My last post gave an overview of planning my base training period. This post will therefore delve a bit more into the specifics of the on-bike workouts I will utilise during this block of training.
Week 1, Base 1 Update:
I had to make some on the fly changes to my plan during week 1. This was mainly due to having a small procedure at the doctors completed which involved having local anaesthetic injected into my head. It’s nowhere near as horrific as it sounds and it’s the third time I have had such a procedure done. It isn’t so bad when you know what to expect. Recovery this time around was different in an unfortunate way though.
I had planned 2 hours training in the morning beforehand but the op was scheduled for 0900. I decided to take the rare opportunity and get some extra sleep. It meant I would train later in the day for a change.
An evening race on Zwift is what I decided on as to let me body rid itself of the local anaesthetic. That was a bit of a fail though, as I realised shortly after the race started, that my heart rate was through the roof.
^ I do tend to have a higher average and max heart rate readings than most others I can compare myself to. Heart Rate is very individual of course. However, 182bpm on a Zwift race as an average is 15-20bpm higher than I would usually expect. Local anaesthetic is clearly more serious than I gave it credit for.
Needless to say I didn’t perform very well and lost a lot of places in the final “sprint” to the line but I got a good high intensity session from it.
Yes, it is true, I am a complete and utter muppet who should have taken a day off. It is done now though. Another lesson learnt?
Week 1 finished off with just a touch over 3 hours riding early on Sunday morning. The WARMEST temperature I seen was -3 degree’s C on the ride, grim!
I finished the week with 11 hours, 47 minutes on the bike. 2 minutes over the prescribed time for the weeks training and TSS for the week totalling 640. Spot on.
High Cadence & Sweet Spot:
The first and most prominent session I will incorporate alongside logging the KM’s is 60-90 minutes at a high intensity. This session will see both my power and heart rate go above threshold numerous times.
As with most things when it comes to my training, I choose to mix things up and this workouts no different.
Being a big believer in focused, structured training I wanted to keep that approach. However, this workout is a superb mix of chaos, essentially, followed by some measurable yet structured time.
I am currently training indoors using Zwift races on my Wahoo Kickr turbo trainer for this session. I can achieve 30-40mins at a mixture of high intensity during the race and as soon as the race is complete, I carry on to see out the hour (will eventually be 90 minutes) at sweet spot.
Sweet Spot is traditionally defined as “Upper Zone 3/Lower Zone 4” or “84% to 97% of FTP”.
Functional Threshold Power (FTP) is the maximal power you are able to maintain for 60 minutes.
I can maintain 300 watts for 60 minutes so on paper my Sweet Spot range would be 252w to 288w.
As you will realise by now I do not like to over-complicate things so I personally define my Sweet Spot watt range as 270w to 285w which translates to 90-95% of my FTP.
Racing on Zwift in the A category typically see’s my average power for the 30-40mins come out smack bang in my sweet spot range. It isn’t a case of sitting at sweet spot the entire time of course. It forces me over/under threshold throughout during attacks and climbs. Plus it’s great fun as well, despite being “unstructured”.
The time spent riding within my sweet spot range after the race is then structured and focused. For the time being this is 20-30mins of sweet spot effort after the race to ensure 60mins of total effort.
Progression wise I will gradually increase this sweet spot time after the race throughout the winter. The end result will be workouts consisting of 90mins worth of total effort.
What’s the Purpose?:
This goes back to my base training planning post where I speak about my personal take and approach to base training through the winter. I want to establish a mix of the traditionally long endurance training sessions but not neglect threshold/tempo ranges. I feel I can shift my main focus training wise at different times or blocks during the year but I should not completely ignore fundamental areas of training. In my case I know it would be really inefficient to simply do nothing but Z2 KM’s all winter. Only to then set a deadline of when higher intensity training can resume again.
Why not incorporate it to a much lesser extent throughout the winter as to keep my body guessing and working at different intensities? It is not going to damage my ability to do the Z2 KM’s. It’s only going to allow me to work better at higher watt ranges as the training focus shifts when Spring 2019 rolls in.
The Zwift Race/SS sessions primary purpose is to maintain/increase FTP.
Its secondary purpose comes in ensuring I do some time around my thresholds.
My body is kept guessing and does not get comfortable/stagnant at the same Z2 ranges which I believe is a very important state to NOT fall into during winter base training.
Ensuring a higher cadence as well as doing this session indoors (warmer air instead of freezing arctic air) leads to a good workout on the cardiovascular system as well. This system cannot be worked to this extent without near/over threshold efforts so could be easily neglected over winter.
Low Cadence & Strength:
The second most prominent of my workouts is a low cadence strength building effort. I despise this workout and find it really difficult. It is super beneficial though and the bigger gains unfortunately come through the hardest of the work.
Same old Dean here. Keep it simple! There isn’t much mixing it up going on this time around. This one is straight to the point and tough.
This session is also done indoors on my Wahoo Kickr turbo trainer. There is no way I could replicate it so specifically out on the road.
I have used ERG mode in the past on the trainer for this workout but I choose to disable it now and do this completely off my own feel. This serves in adding an extra mental challenge for me.
As a natural “spinner” on the bike when it comes to cadence with a typical 90+ RPM average. Grinding a big gear that is 30 RPM lower than my normal is exceptionally tough and requires heaps of mental concentration alongside the inevitable physical torture.
20 minute warmup.
3×8 minutes @ 60-65 RPM
3 minute recoveries in between.
30 minutes Z2 @ usual 90-95 RPM to finish.
Watts wise for the 3x efforts I will personally be aiming for 260 watts. That is only towards the top end of Z3 for me so nowhere near my threshold. However, at low cadence, even this watt range is horrible.
Progression wise through the winter on this specific workout. The aim will be to move up to 3×10 minutes and eventually on to 3×12 minutes for the efforts. Recovery time of 3 minutes will persist (there is no mercy!).
What’s the Purpose?:
Building that base. This is where the concrete is hardened.
This workouts hard and it absolutely increases deep rooted strength in the legs. This is beneficial for time trialling as well as road racing.
The strength gained from this workout will help me keep on top of a bigger gear on the TT bike next year. In situations where I would need to shift down a gear currently, I will be powering right through on top of the bigger gear in the next few months. That’s the intention anyway!
Road racing, even in the Highlands of Scotland (somehow….) has very little in terms of climbing. That raw strength endurance enabling me to keep on top of a bigger gear for surges or short gradient rises in the course is priceless.
It’s this deep rooted strength and ability to dig deep and remain there for longer periods of time that really makes a super strong bike rider. It’s what gets that gap for a breakaway to work as well as what bridges that gap to the breakaway in a chase.
Hard Man. Strong Legs. Belgian Legs.
Plan, Analyse, Progress, Achieve:
This is the single biggest thing to take away from the combination of my recent Winter Training posts. Everything I do is for a reason and that reason is to achieve my goals.
My planning and workouts ALL have reason for being done as well as having a path of progression defined. Nothing I am doing is unexplainable and this is how it should be.
There is no point in following a plan or carrying out a session/workout with absolutely no idea of what it is achieving or why it’s even being done.
A measurable planned path of progression is a necessity in achieving end goals.
Actions have to be analysed so that progress can be identified. Otherwise, how would we know progress towards our goals is even occurring?
Through this formula of planning and then analysing my progression. I will achieve.