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Maximum efficiency in training?(29 posts)

Maximum efficiency in training?Dog
Jan 21, 2002 3:58 PM
I need to maximize my efficiency in training, focusing upon riding fast double centuries occasionally and pleasureable but fast centuries. Looking for some guidance on how to get the most bang for the buck in training. Let's say I have 10 hours per week to spend. Time for anything bike related counts, even wrenching, cleaning, travel, etc. Forget about periodization and peaking, as the schedual will be so haphazard and flexible that there is no way to seriously plan. How much time for each of the following would you recommend for "in season":

1. Long, steady distance
2. Intervals
3. Fast fixed gear
4. Tempo
5. Weights
6. Stretching
7. Wrenching
8. Travel for events
9. Anything else?


re: Maximum efficiency in training?tacoShoppe
Jan 21, 2002 8:10 PM
10 hours? forget it. u need to ride a double slow before you can ride a double fast, and you don't have enough time in one week to ride a double slow. not to mention the base you need before you can start doing intervals, etc.
re: Maximum efficiency in training?Jon Billheimer
Jan 21, 2002 8:17 PM
1. Let your LBS do your wrenching.
2. Eliminate travel as much as possible. Train from home and schedule nearby events.
3. Don't count stretching into your training time.
4. Do all your strength work on the bike. Maximize the rule of specificity.
5. Save 45% of your training time for a long ride on the weekend. One day for climbing repeats or other strength drills. One day for extended tempo or cruise intervals just below LT. Don't waste time doing super threshold or sprint intervals. The other three days do recovery rides, incorporating whatever skill work that appeals to you, e.g. ILT, fixed gear, spinups, whatever. Actually, ten hours a week is plenty for century training. Training for doubles might be something else again. What would someone like John Hughes say about that? In Cycling Past Fifty, Friel lays out a good minimalist century training plan based on these kinds of hours.
Doesn't Friel recommend......Len J
Jan 22, 2002 4:31 AM
that your longest aerobic ride should approximate the race distance you are training for? If so, how does this effect Doug's training goal?


John HughesDog
Jan 22, 2002 6:51 AM
Thanks. FYI, I posted in an ultra forum, and this is what John Hughes (who coached me a bit) had to say:


Good question! The keys to efficieny in training are:

1) Specificity: if you've only got a few hours a week, spend it riding your
bike, not doing other stuff like lifting weights. The only exception is that
if you can only free up 10 minutes a couple of days a week, you could do a
set of lunges, a set of step-ups and/or a set of single leg glutes. None of
these require ANY equipment, so you don't have to go to the gym.

2) Frequency: You can't just be a week-end warrior, i.e., ride hard Sat &
Sun, lose fitness for 5 days, and then try to get fit again. You need to
ride 4-5 days a week.

3) Intensity: But if you can only free up 45-60 minutes on week-days, then
ride hard. Training just below your lactate threshold is the most efficient
way to increase your aerobic capacity and power. You can do structured stuff
like intervals or unstructured stuff like hammering hills (well, not so easy
in Fresno). Try to get in 2-3 hard rides during the work-week (more and
you risk overtraining/injury).

4) Efficiency: Riding your fixed gear will improve your stroke and
strengthen the full set of pedaling muscles, so it's a more efficient
training tool. In the Jan UltraCycling, John Howard recommends using
PowerCranks for a similar reason.

5) Tempo: riding at 85-90% of your lactate threshold is the best way to
build endurance. You can't sustain that pace for 200 miles, but if you've
got limited time, doing a hard tempo ride on Sat (or Sun) is the best way to

6) Tailoring: as much as you can, try to train on terrain and in conditions
similar to the next double.

7) Diet: when we are training 15-20 hours a week, we're used to eating a
LOT. Scale back to a 10 hour a week diet! And pay attention to the quality
of what you eat and drink. See Ed Burke's article on recovery

8) Stretching: as you know, I strongly recommend stretching and core
strength work. Howard makes the same point in the Jan UltraCycling. But, if
you're really pressed for time, I'd cut way back on this and fit it in when
you can. You can't set aside 30 minutes. But maybe you can squeeze in a
couple of five minute breaks during the day. For example, if you're standing
in line at the grocery store, you can reach up overhead and stretch your
spine. . . and then stretch your quads (just don't kick the next customer!)
And then do a set of crunches before bed.

As far as wrenching, when I started doing ultra rides, Pete Penseyres told me
"You've either got time to ride your bike or clean your bike." I admit it,
the director of the UMCA has a DIRTY bike! After each ride I do a quick
inspection and fix anything that needs it, but I don't spend time cleaning
the bike. I don't lube the chain, I just replace it every 1500 miles, etc.

Hope this helps! I'd be happy to chat more off-line.

John Hughes
Jan 22, 2002 6:53 AM
I think this advice could apply to 90% of us here. Whaddya think?

Absolutly....Len J
Jan 22, 2002 7:47 AM
thatnks for posting it, it will now be a permanent part of my training log.

More from John Hughes...Dog
Jan 22, 2002 1:35 PM
A rider wrote:

"Having very young children and limited time, I try to get most of my miles in by commuting to work but I still need to get in that (weekly) long endurance ride. My question is this, how long does the endurance ride really need to be (to ride a fast double) if ridden in hilly terrain at
high intensity?"

It really depends on how much you're willing to suffer DURING the double. To a certain extent, training is accepting current pain now to reduce future pain. I once did the Davis Double with a friend who figured, since it was a double century, he'd train by riding to work & back twice!

Ideally, you'd do a long ride = 2/3 of the duration of the goal event. So, if you planned to do a double that would take 12 hours, you'd build up to an 8 hour training ride. But that's probably not feasible.

Can you juggle your schedule so that you can do a long training ride every OTHER week? And then on the off weeks do a 2-3 hour tempo ride — as fast as you can go for that duration?

It's all about balance.IAM
Jan 21, 2002 11:00 PM
If I'm correct you're worried about having less time to train due to the little one on the way which is very likely. However
if you manage your time well you might be surprised how much time you'll have. Make the most of the time you have at home being a good dad/husband, cleaning, doing laundry, changing daipers etc. And don't overlook the value of saying "honey go out with your friends I'll look after junior", these things have a way of getting repaid. Also don't forget babies take naps and usually go to bed very early.

Good luck and make the most of the time you get.
word. nmJs Haiku Shop
Jan 22, 2002 8:43 AM
re: Maximum efficiency in training?tacoShoppe
Jan 21, 2002 11:03 PM
10 hours? forget it. u need to ride a double slow before you can ride a double fast, and you don't have enough time in one week to ride a double slow. not to mention the base you need before you can start doing intervals, etc.
another takejp2
Jan 22, 2002 7:16 AM

You have probably already heard all of this before, but here goes...

Right now you are probably focused on still wanting to ride fast and competing. Don't worry reality will soon set in(in a very positive way).

As an example, my son was born just over a year ago, and i still raced this last season, though limiting it to mostly tt's. Maybe 15 total events for the year. I have found that the time I spend away from my son is better spent with my son. Travel time to an event hardly seems worthwhile. This year, I will not compete in "any" events. I can see all the changes going on with the little one, and can watch him grow and discover new things. It doesn't take much paternal instinct to realize this. I personally feel that this year will be a critical year to spend with him.

That said, maybe, maybe not, you could train during your lunch hour(s). It is a little bit of a hassle, but it leaves more time for the kid and wife.

Soon you may have a new perspective on things. Time will tell. That first sound you hear as your child is born is priceless.
pretty much agreeDog
Jan 22, 2002 7:50 AM
Yes, I'm looking at doing very few events. I just want to stay in respectable shape so I might be able to work one in now and then, particularly if it's going to a place where my wife would enjoy going, too, like Santa Rosa. Thanks.

Interesting. Now you're talking about training at the levelbill
Jan 22, 2002 7:33 AM
of mere mortals. This is about what I spend, even in the summer, and, I'll say this for it, you will lose an edge, and the Cat 2 and 3 guys are going to scream up hills faster than you, but you'd be surprised at what you can accomplish. With training, as with so many things, I firmly believe that, after a point, returns diminish rather markedly. Yeah, you're not going to be at the top of your game, but that last 10% of ability that you spent 50% of your training time developing is maybe a small price to pay.
I try to ride about four times per week. Sometimes I get in only three. I go out in the a.m.'s for solo rides of about 20 miles, and I keep my HR at about 75-80% of max, with intervals up to about 90%. I virtually always do intervals of some sort. I vary times and intensities. Sometimes I focus more on intervals every x period of time; sometimes I just attack every hill. I don't bother with recovery rides. I just sleep a little later; you can afford sacrificing the little bit of extra benefit you get. I admit, I'm not entirely convinced that there is much of any benefit from a slow recovery ride. Given that few of us really have the discipline to do them right, I think you're better off staying in bed, I really do. I try to go on at least one long ride on the weekends, often enough some kind of club ride (I don't belong anywhere; there a couple of groups that don't mind crashers, which is kind of how I managed my way through high school, but that's another story). As you know, with groups the pace is a bit out of your control, so this is sort of my tempo/endurance ride. I have found that I can keep pace with guys that spend a lot more time riding than I. I haven't been doing this all that long, and I can pretty much hang with a lot of guys, including Cat 5's and even some 4's (the 3's are clearly out of my league). I'm not beating them, but they're not really beating me, either, and I'm having a good time and my wife isn't that mad. About this.
I find your coach's advice very interesting, because I think it more or less jives with what I've been doing.
Personal questionscottfree
Jan 22, 2002 7:42 AM
so feel free to ignore if it's too much so.

Is this a deal you've worked out with your wife (I recall the 'issues' you guys had, even pre-baby) or is this just the amount of time you figure you'll have when daddyhood arrives?

I imagine there's a tale behind this question.
Why don't you commute? Don't say no, there has got to be aMB1
Jan 22, 2002 7:48 AM
way you can. Plan right and all of a sudden you are getting another 10+ hours per week of riding. Yea, I know you are rich yuppie scum (so are we) but don't drive so much. Think about how long it takes to drive to a ride-you could be riding. Pete Penseyers was training by commuting when he set RAM on fire.

What does it matter anyway, your life is about to completly change in ways you can't anticipate daddy. Rethink your riding, enjoy your family and cherish every chance you get to ride. Get rid of those competitive-have to improve-bike riding instincts for now. You can always pick it up again in 15 years. Seems to be working for us.
I wish I couldDog
Jan 22, 2002 8:09 AM
I live 6 miles from the office. I'd barely get warmed up. Frequently, too, I unexpectedly have to meet with clients out of the office. I have to have a car available. It would not be very time efficient, by the time I get dressed for riding and then switch each time.

Yes, I'm laying off competition; this is pretty much a maintenance program. Thanks.

Of course you can.MB1
Jan 22, 2002 8:45 AM
Drive to work on Monday take a weeks worth of work & your riding stuff with you. Ride home Monday night-celebrate, do a few extra miles. Ride to work on Tuesday-go the short way what the heck don't want to get sweaty. If something comes up your car is at work. If you like wear a pack to carry clothing with you each way.

Repeat as desired untill you drive the car home Friday after work. I'm sure you have a second and even third car at home. Not to mention several weeks worth of clothing in the closet.

I did this for years, it was the only way I got any miles in at all.

Come on Dog, you are no dummy, you can make it work. Just keep wiggling until you figure out a way to make everything work.
My $.02....DINOSAUR
Jan 22, 2002 9:24 AM
First a small disclaimer, I'm probably not the best source for training methods, my strong background is in running.

Ten hours a week is not a lot to work with for starters. I presume this includes pre and post ride time? I have to tack on another 30-45 min for getting dressed, cleaning up the bike after the ride, showering etc. When I did the "W" thing for a living, I found that I needed a minimum of a hour and a half a day, plus at least two long rides a week of 60-70 miles. Ten hours is averaging 1:40min a day, six days a week. Work on intensity, short fast rides, but (as you know) you still need those LSD rides if you want to do century riding.

I would just concentrate on riding my bike, as previously mentioned, leave the wrenching to your LBS.

If you want to do upper body work (this sounds stupid) just crank out some high rep push-ups a couple of times a day.

The important thing is you don't want to stop cycling. I ran into a problem with child care when we had our daughter 15 years ago. I stopped completely and didn't ride for about eight years. When I came back it was worse than starting from scratch as my mind kept reminding me that cycling should not be that difficult.

As someone else said, you're a smart guy, you can do this.
This probably is going to be a period where you are going to have to cut back on your miles for awhile.

Sounds like you need motivation more than training ideas..
Q for DinosaurtempeteKerouak
Jan 22, 2002 10:35 AM
Did you ever suffer from hip-joint tendinitis (I suppose that it is what I have; sharp pain at the femur/hip bone joint, feels external more than internal).

I get the pain after one hour of running or walking. Sometimes after a few strides in uneven terrain. No pain cycling yet...

What do you do about it? I take Iboprufen, but I hate the idea that I need a medication to continue training...
Sounds like that ole sciatic nerve!guido
Jan 22, 2002 2:07 PM
Check it out on WEB MD or other medical site. That's the big trunk nerve that goes from the spine down each leg. I pulled or crushed mine last year. It felt like hip joint tendonitis, but went down my leg and made my toes tingle. Healed up in about three weeks. I lived on ibuprofen. It took away the pain and relaxed the surrounding muscles. Ride as long as it doesn't hurt, but I sure wouldn't have run on mine.
Sounds like that ole sciatic nerve!tempeteKerouak
Jan 23, 2002 7:24 AM
Well, the pain is not at the back, in the higher buttocks. No.

It's really a sharp needle point pain on the side exactly at the head of the femur bone. Localised, not radiating anywhere. No more running. Sheeet! I love running too.
Upper glut's is where you'll feel a sciatic nerve pain. -NMTig
Jan 23, 2002 7:52 AM
Hip pointer?DINOSAUR
Jan 22, 2002 5:26 PM
Sounds like (in laymans terms) a hip pointer. Nope, never had that injury. Mine were all related to my achilles tendons, which finally did me in... my only suggestion is if it hurts, don't do it...that's why I quit running and came back to cycling, easier on the old body....eventually anyone who runs long distance ends up getting injured sooner or later.. running is hard on your the cra* out it..... wish I could still run though... if it still hurts see a Doc.... that was my big mistake...I waited too late... what do runners argue about on their forums? certainly not Campy vs Shimano..
Nike vs New Balance???
Thanks guys. Ibuprofen it is...tempeteKerouak
Jan 23, 2002 7:19 AM
I'll be off running for a while.
Luckily it has snowed so cross-country sky is now possible.
I'll keep everything that don't hurt; gym cross trainer, musculation and ski, and I'll increase the roller time. Simple re-adjustment... And ibuprofen three times a day 400mg after meals. So says the doc too.

And New Balance IS much better than Nike, so obvious!

Ha ha Thanks again.
Thanks guys. Ibuprofen it is...DINOSAUR
Jan 23, 2002 9:08 AM
It's hard to tell exactly what you are suffering from, it could be a number on things such as your piriform muscle.

scroll down page to hip/back injures.

Sounds like you are in stage 4 of an injury, which means pain prevents you from running. At this point you should see a sports medicine specialist, someone who can diagnose your injury, provide treatment (which usually involves rest, strectching and medication). The main word we hate to see is REST, but injury comes with running, it can be treated, learn what caused it and how to deal with it. A good stretching routine might be the answer...
Now I got it!!tempeteKerouak
Jan 23, 2002 10:30 AM
There it is!

Pain at the side of the hip

Pain in the side of your hip, usually at the joint of your hip and thigh but sometimes a bit higher toward the hip bone.

Likely causes:
A basic overuse injury. You've inflamed the fascia in your hips, the flexible fibers in the joint. The specific reasons for this pain vary for different runners. The culprit may be weak back muscles, the type of surface on which you run, the shoes you wear, or the length of your running stride. One of the remedies below will likely work for you, but it's difficult to predict which it will be. However, if you have pain in only one of your hips, you probably have either an uneven pelvis or unequal leg lengths. See the section above on lower back pain for details on treating this.

George Sheehan...DINOSAUR
Jan 23, 2002 4:11 PM
I was scrolling around this AM looking for a sports medicine site. I found a couple, then just entered "Running Injuries" in my search engine and this one appeared about halfway down the page. Dr. George Sheenan was the author of this site. He died several years ago from cancer. He was a running guru from the 70's during the big running boom (you probably know this stuff already) he had written several books and was a frequent contributor to Runners World magazine. He was noted for being sort of a outspoken old cus and I remember one of his sayings "You become you own hero" as to what the experience of running does to a person.

Sometimes when I'm out there feezing my a** off in the dead of winter I'm kind of my own little hero.

I hope you are on the mend and continue running, I wish I could run again, I'd probably be too tired to mess around with forums such as this after a run, proabably a nice cold beer and a half hour in the hot tub sounds better...

And to the original poster....what happened to your running program?
You could run back and forth to work and cycle an hour and a half a day or would work...
Rest and dietpeloton
Jan 22, 2002 3:31 PM

I would watch my diet and rest just as much as I would worry about training with your new schedule. I know it may sound hard to believe, but overtraining is a concern for individuals not unlike yourself in situations like you describe. Lots of things going on in life, work, family, a new kid keeping you up all night, and trying to get in 10 hours of good training a week. All these things are stressors to the body, and must be recovered from. Life's stresses even with a reduced schedule for you can be enough to wear you down into an overtrained state. It is avoidable though, and I'm sure that you are good at resting from your experience with ultra-distance riding. Just don't let the recovery part slip even with this new schedule. It's easy to think that just because bike training is reduced that recovery is less important, but it's not so. Diet will also be key for your success. I'm sure you are used to eating a lot of food from your former training load, and caloric intake will need to be watched more carefully now. The types of foods you eat will also be important. Make sure they are whole, nutrient rich food sources. With less calories, you can waste less on empty food choices. I know this is pretty simple stuff, but it's probably holding more people here back than the quality of their training. Train well, but make sure to eat and recover well too.

You might want to check out some mountain biker's training plans. Chris Sheppard had a training plan based on around 12 hours per week he adopted last season due to injury, and he still competed well at the NCS series. John Tomac's training schedule from the year he started to concentrate on downhill might be good as well. He still raced XC that year, but wanted to keep his training for such under 12 hours per week because he was afraid more would dull his fast twitch muscle fibers for downhill. He wasn't as fast in XC as before, but he was certainly very fit. There is a copy of Sheppard's training plan in the Oct. 2001 issue of Mountain bike. It's pretty straightforward, but I think that it is pretty sound and could be applied to your goals as well.

You might also want to check out ways of maximizing your time. Doing stretches at your desk at work, making a few push-ups and some light ab and back work part of your morning ritual. There's lots of ways to get some work in without wasting much time.