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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some tips/advice for managing/scheduling training volume:

I'm in my second year of structured training for XC, following Friel's MTB Training Bible as closely as possible. One thing I constantly struggle with is how much to train, and how often with respect to recovery and fatigue. Right now I'm in the base training phase, and I have a difficult time getting enough hours on the bike each week (based on Friel's recommendation) because I'm trying to ride only when fully or mostly recovered. (Friel seems to really stress the importance of recovery and not riding when fatigued.) At this point in time, it seems to take me a full 2-3 rest days for my legs to recover from a longer "E2" 2+hour road ride. Throw in a couple of weight training sessions a week, and it's difficult to find enough days to ride when my legs actually feel rested and strong (or any days).

Am I too afraid of fatigue? Is it normal to take so long to recover? Should I increase volume and ride with more fatigue during base training? Thoughts?
 

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How many annual training hours are you doing?

How you handle workload is really a function of previous experience and proper sleep/rest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm shooting for 400 hours this year.

I actually sleep 8+ hours a night, and have a fairly low level of stress. I'm planning on improving my diet in 2010...
 

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Something is not right then. Your training zones may be set too high. You shouldn't be that physically fatigued from base 1 work.

At the same time you should have some fatigue from ride to ride. But not alot. For me, big base work gives me more of a combo of physical and mental fatigue. Especially if it's a big step up in hours from what was done before.
 

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I'm going into my second year of racing in 2010 and I'm self coaching using Friel MTB bible. I'm able to train at 400 hrs also. Can't afford a power meter so I'm using heart rate. I know its not as good but can still be effective. Just make sure you do the test correctly and establish your training zones. Base from what I've read is supposed to help you with efficiency and teach your body to burn fat for fuel and prepare your body to handle higher stress in build phase.
 

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Joel talks about doing a "decoupling" test. I would try it during one of your two hour rides. Try to find your "aerobic" speed and stick w/ it for the two hours. Measure your hr avg for the 1 rst hour vs the 2nd. If your hr for the 2nd is significantly higher, then you speed is actually too high and you are working too hard...
 

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You can have active recovery days too. Maybe the day after your long endurance ride just spin in an easy gear in the low point of your active recovery heart rate zone for an hour. You also just have to find out what works for your body and that just takes time and trying different things. While I think the Friel book has a great plan, it's not always realistic for me as i'm not a pro with lots of time. Things like work, kids, and a wife seem to want my time too:D

This time of year I have found that 4 days a week is my sweet spot for base training miles. I'll jump up to 5 days a week when race season starts, but for some reason my body doesn't like the cold, long miles. I try not to use a trainer unless I have too (pouring rain or snowing) and ride outside all winter, mostly on the road bike. I also make myself take a week off every 5-6 weeks of constant training. I do this even if I feel great and don't feel fatigued. If I really feel good that week I'll ride at the skatepark or take the DH bike up to the mountains, or hit the slalom track behind the house(in other words, just do something fun that is not to taxing on your body and gives you a mental break). Friel is right that you need to take your rest just as serious as your training. Better to be too rested then overtrained. Good luck with it - you'll figure it out eventually.
 

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look at your diet

im doing my 2nd year of racing and training too, also with Friel's book. Didnt realize it until I read the book but I was burnt last year end of summer.

Kept bonking during last 3rd of the races, beginner races no less, thought I needed to train longer and harder, dug a hole I couldnt get out of. Now I pay attention to my fatigue much more. But, I have found since following Paleo the last 3 months, I dont get much muscle soreness anymore. Because of this I have been working with weights more, on ride days and have been able to go longer during my workouts.

I am doing base now, but have been doing some 15-30min 80-90% intervals the last week or two. I am going to try a timed distance at my local trail hopefully this weekend and see where I am.

The diet or change in food type and intake and timing of intake has been a HUGE improvement for me. Dont overlook the fuel aspect of motor improvement.
 

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Have you tried doing one of these rides two days in a row? The morning after a long base ride, I wake up in bed and immediate my legs dont feel like pedaling. But then I get up and move around a bit and they feel better. Sometimes it will take 30-45 min of warmup before the legs feel normal.

You don't need to fully recover, not unless you are doing a performance test or a race.
 

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Perhaps this is too simplistic

I think you are just working too hard. Measuring your easy efforts is very difficult if you are highly motivated to ride. Like I tell my riders in a warm up, base, or recovery work; all we are doing is using the legs, not working them. I have two boys who are just so ready to charge and ride hard and getting them to reign it in is a constant challenge.

Be patient. Speed is not the method, it is the result.
 

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Berkeley Mike said:
I think you are just working too hard. Measuring your easy efforts is very difficult if you are highly motivated to ride. Like I tell my riders in a warm up, base, or recovery work; all we are doing is using the legs, not working them. I have two boys who are just so ready to charge and ride hard and getting them to reign it in is a constant challenge.

Be patient. Speed is not the method, it is the result.
Thats a good point! I have to force myself to slow down and keep a pace slower than I prefer for the first hour or so of my base rides.
 

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You might be sick, excessively

schlitzky said:
I'm shooting for 400 hours this year.

I actually sleep 8+ hours a night, and have a fairly low level of stress. I'm planning on improving my diet in 2010...
long recovery from a some waht easy ride, is a sign of a sickness. Also a morning heartrate(elevated) could be a sign of problems.

I know that complete blood work is some what expensive, but it might be necessary.

Thats how my son started last year, at first we maybe anemia after a few months of treatment no real change, after that more test well new dignosis mononeuclosis, which is the epstein barr syndrome. NO real cure other that rest and eating right.

The symptons together usually point to it. Look them up online.
 

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IMO during "base" (i.e. nonspecific, out of competition) training it's perfectly fine for the legs to feel a little dull throughout the week. If you keep riding, your body will find its own level. If you feel really dead and blah, take a day or two off.

Also IMO the Friel bibles are way too formulaic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for the good ideas. For one, I need to probably re-test my LT to make sure I don't have my zones set too high. It's quite possible that I'm just riding too hard for base 1 (E2) training. The "decoupling" test is a good one, I'll try that.

Also, with the new year beginning, I'm definitely going to really focus on improving my diet, and try Paleo. (and cut back a little on the brewskis) I have heard a number of guys on the forum comment on how much the Paleo diet improved their recovery and muscle soreness.

I am curious, though, how you guys evaluate your level of fatigue on any given day and decide whether to ride or not. I mean, obviously, unless you're just coming off of a taper, like preparing for a race, you're not going to feel absolutely 100%. So, when you are in the middle of a period of structured training, how should you feel every time you get on the bike? Where do you draw the line and give yourself another rest day, and when do you push it? I'm sure this is different for everybody, and in time, I'll get a better feel for this, I just was interested to hear some thoughts on this.
 

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maybe try a looser approach

If you dont feel up to workout, dont. When you are ready, you will know. I am not a fan of riding the trainer, but when it is a ride day, I definitely am ready to push the pedals, and eager to do it.

There are enough reasons I cant ride as much as I like, or think I should. But I have learned time off is important too.
 

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flargle said:
Also IMO the Friel bibles are way too formulaic.
I agree but for me that is what I like about Friel. Even w/ his formula's he does very clearly and often state you should always use how you feel to override any plans you had.

One thing I find especially helpful in Friel's book is that since I really tend to over train, w/ his formula I have recovery periods build in throughout the year which really work on three levels:

1) It allows me to feel okay about backing off quite a bit for a week.

2) If I am starting to feel burned, and it's close to an off week I know I can just punch through as I an off week coming up.

3) My legs really feel much better after...
 

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You are too afraid of being tired.

If you are training regularly you just about always start a workout with heavy legs. The barometer is how do you legs feel 30 minutes into the ride. Usually after a warm-up, that has some intenisity in it, you will have decent legs. If your legs still feel bad after the warm-up then you may be too tire.

Part of training is some cummulative fatique, this is the overload phase. If you are following friel's plan then you should expect increasing fatique through the three week cycle. The point of the down week is to recover from that fatique.
 

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Just clip in and ride, if you continue to feel lousy after 20 minutes, you are still tired. There's nothing wrong with rolling off a couple easy hours even when you are tired. Us the flat terrain to give your legs a little rest.

A healthy person should be able to exercise 6 or 7 days a week, especially during a period when the work is mostly aerobic.

I'm middle aged and have worked out most days since 1982, some more days off would have been good for me I guess, but I was able to meet my potential by being consistent all year round and doing the work.
 
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