I’ve been thinking about my ongoing plans for the year. Let me give a little background before getting into the question. I began this season in November using plan builder, with my two priority races the state TT in July and LOTOJA in September. Both of those races, though very different, are all about a HUGE engine and pacing.
Now, my question. I used plan builder and put in some C/B races throughout the year and as usual, and I’m into the specialty phase for a rolling road race (which takes place in April).
From my understanding (and experience), the specialty phase is all about sharpening the blade for races, not building FTP and fitness in general (and my overall fitness and gains have mostly stopped over the past three weeks, where they have been growing since beginning riding again in Novemeber).
Being sharp for races is critical, and I get that after racing for more than 10 years. But I’m wondering if, in my specific case, it might not be better to just train to continue building my FTP and aerobic engine throughout the entire year instead of ‘peaking’ for a race?
Long, sustained efforts are my bread and butter, my jam, my comfort zone (kinda). Improving my engine for those, since they are both relevant to my A races, seems more important than a few specialty phases. My justification would be that it’s fairly easy to do a few weeks of sharpening workouts amidst and ever ongoing build (not the literal phase) to get some sharpness on a huge engine, as opposed to a lot of sharpness on a smaller engine.
This might seem like the classic ‘why do a specialty’ question, but it’s slightly different in that I do plan on doing races where I need sharpness and have specific race dates, but my plans, strengths, and goals all focus on having as much raw power that I can hold for a long period of time, as opposed to any punchiness.
What are your thoughts on approaching my season goals with a continual build (again, not the literal period, but the idea of building strength) instead of the usual B/B/S stages throughout the year?
And if something like that is a good idea, how would I go about planning my season that way (with the focus on maximum aerobic capabilities and FTP growth)?
In short-I want my FTP in July to be higher than it is now, and even higher in Septemeber. I feel that, given my A races and the demands, this might be better than sharpening for any other races. Do you think this is a good approach? As I said, I can throw in my own sharpening before other events if/when needed. And is implementing this as simple as just deleting all other events but those two?
Sorry for such a long question, but I’ve been thinking about this and asking questions about this for a few months and finally think I figured out exactly what to ask. Cheers all!
It might be worth mentioning that a lot of my fun events I have planned for this year (assuming they, you know, exist) are longer Fondo rides and races, think five plus hours. historically this is where I do the best. I have the course record for the 2019 ultimate challenge route (which was part of the tour of Utah) and several other KOMs on 4-6 hour routes.
My assumption here would be that it sounds like I would be missing any sort of VO2 capability, but it seems logical to me that in order to continuously raise your FTP there would also be some VO2 workouts in my ideal plan.
I started a thread about my experience making a very similar decision when it comes to the direction of my training. Check it out and see if you can get some ideas from it. In the end It’s not as simple as one or the other and you might be surprised about the similarities between the two directions and some small things you might do differently. In my opinion, it’s always better to look farther into the future, but eventually you will need to sharpen for racing, so the ultimate decision will be up to you.
Cool, I’ve got an appointment later today so I will have plenty of time to look over all that. I figured it’s not a simple process…but that’s why I’m here!