Thursday, December 07, 2006

November wrap-up, December outlook

So we are moving closer and closer to Christmas. Anyone feeling the stress yet?

November ended up being a fairly successful month, all things considered. Despite losing about 1 week due to illness early in the month, I managed to get in 3 weeks of good volume and some fairly decent interval sessions. The only thing that I logged in the "con" column in November was the lack of intervals. I didn't manage to complete the planned amount of intervals, but being so early in the season - I'm not panicking.

I'm done with the first week of December already, and things are going excellent. December and January are critical months in my season prep and staying healthy becomes more important than ever. Both months will be high volume with about 4 interval sessions a week. I have planned 2 I-3 sessions, 1 I-4 distance session and 1 I-5 session per week for the month of December. The rest of the training is 2-5 hour rides, mostly done in the I-1 and I-2 zones.

I have, as always, 1 mandatory rest day per week, with an additional rest day that I will take, if I feel excessively run-down. Towards the end of December I have about 3 additional rest / recovery days planned, to let my body absorb the training.

One positive "surprise" this year is that I'm recovering much faster than last year. This has allowed me to increase volume effectively.

As always, happy training everyone!

14 Comments:

Blogger Surly Drew said...

Hi Mags,

Since I'm not familiar with your intensity ratings for your different zones (1-5), do you go by HR, Wattage, perceived exertion, or a mixture of some or all?

Drew

15:21  
Blogger mags said...

Drew,

Take a look - http://roadrace1.blogspot.com/2006/09/training-zones-explained.html

16:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will do, thanks.

Drew

10:37  
Blogger Tom Stormcrowe said...

Glad Yule, Mags!

Did I get that right?

21:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mags,

How often do you do a field test to recalibrate your zones? Not having access to measure VO2 and lactate levels I train by HR ranges and wattage (on my trainer) and field test every 8 weeks or so to keep track of progress or lack there of.

I'd be interested in how it's handled at your level, and how much of your training is designed by the team and how much is designed by you.

Cheers,

Drew

08:09  
Blogger mags said...

God Jul, Tom!

Drew - interesting topic. It's a bit hard to address it all in an organized fashion, but I'll try. :)

I determine intensity using HR, lactate and most importantly perceived exertion. I strongly believe in developing an accurate perceived exertion, since it's the best way to gauge intensity. To give you an example - In intensities ranging from I-1 to I-5, I can accuratly determine my lactate level and HR to within 5 beats and 0.2 - 0.3 mmol, purly by feeling. Of course, this skill takes time to develop, but is ultimately the most accurate and easily used every day of training. No athlete use lactate as a reading on regular basis, since it's a bit difficult logistically.

Since HR and lactate are internal gauges of intensity they do not need to be "re-calibrated" from season to season - what shows up as a performance increase is the external intensity (speed). Does that make sense?

My training program is designed by me, my coach and the DS. In practical terms, training during camps is set my the team, what happens between is usually determined by me.

mags

12:21  
Blogger Surly Drew said...

Mags,

That makes sense, at least in respect to HR (which doesn't really change, but your ability to operate efficiently and for longer periods at higher ranges does.) I can't speak for lactate not having worked with it, but I'd feel safe saying it doesn't change much either - your body just gets better at buffering it and letting you ride stronger and longer at higher levels. True?

I agree with you about developing a much more accurate sense of RPE, and that's something I've used the current cyclocross season to try and do. I wear my HRM in races, but not to determine when and how long to ride at specific ranges, but more so to acquaint those ranges with how my body is feeling.

To clarify, I race merely for fitness and enjoyment and to help build for the following road season (where I also race for fitness and enjoyment and aim for a top 15 at certain events). At 41 I'm an elite master in cross, who can dedicate about 5 hours of training per week, and who's goals are to finish within 5-6 minutes of the winner. Around Boston the racing scene is ultra competetive, so I'm literally averaging I-4 for my entire race (45 - 60mins), and spending more than a few of those minutes in I-5. While that's not the most pleasant way to spend a morning, it is giving me invaluable feedback on getting much better at judging RPE, and that's something I plan on further refining leading into next season.

Another goal of this off season is to practice time trialing once a week in order to enter a few of those races next season. I've only done it once (for a stage race), but the similarities of exertion between cross and TT are close enough to convince me that my ability to suffer would not be my weak point in a time trial (that would be extended power output, but that can be remedied through training).

A couple of questions for you:

1) have you ever tried cyclocross
2) what are your goals for this off season?

Thanks again for the advice and explanations.

Drew

12:55  
Blogger mags said...

Drew,

You are correct. HR and lactate are what we label "internal intensity" gauges. In other words - they don't change much at all throughout an athlete's life. What does change is the "external intensity" level at each HR/lactate level. As you become stronger, you will go faster and faster at each "internal" intensity level.

I don't do much cyclo-cross, but I do know that it's good training in terms of high intensity. If you are staying in an I-4 zone for 45-60 minutes - it's very good for improving stroke-volume and your body's ability to process lactate. Your lactate curve will move to the right with such training.

By definition, I-4 means that your body is producing more lactate than your muscles can absorb, so you are building more and more lactate levels in your blood. You will get stiff legs after a while.... :)

Time trials is the "true gauge" of fitness really. The bigger the engine - the faster you go. :)

My goals for this off-season is to get faster. I'm actually experimenting with how fast I can get in the 4k pursuit on the track. I'm going to give it 1 season with some more focus on the pursuit, to see if I have some potential there. Apart from that, I'm trying to become a stronger all-rounder (TT ability is a HIGH priority and trying to get over the mountains decently).

mags

13:13  
Blogger Surly Drew said...

Mags,

Thanks for the confirmation, it's nice to know that this will eventually pay dividends. Another nice aspect of this type of training is it's excellent when one is challenged on time, and I'm really hoping it increases the size of the current engine. BTW, John Gadret from FDJ has jumped onto the scene this year and has been doing very well.

So what sort of drills are you doing for the 1K pursuit and does this include a weekly session on the track itself? Will you continue to do intermittent track work during the 2007 road season, in addition to your normal race schedule? I would think that's got to be an incredibly tricky balancing act. I don't know how guys like Brad McGee and Magnus Backstedt pull it off. I'm sure it takes a very precise bit of planning.

Cheers,

Drew

13:54  
Blogger mags said...

Drew,

I-3 to I-5 sessions are very effective in boosting O2 values and moving the lactate curve to the right, yes.

The 4k pursuit taxes predomenantly the aerobic system, much like longer TTs and road-races. Therefore, it's a bit easier to combine this track event with "regular" road racing. The only real change is that I'm planning some high intensity blocks (I-4 and I-5 only in a 6-12 day period) before some of my "milestone" track tests.

Other than that - a good pursuit rider equals a good time trialer in general.

mags

12:37  
Blogger Surly Drew said...

Mags,

Quite cool, I'll be very interested in reading about your progress towards the 4K goal. Please keep your training progress commentary coming, I'm always looking for new ideas to steal....um, incorporate, into my own training ;-)

Cheers,

Drew

13:09  
Blogger mags said...

Drew,

Sure thing. :) Thanks for the kind comments. As always, I appreciate questions and comments.

mags

13:12  
Blogger Lever said...

It's all been and gone now ;) Merry Xmas :D

12:35  
Blogger mags said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

mags

15:12  

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