Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

How much do you progress workouts by?

andyebandyeb Posts: 407
I gather it's good practice to try and progress your training workouts a bit each time you do them, but by how much?

Say for example, I'm doing 2x20m on the turbo. Last time I managed an average of 25.7mph on resistance 3 during the intervals, today I managed 26.3mph on the same resistance. So that's around a 2% progression.

Is that in the right ball park? What level of progression gets you the best training effect?

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,013
    Difficult to compare progress like that. The next session might give you a lower speed again..
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    Imposter wrote:
    Difficult to compare progress like that. The next session might give you a lower speed again..

    But what if you are specifically pushing yourself to beat your previous performance, rather than just going hard and hoping for the best?
  • I would say that a lot depends on where you are now, how long and how effectively you have been training and what your natural limits are. Some people are 'low responders' and don't respond much to training at all!. To give an example of how hard it can be to progress when you have already been training seriously for a few years, when Boardman was working with Peter Keen he once said that he hoped that he might be able to find another 5 watts a year for a few more years. As he was putting out around 440 watts at the time, that would be a 1% improvement per year, so per session, not a lot! (Averaged over 300 sessions this would work out at 0.003% per session.)

    Also, although Obree was an advocate of such an approach, you don't have to ride to you absolute limit to promote adaptation and progress. When promoting adaptation, 'sufficient' is generally better than 'more'. Also look to how your total training load progresses as well.

    Fundamentally, how much you progress is determined by how your body responds, not the numbers you enter into a calculation. Why not just stress you body until it is clear from your fatigue that you need to rest and so allow for adaptation, then when you are recovered do the same again. Hopefully you will be able to do a little more until a similar level of fatigue sets in, but how much more is determined by your responsiveness to training and so forth, it cannot be calculated in advance.
    "an original thinker… the intellectual heir of Galileo and Einstein… suspicious of orthodoxy - any orthodoxy… He relishes all forms of ontological argument": jane90.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I just stick by my trainerroad plan - so your FTP gets higher and the targets get higher as you go through.

    That said - not every session is hard - or you'll burn out. Killing yourself every time isnt the best way forwards.
  • ongejongej Posts: 118
    With regards to a particular case of "going as hard as often as possible", I think I read some studies that said that doing 2 vo2max intervals a week or more had little difference, so one could as an example fry himself everyday with vo2max intervals, or do 2 a week, the physiological improvements may likely be the same. This could be because the body can only adapt so fast, even with adequate rest, so less is more sometimes.
  • andyeb wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Difficult to compare progress like that. The next session might give you a lower speed again..

    But what if you are specifically pushing yourself to beat your previous performance, rather than just going hard and hoping for the best?
    As censored says, those who are in the good response part of their performance development curve can get away with such an approach for a while, but ultimately chasing PBs all the time will lead to a form of burnout (mental or physical).

    What you need to realise is that training at maximum effort level for the duration is not necessary in order to elicit quality improvements in performance. The benefits of training efforts a bit less intense than the max you can do for a duration (e.g. at say ~90% of max) are generally as effective, more so usually because you are not so fatigued as they are more sustainable and repeatable. When I say max, I'm referring to power, not trainer speed.

    Of course there are times when you want to really rev the motor and find out what you've got under the hood, but I'd suggest that's not a sustainable approach for your regular training.

    At what level any individual progresses is, well, individual. So you'll need to make those choices yourself, or in consultation with someone that's monitoring your progress. At the end of a session, rate your exertion level. If it seems pretty comfortable, well you can likely lift it next time.

    Finally, the reliability of using trainer wheel speed as a proxy for power output can be quite variable, so take that into account. And also keep in mind that trainer speed-power is often not a linear relationship.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    andyeb wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    Difficult to compare progress like that. The next session might give you a lower speed again..

    But what if you are specifically pushing yourself to beat your previous performance, rather than just going hard and hoping for the best?
    As censored says, those who are in the good response part of their performance development curve can get away with such an approach for a while, but ultimately chasing PBs all the time will lead to a form of burnout (mental or physical).

    What you need to realise is that training at maximum effort level for the duration is not necessary in order to elicit quality improvements in performance. The benefits of training efforts a bit less intense than the max you can do for a duration (e.g. at say ~90% of max) are generally as effective, more so usually because you are not so fatigued as they are more sustainable and repeatable. When I say max, I'm referring to power, not trainer speed.

    Of course there are times when you want to really rev the motor and find out what you've got under the hood, but I'd suggest that's not a sustainable approach for your regular training.

    At what level any individual progresses is, well, individual. So you'll need to make those choices yourself, or in consultation with someone that's monitoring your progress. At the end of a session, rate your exertion level. If it seems pretty comfortable, well you can likely lift it next time.

    Finally, the reliability of using trainer wheel speed as a proxy for power output can be quite variable, so take that into account. And also keep in mind that trainer speed-power is often not a linear relationship.

    Thanks Alex - lots of good advice there and plenty of food for thought.
  • andyebandyeb Posts: 407
    After a nearly month of incremental improvements (between 1-2% each time), I'm finding this is about the right amount to keep me on the edge of what I can manage with each session.

    I can feel the difference out on the road too. Or at least I could, until I got this cold - perhaps a sign I've been pushing a little too hard in the training? :oops:
Sign In or Register to comment.