd love to get your take one is the intensity distribution regarding the polarized training regime. When I analyze training using power files I almost never see the classicly described 80-20 distribution. I don't believe that the training for xc-skiers are that different. Would we see the polarized distribution puncture if skiers trained with power?
    Re-pre 2016, Annika skills also improved noticeability. She crashed out of some potential wins in 14, and 15.

    As quax, mentioned the 80-20, split is not clearly defined. We might find that their intensity distribution is in fact similar to cycling.

    Although, I have done some XC skiing with Olympic level XC skiers and they do their long skis slow, like I am getting cold kind of slow.

    I have not done any intensity sessions with them. Well I have started intensity with them, but they were out sight in the first minute.
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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post

    Since it came from Seiler the interwebs were fully praise for 8min HIT intervals. HIT?? Ever done 4x8min with 2min rest? This is a pure threshold workout. Perhaps borderline between threshold and VO2max but not HIT in the common sense.

    People are looking for the magical bullet, some "science based" coaches and systems (like XERT) sell this polarized model. And many people buy into it. It's science, isn't it. But they are missing completely the point, like BooneT said: "no pain, no gain". You have to overload the system in order to trigger adaptions. How to overload isn't actually that important and can be tailored to the individual. Some people thrive on SST/threshold, others on VO2max, others on a combination. This is the critical aspect of developing young talent: learning what works for oneself.
    Oh man... I wish you could come to one of the discussions at the faculty lunch room

    You hit the nail on the head with that last paragraph. Training/coaching is NOT science. I usually say that if you for an athlete know how to "overload the system in order to trigger adaptions" and intuitively know when to rest then you're golden. And you don't nescessarily need any scientific or formal trainer education for that

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    Oh man... I wish you could come to one of the discussions at the faculty lunch room

    You hit the nail on the head with that last paragraph. Training/coaching is NOT science. I usually say that if you for an athlete know how to "overload the system in order to trigger adaptions" and intuitively know when to rest then you're golden. And you don't nescessarily need any scientific or formal trainer education for that
    Love the conversation here. This really is the magic bullet! It seems like so many cyclists are caught up in power values and designing the "perfect" interval sessions. We all need to understand how to overload our systems to provoke adaptations during rest, while always factoring in our race goals, our strengths and weakness, and the specific demands of the sport (and course demands).

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    To echo the 70/20/10 distribution stuff, having come to cycling from another sport:

    Once upon a time I was a super crappy walk-on for the track team at a D1 school in the midwest. I mean, super crappy. I had had decent recent results in HS despite getting hurt my senior year, and had OK raw speed, so the coach let me practice with the big boys. I think his plan was to make me the training partner for guys getting over injuries.

    I hadn't run the mile since indoor track my sophomore year of HS, and that was part of a two-mile/mile combo where I went 10:30 and high-4:40s. Towards the end of my sophomore year, I got dropped into the 4x400m one day at a dual meet, and the coaches discovered that, despite my stature, I could knock out a sub-52s 400m with regularity and if I was feeling good, 50s were possible. So, I became a 800m and 3rd leg 4x400 guy my junior and senior years. Quick but not particularly noteworthy.

    At the collegiate level, of the biggest adjustments for me was the mileage. I wouldn't say that my HS team was running "low" miles, probably 40-50 a week. But I was doing 80+ a week while training to run the 800 and 1500m. At first I struggled with it, as I was just tossed into it with no time to gradually increase from my 6-8 miles a day regimen I'd been on. But soon I was doing 10 mile tempo runs at <6:00/mile. Some faster, shorter stuff, but the 10 miles in an hour thing is something that will always stick out to me. Plenty of 12-14 mile slower runs.

    I ended up getting hurt again right at the start of indoor. Slipped on a patch of ice and ate it pretty hard while walking to class one morning. Coach told me to come back next year; I bought a bike instead. But before that, with no speed work other than some 10x200m after a mid-length run, I did a 4:19 mile TT, IIRC.

    Volume works. See Arthur Lydiard's training ideas. To this day, the fastest I think I've ever been was when I was doing 20+ hours a week and eating like a horse before a famine. The vast majority of my miles were Z2, but Z2 kept ticking upwards, as did everything else.
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    Hi all,

    First of all, I'm not a "racer guy", but I ride alot, and do 8-12-24-hour solo SS efforts, along with select other long (30-50+ mile races/events). I'm not a threat to podium, but am a reasonably strong and fit rider who is looking to get stronger and faster on the bike. I don't follow a training plan, per se; rather, I just ride more, and harder.

    Not to overly simplify the conversation, but I am I correct in understanding from the dialogue above that doing 60-70-80 percent of one's miles at around the Z2 level will do the trick? If so, I am grossly overtraining by doing way too of my rides and miles at too high of an intensity level.

    Thanks for any insight...I appreciate it. (BTW, I don't road ride, or use a trainer...I live in AZ and can MTB year round).
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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Hi all,

    First of all, I'm not a "racer guy", but I ride alot, and do 8-12-24-hour solo SS efforts, along with select other long (30-50+ mile races/events). I'm not a threat to podium, but am a reasonably strong and fit rider who is looking to get stronger and faster on the bike. I don't follow a training plan, per se; rather, I just ride more, and harder.

    Not to overly simplify the conversation, but I am I correct in understanding from the dialogue above that doing 60-70-80 percent of one's miles at around the Z2 level will do the trick? If so, I am grossly overtraining by doing way too of my rides and miles at too high of an intensity level.

    Thanks for any insight...I appreciate it. (BTW, I don't road ride, or use a trainer...I live in AZ and can MTB year round).
    It's very unlikely you are overtraining by training at a too hard intensity for long periods.

    You don't say if you use a power meter or HR, but if you don't its just impossible to know with certainty how much you are pushing yourself.

    Assuming you train 15-20 hours per week, 75% of that would be 15 hours of z2 and 5 hours of medium and high intensity work, which is doable. In the other case, with those same 20 hours per week, 10 or 15 hours of medium and high intensity is not possible even if you wanted to, maybe as a one week thing, but not sustainable in the long run.

    The polarizing regime seems to be something that sets up naturally with big volumes, of course you could just do z2, but you wouldn't be overloading properly. So in this case athletes overload with the intensity they can manage and the rest is low intensity stuff to reach targeted volumes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waltaz View Post
    Hi all,

    First of all, I'm not a "racer guy", but I ride alot, and do 8-12-24-hour solo SS efforts, along with select other long (30-50+ mile races/events). I'm not a threat to podium, but am a reasonably strong and fit rider who is looking to get stronger and faster on the bike. I don't follow a training plan, per se; rather, I just ride more, and harder.

    Not to overly simplify the conversation, but I am I correct in understanding from the dialogue above that doing 60-70-80 percent of one's miles at around the Z2 level will do the trick? If so, I am grossly overtraining by doing way too of my rides and miles at too high of an intensity level.

    Thanks for any insight...I appreciate it. (BTW, I don't road ride, or use a trainer...I live in AZ and can MTB year round).

    I heard something interesting today basically saying that most people ride too hard on their easy days and not hard enough on the hard days which can cause them to fall into a "zone 3 abyss"

    I'm like you, I just ride more and harder and feel I'm reasonably fit but I believe a structured training plan using a power meter or HR monitor would be a major benefit anyone wanting to improve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TDLover View Post
    It's very unlikely you are overtraining by training at a too hard intensity for long periods.

    You don't say if you use a power meter or HR, but if you don't its just impossible to know with certainty how much you are pushing yourself.

    Assuming you train 15-20 hours per week, 75% of that would be 15 hours of z2 and 5 hours of medium and high intensity work, which is doable. In the other case, with those same 20 hours per week, 10 or 15 hours of medium and high intensity is not possible even if you wanted to, maybe as a one week thing, but not sustainable in the long run.

    The polarizing regime seems to be something that sets up naturally with big volumes, of course you could just do z2, but you wouldn't be overloading properly. So in this case athletes overload with the intensity they can manage and the rest is low intensity stuff to reach targeted volumes.
    Thanks; I do meticulously use a HR strap, and I watch it and analyze it, but I dont really train to it, if you know what I mean. I think I end up in the Z3 abyss that was just mentioned, and I need to be more targeted with my HR training.


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    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    I heard something interesting today basically saying that most people ride too hard on their easy days and not hard enough on the hard days which can cause them to fall into a "zone 3 abyss"

    I'm like you, I just ride more and harder and feel I'm reasonably fit but I believe a structured training plan using a power meter or HR monitor would be a major benefit anyone wanting to improve.
    I think that is getting closer to describing me (love Zone 3 abyss...LOL), and I agree that a structured training plan based on my HR would be helpful. I dont do that now, though I do watch it carefully.


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    There is nothing wrong with Zone 3 and I don't think it is justified to describe it with terms like "no man's land" and so. People just often fail to overload their system with this. Ever done 1:30 to 2 h SST? Continuously? This is pretty tough. Furthermore, I find it pretty difficult to nail this training zone with heart rate only. Often people start out way to high because they want to bring up their "zonal heart rate". And the opposite in the end.

    To cite the Seiler study again, 4x16 (tempo/SST), 4x8 (slightly above threshold), 4x4 (VO2m) yielded all very similar results on **lab physiological** parameters. When ridden all-out. Many people don't ride zone 3 in an all-out fashion and that's why they don't progress. It should be added as well that zone 3 accumulated over several days in base period has a different purpose than an all-out zone 3 workout in build phase.

    I actually don't know if this "no man's land" talking comes from running where training volume is restricted and where I could see why athletes/coaches are cautious. Not an issue in cycling though.

    And there is so much more that could be said ....

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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    There is nothing wrong with Zone 3 and I don't think it is justified to describe it with terms like "no man's land" and so. People just often fail to overload their system with this. Ever done 1:30 to 2 h SST? Continuously? This is pretty tough. Furthermore, I find it pretty difficult to nail this training zone with heart rate only. Often people start out way to high because they want to bring up their "zonal heart rate". And the opposite in the end.

    To cite the Seiler study again, 4x16 (tempo/SST), 4x8 (slightly above threshold), 4x4 (VO2m) yielded all very similar results on **lab physiological** parameters. When ridden all-out. Many people don't ride zone 3 in an all-out fashion and that's why they don't progress. It should be added as well that zone 3 accumulated over several days in base period has a different purpose than an all-out zone 3 workout in build phase.

    I actually don't know if this "no man's land" talking comes from running where training volume is restricted and where I could see why athletes/coaches are cautious. Not an issue in cycling though.

    And there is so much more that could be said ....
    Z3 is really helpful to me when I have enough time to give to it. I need to get a couple hours' of work in Z3 per day to get decent fatigue: 3x45 or more, with rest between. And after a few sessions like this in one week you can get some good fatigue going. If I don't have enough time, I need to focus on Z4/5 intervals which create fatigue in less time.

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    This is super interesting thanks to all the ber smart folks who have contributed above.

    As we all know MTB is not road riding so the struggle I have in trying to keep my couple easy days really easy but maybe wanting to work on some skills is you cant ride trail without pedaling hard for a short time just to get up things..

    Is it important for an easy ride to be 100% easy? Or just mostly easy? For the record Im not a big hour guy. Dad who races on weekends, 6-8hrs a week of riding. So maybe it doesnt even matter for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HopHeadEVENTS View Post
    This is super interesting thanks to all the ber smart folks who have contributed above.

    As we all know MTB is not road riding so the struggle I have in trying to keep my couple easy days really easy but maybe wanting to work on some skills is you cant ride trail without pedaling hard for a short time just to get up things..

    Is it important for an easy ride to be 100% easy? Or just mostly easy? For the record Im not a big hour guy. Dad who races on weekends, 6-8hrs a week of riding. So maybe it doesnt even matter for me.
    Since I train with HR not power, I tend to look at average effort over a ride and also check out time spent in specific zones. I then compare that to perceived effort to determibe how easy a ride was. If my average is in zone 2, and it felt easy, then it probably was.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HopHeadEVENTS View Post
    This is super interesting thanks to all the ber smart folks who have contributed above.

    As we all know MTB is not road riding so the struggle I have in trying to keep my couple easy days really easy but maybe wanting to work on some skills is you cant ride trail without pedaling hard for a short time just to get up things..

    Is it important for an easy ride to be 100% easy? Or just mostly easy? For the record Im not a big hour guy. Dad who races on weekends, 6-8hrs a week of riding. So maybe it doesnt even matter for me.
    This indeed is really good question and I'm interested myself. I ride similar number of hours per week. Usually I try to cherish every day's ability to ride for at least an hour but perhaps I should skip some days and do 2 hours on others.
    It feels to me like a wasted training day if I need to confine myself to Z1. It feels like i'm not working out at all if i do an hour of Z1 mixed with Z2. Also, "coffee ride" followed by a day off sounds really wasteful while I know that it's probably best for my body.

    Oh, the dilemmas

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    Quote Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
    This indeed is really good question and I'm interested myself. I ride similar number of hours per week. Usually I try to cherish every day's ability to ride for at least an hour but perhaps I should skip some days and do 2 hours on others.
    It feels to me like a wasted training day if I need to confine myself to Z1. It feels like i'm not working out at all if i do an hour of Z1 mixed with Z2. Also, "coffee ride" followed by a day off sounds really wasteful while I know that it's probably best for my body.

    Oh, the dilemmas
    If your training time is that spread out, you're probably not creating enough stress to really need much recovery. You could generate that much stress, but you'd know if you were.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
    This indeed is really good question and I'm interested myself. I ride similar number of hours per week. Usually I try to cherish every day's ability to ride for at least an hour but perhaps I should skip some days and do 2 hours on others.
    It feels to me like a wasted training day if I need to confine myself to Z1. It feels like i'm not working out at all if i do an hour of Z1 mixed with Z2. Also, "coffee ride" followed by a day off sounds really wasteful while I know that it's probably best for my body.

    Oh, the dilemmas
    I worked with the Carmichael system for quite a while, which aims to create as much fitness as possible in 6-8 hour/week constraints. Carmichael believes in two main types of training strategies: time-crunched and classical. If you have anything less than 15 hours per week or so, his thinking is that you won't be able to use the 'classical' approaches to stimulate good adaptations. The 'classical' approaches use high volumes of Z1-Z2 to improve fitness, whereas time-crunched approaches use lower volumes of Z3-Z5.

    If you've only got an hour, I wouldn't bother with Z2 or Z1 unless you're using it to just spin out the legs to help recover from an earlier, harder effort. If you've got 6-8 hours/week to train, I would recommend structuring around an interval plan like Carmichael's. They've got a pretty good handle on how to measure and prescribe training stress in shorter blocks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by winters.benjamin View Post
    The 'classical' approaches use high volumes of Z1-Z2 to improve fitness, whereas time-crunched approaches use lower volumes of Z3-Z5.

    If you've only got an hour, I wouldn't bother with Z2 or Z1 unless you're using it to just spin out the legs to help recover from an earlier, harder effort. If you've got 6-8 hours/week to train, I would recommend structuring around an interval plan like Carmichael's. They've got a pretty good handle on how to measure and prescribe training stress in shorter blocks.
    The Time Crunched Cyclist (CTS) program is based on getting some fitness quick and peaking between 8-11 weeks and then you are basically done and form will drop. Then he says you must recover for at least 4-6 weeks. Then you can start the program again. I read the book and would say it is not a long-term training program/approach.

    Even riders in the 6-8 hours range needs to build in easy rides. You only need to go hard (intervals) a couple days a week to benefit. Add one long ride, couple easy fun trail days. You can be pretty darn fast on 6-8 hours and not feel you need to hammer all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by winters.benjamin View Post
    I worked with the Carmichael system for quite a while, which aims to create as much fitness as possible in 6-8 hour/week constraints. Carmichael believes in two main types of training strategies: time-crunched and classical. If you have anything less than 15 hours per week or so, his thinking is that you won't be able to use the 'classical' approaches to stimulate good adaptations. The 'classical' approaches use high volumes of Z1-Z2 to improve fitness, whereas time-crunched approaches use lower volumes of Z3-Z5.

    If you've only got an hour, I wouldn't bother with Z2 or Z1 unless you're using it to just spin out the legs to help recover from an earlier, harder effort. If you've got 6-8 hours/week to train, I would recommend structuring around an interval plan like Carmichael's. They've got a pretty good handle on how to measure and prescribe training stress in shorter blocks.
    Quote Originally Posted by kevbikemad View Post
    The Time Crunched Cyclist (CTS) program is based on getting some fitness quick and peaking between 8-11 weeks and then you are basically done and form will drop. Then he says you must recover for at least 4-6 weeks. Then you can start the program again. I read the book and would say it is not a long-term training program/approach.

    Even riders in the 6-8 hours range needs to build in easy rides. You only need to go hard (intervals) a couple days a week to benefit. Add one long ride, couple easy fun trail days. You can be pretty darn fast on 6-8 hours and not feel you need to hammer all the time.
    good input guys but your responses perfectly illustrate the different styles that are out there. It's hard to figure out which one is right as each presents their own merits and on the surface makes sense while contradicting somebody else's idea.
    Like I said, dilemmas

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    Quote Originally Posted by rallymaniac View Post
    good input guys but your responses perfectly illustrate the different styles that are out there. It's hard to figure out which one is right as each presents their own merits and on the surface makes sense while contradicting somebody else's idea.
    Like I said, dilemmas
    So true. Find what works for you, but also change it progressively so you keep advancing your fitness.

    Doing the same thing / approach all the time will result in the same old results in fitness. Even if it is HIIT training like the Time Crunched, it works short term, then you need to change.

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    At 6-8 hours there is probably nothing else but this Time Crunched System. Doesn't it follow some cycles to overcome some plateau limitations. Though at some point the lack of volume will limit progression, depending on how dark-red one can go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by quax View Post
    Doesn't it follow some cycles to overcome some plateau limitations.
    Yes. It usually prescribes 12 week blocks followed by 2-4 weeks of maintenance. Annual TC athletes following Carmichael's plan can usually get through 3 cycles per year.

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    Regards to everyone, I have found this post in old ones but is interesting. I work as coach and would like to post some questions which I beleive is good way to talk little bit more about volume&intensity subject.

    Main subject here is that training for XCM and XCO is really close or similar and I can strongly agree with that. I would say about 85% of training you can use for both discipline.

    But there is something else that I dont strongly agree with, is about red zone intervals. Many of you here suggest that is that in big picture perception, is only important that when you go hard you really dig hard and performe. My oppinion is that specific duration of intervals will give you even more gain. You have to take in account annual period, athletes weakness, race period, goals, fitness and etc. Bottom line is to be as much as possible prepared for upcoming events/race and specific works is usually way to go.

    Also I have come to same conclusion in regards of repeated sprint test and aerobic efforts, I have use field and lab testing (wingate) for perfromance testing.

    I have question for the author of the article, can you write more about CP 3 and 12min testing, and few words about using power zones in correlation of that tests.

    Also LMN I would like to hear your personal oppionion based on expericence, what do you think about increase of training time in 2013/2014. Do you think is was to big and contraproductive or maybe it was just on button in term of development.

    thank you

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpus.iuris. View Post
    But there is something else that I dont strongly agree with, is about red zone intervals. Many of you here suggest that is that in big picture perception, is only important that when you go hard you really dig hard and performe. My oppinion is that specific duration of intervals will give you even more gain.
    Not sure I understand fully what you are disagreeing with but "red zone" or "no pain, no gain" does not mean only Zone 5-6 work.

    Specific duration intervals (whatever you mean by that exactly) can always be "dark red", it's just a question of duration and interval count.

    I would consider a single SST interval of 90-120min quite "red". Or 60 min Tempo after a set of 3x12min Threshold to build fatigue resistance. Quite red.

    Or perhaps I fully misunderstood your post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpus.iuris. View Post
    Regards to everyone, I have found this post in old ones but is interesting. I work as coach and would like to post some questions which I beleive is good way to talk little bit more about volume&intensity subject.

    Main subject here is that training for XCM and XCO is really close or similar and I can strongly agree with that. I would say about 85% of training you can use for both discipline.

    But there is something else that I dont strongly agree with, is about red zone intervals. Many of you here suggest that is that in big picture perception, is only important that when you go hard you really dig hard and performe. My oppinion is that specific duration of intervals will give you even more gain. You have to take in account annual period, athletes weakness, race period, goals, fitness and etc. Bottom line is to be as much as possible prepared for upcoming events/race and specific works is usually way to go.

    Also I have come to same conclusion in regards of repeated sprint test and aerobic efforts, I have use field and lab testing (wingate) for perfromance testing.

    I have question for the author of the article, can you write more about CP 3 and 12min testing, and few words about using power zones in correlation of that tests.

    Also LMN I would like to hear your personal oppionion based on expericence, what do you think about increase of training time in 2013/2014. Do you think is was to big and contraproductive or maybe it was just on button in term of development.

    thank you
    "Red" in this thread has come to mean psychological strain, or maybe even TSS per interval. High intensity intervals create psych strain in short periods of time, lower intensity intervals over longer periods can also create strain.

    Also, my understanding is that sprinting prior to FTP testing is 'burning off' the anaerobic contributions to the test (emptying the functional reserve capacity to be precise), so all that's left is aerobic energy systems which is what FTP tests are meant to evaluate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Corpus.iuris. View Post

    I have question for the author of the article, can you write more about CP 3 and 12min testing, and few words about using power zones in correlation of that tests.


    thank you
    Sure! We use the protocol suggested by Len Parker Simpson.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27918663

    I met him in Lillehammer last year and liked the way he used critical power to analyze and build the GB Womens pursuit team for Rio.
    Essentially it's the same as FTP and FRC. It's just that with W' and CP you have full access to the models and fitting whereas not much is disclosed by TrainingPeaks regarding Coggans models.
    It's a quite simple protocol: warm up 20-30min, 3min TT, 30min rest, 10 min re-warm up, 12min TT. From a day prior or after we do a series of sprints to get peak power. Crunch the files in Golden Cheetah to get critical power and compute zones from that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    Sure! We use the protocol suggested by Len Parker Simpson.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27918663

    I met him in Lillehammer last year and liked the way he used critical power to analyze and build the GB Womens pursuit team for Rio.
    Essentially it's the same as FTP and FRC. It's just that with W' and CP you have full access to the models and fitting whereas not much is disclosed by TrainingPeaks regarding Coggans models.
    It's a quite simple protocol: warm up 20-30min, 3min TT, 30min rest, 10 min re-warm up, 12min TT. From a day prior or after we do a series of sprints to get peak power. Crunch the files in Golden Cheetah to get critical power and compute zones from that.

    If you don't use Golden Cheetah the equation to find CP is pretty simple.

    CP = (12min power * 720 - 3min power * 180)/(720-180)
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    I like getting into the data as much as anyone, but I'm wondering how important this level of modeling is for an average athlete (me) who wants to progress as much as possible.
    What kind of advantages are we talking about here, as compared to someone who rides hard, identifies weaknesses and consistently attacks those weaknesses?

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    Quote Originally Posted by winters.benjamin View Post
    I like getting into the data as much as anyone, but I'm wondering how important this level of modeling is for an average athlete (me) who wants to progress as much as possible.
    What kind of advantages are we talking about here, as compared to someone who rides hard, identifies weaknesses and consistently attacks those weaknesses?
    Yeah, that's where I am. And this method has been working well for me.

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    Yeah, it seems like coaches make things as complicated as possible.

    Ok let me rephrase that- high end coaches for elite athletes seem to make everything sound too complicated to me
    Last edited by Litemike; 04-30-2018 at 04:09 PM.

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    If your coach makes things complicated you should probably find a new one

    Remember that there's a difference between trying to improve an elite athlete at the upper part of the spectrum who has been training full time for years (where the OP kind of started) and the rest of us trying to get as much improvement with the time we have available. For the elite athlete we use all these tools and science to try and understand and be as precise as possible in order to gain that 0.5% that'll make the difference in a race.

    Nevertheless, you don't need to understand the model to use it. That's what WKO4 or Golden Cheetah will do for you. I will argue that understanding the underlying concept will make you think about what your doing and what it is intended for. When I sit athletes down and explain them the basics they almost always get a "ahaaa" experience. I often make them watch this by Phil Skiba (although there is a bit of a selling point at the end). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86Sw3vOCq9U

    9 out of 10 times the athlete becomes better at performing intervals and understanding what the training purpose is.

    Mark Liversedge also has some good ones on Golden Cheetah (the first 2.5min of this one )

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    Remember that there's a difference between trying to improve an elite athlete at the upper part of the spectrum who has been training full time for years (where the OP kind of started) and the rest of us trying to get as much improvement with the time we have available. For the elite athlete we use all these tools and science to try and understand and be as precise as possible in order to gain that 0.5% that'll make the difference in a race.
    This is all very helpful, thanks. I understand the theory behind W' and CP, though I understand less about how to build CP and manage it well in race environments.

    I hear the claim you make above quite frequently, that longer-trained athletes have a harder time making gains. Athletes (or at least I am) are told that stress, recovery and progression yield improvements. So what is the limiting factor you're describing above? Time, emotional energy, biology, something else?

    I'm not at UCI pro levels. But part of me wants to believe that with enough stress, recovery and progression, I might nip at the heels of those heavyweights some day. Maybe not beat them outright, but put in a respectable fight. But maybe my body can't do that. Maybe biology is in fact a limiting factor. I know I can suffer (emotional energy) and I have enough time (I'm fortunate to have a flexible job) but maybe my body just won't get there.

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    I think for the top pro's biology is a limiting factor. But exactly what, where and how to identify the limit is not known. Which why researchers still go at it and twitter-experts discuss Froomes performance like nuts after each race.

    For the sub-elite/top-amateur I think recovery is often the most limiting factor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    If your coach makes things complicated you should probably find a new one
    Best advice I have heard!!
    "The best pace is suicide pace, and today is a good day to die." Steve Prefontaine

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    Regards to everyone

    I read carefully all your posts and there is lot of interesting stuff and great contribution to this thread.

    I have also read a lot in last couple of days about CP an W', and have done one CP test for myself as author suggest. I intend to do some perfomance test with my riders who dont race a lot these days to see the difference and to compare with Cougan/Hunter method.

    In relation to that I have more question I hope author and others will have will and time to discuss with me and help.

    1. I have found a lot of material on web on how to determine training zones after CP test is done. But can you maybe write the method you use and think is most useful. Also I am using wko4, wko3+, TP right now, but will definitely try Golden cheetah.

    2. W' is very interesting and I have understand concept of it. But how can I use it correctly in training. It is obvious that with W' you can predict more closely how much one athlete can do on trainig before geting tired, but is there any specific way of using it and getting most of W'.

    3. The last question is what are main differences beetwen (FTP+WKO) and (W'+CP) methods?

    The last one is not question but rather my thinking. I have used FTP with WKO many years primarly for cross country cycling and I have achieve great impovement with my athletes. Mostly because I use FTP and TSS to track their developement. Also I can fast identefy weakness in my athletes and work to fix them. In the end I think we can discuss how to use all this method specificly for mountain bike racing. Because I am still big advocat of specific training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BonneT View Post
    For the sub-elite/top-amateur I think recovery is often the most limiting factor.
    When you say recovery is often limiting, what aspect of recovery? That it's not approached correctly, or given enough time etc.?

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    Quote Originally Posted by winters.benjamin View Post
    When you say recovery is often limiting, what aspect of recovery? That it's not approached correctly, or given enough time etc.?
    I think it is that recovery is treated different. I follow Jesse Thomas (pro triathlete) pretty closely. His recovery is, sitting in the couch watching TV. Maybe doing that for a couple or few days. Even weeks of taking it easy after his first full Ironman.

    Those of us who are "sub-elite/top-amatuer" still have to go to work. Even if it is easy work (my current job isn't bad). Add on top of that, I take care of all the responsibilities of keeping two horses. Stacking 1000 pounds of hay the day after my best XCO race ever isn't proper recovery!

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    *Regards to everyone

    I read carefully all your posts and there is lot of interesting stuff and great contribution to this thread.

    I have also read a lot in last couple of days about CP an W', and have done one CP test for myself as author suggest. I intend to do some perfomance test with my riders who dont race a lot these days to see the difference and to compare with Cougan/Hunter method.

    In relation to that I have more question I hope author and others will have will and time to discuss with me and help.

    1. I have found a lot of material on web on how to determine training zones after CP test is done. But can you maybe write the method you use and think is most useful. Also I am using wko4, wko3+, TP right now, but will definitely try Golden cheetah.

    2. W' is very interesting and I have understand concept of it. But how can I use it correctly in training. It is obvious that with W' you can predict more closely how much one athlete can do on trainig before geting tired, but is there any specific way of using it and getting most of W'.

    3. The last question is what are main differences beetwen (FTP+WKO) and (W'+CP) methods?

    The last one is not question but rather my thinking. I have used FTP with WKO many years primarly for cross country cycling and I have achieve great impovement with my athletes. Mostly because I use FTP and TSS to track their developement. Also I can fast identefy weakness in my athletes and work to fix them. In the end I think we can discuss how to use all this method specificly for mountain bike racing. Because I am still big advocat of specific training.*

    Maybe this post was overlooked, thank you

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