By Joe Friel
Joe Friel is author of the successful “Training Bible” series ofbooks, a regular columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlonand the founder of www.ultrafit.com.Friel also offers answers to a selection of questions in this weekly column here on VeloNews.com. Readers can send questions to Friel in care of VeloNews.com at WebLetters@7Dogs.com.(Be sure to include “Friel” in the subject line.)Question: Your Bible has been an inspiration for us- a groupof Mexican riders – that are following your system for our first seasonand we are really getting good results on races. Thanks.Just one question: When you say for instance on E2, that we should staymostly within HR Zones 1 & 2, some guys here are most of the time onthe upper limit of Zone 2 while others tend to be mostly in the upper limitof their Zone 1, so for a two hour ride doing E2 what should be the idealaverage time within each zone? — EnriqueAnswer: Generally, on a zone 2 ride I like to see 30-50% of thetotal ride time in the 2 zone. This is a rather wide range, I know, butthe actual number will depend a lot on how well-rested the rider is. Ifthere were fatigue I’d much prefer that the rider spend more time in the1 zone recovering. In fact, it may be necessary when quite tired to stayonly in the 1 zone and avoid higher zones regardless of what the schedulecalls for. The 2 zone effort should not feel exceptionally forced. In otherwords, it shouldn’t feel like you have to start pushing yourself rightaway on the ride to elevate the heart rate. Also, some riders will takelonger to warm-up and this will limit the amount of total time in 2 zone.The 2 zone ride is very good in the Base period for developing aerobicendurance. In the Build period it is beneficial for maintaining aerobicendurance. It takes more time in the 2 zone to develop aerobic endurancethan it does to maintain it. So, as the season progresses, the 2 zone timein a given week may be reduced. This will also help to promote recoverysince more time will therefore be spent in the 1 zone. — Joe
Q: I have bought both the “Mountain bikers training bible” andthe earlier Cyclists Training Bible. Both are superb in terms of a completeapproach to the two disciplines.I follow the training schedules closely but I have found that the MountainBikers Training Bible does not give any idea as to how to incorporate twotraining sessions per day into a training program, i.e. what is the bestcombination of training sessions for training twice per day? — MarkA: How you go about planning two-a-days depends on what the purposeof doubling up is. In the Base period it is usually done to develop greateraerobic endurance in one ride and, perhaps, muscular endurance or forcefor climbing in the other. In the Build period the purpose is generallyto maintain aerobic endurance while developing greater anaerobic enduranceor power. I’d suggest when doing two-a-days for either of these combinationsthat the aerobic endurance ride come second in the day with the more intenseride first. It’s better to work on endurance when a bit fatigued than onany other aspect of fitness. — Joe
Q: How does one decide when to stand vs. sitting while climbing? Watching last year’s Tour de France, Lance seemed to be standing a lotmore than I expected given that he claims he sits while climbing. — ChrisA: The decision when to stand on a hill during a near maximumeffort generally comes down to perceptions of effort. When seated and itfeels like the legs are bogging down as lactate is accumulating in theprimary working muscles, it’s time to stand. This will shift the workloadto different group of muscles, but will also tend to make the heart rateand effort rise–especially for bigger riders. Smaller riders–less thanabout 2 pounds per inch of height, such as Marco Pantani–will generallystand for longer periods of time than larger riders. At about 2.3 poundsper inch of height and greater riders will seldom stand because the effortis much greater. Miguel Indurain fell into this category. — Joe
Q: I have a limited amount of training time on the bike the last fewyears, about 2-5 hours a week. I have been racing for over 20 years andseem to be mostly fast twitch. Even with the limited training I have noticedmy sprint is really good as long as I am fresh. This isn’t too long, about20-30 minutes. I am going to give track a try this year and was wonderingif I do get the chance to ride more will it affect my sprint for betteror worse. — Bret
A: The body tends to adapt to the stresses placed on it quite well.But while adapting to one set of stresses while another is set is eliminatedthere may be a trade-off. So, if you do start to ride larger volumes andlonger rides your body will become better at endurance. In order to maintainyour sprint you would also need to devote a considerable amount of timeto it. That said, very high volume training with very long rides seemsto negatively affect one’s sprint power. The best track sprinters don’tdo long, slow distance rides–or at least do this seldom and even to alesser extent as they approach the race season. The best road sprinters,while quite powerful, are not as powerful as the best track sprinters.Part of this is genetics and part of it is training. — Joe
Q: I’ve enjoyed following your training advice from thebook. However, I’ve struggled with how to position weight trainingduring the week. I know some people will do a weight session on arest day, but I never feel very rested after a great weight training session. If I position it on a high intensity day I’m afraid I’m taking away frommy intensity on the bike. Is there a good rule of thumb for wherein the week these sessions should fit? Thanks. — RobA: This is a conundrum for most. The key to resolving this isdeciding what’s most important in your training week. As you move intothe late Base and Build periods the most important workouts are those doneon the bike, as they are more specific to the events you’re training for.By these times of the year I have riders move more into a maintenance mode–theSM (Strength Maintenance) phase as described on page 151 of my book. Thiswould probably be best reduced to once per week for you with only two sets–onelight as a warm-up and the second as the heavy one. The total workout maytake only 40 minutes including warm-up and cool down. I typically haveriders do this on Mondays then on Tuesday they do either a muscular enduranceor aerobic endurance workout. — Joe
Q: After a winter of mostly long, sub LT endurance rides (18hrweeks) I find myself with my best fitness ever. I’m 39, a cat 2 and raceexpert XC too. I’m averaging about 16 hrs a week right now and besidesracing every other week, I am trying to stick to the sub LT rides routine.The 7 races I’ve done so far have ramped up my AT power to a sufficientlevel to race well. My main goal this year is Master’s XC worlds in September.The course there is slow and offers little recovery with lots a short mediumsteep climbs. I’ll likely include some short AT power intervals 2-5 weeksbefore that event. I usually race every other week. A few 3 day stage races,XC’s and double race weekends.My basic question is how to cope with good fitness so early. I don’twant to inadvertently peak and burn out, which I did last year as a resultof too little LSD/easy miles during the late season. If possible to safelygain some more watts at LT, I’d work on that. Otherwise, I’d be happy tomaintain what I’ve got now. My tentative plan is simply to not to increasemy volume or do any intervals other than racing. — EA: The key to this, I believe, is taking a “transition” breakfrom training after your first peak of the season. This may be sometimein the spring or early summer. Train to get in the top shape possible forthis event. Peak for it by tapering over 2-3 weeks. In the week followingthe race, take some time away from training and even riding. This may be3-5 days. Then gradually get back into training again by returning to thelate Base period. Go through a normal build-up for the September peak.You should be in better shape then than you were in the spring. — JoeJoe Friel is the author of the “Training Bible” series of books andoffers coaching services and a free, monthly newsletter at www.ultrafit.com.