Reviewing the new TR plan...rolling road race

A little late to the game here since I didn’t want to say anything until the plan was actually done.

Since the new plans were just released & a stage race was just completed I decided to use mid-volume Rolling Road Race to train for my next event: A flattish 50 mile gravel race.

My training is in that ‘tweener’ zone where mid volume really isn’t enough work for me but high volume is totally beyond the pale. Usually a mid-vol plan gets scheduled and then I’ll fill it in with quite a bit more endurance work and a little bit more sweet spot. Specifically, instead of an off day on Monday 45 minutes to an hour of endurance work got scheduled…instead of an hour of endurance on Wednesday an hour & a half of endurance or (more often) an hour endurance in the morning plus the regularly scheduled endurance workout in the afternoon. On weekends I frequently did an extra hour of endurance in the morning & the regularly scheduled workout in the afternoon.

Finally, the Sunday sweet spot workout got upgraded by a point. If a sweetspot 3.8 workout was scheduled it got upgraded to a sweetspot 4.8. Same duration. Love those progression levels. Love the new workout search filters. Yeeha.

No ramp test at the end of the plan. Never do a ramp test in your taper. That which you can, you can. All a ramp test will do is screw with your head.

My honest thoughts after the plan but before my event: not enough hard work. I never felt like one of these workouts was going to break me. Never felt like I was walking through waste deep corn syrup during the day. Everything was very do-able.

Objectively, looking at my race PRE rolling road race plan 6 miles into the first stage I got gapped and dropped in spite of only putting out NP 238 watts for that portion of the race.

At my POST rolling road race plan event…went out hard for the first 6 miles or so. NP 232. Four power spikes over 400W, three of which were ~500W, one of those was over 600W. But this time I won the race. We finished comfortably under 2.5 hours so the group was moving right along.

This morning I PRed a 22 mile loop that I test myself on from time to time. By more than 90 seconds.

So the new plan worked well for me. Your mileage may vary.

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Congrats on the race results :trophy: and that nice sub-hour 22 mile loop this morning :100:

I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on all the PD Gollnick ‘straight recovery’ workouts earlier this year.

I guess it goes to show that more is not always more?

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That workout approach is just about the most effective way to improve “fractional utilization” of aerobic power. I think Gollnick’s results speak for themselves but I would moderate his approach! Take the edge off by adjusting the workout on the fly using heart rate ( I think I’ve talked about this approach in other threads ).

Here is the problem: not 1 in 100 riders will do the workout. :smiley: Don’t want to use provocative terms to describe why athletes aren’t inclined to adopt the approach…but I’m sure you can imagine.

I asked Seiler how long those types of gains could go on. He didn’t have an answer! But I think his own results, mine, and PDGs demonstrate that you can consistently improve for months.

However, that workout approach is just a part of the training gestalt. If all I do is Gollnick workouts my engine gets (relatively) big…but no snap. And the capacity to withstand short bursts even moderately above threshold will not be good. Which is how I got gapped at La Grind even though normalized power was a very mundane number…on the other hand also how I TT’ed back onto the virtual podium by 10 minutes before I shredded my rear tire.

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Definitely more intense work beyond a certain point is counter productive!

One of the interesting things about the Rolling Road Race plan…weekly notes were pretty much unadulterated from the old plan. Almost every week the notes would ‘tell’ me what the old workout plan looked like. Just comparing the old workouts vs the new workouts…definitely the new workouts had better compliance.

So maybe it’s as simple as dialing intensity back just enough to get additional compliance.

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Really interesting observation and thanks for sharing. Glad it worked out positively!

I’m currently at the point in my plan where I’m having the same concerns. It just feels like nothing is “hard”. I’ve been marking almost every workout “easy” for a few weeks now and it’s just not ramping my workouts up enough to where I’m feeling the pain, even with additional endurance rides added in. I actually chose a “Stretch” alternative VO2 workout yesterday just to see what will happen and even that one I marked “easy” at the finish. My concern is that by the time the plan gets to where it actually challenges me, it will be time to reset FTP and all the levels will go back down to easy. I guess we all just need to do what we do and assess at the end.

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One detail that escaped my narrative…in week five I substituted a 6.2 VO2max Thursday workout for a 10.0 VO2max workout as part of my ‘Big Swingin’ challenge. So instead of San Joaquin +5 I did Johnson.

Also, the ‘plan from the can’ has a rider doing 5.5 to 6.5 hours of riding a week. I was regularly doing 10 to 12 hours a week. The extra riding was zone 2 stuff.

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What is PD Gollnick training? Is it part of the new RR plan?

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Not TR. See here:

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Very interesting, congrats on the results. Makes me wonder if we are all addicted to being totally run-down all the time. Like maybe our entire frame of reference needs to shift to achieve more, i.e. be fresher more often and don’t mentally reward ourselves for being fall-over tired.

I’ll do some searching online, but if you have time, could you post a link to the description of these “straight recovery” workouts?

The paper:

  • 5 months with a ramp test at beginning and at beginning of week 10
  • workout is simply trying to hold 100% of FTP (75% of MAP from a ramp test)
  • 1 hour workout, 4 days per week
  • at beginning decrease intensity if necessary
  • try to increase power over time

So you could do something like this workout:

by feel, or adjust intensity in erg.

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Ah, I assumed it was related to recovery based on your statement “straight recovery”. Thanks for sharing.

That confusion is my fault…sorry. I have a custom workout titled ‘straight recovery’ that I used to do the PDG workouts. So the workout would start at ~130W or something & I would manually crank it up to the target work rate. Then just crank along at that power while watching average heart rate over the past several minutes. If that metric creeps up above ~92% of max cycling HR…lower the work rate by 5W and wait 30s to 60s to let HR settle.

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FWIW I love the name you gave that workout!

I completed the HV Rolling Road Race plan amount 2 months ago… Overall, I found it very tough… During the final 2-3 weeks I was failing workouts needing to lengthen some rest periods between intervals and backpedals for 10-20s mid the longer intervals to allow me to finish the workout… In addition, I was not following the plan to the letter and was adding in s couple of group rides during the week (TR in the morning group ride in the arvo) and swapped out the TR workout for club races on Saturdays… My progress had plateaued with an FTP of about 335W (4.0W/kg) and just wasn;t working forward…

After some advice from the TR forum, I had a couple of weeks off from structured training and just did my club races and some sensible group rides… My hours per week dropped from 12-15hr to about 6-8hrs… The drop in my CTL in TP was sad to see…

I am now into week 3/6 of the HVSS plan in preparation for an upcoming state race in late Septemer… With this HVSS plan I have made the changes to my usual training habits:

  1. I lowered my FTP a smidge down to 325W… The ramp test is a good guessimate of lactate theshold, but not a direct measure so it is not 100% accurate… Given I has done a lot of HIIT work leading up to the FTP it is likely to over estimate my aerobic capacity. My HR data over time (looking for the inflection point suggestive of lactate threshold would also suggest that 335W is probably a touch too high).

  2. I lowered my cadence during workouts to 85-95rpm as recommended in the workout instructions… I naturally prefer a higher cadence (95-105rpm) and I think this may have contributed to my lack of progress with my last plan… Too much aerobic contribution to energy production and not enough stress placed on the working muscles… The limiting factor to aerobic capacity is blood and O2 supply to the muscles from the lungs and heart… So to improve aerobic performance you need to better training the muscles to me more metabolically efficient (i.e. improve your strength endurance)… A slower cadence supports this…

  3. I follow the HVSS TR plan to the letter with some very carefully added Z2 work… I am not doing group rides anymore, but still swapping out the Sat workout for club races… I have also extended the duration of each TR workout to be 2hrs… Where the scheduled workout is <2hrs in duration, I fill the time with some Z2 work (60-65% FTP) just to maintain a good volume.

  4. When I started the 2-week rest period before commencing the HVSS plan, I started hitting the gym 2 days a week, which I have continued… I keep it simple, 3 sets of 10 for 3 upper and 3 lower body exercises (as I need to first develop a strength “base” for later higher-intensity work using 3-5 sets of 4-6 reps, which is recommended for cyclists to develop neuromuscular power).

  5. I have started to eat a bit more… I am still being sensible with what I eat, just eating slightly bigger portions or having that snack when I feel hungry…

How has it worked?

  1. The HVSS workouts are all totally achievable, tough towards the end, not totally doable… I do not feel as fatigued in the hours after the workouts or the following day as I previously did…

  2. Incorporating the strength work has not impaired about my ability complete the workouts… If anything, my increase in strength helps because of the lower cadence I am not using during training…

  3. I have gained about 2-2.5kg… I was previously holding about 83kg with the goal to get down to 80kg slowly over time… I am now 84-85kg… But my body composition seems to have improved somewhat…

  4. My club race results are better than they have ever been… I am now pushing NP 325W for a 1 hour race…

Take home messages

  1. Don’t be afraid to reduce your FTP to ensure you can complete your workouts (your “sweet-spot” should be performed at an RPE of 7/10, which should be managable for extended periods)…

  2. Stay the course, follow the plan… Group rides are fun, but rarely effective for structured training… They usually just add junk miles your week, which adds fatigue or no real physiological benefit…

  3. Strength training is very helping assuming the schedule/volume of training is appopriately managed around your cycling workouts… all studies I found reported that 12 weeks of strength training raised FTP by about 7% and those studies all used well-trained cyclists… However, those studies swapped a cycling workout for the strength straining… The strength training was notan “add-on”… For me, I essentially swapped out the group rides for the strength work…

  4. Gaining weight (within reason) is not always a bad thing…

Once I’ve completed the HVSS plan I will do another ramp test… Then start a build plan, then specialty plan in lead-up to my race in Sept…

I am interested to see how this progresses…

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This happens to me every time I hit the tough part of a training block. Body comp improves, but kg (lbs for me) are going up 3-6 lbs. I believe they talk about this on the AACC podcast, attributed to blood volume increases during these heavy aerobic periods. It seems totally normal, and I have wondered if it is a sign that you are stressing your system to the point of adaptations; i.e. if you aren’t getting those blood plasma volume changes and accompanying small weight gain, maybe you aren’t pushing the limits. Just my $0.02 and personal experience.

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