Anyone train 20+ hours a week for a season, how did it go?

Funny - had exactly the same thought :joy::face_with_monocle:

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Isn’t 5 minutes very dependent on anaerobic capacity if you’re truly all out? I used my numbers as an example here because im not sure that the 80% rule makes a ton of sense. I feel like 5 min / 30-50 min power often rise together.

The more you increase your aerobic capacity (5-8’ efforts) you teach your body to empty the tank very quickly with all kinds of substrates, this brings with it a substantial drop in economy and therefore longer yields are affected.

For this reason, specialization in cycling materializes much more when the tests are really endurance (>4h) since the efficiency of the individual ends up equaling the field and the MAP becomes less relevant.

Otherwise, with all the VO2 max man world records, it would be easy to take the high-parameter Norwegian on duty and train him to his limit, be it 80-85% to ensure the tour podium, but that’s not the way it is.

Gross efficiency falls as your displacement increases, lactate power is limiting and the “pool” of fibers is something genetic that has not yet been deepened enough.

Your validation may make sense in subjects who are not highly trained, but for high-level athletes it is not like that at all.

Yes. All that is well known by now. Took us 20 years but we forum punters figured all that out by ourselves. Despite raging misinformation, deceit, advantage taking good information prevailed.

Going back to the subject: If you are lucky enough to have 20+ hours/week for your hobby but unlucky to have limited potential too bad for you. Still beats not having both.

Good time to revisit the meaning of reaching one’s full potential.

  • I start riding
  • first my vo2max starts to increase. To a lesser amount my “threshold”
  • my vo2max reaches to my ceiling. I realized my potential there.
  • I keep riding
  • my threshold gets closer and closer to my vo2max
  • soon I peaked there too. No more threshold for me. Here all ramp tests, 8 mins, 20 mins etc. All that bs is done measuring me.
  • I keep riding. Because why not. I am not disheartened by same test results all the time.
  • I can stay at my threshold longer and longer. Over an hour sometimes. See where do the phrases like “a long time”, “~1 hour”, “35-75 minute” come from.
  • I stagnate there too. No more vo2max, no more ftp, no more tte for me.
  • But I keep riding. Because I am thick like that.
  • I start repeating my ftp for my tte (almost) twice in a ride. No more I am done for the day after an all-out climb.
  • I now can do 2 or even 3 days like that. 2-3 big climb around ftp, around my tte. 2 or even 3 days. I am dead at the end but doable.
  • Years has passed now. I clocked over 8000 hours. Can I improve? Not according to usual bs out there. I am peaked 5 years ago. According to them I reached my potential and stagnated ever since my 2000th hour years ago. I kept riding only for the love of the sport
  • I did my first stage race in the mountains. I defended myself for the first 3 days, not losing much time and staying in top20. Destroyed most of the competition on the days 4 and 5 getting into top 10. Last 2 days were bad. I faded badly, making it to the finish at 14th place.
  • Came back for more the next year. This time I fade much less on the last days, finishing a respectable 8th.
  • My vo2max and ftp are the same for the last 8 years. But I have learning disabilities. So keep riding.
  • This year I clock my 10.000th hour. I do that stage race again. Finishing 9th place. Unlike previous years I feel pretty good afterwards, taking the family for a trekking holiday.
  • Now, I reached my full potential. Only way is to go down.

And all this takes 10k hours.


Ha ha. Love it!

Plateued w/r to race results. My main metric. I’m a “natural” > 4-4.5W/kg rider. From 2016 till 2018 this got up to ~ 5 W/kg (weight was a major factor). I did not expect this to grow further. I would have thought things like durability and repeatability improve with my consistent volume. Nope.

Yes mostly Z1 and Z2. However, '16-'18 was a lot of spring racing. Shorter XCM and some GFs down in Italy. Quite intense. I was never able to replicate this in training. However, I’ve not really paid attention to how I rode in 16-17. Just rode a lot. This guilt of riding to fast when riding slow started later. In '19 I stopped doing these early intense races and I noticed this right ways. XCM racing, dealing with those hard starts. However, even for the 5-12h races, lacking sharpness. And of course in '20 everything got even worse.

20-21 lots of Z2 at LT1. could move LT1 to 280W at 71kg. However, this did not translate at all to faster racing in 6-12h events or a right-shift of the PD-curve. Quite the opposite, everything > LT1 really sucks now. When you race XCM competitively you have to go fast in the first hours, there is no constant noodling around LT1. Even in very long events.



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Good point here, raising the VT1 as much as possible is essential for performance in long tests, but it does not imply results without a high second threshold.

The good thing is that you learned the hard way.

This year I made the winter mistake of working excessively in the low areas (up to 2mmol~) 5-6 times a week having the time, ignoring that there was a “maintenance” impact on the 2@ threshold and it was a mistake, it collapsed in order of 6-8W after the block until February.

Entering an MLSS job 1 time every 10 days would still have minimized damage.

Obviously if I had run in this time, I would have seen the blunder, or well not so much, it allowed me to maintain my physical condition for much longer with a better approach.

I’ve gotten to 365W for 7’ and 1h power of 304W @66kg. Did >17’ at 319W in TT position and another 18’ at 306W as part of a two up road bike TT within 1h15’ at the same event in August.
30" PB of this year is around 730W.

I train for middle distance triathlon though so I guess I’m doing well since I’m >83%?

Malcolm Gladwell in the book Outliers basically says the same thing - you need about 10,000 hours of experience to master something.

Would you/anyone care to explain the 80% rule so I don’t have to make incorrect assumptions?

Will give me context to earlier responses too.


I believe they are referencing fractional utilization of ftp/pVO2max. The higher % your ftp is of VO2 power the better as you reduce the slow component fatigue creep towards VO2max when above ftp.


Blockquote Yes, it seems that way, it is true that runners with the highest percentage of I vs. IIX fibers manage to increase this ratio to the physiological maximum, although perhaps you have not put enough pressure on VO2 max training, there is no one better than you to verify it.
His Wingate is quite inconspicuous, like yours truly, we won’t be making a living on the track.

Yes. There are some other considerations when your ftp is a high % vo2max. For example someone in the 70-80% range has more potential to push up FTP by doing more tempo and threshold work. On the flip side, someone like myself that is routinely at 83-86%, tempo/threshold work doesn’t do much to move the FTP needle.


@smlring the context of 10,000 hours is doing 20+ hours/week or just getting to 10,000 hours at any rate? Just curious is all. I assume the former…

Does one have to figure out their power at v02 max in a lab to calculate this?

I would think so(but i also disagree with the premise). And you have to assume that their vo2 has reached it’s limit (which i dont think there is a way to test for).

I think that using 4-5 minute power as a proxy for “genetic vo2 ceiling” is silly. That’s like saying that ramp test results aren’t trainable.

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A decent first order approximation is 5-min power vs long sustained power, assuming you have max or near max efforts around the same time. For some it might be better to use 6-min.


I have not said that, nor anything from the laboratory to measure VO2 max, that does not interest me in this reference.

I am interested in the maximum power that you achieve with a strenuous 6-8’ test that allows you to know your maximum aerobic power (MAP) that is why I say power…
In that duration, if the effort is maximum, you almost certainly achieve VO2 max.

You already have two data entries to compare your progress with the training you carry out without the need for a laboratory or lactate measurement.

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Again, not wanting to make assumptions yet assuming your statement is correct, what work would be best to improve FTP if one is in this 83-86% range?

Dare I say VO2 work? Can’t be SS as that sits between Tempo and Threshold. Anaerobic and Sprints seems too little focus on duration in those zones to improve FTP.

I am closer to 86% (303/350), do believe I exerted myself close to failure when testing VO2 (blood taste in the throat, fall off the bike, feel as if cannot get a breath in when lying in fetal position).

For one coaching viewpoint on using fractional utilization to adjust training for raising threshold, read the Final Considerations at the end of this article: How to improve your lactate threshold as a cyclist — High North Performance And some of this was mentioned by Coach Chad in an older podcast and my notes are here: Time at VO2max discussion - #11 by bbarrera

Oh, and I still do tempo work at 85-90% but the goal is not raising FTP.

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