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Finding the balance

5858558585 Posts: 206
edited September 2016 in Training, fitness and health
First post in a long while...the kids are finally old enough that I seem to have enough time for regular training, so after 5 years of very little cycling I am getting back into it.

I'm interested in opinions and experiences on increasing training volume, intensity and progress.
Last year, like the past few, didn't involve much cycling, under 2000km for the year and my weight crept up to 81kg.
This year I've done 3875 km, 60k meters climbed, I've not used any training plan just gone out and ridden, lots of hills and short rides mainly.

Weight has gone from 81 to 78 kg.
FTP 3.3 to 4.1 W/kg.
5 min power 4.0 to 4.9 W/kg.
TSS average 1500/month.
Duration 22 or 23 hrs month.

Over the winter I'd like to get some structured miles in using trainerroad and am hoping to get some more progress next year, but wonder what is realistic to expect. I seem to be back where I was 5 years ago when I was doing double the mileage (so something is going right), but wonder where the gains will start to tail off...Anyone able to share there experiences on what might be possible to achieve through structured training and say increase to 30 hrs per month? Also interested in finding out if there is a way to estimate physical/genetic limits from PM data to decide how many hours are worth spending on training vs with the family!

Posts

  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,089
    Training for what? Some specifics or targets would be useful.
  • It's better to assess your goals and commitment to them, know what rest of life needs are and then follow good and sufficiently enjoyable process with the available training time and the results will be what they are.

    It's almost impossible to ascertain what your genetic potential is without having stretched yourself for a few years.

    As to how much power one can gain, that is also pretty much impossible to answer without at least some prior experience. You've had a nice bump up in power so far, and usually the bigger gains are the early ones but how much more you can attain is really an unknown as it's highly variable by individual.
  • Well, seeing as you seem to have a power meter, why not buy 2 books:
    Joe Friels The Cyclists Training Bible and Hunter/Coggans Training and racing with a power meter.

    Both go into assessing your current levels, your targets for next year and building a programme.
    Coggans book has a section on analysing your strengths and weaknesses and how to improve them and suggests some good workouts for this.
    Both very good books and having both is worthwhile in my opinion
  • If you have no specific goals then just keep doing what you are doing, don't bog yourself down with structured training. You're obviously improving, the weight is coming down so if there comes a point next year where you want to focus you'll be in great shape to start fine tuning things.
  • I agree with all the comments about setting goals and then looking at your motivation/commitment to achieving them.

    I went slightly the other way when I first started taking cycling a bit more seriously and did some testing to get an idea of where I was at fitness wise and strengths/weaknesses. It was more out of curiosity at the time as I had already been cycling for a number of years but found it gave me the motivation to improve and set some targets along the way in order to maximise the areas where I had most potential.

    On a purely personal level, more hours on the bike (probably averages out at 30 a month in winter, 45 in summer) has had most benefit on my endurance. Years ago I would struggle to back up rides for more than 2-3 days in a row, now I can ride 5-6 days in a row (usually a 50/50 split between structured/unstructured rides) relatively comfortably.

    The biggest difference over the years has been intensity of training. |I have found the biggest gains in speed/power/aerobic fitness overall have come from a solid mix of tempo/threshold rides with recovery.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Impressive figures off that training.
  • bobmcstuffbobmcstuff Posts: 9,168
    If you have no specific goals then just keep doing what you are doing, don't bog yourself down with structured training. You're obviously improving, the weight is coming down so if there comes a point next year where you want to focus you'll be in great shape to start fine tuning things.

    Since he's looking at indoor winter training it might be worth having some structure for that part, no? Can't imagine getting on the turbo and randomly spinning being especially useful/motivating.
  • 5858558585 Posts: 206
    Thanks for the inputs.
    As for setting goals, since I am not racing all I have done this year is try and increase 20 minute power and 5 minute power figures. It's gone well so far but I'm not expecting to get much more progress without more structure, or more volume. So really I was asking for experience on what is realistic to expect based on where I am just now, and how do you decide how much time is worthwhile spending on (quality) training?
    Eg I can set a target of getting to 4.5 W/kg but is that realistic and how many hours would I expect to need to get there?
    I realise it's all based on the individual but am interested in others experience or any method to estimate what might be achievable. Sounds like it's not easy to predict without keeping upping the milage and checking on progress.

    I've signed up for trainerroad and will follow a structured plan for the winter training, otherwise yes, I'll not even look at the turbo!

    For next year I'll try and get into some TTs so will look into setting some goals once I find a few events to sign up for.
  • 58585 wrote:
    I realise it's all based on the individual but am interested in others experience or any method to estimate what might be achievable. Sounds like it's not easy to predict without keeping upping the milage and checking on progress.
    I have seen gains in sustainable power from 5% to 100% amongst people we've worked with. And depending on the starting point, 5% might be a stunning gain, while the 100% might simply be a talented person that's just not trained before.

    That's the sort of range that really exists and is why it's impossible to answer with any level of confidence without prior training history or specific knowledge of the individual's pertinent physiological characteristics. I prefer to set no limits, but rather train well with the time you have and make sure you are enjoying it.

    For an individual that races/trains consistently through a season and does not take extended breaks, then a 10% variation is pretty typical.
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