Author Topic: Turbo training for audax  (Read 2548 times)

Turbo training for audax
« on: January 21, 2018, 11:10:42 pm »
Something I have been meaning to ask for a while. My main interest is audax, I like riding a long way. I do not however like riding in the winter so a good deal of time is spent on the turbo. The question is, should I concentrate on long sessions, fairly easy but mixed up a little, try to emulate a road ride, or would I be better doing shorter more intense sessions? I want to improve my endurance and overall fitness, but I could do with loosing a bit of weight.

Just wondered if anybody has an opinion or actually knows of any science.

simonp

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Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2018, 11:40:51 pm »
If you have the time and the patience, long steady state sessions in the endurance zone (heart rate below 140 for a typical adult, but this will vary depending on your own heart rate) will be most effective. It's advisable to not only do the long stuff, and a typical balance would be 80% long stuff and 20% intense, and including intervals of short duration such as 2-3 minutes at high intensity. Particularly for cyclists who are getting older, doing some high intensity work can reduce age related decline in VO2max.

If time is shorter, sweet spot might be more effective. This intensity is sub threshold, and is really the high end of tempo and the low end of threshold. The advantage is higher training stress per unit time so less training time. You can't do as much sweet spot as endurance without getting over-tired, though.

There's a neat diagram here explaining why sweet spot might be a good choice. Also the table here describes the expected training benefit of each zone.

One thing you can do is do the more intense work in winter, e.g. sweet spot or vo2max, and then add more long stuff when you can ride outdoors. This is often called reverse periodisation since you are going the opposite route to the typical base-build-speciality structure, where the base phase is generally the 80-20 stuff I mentioned earlier. However, for audax the lower intensity stuff is actually event specific so it could be argued that it's normal periodisation to with things around like this. Joe Friel has a post about that here.

I'm following the sweet-spot approach using TrainerRoad. If I do any audax riding this year, I'll leave the long rides until outdoors is pleasant.



Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2018, 06:43:17 pm »
Simon, thank you for that, they are really interesting articles. Not sure I fully understand Joe Friel's but I will go over it again.

I have been doing some sweetspot sessions although these are only around 40 minutes long. This was the main reason for the question. Although the sessions are quite hard, are they long enough. I am going to try a long session, basically to see if I can. Probably something like 3 hours broken up into blocks of moderate pedalling, say 20 minutes then 5 or maybe 10 minutes of effort. I guess the worst thing that can happen is I get bored.

simonp

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Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2018, 07:00:54 pm »
Longest session of sweet spot I’ve done is 2h on Sunday. This was 4x18m. This was ok but I was a wreck yesterday.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2018, 07:15:30 pm »
Think about where you struggle most on an Audax ride. With me it's the hills, and the cumulative effect of climbing them.  I never have a problem covering flat ground at a decent pace.

A hour on a turbo is a long boring hour so I'm inclined to say, based on my experiences in Wattbike class, make the most of being indoors on a fixed bike and do intervals above threshold (zone 4/5/6/max).  Doing Sub-threshold stuff is much easier out on the road then doing above-threshold training (My eyes are closed in Zone 5 & 6...it bloody hurts).  It takes some will-power to build endurance on a Turbo trainer.  I'd rather wrap up and go for a 4 hour Sunday morning blast than do similar hours on a turbo*

The gains you can make in a short time, using HIIT-type intervals, are incredible but it's almost impossible to safely recreate it out on the road.

My ability to hang on, on a climb, above threshold, has increased so much I can hardly believe it.  I just don't run out of gas the same and it was that that was impacting my overall speed on an Audax, recovering from the hills or the headwind sections. 
My heart-rate drops much more quickly, following a hard effort, than it did a year ago.  It's getting used to hanging on, above threshold, for minutes at a time.

I'm basically a convert to the concept of threshold and >threshold training....where the pain is and where the quick rewards are.

*I'm not qualified to recommend any of this..I just go to Wattbike classes with a pro coach and am stating my own experiences of my own gains.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2018, 09:07:48 pm »
That's interesting Lee, thank you, and something akin to what I have been doing. I have been concentrating on sweet spot by following GCN and Bike Radar videos. It is making a difference. I got out yesterday (day off work) and rode 65 miles on a fairly flat route, but rode it faster than I would on an audax. I found I seemed to be able to hold an effort for longer. Tired towards the end but I put that down to the time of year.

I do not intend to stop the HIIT and sweet spot training, these I believe are valuable. I will however give a long session a try and see what happens, although I am not sure about a 2 hour sweet spot session.


Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2018, 09:14:08 pm »
Sweet Spot is sub threshold. The theory is that it's just at the point where you can do a reasonable volume and still recover to do it again soon. The Trainer Road zones are explained here:
https://support.trainerroad.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005942786-Understanding-Power-Zones
It sounds to me like Lee is doing Threshold, VO2 Max and Anaerobic work in his HIIT sessions - you can get very good gains from this if you can manage the recovery (and the pain!).

Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2018, 09:55:09 pm »
Duncan, you're right, sweet spot is sub-threshold. But if you add in to that some above threshold efforts you can create a quite intense workout. This GCN video is one that I have done https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTs2fwpqBbg&t=2196s&list=PLUdAMlZtaV13e3-rJq1W0O1kf2DVlslmC&index=11

simonp

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Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2018, 09:56:23 pm »
It’s generally held that more than 2 vo2max sessions in a week isn’t worth it. Try 4 and you’ll probably dig a big hole.

Generally the higher the intensity the less volume you can tolerate.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2018, 01:25:59 pm »
It’s generally held that more than 2 vo2max sessions in a week isn’t worth it. Try 4 and you’ll probably dig a big hole.

Generally the higher the intensity the less volume you can tolerate.

Absolutely, especially with advancing age.  2 tough Wattbike sessions is enough for me.  My numbers prove clearly that any more than that and I start to struggle.

Before any long ride I tend to take at least 3 days off the bike/training although I feel like 5 days off gives me the "strongest legs" for the event.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

Martin 14

  • People too weak to follow their own dreams, will a
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2018, 11:50:51 am »
As a newbie I have been following a 12 week Ftp builder on Zwift, 4 weeks in, so far so good. As I my intention is to try my hand at Duathlon later this year I bought myself a garmin foot pod to use on the treadmill so had to calibrate it outside with a one mile run, and then finished up on the treadmill to 5k to test. It works fine, the downside is I can't walk down the stairs this morning ::-).....too much too soon for a 64 year old I guess :-[
People too weak to follow their own dreams, will always find a way to discourage yours

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2018, 12:01:54 pm »
Back to the OP  - yes >1hour on a turbo can be intensely tedious, I've got three of the Tacx RLVs where you are following a road and the turbo automatically changes the resistance.  With the three I have I can pick a route depending on what I'm wanting to do as well, with some nice long flatter sections, some pretty decent climbs, or more rolling stuff which gives short sharp bursts and recovery.  I've gone up to 90 min on those when conditions didn't allow outside riding
“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2018, 07:59:10 pm »
It’s generally held that more than 2 vo2max sessions in a week isn’t worth it. Try 4 and you’ll probably dig a big hole.

Generally the higher the intensity the less volume you can tolerate.

Absolutely, especially with advancing age.  2 tough Wattbike sessions is enough for me.  My numbers prove clearly that any more than that and I start to struggle.

Before any long ride I tend to take at least 3 days off the bike/training although I feel like 5 days off gives me the "strongest legs" for the event.

I did 5x3m on Tuesday and was really feeling it the next day. Threshold on Thursday was tolerable but another tired day yesterday. Two rowing sessions today.

What doesn't kill us etc.

Going to try some sweet spot tomorrow if I have the energy.

vorsprung

  • Opposites Attract
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Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2018, 09:01:05 pm »
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Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2018, 10:52:16 pm »
Tried doing a longer session tonight.I got the intensity wrong and stopped after 90 minutes (I wanted to do 2 hours). I'll try again later in the week, legs feel pretty tired now so I must have worked hard. I need to drop the intensity a fraction. Easier to do out on the road than on a turbo.

LEE

  • "Shut Up Jens" - Legs.
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #15 on: January 31, 2018, 07:20:09 pm »
Wattbike today:

- Intense warm up for 10 minutes
- Pyramid: 90rpm in Z2 (1 min) increase cadence to Z3 (1 min) increase cadence to Z4 (1 min) increase cadence to Z5 (1 min) increase cadence to Z6 (1 min) then the reverse back to 90rpm in Z2.
- No recovery
- 60 rpm Z5 (2 mins)
- Recovery (5mins)
..repeat

It was as tough as anything I've done apart from the 20min FTP test.

Over the course of the 10 week program you cover high-cadence power (Cardio), low cadence power (leg strength) and, like today, a mix.  I ride Single-Speed so the low rpm, high power, is OK but I find making the same power at high revs tougher...which is why I benefit from these programs. 
My natural cadence has increased quite a lot I think.  My tendency was always to honk a big gear out of the saddle but now I tend to sit and spin more. This is goodness.

My legs feel like they will be very sore tomorrow.
Some people say I'm self-obsessed but that's enough about them.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Turbo training for audax
« Reply #16 on: January 31, 2018, 08:39:08 pm »
I struggled a bit with 6x3m@120% FTP yesterday. Turned it down by 5% after two intervals. 3x15m rowing tonight and 4x10m cycling tomorrow. I might switch tomorrow to a different workout.