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slimdog1
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The performance management chart is a nice tool but too many in my own cycling/racing circle pay too much attention to it and miss other, and more critical signs of fatigue, fitness, and form. Cyclist who upload all of their workouts to maintain their PMC shouldn't forget that listening to the body, proper amounts of sleep, weight, management of diet, resting HR, mood and motivation are all better indicators of fatigue and readiness. Also, nothing demonstrates improvement and rising fitness like executing FTP and Vo2 Max intervals and seeing the numbers rise with each repeated session from week to week. Too many riders drive themselves crazy chasing CTL, which is essentially an arbitrary number when one takes into account all the other contributing factors that lead to bike performance.
Toggle Commented Jun 1, 2017 on CTL Concerns at Joe Friel
Michael, Been at this a while and it's clear to me that terms like Base and Build cycles are relative to the athlete with little or no uniformity other than one seems to be defined as easy and the other defined as hard. I agree that mesocycles should be reserved for key periods of the season, allowing for less focused, less structured months of general fitness. Some call hiking, walking, running, weight lifting, XC or Bacountry skiing, and swimming Base--I call it a break from the focus of the bike.
Joe, Seems most get "active" recovery wrong and it's advisable to plan for "passive" recovery days. Plus, many need to rest the mind and recharge mentally for the next workout.
Since having children and turning 40, Ive found that time and recovery are more critical than ever. I made the decision to give up competitive racing the summer I hit 40. For the last 5 years I've adopted the "intensity" over "volume" approach to save time and maintain high end fitness. My controlled lactate threshold tests show that I still produce the same watts at threshold as I did back in my 30s when I was racing--except I'm lighter now! Back then I trained 10-15 hours a week. I now train 5-7 hours a week. I just do a lot more work at threshold and Vo2--lots of intervals most of the year. I would NEVER go back to flogging big weeks the way I did during my racing days. Intensity keeps things fresh and focused, and when it's time to do a 3-4 hour, you actually enjoy it, because you earned it with all those efforts. If you're going to Leadville, well, you better log the miles, but if you want to save time, stay strong, and still mix it up occasionally in a local race or with friends, prioritizing intensity is a great approach.
Toggle Commented Jan 3, 2017 on How Important Is Training Volume? at Joe Friel
In regards to cross-training: I spend less time on the bike now (3-4 days a week maximum) and more time in the gym and on my feet hiking and backcountry skiing. One tricky aspect of cross-training, as Joe mentions, is periodization. Transitioning back into cross-training can be difficult and often leads to soreness, and the realization that the body is imbalanced, out of sync, and not prepared for the activity of choice. I've struggle with this. Most cyclists do. Knowing when to take up short walks or runs, or light introductory days at the gym is critical for avoiding the most avoidable injury--the off-season variety. One thing that has helped me is keeping some very light, non-specific cross-training in my routine, even during the height of my cycling season. Just some short hikes, super light gym visits, and short swims (15 min.) really help me get back into the late fall and early winter "transition" to off-season cross-training. This has proven much more difficult and complicated in the past, when I simply did 5-6 days of bike from Feb. to October. Cycling is second to none when it come to aerobic fitness, but it doesn't do us any favors biomechanically. Just watch the cyclists at your next event walk around the parking before the event! Keeping just little balance seems to have helped, and not interfered with the bike fitness. As we age he have to keep one eye on specific "fitness" and the other on general "wellness". Not an easy balance to manage.
Toggle Commented Apr 12, 2016 on Cross Training and Performance at Joe Friel
Joe My own personal experience confirms your comments above. I no longer race bikes, but a focus on structure and intensity--mostly between 90-120 percent of FTP during key times of the year--has shown encouraging results. I actually hit 40 last summer, but posted some of my fastest times on climbs of 30-80 minutes. More intensity and less volume has also made fatigue and recovery MORE manageable, as well as diet. How I feel ride to ride, and how to plan my recovery is much simpler and predictable; fewer 3000-4000kj rides also means fewer calories needed to fuel recovery. It's working. Endurance athletes are stubborn though. We have this conversation frequently, but so many resist the idea of reduced time on the bike. Interesting.
Toggle Commented Jan 18, 2016 on How Should I Train? It Depends... at Joe Friel
Joe I think this is a great topic and I'm always interested in your latest publication. I've got 10 years to go before 50, but I plan on reading it anyway. Regarding ageing and cycling and endurance athletics, have you considered spending some time thinking and writing about that transition period of 35-45? As a competitive rider, I've certainly made some significant changes since I hit my middle 30s. Some are based on life and time, some based on how my body is changing. Personally, I think this phase of life is where endurance athletes start to get it wrong because the changes are so subtle, but the consequence of ignoring the changes are significant. A thesis question like: how do we bridge that gap between our late and early 30s and our 50s might be a good place to start. I know I've already started making important changes in how I train, to promote longevity in a sport I hope to pursue until the end.
Toggle Commented Feb 3, 2015 on What It Takes to be Fast After 50 at Joe Friel
Dear Joe, While the science may be shaky, the methodology is sound. Cyclists who lift weights in Nov-Jan, probably are spending less time on the bike. That's a good thing for 99% of us.
Toggle Commented Dec 6, 2014 on Should You Lift Weights? at Joe Friel
Joe, Sorry to hear about the crash, but glad to know you are recovering and getting back to life; hopefully that includes the bike at the appropriate time. The Training Bible has been invaluable and it continues to influence how I approach my riding/training/racing each season. The principles found in that book have had a significant impact on the last ten years of my life and I'm grateful for it. All the Best
Toggle Commented Apr 10, 2014 on Personal Update at Joe Friel
Hot Dog, Everyone is a little different, but based on observation I see far too many riders over the age of 50 spending too much time on the bike at recovery or endurance intensities. Disclosure: I'm 38 and perfectly prepared to admit that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. That said, many of my friends and family all have the same complaint, "Riding is getting harder and I'm getting slower." I'm not one to offer unsolicited advice, but I do offer tacit suggestions that my senior friends try mixing more structured intervals at high intensity. I'm not talking only about lactate threshold, I mean Vo2 and especially anaerobic efforts. Again, I'm not there yet, but the Masters racers I know who work those high intensity zones are still kicking ass. At the very least, it's worth a 6-8 week trial. Oh, and take days off. Recovery rides are usually poorly executed. The physical penalty for taking the day off is minimal and the mental advantage is maximal!
Toggle Commented Dec 19, 2013 on Hard-Easy Training at Joe Friel
Joe, Regarding training in Zone 1: why not just take the day off? Excluding races and long hard days resulting in high levels of acute fatigue, I take the day off. My recovery and performance have improved since I made the decision in the last two years to part with the "recovery ride." The reality is, that time is the single greatest hurdle to most athlete's training. Some have too much, some have too little. Spending precious hours "noodling" around town is not an efficient use of time, and there is a cumulative mental price to pay as well. Overtrainers need to get away from training for a day, and time strapped athlete's can't justify a "spin" at the expense of family, work, and other interests. Why not take a day away from training and think about something else while your body recovers; and save that precious time for focused workouts? Surely that is the smart choice. And why not apply this approach to amateurs AND professionals? I would be curious to see the results from training where athlete's spent more time in Zone 2 and 3, and very little dedicated time in Zone 1 (because they're relaxing on their sofas on those days). So many athlete's get active recovery wrong--amateurs and pros. The simplest way to insure recovery and get it right is to NOT train, right?
Toggle Commented Dec 10, 2013 on Hard-Easy Training at Joe Friel
Joe, I'm sold on intensity during the Base period, and I'm also convinced that volume can be added later, during the Build period, as races approach, without any compromise. Getting the right mix, at the right time, is always tricky. My question is: In order to prepare for road races, how much time should I commit to zone 5a within, say, 3-5 weeks? I know 5b is essential for competing in road races, but scheduling the correct amount of 5a, without compromising time at 5b, can be problematic.
Joe, A couple of experiences/observations on LCHF diet or Paleo Diet. Personally, I don't really apply to the discussion. I'm 38 years old, and while I have seen some changes both in performance and recovery, I have not witnessed any significant body changes in regards to muscle or fat. I have tried LCHF and I had mixed results. I'm a small rider, but muscular for my build--too muscular when I started road racing. I wanted to become a stronger rider in the mountains, so I started the Paleo Diet to shed some muscle and extra weight. It worked, and I've been riding a 2lbs per inch ever since. There was a price to pay, though--recovery! I did not recover as well on the LCHF diet. For me, it was a short term strategy to get leaner. Once I went back to a traditional diet (carbs) I started to ride stronger, recover better, and feel more enthusiastic about the bike. Plus, I stayed light with a moderate diet. I also have a friend--riding buddy--who is approaching his mid 50s and is totally committed to LCHF. He looks amazing, and is very explosive for his age--strong climber. But, when we head out for a few hours, he's always tired and fighting fatigue. He doesn't train excessively, but he's dogmatic when it come to the glycemic index. Again, he's benefited from LCHF because he's lean and mean, but what good does that do you if you can't recover from one ride to the next? My experience is that LCHF is a good temporary strategy, that should be slowly replaced with a moderate diet. Life is short, eat some pizza now and then. -Sam
Toggle Commented Aug 18, 2013 on Aging: My Race Weight at Joe Friel
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Aug 18, 2013