Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Volume vs. Intensity

I had a great email conversation with my friend, and fellow coach this morning (Todd Wiley), about "Volume vs. Intensity" of cycling training this time of year.  Put simply, do you ride as many miles as you can this time of year or should you ride fewer miles with higher-intensity?

Before I give you my thoughts, I want to show you a chart which I believe is pretty accurate regarding the recommended hours of weekly training you should be logging (for success) based on your racing category.  Let's take a Cat 3 rider for example.  According to the chart (below), if you're a Cat 3 rider you should be riding a max of 19 hrs./wk. for success.  That's right 19! 

And, if you believe in Friel's Annual Training Periodization Schedule/Plan (like I do), the maximum volume will be the end of your Base Training period.  If you started your annual training in November (like most athletes have- unless you're a CX guy/gal), that Base Period or maximum volume period is right about NOW!  Yes, NOW!  And, I'll bet any Cat 3 rider out there (a beer), that lives around Doylestown, PA, that there is NO WAY you're putting-in that many hours per week on the bike.  I don't care if you add-in your weekly gym workouts.  Even if you ride/rode 4 hrs. on both Sat and Sun, that still means you need to be putting in 11 hours during the week.  The only way you can put 11 hours in during the week is if you train 2 hrs. indoors on the trainer each day or ride an hour to/from work each day in the dark.  I don't know any Cat 2 guy doing that let alone a Cat 3 guy.

(BTW, I haven't bought a beer yet and I've posted lots of bets in the blogs I've written over the last 4-5 yrs.) 

Ok, lets go back to the question I asked at the beginning of the blog and that is: Do you ride as many miles as you can this time of year or should you ride fewer miles with higher-intensity?  I think what's key here is "ride as many miles as you can".  Naturally, for us Northeasterner's riding as much as we can might only add up to 10 hrs. per week this time of year.  If that's the case, then I believe you need to supplement those volume/tempo rides with some hi-intensity rides/workouts.  That's why I always include at least one tough L4 or L5 workout in my athletes training schedule each week because I know they're not getting in the hours or mileage they need "for success".

Moral of the blog: Ride as long and as often as you can (outside) this time of year.  If you can't, whether it's because of your work schedule or inclement weather, supplement your outdoor volume training with indoor hi-intensity training. 

Power ON!  Coach Rob

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