Race Annual Training Plan

WattsUp

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2017
146
93
58
So this was my first year back in cycling after a rather long hiatus.
This year of training was less about race results, and more about getting back to being able to actually...you know, start training.
First order of business was to lose weight - I went from 110kg in November 2017, to 83.9kg as of race day on Sunday.
FTP as a proxy for fitness has gone from about 150 to 255 based on my recent FTP test.
Resting heart rate has gone from 75 to 39-41.
So for this year - mostly mission accomplished. :)

I have two more events this year - my first-ever marathon in late November, and then the Boso Grand Prix in mid-December.
Not really a serious event; doing it for fun more than anything, a three-man TT with my brother-in-law and a friend.

Plan now is to train hard up to the week of the marathon (taper week), maintain some fitness up to the Boso event, then a few weeks off at the end of the year.
Which is always a busy time with the holidays, bo-nenkai and such anyway....
(speaking of - are we doing a TCC bo-nenkai? I can arrange for something in the Tokyo area...)

So I'm now planning my 2019 year starting from January.
My plan is to focus on joining more events, so I'm trying to find a few races I can target as 'A' races.
Also want to have a few 'process goals' (probably FTP based, although I'm toying with a few other ideas).

Thought I'd start a thread about it in case anyone else is brainstorming their plan for next year.

The TrainerRoad guys went over annual training plans in a recent episode, that was pretty thorough.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,043
1,746
133
Niigata
Your weight loss and getting into shape is really impressive.

So the next logical goal is an annual training plan!

This is my training from last year.

DSC_2928.JPG

Starting at 100 CTL in January, I aimed to peak for Niseko in the summer, 145CTL.

The four build blocks are clear to see. 3 weeks hard, followed by a dip, 1 week easy. 4 sets.

I tried to hold the peak over a summer racing period.

Then I let the form drop. And then tried a second mini peak in the autumn.

Setting 1 or 2 A races is a great way to get really focused.

I'll be making a plan for next year soon, so will add it here.

Enjoy the planning!

Andy
 

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
833
361
83
Fukushima
I think Niseko might be my goal for next year... finishing, that is!

Is an annual plan really that necessary if you're still making fairly big gains just doing random plans on Zwift?
 
  • Like
Reactions: andywood

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,043
1,746
133
Niigata
I think Niseko might be my goal for next year... finishing, that is!

Is an annual plan really that necessary if you're still making fairly big gains just doing random plans on Zwift?
Zwift is your training workouts. The ATP is your training structure.

For me personally, using an ATP taught me how to rest. The rest week is the dessert at the end of three hard weeks.

If you do the rest week right, you only lose a bit of fitness, but you get fresh again so you can do another solid block.

If Niseko is your goal, then work backwards from the event and structure 4 week training blocks.

Andy
 

WattsUp

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2017
146
93
58
I think Niseko might be my goal for next year... finishing, that is!

Is an annual plan really that necessary if you're still making fairly big gains just doing random plans on Zwift?
Well, an annual plan probably isn't necessary if you don't have key race / events etc. I didn't this year, so I didn't have an annual plan when I started out last year.
I played it mostly by ear, basically taking it 2-3 months at a time. You could certainly do that.
EDIT: But yeah, what Andy said - if you have a goal, I think you're better off planning out blocks of training leading up to the event.

Starting out the year with a CTL of 100! Wow....that's evidence of several years of lots of hard work in the saddle!
Just another data point, my cycle-only CTL peaked at 81 this year in June, after starting from zero (!)
My multi-sport CTL (cycling + running) is currently at 91, and I plan on getting it to 102 or so by the November marathon.
 
  • Like
Reactions: andywood

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,043
1,746
133
Niigata
Well, an annual plan probably isn't necessary if you don't have key race / events etc. I didn't this year, so I didn't have an annual plan when I started out last year.
I played it mostly by ear, basically taking it 2-3 months at a time. You could certainly do that.
EDIT: But yeah, what Andy said - if you have a goal, I think you're better off planning out blocks of training leading up to the event.

Starting out the year with a CTL of 100! Wow....that's evidence of several years of lots of hard work in the saddle!
Just another data point, my cycle-only CTL peaked at 81 this year in June, after starting from zero (!)
My multi-sport CTL (cycling + running) is currently at 91, and I plan on getting it to 102 or so by the November marathon.
Fitness is fitness so, I don't know but, I go with multi sport CTL. In the winter I do snow shoes, other cross training and gym work, so this all adds (HR based) to the load.

This year I raced 6, target races every two months, so I tried to stay at a constant 100 CTL. It seemed to work well for the 6 TTs. But I sacrificed my top end and moreover my climbing legs.

At the end of the day, trying new stuff, and keeping it different and interesting is what it's all about...

Andy
 

WattsUp

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2017
146
93
58
Incidentally, - and perhaps coincidentally, or maybe not given the time of year - there have been other podcasts recently talking about other training approaches. Polarized training plans (90% of time spent basically at Zone 2 or below (using the Coggan levels) and 10% of time at Zone 5) for example. One I've heard of recently is the MAF Method for base fitness work (takes a heart rate of (180 less your age, plus a few tweaks; all base training at or below that heart rate).
Not really looking to change anything just yet, but as a certified data nerd that loves digging into the numbers, I enjoy learning about other approaches.
 

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,161
792
133
Tokyo
I got back on the bike last October, so exactly a year now for me. My goal was to try to get a 4w/kg and attempt to take part in an event or two. I'm sceptical still that I have reached 4w/kg. I ended up taking part in 2 events which was enough to keep me happy. I got sick twice and seemed to hit a wall of some kind around 256W or there abouts. I also followed TRs plans of base, build and then speciality. Although, I failed speciality as build beat me up and I don't think I had enough base fitness to see things through especially when the watt requirements got higher as my FTP built. I also did the sufferfest event which was simply very hard but very rewarding in terms of collecting money for a good cause.

This coming year, I want to get stronger. I notice that I'm a total whimp in terms of strength and where my brain sends clear signals to take off up the hill, the body doesn't and cannot follow. I don't know what it is exactly that holds it back. Whether its core, legs, upper body or a combination more likely. I want to try to address that over the winter somehow. But also, I cannot dedicate a lot of time to it, so I have to figure out a plan that I can work to, like 15 minutes a day 4 times a week or perhaps 20 or maybe 30 and figure out some progression. Probably has to be done at home also due to constraints with small kids still. Cycling wise, I plan to follow TRs plans again at medium volume and do the body/power build plans on the hard days to still give myself full recovery days. No events planned but I'll probably try a few races along with the Fuji Hill Climb.

I also want to figure out why I'm a whimp on the trainer and an NP-buster outside... ie, get my power data in line :)
 

leicaman

Maximum Pace
Sep 20, 2012
2,789
2,546
133
Asakadai, Saitama
Interesting thread. I’ve read it all despite not understanding around 80% of it. Seems all very complicated to me, with lots of acronyms in use. It just highlights the fact that I have no idea when it comes to cycle based training. Not sure if I want to understand it or be blissfully ignorant 😜.

One question, your FTP is 95% of an all out 20min effort , isn’t it?
 

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
833
361
83
Fukushima
Interesting thread. I’ve read it all despite not understanding around 80% of it. Seems all very complicated to me, with lots of acronyms in use. It just highlights the fact that I have no idea when it comes to cycle based training. Not sure if I want to understand it or be blissfully ignorant 😜.

One question, your FTP is 95% of an all out 20min effort , isn’t it?
No, that's just how its estimated (and even that is a matter for debate). It is by definition your maximal sustained effort for "around" an hour. This can be between 40 to 70 minutes depending on the athlete.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WattsUp

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,161
792
133
Tokyo
@leicaman - I reckon you are 1 more year away from the odd indoor trainer workout and then a further year to fully embrace. I mean, you have a power meter now. That's something you didn't imagine in 2015 :)

I've measured my FTP in the following ways.
- 2 x 20 minute efforts with average of both x .95.
- 1 x 20 minute effort x .95
- 2 x 8 minute effort x .90
- Trainer Road Ramp test which builds power each minute until you fail to comply and then the last 1 min max power is multiplied by .75.
- Sufferfest Full Frontal which tests sprint power, 1 minute power, 5 minute power and then 20 minute power. In that test, the full 20 minute power number is used as you are already toast from the earlier efforts.

The 2 x 20 was horrible. 1 x 20 was worth avoiding if I could, 2 x 8 feels like cheating and the ramp test still has me questioning its validity. Of all the tests, I found the SF one the easiest as it felt the most satisfying as the number was not going to be multiplied to something smaller, although the rest of that test is brutal.

A lot of folks seem to find a gentle grade outside and do the 20 minute effort with the .95 multiplier. There are seemingly endless ways to measure I guess. For me, FTP is a way to show progress or lack of progress. Ideally, I'll measure using 1 method and be able to see that number increase. It's also something I plug into TrainerRoad so that it generates workouts for me, done using different %'s of FTP.
 
  • Like
Reactions: WattsUp

wexford

Maximum Pace
Jul 3, 2012
1,161
792
133
Tokyo
Did all the tests result in similar FTP numbers?
What sort of variation was there?
I found that 20 and 8 work pretty well for me. 8 is so much easier to execute than the 20 minute test though, particularly the 2x20. I have only done the 2x20 once I think. Usually, I test every 4 or 6 weeks or so depending on the training blocks. One thing to note is that mostly the FTP changes felt right in terms of how doable the next TR workouts were. With the ramp test though, I have had a lot of issues with the workouts that followed it. However, apparently all the tests are off if you look at what I can do outside :) If you are looking for one test, I would go with the 1 x 20 test and I that's what I will use for my next test also. (although I want to do at least one more ramp test to test a theory also). Sorry. I did not answer your question, did I :-O I plan on being consistent and just doing the one test going forward.
 

baribari

Maximum Pace
May 28, 2010
833
361
83
Fukushima
Ramp tests are easy and their results are repeatable. I almost enjoy them. They also put me in a ballpark for the purposes of FTP-based training, although I will usually fudge the numbers slightly so the workouts feel as hard as they're supposed to. In fact, it's about time for another one. They are also good for the ego. Hah.

I'd rather have a test that's within 10% 100% of the time that I am willing to do every few weeks than a test that's within 5% 50% of the time that I never want to do.

Although I probably should go ahead and do another 20 minute test (I have only ever finished one).
 

WattsUp

Maximum Pace
Dec 9, 2017
146
93
58
Ultimately it comes down to what you're trying to achieve. Boosting FTP could be a reasonable 'process' goal - ie, you're going to train with the specific goal of boosting FTP. A higher FTP very likely means you're getting fitter.

But - and this kinda simplifies a lot of stuff - at its core, cycling is about fatigue resistance. FTP is a number, but it represents two things: Intensity (power) and duration (how long you can hold that power). I think people focus too much on the Power aspect (partially because the number itself is in watts) and forget the duration part. I am not 100% sold yet on the RAMP test yet - as I get older, I guess I question anything that promises an 'easier' way to do something. A 60-minute test is too hard, so let's do 20 minutes. That's too hard, let's do 8 minutes. That's too hard, let's do a RAMP test.

All the FTP tests are essentially estimates except the 'go do a one-hour time trial', but IMHO, I think the longer the duration used to estimate FTP, I feel like the more valid it is. That said, I do agree that there's a balance between 'long enough to be valid' and 'short enough to not be a chore and not build up fatigue (one-hour all-out efforts are very unpleasant).

I think the 20-minute test probably strikes a good balance. When I do a good 20-minute test, the workouts feel 'right' and I've not had problems holding 95% of that power for around an hour. But we're all individuals - for some, maybe it's 92%. Or 97%. Etc.

I think the RAMP test could slightly overestimate FTP in reasonably trained athletes. I question whether people could really hold the FTP from a ramp test for 40-70 minutes.

Of course, if you don't do events lasting 40-70 minutes or longer, it's irrelevant :)

I've been using a 20-minute ramp test at the start of plans and doing ramp tests in between as a 'fine-tuning', just trying to see how it works and to capture more data points while figuring out what works for me. If you get a number that works and makes the workouts 'hard but just about do-able', I think that's all you really need, as long as the plan itself is also properly geared towards the demands of the events you're training for. I like baribari's approach of tweaking the numbers so that the workouts feel right - I think that's preferable (putting some thought into it) versus blindly following whatever the software spits out.

There's no one right answer. A data geek like me enjoys the process almost as much as we enjoy the results ;-)
 
  • Like
Reactions: baribari

Sikochi

Maximum Pace
Sep 13, 2010
1,185
79
68
Kochi
If you want an even easier approach to estimate FTP, then just try xert. It will use its algorithms to extrapolate your FTP from all your ride data, though you will need some max efforts for it to be truly accurate. Personally, I believe you should be able to work out your levels from how your training goes combined with some feedback system e.g. talk test. I.e. if the workout was too easy, up your FTP a notch; conversely if it was too hard, knock it down a notch. If you are using a CTL system, then yes, you need to know your FTP to keep it accurate, but otherwise I am of the opinion that FTP tests are only really necessary for coaches who need to justify to their clients why they are paying them so much. The other catch-22 with FTP is that FTP represents what you can do at your limit when fully rested. If you are training, then you are by definition, not fully rested, so should you try and relate what you do to a level that you can't reach due to fatigue? Above my paygrade...

From the linked page:-
Fitness Testing

Most athletes dread test days. These are the days in your training plan where you test your fitness to see where you stand: “Am I improving?”, “Do I need to change to workout targets?”. They are dreaded because they require a lot of motivation. Your FTP can fluctuate 30-40 watts during the season and having a good estimate could mean the difference between a successful or a failed workout.

To test your FTP, the recommended method is to do a long time-trial effort, perhaps as long as an hour. Unfortunately, the mental and physical preparedness one has to achieve for this test prevents many from attempting it, let alone successively completing it. A more common method is to do “The 20-minute FTP Test”. These too are not easy as they require the right pacing and execution planning. Go out too hard, and the test is abandoned too early. Go out too easy, and you don’t put out a number that represents what you can do. Some are now advocating for an 8-minute test. These too are very difficult, especially that two of these tests are done in sequence. In each of these cases, your FTP is only roughly estimated using a fraction of the power you were able to sustain for the test.

MPA Analysis and Fitness Signature Extraction

Xert takes a very different approach in establishing your fitness numbers. By analyzing your regular activity data and performing MPA Analysis, your Fitness Signature can be extracted from the data. This includes not just your Threshold Power, but also your High Intensity Energy and your Peak Power too – all three of which define your individual power profile. Fitness Signature extraction establishes your fitness by identifying those maximal efforts in your activity and uses a regression algorithm to determine a fitness signature that matches these points. You’ll find that whether you perform a specific test or whether you use a club ride, if the power data includes time spent doing a maximal effort, Xert can extract your signature
 
Last edited: