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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There are some new ideas about training composition floating around. A lot of them come from Stephen Seiler (A texan sports physiolgist based out of Norway of all places. It is absolutely worth listening to some of his lectures on youtube). The basic idea is if you do enough aerobic volume work (zone 2) it takes very few intensity session to get up to race speed.

Being a "middle aged, middle of the pack racer" I decided to experiment on myself. At the end of the November I was coming off an injury and was basically, fat, out of shape, and slightly crippled. Intensity was not an option. Through Dec to March, I did nothing but zone 2 workouts. Gradually built my CTL up to about 90. Beginning of April I started intensity. Over the last two weeks I have done some really hard workouts, PE a solid 17-19 out of 20. Tonight, I hit a couple of PRs by a significant margin on a couple of Strava segments I have used as bench marks in the past.

I actually have tried a similar approach with some of the elites I am coaching. It has been really successful.

My observation is that if an athlete has a sufficient base, it takes about two weeks of intensity training, followed by some recovery, to get up to race speed.
 

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Maybe your explanation is not enough, but there seems to be a lot of missing information on your experiment for this to be somewhat usable information.

it takes very few intensity session to get up to race speed.
What is race speed, is it a peak for the athlete?

Also I'm not buying the strategy of doing just massive z2 workouts, then doing high intensity workouts for 2 weeks and bam, you are at peak.

To be clear, I actually believe you I just don't buy it as a breakthrough idea, you are just overcompensating and reacting very well to the training stimulus.

After all this sounds exactly what an athlete would do in the off season, train low, then apply intensity to get back on track.

Do you have any data to support this?

A simple FTP test, with a cp curve would show great info.

Highest historic CP curve graph, same graph at beginning of z2 workouts and same graph after the 2 weeks of intensity period.

Other thing that bothers me with this particular idea is that if someone hasn't ever developed a high ftp I can't see your idea working. What you are experiencing seems just to be some super overcompensation of the high intensity workouts.

You overcompensate very good because you have a massive developed aerobic system feeding mainly of fats, so your power factory is super efficient at that point and the high intensity workouts help get closer to a previous performance state.

So I guess my uncertainty is whether 2 weeks of high intensity workouts after those z2 workouts are enough to get you close to your high limit, but then again I'm not sure you are meaning that with "race speed".

I'm sure they will get you close, but not at your limit.

e.g.

Highest historic - FTP 260W
Z2 period - FTP 200W
HIIT period - FTP 235w??
 

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Funny that I just happened to be watching -

At around minute 10, Tim says that after riding a bunch of z2 and have a race 8 weeks out. 90% of the gains from interval training will happen in the first 6-8 interval sessions. I would say that has lined up with my experience in the past where I put a lot of focus into building a high quality base. I rode 3 months focused on HR and let the power come up on its own. Correctly done z2 is NOT easy. Then smashed my 20-60 minute power numbers that year. I let racing, group rides and mountain biking handle the pointy end.
 

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To reach 90 CTL on Z2 alone must require a lot of hours. I've been doing a version of SSB and struggle to reach 80 CTL.

What zones of intensity are you incorporating. Right now I am having a hard time incorporating VO2 max intervals even at wattage way below historic PDC values. Anaerobic intervals are just as bad.
 

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IMO, there is a curve of age vs. intensity quantity.

As you get older, you absolutely still need intensity training for racing, but too much can be counterproductive in the form of creeping, somewhat hidden, long-term fatigue.

Note: Based solely on observations of my bod, as I've aged from a tireless youth, to a sometimes "why the hell am I tired today?!" 60-year old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm sure they will get you close, but not at your limit.
I agree with you here.

This is where you would use racing as your final preparation tool. Just about everybody does a significant number of races prior to the event they really care about. Those races are incredible training tools. I think if you have done everything right it will bring you up to your peak.

The idea is of reducing intensity volume is to increase the survivability of a season. Often the most important event is at the end of the year, yet many racers are absolutely burned out. I think really limiting the number of intensity days is important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To reach 90 CTL on Z2 alone must require a lot of hours. I've been doing a version of SSB and struggle to reach 80 CTL.

What zones of intensity are you incorporating. Right now I am having a hard time incorporating VO2 max intervals even at wattage way below historic PDC values. Anaerobic intervals are just as bad.
I actually find that it through zone 2 work that I can build a CTL. Personally, I can do 120-150TSS rides at zone 2 day after day. (2.5-3.5hrs). 120-150TSS rides through high intensity, those hurt me, I can do 1 to 2 of those a week at best.

Volume is 12-15hrs a week for me.

For me zone 2: is an intensity factor of 0.58-0.68. I do most of rides around 0.63.
High intensity: is as fast as I can go for the intended duration.

There is some natural intensity that does happen on zone 2 rides, head winds and long climbs naturally bring me into zone 3 or 4.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Maybe your explanation is not enough, but there seems to be a lot of missing information on your experiment for this to be somewhat usable information.

What is race speed, is it a peak for the athlete?

Also I'm not buying the strategy of doing just massive z2 workouts, then doing high intensity workouts for 2 weeks and bam, you are at peak.

To be clear, I actually believe you I just don't buy it as a breakthrough idea, you are just overcompensating and reacting very well to the training stimulus.

After all this sounds exactly what an athlete would do in the off season, train low, then apply intensity to get back on track.

Do you have any data to support this?

A simple FTP test, with a cp curve would show great info.
I am not claiming it to be a break through idea. But I think it is safe to say that many racers do a lot of intensity, and I argue many do far too much intensity.

Even, when I look at the programs I have written over the past 15 years, there is not a single case where I didn't give enough intensity. Too much on the other hand is a common theme.

Here are the numbers that I am seeing from one of the elite guys I work with.

Historical peak FTP: 5.4 w/kg.
Winter FTP: 4.6 w/kg
Current FTP: 5.6 w/kg.

Peak winter CTL: 125
Number of intensity training sessions (including racing): 18
Number of days of racing so far: 14

My own numbers:
Historic peak FTP: 4.3 W/kg
Winter FTP: 3.5 W/kg
Current FTP: 4.5 W/kg
 

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There are some new ideas about training composition floating around. A lot of them come from Stephen Seiler (A texan sports physiolgist based out of Norway of all places. It is absolutely worth listening to some of his lectures on youtube). The basic idea is if you do enough aerobic volume work (zone 2) it takes very few intensity session to get up to race speed.

Being a "middle aged, middle of the pack racer" I decided to experiment on myself. At the end of the November I was coming off an injury and was basically, fat, out of shape, and slightly crippled. Intensity was not an option. Through Dec to March, I did nothing but zone 2 workouts. Gradually built my CTL up to about 90. Beginning of April I started intensity. Over the last two weeks I have done some really hard workouts, PE a solid 17-19 out of 20. Tonight, I hit a couple of PRs by a significant margin on a couple of Strava segments I have used as bench marks in the past.

I actually have tried a similar approach with some of the elites I am coaching. It has been really successful.

My observation is that if an athlete has a sufficient base, it takes about two weeks of intensity training, followed by some recovery, to get up to race speed.
----------------

I really like Selier and his research. When I've heard him interviewed, he mostly goes back and analyzes what has worked for the best athletes ever. His article on Marit Bjoergen (greatest XC skier ever) is a really good one.
HTML:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-02/nuos-htt021618.php
Zone 2 workouts (ie...60-70% max heart rate) are bread and butter for endurance sports worldwide. These workouts aren't sexy and I think coaches devalue them. Mostly because performing these workouts isn't "hard" and really doesn't require the supervision of a coach. However, they are the most important workout for success IMO.

All of the best endurance athletes I've ever heard of perform most of their workouts in Zone 2 (90% of total time; 80% of total workouts) with fairly minimal interval workouts (1-3 per week with workouts rarely going into "fall on the ground levels" of fatigue). There is simply nothing that replaces the training effects of long, consistent hours in Zone 2.

I think consistent Zone 2 training really allows you to peak effectively. It allows the body to respond to the training stimulus you want (race simulation intervals or training races) and doesn't grind you into the ground while still providing aerobic stimulus.
 

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Zone 2 workouts (ie...60-70% max heart rate) are bread and butter for endurance sports worldwide. These workouts aren't sexy and I think coaches devalue them. Mostly because performing these workouts isn't "hard" and really doesn't require the supervision of a coach. However, they are the most important workout for success IMO.
I agree as well. I think coaches come up with crazy plans and workouts to demonstrate how their "secret sauce" is the one that's going to take you to the next level. And better yet, in half the time. All of the time-crunched talk is Sadly, it's a business and a lot of coaches have a product to sell and a need to differentiate themselves. It's amazing how far you can get on z2 and a mix of threshold/vo2/racing 2x/week.

In one of the recent VeloNews FastTalk podcasts, they also mentioned that 2 days of intensity is all you really need. 3 doesn't show much more upside and when you get to 3+ you really risk burnout.
 

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I've been doing this for about 2 months. I was a Cat 1 roadie for a long time and now think I was blowing it the whole time. I knew my hard rides weren't hard enough (I chalked that up to a high training load) and knew my easy rides were probably a little too hard. According to this, my easy rides were WAY too hard.

It's been liberating, training after a hard day no longer feels like a chore. I turned a friend who constantly overtrains onto it. He's significant other rides but isn't fast. In the name of performance he's rarely ridden with her. Now, he can ride with her more, so it's improved his life. Glad others are seeing good results, I'm sticking with it no matter what, but if the results are there too, all the better.

I'm still not sold on the 4x8min as the interval of choice, I'm thinking more variety would be better, but Seiler's data are compelling (and I say that thinking most exercise phys 'research' is garbage because of the adherence to an High Magnitude Inference methodology).

I'm curious, what does everyone think is the point in which this is the way to go over HIIT, 8 hours a week, 10, 12?

Some links to Seiler ideas:
https://www.velonews.com/2017/03/news/fast-talk-ep-14-better-polarization-sweet-spot_432260

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/velonews/e/55514267?autoplay=true

https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/dean-ouellette/final-surge-podcast/e/55398877

https://www.velonews.com/2019/02/tr...-the-three-types-of-ride-you-should-do_483683
 

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I actually find that it through zone 2 work that I can build a CTL. Personally, I can do 120-150TSS rides at zone 2 day after day. (2.5-3.5hrs). 120-150TSS rides through high intensity, those hurt me, I can do 1 to 2 of those a week at best.

Volume is 12-15hrs a week for me.

For me zone 2: is an intensity factor of 0.58-0.68. I do most of rides around 0.63.
High intensity: is as fast as I can go for the intended duration.

There is some natural intensity that does happen on zone 2 rides, head winds and long climbs naturally bring me into zone 3 or 4.
Seems I've been kinda doing this a few years, but am more dedicated to zone 2 this season (80% zone 2), using the Polarized training philosophies ("break-though" workout day, zone 2 day, longer zone 2 day, repeat). But I'm using the Joe Friel traditional progression for "break-through" day while moving CTL up at a reasonable pace. Very simple training plan.

The only problem is doing the time. Tough to get in 3+ hours on a weekday. But I'm seeing a few 15+ hours week coming up (to keep CTL rising) which is tough on an old guy.

I'm curious to see if I have similar performance improvements (I'd love to go from 3.8 to 4.0+ w/kg :)). I'm in final couple weeks of 12-week base progressing to SST intervals. Before that it was all tempo intervals for break-though days.
 

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It seems a bit like the high-intensity is the constant, and you just do whatever z2 volume you can manage? I'm in the time-crunched camp, 8 hours is huge for me, generally I'm in the 5-6 hrs per week range. I have observed that I do better with more volume, but with work/kids etc that's where I'm at right now.
 

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I've switched to polarized training this year. I was doing too many "tempo" type efforts in between hard days, meaning i was tired when trying to do intensity.
I won the first elite/cat 1 road race of the season so something is working.

Also great for the head. Hard days super hard, the rest of the time you can ride around and enjoy the scenery :)

90/10 or 80/20 rule. 10% of TIME or 20% of SESSIONS are high intensity, the rest is LT1. If you don't know you LT1/2 levels go do a VO2 max test.
As for type of efforts- the research has shown its not overly important. 4-5*8min, 8-10* 4 min, etc.
 

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What if the years of tempo riding and cycle-specific conditioning that has given you that hard-earned cycling physique is a necessary condition for your subsequent success on the 80/20 plan?

As an XC skier - that is the aspect of this research that is always questioned for those who haven't previously put in the time. I believe the study (echoed in some of the anecdotes below) focused on existing elite athletes rather than Joe weekend warrior....

I kind of fall in the middle - historically a 3x/week, 30-minute indoor cross-train (strider) type until my late 30s and then went off the deep end into endurance sports the last five years after a friend invited me to join him in adventure tri.

I put in a lot of volume this year with nordic and it definitely paid dividends (50/50 workouts with intensity compared to previous 90% tempo/threshold workouts). It's exciting to think I can rejoin my non-racer friends and family again on easier rides!
 

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You guys are talking over my head.

Can you give me an outline of what I should be doing for training to improve my on bike fitness?

My rides (not races) are competitive events with highly trained friends of about 2.5 hours in length with lots of explosive climbing needed for relatively short periods of time (15 s - 5m.) and we push hard anytime in between as well.

Thanks for any advice you could offer.

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

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IMO, there is a curve of age vs. intensity quantity.

As you get older, you absolutely still need intensity training for racing, but too much can be counterproductive in the form of creeping, somewhat hidden, long-term fatigue.

Note: Based solely on observations of my bod, as I've aged from a tireless youth, to a sometimes "why the hell am I tired today?!" 60-year old.
Well I'm 65 and dealing with inability to hit wattages from the past and the accompanying ego hit. I enjoy Z2 efforts and yoyo back and forth between trying to add intensity and time. Probably not the best path forward. I've heard conflicting advice for older riders concerning how much time in Z2 and enough recovery to add intensity.
 
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