Cycling: Volume Versus Intensity

Alan Couzens is a coach of champion endurance athletes, and has some very interesting articles up on his website.

Today I want to talk about one in particular: Are you a volume or intensity responder?, which is certainly something I've been longing to know the answer to. If you're in the same boat, read on!

Training Notes: June 2020

There's been some substantial changes this month.

I've remarked a few times about how my fitness has been consistently improving all year, and I still think that's the case. My heart rate variability (HRV, an indicator of autonomic stress) has been steadily increasing, my resting HR trending downwards, and my best efforts at a wide range of durations regularly improving. All that is good...

Reading Roundup, May 2020

My reading continues apace, again, like last month, almost entirely fiction. The exception to this is Bertrand Russell's A History of Western Philosophy, which I have just started rereading to ease me back into philosophy and adjacent subjects (Alan Ryan's On Politics is also high up on my list). I think having one fiction and one non-fiction book going simultaneously will work well, but right now I'm just having...

Using Strava for Serious Training

A LOT OF CYCLISTS, myself included, find Strava a very worthwhile tool: with by far the highest number of active users, it's the only game in town for social features (and not just for cycling, but also lesser endurance activities like running and swimming!).

The social aspect enables what I find to be the most valuable part of the Strava experience: the motivation that comes from seeing...

Cycling Training! 

Training Notes: May 2020

This was another great training block, probably my best yet. Certainly recent weeks have seen the biggest sustained gain in fitness I've had for at least two years (back when I'd just started serious group rides).

My build weeks were 14, 16 and 18 hours, and I've now definitively moved to only two hard sessions per week. Wednesday and Saturday works well and allows me to go again next time out...

Cycling Training! 

Training Notes: Pre-Season 2020

In navigating my way through the Pre-Season, the main stumbling block was deciding on the correct length for each mesocycle. The Post- and Off-Season blocks are quite long with a progressive increase in volume at a mostly easy pace, whereas the purpose of the Pre-Season is to build intensity on top of that base. Therefore, I settled on the idea of...

Cycling Training! 

My Experience with Xert

Shortly after I got my power meter last June, I signed up with the online cycling training platform Xert.

The ideas behind it are interesting, and promising:

Firstly, a software-based adviser that recommends workouts based on your current training status. Tired or fresh? building or peaking? The recommendations will vary based on your current situation. And if you're targeting a road race...

Cycling Training! 

Training Notes

This covers the Post- and Off-Season period, from right after my five consecutive centuries to the present, a Recovery week going into the start of the Pre-Season.

The last couple of months have gone very well: I'm feeling good and have been building my workload up to something resembling what I'm used to. I took a lot of rest and recovery time over the entire holiday period...

Cycling Training!

(Belated) Training Notes

The last notes was back around the time of the Boone Gran Fondo. This update takes everything from that point until the end of November. I'm going to post training notes much less frequently from now on, just covering any broader developments and insights from each training cycle, and see how that goes.

The Fondo went well, but my fitness progression pretty much stalled for several weeks afterwards...

Cycling Findings! 

Cycling Findings #3

Aerodynamic drag in cycling team time trials
Blocken et al., 2018

Technology has always been an integral part of cycling. Obviously, bicycles are themselves technology, and also rely on technology (i.e. good quality road surfaces) to be a practical means of transportation. Cycling has also taken its fair share of the spoils obtained from the increase in the rate of technological development..

Cycling Training! 

Training Notes #26

I've been busy, so this is a two-week update. Additionally, my work schedule is about to get much more crowded, so these Notes will probably be less frequent from now on (perhaps centred around an entire training block leading up to an Event). This will also give me more time to spend writing actual cycling articles, a change of focus that I've been meaning to get around to for a while..

Cycling Training! 

Weekly Training Notes #25

It was back up to speed again this week. It felt good to resume my full training load following the taper.

I did four long workouts, plus the usual recovery and commute rides, adding up to 650 km. I included a few intervals on the Tuesday endurance ride, and of course the Saturday group ride had some fast sections, but the rest of the time was endurance pace..

Training Notes! 

Weekly Training Notes #24

Recovery was the theme this week, and what do you know: it actually seemed to work!

Unfortunately, I can't know for certain just how much it worked, as the race I'd tapered for fizzled out in a rather strange way. More on that below.

The good news is that I've finally got the discipline to stick to the training program; taking sufficient recovery has always been the hardest part of training for me...

Cycling Training! 

Weekly Training Notes #23

This marked the culmination in a rapid increase in my training load; I've averaged over 20 hours and 570 km per week for the last month, including some pretty high-intensity rides.

By late this week, I could tell it was time to back off for a while: the two weekend rides in particular featured heavy legs and fading energy levels. I didn't even...

Training Notes! 

Weekly Training Notes #22

I had my biggest week for a very long time this week, and I'm feeling great (but tired!).

The polarized training is in full swing, and seems to be working wonders for me. After an easy start on Monday, I did a nice Free Ride with just a couple of 8-minute intervals, during which I took advantage of my new power meter to pace them.

I knew I hadn't quite emptied the tank..

Training Notes! 

Weekly Training Notes #21

Things really started to gel this week. Since making the realization that I'd been on the wrong track for several months, I've taken a big change in direction with my training, and this week I also went back and re-studied the most important research that aligns with my chosen approach.

There are various endurance training philosophies, such as high-intensity interval training and threshold training...

Training Notes! 

Weekly Training Notes #20

It was very much a transitional week this week; as discussed last time, I've moved away from intervals for the time being so I can focus on ramping up my training volume, relying on the weekend rides to get my high intensity work.

To that end, it wasn't a great week; flat tyres forced premature conclusions to two of my rides, and I missed the fast group ride...

(lengthy) Training Notes! 

Weekly Training Notes #19

The big change this mesocycle was taking seriously the need to taper my training in the lead-up to my race. In accordance with scientifically-accepted best practice, I didn't reduce the intensity or frequency of my riding, but the volume came down by about one third.

Following Monday's Leg Speed ride, I did some tough Anaerobic Intervals on Tuesday. The first two were 2-minute efforts...

Training Notes! 

Weekly Training Notes #18

With only 3 weeks between races, I skipped straight to Build 3, ready for my race next Sunday.

It was a very good week; I did three great rides and am starting to feel noticeably stronger.

On Tuesday I did a pretty good VO2max intervals ride. I got 4 x 4-minute reps plus an 8-minute super-threshold rep. I also extended the ride with an extra hour of tempo riding with a few short sprints...

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