The foundations for successful riding
8 weeks ago a reasonable ride for me would be 40km at about 23kph avg. I wouldn't be destroyed at the end but it would be near the "I've had enough" level. I just spent the last 8 weeks following Carmichaels Time crunched plan (Novice Century plan), riding primarily on the trainer doing low volume (6 hrs a week) mix of intervals and endurance rides. Mid-week intervals were aimed at either pushing or pulling my FTP up (sweet spot, threshold, over-unders and power intervals) mixed with longer endurance rides at the weekend. Over the 8 weeks I saw an 11% rise in FTP to 217w (Take absolute values with a pinch of salt as I use trainerroad virtualpower... but the relative change should be reasonably accurate).
Today after a week of rest to get my stress balance +ve I just completed my first ever metric century ride in just under 4 hrs (25.9 avg). It was challenging in the last 10km but that was more due to poor hydration than anything I think. I'm chuffed though that the interval work paid dividends. I'm having 3-4 weeks of easy-ish riding then hitting the intervals again to raise my FTP. It's addictive
In my opinion for newcomers to structured training you can't really go wrong with the combo of trainerroad + time crunched + sufferfest vids (I swap some of the intervals out for these vids for staying sane on the trainer).
I expect gains will be harder to come by later and I'll need to immerse myself more in training theory but for a starting point it definitely gets results. Just follow the plan. It is hard though ... and some intervals make you want to wretch
I don't understand how average speeds on a ride can be used as a comparison tool (not knocking you, Sloth, just a general question)? Surely the terrain and weather conditions are different on most rides, even if the distance is the same, so I would think it hard to compare and therefore not accurate.
If you're doing the same rides, then you will know what your average speed is on each of those rides from previous attempts. Well that's how it was for me.
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Hi Ross, you're right. I don't use avg speed for a direct comparison. I monitor my improvement or reaction to training purely through measuring my FTP by periodically doing an FTP test protocol on the trainer. The improved FTP results in improvements in avg speed but I wouldn't use speed as a direct measure of improvement - too many variables as you point out. I just threw it out there as its a metric that is easily related to.
Good to hear of your success Sloth. I'm about to embark on the TCTP this week, New Competitor plan for me. I had my first year racing last year and had some success but I want more and being self employed and spending far too much time working the time crunched plan looks like it will suit my needs. Time will tell.
Let us know how you get on. I'm doing an FTP "accelerator" plan after my endurance/recovery block then i will probably come back to the TCTP and was thinking the new competitor plan ...
I went out last night and did the 2 x 8minute time trials to establish my base HR for the intervals (173bpm) and planned the first two weeks training. I'll have to put that on hold for a couple of weeks with the TDU in Adalaide and a couple of 100klm+ charity rides I'll be riding way too much to fit it in.
What struck me was how much I'll have to back off for those first two weeks, they look real easy compared to what I'm doing now. The program does ramp up a bit after that and a mate of mine who did this last year tells me i will grow to hate power intervals. It worked for him so I'm hoping to see similar results. Time will tell.
Training with heart rate can be a little more difficult to establish a baseline, because of the inherent variability in heart rate (how much you ate, how much you slept, how much alcohol you consumed recently, the position of the moon etc etc)...I would ensure that you do a few sessions to average and establish your baseline so that you can pitch your intervals at the right level...
Agreed. A power meter is on the wish list, just don't tell my missus . The HR during the test I did was pretty much what I expected based on readings over a long period of time including some hard efforts racing.
Sorry for the late reply - life got in the way of cycling this month.
I'm doing the novice century plan. Basically each week contains 2-3 weekday workouts and 1-2 weekend rides that typically involve intervals ranging from slightly below my FTP up to short, all-out efforts. It is essentially a mix of longer endurance rides (at the weekend), steady state threshold rides, over-unders and what he calls steady effort power intervals. All designed to either push or pull up FTP.
The 11 weeks looked like this:
Average Volume Per Week 5.66 hours
Average Intensity Factor 77.66
I banged out a metric century in early Jan which went pretty well so I'd say that I saw "real-world" benefits other than just a change in FTP. Interestingly I started on intervals last week again after a rest period and man did I struggle to hit the power numbers I was hitting at the end of the program. To be fair he does warn that the program is aimed at getting you to a good (relative for you) level a couple of times a year but those gains are lost. I'll probably need to retest FTP if I'm consistently struggling to hit the prescribed intervals (I've been mixing in some running so it may account for the fatigue). The downside of this approach is you can only do two or maybe three of these build periods a year .... but as I don't have the luxury of high volume its probably the best approach for me.
I use an online service (trainerroad) which allows me to use my kurt trainer and my mac like a computrainer - so essentially my interval sessions are really just following the powerprofile trainerroad specifies for my FTP (although to prevent boredom I do substitute some sessions for a sufferfest vid now and again). Trainerroad have the Carmichael plans on their site so I just followed. Pretty straightforward and not too much thinking. I realise I have a lot to learn with training with power and at the moment I'm at the level where I can get decent gains by blindly following "off the peg" plans. I expect as I improve I'll need to think about being more specific but this works for now.
I expected this comment when I started the thread
Unfortunate association, but I don't think it devalues the basics of the plan he presents. I'd be surprised if there is a next edition now he's tainted
Into week 3 of the plan at the moment. I'm finding it hard to maintain the correct HR in some of the narrow bands expected ie 160-164bpm. I get to 164 and ease up slightly and it drops too low, put in a tad more effort and it goes too high, although i think I'm sticking to the principles of what I should be aiming for. I think it's difficult maintaining it die to undulations and gusty winds on my usual training route.
I've had to drop one or two of my usual rides with mates so I can fit the TCC plan into my schedule which is a pity, the plus side is it's giving me some motivation to stick with it and make sure I get out on the prescribed day(s) when I could be home watching MKR on the TV.
Started on power intervals last night, they are fun, NOT
Drugs only make recovery faster, and gains stronger... they don't change the laws of human biology. The plan is still going to be solid... you just can't expect to win the TdF using it without some help.
I'm not surprised ... and yet I am also not surprised that Carmichael would add something like that in there.
Much easier going by power - TrainerRoad with "virtual power" seems to work fine and is cheap
I found TTCC to be of extremely limited use, with poor results. It really sucked the enjoyment out of my sessions on the bike and gave me worse results than my usual plan, which is based on Mark Fenner's 100km mtb endurance race program, and is more in the Joe Friel school of periodization.
Personally, I think it belongs in the same section as the rest of The Armstrong Club books, in Fiction.
If anybody wants mine, it's theirs for the price of postage, or I can hand it to you in Sydney's CBD. PM me. Otherwise, I think I'll toss it in with the paper recycling.
I'll reserve judgement until I've finished the plan TG but I reckon I was getting better results previously with my usual rides and group training stuff. It has helped in as much as it's kept me motivated to get out for every session and put in the hard yards but with one of my mates now kicking my butt in club races that motivation is there anyway without the plan.
I'll go back to chasing faster riders 2/3 times a week, that seemed to be giving me better results.
I think any plan is better than just riding around racking up kms, but this one seems a bit gimmicky, a bit like the lose 10kgs in 5 weeks diet books you see in the shops.
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