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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I read the cyclist training bible last year, I read the Mountain bikers bible this year (I liked it more) I found a copy of Morris's book and couldn't pass it up so I've been reading that. I'd be interested in hearing from some people who've read both and hearing their thoughts.
To start with I find them both hard reads (never was one for the books) But I find Joe's a little easier to read plus the models seem a little more clear. But I like the Dave's Idea of focusing more on intervals and power which is deffinatly where I need work. I'm already bored with the E2 base time on the trainer. I've never done any blocks of 2 or 3 days of hard efforts But I'm real currious to hear from someone who has. :thumbsup: Thanks
 

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My experience, which isn't a whole bunch, is that 2-3 consecutive days of hard efforts will make me stronger. Someone else writes my plans, and as we get near early season I will be doing some 2-3 day blocks.

The hard part is dealing with heart rate response. On the 2nd and 3rd day I notice significantly less beats per minute, while pushing the same gears. This makes it real hard to know when enough is enough. I am getting a power meter for this year. I think a power meter is a good idea for hard training on consecutive days, to help determine when I've hit the wall and am just adding fatigue. I'm too old to be just adding fatigue!

Other then the too much work factor, I think block training works good for me.. if I am up to it. It definitely has to be built up to, and the days need to be carefully structured.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That brings up a point I was going to comment on. I had trouble finding a trainer with power for a resonable price. The goal is to get power and go faster, then if you had a quality trainer with a good computer even cadence. Why not do the intervals at a speed and cadance? As long as you're using that to improve yourself comparing apples and apples. This is going to be my plan this off season for intervals pick a speed gear and cadance and go with that for the power part. What do you think.
 

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Milkman said:
That brings up a point I was going to comment on. I had trouble finding a trainer with power for a resonable price. The goal is to get power and go faster, then if you had a quality trainer with a good computer even cadence. Why not do the intervals at a speed and cadance? As long as you're using that to improve yourself comparing apples and apples. This is going to be my plan this off season for intervals pick a speed gear and cadance and go with that for the power part. What do you think.
That's what I do (with a rear wheel mounted computer sensor) & it works fine. If everything stays the same,then 25 mph today is the same power out put today as it is tomorrow. Speed is just another unit of measurement, like MPH & KPH.

Be aware though, that many trainers have non linear power curves, meaning the an X mph increrase does not always mean there is a Y increase in power.

Chaeck this out:

http://www.geocities.com/almost_fast/trainerpower/

Your trainer may even be on there.
 

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I've read just about all the cycling books out there.

Friel is the only one that shows you how to plan the training year, to the most minute detail.

Every other book gives explains the workouts, then wants you to hire a coach to put the year together.
 

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For me HR has worked pretty good. Most times I have good interval sessions. When it gets tricky for me is when I am tired or if my HR is dragging a bit. It will cause me to over work, or not be satisfied with my effort cause I didn't hit the HR zone.. even though I may have been in the zone as far as power (which matters most). Speed and cadence are good indicators of power, but for longer intervals its hard to rule out tailwind or headwind, even if the wind speed is low. I've always followed Daves advice of making sure you are working your hardest to give it your all for the length of the interval. If its short, punch it, if its long, pace it so you are really struggling near the end. On consecutive days, this can be hard to gauge.

I think HR is a good measure, certainly usable. Its worked for me. Power just removes the subjectiveness, and when I'm really suffering, I get very subjective! But with or without a power meter, I think block training works good for me when scheduled at the right times.
 

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Milkman said:
I'm already bored with the E2 base time on the trainer. I've never done any blocks of 2 or 3 days of hard efforts
I've read both and used both. I tried to stick to Morris last year. I don't have a power meter, so I used a trainer with one when I could.

Morris's block training with weights (same muscles on consecutive days) was very counter to all the years of "old school" weight training and I have to admit I was apprehensive. But, it worked - big gains in a short amount of time.

The intensity comes sooner with Morris than with Freil. I have mixed feelings about it. At first it seemed ok and I felt good in early spring. But, I ended up with an illness shortly after - don't know if it was too much intensity or just some bug that would have got me anyway. I had to back off the blocks of intervals.

Intensity is kind of like playing with fire. We're all wired a little differently and respond differently. Trial and error plays a part in figuring out what works best for you. I'm also in my 40s, so recovering from blocks of intensity for me isn't the same as someone in their 20s.

This year, I'm going to sort of blend the two. More base than Morris, use heart rate to flirt with lactate threshold like Freil's plan, but not spend months in base like Freil. I am doing the Morris strength plan now with endurance rides mixed in.

I've also noticed in more recent articles written by Freil that he's changed his LSD base philosophy. This should give you the green light to go a little harder than E2 workouts. Here's a clip from the article linked below.

Over the years my approach to building aerobic fitness has changed. I used to believe that long, slow distance (LSD) was the most important type of training for aerobic system development. But in the last few years, experimentation with the athletes I coach has led me to believe this is not enough. By itself LSD will not fully develop the aerobic system. A bit higher intensity is needed. Rather than just noodling along at a relaxed, 1-zone effort, I believe that one must challenge the aerobic threshold in training to see complete aerobic development.

http://www.ultrafit.com/newsletter/january06.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
cool

Oh man is that good to see crashtoomuch. That quote is music to my ears. Good to hear some other people doing what I plan on this year. I agree that Friel helps you plan the year a little better, I think I'm going with a lot of that but for some of the more intense stuff I'm going to try some stuff from the Morris book. It is really going to be a learning experience. I hope I can recover from some of those back to back efforts. The thing that is already helping is doing 3 workouts per week with emphasis on squats man are my legs week. :eek:
 

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The best part of the Morris plan (IMHO) are the 2-3 day blocks. These really work, just don't short yourself on the rest days and pay attention to any minor tweaks you may pick up. I was always surprised at how hard I could work on day three. They are very time efficient too.

I'm adding in some of Ross' book, like Undulating Daily Periodization this year. Should be fun!

I still use some of Friel's testing and evaluation methods and I use some of his workouts for variety, but, in general, I find his program too time consuming and not intense enough. It may work better for a stage racer or something...
 

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crashtoomuch said:
I've also noticed in more recent articles written by Freil that he's changed his LSD base philosophy. This should give you the green light to go a little harder than E2 workouts. Here's a clip from the article linked below.

Over the years my approach to building aerobic fitness has changed. I used to believe that long, slow distance (LSD) was the most important type of training for aerobic system development. But in the last few years, experimentation with the athletes I coach has led me to believe this is not enough. By itself LSD will not fully develop the aerobic system. A bit higher intensity is needed. Rather than just noodling along at a relaxed, 1-zone effort, I believe that one must challenge the aerobic threshold in training to see complete aerobic development.
I believe E2 workouts on performed in HR zone 2. E1 workouts are performed in HR zone 1. In this article, Friel seems to be advocating more time in zone 2 than in zone 1. This article (as I read it) seems to be consistent with his book. I don't believe he is changing his definition zone 2.

Just my thoughts :D
 

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tadbubbs said:
I believe E2 workouts on performed in HR zone 2. E1 workouts are performed in HR zone 1. In this article, Friel seems to be advocating more time in zone 2 than in zone 1. This article (as I read it) seems to be consistent with his book. I don't believe he is changing his definition zone 2.

Just my thoughts :D
Yeah, the 20 beats below LT puts you at the very top of zone 2/bottom of zone 3. If your LT is 167, this would put you right at the bottom of z3. Not a radical departure, but every bit helps when you're bored to tears.

That doc who wrote the book linked above seems to be yet another who encourages some intensity early on. Seems to be a trend.
 

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Grain of salt time. This is just my experience.

Own both books
Read both books

Started on Friel. Gave up after 3 months

Been on Morris for almost 3 years now.

Friel's plan was just too complicated for my life. The number of different types of rides got confusing.While it was nice at first to have the whole year in a plan it soon fell apart when reality set in. Something about the Morris plan seems to really work with my life better.

The morris plan creates a structured periodized framework, but it seems easier to work with under a flexible schedule. No heart rate monitor for years, and I enjoy his periodized strength training plan.

Things such as his macro perdioziation plan, the micro periods of block training, the shorter endurance phase as compared to Friel, and the goal oriented interval sessions all work with my life and personality.

The forced rest created by job, family, work travel, family travel, actually help to keep from burning out as others on the Morris plan may discuss.

Not without fault, the book requires users to know thyself. It takes a lot of introspection and effort to figure out what rest periods work for you.
 

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I have read both. Dave has a science backed approach that builds blocks logically and sequentially. Joel's approach seems based more on tradition and appears to be more gradual. My impression is that Dave's scheme will give you faster and greater results; Joel's is a safer less taxing regiment that can give you good results but will take more training time and will have shallower improvement curve.

I have found Dave's approach very effective: he picks exercises that shocks the body to adapt specific fitness building components in blocks and then moves along to transform your gains to another area of fitness. By breaking the training plan into blocks he can really overload the system being trained and get maximal overcompensation. Like an above post, I think he does play with fire a bit more than Joel. The intensity can really take its toll on the body, and for me, the first time I tried so much intensity it tore me down. Each season I found my body capable of doing more and more, and as a result bigger improvements as time went on. The downside is that Dave tends to be very specific in his workouts which can be dry at times.

I followed Joel's guide for a season and it was hard for me to see improvements. I started Dave's plan initially not doing the off season weigh regiment: now that I have done the complete plan for a couple of years, I have noticed huge effects from Dave's resistance training/offseason approach. I have anemia probably due to a suspected defect in my hemoglobin and I have become more fit than I ever though possible with Dave's help.

Now with 3 boys (age 3, 1 and newborn) I find the relatively low volume/high intensity approach that Dave has very time effective. I train about 7hrs week on average and continue to see improvement. All I have to do now is find time to rest and sleep so I can get some supercompensation happening!!!
 

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I have the Friel book, and use it to plan my own seasons. But there are some things that puzzle me or confuse me:

* The book is heavily oriented towards zone 2 endurance rides. But it seems that more and more people tend to find zone 4 interval training more effective. Even Friel himself admits he has put too much weight on low intensity training, as quoted further up in this thread. My own experience has been that all those endurance rides haven't made me much faster, while some people I know have made great gains from mostly high intensity training. I believe a lot of zone 2 is necessary for professionals training 20+ hours a week, but for those of us training less than 10 hours, why not let most of it be high intensity? So, assuming what I have said makes sense, what would be the best way to shift the Friel program towards more intensity (particularly during the base period)?

* I have some difficulties understanding the abilities. If the ultimate objective is to elevate the maximum sustainable power (i.e. finish marathon XC races quicker), which abilities need to improve? Is the endurance ability just the ability to ride for a given number of hours, regardless of speed, or is it more directly related to long distance sustainable power? Is the power ability just the ability to reach the highest maximum power during a sprint? If so, what relevance does it have for marathon XC racing? If 4-minute intervals are anaerobic endurance workouts, and the AE ability is for longish sprints, what relevance does it have for marathon XC racing, and why do a lot of people seem to gain marathon speed from such training? If muscular endurance is the key ability, why does the training program still favour basic endurance training?

That was a lot of questions. I'd love to hear some comments.
 

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crashtoomuch said:
I've read both and used both. I tried to stick to Morris last year. I don't have a power meter, so I used a trainer with one when I could.

Morris's block training with weights (same muscles on consecutive days) was very counter to all the years of "old school" weight training and I have to admit I was apprehensive. But, it worked - big gains in a short amount of time.

The intensity comes sooner with Morris than with Freil. I have mixed feelings about it. At first it seemed ok and I felt good in early spring. But, I ended up with an illness shortly after - don't know if it was too much intensity or just some bug that would have got me anyway. I had to back off the blocks of intervals.

Intensity is kind of like playing with fire. We're all wired a little differently and respond differently. Trial and error plays a part in figuring out what works best for you. I'm also in my 40s, so recovering from blocks of intensity for me isn't the same as someone in their 20s.

This year, I'm going to sort of blend the two. More base than Morris, use heart rate to flirt with lactate threshold like Freil's plan, but not spend months in base like Freil. I am doing the Morris strength plan now with endurance rides mixed in.

I've also noticed in more recent articles written by Freil that he's changed his LSD base philosophy. This should give you the green light to go a little harder than E2 workouts. Here's a clip from the article linked below.

Over the years my approach to building aerobic fitness has changed. I used to believe that long, slow distance (LSD) was the most important type of training for aerobic system development. But in the last few years, experimentation with the athletes I coach has led me to believe this is not enough. By itself LSD will not fully develop the aerobic system. A bit higher intensity is needed. Rather than just noodling along at a relaxed, 1-zone effort, I believe that one must challenge the aerobic threshold in training to see complete aerobic development.

http://www.ultrafit.com/newsletter/january06.html

I've found that there is a pretty good correlation between AeT and AnT, meaning that if you know one you can predict the other fairly closely. They are about 20 beats per minute (bpm) apart. So, for example, if a generally fit endurance-trained athlete knows his or her AnT to be 160 for a given sport then the AeT for that same sport is approximately 140. (Realize that AeT and AnT vary by sport within the same athlete.) This makes training at AeT a rather simple matter-just wear a HRM and exercise steadily for long periods at 20 bpm less than AnT. (If you don't know AnT you can get a good approximation by conducting an all-out, race-effort 30-minute time trial and using your HRM split function to find your average heart rate for the last 20 minutes of the effort.)

That sounds easy enough. But how long should the effort be? I make this decision based on the type of events for which the athlete trains, but for cycling I use two to four hours of steady AeT exercise as the common range regardless of the event. If your race durations typically fall into the two- to four-hour range, simply train for that duration at AeT. For example, if you do the bike portion of a half-iron-distance triathlon or bike road race with a typical time of around 2.5 hours, then do 2.5-hour AeT bike rides (not including warm-up). Should your race times be less than two hours (criterium bike racing or Olympic-distance triathlon bike portions) then your AeT workout will be two hours. If your event takes longer than four hours (ironman-distance bike and long road races) your AeT workout will be four hours duration. AeT workouts of this duration are then done once or twice weekly per sport in the Base period. That's all there is to it.


Just as I read this I understood that is the way I train. I loosely tried both Friel's (very traditional way) and Morris's (intensity praising) approaches (I've never read both Friel and Morris, all the information about both methods I got from the Internet, especially from MTBDOC on Morris :). Friel's is quite boring. I couldn't stand slow tempo for long. Morris is better but back-to-back intensive days literally killed me several times. I was not able to recover and ended up overtrained. And, anyway, I hate intervals! They kill riding fun.
Finally I came down to long (2.5-4hr) mid-intensity rides on different off-road trails at weekends (sometimes even two back-to-back rides on Sat and Sun) and recovery rides with ocassional sprints on weekdays. My weekly volume is not high, 8-9 hrs/week, 350-360 hrs/year but for last three years I've never been so burned out and overtrained as I'd done before when I'd been tried doing intensity.
 

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Quotes from above re: people's experience with Morris Plan:

-. Morris is better but back-to-back intensive days literally killed me several times. I was not able to recover and ended up overtrained.

-But, I ended up with an illness shortly after - don't know if it was too much intensity or just some bug that would have got me anyway. I had to back off the blocks of intervals

-The best part of the Morris plan (IMHO) are the 2-3 day blocks. These really work, just don't short yourself on the rest days and pay attention to any minor tweaks you may pick up.

Now see this quote from Dave in an Interview I did with him here:
http://www.thebikinghub.com/mtb/ashwin-interviews-dave-morris/

Ashwin: Is there a rough guideline for how many hours a week a vet sport mountain bike racer needs to put into training compared to say an expert mountain bike racer?

Dave: Not really. It depends on the individual, their race demands, how much time they have to train, and how much time they have to recover. Generally though, I find that most of the serious mountain bikers spend way too much time on the bike and too little time recovering.
-------------------------
You can't do the Morris plan if you go into it with the traditional perception that more saddle time is better. Many people get into the hard intervals but feel that because the time spent on them is so short compared to how they used to ride that they tack on some more trail rides or road rides in order to get their hours up.

Also everyone's recovery capability is unique. Just because the book presents a 3week on 1 week off macro schedule does not mean that you might be better off with a 2week on 5day off macro schedule..

Or 3days on 2 off, 2on, 2off in the micro cycle might not work for you. You might be better with 2 days on 2 off..etc...

In addition, it takes a little while to adapt to the hard intervals. My first week into them is pitiful and must be entered into lightly and build up slowly over time.

Someone mentioned that they hate intervals. Don't do them then. If you want to be the fastest you can be than reconsider. Otherwise replace interval with 'ride hard'. When I first started with block training my plan was
Day 1: Ride hard 1.5hr
Day 2: Ride hard 1hr
Day 3: Ride hard .5hr
Day 4: Rest
Day 5: Rest
Day 6: Ride Hard 1hr
Day 7: Ride Hard 3/4hr
Day 8: Rest

or something like that....

Just some thoughts about Morris Plan.

Friel, Morris, or hybrid...doesn't matter. What matters is having a plan you believe in and being consistent over the long term.
 

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perryr said:
The hard part is dealing with heart rate response. On the 2nd and 3rd day I notice significantly less beats per minute, while pushing the same gears. .
This is one reasone why Heartrate isn't a good metric for measuring intensity. Dave's book presents research showing that high power outputs can be maintained 3 and 4 days in a row even though heartrate is significantly lower.

If you don't have a power meter, use a bike computer and do the intervals on a consistent grade at the same velocity or on a trainer with a rear speedo.
 

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Cool link to Joe Friel's article. Thanks! I too am trying to figure out the right mix for this base training thing.

In the article, Friel uses the concept of "cardiac drift" to measure your fitness in the base phase and your ability to progress to the build phase (when the cardiac drift is less than 1% between the first half and the second half of your work out then you're g2g) or you are aerobically fit.

Does this imply that you will lose this aerobic fitness throughout the season? That at the end of the year you'll have a significant amount of cardiac drift? This seems counter-intuitive. On the other hand if at the end of the season you have minimal cardiac drift then what is the point of the base phase.

Interesting concept – but I’m not sure I get it. Any thoughts??
 

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I just picked up some training stuff from a Jim Wilson ('Stength Training System' manual and dvd). Have yet to look it over, but I'm reading Friel's book and using it as a guide. The periodization approach makes sense to me.
 
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