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I have been riding with a group of roadies recently and this is what I often hear from them. 'nah I can't be competitive, I don't have enough mileage' or sometimes they feel that they didn't clock as much mileage as their competitor.

After racing for a few years, I do feel that riding 10-15hours a week makes me fitter than 5-8hrs a week. However, the difference is not THAT huge in my opinion.

Typically the amount of high intensity work on both program is quite similar for me, just 5-8hrs have much less of zone 2 work. Thus I feel that having more mileage basically makes you slightly fitter and not too far off.

Any thoughts?
 

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Formerly of Kent
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Well, I'd argue that if you weren't previously a pro (with a massive, life-long base to match) road racer, you cannot, will not be competitive in P/1/2 road races or crits on 5-8 hours a week.

And, marginal gains are where it's at. It all adds up, in the end.
 

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Well, I'd argue that if you weren't previously a pro (with a massive, life-long base to match) road racer, you cannot, will not be competitive in P/1/2 road races or crits on 5-8 hours a week.

And, marginal gains are where it's at. It all adds up, in the end.
This. Older racers with years of training in their legs can get by with lower volume/higher intensity sometimes because of the years of accumulated aerobic work, but the years of high volume have to happen first. Those adaptations never completely go away.

But yeah, I'd substitute "hours" for "miles" and say that those guys are basically right.
 

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Yup, my best years are pretty much a direct correlation with the accumulated volume in that season.

I typically shoot for 50+ hour months. This month I should reach around 55. This typically gives some great mid summer performances.

I've been doing this higher volume approach since 2010 and it's made each season better than the previous. In 2010 I was 43 yrs old and I've been racing since 2003, which eventually led me to a hard plateau (and going backwards) in 2008 and 09.

More volume got me moving forward again.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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You can be fairly competitive on 6 hours a week doing time crunched high intensity type programs (especially for those who have some solid years of cycling under their belt). The problem...and it is a big problem...is that your fitness will start to fall off quite a bit after you complete the program(s).

Think of it as "short term performance" with about a 3 week high performance window only.

You can repeat the program after taking about a month off from the high intensity workouts in between, but it may take another month or two to get back into race shape when you start the program again.

You sorta peak at the beginning and end of the season IF you time things right and IF you are willing to torture yourself with mostly high intensity work for 8 + 8 more weeks.

Also, this time crunched fitness in no bueno for any race lasting 3 or more hours in my experience.

More volume with high intensity workouts timed correctly is the best way to go imo, but not everyone has the time or interest to invest 12+ hours a week as an amateur racer collecting no pay.
 

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I have been riding with a group of roadies recently and this is what I often hear from them. 'nah I can't be competitive, I don't have enough mileage' or sometimes they feel that they didn't clock as much mileage as their competitor.
There's a saying: "if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk".

I've met a lot of people who've been riding for years. They ride regularly and do reasonable volume (10 to 15 hours per week). At the same time they wonder why they never seem to improve, get faster or even lose any weight, despite all this riding. Then you see what they're actually doing and it's the same old thing every week, nothing new or challenging just a stale routine well within their comfort zone. The same routes, the same diet, the same group rides and its like "well, what do you expect to happen, miracles?"

Using the available time wisely can still go a long way, even if you're not doing a huge volume overall. It's how you combine the sessions that counts, not just reaching a particular hourly total and thinking that's enough by itself. Putting the effort and hard work in is what gets results.:)
 

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Mileage is one aspect of training. Depends on how varied that mileage is. Logging endless miles will allow you to race at a mediocre rate. You're only as strong as your body has been pushed during training hours.

The roadies are right but it's not the final answer to one's level of performance.
 

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EAT MORE GRIME
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miles matter and the comment about 'old pros' goes a long way


I have a jazillion miles and +30 hard riding years in my legs, yet various problems over the years where i was not riding or unable to ride. when back to riding I am a slow fat blob but I come around 5 times faster for a given amount of work, then tapering slowly upward i can pick people off and get back to whatever fitness I desire...by this one weird trick... lots and lots of miles.

I can put power into my legs with weights and intervals...I have tons of power. short term power. But I need an engine to push it for distance and duration and the only way to make that engine supercharged is saddle time, loneliness, misery, and pain. there will be snot in there too...
 

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No. Just No.
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I'll agree with other posts, that have implied that if you want to bust up the shorter intervals with maximum effect, it's best done on top of a solid level of base fitness. You can still hit the intervals on a more compressed schedule and get benefits, but not like you can if you've already built up that base which allows you to go deeper and also recover more easily, so that you can the same again the next interval session. Once race season hits, it's pretty challenging to maintain form throughout the season if you are racing many weekends - unless you have that base to carry you through.
 

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There's nothing I can add to the great and objective input already given. The comments were not a d1ck swinging ego contest which was refreshing. My friend is an accomplished California-based pro and he's doing about 7 hours per week.....due to new baby, house move, etc. And he's racing and winning. But he's also got a bajillion miles under his chamois and this 7 hour week thing is temporary and maybe a great change of pace and who knows what his intensity is really like. Pros rarely divulge all their secrets so I've been told.

My coach is a multi-time US and World level competitor. Decades of big wins. He's 50 and podiums against the young fast guys. Sometimes. He's modest and chalks it up to the mileage and muscle memory and mental fortitude knowing he has done this and can do it again.....if the timing is right.
 

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Access to good meds helps too.

7 hrs of training alone will not allow him to beat other pros logging in 20+ hrs of training.
 

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Definitely agree with substituting "miles" with "time". Distance is nearly irrelevant to training volume, especially for MTB riders.

A great way to think of your training is to think of it as a pyramid. The lower stones at the base represent low intensity training hours while the higher up stones represent high intensity training hours. If you try to place the peak stone of the pyramid on an insufficient base or foundation it is difficult to maintain structural integrity. Having said that, the notion of just putting in countless hours in zone two in order to make yourself faster is more about laying a solid foundation for high intensity work.

I try to mix in rides that aren't necessarily high intensity but high in volume (+7 hrs) a couple times/month. Some people call these 'form finders' and while I don't have any scientific evidence or research to back this up, I've found that these 'form finder' rides tend to rise the tide that floats my fitness. In other words, it seems to elevate my game in all aspects.

It is worth noting that I put in a large amount of sweet spot (83-100% of FTP) and high intensity work (+101% of FTP) throughout the year, but definitely focus on building more base throughout the fall/winter.
 

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You can be fairly competitive on 6 hours a week doing time crunched high intensity type programs (especially for those who have some solid years of cycling under their belt). The problem...and it is a big problem...is that your fitness will start to fall off quite a bit after you complete the program(s).

Think of it as "short term performance" with about a 3 week high performance window only.

You can repeat the program after taking about a month off from the high intensity workouts in between, but it may take another month or two to get back into race shape when you start the program again.

You sorta peak at the beginning and end of the season IF you time things right and IF you are willing to torture yourself with mostly high intensity work for 8 + 8 more weeks.

Also, this time crunched fitness in no bueno for any race lasting 3 or more hours in my experience.

More volume with high intensity workouts timed correctly is the best way to go imo, but not everyone has the time or interest to invest 12+ hours a week as an amateur racer collecting no pay.
I've tried the 6 hr/week high intensity/time crunched program and it will get you very fast in about 8 weeks, but like rydbyk mentioned, you have about 2-3 weeks of peak until it declines. I ended up peaking 2 weeks before my race and borderline overtrained to try to maintain the fitness. Lesson learned.
 

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mnoutain bkie rdier
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I've tried the 6 hr/week high intensity/time crunched program and it will get you very fast in about 8 weeks, but like rydbyk mentioned, you have about 2-3 weeks of peak until it declines. I ended up peaking 2 weeks before my race and borderline overtrained to try to maintain the fitness. Lesson learned.
I hear ya. I won't be doing the time crunched thing again unless absolutely necessary.
 
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