Trying out a block of threshold training

Decided this was a good time to experiment with some different training focus. In particular, I’ve been looking to focus on longer intervals at threshold or near-threshold intensity. So I’ve been choosing workouts on my own along the likes of 2x20, 3x15, 4x15 … etc. I’m doing four of these per week: two 1-hour (or 1:15) workouts during the week, plus two 1.5-2 hour workouts on the weekends.

As to specific workouts, I’ve been using the following:
Pinchot (basically 2x20 @ 100%, but each interval is split into 5 segments with 30s breaks, which was a great mental help before diving into a straight 20-minute interval)
Gray (2x20 @ 100%; 1 hour)
Mount Goode (3x15 @ 95-99%; 1:30)
Starr King (3x15 @ 100%; 1:15)
Mount Goode +2 (3x18 @ 97-99%; 1:30)
Mount Good +3 (4x15 @ 95-99%; 1:30)
Galena +1 (3x20 @ 95%; 1:30)

Comments and suggestions appreciated. In particular, I’m not sure whether I should be mixing in some super-threshold workouts, or whether this approach is fine for a 4-6 week block, knowing I’ll be hitting other systems in due course.

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Two questions come to mind.

First, if you’re able to complete all these workouts, 4X a week, week after week, is your FTP properly assessed?

Second, what goals do you plan to achieve through this custom plan that you couldn’t achieve through 40KTT Specialty?

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I would definitely just start the 40k tt plan rather than haphazardly doing threshold work all the time?

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If you haven’t already, I’d highly recommend listening to the @empiricalcycling podcast, episode 14 deals directly with “effective FTP training”. http://www.empiricalcycling.com/podcast-episodes

I think it’s really important to test your FTP properly going into it, specifically so you know your time to exhaustion (TTE). Getting a grip on the latter means you can base your training around gradually working on and extending how long you can sustain threshold efforts, rather than necessarily trying to increase the power number week by week.

I’m continuing on threshold work at the moment. My week currently looks like: 1x “upper” threshold session (approx. 98%FTP), increasing interval length each week (from 2x20min, to 3x20min, to 2x30min); 1x lower threshold/sweetspot session (90-92%FTP), with longer intervals/time in zone (3x30min etc.); 1x Over/Under (using the TR workouts with longer intercals); 1x easy long ride (3hrs); 1x super easy ride (z1); 1x day off.

You can definitely go for a more dense training load in the short term, either stacking days together, or doing a couple of weeks with an extra TH/SS workout, but as ever that’ll need more recovery. Kolie has also written a good piece on this https://t.co/nkY1CYnK6v?amp=1

There’s a few ways to go - personally I’d say, above anything, to work on increasing interval length, up to and then above 20mins (which isn’t too common in the TR workouts). 2x45mins is when it actually gets as hard as people make 2x20mins out to be!

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Thanks for the input and comments. My interest in longer threshold intervals was actually prompted by listening to several episodes of Kolie’s podcast, particularly the comment that “the best way to raise FTP is to ride at FTP” (I’m paraphrasing, but see Episode 16 where he answers questions from Reddit listeners).

As for an assessment, I began at my then-current FTP, and assesed using @alexgold123 custom TR workout for Kolie’s “baseline” protocol. That gave me a good feel for what is an achievable effort that can be sustained for a good stretch.

My goal is simply to raise FTP for now – it makes everything else easier, and enables faster recovery between higher-intensity efforts. The trick, as ever, is to figure out the right way to structure a progression of these workouts to keep the stress productive. I had a look at the 40k TT specialty plan, and the Thursday and Sunday workouts in particular look like nice options for long, sustained work at close to FTP. I should have explored that earlier – I figured I wasn’t in a specialty phase of training, so didn’t think of it.

Thanks to all that have weighed in on this so far.

That just strikes me as way too much threshold work for a week over week accumulation. The back to back long threshold days on the weekends seems like a mistake to me. If it’s for one or two weeks, OK, then recover. For a 4-6 week block? I wouldn’t ever program that for someone. I think you will struggle to complete it assuming your FTP is set accurately.

If you want to program a block like that, no more than three: T, Th, Sa, and make Sunday a couple hours relatively easy. That’s still a lot of work, and likely to leave you pretty trashed pretty quickly IMO.

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whoa! 4x a week. holy moly that sounds painful. build time in zone per session over a few weeks and you’ll actually absorb more of the stimulus; if you keep this up, unless you are super human, you could easily crack and dislike riding a bike very soon!

not saying you will or knocking your idea, but man, that’s a lot at once

Brendan

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Yeah, I would be dreading the bike by the end of the second week, personally. Even if you can physically handle it, I wouldn’t program it just for that mental aspect.

i dont even think that would be absorbed for future use by the time it’s completed. hope you’re doing well nash!

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I did something similar in recent weeks by my usual routine was 2xthreshold and 1 O/U supplemented by 1 Z2 ride. I come from LV and whole 6 months of cycling so this was virtually a bump from LV to MV in terms of TSS.

My TTE was 45 min and my progression was:
3x15, 2x20,3x20,2x30 (with added time in Z2 at the end) ,1x60 and Gibraltar+2 at the end. I could handle this without much of a problem. My TSS was on level with MV but with 3-4 workouts a week. The O/U were the most taxating for me. I have not done any VO2 max work during this block.

Now after recovery week and small bump in FTP I am starting new block of these. But doing 4x a week a threshold workout seems pretty “hardcore”.

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Did someone say my favourite word?!? :grin:

FWIW, I have a 2-week block of Threshold coming up (in a couple of weeks).
3x Threshold + 1x VO2max

Definitely doable if one has the opportunity to do proper R&R. Goal for me is simply building basic fitness and firing up all the available systems after a year-long lay-off. March I did a bunch of mixed bag stuff just to get back into it. April contains 3-week block of 3SS+1VO2 (2on/1off) and the mentioned Threshold block (same protocol). After that, it’ll be back into “real” structured training.

:+1:

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Why I am not surprised? :smiley:

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suggestions on extending tempo and sweet spot and FTP intervals are in this post:

and example TR workouts for sweet spot here:

Heaping on moar moar moar moar into a week is not the best strategy. Depending on your fitness level doing just 1 or 2 a week is all you need to see quick improvements. If you are really fit then maybe 3 a week. Just for kicks I cracked open the Time Crunched Cyclist and “experienced competitor road racing” has 3 hard days, 3 rest days, and a long Sunday endurance workout for ~7-8 hours a week. I’m just a lowly Cat 5 and made a pretty quick jump from 15 to 30 to 50 minutes, you might be surprised how fast you can work up the ladder and skip rungs. Good luck!

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4x/week sounds fine if you take some precautions. But you also might consider extending your “week” instead of 7 days, maybe 8 or 9. I do this with pros/elites/people who have infinite ride time, or with folks who have 1.5-2h/day every day of the week. My other piece of advice is to start at what you know you can handle and add duration. Threshold and below always benefits from that, while above threshold usually benefits from exactly the opposite.

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This.
Currently constructing my lockdown training plan and noticed I was still working off the 7-day week hamster wheel, which can be quite restrictive. For the next 2 months I’m trying to sort out bigger 10-13 training blocks which include things like 4on/3off type combos; it really opens up the options.

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Yes!! If you have flexibility, you don’t have to microcycle at 7 days. 8, 9 or 10 days can be effective. It just doesn’t work for most people with the constraints of a job, school, family, etc.

When I stop working full time, I’m planning on adjusting to a longer microcycle so I can experiment with it and have additional tools to program for athletes.

That said, 4x threshold even on a 9 or 10 day microcycle is probably still too much to sustain for more than one or two “weeks” IMO.

This is really good, and follows a lot of others who agree that longer rather than more is the best way to grow FTP.

“Go long” under FTP and the opposite over FTP. Thanks Kolie Moore for continuing to drop by and share your coaching experiences!

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This is really at the heart of what I’m trying to accomplish. My approach in the past has been to “nudge” up the intensity, with over/unders (where the over segment is longer from week to week), or with hard starts … etc. But all of that occurs around a similar structure of 8-12 minute work intervals. So what I’m trying to do is leave the intensity alone but stretch out the duration of each work interval. Overall intensity of each workout as well as weekly stress is really not much changed compared to, say, General Build. It’s just how each workout is composed that is different. I will say, though, that this makes for some pretty mind-numbing trainer workouts!

The other major takeaway from Kolie’s podcast for me has been that riding at threshold should be challenging but “accomplishable”. It’s only a few watts’ difference between an accomplishable effort and one that puts me on the ragged edge of holding on after just 10 minutes. It’s been interesting to fine-tune both the value and, perhaps more important, the feeling of riding just at that level.

+1 on what Kolie said.

This was the first day of an FTP block. I like to start with 40min and then try to add 5min each week, then do a 60min test after the “down” week.

If you can ride outside, I’d say start with the 40min power you can produce twice a week, and extend the duration from there. Inside? Maybe not…

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