Leadville 100 2023 training

Just joined TR and have been reading the forum for awhile, thanks for all your great insights!

I am signed up for leadville 2023 and had a few questions about training i was hoping you could comment on -

My background/current performance:
40 years old
205lbs, 6’2 (definitely have gut fat to lose)
completed leadville stage race 2022 in 10:47
followed the Time Crunched Cyclist book training plan for ~4 months coming into the race (As much as I could, young family two kids under 3)
had COVID 8 weeks before race, was really sick for 10 days and couldn’t train for 3 weeks (started training again 5 weeks before race)
no prior structured training other than that (just group rides / fun rides)

Ramp test FTP yesterday = 280
I can train ~8 hours per week

Question:
I am roughly a year out of the race and using plan builder medium volume it looks like I can do 2 full cycles between now and race day (base/build/specialty/base/build/specialty is the suggestion from TR)

The polarized training looks more appealing to me and the long Z2 rides on weekend are not a problem, so I currently have picked polarized base/build leading into the suggested specialty for marathon MTB

Does that sound reasonable for training for leadville given my background?
Any suggestions on anything related to using TR for training this year?

Any other thoughts / advice welcome :slight_smile:

I’ll give you some thoughts as I’m targeting 2023 too, but that’s of course if I can get in…

I’m 45, 5’10", 175#, FTP currently 284 and started at 245 in February, and have been following a Low Volume plan since then, with outdoor rides thrown in too.

I’ve considered the medium volume, but I sort of like the flexibility of the low volume (One each of V02, Threshold, Sweet Spot each week) and then add in easier / longer outside rides for endurance, and that allows more flexibility for strength training too. I’ll probably stick with Low + Endurance and Strength. If I add up the time, I’m probably close to that 8 hours.

I’d personally focus on weight loss now, especially during base. You don’t want to be trying to lose weight during build and as you get closer to the race.

I’m doing “Climbing Road Race” instead of XC Marathon because of Leadville’s profile - lots of long steady climbs.

Right now I’m going into a short specialty block and racing the Barn Burner 100 in less than 4 weeks.

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You may want to swap out at least some of the steady state threshold work for over/unders, partly to work on lactate clearance but also to prevent dying from boredom.

You may end up doing the same for VO2 Max as well.

Idea: if you look at the VO2 Max and Threshold workouts that are waiting for you in your specialty phase, those sorts of workouts might be good options for sprinkling into your build (and maybe base, too) for variety and familiarisation.

Good luck :+1:

Thank you for the feedback - swapping out the Steady State threshold for over/under seems closer to the time crunched cyclist plan I followed this Spring

Any suggestions on the best way to swap them out in TR (what buttons to click) to not mess up adaptive training or the plan in general?

The plan I’m following (Low Volume Climbing Road Race) has a good blend of VO2 Max, Over Unders, Steady State Threshold and Sweet spot and I didn’t change anything. If you take my plan, and add in Z2 / Endurance rides on top for however much time you have and volume you can tolerate you basically end up with a more polarized medium volume plan. Food for thought.

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Example week for me, where I only did one additional ride:

It sounds like you would enjoy doing a Low Volume plan and then add 2 or 3 z2 rides in as well. You can also extend the schedules LV workouts by adding z2 at the end if you have more time. Or use the Alternates feature to select a longer workout. It’ll get you closer to the polarized distribution you’re interested in and still get the three key workouts.

@BCM may I ask how you recorded that outside ride on the 23rd with TR? I have an element bolt on my road bike but have not yet tried to integrate with TR

I just recorded it with my Garmin. I have TR set up to sync with Garmin and Strava, it all just links back and uploads automatically.

I remember a couple of years ago on the podcast that Nate had suggested Rolling Road Race for Leadville based on his experience at the race… MTB Marathon will work as well and I think the difference is that MTB Marathon plan has more VO2 type efforts (I’m being lazy and not opening the plans so double check). I had planned on following Rolling Road Race but had a skiing injury in Feb and had to defer to 2023. I’m pretty sure that will be my plan for next year w/ supplementing some longer MTB rides and road rides on the weekend.

Not sure. I’d be interested in finding out myself.

You say no prior structured training, but how many years riding in general and at what approximate volume? Between your riding or other sports do you think you have built a cumulative aerobic base over the years?

A full year of mid-volume structure is a lot. It would burn me out and I’d generally recommend against it but the benefit could vary depending on cumulative aerobic base you’ve built over years. Repeating 2 full cycles doesn’t intuitively feel right to me either, but my experience is skewed by having a much longer training history so I’m hesitant to say what’s best in your specific case. I’d submit a question to support and/or maybe submit it as a podcast topic.

That disclaimer out of the way, my gut feel would be to focus now through the end of the year on building your aerobic base by doing either a traditional base or doing 2 blocks of sweet spot and then move into one complete base/build/specialty cycle next year. If you do start on sweet spot base now I’d start low volume and mix in some extra outdoor riding while the weather is nice and/or add in strength training. I’d definitely recommend 1 or more blocks of low volume sometime between now and next spring where you incorporate cycling specific strength training unless you already have a good history there.

If you read the details, climbing road race is actually supposed to prep you for either initiating or responding to over-threshold attacks and then settle into climbs. It’s not a wrong choice but they are thinking of much shorter races than Leadville for both this and even XC Marathon speciality blocks. Struggling to remember where, but I think on a later podcast or blog post someone from TR said that the most applicable specialty block for LT100 is actually the Century / Gran Fondo plan:

For athletes who are targeting long gravel races, gran fondos, or spirited multi-hour group rides, the Century plans are the ideal choice. These specialty blocks primarily focus on muscular endurance, equipping you to pedal powerfully for hours on end over widely-varied terrain. But they also include some higher-intensity VO2 max efforts, so you’ll have the fitness you need to stay at the front when the pace rises.

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I’d be interested to see that if you do happen to find it, because I’ve been doing Climbing Road Race based on a recommendation I know I saw somewhere here. Although, who knows if I could find it again. I have seen the Century Plan recommended as well, but would love to hear the TR Crew’s opinion if they’ve discussed it.

I’m actually personally racing the Barn Burner in Flagstaff in just about 3.5 weeks, so am going into a couple specialty weeks followed by Taper, so not changing anything right now, but after that I can change at will for next year. I’m happy how it’s worked though, up ~40W since February when I started training LV with this for a PL profile after an FTP bump just over a week ago (and a 9.3 Sweet Spot coming up Thursday, so will probably bump that up some)

Thank you for the feedback -

You say no prior structured training, but how many years riding in general and at what approximate volume? Between your riding or other sports do you think you have built a cumulative aerobic base over the years?

I have been riding about 4 years at relatively low volume:

  • year 1 - weekend group rides summer only, no drop 30 mile ride was really hard, road when weather was good, long periods off the bike when weather was bad
  • year 2 - rode a bit more (1 weekday and 1 weekend) when weather was good, long periods off the bike when weather was bad
  • year 3 - rode more often (2-3 times per week when weather was good), still no structured training though
  • year 4 - structured training for leadville stage race for 6 months in the Spring, 2-4 times per week

No history of endurance sports prior to starting biking, but lots of basketball / volleyball / tennis.

Inconsistent history of strength training, never really stuck with it but have done it intermittently over the years and have a muscular physique (maybe from basketball / volleyball)

Current state:

  • <=2 hour zone 2 rides feel easy
  • 3-4 hour zone 2 rides feel fine (like a good workout but not killer)
  • 6 hour zone 2 rides feel hard

They definitely discussed it around the time Jonathan signed up for Leadville. Somewhere around episode 188 or 189 or something.

It’s been mentioned a few times. I’ve just changed to Century from XCM for my own XCM racing this October. A lot more technical than Leadville and shorter/punchier climbs, but I do think the Century looks pretty good. Main difference being sustained Threshold vs hard start. I’ll have another look once I’ve managed to shake this chest cold and get my PL’s adapting in the right direction again.

One curious thing is that the Century plan shows it having a VO2 workout per week but on my plan it doesn’t.

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I don’t mind, but may be worth starting a new thread with a title more oriented to that focus

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I haven’t done Leadville, but did the old Breck 100. My training for that was pretty consistent but ‘easy’ in terms of what to do. This was a rough look into what I was doing 2 months out

One day was threshold. I would build this up periodically each week leading up to the race.
Next day was just loads of z2 with some sprint bursts
Another day of big tempo block
Rest
Saturday for me was the big day 4-6 hours. 1 hour z2, 1 hour tempo or SS climbing full gas, more z2, finish the ride with either 1 min/2min vo2 max or something like 3x10 threshold.
Sunday 4-6 hours endurance with some out of saddle sprints.

I’m shooting for Leadville next year and right now I can sit at z2/3 for hours and hit climbs hard. Time to exhaustion is key. Big fan of two hard days and the rest kinda easy/chill.

You know what, I just went back and looked, and the bulk of what I’ve been doing so far has been sweet spot base 1,2 and Sustained Power Build. My specialty blocks since starting have been pretty short because of timing to the two events I’ve been signed up for so haven’t been a huge factor.

I think looking at LV Climbing Road Race (VO2, VO2, Threshold) as compared to LV Century (VO2, Threshold, Sweet Spot) that the century does align better with the work I’ve been doing anyways and the event profile so might be the better choice. I think I really had the base/build work in my head and not the specialty when thinking about the work.

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