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of course it all depends on your level, experience, objectives, time available, etc.

I would not take the 20% as it is, i-e I would not hammer the crap out of myself doing 20% high intensity during a week.

Riding at L3-L4 intensities will get you good at that: be fast arround threshold, thats it. You got to throw in some high intensity stuff. But, to each his own.

FYI, I basically did no L3-L4 this winter, or very very little of it. All I did was L5 work, high intensity micro-intervals, a few short spins, all on a 8-12h training regime, on the trainer. My FTP got to an all time high. Of course, you might want to still do some L3-L4 work here and there, I just feel it is not worth the efforts, fatigue, recovery, mental stress, for the gains they will bring.

Like everything else, you will probably see some gains doing L3-L4 work, but they will likely plateau relatively quickly. Variety is important.
What was your FTP when you started and where did you end up? Also, when did you start and end your winer training (time of year)?
 

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I have done very little road in a long long time, I can clearly see I need to ride more road with these guys, along with my short/hard efforts and intervals on my trails. ...avg speed just over 20mph...
Yes, ride more road and everything improves!

(20+ mph/ave is a respectable pace!)

For me, I spend about 90% of my time training & racing on the road. Doing so allows for a more consistent and predictable environment in which to focus on the various physiological aspects of cycling.

Of course, sharpen the technical off-road-specific skills and requirements as needed, but all of cycling is aerobic, anaerobic, etc., and these areas can be developed on the road where there is less potential for crashes and injury.
 

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I typically start my training around november and end it around early march. I gained 25-30W at FTP during that time.
That's really good doing "All I did was L5 work, high intensity micro-intervals, a few short spins, all on a 8-12h training regime, on the trainer."

What did you start at and end up with?
 

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Agree.

("3" being the venerable 'gray area'.)

Friel, Allen, and Coggan all support this. And, from my 20+ years experience, I found it to be effective.
I am new at this compared to you guys.

I figured if Allen promotes SST (high L3/low L4) and threshold in winter/off season, he would have you do it in season also.
http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/Archivedarticles/Four Powerful Keys to Winter Training.pdf

http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/featurepdfs/08_Power_Nov.pdf
 

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I am new at this compared to you guys.

I figured if Allen promotes SST (high L3/low L4) and threshold in winter/off season, he would have you do it in season also.
http://www.peakscoachinggroup.com/Archivedarticles/Four Powerful Keys to Winter Training.pdf

http://roadmagazine.net/road_home/featurepdfs/08_Power_Nov.pdf
There is a time for everything.

In preparation for the upcoming race season, winter is best for this structured 'upper foundation' work.

During race season, you usually get enough of the L3/L4 stress from the events themselves, and thus, more focus is placed on race-specific short/intense workouts and to allow for much needed recovery.

Periodically, however, when scheduling allows (mid-season, etc.), it's good to refresh the formal 'winter' L3/L4 workouts because some of those benefits will have diminished.
 

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There is a time for everything.

In preparation for the upcoming race season, winter is best for this structured 'upper foundation' work.

During race season, you usually get enough of the L3/L4 stress from the events themselves, and thus, more focus is placed on race-specific short/intense workouts and to allow for much needed recovery.

Periodically, however, when scheduling allows (mid-season, etc.), it's good to refresh the formal 'winter' L3/L4 workouts because some of those benefits will have diminished.
And here I always figured it was more the other way around - that you could get enough anaerobic work in from racing and and riding off road since:

"As the researchers state regarding the Tabata group

After 3 wk of training, the VO2 max had increased significantly by 5+-3ml.kg/min. It tended to increase in the last part of the training period but no significant changes were observed.

Basically, the Tabata group improved for 3 weeks and then plateaued despite a continuingly increasing workload. I’d note that anaerobic capacity did improve over the length of the study although most of the benefit came in the first 4 weeks of the study (with far less over the last 2 weeks)."
Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermitten Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2 Max - Research Review | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald

So if anaerobic gains plateau quickly - what else do you work on the rest of the year/season that would make you more fit for racing? I would have thought L3/L4
 

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So if anaerobic gains plateau quickly - what else do you work on the rest of the year/season that would make you more fit for racing?
Plateau quickly? - One must think long term when judging physical/performance gains, as in years.

The concept of periodization, load variation (TSS - Training Stress Score), and annual performance schedule would apply here.

There has been much written on the subject.
 

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Agree.

("3" being the venerable 'gray area'.)

Friel, Allen, and Coggan all support this. And, from my 20+ years experience, I found it to be effective.
Recent article (7/1/13) by Joe Friel recommends performing Coggan's "Sweet Spot" workouts for both build and base.

Base Training
"FTP can be increased by doing Coggan’s “Sweet Spot” workout. After warming up do 2x20-minute intervals at about 90% of your FTP with a 5-minute recovery between them." Joe Friel

Build Period
"In the Build period do workouts that become increasingly like the race. This usually involves intervals that match the demands of the race for which you are training. Once you have power data accumulated from your races you’ll be able to more accurately determine the duration and intensity of these intervals and the recovery time between them.

During the Build period do a weekly aerobic endurance workout to maintain EF and a weekly Sweet Spot session to keep your FTP high. The other workouts will be racelike or recovery" Joe Friel

How to Start Mountain Bike Training with*Power - Posts - TrainingPeaks Blog
 

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Plateau quickly?
3 weeks out of a 52 week year sounds pretty quick to me, from what I got out of article for "anaerobic work". I would agree that raising FTP would be long term, as in years.

"After 3 wk of training, the VO2 max had increased significantly by 5+-3ml.kg/min. It tended to increase in the last part of the training period but no significant changes were observed."
 

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3 weeks sounds pretty quick to me, from what I got out of article for "anaerobic work". I would agree that raising FTP would be long term, as in years.

"After 3 wk of training, the VO2 max had increased significantly by 5+-3ml.kg/min. It tended to increase in the last part of the training period but no significant changes were observed."
Again, it is best to take a long term approach to training and performance.

Selectively dissecting various training stages (as in this study) misconstrues the importance of timing and the benefits of overall periodization -- training stress and recovery.

While short term gains can be made, it takes years for the body to fully adapt.
 

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Again, it is best to take a long term approach to training and performance.

Selectively dissecting various training stages (as in this study) misconstrues the importance of timing and the benefits of overall periodization -- training stress and recovery.
What I got out of article, is that it "highlights" the importance of timing and the benefits of overall periodization.

"Interestingly, the running coach Arthur Lydiard made this observation half a century ago; after months of base training, he found that only 3 weeks of interval work were necessary to sharpen his athletes. More than that was neither necessary nor desirable. Other studies using cycling have found similar results: intervals improve certain parameters of athletic performance for about 3 weeks or 6 sessions and then they stop having any further benefit." article quote

Did you have time to read it? I thought it was good

Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermitten Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2 Max - Research Review | BodyRecomposition - The Home of Lyle McDonald
 

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While interesting (sometimes), getting immersed in academic studies can be paralyzing.

Most important is actually getting on the bike, applying these concepts, and personally experiencing the outcome.
 

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Thanks for the heads up - No paralysis here.

I am applying what I have learned and getting results (race results and raising FTP). Trying to help others with what I have learned - focus on the 'good stuff' and avoid the 'junk'. Best way I have learned to do that is studies/facts, not an individuals perceptions or feelings.

Interesting Friel comment dated 6/5/11:
"Although we are usually told to avoid zone 3 training, this is the block in which I have seen the greatest gains in FTP. Zone 3, especially the upper portion, seems to be quite effective for producing aerobic fitness and yet not overly demanding on the body requiring frequent or extended recovery. It seems I saw such a finding in a paper by Dr. Eric Bannister a few years ago but I’ve been unable to find it. He’s the one who developed the TRIMP system. Allen and Coggan in their excellent book, Training and Racing with a Power Meter, refer to the upper end of zone 3 and the lower end of zone 4 as the “sweet spot” and a range that is very effective for producing aerobic fitness." Joe Friel
Joe Friel - Training for Advanced Athletes, Part 5
 

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"Sharpen" is still a relative term. Lydiard's athletes did MASSIVE amounts of tempo and low-end threshold training. 10mi tempo runs and the like; very similar to a 2x20 or 2x30min set on the bike. Then they sharpened with 200s, 400s, 800s, 1000s, etc., depending on their specific event as their main focus for the season drew near.

For most people, tempo/low-end threshold is the equivalent of riding at a pace at which you can utter a few words at a time. Not dying, not conversational, not riding to the beach with your old lady.
 

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Best way I have learned to do that is studies/facts, not an individuals perceptions or feelings.
Agreed.

Still, each must eventually (and consistently) do the work to gauge individual outcomes and make personal modifications - just no way of getting around that.
 

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"Sharpen" is still a relative term. Lydiard's athletes did MASSIVE amounts of tempo and low-end threshold training. 10mi tempo runs and the like; very similar to a 2x20 or 2x30min set on the bike. Then they sharpened with 200s, 400s, 800s, 1000s, etc., depending on their specific event as their main focus for the season drew near.

For most people, tempo/low-end threshold is the equivalent of riding at a pace at which you can utter a few words at a time. Not dying, not conversational, not riding to the beach with your old lady.
I think this is spot on. Where Lydiard got consistently mis quoted was by people was said he wanted us to do lots of "LSD", this starting the jogging boom of the 1980's.

As you note, lydiard's runners were drilling 6 minute miles for those long runs, not looking at the birds.

I am coming to a view that tempo is really a great training tool for getting you 95% of the way there.

That said, i'm going to try messing with some high intensity training for cross this year and see if it helps me.
 

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I think this is spot on. Where Lydiard got consistently mis quoted was by people was said he wanted us to do lots of "LSD", this starting the jogging boom of the 1980's.

As you note, lydiard's runners were drilling 6 minute miles for those long runs, not looking at the birds.

I am coming to a view that tempo is really a great training tool for getting you 95% of the way there.

That said, i'm going to try messing with some high intensity training for cross this year and see if it helps me.
Here is an article by Stephen Cheung - co-author of Cutting-Edge Cycling along with Hunter Allen. Talks about his preparation for CX season. Maybe it will help you.
PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Toolbox: Training Plan Simplicity

If you are curious why in article he states:
"Rather than jump into very short 10-15 s intervals right away, I went with the philosophy of maximizing my anaerobic power by spending two weeks doing 3-4 workouts/week of 6-8 absolute maximal 1 min efforts from a standing start with lots of recovery in between."

Stephen Cheung's response via email was that his weakness was lack of "anaerobic power" (ability to crank those really massive watts to close a big gap, respond to an attack, really hammer up a short hill) vs. "anaerobic endurance" (the ability to make short efforts and recover, and have that high level of repeatability of efforts)
 

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I think this is spot on. Where Lydiard got consistently mis quoted was by people was said he wanted us to do lots of "LSD", this starting the jogging boom of the 1980's.

As you note, lydiard's runners were drilling 6 minute miles for those long runs, not looking at the birds.

I am coming to a view that tempo is really a great training tool for getting you 95% of the way there.

That said, i'm going to try messing with some high intensity training for cross this year and see if it helps me.
Indeed. I came to cycling from running collegiate track. Even 1500m guys were doing 60-70 miles a week. And I think the slowest mile I ever ran, outside of an early morning jog, was 7:00/mile, for more than 10 miles.

The main point of tempo-heavy training is to get 90% the physiological effects of intervals without the same physical stress. When you elevate "easy" runs from 8:00/mile to 6:30/mile, your high end output goes up as well. I was never a star, but I was running a 4:25 mile with no real interval work as a college freshman, despite the fact that I'd run nothing longer than the 800m since sophomore year of high school.
 

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Here is an article by Stephen Cheung - co-author of Cutting-Edge Cycling along with Hunter Allen. Talks about his preparation for CX season. Maybe it will help you.
PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Toolbox: Training Plan Simplicity

If you are curious why in article he states:
"Rather than jump into very short 10-15 s intervals right away, I went with the philosophy of maximizing my anaerobic power by spending two weeks doing 3-4 workouts/week of 6-8 absolute maximal 1 min efforts from a standing start with lots of recovery in between."

Stephen Cheung's response via email was that his weakness was lack of "anaerobic power" (ability to crank those really massive watts to close a big gap, respond to an attack, really hammer up a short hill) vs. "anaerobic endurance" (the ability to make short efforts and recover, and have that high level of repeatability of efforts)
Thank you, that's a great article and about what I had in mind. The last few years I have been losing races in the first lap, so I figured that I'd concentrate and gaining the fitness to go harder from the gun and let the other 6 laps take care of themself. Might be a crackpot plan, but I figured I'd try it.
 
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