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waterproof*
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let's talk about "smart training" for those of us with regular jobs, families, limited cycling budget, and maybe a few years extra life experience, but who still want to mix it up and be competitive now and then.

When I talk with 40+ guys who are winning races (of any category), a number of themes emerge:
- The plan their training and stick to the plan. This doesn't mean they have to have a coach, but some do. But there are plenty of books and training guides out there.
- They have the discipline to avoid "junk miles". Everybody has a slightly different defnition of junk miles, but for this conversation let's call them "anything that's not in the plan". So if the plan calls for a recovery day on Sunday, but it's 75 degrees blue sky no wind and your buddies are calling you for a long frisky ride... you say no, and do a recovery ride.
- On the flip side, it means things like brutal trainer workouts (highly structured, using a stopwatch, an HR meter and/or power meter or at least gear/cadence). Again, stick to the plan.
- I also hear about guys arranging a 90-minute lunch hour 2x a week so they can ride outside during the warm daylight part of the day, and doing focused interval sessions. You can do a killer workout in 90 minutes, from sitting at your desk to back at your desk.
- They choose races carefully. You probably won't see them driving all night to get to a 100 mile road race that pays $200 to 5 places. But when the crit is local, watch out.
 

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i couldn't agree more. I am 39 with a desk job.
- I have a coach, and get daily workout plans year round.
- I follow the plans religeously, inlcuding the "bailout note", i.e. if HR is not responding properly on an interval day, take it easy
- I don't "just go ride". I don/'t have time for junk miles. I do have time for MTB with buddies, and if they want to kill it to the top, and its an easy day for me, I will meet them there.
- I do killer intervals with a stop watch and HRM on a trainer
- I don't travel 100 miles to a race,but if its within an hour away, I will race it.

my training puts my fitness where I need it. my biggest challenge is a shortage of racing wisdom re tactics etc. I just don't have enough years under my belt in racing, but I am working on that
 

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I would agree with most to all of what you have said.

I'm 38, married, 2 dogs and a desk job. I've whittled my hobbies down to cycling which is where my discretionary income goes.

I train 13-15 hours a week and if that means all of those hours are on the trainer, then so be it. Though this year I have been able to get out a bit more with a winter bike and some nicer weather.

I stick to the schedule at hand and don't vary off of it...if it's a recovery day I do a recovery day, if it's an interval day I do an interval day...if it's a hard group ride I do a hard group ride. I however don't have a coach but have a lot of experience in creating workout plans, peaking, etc. (former personal trainer, degree in a fitness related field and former collegiate athlete).

My training schedule is all over the place due to my work schedule. I have a declining work schedule...it's heavy early in the weak and diminishes as the week goes on.

So I work 8:30am - 6:30 pm Monday and Tuesday which means I have to get up at 5:15am to get on my trainer and get in my two 1.5 hour recovery rides on those days before heading to work.

On Wednesday and Thursday I start work at 6:30am and finish at 3:00pm then workout from 4:00pm - 6:30 with hard intervals on both days...if I can get out I do, if not they are all on the trainer.

Friday I work 6:30am to 9:30am or 10:00am. This allows me to go out and get in a 1.5 hour recovery ride and have time to do other stuff.

Saturday and Sunday are both group rides or races. Saturday is usually a very hard group ride of 3-4 hours...or 2.5 hours of easy riding with a few hard efforts if I'm racing on Sunday. Sunday is either a race, or a medium/hard paced 2 - 2.5 hour ride. These are in the morning so I'm done by mid day and can spend time with my family.

The overall key....Go really hard when the plan calls for it, go really easy when it doesn't and stick to the plan. You have to make time in your schedule to fit it in and let your family know what and when you are doing it. If that means getting up very early in the morning...so be it.

So far this year...I've had 2 races:

1) A CAT 4 road race 52.2 miles that went OK finishing 26th, but should have been higher as I got blocked out (when in about 15th place) on the final climb/sprint and decided it was just better to roll in than try and sprint back up for 10th - 15th.

2) On Sunday I had a 20K ITT that I completed in 27:52 finishing 3rd in the CAT 4/5 class and had the 15th best time overall (would have won the CAT 3 class and placed 6th in the CAT 1/2 class).
 

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Captain Obvious
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this is only my 2nd year of having some structured training. intervals and running are the majority of it. it has made a world of difference from just riding. i'm won't get any longer rides in until the weather warms.

i enjoy riding and won't necessarily pass up a nice day to do intervals in my basement. dirt is always better than road for group rides too.
 

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waterproof*
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Don't ride when you have a fever, and don't ride if you're still mentally/physically dragging. But if you're rested and non-feverish, go at it and blow the phlegm out.
 

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Everything I have read says the hardest thing to do in a training plan is to ride easy on recovery rides. Today the weather was nice, no wind and yet I let everyone else ride away as I stuck to my plan. I would say that easy days are very hard to do properly. We will see how it pays off.
 

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alpka said:
How do you deal with colds? do you rest or try to train through them?
It depends:

A head cold...I take a sick day (or two or three) and workout as per my training plan dictates. Then I sleep a lot! :D

A chest cold...I take a sick day (or two or three) and ride more at a recovery pace as my lungs likely are not going to like a hard effort...however, I've found that it can help break things up a bit to do easy rides with chest colds...Then I sleep a lot! :D

With a fever...I stay off the bike until I no longer have a fever. This is to risky to workout with because your body is already overheating...adding stress and extra heat is not a good recipe in that situation...so stay off the bike!
 

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This is my 18th season of bike racing, licence says "41". I race a mix of Masters and P/1/2 events, I am better in long suffer-fests than criteriums. Busy fulltime job, wife, no kids but the rest of the usual stressors.

While I would agree the best way to maximize time to train is through strict scheduling, and that it works well for a lot of people, I have found a highly scheduled and periodized training plan does not work for me. The main issues is that I find the structure eventually leads me to mental burnout in the long run, the rest of life has enough structure and pressure for me and if I make the bike the same I eventually start to hate it.

So, I am one of those guys who trains through "feel" and uses racing to get into top form. I need to race a lot, and years when I race less and think I will race better I have not.
 

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I'm new to the structured training thing...

Define "hard" interval ride.

Define "easy"/recovery ride.

Thanks! :D
 

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Captain Obvious
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Creakyknees said:
But if you're rested and non-feverish, go at it and blow the phlegm out.
some generic mucinex about 30 mins prior helps with that. include a longer warm-up too.
 

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tyro said:
I'm new to the structured training thing...

Define "hard" interval ride.

Define "easy"/recovery ride.

Thanks! :D
You need a HR monitor or a powermeter to really do intervals right.

So yesterday, for example, I did the following on the trainer:
10 minute warmup - easy spinning then five minutes in z2. If you don't know what zones are google them.

5 minutes in low z3, with for me is around 153-160 bpm.

15 minutes at or near threshold power (165-170 bpm).

10 minutes to recover.

15 more minutes at threshold.

cool down.

That's an interval workout. They have a good track record of improving top-end aerobic power and endurance for cyclists.

A recovery ride would be 20-25 miles, all in the small chainring, limiting HR to zone 2 (153 bpm max).

Unless you have a lot of "base" miles already under your belt this year, it's best to not do intervals 2 days in a row.
 

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As far as sickness goes, I've always used this rule of thumb. If it is above your neck (head), you ok to go. If it is below your neck (chest), you are not. It does help to get out there and sweat it out sometimes. It does help to break it up. With a fever, I opt to take a break too.
 

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Eric_H said:
This is my 18th season of bike racing, licence says "41". I race a mix of Masters and P/1/2 events, I am better in long suffer-fests than criteriums. Busy fulltime job, wife, no kids but the rest of the usual stressors.

While I would agree the best way to maximize time to train is through strict scheduling, and that it works well for a lot of people, I have found a highly scheduled and periodized training plan does not work for me. The main issues is that I find the structure eventually leads me to mental burnout in the long run, the rest of life has enough structure and pressure for me and if I make the bike the same I eventually start to hate it.

So, I am one of those guys who trains through "feel" and uses racing to get into top form. I need to race a lot, and years when I race less and think I will race better I have not.
Me too. I usually set a predetermined number of workouts/rest days (including type and duration) a week. If my legs are feeling really heavy then I'll rearrange the order, but by Sunday I will have done everything I planned to do for the previous week....i.e. if i really feel like I need my rest day today,then I'll take it today and substitute the tougher workout for the original rest day.
 

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Training smart has always been a challenge for me. I just love riding. With commuting ~17 miles to work each way, it makes it even harder. I'm a sucker for a group ride, a fast ride, a town line sprint, a hill sprint, chasing a bus, you name it. When I was 28 it was fine. At 52 it's not so good for peaking. That's why I need a coach. I need someone to smack me upside the head this CCX season.
 

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Not trying to be rude, but what is two days of 1.5 hour recovery rides really doing for you? You say 13-15 hours/week, but when 3 of those hours are back to back recovery rides, why not just take monday off? And unless you're a pro, a 90 minute recovery ride is probably far past the time needed to accomplish the objective of a recovery ride- increase blood flow, reduced muscle tension, enhance post-recovery-ride stretching. All of which can generally be done in 60 minutes or less.

PhysioJoe


Wookiebiker said:
So I work 8:30am - 6:30 pm Monday and Tuesday which means I have to get up at 5:15am to get on my trainer and get in my two 1.5 hour recovery rides on those days before heading to work.
 

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PhysioJoe said:
Not trying to be rude, but what is two days of 1.5 hour recovery rides really doing for you? You say 13-15 hours/week, but when 3 of those hours are back to back recovery rides, why not just take Monday off? And unless you're a pro, a 90 minute recovery ride is probably far past the time needed to accomplish the objective of a recovery ride- increase blood flow, reduced muscle tension, enhance post-recovery-ride stretching. All of which can generally be done in 60 minutes or less.

PhysioJoe

For me recovery rides serve several purposes:

1) They get the blood flowing and help rid the body of soreness after a hard weekend of riding/racing.

2) They burn calories...I have a hard time keeping weight off and when I start taking complete days off, my weight starts to go up. I monitor everything I eat as well as caloric intake (or Kilojoules when using my bike outside with my powertap). If I don't get those rides in...I gain weight unless I'm absolutely starving myself.

3) My body responds best when I'm doing something all the time. Taking a day off throws things out of whack and sometimes takes longer to recover from than doing nothing.

My recovery rides are pretty easy, especially on Monday and Friday. Tuesday can be between easy and medium depending on how I'm feeling. Basically I start the week out really slow and ramp it up through Thursday, then take it back down on Friday, then back up on Saturday and Sunday....Then repeat.

As I move into the Spring/Summer when I can get out more I'll be doing more hours on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday...but keep my recovery rides the same.

As with everybody...what works for one, doesn't work for others. This is what works for me and it's not for everybody, and I'm pretty in tune with my body and what it's telling me I need.
 
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