Now mid-way through Block III of Trad Base LV, Block III is mostly Threshold, Sweet Spot and Tempo. I’ve noticed that over the winter my ability to do Threshold seems to be reduced, which I guess is expected but at this stage in the year, with no racing expected till May (2023 Race Calendar isn’t up yet), I am thinking I should continue doing base rather than starting a Plan Builder Plan targeting XCO or Rolling Road Race in June and September (what I did last year, after starting TR for the first time last April).
What I was considering was potentially doing a bit of a polarized plan that I make myself based on the Trad Base MV Block I (4 Endurance rides per week) but with one Endurance ride per week substituted with a VO2 Max or Threshold workout. So maybe 3x 2 hours endurance rides per week and 1x 1 hour Threshold or VO2 Max workout per week.
My key goals are to keep developing my base and don’t want to burn myself out pre-season but also want to prevent further Threshold/VO2Max decline, would this make sense?
Looking at Intervals ICU’s data, my form has been between -5 (on off days) and -17 so far this month so seem to be in a good place in terms of not driving myself into overtraining so far, if that can be depended upon.
That seems logical given that you have spent most of the time doing endurance work, that makes you “pretty blunt”. It is also low volume, so if you have done mid-volume in the past season, you are basically in maintenance mode now.
If you are doing mid-volume next, I’d do 2 or perhaps 3 days of intensity (depending on what you do on intense days). 1 day is likely not enough given the volume you are doing.
Why don’t you pick Polarized MV instead? You could use Plan Builder, backdate the start date and then swap in polarized plans for the sweet spot base (and build if you want).
If intensity and volume are chosen correctly, you shouldn’t burn out in 4–6 months. Personally, I’d stop worrying and start training for real.
Have you had issues with overtraining in the past? Personally, the most important metric for me is how I feel, not some number. If you keep failing workouts you should be able to manage, then I’d start worrying about overtraining.
Have never tried MV before, started TR late April 2022, didn’t do structured training previous to that, got into cycling summer 2020, so not a long training history.
I think the fear of overtraining is because I don’t have a lot of hours or years in the legs, did ~272 hours in 2022 but inconsistent volume throughout, was consistent with my 3 Plan builder LV workouts per week but probably fluctuated between 3 to 6 hours most weeks depending on additional outdoor riding. This year I would like to do at least 6 hours per week, probably pretty modest to most here but >312 hours for the year would be a good step up for me.
Right now I am also not doing weight training, would like to start working it in but I find there is a lot of intensity in this block so may try to ease into it once its done.
Race season for me will go from May to end of November between XCO, gravel, Road and CX. Primary focus is XCO and Road, with a more casual approach to gravel and CX events but CX adds 8-10 weeks on to the season.
Also as far as burn out, I think I’m also concerned about mental burnout and losing my motivation/ability to stay consistent. I’m in my last semester of school doing a 40 hour a week clinical placement + class in the evenings + working one or two 12 hour shifts on weekends and have a board exam in like 4 months, that I’m studying for. So trying to not push myself over the edge as I have 60-70 hours a week of commitments outside of my TR workouts. Just gotta make it through to summer.
In 2020 I spent 250 hours on the bike (according to Strava), and I was following a padded MV plan. If you ride that much, a MV plan seems plausible.
Reading your post, the vibe I get is that you are very much concerned about intensity and overdoing it. IMHO this is misplaced. Rather than intensity, you should focus on consistency instead. E. g. to me it seems a bit late to start with intensity at the end of January/beginning of February. Intensity is necessary, and what a lot of people struggle with is finding the right amount of intensity and volume for them.
Given that, I’d focus my training on 2–3 hard rides per week and consider anything else gravy/extra credit. Hard doesn’t necessarily mean high intensity, for me a hard ride is a ride from which it takes you more than one day to recover. So a 60–90-minute threshold workout is hard. But so is a 4±hour Z2 ride. Then I’d add easy workouts as you see fit. Follow the easy-hard-easy-hard cadence. An easy day is either a rest day or a day with workouts from which you can recover within one day. It need not be a recovery ride, though.
IMHO focussing on shorter, high-intensity workouts might actually work better for you as you are time constrained. They don’t give you the same adaptations, but overall, it might be a better investment of your time. Consistency will be much more significant in the long run than what you do on the bike.
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