Seven More Weeks (yet another blog)

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Jake and I were talking about this and he said he'd like to see some of the team members posting what they're doing in terms of riding, training, beer drinking, and so on. I told him I'd give it a go for the remainder of the season to see if anyone really cared. We're not really sure anyone does. Given that I'm not exactly bringing home gold medals every weekend it might be a pretty worthless effort to post what I'm doing since nobody is going to copy my routine. Having said that, maybe people will do exactly the opposite of what I do and learn from that.

Anyway, for the next 6 weeks I'll try to keep this thread updated with what I'm doing. If it proves useless I'll bag it after the 50k race, or before then if it's obvious nobody gives 2 craps. If people find it useful then maybe some of my teammates will jump on board with this later.

My general weekly structure is like this:

Mon: Off or active recovery
Tue: High-end (L5) intervals, 5 minute duration.
Wed: Threshold (L4) intervals
Thu: Off or active recovery
Fri: Off or active recovery
Sat: 4 hour mtb ride
Sun: 1-2 hour tempo (L3)

The first thing to note is that I have 3 days basically off. Given that I have to wake up in the realm of 4:45 to get this stuff in before work, sleep is more important than rolling 5 days a week.

Weekends are up for debate/change. Sometimes I may throw in an L5 Saturday and longer ride Sunday.

Weeks 1/2 will be one volume, weeks 3/4 will be an increase in that. Week 5 will be 50% of week 4. Week 6 will be 25% of week 4. That's a classic taper approach and the whole structure is a pretty classic training approach, but short one Thursday tempo ride.

I immediately threw this out the window this week and did an L4 workout Monday. 2 sets of 20 minutes with a 5 minute rest in between, usually noted as 2x20:5. Tuesday I did the L5 stuff, 4x5:5 which was harder because I didn't do it off a rest day. But I felt good enough to give it a go anyway. Today I did a repeat of Monday, 2x20:5. So the last 3 days have been L4/L5/L4. My legs are pretty tired right now.

Today's entry in my actual blog is an bit of a goofy view on it all. No worries it's not remotely serious: Biking Lent.

I won't link to that every day, just when I post something entertaining. Anyway, I hope someone, somewhere, finds this useful.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I'll take that as a vote in the "generally useless" camp.

To summarize, it's basically a way to get the most out of your limited training hours.
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
I thought that is what you were up too. Just not all hip to the lingo. I like to see what others are doing. It is a good point of reference for myself
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
i'm seated in front of my computer, farting, while my oatmeal bowl from yesterday soaks so i can rinse it out before reusing it. i don't actually wash it in between uses because i figure i'm putting boiling water into it, so that should kill anything i don't want to eat alive.
 

ArmyOfNone

Well-Known Member
i'm seated in front of my computer, farting, while my oatmeal bowl from yesterday soaks so i can rinse it out before reusing it. i don't actually wash it in between uses because i figure i'm putting boiling water into it, so that should kill anything i don't want to eat alive.

Very deep thoughts for such an early hour. You are like an onion. Not sure why...but you are

...but i think you have your own blog!
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I thought that is what you were up too. Just not all hip to the lingo. I like to see what others are doing. It is a good point of reference for myself

It's confusing. I've been reading about this stuff for a while now so all the lingo is ingrained now. I'm sure ChrisG understands it all but most people are like, WTF?

Since you know intervals, here's what that notation means. Suppose you do a 5 minute interval. Then you take 4 minutes rest. And you do 6 repeats of this. This whole thing is called a set. So you can write it like this: 6x5:4. The 6 is the number of reps, the 5 is the "on" time, and the 4 is the "between rest" time. If you take 20 in between then do another set, you usually don't care about the 20 minutes. It would just be referred to as "2 sets of 6x5:4."

Also, in general, these shorter intervals are the same "on" and "off" time, so I did 4x5:5 Tuesday morning. As you get more advanced, or more into pain, you can shorten the rest period which means you won't be as rested for the next. So you could do a 4x5:3. This is supposed to force your body to adapt faster. But the downside is that if you're not able to handle it (like me) it just makes you quit.

When you look at the offseason trainer workouts it should/may make more sense now. Hope that helps.

Very deep thoughts for such an early hour. You are like an onion. Not sure why...but you are

...but i think you have your own blog!

No no! I need all the posts I can get.
 

ChrisG

Unapologetic Lifer for Rock and Roll
i'm seated in front of my computer, farting, while my oatmeal bowl from yesterday soaks so i can rinse it out before reusing it. i don't actually wash it in between uses because i figure i'm putting boiling water into it, so that should kill anything i don't want to eat alive.
Thanks for sharing, buddy.
 
D

DANSPANK

Guest
Hey Norm,

Can you expand on the levels that you talked about as well (L4, L5...).

And I don't think I've washed my tea mug in the office for the last two years. Just a quick rinse and it's ready to go - tasty!
 
J

Jeff

Guest
And I don't think I've washed my tea mug in the office for the last two years. Just a quick rinse and it's ready to go - tasty!

Haha, ditto! Though it's starting to get mighty discolored :drooling:


Back on topic- In regards to training, since I'm new to the world of distance/endurance cycling, what is too much and what is to little? And how does that change in the weeks immediately before an event?

I know that's a very, very broad question, but is there perhaps an informative website I can read more that any of you would recommend? I don't have a dedicated road bike yet, but I've been trying to do around 20-25 road miles per day on the DH bike. I'm not sure if this is hindering my progress by inhibiting my body from recovering enough, or if it's equally beneficial but in other departments.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Hey Norm,

Can you expand on the levels that you talked about as well (L4, L5...).

Sure! I'll try to keep it as simple as I can.

The one thing to remember is that no matter which way you cut it up, there really is only 1 energy source: Your cookie-powered body. Within that people cut that up into 3 systems: aerobic, anaerobic, and neuromuscular. All that really matters to most of us is aerobic and anaerobic. We're all basically familiar with those 2 I think.

Beyond that people cut up effort levels differently. I use the L1-L7 system. Here's a quick rundown:

L1: Active Recovery

Used for recovery, usually described as light pressure on the pedals, like feathers. I think ChrisG goes with higher cadence and low power. I've read of the Jelly Belly team going on an L1 ride where they average something like 10-11 mph. Any faster than that and it misses the point. This is really hard for most people to actually do.

L2: Endurance

This is usually called "all-day pace". The 80 mile ride you did would be primarily L2. For those of us who are time limited, this is almost entirely useless if it's anything under 3 hours.

L3: Tempo

Basically an up-tempo, quick paced ride in the 1-3 hour realm. Not totally gasping for air but you're hitting the corners on the faster side, attacking the hills and flats. You'll certainly jump into the higher levels on a ride like this but not too much. The aim is to not fall back into the L2 realm on a ride like this. Group road rides are usually this.

L4: Threshold

Threshold is basically the pace you can keep for an hour. It hurts, a good amount. Most people break this up into sets of 10-20 minutes. Your legs burn, you breath hard, drinking from the bottle is difficult. People often do 2x20, and sometimes 3x20. Others do a 15 minute set. Raising your Lactate Threshold (LT) is the #1 aim of all cyclists whether you know it or not.

L5: VO2max

Generally a pace you can keep up for 3-8 minutes. A lot of people suggest you should aim for 5 minutes. Basically keep a pace you can do for 5 minutes and then totally feel like getting off the bike and laying in the road. The "easiest" way to do this is to find a loop which takes 5-6 minutes and race it, as fast as you possibly can, then rest for the same amount of time and do it again. Another alternative is to ride a park in a way which taxes this. For instance, the yellow loop in LM, counter clockwise, and do all the hills as hard as you can. Then take it really easy in between. No way around it, this are tough.

L6: Anaerobic

In the 30 second to 3 minute realm. More of the same of L5 but shorter and harder. Generally I don't really do much of this because I think I benefit more from the L4/L5 work. I have done them before on the short hills in my area. Just get up 'em as fast as you can. Usually you're totally shot at the end of each interval. These are hard because turning around and going down the hill usually eats up all your rest time and you have to start it again. Turning around and using your brakes are usually an effort after these.

L7: Neuromuscular

This is in the 10-25 second range, short sprints, jumps, that kind of stuff. Basically all-out for 15 seconds then rest as long as you need. Some people do 10-12 reps of these. This is more of a roadie thing I think. Not a whole lot of need to sprint to the finish line in mountain bike races.

That's plenty for now. If you want to know how/why/what I do with this feel free to ask. This post is probably going to make people's eyes glaze over so for the few who have read, I'll cut it off here.
 
J

Jeff

Guest
I read it and am yearning for more! If you get bored and are enthused about writing more about cycling fitness (as I am about music/general fitness/e46 M3s), then write away!



sidenote: gosh, I use a lot of exclamation points. I'm going to stop that now! ...errrr, damnit...
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
I read it and am yearning for more! If you get bored and are enthused about writing more about cycling fitness (as I am about music/general fitness/e46 M3s), then write away!

Awesome! I'm glad you enjoy. Let me get back to my regularly scheduled program (work) for a while then I'll throw out some more thoughts this afternoon, as well as try to answer your question back there on page 1. Also remember that a lot of this is theory, and my actual race results are anything but stellar!
 

anrothar

entirely thrilled
norm, the l7 and l6 stuff is very necessary if you want to be competitive in mtb racing. probably moreso than in road racing. you'll find yourself in situations where you're already pushing hard and have to all of a sudden floor it when the fast rider in front of you makes a mistake and you have a split second gap to pass or you come out of the singletrack and are on a fireroad for 30 seconds before you dip back into the singletrack. that 30 seconds is your opportunity to pass the guy/gal in front of you.
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
norm, the l7 and l6 stuff is very necessary if you want to be competitive in mtb racing. probably moreso than in road racing. you'll find yourself in situations where you're already pushing hard and have to all of a sudden floor it when the fast rider in front of you makes a mistake and you have a split second gap to pass or you come out of the singletrack and are on a fireroad for 30 seconds before you dip back into the singletrack. that 30 seconds is your opportunity to pass the guy/gal in front of you.

You're not incorrect, but what I'm going to talk about is in terms of limiters. And for most of us our limiters are the others things. What I'm saying is that my biggest weakness isn't L6 nor L7. It's my threshold by a long shot. Those 30 seconds really don't make much difference if I'm 20 minutes off the back, if you know what I'm saying.

I agree that being able to turn on the gas in short bursts is a good thing. Anyone who races will see that. The question is, do I dedicate a whole day for L7 and then for L6? L7 is tough. Going all out like that really drains you and most books/coaches say to take 5 minutes between sprints. So you're now talking about a 60 minute sprint workout before you add on another set of time for something else, usually L3 or just tacking on L2 because you're spent. As for L6 it's probably one or the other of L5 or L6. You can't really do both in the same week unless you're doing a pure high-end block training.

One option is to make your Saturday ride as close to race simulation as possible. Then you work all that high-end stuff in the context you'll race at. But riding at race pace without a race is hard. Though if you find someone to ride with (like if I tried to follow you at you non-stopping pace) for 2 hours, that sure helps.
 
J

Jeff

Guest
Awesome! I'm glad you enjoy. Let me get back to my regularly scheduled program (work) for a while then I'll throw out some more thoughts this afternoon, as well as try to answer your question back there on page 1. Also remember that a lot of this is theory, and my actual race results are anything but stellar!

Thanks! I sympathize with you about work- it's been getting in the way of my cycling studies all week! :getsome:

And theories are good. I like theories! I liken it to thinking up and testing out a new strategy to beat a video game, as opposed to pressing the same sequence of buttons that a thousand people have beaten it with before. In fact, that's what really draws me to biking; not the end result (winning races, being the fastest, etc), but the process of learning and bettering myself along the way...

"Enjoy the ride; it's almost always better than the destination"
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Back on topic- In regards to training, since I'm new to the world of distance/endurance cycling, what is too much and what is to little? And how does that change in the weeks immediately before an event?

I know that's a very, very broad question, but is there perhaps an informative website I can read more that any of you would recommend? I don't have a dedicated road bike yet, but I've been trying to do around 20-25 road miles per day on the DH bike. I'm not sure if this is hindering my progress by inhibiting my body from recovering enough, or if it's equally beneficial but in other departments.

All of that is really going to depend on you. Can you handle it? Are you dragging by the end of the week? If you're new I wouldn't ride more than 5 days a week. Of course if you're younger it may not be such an issue. But jumping into 6/7 days a week will be hard to maintain and you might burn out.

How long have you been riding? If you're relatively new I would just ride as much as you can. You can get into the structured training but that may not be the best thing for a lot of people. Take a guy like Fred (ArmyOfNone). He has a lot of time during the day so he can just go and ride when he wants. So 10-12 hours a week for him is no big deal. At this point I struggle to slap together 8 hours a week and lately it's been more in the 6/7 hour realm. That's not a whole lot so I need to make those hours count as much as I can. So I will get on the bike for an hour before, go really hard, do it 2-3 days in a row, then let my body rest for 2 days. Those "stacked" days force me to compensate and also give me 2 solid days off to sleep in. So when the weekend comes I'm not too tired to go out for the longer off-road rides.

If you're looking to structure then I can tell you what a classic approach is. As far as rest before a race it depends on the race and how important it is to you.

"Enjoy the ride; it's almost always better than the destination"

Spoken like a man who hasn't done a race with a beer table at the end!
 

ryderX

JORBA Luddite: KVSP Bulldog
JORBA.ORG
You guys need to ride your bikes more and "stop the madness". Time in the saddle GOOD. Time in the computer chair BAD.
Simple, effective and time proven.
Goodbye.:)
 

Norm

Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
You guys need to ride your bikes more and "stop the madness". Time in the saddle GOOD. Time in the computer chair BAD.
Simple, effective and time proven.
Goodbye.:)

Yes, well there is that approach. Of course, I know you follow all these principles just maybe without all the fancy names and notation. But the point isn't lost. Like I said, I'm not winning any gold medals at the current time so take it all with a grain of salt.
 
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