Friday, July 4, 2014

Six Months of Training; Time for a Pause

From the start of this training year in November I have been working to increase my watts/Kg ratio by 10% or more from what it was in September 2012.  The training is all targeted at doing a ride from Kalispell Mt to Durango CO this September.  I am approaching that goal.

In a lot of sports strength to weight ratio is key.  In cycling the measure is watts/kg of body weight where watts is at some time frame or standard measure.  In my case I use critical power as calculated by Golden Cheetah.  For most of us non-professional athletes, and especially those of us 66 years old, increasing that ratio means increasing strength AND losing some body fat.

Think about a well conditioned man weighing 170 pounds and has a maximum bench press of 250 lb.  To increase his strength to weight he can either increase his maximum strength to 275 or increase it to 265 and lose 5 lbs.  Since almost all of us need to lose 5 lbs--dare I say 10 lbs--it is necessary to work on both weight and strength.

A second factor in setting my goal was timing.  It is a real challenge to increase endurance and strength concurrently.  This year I changed my training program to build endurance and reduce weight over the first six months of the year.  That has worked pretty well.  My endurance is good (more on that in a bit) and I am within a kg of my target weight.  But building endurance does not increase top-end strength and over the last six months my critical power, measured over a rolling 28 days, has decreased by 6%.

As an aside, my goal is based on the ratio I had when I rode from Atlanta to Portland ME in 2012.  That route was harder than I really could do climbing 130,000 feet and going 1750 miles in 17 days.  I could not do the hardest days of 12,000 feet of climbs and 120 miles fast enough and had to be SAGed.   I know that if I want to continue doing these beastly rides I need to be stronger and lighter.  Hence the 10% ratio goal.
So at the end of June I have rode 4600 miles and over 1100 miles each of the last two months.  I have been riding 300 mile weeks.  And the last week of June I began riding two 100+ mile rides per week.  Endurance is on plan.

Now I am going to take 8 or 9 days off the bike and go to Iceland with my adult daughters.  I will post updates on that trip here because some of my friends are not on Facebook.

When I return I will begin the last phase of training.  I will keep weekly mileage at 300 but will increase intensity and distance.  Much more climbing in the mountains.  I will ride the Copper Triangle on August 2 as a last test and decision time about the tour this September.  Endurance-wise, I need to do two 150 mile rides in the same week--ideally back to back.  Strength-wise, I need to increase my climb rate.  I just haven't decided how much.


Ron Volkmar said...

Good article and I fully support and admire your effort both on the road and the analysis.

1. I am anxious to learn of your conclusion after the rest break. Most say it will result nothing but good. However, that has not always been my experience.

2. Do you have a link from your ride (MT to CO?)

3. I didn't see any references to age in your analysis. Are the strength increases realistic? I have heard good things about

Larry said...

Here is link for MT to CO ride. It actually goes on to NM but I can't be gone that long.

As for the break and strength. I did a series of max efforts at 1, 3, 5 and 20 minutes this week to re-establish my critical power. I will do the same after I get back. Will be interesting.

I follow Joe Friel who advocates high intensity training for over 50 and especially over 60. But I have been neglecting that while building endurance. Will return to it (e.g. threshold intervals) while climbing.