Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the ropes

To say the last two weeks have been tough would be an understatement. Three weeks ago I felt strong, post rest week not so much. So let's hear it all you arm chair coaches and power junkies.

Question 1) After 10 days of no riding, how much fitness do you lose and how long does it take to get it back?

Question 2) Structured intervals versus race simulation training rides, which gets more done?

These are the questions I have for you.


bryan said...

I don't think you've lost any fitness, per se, but I'm sure a bit of high-end snap went away. Since you hadn't worked on that a ton, it might take a couple of weeks of work to get it back.

To get ready for the Omaha weekend, I planned on adding some over/under intervals to the routine - probably on Mondays. The whole interval is about 15 minutes or so, and you're constantly switching between above and below threshold.

Two or three of those once a week, combined with Wednesday Night Worlds, would have done the trick.

munsoned said...

I was under the impression that a rest week was just decreased intensity/time on the bike, not complete time off.

From what I remember of training books, instead of 2 intensity days or long days(whichever phase you're in) you decrease the amount of hours on the bike to about 8 hrs. An hour here, a couple there - not much volume and almost no intensity whatsoever. Keep it in the 39x17 highest gear mode on the local flat trail but also add just one day's sprint interval session to keep the legs firing.

That's what I've read at least. Did I ever follow that to a "T"? No. I do know that when I accidentally took a good 4 days off completely from the bike after a couple months of 15-20 hr weeks with lots of intensity, I was flying the next week or so.

That whole thing happened by accident and I never did get training figured out. But then again, I tried a power meter only for fun one year and never had real one on one coaching. I knew I got stronger just by keeping up with Jonny Randell until I couldn't keep up with him anymore.

So for question 1 - You've gone and lost it all. Just kidding. 10 days does take some out of you, but you'll get it back quickly - within 3 weeks I'd say.

For question 2 - From my experience, if you want to ride as fast/faster than others, you have to ride with them to see how much work you need to put in. That was always my issue with our fragmented Wednesday Worlds rides. In Lincoln, the WHOLE cycling bunch gets together to pummel each other. So you'll always have great competition. In Omaha, there's at least 2 strong group rides that leave from different areas which cuts down the amount of really strong guys in each bunch. But that'll probably never happen for Omaha. Anyway, I say, like Bryan mentions, do one interval session a week plus the Wednesday Worlds and you should get all the work you need.

Jer said...

I'm with Bryan also. 1 set of hard intervals along with 1 shall we say spirited group ride a week. Although I alternate and do one week like that and then the next week has 2 sets of intervals during the week with a rest day easy spin in between. Each weekend has a tempo workout and then either a long solo or group ride.

I should mention Bryan has helped setup my program hence his influence. Nonetheless I feel fast with the exception of last night. It seems you weren't the only one suffering through it.

As to your other question, you may have lost top end. Your base should be fine. Hill repeats or a couple of hard z5 efforts like 30/30's would also help to get it back.

Also I think Munson has a point on the difference between a rest week versus like a mid-season break. A rest week would be very light spins no hard efforts and reduced hours of on the time bike. A mid-season break is more of what you took with complete time off. Which in your defense yes you didn't technically do structured hard intervals, but your base mileage has had WNW and some races so you've been doing more than just base. With the break you probably lost top end and then throw in some heat and that probably explains the result.

In closing if you get much faster I'm not riding with you anymore! jk. It's been a pleasure riding with you and seeing your return to form Mod.

MOD 2.0 said...

I've been in denial of the old 3:1 ratio. 1 day off equals 3 days to get it back. Yesterday was an improvement from the previous week, and I know the heat effects me more than others. Back in my former life as a road racer this was always the case. Which is why I don't think I ever really raced ToKC or SuperWeek. The heat just kills me this time of year.

If given the choice, I'd rather feel good on Saturday and bad on Wednesday.

Jer said...

Don't be too hard on yourself also MOD. You finished 2nd to Cam on Saturday with 3 dropped chains. Then hard intervals on Monday. So your not that far off. Its possible to also have an off day. Good luck in KC this weekend!

MOD 2.0 said...

Someone else brought up the fact that while I was chillin' in a hammock on the beach, you lads were racing your brains out.

This weekend will be a good couple of training rides.

RD said...

speaking of ride next weekend 4 counties of gravel for the fourth? I could be convinced to 4 counties of pavement as well

Mark Studnicki said...

I could tell ya the answers, but then you'd start beating ME! :-)
stick with structured interval workouts. "race simulation" stuff will always be either too hard for too long a period but not hard enough, but still too long. Too many guys go out, warm up, then red-line (or that's what they think) for 30mins, then blowup, cool down, and call it "race simulation". Reality was that during that 30mins, they never once hit the high HR (90% max for mtb, or 95% for cross) they should have, and never once dropped back down to 65% to recover (ie, like a structured interval routine).Ultimately, that 30mins was a waste of time on not produtive. Hitting the high HR, being able to FULLY recover (that means all the way down to 65%), then hitting the high again, and doing the 5 to 7 times, is the only right way to do it. After a few weeks of doing these, you should be ready for the 20min "motos" that Matt Pachoca talks about. Warm up, 20mins to complete exhaustion, fully recover for about 15-20 mins, then a 2nd 20min moto and that's it. Nothing fun about any of these workouts, but they've served me great over the years with plenty of podiums and envelopes of cash.

munsoned said...

I agree with Mark when it comes down to the numbers, but there's also the fun factor. Will you get better results with strictly structured intervals? That depends entirely on you. Can you go week in/week out with just one mellow group ride a week then all other days of either interval sessions or recovery rides? You pretty much have to do the intervals and recovery rides solo unless you know someone who will exactly match what you're scheduled to do. As in, ride at 14-16 mph for an hour or so for recovery. And it's a rare thing to find someone else to do the same intervals you're doing at the same speeds.

My point is, with me, it was a motivational issue. All that solo riding, while great for building fitness, just wasn't fun. So I dropped one interval day for a competitive group ride - Wed. Worlds. Now, you could potentially get the best of both worlds by really turning the Wed. ride into a race simulation by doing insane attacks or playing drop/catch up. Drop/catch up can mimic a bridging the gap to a breakaway move, but you have to do it right. Drop off the group for a good minute or so, to ride easy-ish, then act like you're attacking out of a pack to bridge up to a breakaway. Once you get back up to the group that's probably working fairly hard, but not hard enough, you either work with them to push the pace(bring it close your over/under HR numbers), or attack them after a mini recovery.

This is truly all armchair coaching since I've never tried these group ride dealies myself, but it sounds more fun than riding up and down your local death climb. Like Mark said, in group rides I'd end up just pushing the pace for a half hour till the sprint sign, recovering and repeating the process. It always felt like I was working hard, but when I originally did the solo intervals only approach, I got fast real quick.

MOD 2.0 said...

Mark, what you're saying was kind of what I was thinking, and what I've been experiencing. Your assessment is spot on. My HR has been too high for too long, which has made me back off the last two weeks on the ride. It should be higher for a shorter duration but with more repetition.

Mike, you're spot on too. It's a lot more fun pinning it in a group than doing solo intervals.

It's sounding like it's coming down to short term glory on the weekly thrash ride, or long term success with what I'm really aiming for.

mw said...

you've got nearly decades of elite level fitness. i wouldn't worry about it. i think you can do anything you put your mind to. rest is good. rest refreshes your mind. and your mind is in control of your body.