Eastern Bloc Cycling Club
How to improve LT and avoid getting dropped?
That's a great question Cool_E !
A good periodized training program that includes specific training intervals, when done properly and at the appropriate time of the training cycle, will raise one’s LT (lactate threshold) and therefore improve performance. For instance, longer steady state intervals, that are done slightly below threshold, will increase power at lactate threshold. Shorter intervals, done slightly above LT followed by brief periods of recovery at or slightly below LT, will increase your ability to tolerate elevated levels of lactate, sustain hard efforts for a longer period of time and recover from surges more quickly.
Cool! Thanks Monica. I have a friend who was a pro level cyclist and he gave similar advice. I've planned and done programs over each winter and have seen my FTP increase from beginning to end of the training period. What I haven't seen (yet anyway) is my peak FTP changing from one year to the next. Should I engage in specific interval training continuously to see improvements?
An individual's age, fitness level and the number of years training are just a few things that should be taken into consideration when comparing peak FTP from year to year. Likewise, these same factors are taken into account when creating a good annual training plan. Keep up the good work Cool E!
The reason most of us don't see a significant increase in power at LT is we are doing the specific training necessary to achieve optimum results. If you race and talk with the fastest racers you'll understand what I mean. Most of them have a very specific training plan that includes a couple days of interval training, a fast group ride or race a long endurance ride and plenty of rest. Very little or no time spent on unstructured group rides that most of us enjoy. As an example, you notice that Pat participates in the Wednesday A ride and the Sunday club ride (when he is not racing). These are examples of a fast group ride and an endurance ride. Based on his fitness and commitment to improving his performance, I expect he is doing focused intervals or resting the other days.
I have found that another way to help improve power at LT for us older folks is to hit the gym a couple times a week for short, high intensity (heavy weights) weight training to maintain and build strength. As we age, it is difficult for us to build muscle strength with cycling alone.
Ron, Thanks for pointing out that other than Wednesdays and Sundays, I have a pretty boring life ;)
However, you are correct in that the remaining days of the week are geared towards a combination of specific interval workouts and even more important rest and recovery days. Many training programs tend to follow a weekly pattern of a longer workouts on the weekends with a bell curve pattern of intensity from Monday through Friday. However, the dispersion of that intensity varies throughout the season because of the periodization that Monica is referring to.
I am fairly new to structured training but have experienced some direct and very satisfying results from it. For anyone looking to improve on their fitness in this way I would offer the following recommendations:
Set your season goals at least six months prior. Specifically, target events or competitions that you want to be in peak form for. Remember that peaks are just what they sound like, a limited number of short periods of your top performance level. Use them wisely.
Understand the metrics: Attend one of the training discussion events hosted at Benidorm throughout the year and/or read up on recovery, endurance, tempo, and LT thresholds.
Use the metrics in your training plan: get tested to determine your baseline thresholds and get some gear that enables you to measure and track your data. Heart rate monitors have been around forever but do not provide as clear a picture as power output. Power devices now come in many forms and are much easier to come by than they were just a few years ago. The shop is a great source to determine which device is your best fit. They have years of experience in this area, all you need to do is ask.
Get some professional coaching advice. From my own perspective it not only takes the pressure of me in designing a training plan but keeps me from over working. I find it also keeps me on track. It can be easy to talk yourself out of a hard workout at the end of a rough day. I figure that since I've invested in it I need to suck it up and get it done or I'm just wasting money. It may be a struggle to grind it out but I always feel that much better when I can put a check in the box. Just as important, a coach can be crucial in getting the periodization aspect of a training plan right.
Ron, good call on weights. I've done them during winter training and was more intense with them this year (I bought some equipment and set up a home gym). The result this winter is I'm a few pounds heavier than last year but pushing a few more watts at LT. My peak power to weight is about the same as last year.
Pat, thanks for the insight!
Hi All, If anyone is interested in testing (or retesting) their LT, there are 2 or 3 spots available for Thursday, March 31st at Benidorm Bikes. Hunter and Aidan from CCNS will be administering the LT test and provide useful information for you to be able to optimize your heart rate zones for training. Following the testing, there will be a Nutritional Clinic at 6pm. This is not a Nutritional Clinic about what to drink. It is a greater view of individual needs based upon metabolism and training. We all require and benefit from different foods and drinks. Learn why the right nutrition is part of the process for the benefits of training. Contact me directly Jan@BenidormBikes.com if you have specific questions. Also, the time slots that are available are 1:45, 3:00 and 4:15 for the LT Testing. If you want to do the LT Test, I would recommend tapering back throughout the week in order to have good legs. The cost is $150. Hope to see you at the shop or on a ride, thanks! Jan
Or, for a much lower fee, you can avoid getting dropped the way I do: ride with slower people.
> Or, for a much lower fee, you can avoid getting dropped the way I do: ride with slower people. >
Hmm...I may show up at the Wingbiter this Friday just to see how much they appreciate this comment Dr. RedPants ;)
I highly recommend purchasing The Power Meter Handbook by Joe Friel. I also recommend using training peaks as a great software to track progress. If you are not using a power meter I highly recommend getting one.