Biggest thing for me this winter is to stay on the bike, in whatever form.
In 2021 I took 2 complete months (and used that time to renovate our top floor) off and FTP dropped to 200W.
In 2022 I switched to running for 4 months and FTP dropped to 223W, considerably less than the year before.
This winter I plan on taking 2 weeks completely off and then just hanging in there on the trainer with maybe some mountainbike rides thrown in until spring comes around. Main goal is to take enough of a rest so I can progress beyond my current peak next year but not so much that I’ll have to train for 3 months before being at this year level’s again.
As I’m thinking about my winter training, I have a question, or maybe just a thought. And I’ll preface that I’ve been a TR user since 2018 and love what they’ve done. But I’m wondering if there are better values out there. Especially for somebody doing their Polarized plans. I’m trying to see what TR offers over something like Zwift. The Polarized plans are fairly simple right; two days of intensity with lots of long Z2. What are PLs really going to tell me that I couldn’t figure out with logic? Extend time in zone of Sweetspot and/or Threshold work. For VO2 work, shoot for 18-22ish min at intensity. I think I could figure out that 5x4 VO2 is a higher PL than 5x3. Or that 3x20 is harder than 2x20. Yes, that’s obviously an exaggerated example, but the core of the training philosophy isn’t rocket science. So what’s the draw of TR when I can just do that in Zwift? Plus Zwift gives me more engagement and races if I feel like it. And Zwift is cheaper. Waiting for what, 2 years now for TR to grade outside rides has felt like an eternity. But even then, moving into winter I’ll be exclusively indoors. Just curious what you guys think and what TR has to offer over Zwift, maybe I’m missing something.
@Jonathan any chance TR can release the portion of WLv2 that assesses the training value (and presumably PLs) of outdoor rides to Early Access, even if it isn’t used right now to influence future adaptations, so we can see what y’all keep talking about on the podcast? I think this would be a huge step while the final kinks are worked out. Thanks for considering!
I plan to start base training for my 2024 “season” in October. My last race this season is on the second weekend in September so I am planning to take a break off the bike afterwards through October (might be hard since I just got a new bike and I will want to ride it ).
I used plan builder to build a high volume polarized plan with two generic A events placeholders to peak in June and August. I did traditional base last fall which gave me wonderful results so I am tempted to do that again. Unfortunately plan builder doesn’t let you select Traditional as an option for the base blocks.
I’m just easing myself back into cycling after a very long break, hitting 50 jolted me into action! I’ve been doing sprodic training for a month or two. Reading this thread has made me sign up for a base plan (polarised). I don’t have any aim other than to slowly get fit. At the end of the base plan, I might well see what my ftp is at and repeat. I’m doing a couple of sportives (mtb) over the next few months but I’m so unfit I need base not build or speciality
I’m taking another shot at a 12 Hr mtb race in May 2024 so I’m thinking a proper base season after maybe a week off. Try to relieve some of the summer stress on the body! Also strength training a little more consistently. Even at 10 hrs a week I find it hard to push any decent weight.
I’ve decided to run a marathon in December. Trying to keep 3 workouts per week (TH/SS, and 2 endurance) along with 2 strength sessions per week. So far so good. I’m sure my bike fitness will plummet, but with a goal of my first full IM in 2024 I really want to focus on building up my running fitness this year. Come January it will be back to base, probably try the polarized plan again until I start “training” in March.
VO2max blocks, effective VO2max blocks that actually increase VO2max, don’t typically turn into FTP gains immediately. Often need a recovery period and then some threshold work on top of the VO2max block to see the nice impact. Something like 2-3 months down the road being a good expectation.
You’ll see athletes complete a hard block and expect to set FTP records a week later and be disappointed. Which is not to say the block wasn’t productive nor that some athletes depending on where they are in their training won’t see an immediate impact. As with so much of this stuff, it depends.
@kurt.braeckel recently commented on what he sees with his athletes in one of the VO2max threads if you want to search that out. I thought it was good stuff but couldn’t find it quickly.
Winter, the season with 61F / 16C sleeping conditions that appears to fuel my biggest gains. As always I’m going for the most volume I can handle, outside. Just bought another thermal jersey… Bring on the cool weather and the Festive 500!
I’m trying to wrap my head around the use of word like “61*”, “ thermal jersey” and “jacket” used in the same references.
In all seriousness, I know it is all relative….I saw a group of riders last weekend in San Diego wearing arm & knee warmers, vests and one guy had on a head band over his ears. It was between 65* - 70*.
Suffice to say I’ve seen it happen right after a VO2 block but more often than not I think 6 weeks is more the norm for the bump to manifest. And I had one guy this last season who got his 30W after 12 weeks of rest/FTP/Over-Under and high power work.
I think only one guy I can recall got a bump in like 2 weeks and he had never done structure, let alone VO2 work, before.
I think some of it has to do with what you do before hand. For example, I’ve seen the fastest bumps from people who are able to extend TTE with extensive “threshold” or sweet spot work beforehand, and don’t see gains in actual FTP from that. Kind of like they’re “stuck”.
For example, I’m doing a block of 60-80 min thresholdish sets at 260 right now to try to get back up in that 290 area following my break. If it works, THEN I’ll do another extensive type block of tempo/SST/threshold stuff (working 260 for longer or 290 for proper FTP sets, hopefully) and see what I get (if anything) before I go crush VO2max again.
FWIW, and this is not intended as a sales pitch, the people I get from TR and Zwift plans are usually pegged on threshold with short TTE and somewhat highly anaerobically trained, so after some extensive work, VO2 work has always (n=4 so far this year) yielded 15-30W in “real” (not ramp test) FTP. Take that FWIW.
When I self coached that same plan in 2020-2021, I went from 280 with 35 min TTE to 290 with 60 TTE to 305 and 40min in about four months.