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Quick Question

benneallybenneally Posts: 973
edited November 2009 in Pro race
Just wondering what sort of average speeds you guys bash out over a 3-4hour training ride? Looking around, you seem to take it pretty seriously (massive understatement of the year).


  • nick hansonnick hanson Posts: 1,655
    This time of the year,an actual average would be approaching 16 mph
    Any higher,& you are not building a quality base for the coming season,you are just doing 'junk' miles (ie not recovery,& not proper race effort)
    The ones who reccon on 18-20 mph average are either complete Bull***ters or are wasted in the race season.
    Pete Reed,author of various training manuals,said that when he trains with the TOP local riders,their real average is well under 20mph,& you are talking pro level
    so many cols,so little time!
  • This time of the year,an actual average would be approaching 16 mph
    Any higher,& you are not building a quality base for the coming season,you are just doing 'junk' miles (ie not recovery,& not proper race effort)
    The ones who reccon on 18-20 mph average are either complete Bull***ters or are wasted in the race season. Pete Reed,author of various training manuals,said that when he trains with the TOP local riders,their real average is well under 20mph,& you are talking pro level
    I am not sure that Pete Read's views are that well respected from what I have read on other sites. Also, the average speed all depends on the terrain you are covering, whether you are in a group or not, the weather conditions and so on. On a 'base building' ride when I was at my best I would normally cover a local 85-mile loop, on my own, at an average of 18.5 Mph whilst never letting my heart rate go above 150 Bpm (My maximum at the time was almost 200).

    You are right about the importance of base though, as this excellent article highlights:

    Ace of Base
    by mark allen

    Hello 1996! Even though it's almost the official beginning of spring, if you are anything like me, I'm still trying to find my rhythm in training. Should I try something new or go with the basic routine I've done in the past? Something extravagant? Forget it. It's nuts and bolts time. Everything we do now on the roads and in the pool will pay off during the summer and at that final race of the year in the fall. The trick is to do enough training in the right way without overdoing it. It may seem like quite a balancing act, but in reality it's quite simple to lay the groundwork now in a way that will carry you through an entire season, and on into the next. I'm going to throw out most of the entertainment value during this article and give you the essentials I consider absolutely necessary to do this time of year to help make your season as a whole a success.

    But first I want to share with you the secret of how I have trained for the last 12 years. I'm going to tell you exactly what I have done every winter and spring since 1984. I'm not superhuman, so this secret is not reserved for the genetically superior being. I have a family and other commitments outside of my training even though I do this for a living, and this secret works within those constraints as well. I can be lazy with the biggest slouches, and have also overtrained like the most neurotic type ‘A’ person you've ever met. But this secret has helped me overcome both of these extremes. Do you want to here it? Are you ready for it? The secret is... BASE!

    You're probably saying, "Base'? So what? Everyone knows you need a base.”

    I know you know you need base, and that you probably don't want to read another article on it because you've already been bored to tears with the topic. But I'm going to give it to you once again anyway, because if you can finally get it right, I guarantee you will have a better overall season than you have ever had in your life. Period! So bare with me, and let's get going.

    The number one thing I'm going to ask you to do right now is to put your ego in the vault for the time being. We are talking about no frills base building. This is the biggest determining factor in performance later on. It’s not intricate like threshold work or interesting as are variances on a theme at the track. But it will bring the results you want. Base is the big potato. Without enough of it, all the speed work in the world won't turn your VW engine into a Masarati.

    The problem with base work is that it doesn't really feel like you are going 'hard' enough. Base comes from going out for the daily grind at or below your Maximum Aerobic Level. But since it doesn't have the same shock feel of speed work, day to day it doesn't really feel like you are getting anywhere with it. It doesn't satisfy our mind's need to see big jumps and changes in a short period of time. But trust me. It works. Building your base is putting money in the bank for later. The more you put in now, the more there is to take down the road. Speed work draws on that account, and the energy taken out goes to 'buying performance'. Save the big 'bucks' for the big races. Use the big withdrawals to accomplish your big picture goal. Don't let yourself get caught in the anaerobic trap of draining your physical account bit by bit over too long a period of time. If you do, there may not be anything left for the big dance at the end of the year. Have you put your training ego on hold? Okay, then we're almost ready to get training.

    But first, let's talk a little science. Your body is a big energy converter, using mostly fat and carbohydrates to move. In action, you change stored fuel into forms your muscles can 'eat' for contraction. This requires enzymes. The more enzymes you have to make these conversions, the quicker the whole process works. More enzymes for energy conversion is like hiring more workers to help on the construction sight. You can saw a thousand pieces of wood, one at a time, or bring in a thousand people to saw thern all at the same tirne. It's obvious which is quicker. In the body, more enzymes makes you more metabolically efficient.

    Metabolic efficiency, the ability to convert stored energy into food for muscular activity, is built over time, with the right level of intensity during training. Anything we are doing in triathlons is going to be achieved predominantly with the burning of fats, even in Olympic Distance races. Therefore, as you have heard before, we need to increase our number of fat burning enzymes. You do this by building a base. This requires training at or below your Maximum Aerobic Level. This is the highest heart rate you can train at and still be predominantly training your aerobic (fat burning) systems.

    Figure your MAL right now before continuing...

    Okay, back to the programme. As you build base, your MAL stays essentially the same within each season. But your pace at that particular heart rate will gradually get faster. You can measure your progress by going to the track once every two weeks and, after warming up, time one mile at that MAL heart rate and see how your speed at that MAL changes. When I first started training this way, my time for the mile on the track was a 7:45. Now, at that very same heart rate, my pace is a 5:25 mile! Same heart rate, very different speed. And it all came from building those aerobic enzymes.

    There are three keys to making this base system work.

    -The first is to be very consistent in your training. You don't necessarily need mega miles to become more efficient. Simply try, within the constraints of your life, to make an aerobic workout a daily part of your routine. Even training for twenty minutes a day in this zone will make improvements in your pace at your MAL.

    -The second condition for maximizing your time spent during the base period is to NEVER train above your MAL heart rate. Remember, this is the time when you are putting money in the bank. Anaerobic work (anything above MAL) takes big chunks out and erodes the base you are building. This is the hardest thing for people to do- to trust that a seemingly moderate effort in training will ultimately enable you to really crank it out at the high end later. Have the patience. You will be doing the fast stuff soon enough, but not now.

    -The third key is to as much as possible, keep your lifestyle stress free. That's almost impossible in these times. But try. The reason is that your body reacts chemically to stress in the exact same way it does to anacrobic training. It turns off the fat burning systems and turns on the glucose burning systems. Every time you get overstressed, it's as if you just did a track workout, rnetabolically speaking. So if you aren't seeing any improvement in your pace at the MAL track test, take a look at your lifestyle and see if there are stress factors that might be working contrary to your base programme. And as always, change those that you can and don't worry about the rest. I haven't given really any specific advise on the actual miles you need to be doing right now. That is relatively unimportant in relation to your pace. Don't be fooled by the simplicity of what I have presented to you, I know very few people who have the patience to train their base miles in the way I have just outlined.

    In fact, I'm going to present the challenge to you right now. Go to the track this week and find out what your pace is at your MAL, Then for the next rnonth, train consistently at or below your MAI. The actual mileage shouldn't be the main concern. Train roughly the same miles you have been, but without doing anything fast (above MAL). Reduce a few of the changeable stress factors. Then before you read the next month's 220 Magazine, go to the track and do the MAL pace test once again. See if there isn't a change in the positive direction. At that point we can talk about the next phase of your training. Good Luck. I'll see you next month!

    two twenty april 1996.
  • P.s Read's 'Annual manual' can be downloaded from the link below ... k_Book.pdf

    The 'Veloriders' verdict? 'Pointless, unless you don't have a clue and want to remain average, then it is only slightly better than randomnly training erratically.'

    I have had a quick look at it and feel that the site below offers much more authoritative advice.

    These two articles are particularly useful.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I dunno - I used his blue book a decade ago and it gave me good results - things may have moved on with powermeters now - but it got me under the hour and pbs at ten and fifty.

    He certainly seemed to have a good team at the time - wasn't keith murray sponsored by him amongst others ?

    I didn't like the black book as much as the blue one though.
  • jim onejim one Posts: 183
    Base is all about your threshold (ftp) power. Previoisly people thought trundling around all winter for 6hours in the cold and wet would somehow make you burn fat better etc etc and you would become amazing when the season started but all that does is train your body to go trundling around like you are on an audax.

    The modern way is to ride for less time but with more intensity. Most riders already have built up the old version of base from riding for several years; therefore once they reach a certain level of fitness they are just wasting their time.

    A base ride now should still be a few hours 2-4, but with long periods spent at just below threshold. For people with a max hr of 200 that would equate to riding at 160ish depending on the person but it would ideally be done with a powermeter at about 93% ie "sweetspot training".

    Here is an article explaining the type of theory-

    If you traditionalists try it then I think you will be shocked at how much you improve :lol:

    PS Bernie what level did you race at??
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    edited November 2009
    jim one wrote:
    PS Bernie what level did you race at??
    I was a second cat, got the occasional top three place in E/1/2 events, normally did a longish '20' in a 10 mile TT on a standard road bike with clip-on tri bars. Did this on traditional club runs, a bit of focused higher intensity and 'threshold' riding in the pre season, plus the racing of course.

    I always found that once I was racing the racing itself gave me plenty of high-intensity work and additional hard sessions were likely to result in deep fatigue. I also used to like getting out on my bike for the sheer enjoyment of it (I still do!) and found that a long, 'steady' ride was enjoyable, good for the moral, made a welcome change from the high intensity efforts and yet didn't add to my general level of fatigue. I know that some people race on a basis of flogging themselves stupid on a turbo all winter but for me I actually enjoying riding a bike was always important.
  • jim one wrote:
    Base is all about your threshold (ftp) power... Here is an article explaining the type of theory-
    That article appears to be advocating threshold training, which is certainly very important, as the link I provided notes. However, I feel your suggestion that 160 Bpm would be just below threshold for someone with a maximum heart rate of 200 is way off. When my maximum attainable heart rate was 198 I would average 192 Bpm in a 10 when fresh and 188-190 in a '25'.

    I also feel that the article overstates the case 'against' LSD training. It says:

    'The costs incurred with this approach are time and the large volume of overall fatigue caused by exposure to the weather and the mental and physical stress of all those endless hours on the bike. This fatigue can result in immune-system depression, psychological depression, depression of “good” hormone levels, and over-use injuries caused by such huge volumes of repetitive motion to name a few.'

    That might be true for traditional 'level two' long distance rides. However, I found that true LSD rides actually boosted my morale and lifted depression. Also LSD rides do lead to an increase efficiency, which is the one factor that does not seem to have a ceiling.

    When you talk about training at a heart rate of around 160 Bpm perhaps you are advocating what I actually did - combine LSD rides (say 150-160 Bpm) with higher intensity and true 'just below threshold training' (for me about 184 Bpm), whilst avoiding the 'mediocre middle' intensities that lead to deep fatigue without giving the benefits of either threshold or true LSD training. Looking at my training notes, on a long ride I used to train at what used to be called the MAF or ‘maximum aerobic function’ level of intensity. Perhaps the ideal intensity has moved a up few BPM but the principle is still the same, and when doing 'base' training it is better to train a few Bpm below the ideal than a few Bpm above it.

    Of course, many would argue that any intensity based on heart rates is pretty meaningless in any case because so many factors can influence heart rates, and that a power meter or even ‘feel’ give a better indication of the true level of intensity.

    It is also the case that everyone is an individual. Part of the ‘secret’ of effective training is to find out what actually works the best for you!
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