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What's a good definition / strategy for peaking?(5 posts)

What's a good definition / strategy for peaking?hrv
Feb 6, 2002 8:55 AM
Ok, I caved in -- I am interested in learning about peaking for events. Have seen it mentioned too much to ignore it. Here's my very basic understanding of it:

1. Peaking for a race means you will possibly be overtrained by the time the race is over. This will require time off and a gradual building up again rather than just maintaining.

2. Say you have 20 races on your calendar (alot in my mind for a beginner). You choose which ones are the most important (district championship at stake, whatever) and call these the 'A' races. You will train to peak for these. As a beginner these can't be scheduled too close together. Then you designate some of these as 'B' races where you sort of do a 'mini-peak' but you are not overtrained when you are done. The last level is 'C' races where you just fit the race into your training schedule , maybe replacing a group ride, etc. and you can train as usual the next day. These would probably be your early season races.

Do I get it at all, or if not what am I missing? Even as I write the above it's still pretty vague. Do most people peak for a time period, say June - July? Does that mean in most of the races leading up to that you must not go too hard, which for you might mean settling for 6th place and for me might mean settling for last? I still believe that there is no way I'll be able to nail this concept down this first season but I thought I should start thinking about it now.

Also, I do plan to get The Training Bible, although going into their online forum the stuff seems almost too analytical.

Thanks for being patient with my babble,
ps -- Can you explain concept of tapering too? (nm)hrv
Feb 6, 2002 9:52 AM
Feb 7, 2002 3:16 PM
This is a huge subject, and I could go on and on as most people who read this board know, but I won't.

Peaking is tricky. The longer you build to peak the higher it will be. For younger riders, each peak can and should be progressively stronger. When you actually hit a peak correctly, you will know it. You feel like superman. You can go full throttle, recover and do it again and again.

Peaking is essentially raising all of your systems (respritory, cardio vascular, muscoskeletal) to a fever pitch that you cannot maintain for too long.

You are not in an overtrained state, but you are hovering just over it. This is where the tapering comes in. I have ruined a lot of peaks by not tapering enough. It is counterintuitive to not train so much when you are feeling so good.

A good training regimen follows the principle of progressive resistance. In endurance sports we go from a high volume low intensity to a low voulme high intensity plan. We are always waging this war between endurance and speed. You have to scrifice one for the other. If you are riding 6 hours a day, you cannot do blistering intervals 6 days a week.

During peak, you are going as hard as you can during your workouts and resting as much as possible in between them. If you don't rest enough, you enter the land of the overtrained. If you peak correctly, you gradually loose endurance until you must give up the intensity and start working on the endurance again.
Does it make sense for a rookie to discuss peaking?hrv
Feb 8, 2002 9:49 AM
Appreciate your thorough response and it has given me some things to think about. From your explanation, I might be in a mini-peak right now. Uh-oh!

As a rookie, I have no idea of what races to peak for. Obviously I'm not trying to place in the State Championships. I'm just going to be trying to find myself as a racer this season, and see if I like racing or not. But I have a time trial coming up in two weeks and a road race in three. Even though I know these early season events should be just part of the training program I didn't want to be in such an untrained state that I had to do things like sit up to catch my breath during the time trial. So honestly I feel like I am peaking for these events -- heck they're the first events of my racing life, how could I not go in prepared?

From what you have said if I peak now I will be in big trouble in June since my aerobic-base-bank-account will be overdrawn by then. Maybe I'll just pick about 5 races this year and spread them out enough so I'll have time to peak/recover for each one. That way I'll get a taste of racing without blowing up on a regular basis. Does this approach sound reasonable (too easy, will not learn enough, etc.)?

I'll shutup now and get to riding!
Thanks again,
Feb 8, 2002 10:30 AM
Trying to peak for two races in a season is as much as you would want to try for. Peaking for five requires a lot of residual fitness that we non Euro Pro's do not have.

Pick one for early summer and build toward that. You can race other events before then, and I recommend that you do and that you race them hard. When these other events are approaching do a hard workout no more than three days before your event. The next two days ride very easy for about an hour with a few hard short jumps. This should rest you enough to handle your events. Some might call that a many peak, but it is just active rest before an event. The thing to remember is that you are going to keep getting faster with each coming event, and when you peak, you'll be faster than you have ever been.

If you tried to peak 5 times in one season you would never put enough gas in either the aerobic or anaerobic tank to do any good. You would be flat all season, and probably quit in frustration.