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endurance training query(15 posts)

endurance training querysorghum
Dec 12, 2001 6:38 PM
I am in my 3rd week of base training as per plan in joe Friel - Cyclists training bible and I am wondering what the point of all the short endurance rides throughout the base period are for. How does an endurance ride of 1 hr do anything? Why isn't it better to just ride 4 - 5 hrs once a week instead of 1 hr 3 times? My point is, if you want to get faster you train faster, so if you want more endurance why not just ride longer?
re: endurance training querymclements
Dec 12, 2001 8:19 PM
It's true that if you want more endurance you must do long rides. I get more benefit from a single 5 hour ride than from 3 separate 2 hour rides. But you still need "short" 1-2 hour rides during the week. These short rides are in addition to the long ride. They have to be in addition (not in replacement) because if you ride only on the weekends, then you will lose some of what you've gained due to the long (6 day) rest intervals between your rides.

So what works for me is doing a few 2 hour rides during the week. Usually I do three such rides, M-W-F; this keeps the body in shape. Then an epic (4-7 hour) ride once every weekend. I should mention that my rides include lots of hill climbing -- over 2,500' of climb with > 20% grades on the 2 hour ride, even more on the epic ride. The total is between 150 and 200 miles per week with lots of hill climbing, alternating short / long rides, and rest days in between the rides.

If you're only in the 3rd week of base training, it may be a bit soon for 5 hour rides. I suppose it depends on what kind of physical condition you were in when you started. If I were starting from "scratch" it would take me a couple months of doing 1-2 hour rides on a regular basis before I'd be in shape for doing century rides every weekend. I suppose it also depends on your age. Back when I was in my early 20s (let's just say more than a decade ago), it would only take me a few weeks instead of a couple months.

Final point: all miles are _not_ created equal! Don't do the easy flat rides just to rack up high mileage. It's better to do more hill climbing even if it means fewer total miles. Ride up the longest, steepest hills you can find and alternate that workout with spinning on the flats.

Best of luck. BTW, are you training for some particular ride?
re: endurance training querysorghum
Dec 13, 2001 5:45 PM
good points. I wasn't actually thinking of not riding at all during the week, just going hard on tues. and thurs. and then long on Sat. and Sun. I will still do all the workouts and weekly hours of the Friel plan except condense the endurance riding into sat/sunday. this is largely due to limited time during week ( basketball once a week, play in a band, etc....) Next year will be my first year of racing and riding with a club so my goals basically consist of not sucking too much and by the end of the season finishing in the front group at races ( no expectation of winning - I have no idea what to expect).
Allervite makes similar point below but says you will lose endurance if you go 6 days with no ENDURANCE training. Is this true? wouldn't hard on T and TH and hard and semi-long on sat. maintain some sort of endurance or are you saying only endurance training builds endurance?
Thanks.
re: endurance training queryallervite
Dec 13, 2001 10:15 AM
For the most part I agree with Mclements.
For sure all those 1-2 hour rides are to keep you consistant. One 5 hour ride a week would not be enough. You would loose a lot of what you gained after a weeks time of no endurance training. Think of it this way, does one 24 hour ride = a months worth of training. Or would it be better to ride a few times each week.
re: endurance training querysorghum
Dec 13, 2001 5:49 PM
"You would loose a lot of what you gained after a weeks time of no endurance training."

I referenced this above so i wont re-ask but can you explain?

thanks.
Explanationallervite
Dec 13, 2001 7:26 PM
You are absolutely correct that your hard days on Tue and Thu will improve your endurance. But those hard days will not train you for endurance as well as an endurance workout.

Basicly, we all can only do so much training in a week. We cannot completely stress endurance, strength, speed, muscular endurance, and speed endurance at the same time. Therefore, the brilliance of periodization: Pinpoint your strengths and your weaknesses, build a strong endurance base, start working on your weaknesses and gradually shift your focus to your strengths as the races approach.

What you are doing now will make you faster and you might even win a race. However, we build our aerobic endurance base and then put it in the bank. As we race and shift our efforts to going very fast for a few hours, we gradually loose our base. The more endurance you start the season with the more you can focus on really hard workouts and a long successful season.

Experienced riders are always criticising new riders for going to hard on their easy days and too easy on their hard days. The same can be said for your periodization. You are supposed to be focusing on long aerobic rides right now.
If you are doing more hard rides than long rides, you will not be able to ride as long and as often as you should. An interval session during your endurance training is not a bad idea, but going fast should not be your focus so early on.

It took me a long time and a lot of mediocre seasons to learn this. The first season I got it right was amazing. I was so much faster I couldn't believe it. I did not train more just smarter. My club has some very fast riders and I went from mid pack fodder to one of the strongest riders. This is where a coach is so valuable. I read all the books and talked to the right people, but I was just barely missing the point.
makes sense. thank you. (nm)sorghum
Dec 14, 2001 3:43 AM
Explanationhrv
Dec 14, 2001 8:58 AM
allervite: how much of that season where you got it right can be attributed to the cumulative effects of prior years training? As a rookie I'd like to hope that my efforts will make me stronger each successive year. Do you feel that you would have been at the front of the pack your first year if you trained right?

Thanks,
hrv
Explanationallervite
Dec 14, 2001 10:52 PM
Boy! that depends on which pack you are talking about. Endurance athletes definately get better with time, but the season I got it right was a big jump. One I wasn't sure if I could even make. With the right training and some talent you should be able to take the Cat 4 and 5's on a ride for their money. Keep in mind, the strongest rider does not always win.
P.S.allervite
Dec 13, 2001 10:27 AM
To get faster, you train faster yes. To get more endurance, you ride farther and more often. If you were worried about nothing but endurance, you would gradually increase your miles and your riding frequency. As you start your build phases, your endurance will suffer, but not much.
expanded version of questionsorghum
Dec 13, 2001 5:59 PM
I guess i should explain - In nearly every single week of the training program in Friel's book on wendsday you ride E2 - endurance ride - relativly short. I am proposing skipping just this ride and adding it to sundays ride. basically giving me monday and wendsday off to do the 6 million other things I would like to accomplish.
I would still be riding T-Th-F-S-SU .
One less short day and the long day longer.
What difference do you think this will make on my endurance?
expanded version of questionJon
Dec 13, 2001 6:38 PM
What you propose is doable and okay. To improve you do need to be riding at least four days
per week. Doing any less will result in either maintenance or slight detraining, particularly
with respect to the endurance aspect of your fitness. The reason consistent riding is recommended
for Prep and Base periods is to gradually condition your body for increasing stresses to come, to
prevent detraining, to build blood plasma volume and heart stroke volume, boost the body's
aerobic enzyme production, etc. Then in the later, more intense periods you use easy or off days
to recover from the very intense racelike efforts and training. Regardless, life forces us to be
flexible and go with the time resources available. Your program will work fine. Be sure you build
the length of your weekend ride up gradually.
expanded version of questionallervite
Dec 13, 2001 7:32 PM
Your program will work, but you will not end up with as much endurance as you would if you kept the short day. Will you loose a race because of it? Probably not.
Training: The yin and the yang...Kyle
Dec 14, 2001 9:01 AM
Training necessarily affects your body in two ways: The anabolic (muscle building) and catabolic (muscle destroying.)

Stress (in all its forms) is bad for you, and your body knows that. So when you stress it training (causing tiny tears in your muscles, depression of the immune system, free radical damage, joint damage, etc.) your body attempts to adapt itself so that a similar training session in the future will be comfortably within its abilities and therefore no more damage will be caused.

The rub is that the body has a limited ability to adapt to any given given stressor. For instance, if you like to go barefoot in the summer but come spring, your feet are a little tender from 6 months in your snow clogs, what do you do? Plan A: Beat them with the claw end of a hammer for an hour. I mean, with that kind of gonzo intensity, your feet would have to be tougher the next day, right? Or wimpy old Plan B: Go out and walk barefoot on the sidewalk for a few hundred yards, then the next day do the same thing, but go a bit farther.

One of the greatest (and most difficult to apply) secrets to training is creating JUST ENOUGH stress to stimulate a maximal adaptation (Interesting aside: A friend of mine who used to be on the US Biathalon Team had his urine regularly tested to try to guage this point.) After that optimal point, you are just tearing down muscle that can't be repaired in your rest period. And at some level of effort beyond that optimal point, the (often cumulative) catabolic effects of your training exceed the anabolic--you actually get weaker (which is why most knowlegable coaches will tell you it's better to err on the side of undertraining than overtraining.)

So the point Friel is making with his schedule (if I can put words in his mouth) is that for any given training volume (which he assumes you set based on your fitness level) the frequency he suggests will maximize anabolic effects and minimize catabolic effects.

Having said all that--is the difference going to be very significant come race season? Nah...

NOTE: To any of you about to pounce: Knowing that the exact role of muscle damage in adaptation is a fairly hotly debated subject, I kept this post fairly general in order to avoid another long micro-cellular debate. One of those a month is probably all the board can handle...
Nicely put, Maestro! (nm)Jon
Dec 14, 2001 9:42 AM