I break up the year like this
- Winter training (12 weeks) Jan to April
- Threshold improvement round 1 (8 weeks)
- Threshold improvement round 2 (8 weeks)
- Cyclocross Training (23 weeks)
Spent allot of outdoor time on the mountain bike riding gravel. There were some good rides over these 12 weeks; good strong rides that ended with a 75 mile, 5 hour + gravel ride to Owensville and back.
The goal over the 12 weeks was to build the hours on the bike and always feel good after a long ride, like you could do more if you had the time. Each weekend I would build the weekend ride hours up, adding a bit more time each week. I felt great about the 5 hour gravel ride and felt ready for phase 2, threshold improvement.
From a numbers perspective these 12 weeks were about building fitness (CTL). A good growth rate for me is 3 to 4 points a week for three weeks then hold or reduce by 1 point during the rest week. With this strategy I went from a 55CTL to 72 after 12 weeks.
Threshold Improvement Round 1 and 2
This was a new addition to my annual training plan this year. A specific set of time and workouts dedicated to threshold improvement coupled with continued CTL building. The same number of weekly hours that were completed in Winter Training continued for the 16 weeks of THLD Improvement.
This strategy worked well for me, I think it set me up for the high intensity cyclocross training that would follow.
The numbers showed the training worked, I went from starting THLD training at 260 to 274 when it was over. 274 is the best I've been able to produce, obviously I was pleased.
THLD improvement is also where my base fitness would peak for the season, 85.4 CTL. I would now carry this for the next 23 weeks as cross training was about to begin.
With 500 annual hours to train with 85 CTL is about as high as I can get. The maximum number of weekly hours I can complete is 12 to 13 hours. Sometimes 38% of the weekly hours are done in one long training ride on Sunday. So the final objective of these 16 weeks is to reach 85 CTL.
I started this phase 6 weeks before the first CX race. Objective was to hit the CX season in tip top race shape then continue with good form to the end.
Spending 6 weeks training at high intensity paid off. The CX season started with a bang then really never let up. Sure there were some races that I had bad legs but overall it was awesome.
In October I did a 1 min and 5 min test to see how well the high intensity stuff was working. I about fell over in my chair after I downloaded the numbers. Achieved my best 1 and 5 min power averages by a significant amount.
As the season moves along it's impossible for me to maintain or grow CTL. It will come down week over week due to reduced volume and more frequent rest days. No more 10 to 13 hour weeks, 7 to 8 hours is the norm. What makes this work is the high intensity. The unknown question for me was how long could I maintain high intensity training, race well and not get sick?
I found out the hard way, 20 weeks is my max window for cyclocross. The race before Christmas I was fatigued, then after Christmas on the 29th I got sick, and am still sick today. I may have found the answer to the above question the hard way but I'm ok with that, the answer to me is very valuable and will help me plan 2012.
From 30,000 Feet
Again improvement is the name of the game. Comparing last year vs. this year from a max watts per kilogram perspective I walked away stronger. Click the image to make larger.
What will change for 2012?
- I will let go racing Nationals and Worlds. Racing after Christmas I now have a different perspective on. I have 20 weeks to maximize my results and that will start 6 weeks before the first cross race then end after MO State CX weekend.
- I will add USGP Madison - I've decided a trip to Madison in September will be much more enjoyable then a trip to Madison or Louisville in January.
The rest of the plan will remain the same. 249 days till cross starts!