Confused about what cadence to train at

Hi All,

I’m pretty new here at TR and was hoping for some advice.

I’m starting week 3 of base 2 high volume.

Training at sweet spot has been a bit of a revelation for me.

For the last couple of winters I have trained on a wattbike in the local gym, but didn’t build any sort of base and just hit the over FTP sessions.

I definitely improved, but would blow up regularly and have to take time off to recover.

Training at SS definitely feels like a better way to do it!

I’m training for the Haute Route Alps. Every other race I had scheduled has already been cancelled, but I’m clinging to the hope that somehow the Haute Route Alps will still happen.

If not, I’ll do it next year!

Seeing as I am training for long climbing days, my question to you all is to do with cadence.

TR has been recommending an 85/95 cadence.

Naturally I seem to be at 95/100 and when it’s getting to the end of a session I tend to increase this to 105/110 to get through (trainer is in erg mode).

I was feeling pretty good about this as TR seems to suggest a higher cadence is probably better, but in some of the recent sessions there has been some slower cadence work and this has got me thinking.

As my event is long uphill days, should I be training with a lower cadence to try and simulate this?

Even with my biggest granny gear, I can’t believe I’ll be able to maintain a 100+ cadence for long when the road heads uphill and am worried that I’m not being specific enough in my training.

I think i’m feeling the fatigue more if I slow the cadence down, especially the next day, but this could be the accumulative effects of 6 weeks of ever increasing TSS, as much as it is to do with the cadence.

I don’t have a power meter or cadence sensor on my bike, so don’t actually know what sort of cadence I ride outside at, but am guessing uphill is going to be more like 80rpm?

So, should I carry on at the 85/95 range and above, or slow it down?

Maybe a mix of both?

If I slow it down, how low should I go?

I did hunter -2 at 80rpm yesterday and have to admit my legs are feeling it today.

Today’s session is Hunter -1. I’m not sure I want to do this at 80rpm!

Any thoughts on the subject are very welcome.

I think either way, just doing the SS work will be a great benefit, so am not too worried about it, but would like to know what the consensus out there is.

Many thanks

If your natural cadence is fairly high, just put lower gears on your bike, so you can spin at a comfortable cadence. Just adjust the bike.

Long term, I think it’s useful to be able to ride at a wide range of cadence, so maybe some low-cadence blocks could be good for you. But for the actual event, I’d just use lower gears.

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As with everything the answer is it depends on your goals and where you are in the plan. Should you go high revs? Well that was the way I have always been taught. Since about the late 80’s 95-100 is my preferred flat land range. However as you note, I can usually only get there unconsciously in a race towards the second half of the season and tend about 5 to 10 lower too.

In all the long climbs I did I seem to fall down to 75-85 on the revs. That could also just be down to a lack of practice of spinning under sustained load. I have reason to believe my spin is not as efficient as I thought. However most of the data from riders on the long alpine climbs show that 75 - 85 range IIRC. Sure the attacks are done at higher revs. So it would be absolutely worth putting in some long climb low cadence simulation as you close on the date. Even if you can spin up the climb at 95-100, the low cadence approach gives you some extra cards to play when the fatigue kicks in, if nothing else.

There was an argument that it was supposed to be good strength training if you can endure it… good old force production argument. Although if IIRC again; that was shown to only apply from a standing start all out sprint(Coggan??). All the other low cadence stuff never really put your legs into overload, the force production is too low for any adaption.

FWIW I would stick at the high revs. As you enter the specialized stage introduce the odd interval at 75 rpm and mix in some standing. You wouldn’t need to do a lot of it maybe 1 or 2 of the actual intervals (not the entire workout) a week.

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Thanks, I think i’m thinking along similar lines.

I was looking for more fatigue by using the lower cadence to build up some stamina, but am not convinced this is how it works!

Spinning faster feels better to me.

I ordered some of the IQ2 power meter (now) pedals. If they ever arrive I’ll be able to see what my cadence is like uphill!

In the meantime I think I’ll stick to the top end of the prescribed cadence for each session, especially whilst in base and worry about the fine detail in specialty.

Thanks

Hay Splash,

Outside I ride on a semi compact 36x30.

I could go 32, but this would mean a new rear derailleur .

I was angling to buy a new Canyon aeroad (the whole thing is wrapped up around a 50th), but the launch of this seems to have hit the buffers too.

And don’t even get me started on the IQ2 power meters I funded on kickstarter!

Thanks for the advice.

I’d deffo go lower than a 36/30 for an event like that, especially if you prefer a high cadence. (Well, unless you’ve got lots of watts to spare). Maybe even up to a 42 rear, even if that means a new derailleur or a wolflink or whatever. If it’s your A event, and you’re likely to spend quite a bit on travel etc, getting the bike right might be good investment? (Also, if it’s cancelled this year, you could invest your bike instead…)