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Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity
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TOPIC: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity

Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26503

  • wasfast
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Found this link in the training section on weight weenies. It's a long read but has what appears to be some solid data and conclusions.

www.sportsci.org/2009/ss.htm

It would somewhat contradict Kraig's "Stripped Down" article (biketechreview.com/performance/supply/53-stripped-down) but then if it was that simple to distill all the training down to one method, what would all those online coaches do:-).

I'll openly admit that I'm in a puzzled state about what to do with my own training for TT's. I'm starting year 4 of this grand experiment called training and all the efforts, training methods, coaching (last year) etc have garnered me near zero improvement. That's mucho dollars in coaching, fitting, snazzy bike parts, and 400+ hours of riding per year. Pretty poor investment return. Perhaps the saying about "can't make a race horse out of a mule" is true:-)

The article gives the following conclusions:

Conclusions

Optimization of training methods is an area of great interest for scientists, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts. One challenge for sport scientists is to translate short-term training intervention study results to long-term performance development and fitness training organization. Currently, there is great interest in high-intensity, short-duration interval training programs. However, careful evaluation of both available research and the training methods of successful endurance athletes suggests that we should be cautious not to over-prescribe high-intensity interval training or exhort the advantages of intensity over duration.

Here are some conclusions that seem warranted by the available data and experience from observations of elite performers:

• There is reasonable evidence that an ~80:20 ratio of low to high intensity training (HIT) gives excellent long-term results among endurance athletes training daily.

• Low intensity (typically below 2 mM blood lactate), longer duration training is effective in stimulating physiological adaptations and should not be viewed as wasted training time.

• Over a broad range, increases in total training volume correlate well with improvements in physiological variables and performance.

• HIT should be a part of the training program of all exercisers and endurance athletes. However, about two training sessions per week using this modality seems to be sufficient for achieving performance gains without inducing excessive stress.

• The effects of HIT on physiology and performance are fairly rapid, but rapid plateau effects are seen as well. To avoid premature stagnation and ensure long-term development, training volume should increase systematically as well.

• When already well-trained athletes markedly intensify training with more HIT over 12 to ~45 wk, the impact is equivocal.

• In athletes with an established endurance base and tolerance for relatively high training loads, intensification of training may yield small performance gains at acceptable risk.

• An established endurance base built from reasonably high volumes of training may be an important precondition for tolerating and responding well to a substantial increase in training intensity over the short term.

• Periodization of training by elite athletes is achieved with reductions in total volume, and a modest increase in the volume of training performed above the lactate threshold. An overall polarization of training intensity characterizes the transition from preparation to competition mesocycles. The basic intensity distribution remains similar throughout the year.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26504

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Yeah, that is an interesting article. There is a discussion about it starting around 2/3 of the way down this page:

biketechreview.com/forum/1-general-discu...imit=25&start=25
Last Edit: 6 years, 10 months ago by Kirk.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26505

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My apologies for the duplicate. I did read the thread and it leaves me with many puzzled looks.

I'm only using HR, no PM (LowBikeTechReview?) so I don't have direct translation to Zone 1-5 from 20MP or 60MP. I did have a VO2max test a year ago so have some general idea however.

One simplistic question; I always assumed that LT was a fixed value but the article states that it moves with fitness level. I've done 15-20 10 mile TT's the last 3 years and have plenty of data to validate my original 20 minute test for LT.

I've been using this percentage table, based on LT(mine's 158bpm):

Zone Low % High % Low BPM High BPM
Zone 1 50 64 99 114
Zone 2 65 74 116 130
Zone 3 75 84 132 146
Zone 4 85 91 148 158
Zone 5 92 100 159

Using my 172 max number and a swag based on the Z1-5 table in the article, I get:

Zone Low %High % Low BPMHigh BPM % time in training
Zone 1 55 75 95 129 83%
Zone 2 75 85 129 146 4%
Zone 3 85 90 146 155 10%
Zone 4 90 95 155 163 2.5%
Zone 5 95 100 163 172 0.5%


Inputs?

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26506

  • Kirk
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No worries on the duplicate! That article was buried!

We do all reach a point where our hearts and vessels can only deliver so much oxygen per minute, with the trick being to have fun and find good health in the process (at least that's how I think)!

LowBikeTechReview is sweet! I agree with Kraig that even a stopwatch can be as good as a powermeter! HR certainly tracks the overall aerobic demand of things, especially in the bigger picture. In terms of your training, how many minutes of 20MP (the intensity of your 10 mile TT’s or so) or harder efforts do you think you’ve done per week/month in the past year or so? Looking at your zones, it roughly looks like a few %?

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26507

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The % in zone is not my actual. It's the application of the article's recommendations. I don't/haven't done day to day tracking of zone intensity.

This last year (with a Portland based coach) I did quite a bit of 122-130bpm rides, 3-4 hours on Saturday and 3 hours 2 days a week. My usual is 10-12 hrs/week. That's about all I can handle mentally:-). He showed my weakness in the aerobic area based on the VO2 max test. It all seemed logical but the final outcome, measured by the race times, say othewise. Coaching or the athlete?

The previous year, I did quite a lot of high intensity, at LT. Coaching input said I did too much in one zone and was totally burned out in June. That was a Dec-June time frame.

Still curious about your thoughts on "moving LT" vs "genetic determination". I have believed the latter, both for HRmax and LT.

I don't want to swamp the forum with my situation. I'd gladly email you offline with more specifics. I know you're busy with school and family.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26508

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I’m actually on a pseudo-vacation this month...so I can check out the forum now and then. It sounds like you have done very little high intensity training (see Kraig's "Raise the Left" article). I don’t consider training at LT to be be all that hard (as measured by an LT test, it can range from about 60MP up to 120-180MP depending on what methods are used, the individual, diet, and the specifics of the athlete’s training state). The power produced at LT definitely can improve with training if one has room to improve. % of VO2max at LT can be influenced by training as well. I also think there are genetic and mechanical influences (ie. pinching off arteries to the legs in cycling positions can potentially cap things via limited blood flow).

To improve/induce aerobic adaptations, I think one needs to include enough training intensities (and often enough) which are not adequately supported by aerobic metabolism. For the most part, this means going hard (as hard or harder than 20MP) since intensities that one can sustain for 1, 2, or 5 hours (for example) are enabled by aerobic adaptations which already exist, and therefore, they do not present a high quality stimulus for further aerobic adaptations. The demands are already met aerobically, so there is little to perhaps no overload which would induce additional aerobic adaptations. One needs to go hard enough, often enough, to ensure the recruitment of motor units which have room to adapt...while at the same time, stresses the heart.
Last Edit: 6 years, 10 months ago by Kirk.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26509

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Am I making sense trying to get that concept out there? (anyone?)

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26510

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As an aside relating to the article above (and not wasfast’s situation since I certainly don’t really know his training)...I sometimes hear folks suggest that pro road cyclists cannot or do not achieve their power-duration abilities without big hour weeks...sometimes years of big hour weeks. I think that notion mixes association with causation because pro cyclists generally do not attempt targeted, low-volume programs, so there is no comparative aspect to this suggestion. Larger volume programs are simply the traditional default, but in my experience, not a requisite for basic performance...it’s the significant accumulation of high intensity stuff, year in and year out within and inherent to their training and racing programs, that really matters (IMHO). The demands of professional cycling (European/International professional cycling in particular) are also often confused with the demands of recreational cycling as well, compounding the whole volume thing. I am not suggesting that there isn’t a role for longer, “fill” rides, just that they can be more effectively used in targeted, more event-specific ways instead of as a means to build overall volumes.

Continuing on that theme...despite searching for years, I have yet to learn about an adaptation that is unique to the stimulus invoked by large volumes/long durations of lower intensity training which then also persists for years/decades after that unique stimulus is removed (as is the suggestion regarding “ex-pros” as to why they can still go fast on low volumes, sometimes even after years away from training).

Anyways, just some stuff to think about...FWIW. Anyone have thoughts?
Last Edit: 6 years, 10 months ago by Kirk.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26511

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Kirk wrote:
To improve/induce aerobic adaptations, I think one needs to include enough training intensities (and often enough) which are not adequately supported by aerobic metabolism. For the most part, this means going hard (as hard or harder than 20MP) since intensities that one can sustain for 1, 2, or 5 hours (for example) are enabled by aerobic adaptations which already exist, and therefore, they do not present a high quality stimulus for further aerobic adaptations. The demands are already met aerobically, so there is little to perhaps no overload which would induce additional aerobic adaptations. One needs to go hard enough, often enough, to ensure the recruitment of motor units which have room to adapt...while at the same time, stresses the heart.


IME, something good is happening at lower intensities. I've been experiencing pretty big improvements this year (after beginning 24 years ago) by eliminating >FTP (60MP) riding in the fall and winter and doing 3-6 hr rides as often as I can. These are at an intensity that is close to the max I can sustain, so I usually have a rest day in between. At 4+ hrs I've improved AP by 8-10%, and the only two hard rides I've done in the last few months I set PRs by ~3% for a duration of 40 minutes (local ski road). I'm 50 too, so should be well over the hill...

Previously I'd *never* had a substantial block of relatively low intensity riding... I'd always done higher intensity year round... with usually one 4+ hr ride per week. The two times I've started from an untrained state, I'd have huge improvements in a few months but would then plateau... permanently.

I certainly seem to have a better "base" of something, but I'll have to see how this translates into peak performance next year. This year my peak was interrupted by a collision with a truck...

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26513

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Ron Ruff wrote:
IME, something good is happening at lower intensities. I've been experiencing pretty big improvements this year (after beginning 24 years ago) by eliminating >FTP (60MP) riding in the fall and winter and doing 3-6 hr rides as often as I can. These are at an intensity that is close to the max I can sustain, so I usually have a rest day in between. At 4+ hrs I've improved AP by 8-10%, and the only two hard rides I've done in the last few months I set PRs by ~3% for a duration of 40 minutes (local ski road). I'm 50 too, so should be well over the hill...

Previously I'd *never* had a substantial block of relatively low intensity riding... I'd always done higher intensity year round... with usually one 4+ hr ride per week. The two times I've started from an untrained state, I'd have huge improvements in a few months but would then plateau... permanently.

I certainly seem to have a better "base" of something, but I'll have to see how this translates into peak performance next year. This year my peak was interrupted by a collision with a truck...


Congrats! It sounds like you’ve done some solid “fill” work and improved that aspect of your performance. I’ve personally seen average power improvements of greater than 10% for longer durations (60MP+), after just a couple of targeted “fill” rides...all-be-it, it was limited/enabled by my pervious 20MP development/ability. I think that specifically targeting power-duration improvement at “fill” intensities can be very productive.

Stuff does happen at “fill” intensities, especially if done to near exhaustion (most folks don’t even come close to that): I’d say predominantly fueling adaptations/comfort, improved ability to endure time in the saddle/pedal pressure, “super computer” confidence/comfort/knowledge, etc. When truly done to near-exhaustion, there might also be some recruitment of motor-units normally only recruited at higher intensities toward the end of the ride...hard to quantify that though. Another thing that I have noticed is that often, folks who do near-maximal, longer duration efforts actually accumulate time at higher intensities within the rides even if it isn’t structured (not saying this is you, just generally). I think folks can do repetitive, near-maximal fill rides (but still generally low volume) with progressive power overload over several weeks and then be left with no choice but to go hard to continue to improve (assuming there isn’t some going hard already hidden within that training), but I think it is more efficient to go hard early and have that 20MP base in place to expedite more event-specific power-durations (whether that's 40K TT's or IronMan efforts like what Kraig has done)

What type of powermeter are you using these days?
Last Edit: 6 years, 10 months ago by Kirk.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26516

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Just to be clear, the power increases were relative to what I'd done in the previous 6 years... and I've always done long rides to near exhaustion. In fact now I'm definitely less exhausted than I was before at the end. The big difference was cutting out the higher intensity stuff for several months.

I'm using an iBike, but a stopwatch would have been sufficient to tell this, because they are routes I've done many times.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26518

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Ron Ruff wrote:
Just to be clear, the power increases were relative to what I'd done in the previous 6 years... and I've always done long rides to near exhaustion. In fact now I'm definitely less exhausted than I was before at the end. The big difference was cutting out the higher intensity stuff for several months.

I'm using an iBike, but a stopwatch would have been sufficient to tell this, because they are routes I've done many times.


a few quick thoughts from my perspective:

1) nice work on filling the right (that is mentally taxing work IME!)
2) i'd trust a stopwatch and a scale more than I'd trust a # put up by the ibike
3) your experience seems to parallel mine...in that:

-kraig

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Inten 6 years, 10 months ago #26519

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"Am I making sense trying to get that concept out there? (anyone?)"

The "Raise the Left & fill the Right" basic concept has been better for me (watt & race-wise) than lots of riding with minimal time below 20MP. Thanks for the idea. It worked for me!

Just my .02....

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26520

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kraig wrote:
1) nice work on filling the right (that is mentally taxing work IME!)


It was a little boring at first, but I quickly got into the swing of things. Sort of relaxing and meditative to just crank out the miles. Improvement is good positive feedback. And though I'm faster, it is also easier. I used to experience significant fatigue towards the end of long rides, but now I always finish strong.

I haven't experienced that raising the right does not enable the left. I've only done two shorter rides (40 minutes) at a hard pace and both were PRs... though not as big an improvement as the longer rides have been. Surely that would increase more if I focused on that duration.

I'm wonder if there is something about this that varies substantially with individuals. Kirk mentioned earlier that few people really push their limits... and I don't think that has been my problem. I've had massive gains in 60MP and less (like ~70%) in a few months by burying myself on a regular basis. Legs refuse to go around anymore, tunnel vision, burning lungs, taste of blood etc. If it doesn't kill you it makes you stronger, right? It isn't difficult to do once you wire your perceptions to regard all sensations as information. But a lot of people don't seem to do that... it's a long and gradual process of getting used to the discomfort... and so it takes a lot of time.

So... IME so far, near-maximum efforts resulted in huge gains in short time... and then that was it. Longer endurance took a long time to improve... but was never very good... until I cut out the >60MP efforts altogether for a few months... except for the two 40MP rides where I set PRs.

Maybe I was always over-trained before? That wouldn't surprise me. Or maybe just doing something completely different is the key?

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 10 months ago #26521

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Ron Ruff wrote:


I haven't experienced that raising the right does not enable the left. I've only done two shorter rides (40 minutes) at a hard pace and both were PRs... though not as big an improvement as the longer rides have been. Surely that would increase more if I focused on that duration.


Yeah, it seems you filled 'er up purdy good!
-kraig

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26591

this is a very interesting topic to be because it is exactly opposite of what I used to do, and I got some good wattage improvements by doing things like this:

  • Steady-Ish base type rides, average and normalized wattage in zone II, with FT defined by .95 * 20-min TT. Push zone III/IV on climbs but usually stay below FT
  • Steady tempo intervals, again with average and normalized wattage in zone III. Usually average and NP very close to each other. Start with maybe 2X30 min, build up to 2X60 min
  • Steady zone IV intervals, avg watts and NP about the same, pretty much jump right into 2X20s

I'd throw in a few jumps and group rides here and there, but by far the vast majority of my training was very steady. Racing started in February here in Oregon, so I'd just plan on having everything built up in zones II/III/IV by the time racing started, and I was usually going good at that point.

I felt, for myself, that one of the most useful workouts was the long tempo block, and once I was in good condition in-season, my favorite workout the day before a race was to do about 2h, with a 50-min tempo block, nice and steady. Legs felt amazing the next day, very predictably.

Context:
Category 1, Best at TTs, but good at pursuits, points races, crits, etc. Not great sprinting, but passable
Fastest 40k TT: 51:34, avg watts according to SRM was 406
6'2", 165 lb
usually trained about 15h wk, but as high as 20-ish sometimes in the winter
Raced for about 15 years

Based on my experience, and assuming at least 12-15h/wk to train, I think that it is worthwhile to spend some time doing quality work in zones III/IV if the goal is general fitness and some longer races.

With less time to train and emphasis on shorter races, I think that the higher intensity would be well worth the time.

However, if I was restricted to only one workout type, it would undoubtedly be the steady zone III efforts. Quick recovery, and for me the best bang for my buck in terms of feeling like it helped the most with racing.

The type of training that pays off the most for somebody, however, probably depends a lot on their natural abilities with some people probably doing better with above FT efforts and others doing better with below FT efforts. Also in the mix is event choice.

But if we are simply talking about the biggest bang for your buck in raising FT, I found that it was actually tempo efforts that did that and I have a hard time believing that I could have gotten my FT much higher than it was from the way I used to train.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26595

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-kraig

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26600

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I did make a decision to do less long aerobic rides and much more intensity this year. I've been doing TT's since Feb and overall, the results are positive. The thing I noticed most is that the 5-6 hours from Sat-Sunday was really leaving me fatigued such that quality/high intensity work on Tuesday/Thursday was suffering because I just didn't have it. Further, the Saturday rides were usually group rides which just mean you won't get to ride at the intensity of your choosing. I'm still doing 3 hrs on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday but in a very different manner.

I did recently get a power meter with the hopes of it keeping me more honest on TT pacing. The data is useful and interesting but as a feedback device in a race, I didn't find it as helpful as I wanted. The real benefits appear to be the catalog of data that you can compare over years for similar times of year, same courses etc.

Nice to see Seth Hosmer post. I've used him for training consultation, had a great TT fit from him and respect his knowledge & riding expertise. Welcome! I also suspect that Kirk and he have met, or should, since they live closeby each other.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26601

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This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it wrote:
However, if I was restricted to only one workout type, it would undoubtedly be the steady zone III efforts. Quick recovery, and for me the best bang for my buck in terms of feeling like it helped the most with racing.


Same here.

For some reason I need to eliminate all intensity for a block of time (~8 weeks or more), and do only long steady rides for this to work. Doing long rides while doing intensity on other days or doing hard efforts in the middle of those long rides didn't cut it. It's really old-school "base", but I never had tried this before.

For people saying that these long rides cause a lot of fatigue... you are likely either going too hard (duh), mixing in hard efforts, or doing too much intensity on other days. I do them at a steady pace and am tired but not wasted at the end. If you have a lot of time to ride you can cut back on the pace and increase volume... which seems to work even better.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26602

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I can't think of any reason why I would want to voluntarily take 8 wks off of effective training (assuming I was healthy and also wanted to race my bike).
-kraig

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26603

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I think it was effective since I got faster than I've been since I started riding again... ~7 years ago.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26604

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Ron Ruff wrote:
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it wrote:
However, if I was restricted to only one workout type, it would undoubtedly be the steady zone III efforts. Quick recovery, and for me the best bang for my buck in terms of feeling like it helped the most with racing.


Same here.

For some reason I need to eliminate all intensity for a block of time (~8 weeks or more), and do only long steady rides for this to work. Doing long rides while doing intensity on other days or doing hard efforts in the middle of those long rides didn't cut it. It's really old-school "base", but I never had tried this before.

For people saying that these long rides cause a lot of fatigue... you are likely either going too hard (duh), mixing in hard efforts, or doing too much intensity on other days. I do them at a steady pace and am tired but not wasted at the end. If you have a lot of time to ride you can cut back on the pace and increase volume... which seems to work even better.

How long is long in this context? I've been doing a 2 hour zone 3 ride once a week for the last 3 weeks and have seen big improvement, but I do find them very fatiguing so only do them on Mondays to allow plenty of time to recover before my races the next weekend. The first one I did I only just managed to get my average power into the bottom of zone 3. The third one was just above the middle of zone 3. But it takes me an absolute maximal 2 hour effort to do that. Now, normally I interpret "long" as meaning a ride lasting over 4 hours as that seems to be what most people mean by a long ride. But I have never managed to achieve an average power in zone 3 for a ride of that duration, so that is beyond maximal effort for me, and would therefore be exceptionally fatiguing if I were able to do it. The mistake I've made in the past has been to try to do these rides too often, and I'm doing hugely better now by only doing them once a week. They're the hardest thing I do all week, so I can't imagine a training diet consisting solely of 4+ hours at that intensity every day.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26605

Well, everybody has a different experience with training. "Effective Training" means different things to different people, and different things at different times of year as well. I have no doubt that doing efforts at and above threshold are effective workouts. I agree that there are some interesting results that come from the research mentioned in articles linked above with regards to increasing mitochondrial density and activity and fitness and I do not doubt their research results.

However, there is more than one way to skin the proverbial training cat, and while this type of approach might be the best choice for somebody with a lot of years' worth of training in their legs, a tight schedule, and no more desire to do lots of long rides, this type of training would likely be the best bang for your buck.

For those with more time on their hands and fewer miles in their legs, I do think that there is something significant and beneficial that happens with the longer (2-5h) rides using generally-recognized Endurance and Tempo type workouts.

I also feel like those workouts are a lot of fun, and I think that personally I would have a hard time getting motivated to do threshold and above efforts all fall and winter. I might go so far as to say that I know that I would NOT do those workouts all year-round b/c I personally don't enjoy doing them all the time.

To respond to the question of "how long" were these types of rides:

Base/Endurance/Zone 2 (pushing zone 3 and 4 on climbs but usu stay out of above-LT efforts unless the hill was really steep). Build up to consistently doing 4 to 4.5h usually 2 and sometimes 3x wk with some shorter versions of similar through the week

Tempo/Zone 3. Start out with 2X30 relatively steady, build up to 2X60. Yes these are very taxing in a way, but if you fuel properly before/during/after and build up gradually over several weeks, they aren't that bad.

The guidelines above might be appropriate for cat 1/2 type cyclists.

I think that these endurance and tempo workouts also allow a cyclist to be able to handle higher volumes of intensity later, because they are accustomed to a solid workload.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26606

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Well, everybody has a different experience with training. "Effective Training" means different things to different people, and different things at different times of year as well. I have no doubt that doing efforts at and above threshold are effective workouts. I agree that there are some interesting results that come from the research mentioned in articles linked above with regards to increasing mitochondrial density and activity and fitness and I do not doubt their research results.

However, there is more than one way to skin the proverbial training cat, and while this type of approach might be the best choice for somebody with a lot of years' worth of training in their legs, a tight schedule, and no more desire to do lots of long rides, this type of training would likely be the best bang for your buck.


Sorry to clip into this post, but I thought it might be the best way for me to communicate a few of the opinions and observations I’ve developed over the years. My saying is that there are multiple paths to the same performance, but I think that the basic principles I have discussed/applied on BTR are essentially blind to one’s training history. I have come across no evidence or compelling argument which supports the contrary despite repeated inquiries. In other words, I think a bang for the buck is a bang for the buck!

For those with more time on their hands and fewer miles in their legs, I do think that there is something significant and beneficial that happens with the longer (2-5h) rides using generally-recognized Endurance and Tempo type workouts.


I agree as well. The inclusion of such workouts can be effective, especially when targeting specific power-duration goals…and these benefits can be realized within a few rides (as limited by one’s 20MP status). My experience, in addition to that, is that generally, folks who do longer tempo rides actually have a gross power distribution which includes higher intensities, especially if that distribution is looked at in a cumulative fashion over several weeks.

I also feel like those workouts are a lot of fun, and I think that personally I would have a hard time getting motivated to do threshold and above efforts all fall and winter. I might go so far as to say that I know that I would NOT do those workouts all year-round b/c I personally don't enjoy doing them all the time.


Fun is a good thing! I personally would not do them year round, week after week either. I prefer to look more globally when speaking of including such efforts year round (I’m speaking of efforts greater than 20MP or so). In addition, recruiting those “higher powered” motor units in a way that maintains previously gained basic adaptations takes very little effort…probably as little as 10-20 cumulative minutes in a week…not very taxing especially if performed in the “chunk” format. A few 2-5 minute efforts at 20MP isn’t much.

To respond to the question of "how long" were these types of rides:

Base/Endurance/Zone 2 (pushing zone 3 and 4 on climbs but usu stay out of above-LT efforts unless the hill was really steep). Build up to consistently doing 4 to 4.5h usually 2 and sometimes 3x wk with some shorter versions of similar through the week

Tempo/Zone 3. Start out with 2X30 relatively steady, build up to 2X60. Yes these are very taxing in a way, but if you fuel properly before/during/after and build up gradually over several weeks, they aren't that bad.

The guidelines above might be appropriate for cat 1/2 type cyclists.

I think that these endurance and tempo workouts also allow a cyclist to be able to handle higher volumes of intensity later, because they are accustomed to a solid workload.


I generally don’t view those types of fill workouts as taxing unless if they approach one’s power-duration maximum (for a truly steady effort) or the distribution of work during a fill workout starts to approach the distributions seen in one’s recent training history. For example, tempo intensity might be 180-240MP…so doing 90 minutes at that intensity would be easy if the distribution of that power was really tight. However, if one was performing a 90 minute tempo ride which wasn’t so block steady and started to accumulate a significant amount of work at higher intensities within that as a result of the terrain (etc.) one might actually start to have trouble continuing that same distribution and experience increased perceived exertion not reflective of the 90 minutes.

In terms of tollerating high intensity, I think that is mostly a function of the adaptations/limitations present in motor units recruited at higher powers and not in the motor units which tend to be used during an exclusively fill ride...since that muscle fiber "column" is relatively already adatped.

A couple of additional thoughts…not really related to the quoted post…I find 60MP to be of limited utility as a benchmark level of fitness in bike racing (especially in regional/local racing). I have found steady efforts of that duration to be very rare, and a common limiter is an inability to repeat high intensity efforts in events after surpassing one’s single day work ability at such an intensity. An example might be that one can only accumulate about 35-40 minutes at intensities over, say, 15MP (say, 350w for someone)…but the race is hard…and all of sudden, surges over 350 are no longer possible  rider gets dropped. Therefore, I have evolved to use 20MP as a perhaps a still conservative benchmark..I find that duration more common/practical and that it relates a bit better, IMO.

Addressing the theme of traditional “base” training and the “need/requirement/benefits” of starting off one’s annual training cycle with several weeks of exclusively lower intensities…my impression is that most of that line of thought stemmed years ago from running applications where injury prevention is a significant concern upon starting up one’s training program…and that has been extended to cycling and become entrenched without clear reasoning (at least to me) given that injury concerns are relatively non-existent.

Anyways...just some musing for what they are worth...all within the themes of the quotes in the "minimalism" thread and in the spirit of discussion and learning.
Last Edit: 6 years, 7 months ago by Kirk.

Re: Interesting article on Intervals and Low Intensity 6 years, 7 months ago #26607

  • kraig
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A few quick thoughts:

1) speed is a dependent variable in this context.

2) it's amazing at how quickly one can fill the right (even out to Ironman type durations)

3) to echo Kirk a bit, yeah, I agree that there are many paths to the same fitness destination...I mean, some folks like to take the scenic route and visit all the roadside attractions on their journey - while others might prefer to just get to where they want to be without a bunch of visits to places like the "World's largest ball of twine" :

www.roadsideamerica.com/story/8543

or the "world's largest thermometer":

www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2893

type stuff.
-kraig

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