2021: what worked for you, what didn’t

A great time of the year to evaluate and take learning points. I am wondering, how do you reflect on 2022 and which lessons are you taking into 2022? Most interestingly, what are you going to change?

Here are mine:

What worked

  • mixing it up. As a sustained athlete, doing short power build did wonders for fun, fitness and motivation
  • having a goal event (stage race weekend with friends, gravel race) and using plan builder. Especially when life and work is growing me curveballs, it helps to have a clear set of workouts to stick to
  • time crunched plan. Had a phase with a lot of other stressors, but still getting in 3x45min hard intervals definitely did some good
  • spontaneous trainNow workout for added load. Right intensity and workout variation was good.
  • strength training more often (2-3 vs 1x). Used chads guidelines for workouts goals. I gained good amount of muscle, can move much more weight and feel very fit.

What didn’t work

  • unstructured outside riding in the summer led to FTP decrease. It was amazing weather and I loved being outside, but next year I’m putting focus on still following at least LV plan.
  • doing my own sweet spot progression from 20min SS blocks and upping the FTP manually every 4 weeks, without any testing. Not enough progression. Wanted to try this for long so I learned at least.
  • twisted my foot, full month off. took some time to work back fitness.
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Schmidt,

I agree this is a great time of the year to reflect on how the year went before starting the winter/off season base training.

What worked:

  • TR structured training took me from an FTP of 207 in February to 270 as of my last test.
  • I was able to hit all of my race targets at the events that I was able to participate in. Here in KC very few road events occurred and I currently do not have a gravel bike and this is a gravel Mecca area.
  • I believe for me Adapative Training actually progressed my perceived fitness and ability to stick it when necessary at the few crit races that I did
  • Was able to hit my goal of being able to hand with all of the “A” group rides in KC except for the ones that are specifically targeted as being crit race rides.
  • OUTDOOR WORKOUTS thank God they got this dialed in pretty good.

What didn’t work

  • Although the plan did make me faster and complete rides fresher I felt really bound to the training plan and was not able to join the group rides like I liked too. Cycling is a very social thing for me. Plus the competitive nature of group rides pushes me a little harder than on my trainer or outdoor workouts
  • Felt like the RAMP TEST became very challenging as I went into the specialty phase of my training never really felt like the legs were good and awake for any FTP test. Not sure if I should look at the 20 minute test.
  • Wish that the AT could quantify a group ride that is one thing that I believe the Fast Cat plans work well is to give you targets to strive for on group rides so that it feels like it is still a part of the plan.
  • 4 days a week of structured Intervals seems excessive at times on Medium or High Volume plans.

GOALS for Base season

  • Raise FTP to 300W
  • Lose 20 pounds of fat(currently at 185 lbs around 20% body fat)
  • Increase mileage from about 7,000 miles for the season 8,000
  • Do the Gorilla Century ride in 4 hours and 30 minutes or less I made the under 5 hours by a good 10 minutes so I think this a good step.

That is a good start

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that’s huge! great work.

I have the same feeling, and it puts a number of progress in between FTP tests. really nice to watch your numbers rise and know that what you’re doing is working.

good luck with your goals for next year!

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What worked:

  • Consistency is king/queen. When I was consistent I saw gains

  • Adaptive Training and PLs – even in beta with narrow functionality has been a game changer of how to progress, pick workouts, assess progress, make up for missed workouts, etc.

  • Moving from MV to LV, while adding in long Sunday rides and adding in strength training - net net, adding TSS while feeling like I have more time.

  • Riding within my limits = faster times, least fatigue. Hit all time PRs for 3-5 hour rides this year by sticking in Tempo and finishing strong. Learned that I prefer not to stop often on rides if I can help it.

What hasn’t worked

  • Multi-month rehabbing hip / posterior chain, and really just about my whole body. ha. The upshot is understanding more why I have pain, weakness, and plans to fix it.

  • Recognizing how much life stress and lack of sleep stacks up.

  • Sitting at a desk all day destroys me. Getting up for 5 min an hour to do something helps a ton.

  • Despite all my progress, I HATE being 10-15% less strong than many folks I ride with. Which means I am either tongue-wagging or dropped more often than I would like. Especially as riding has been one of the few social outlets I have.

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  • TR Olympic Triathlon HV plans and AT

  • Run focussed blocks

  • Triple days! Swim 7-7:45, Bike 12-13:00 Run 17:30-18:30 :smiling_imp:

  • Short workouts made me fit for long course racing with just a few weeks of long sessions

What didn’t work:

  • Progressive overload weightlifting at the same time as Olympic MV Build :sweat_smile: Kind of obvious but tried it anyway

  • short course triathlon training for a marathon…again, kinda obvious this wouldn’t work but toed the line anyway

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What worked for me this past year……

  1. consistency, never missing workouts, rescheduled hard workouts that I had to move around for life.

  2. 2x a week strength program, made me feel like a stronger human being and eliminate minor pains from cycling and from being on my feet all day at work.

  3. daily mobility, every night when watching tv doing 10-15 minutes of foam rolling/ stretching.

  4. better sleep makes everything better

  5. low volume plan even tho I can handle mid volume, it’s easier to hit the target workouts every week. Also leaves room for group rides, fun rides with more tss than following a strict mid volume plan.

What didn’t work;

  1. following mid volume plan, sure I can do it but the low volume plan is working right now!

  2. didn’t focus enough on my skills, definitely need to dedicate 1 hour a week of strict handling skills. whether it’s asphalt turns going at “race speed” or riding single track and not using the brakes so much.

  3. trying to be perfect, I know I’m not but I need to relax when days of life/ training or even nutrition get off track. I always bounce back!

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My goal events are ultra distance stuff(12+hrs 200+ miles)

I started off the year doing my own plan. Consisting of LONG SS intervals. managed a 1x105min @90% as a peak. also with massive 5+hr trainer endurance sessions. These workouts didn’t do a large amount in driving FTP up, but they did provide insane endurance/fatigue resistance. Which was evident with completing a 340 mile 32 hour event.

After the huge recovery period that event required I went back to doing the SSB>susPB>century plan. This did a decent job of building fitness for 100 mile events and lower. but when August rolled around and my second event(240 miles and 19 hours) It was evident I did not have the endurance/fatigue resistance that I had earlier in the year.

For my third event (200 miles and just under 14 hours) I continued on with the prescribed path as before, but subbed out the SS workouts for longer intervals, generally in the 30 minute range. The takeaway was that these long SS intervals provided the massive endurance/fatigue resistance I needed for my events.

All in all, there wasn’t much that went ‘wrong’ for me in 2021, I learned what and when I need to do things. I’m using this information this winter to build better than before, I’m using the Short power build plan to drive up my aerobic ceiling long before I have another event, then will transition to Sus power build to try and cement that higher ceiling, and before my next even I will move to the SSBII plan to draw out that massive endurance/fatigue resistance I need(replacing the prescribed SS workouts with long interval SS stuff.) Kind of a reverse periodization of sorts. since the SSB plan more closely mimics my goal events than any of the specialty plans.

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this was good to think about, thanks for sparking this!

what worked:

more over unders at higher overs and lower unders.

more hard start vo2max vs steady state

less intervals and more (yes even more), endurance

less 5 hour rides and more consistent 4h rides

what didn’t work:

too much tempo on climbs, sometimes left me a bit tired

lifting too heavy of weights in early year

trying to come back from time off TOO fast and TOO hard

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Didn’t work: extended time away from structured training, time off the bike in general, too many social rides

Did work: employing a plan focused on outdoor workouts on the MTB, under/overs, finding a good balance of hard group rides and structured workouts in my week. Remembering that training is fun.

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Worked: Moving to HV plans after 2 years of MV.

Didn’t Work: Racing every event possible because you had a year off from racing. Need to prioritize races for 2022 and realize you can’t race everything. There’s too many good races it seems.

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Here it goes:

What worked:

  • Was very consistent with training and saw good results. Completed two goal events.
  • Moved from primarily riding indoors to outdoor riding each weekend.
  • Discovered very nice new routes, including a couple of not technical mountains.
  • Finally started consistently training core|stretching. I can stil do a lot more but at least it has become part of my routine

What didn’t work

  • Didn’t do enough skills training and am faster up hill than down-hill.
  • Was anything but consistent with the diet and gained weight.
  • Despite good intentions, I didn’t make it to any of the group rides I considered joining
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What i did: tried to workout as much as i could, at first it was my running, then it was run and bike and then mostly bike, with some swimming, then lots of swimming with some bike.

What worked:

  • easy runs. no matter how short, just get out and run an easy run
  • easy runs couples with bike workouts (tried out polarized plan)
  • consistency in my swimming (2 indoors/pool swim and 1 open water swim per week)

What didn’t work

  • adding too much intensity too soon on the runs
  • trying to stay inside on the bike past april…i just wanted to get out
  • covid?! i mean pools weren’t open so that was a bummer
  • working out without a goal… i seem to not have the drive, i need to find more goals to keep me going

Results overall:

  • better tri times, somewhat
  • more consistency (by day 260 of the year i had worked out 240 days, most of the missed days were due to my piriformis injury in april)

Actions items:

  • find more goals to keep going
  • be more careful when ramping up intensity (someone had warned me on this very forum)
  • be better with nutrition and strength which i neglected and couldve avoided injury that way
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What Worked

Keeping an open mind. I can disappear down a rabbit hole, convinced that if I deviate from a plan or course, the wheels will come off. This year I just said ‘sod it! If I want to do it, I’ll do it.’

This kept things fresh and interesting. Whilst I didn’t do many sanctioned races, I did plenty of events and I beat my personal goals every time.

So moving forward, I’m going to continue to give myself breathing space and time to play.

What Didn’t Work

Getting COVID :laughing:

Joking aside, I’m not sure that I’d pick holes in this season. It has been another strange one and if I’m honest, I think I over performed.

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What Worked

  • Consistency
  • AT and peaking for my A event at 4 w/kg, even if ever so briefly
  • HV —> MV once pools opened back up and adding 2 swims per week to be a more well-rounded human
  • Professional bike fit

What Didn’t Work

  • Getting injured; I’m prone to overtraining injuries and cycling only ultimately wasn’t good for me
  • Deciding to take a true off-season including cycling-focused lifting while doing what is essentially Traditional Base I MV (still in progress but pleased so far)
  • Inadequate quantity and quality of sleep
  • Getting older

Goals for 2021

  • Resolve my injuries
  • Resume running at least once per week
  • Continue to lift legs during the season, even if in “maintenance mode”
  • Figure out how to sleep more
  • Try Polarized Base
  • Stretch: exceed 4.2 w/kg for my A event
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What worked:

  • Getting a coach, resulting in doubling the volume from last year when I rode TrainerRoad and unstructured outside rides.
  • Eating way more carbs and cutting down on unnecessary fat
  • WFH has resulted in more sleep and more energy in general
  • Less intensity and more volume, when its easy, its easy, when its hard, its very hard.

What didn’t work:

  • Breaking my elbow October 2020 and taking almost 4 weeks off the bike, along with 3 weeks on morphine.
  • Riding group rides for z2 rides, people really cannot keep z2 when the road starts to tilt upwards.
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Worked:

  • Maintained strength training the entire year
  • Improved mountain bike skills dramatically by incorporating session work
  • Continued workout streak to 725 days in a row
  • Enjoyed riding bike alone or with friends

Did Not Work:

  • Nothing of merit. I could feel bad for not flogging a full on training structured plan for 52 weeks. But oddly enough, I do not. At least not much :slight_smile: It was a very busy year with some major personal and work events, have navigated covid so far (fingers crossed), and had no major bike or fitness events.

2022 we are trying to resurrect some of the season long competitions that languished with Covid. Hopefully we get that together and it provides some focus and a reason to hit the training plans hard again.

Look forward to the 2022 GOALs thread!!

Your Friend Darth

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2021 was such an interesting season for me, a lot of good things happened and a lot of confusing things happened. Between May and August I was really stuck and left in a state of confusion about what to do with my training. My FTP had stagnated and I just never felt like I was progressing.

It’s really hard to look back on this season and deduce what worked, I honestly don’t know.

What maybe worked

  • Strength training during the fall and winter
  • More low intensity rides
  • More VO2 work
  • Less Sweet Spot :scream:
  • Engaging in insightful conversation with a handful of fellow TR users (@PattyP @kurt.braeckel @WindWarrior @RONDAL and many many others)
  • A block periodization approach to VO2max work (3 consecutive VO2 workout days, followed by a 1x HIT session (a CX race) for the following 3 weeks. 7 total HIT workouts over 4 weeks.)

What didn’t work

  • TOO much strength training. Do too much and you get injured (like me).
  • Not taking enough rest weeks (upon reflection and revisiting my calendar I think fatigue was a main culprit in my stagnation)

That’s about it. Overall 2021 was good to me. A third place finish in a 250 field gravel race in May, followed by no racing, and then a return to cyclocross. 8 races comprised of 4 podiums with one win and realizing I’ve gotten A LOT better at racing and bike handling. So happy with my race season, lots to be proud about heading into a new season.

11 Likes

Cool thread, I like participating in these to provide insight/ideas. FWIW, I went from 280 to 305W FTP this season (up to 4.3W/kg at age 44)… I “only” raced 11 times, but scored 32 category points in 6 weeks to earn my 3 upgrade, finished top 5 in five races, including two wins, and a 4th in my first race as a cat 3.

What maybe worked

  • Stopped using canned TR plans altogether, but used many custom and canned TR workouts in my own custom plan
  • Added long endurance rides weekly, first on the trainer during base building to 4hrs, then maintaining during “outdoor” season with 3hrs.
  • Longer intervals at sweet spot, in particular, building out to 90 min TiZ.
  • Generally increased volume overall.
  • Specific VO2max block early in build, which I believe coupled with my strong base work is what blew the lid off (up to 305W FTP, 4.3W/kg after previously peaking at 280). This was 8 hard-start VO2max workouts over 3 weeks, rest Z2.

What didn’t work

  • I did too much volume at times, especially late in base and early build. I was much too aggressive with work at threshold, over/unders, etc.
  • The long rides during the “outdoor” season were of less quality, and often had added intensity because they were group rides… I think losing those is what caused me to fade a bit late in the year.
  • I still need to perfect my racecraft. I’m strong, but not so strong that I should be spending as much time on or off the front as I do in a lot of races. I have to find the balance of being aggressive, controlling the pace, but saving myself for when it really matters. When I do that, I land on the podium. Need to be more consistent.

What I’m trying now

  • Fewer SST workouts overall. Building out to 2hrs TiZ for SST workouts, but being more aggressive in fewer workouts to get there. Also caring less about target power… willing to do 85-94% depending on how I feel, but more focused on spending time in zone (during base, anyway).
  • More Z2 work, and more time spent at/near LT1 (between 70-75% current FTP). I’m doing this as a single 2-ish hour ride during the week, and then adding a little bit more high-Z2 during my long rides as well.
  • Continuing long tempo and long SST intervals during base, another VO2max block following base, then…
  • Build will spend more time above threshold rather than hitting FTP intervals. Instead of 2x20s and such, I’ll do more 8 and 10 min efforts above threshold, built into Z2 rides.
  • Also planning a few more kitchen sink type rides, focused on long endurance, but with tempo, over/unders, SST late in the ride to build fatigue resistance and “touch up” those systems with quality.
  • Overall a ~10% bump in volume.
  • Fun MTB skill work to be a better bike handler and cyclist overall.
  • Want to sustain my strength training through the season instead of losing it after base (there were outside “life” reasons for this dropping off this past season.)
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:+1: those were some of the best threads on the forum, and I’m thankful for being part of them and learning from others.

Big shout out to my coach Isaiah Newkirk, while a bit of a luxury, he has kept me from making mistakes and I’m learning a lot. My training is really dialed in, he has me on a better path, and I’m building confidence to someday go back to self-coaching. My power curve looks good and I feel stronger and more capable on the bike.

What I believe worked:

  • Building plans around a foundation of zone2 work
  • Targeting intermediate volume averaging out to 8 hours/week for the year
  • Fewer intervals, not using % FTP to set targets above threshold
  • Making Thursday and Sunday my rest days
  • Slow and easy returns to training after taking time off
  • Stepping on the scale first thing every morning
  • Expecting to end 2021 with a 6% bump in volume over 2020
  • Return to group rides and putting events on the calendar for 2022

What didn’t work:

  • Spring allergies continue to blunt training response
  • Home remodeling projects took a lot of time away from weekend training, will miss my 8 hours/week target for the year
  • Needed a sweet spot progression block in February to enable me to hang on wheels at Wed night worlds
  • Should have spent more time training in the mountains

Two events were cancelled this year, and so I’ve been using Strava segments for motivation and keeping things fresh. Along with group rides, that made 2021 a big improvement over 2020.

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Congrats on the results!

This is almost identical to my current plan. I’m doing a long base (12 weeks) up til Xmas. I’ll do some threshold in the new year, and then a VO2 block.

I’ll certainly learn from not resting enough after a really hard VO2 block last year. After 6 easy days I went into a threshold block with lots of O/Us and ended up over-trained, just unable to keep putting out power.

On my way back from this I learned to appreciate easy Z2 rides. I never would’ve thought I could enjoy doing 2 hours at 0.6IF

1 Like