Topics: Resuming training after a winter break, Drifting and motorpacing, Losing power over the course of a ride
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Resuming training after a winter break
My winter training season has been going pretty well until recently, when I had to get a minor surgery done. Recovery time from that surgery is about one month, and they recommend staying off the bike for that entire time. Most of my training involves short, but hard intervals. My first question is, how long should I expect before being back to the same level I was before the surgery? How much can performance degrade in one month? Then, when comes the time to train again, should I go back to what I was doing, i.e. short intervals/high intensity, or start again with longer intervals at a lower intensity? In other words, is that break long enough to cause a "reset" in my training program.
Scott Saifer says:
First, I'd never recommend a program that consists mostly of short but hard intervals. Depending on how long and how frequently you've been doing that, you might find that you are stronger after a month off than you were before the break. This is because a steady diet of hard intervals will leave most riders overtrained, so that time off serves as needed recovery time as much as it interrupts training.
A month is the length of a standard rest period at the end of a racing season, after which a racer on a periodized training plan would start base again. A month is long enough to lose most anaerobic capacity, and a substantial amount of endurance capacity. Generally you can expect the endurance and aerobic capacities to return with about 6 weeks of base training. I'd suggest eight weeks of base before starting intervals or other training above 80% of maximum, and then limit that harder training to two days per week, with the rest of your training done as base.
Drifting and motorpacing
I am interested to know the advantages of drifting or motorpacing while training. In other terms what are the benefits (if any) of riding at LT/sub LT or Z2 behind a scooter or inside a speeding peloton. In case of a positive difference could you please explain the underlying reasons?
Scott Saifer says:
There are potential positive benefits of doing a fraction of one's training behind a scooter or in a peloton. First, drafting skills are as important as fitness in massed-start racing. A rider who can draft closely and can make split-second side-to-side adjustments to stay optimally in the draft has a huge advantage over a rider who drafts farther back or doesn't quickly adjust for changing wind direction. Motor pacing is good and group riding is excellent for developing those skills, if the pacing is appropriate to the physiological training needs of the rider.
Second, many riders find it difficult to ride solo as hard as they can ride to keep up with a scooter or group. Riding a particular heart rate, position, power and cadence behind a motor, in a group or solo will give the same training benefits, but if following something makes it possible to ride a steadier hard effort, to sustain a hard effort longer or make a harder effort than one could riding solo, then following something can be beneficial a day at the appropriate pace and the appropriate points in the training cycle.
For riders who are moderately strong, group riding can provide adequate motivation to hard training. If one rider is much stronger than everyone else in town, group riding may not provide adequate challenge to simulate what that rider will find when racing his peers. Such a rider is a good candidate for motorpacing if he is not easily motivated to work hard.
Be careful with motorpacing and group riding to be sure that the pace is appropriate to training goals. If the pace of these sessions is hard, be sure to allow adequate recovery and don't overload with too frequent sessions.
Losing power over the course of a ride
I have a question about training and losing power during a longer ride:
I am encountering what seems to be a persistent problem with my power output on longer rides. Today i did a 5h ride, and toward the end I couldnt increase my power output and HR. I just couldnt get anymore power out due to my legs feeling dead.
Mt LT threshold is 244w, but the normalized power for the ride was only 156w.
Other stats for the ride
Peak 5m power 228w
Peak 10m 209w
Peak 20m 197w
Peak 30m 194w
Peak 60m 182w
Scott Saifer says:
We call that getting tired on a long ride. It's possible that 5 hours is simply beyond your endurance ability but it's also possible that you are making poor gear choices, riding too hard for the distance, not drinking enough or not eating enough to keep youself strong. What is your typical cadence, how do you pace yourself, how much do you drink and eat on a ride, and what?