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Quality vs. quantity

amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
Last year I cycled a LOT, but it was completely unstructured and my goal was never really to get faster over x miles, but to be able to comfortably do an unsupported LEJOG in 5 days (which I did at ~300km/day and on average 12-13 hours total time per day). In the autumn I did the Bealach Mor sportive and was pleased with a time of 5h24min.

My 'training' consisted of gradually longer hilly rides at the weekend, starting with 100km rides in January, 200-250km rides in Feb/March/April, then building up to 300km rides by June. My weekday 'training' consisted of a hilly 35km/day round trip commute on fixed that I did most days until April, when I moved house and the g/f started cycling to work so the distance was cut to just 16km round trip at a leisurely pace. Even up to April there was no structure to the commute - I'd go as fast as possible up the ~6km climb some days, take it easy other days. Come July I was pretty damn good at doing very hilly 300km rides in the Peaks/Dales.

Now this year I am looking at doing several sportives (and perhaps racing) and I'm trying to take a structured approach with emphasis on quality instead of quantity. I'm using a turbo and rollers properly for the first and a HRM. I should have a PowerTap within a few weeks as well. I'm sort-off following the training plan in The Black Book by Pete Reid which is currently involving 3-4 turbo/roller sessions during the week (2 x 1hr sessions @75-85% MHR, 1 progressive Power session and a 2x20 session @85-90% MHR) with progressively longer rides at the weekends (probably up to ~160km). This will progress over the coming months.

What I'd like to know is am I likely to improve my times significantly over say 160km rides compared to last year by focusing on quality training or am I more likely to see modest gains? I guess time will tell and I'll use the Bealach as the benchmark, but I decided (with little evidence to support whether or not this is realistic) to aim for top 10 finishes in at least some of the sportives I do this year. I think my engine is reasonable (VO2max was around 64mL/kg/min when tested back in 2007 and as part of the study I was tested for I cycled for 90min below my lactate threshold at 275W) so I'm hoping I haven't set myself an unachievable goal.
More problems but still living....

Posts

  • BronzieBronzie Posts: 4,927
    amaferanga wrote:
    What I'd like to know is am I likely to improve my times significantly over say 160km rides compared to last year by focusing on quality training or am I more likely to see modest gains?
    Structured training towards a defined goal should certainly be better than what you were doing before. Impossible to say by how much though I think.
    amaferanga wrote:
    I decided to aim for top 10 finishes in at least some of the sportives I do this year. I think my engine is reasonable (VO2max was around 64mL/kg/min when tested back in 2007 and as part of the study I was tested for I cycled for 90min below my lactate threshold at 275W) so I'm hoping I haven't set myself an unachievable goal.
    I would imagine your threshold will be well over 300W given the above - really depends on your weight as to how competitive you will be though. Anything over 4W/kg should be pretty competitive at entry level racing and I imagine sportifs as well, although you get the odd ringer at those. :wink:
  • EdwinEdwin Posts: 785
    Sounds like you should be doing 'proper' races instead of sportives :)

    My VO2max is about the same, and I'm currently struggling to do much above 250W in a 2x20 session!
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think If you can increase your lactate threshold (which is what I'm trying to do) then it should increase your speed on longer rides as well, so I'd say yes, what you're doing should improve your times.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    I'm about 68kg so W/kg isn't bad.

    What puts me off proper races is the fact that I really, really enjoy long, hilly rides.
    More problems but still living....
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,163
    If you're churning out that kind of w/kg then I should think you'd be around a 2/3 cat racer.
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