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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am a novice and have some questions for you more experienced racers. I've started base since last week of December and wondering when to start the intervals. Last year was my first year racing and I started base way too late in February. I basically jumped in to racing in mid April without doing any interval type workouts, which was a mistake. I finished the 30 mile race but 27 of it was lonely miles. I hope to do a little better at starting this year. Training races starts here in mid March and real races starts in beginning of April. Should I start the intervals couple weeks prior to the training races? Also how do you fit intervals during the racing season? I participated in local Tuesday night group training rides that were sometimes more difficult then my races, so I hardly did any intervals even during the season. Please help me to get a clue. I am still pretty clueless about preseason training or even what to do during the season. I've entered 12 races last year and first five or six I didn't finish with a pack and the last half of the races, I was barely hanging on at the end of the races. Would you please give some advice? About anything? I'd appreciated.
 

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I started intervals in October. You should start intervals ASAP. Riding long and slow is going to make you good at exactly that. When I first started racing, I used to ride tons of miles, do periodization, etc., and got blown away in races.

I think "base," in the sense that it is the foundation for high intensity training later, is the riding you do to get from couch potato to being strong enough to do intervals without undue suffering. Once you're there, you never need to do it again unless you completely detrain.

Want to get fast fast? Spend your money on a good coach that you can work with in person and a powermeter. You'll get a lot more speed from that engine upgrade than a new frame or wheelset.


MD80 said:
I am a novice and have some questions for you more experienced racers. I've started base since last week of December and wondering when to start the intervals. Last year was my first year racing and I started base way too late in February. I basically jumped in to racing in mid April without doing any interval type workouts, which was a mistake. I finished the 30 mile race but 27 of it was lonely miles. I hope to do a little better at starting this year. Training races starts here in mid March and real races starts in beginning of April. Should I start the intervals couple weeks prior to the training races? Also how do you fit intervals during the racing season? I participated in local Tuesday night group training rides that were sometimes more difficult then my races, so I hardly did any intervals even during the season. Please help me to get a clue. I am still pretty clueless about preseason training or even what to do during the season. I've entered 12 races last year and first five or six I didn't finish with a pack and the last half of the races, I was barely hanging on at the end of the races. Would you please give some advice? About anything? I'd appreciated.
 

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Agreed, get a coach, study, plan. Start intervals now. Go as hard as you can, for as long as you can and then rest for twice the time of the effort (intervals in a nutshell!).

Only do intervals every other day. Every fourth week, take it easy and do long easy rides. Don't do intervals the week of the race. Training races take place of one interval session.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Right now, hiring a coach is not an option due to my lay off status from work. So I have to do with what I know and I have been using Friel's book as a guide. The book is sort of confusing. I ve been doing tempo workouts, muscle tension excersizes and etc. I was a bit surprised to hear you guys say I should start the intervals right away. According to periodization train of thought, I thought I am not supposed to hit upper heart rate zones during early base periods. So I am confused, but I am sure you guys are speaking from experience. I will heed your advice and start with shorter intervals this week. Thanks for the replys.
 

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Count back from your first A priority race. That is key. All races aren't A priority, and certainly not ones in April in your case. Try to flesh out a good plan, using Friel and you will see the structure of the program. Base is mostly easy, with tempo intervals in the end. Build gets tougher, focus on your weaknesses. Peak backs off, and focusses on your strengths.
 

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MD80 said:
Right now, hiring a coach is not an option due to my lay off status from work. So I have to do with what I know and I have been using Friel's book as a guide. The book is sort of confusing. I ve been doing tempo workouts, muscle tension excersizes and etc. I was a bit surprised to hear you guys say I should start the intervals right away. According to periodization train of thought, I thought I am not supposed to hit upper heart rate zones during early base periods. So I am confused, but I am sure you guys are speaking from experience. I will heed your advice and start with shorter intervals this week. Thanks for the replys.
There are serious problems with periodization as presented by Friel and others. It's really a way to squeeze a little extra performance out of a highly trained athlete. When applied to anyone else, it really just puts them in a yearly cycle of building fitness a little too late in the season and detraining during the winter. Then they go through the cycle again carrying over little or no improvements in fitness from the previous season, having spents months discarding their hard-earned fitness. You can get results on this program but you'll be spending 2-3X more hours training. Or you'll be one of those guys who's a Cat 5 in his 4th season...

I tried the Friel thing a few years ago and was in the worst shape of my life. In my opinion, his program has too little intensity and way too many hours. It's also overly complicated. You should be able to ride at a Cat 3 level on 8 hours/week yet I see people in Cat 4 doing 20/week and Cat 3's doing 20-30.

All the stuff about impaired capillary development, recovering from the season, burning out, etc., if you don't ride easy or get "base" miles for several months at the end of the year are BS.
 
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