I train in blocks--at least that is what I call it. Mike Durner and Carmichael Training Systems probably have a better name for it but to me the grouping of hard rides into back to back days and having three hard weeks in a row are blocks. And each block is definitely getting harder.
Blocks are not right for every cyclist. To illustrate I asked Dave Twynam to contribute on how he trains. Dave is a racer. Dave is quite a lot stronger than me over an hour. I might be stronger than him over six hours but he could care.
On a few occasions Larry and I have compared notes of training protocols and he has kindly invited me to contribute.
Our goals are quite different yet our training has many similarities.
My goals are based around 7 races in Colorado. They are all mass start road races ranging in duration from 20 minutes to 3 hrs 20 minutes. Some are hill climbs requiring a fairly constant power output, others are flatter courses requiring bursts of intensity.
One shared goal of our training is to raise our functional threshold power. This is the highest power one can sustain for 1 hour and is the best predictor of endurance performance. However Larry's training is also targeting flattening of the power-duration curve out to the 8 hour mark which is of little consequence to me. My training also targets durations down to 1 minute which is of little consequence to him.
I don’t spend the same kind of training hours Larry does. His easy weeks of 9 hours would be greater than my average week of 8 hours. Of course in order to flatten the power duration curve out a 8 hours and to prepare for consecutive 8 hour days he needs a huge training volume. I also have to be very careful about over-stressing my immune system as I had a reactivation of mono last fall that I really don’t want again.
One tool I have found most helpful is the cyclingpeaks WKO+ software which has, among many features, a way to analytically measure "freshness". I am attempting to keep this index above -20. I like to go into races between +5 and +10. On the 2 occasions this Spring when it dipped below -20 I got a sore throat.
My next targeted race is the State Road Race in Fort Collins on 6/21.
This week my training schedule is:
Monday & Tuesday - 1 hour sweet spot training indoors in the evening.
Wednesday - rest.
Thursday - threshold intervals on the Air Force Academy after work.
Friday - rest.
Saturday - long ride, possibly in Boulder, incorporating a 50 minute climb just below threshold to emulate the climb near the start of next week's race.
Sunday - easy recovery ride.
As you can see Dave's workouts are very different than mine except we both rely on PowerTaps and power training. Dave was the first person to tell me that I needed to shift from heart rate monitors to power. Mike nearly insisted. They were right. Maybe soon Dave and I can cover the basics. His approach is slightly different than mine.
This is Friday night and the last five days have been really easy. This weekend I am only riding five hours and not one hard interval. Last night I saw the new Indiana Jones movie and had popcorn. Tonight I saw another movie with my wife and had more popcorn. Tomorrow I am going to dinner for Father's Day. I better get back to riding before I gain too much weight.