Author Topic: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'  (Read 5454 times)

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« on: August 15, 2019, 11:20:43 am »
I'm on the market for a training plan - I've really struggled to source plans from British Cycling (https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/training-plans), as everything seems geared around short form racing. I don't really want to start paying for a plan if a good resource is available elsewhere, especially as British Rowing used to make very good ones available.

Diet I can take care of.

My situation is that I currently place mid pack in Cat 4 crit races and cyclocross, I'm about 10-15 kg overweight, and have until next May to get down to 80-85 kg, get fast enough to meaningfully participate in Race Around the Netherlands next May. In the meantime I will also be doing RRTY, and some cyclocross, though the cyclocross is mostly just for fun. I have a turbo trainer I can use for intervals, and I have a heartrate monitor I can use for UT2. A power meter is not within my budget at this point.

I am a bit frustrated by how difficult it seems to find a decent training plan online. All the usual resources tell me to go and pay for a coach, telling me obvious stuff like 'combine long sessions with intervals' without pointing to any actual schemes. Any pointers would be appreciated.
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Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2019, 11:35:41 am »
I've been watching some videos on You Tube by Dylan Johnson. If you can get past the spotty-kid look, he seems to know a thing or two about structured training, and isn't afraid to share some training block specifics. Most of his racing looks to be off-road endurance.

A lot of the actual plans that work are hidden behind paywalls for good reason - they're people's intellectual property.

I'm working on the assumption that I'll have to write my own plans, based on Joe Friel's book and the fact that plans are mostly (always?) based around a 7 day week, and that doesn't really work for me as I'm pushing 60 and need more in the way of recovery. There are some ready-made plans on TrainingPeaks for endurance, but they can be quite spendy, and I think taking the principles offered by the likes of Joe Friel, and Dylan Johnson and rolling my own might well be the way to go.

ETA: I got put onto Dylan Johnson when I watched his video where he rips apart the plans/workouts on Zwift.

quixoticgeek

  • Mostly Harmless
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2019, 11:46:51 am »

As well as the fitness, don't forget to train the soft skills. These include efficient bivvying, and finding food on the route (Hint: RatN has a 200km leg with buggerall food available).

I'd also suggest training your stomach is important.

The climbing on RatN is all at the end, yes there's only 5000m of climb in 1900km, but about 4000m of it is in a single 90km stretch. Them limburg hills are brutal, one of them is 22%. Get some practice on the steepest hills you can find. They are short, sharp, and punchy, But they surprise a lot of people.

Finally for RatN, expect headwinds, so train for them, get comfortable slogging into a headwind for a couple of hours, it'll come as less of a shock when you turn left at the google datacentre that way.

As for how to train for ultraendurance, if you come up with an answer, let me know. I want to try the TCR again next year, I've got 49 weeks to lose 20kg, and get fit...

J
--
Beer, bikes, and backpacking
http://b.42q.eu/

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2019, 12:13:06 pm »
I'm not convinced that I will change much for next year.   For the last 5 years I have mixed TTs and audax with some level of success.

When I started with a coach 3 years ago he introduced a lot more threshold/high intensity work, made me work harder on my commutes, but left the long weekend rides largely unchanged.   During the Winter I was doing structured work on the turbo 3 days a week, commuting, and doing one long ride - 5-6hrs every weekend.   I believe that the turbo work made the biggest difference as my cruising/audax pace is significantly faster.

I'm still racing to the end of Sep, but will then break from the structured work until, probably, January when I will have 4 months before RAtN.   Last year I put on half a stone on my break but that did include 10 days in Italy without a bike.

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2019, 09:20:17 pm »
I like TrainerRoad and its training plans. But they recently increased their pricing to $20 / month which would make me look for other options if I was starting out.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2019, 09:51:00 pm »
I'm on the market for a training plan - I've really struggled to source plans from British Cycling (https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/training-plans), as everything seems geared around short form racing. I don't really want to start paying for a plan if a good resource is available elsewhere, especially as British Rowing used to make very good ones available.
Do the British Rowing plans cover ultra events?!?       [nothing is impossible ... but I reckon rowers are mostly focused on much shorter events than cyclists. Generally.]

I don't have a pure answer to your question, but there is a view that in physiological terms,  training for long-ish rides is pretty much the right training for 600mile+ rides.
Idai - of Elliptigo and fasted riding fame - wrote about this somewhere, I think.

You want legs that are well equipped for 6-8 hilly hours. Then you need to practice/test the logistical stuff that becomes more important on the multi-day stuff - fuelling, pacing, drink, equipment etc etc ...
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2019, 11:42:08 pm »
I like TrainerRoad and its training plans. But they recently increased their pricing to $20 / month which would make me look for other options if I was starting out.

If you stick with them then the price you pay is supposed to stay. I am paying $99 per year. Have to say I think that’s incredible value (even with the pound tanking). I also think it’s a mistake if it results in inflating prices for new users to fund development.

Zed43

  • prefers UK hills over Dutch mountains
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2019, 05:50:38 am »
Yes, good strategy to keep your loyal customers. I'm also still paying the $99 / year.

bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2019, 01:31:37 pm »
I'm on the market for a training plan - I've really struggled to source plans from British Cycling (https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/knowledge/training-plans), as everything seems geared around short form racing. I don't really want to start paying for a plan if a good resource is available elsewhere, especially as British Rowing used to make very good ones available.
Do the British Rowing plans cover ultra events?!?       [nothing is impossible ... but I reckon rowers are mostly focused on much shorter events than cyclists. Generally.]

Unfortunately it seems it's no longer available, but Concept 2 and British Rowing released these plans for their 'great row' event a few years ago. The marathon one was very good.

https://www.docdroid.net/0cjvye5/the-great-row-training-plan.pdf

Recommended. If you can stomach long ergs that is!

Cheers for the suggestions everyone.
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CrazyEnglishTriathlete

  • Miles eaten don't satisfy hunger
  • Chartered accountant in 5 different decades
    • CET Ride Reports and Blogs
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2019, 02:28:41 pm »
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Long-Distance-Cyclists-Handbook/dp/0713668326

Simon Doughty's book was my resource as a developing Audax rider. 

There are two things I added to this:

1) a structured weight training program - through my local gym, to build up leg, back and particularly leg-back connective strength so that I was (and am still able) to keep a stable power transmission

2) time trials (50 and 100 miles) to have the mental discipline to keep going on relatively boring terrain at a relatively high speed.

Once I've got used to riding 200km, the extra distance hasn't been about leg strength, watts, but about two things - the head (keeping going mentally) and the stomach (finding a feeding strategy that works).  Simon's book helps a lot with that, but the best way is to find what works out personally.  I've found pretty much everything that's been written about eating on long distance rides to be laughable, as after 8 - 12 hours most people have to learn what works, so putting in a couple of 300k or 400k events in the rest of this year would help, if you haven't already worked out what food works.

Eddington Numbers 125 (imperial), 175 (metric) 528 (furlongs)  112 (nautical miles)

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2019, 06:53:10 pm »
The reason coaches get a lot of business from mere mortals is precisely a result of what you’ve found. Ie, it’s quite difficult to find structured plans for free on the internet.
I have used a coach on and off for the last few years and it is without doubt the best way to get fitter if you’re time crunched. It is generally accepted that most people’s hard rides aren’t hard enough and easy rides not easy enough. I generally did 3-4 one hour turbo sessions a week and then a steady 3 hour ride at weekends. The hard sessions were generally something like: 10 minute warm up, interval sets for 20 minutes (3 or 5 minute efforts with 1-2 minutes in between), rest for a bit, another 20 minutes of intervals and then a cool down. All sessions like this done on a turbo for clinical efficiency. Not fun, but over winter it works well for me. Also has the bonus that my wife knows I am unlikely to be knocked off my bike if it’s stationary in the garage....
Having a coach also helps with motivation. I have the will power of a crack addict and knowing that someone will be looking my numbers over the next day helps make sure I wander to the garage in the snow to get my session in.



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bludger

  • Randonneur and bargain hunter
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2020, 03:26:21 pm »
So since I've actually gone and booked myself into one of these things, I have gone and made the effort of coming up with an outline training programme. I am doing something somewhat controversial in not actually doing any 'cycling' training per se in it (lol). It is exclusively rowing (ergometer) and weights.

The thinking behind this is:

*One of my biggest problems is being too fat. Lifting weights in a structured programme has worked for me in losing fat very effectively before.

*Rowing machines give very good and precise data feedback

*I believe being strong will make me faster and just as crucially, more resistant to wearing-down and injury. The onus on my training is having the stamina to go the difference, not go toe-to-toe with the local choppers on the Hoggenberg.

*It's something I can really stick to and track results from. I also know how to do it quite comfortably.

*I believe doing lots of cycling puts me at risk of injury from putting all the 'aggro' on my knees and ankles. By contrast I can row for hours and hours and hours without problems, and I am of the view it is highly complementary to making one a good 'all rounder'. There is no 'bike fit' equivalent with rowing, you just put your feet on the machine in the right place and plug away.

*I will be riding the bike every day to work and back, and at weekends I'll be doing actual long rides, audaxes, etc.



It's not a long event (or even technically race), it's about 900 km, but it should give some good feedback on whether this is a working system or not.
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Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2020, 05:07:44 pm »
Some of the training plans for Ironman distance triathlons might be good. Joe Friels triathlete training bible is great.

I have used it as the basis for preparing for its intended triathlons but also for multi day running and multi day cycling events.

I used to row a lot and have an ergo down in the cellar and use it a bit but I don’t think I would use it as my main endurance training. I would be concerned it is the wrong cadence.

In upping my cycling distance last year it was ancillary parts that struggled in the beginning - wrists, neck, back, ankles before they became adapted.


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Phil W

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2020, 06:01:20 pm »
I've been watching some videos on You Tube by Dylan Johnson. If you can get past the spotty-kid look, he seems to know a thing or two about structured training, and isn't afraid to share some training block specifics. Most of his racing looks to be off-road endurance.

A lot of the actual plans that work are hidden behind paywalls for good reason - they're people's intellectual property.

I'm working on the assumption that I'll have to write my own plans, based on Joe Friel's book and the fact that plans are mostly (always?) based around a 7 day week, and that doesn't really work for me as I'm pushing 60 and need more in the way of recovery. There are some ready-made plans on TrainingPeaks for endurance, but they can be quite spendy, and I think taking the principles offered by the likes of Joe Friel, and Dylan Johnson and rolling my own might well be the way to go.

ETA: I got put onto Dylan Johnson when I watched his video where he rips apart the plans/workouts on Zwift.

If you mean Fast after 50 that's exactly how I built my initial turbo workouts back in 2018.  What I like about it is the emphasis on the priority of workouts during a training phase.  Make sure you cover the priority workouts first and if real stuff gets in the way drop the low priority stuff. Also no dictation on the day to do a workout. So if I want to delay a workout a day or from morning to evening no issues.

I did look at some of the paid training plans this year but they are too prescriptive and the workouts overly complex. So I've stuck with simple sets of intervals. Trying more polarised this year. So I've dropped the threshold and am doing long aerobic threshold and short vO2 Max based intervals. Trying to stick close to 80 / 20 in terms of proportion. So far so good with improvements this past 5 weeks. Plus my workout choices are even simpler than past two years.

Tedx talk on polarised by Stephen Seiler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MALsI0mJ09I

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2020, 08:15:01 pm »
Tedx talk on polarised by Stephen Seiler

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MALsI0mJ09I

Not sure this is relevant to anyone other than pros. 

He's suggesting 90-95% of training in his "green" zone (equating to HR zones 2&3?).  That would maybe make sense for someone training several hours a day (i.e. a pro). In fact I'm not sure how a pro could train any other way without burning out PDQ.

But for mortals with jobs, lives, etc who have maybe 3 hours a week, that would equate to 2h40m at "green" (i.e. really very easy work) and at the most 20m high intensity. I'm pretty sure that if I restricted myself to this type of training my form would dip.


Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2020, 08:20:41 pm »
He has 3 zones.
Zone 1 is below LT1, which is essentially the sort of pace you can ride at all day.
Zone 2 is LT1-LT2 (basically FTP), which is when it starts getting hard.
Zone 3 is above threshold.

He wants you to ride in Zone 1 for 80% of the time, and Zone 3 for 20%. Avoid Zone 2.
This is great for professionals who have a very small Zone 2 because they have raised LT1 with a huge training volume. It might not be so good for regular humans, for whom LT1 is a relatively low %age of FTP - it means spending hours and hours doing very low W. If you have the time and patience, then maybe it can work for you...

Phil W

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2020, 08:34:38 pm »
It's been validated down to recreational cyclists doing about 5-8 hours a week. Anyway I've seen good gains in my first five weeks of trying it, so will see where it leads. Like all of this training malarkey, do what works for you. More than one way to skin a cat,

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2020, 10:20:42 pm »
It's been validated down to recreational cyclists doing about 5-8 hours a week. Anyway I've seen good gains in my first five weeks of trying it, so will see where it leads. Like all of this training malarkey, do what works for you. More than one way to skin a cat,
Absolutely. I doubt it would do much when you get down to low volume (a few 1 hour rides a week), but if you can muster 8 hours you are probably not going to be able to do all of that at high intensity anyway. Everyone says that most people make the easy days too hard and the hard days too easy, and this is aimed at stopping both sides of that issue.

Phil W

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2020, 10:23:52 pm »
Agreed but if you’re down to just a few one hour rides a week you are not really training for ultra endurance.

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2020, 10:27:27 pm »
I got myself on an 80/20 kind of programme, and although the 80 can feel pretty dull, the 20 is damn hard. My FTP has shown steady progress which is OK by me. This time last year it didn't, for whatever reason, and I gave up on the whole season at that point. Here's hoping that doesn't happen again  ::-).

I still find myself doing long hard sessions, which is not allowed on 80/20; it just feels wrong to dial it back when you're feeling strong and want to hammer it.

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2020, 09:31:05 am »
A) 5 x 20mins at way over ftp during the week, and a few hours pootling round the countryside at the weekend. 7 hours total.

Or

B) 7 x 1hr at ftp.

Option A is much more enjoyable and for works better for me... and you can double or quadruple it if you want.


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Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2020, 11:41:18 am »
Option A is only "polarised" if your pootling doesn't include any efforts. I find it difficult to ride slow enough outside, especially if there are hills (too hard up, too easy down). This is probably a function of too large a gap between LT1 and LT2 (which could be trained if I were so inclined and had the time) and mentality - I like working hard up hills and struggle to ride deliberately within myself.

Option B would be loony. The usual alternative to polarized isn't destroy yourself every day - it's sweetspot. A TR sweetspot plan would involve 1 hour of VO2 max intervals, 1 hour of sweetspot (definitions differ, but around 85-95% of FTP) intervals, and 1-2 hours of aerobic/tempo. If you move to a medium volume plan it adds more aerobic work, as adding extra hard stuff blunts your ability to follow the plan. This differs from the polarized model in that you spend a significant portion of your time in Zone 2, where polarized says you shouldn't go.

I'm not necessarily advocating either - I'm sure a sensible plan can be built using whatever approach you like. I'm just trying to say why I think polarized wouldn't work for me...

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2020, 01:34:12 pm »
I'm training for one 1900k race in May and a 2600k race in July.   I've done 10,000+ miles per year for the last nine and 12,500 last year so my base is fine.

I commute every day totalling circa 1h45m - all in endurance zone by HR.
Tue & Thu - evening turbo session 60-75mins variable depending on what is set by coach but I'd call them 'hard' efforts
Wed - lunchtime ride - 60 mins
Sat - road ride 5-6hrs hilly - this is the bit I really need to work on this year after racing on a lot of flat roads.
Sun - 2hrs turbo - usually tempo efforts like 6 * 10 mins with some padding in the endurance zone.

Something like 18-20hrs per week.

I'll up the weekend rides into Mar/Apr and aim to do some double ride weekends such as the Hard Boiled/Dorset Coast double.

I do one pilates class a week and stretching 3-4 times per week.   My hip mobility remains poor.   Weight is a bit higher than this time last year but that's not a bad thing.

I suspect at this work rate I will be a little undercooked for RAtN and would like to be at peak for early July.

simonp

  • Omnomnomnipotent.
Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2020, 01:43:45 pm »
https://www.jssm.org/mob/researchjssm-18-708.xml

Quote
POLARIZED AND PYRAMIDAL TRAINING INTENSITY DISTRIBUTION: RELATIONSHIP WITH A HALF-IRONMAN DISTANCE TRIATHLON COMPETITION

Key Points
POL and PYR training distributions showed a significant positive effect on the performance of the triathletes in the three segments.
Training intensity in zone 2 was related with a better performance on a half-Ironman race in recreational triathletes.
According to our results, coaches should not discard training time in zone 2 in recreational triathletes to train a Half-Ironman race.

Pyramidal training isn't sweet-spot, though. Sweet-spot based plans spend more time in zone 2 and less in zone 1 than a pyramidal approach. You can only take this approach so far in terms of volume per week.

In 2015 for PBP I did the TrainerRoad thing. I did my fastest PBP, on fixed. In 2019 I did lots of zone 1 and I was slower and had a lower FTP. I am also pretty sure that 4 years of rowing did not help.


S2L

Re: Training plans for 'ultra endurance'
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2020, 02:06:36 pm »


*I believe doing lots of cycling puts me at risk of injury from putting all the 'aggro' on my knees and ankles. By contrast I can row for hours and hours and hours without problems, and I am of the view it is highly complementary to making one a good 'all rounder'. There is no 'bike fit' equivalent with rowing, you just put your feet on the machine in the right place and plug away.



The idea is that doing a lot of cycling will strengthen those part of your body that you do need for cycling, such as the ones you mention.
If you fail to do lots of cycling and row instead, what is going to happen is that you will get injured during the event, as opposed to before the event

It seems a bit odd and I have never heard of a Tour de France contender that trains by rowing rather than cycling, but you never know, you might set the next big thing in training...  ::-)