Well I’m 20 weeks into my training plan and for the last 4 weeks I have been working on the ‘build’ phase of my training plan which has produced some real gains! I was over the moon with my latest FTP test increasing it by 9% up to 313watts which is a massive gain and just goes to show that the plan is working and all the base training was not wasted. I would like to say that all of this gain was down to my fitness but I have also replaced my chain so I’m sure some of the gain would have been due to that.
The ‘build’ period is pretty self explanatory as this is now the time to build on your base that you have gained over the initial 16 weeks. The intensity of the sessions will become harder along with some steady state efforts for longer periods. As with all training plans it’s important to build gradually with the workouts so that you are careful not to burn out. Build the workouts to be progressive week on week making sure you factor in that all important rest week.
I have been aiming for one sweetspot, one threshold and one VO2 max workout each week along with a long ride where possible which has worked well. Make sure you space them throughout the week so you are not forced to do two hard sessions back to back.
The biggest thing I have learnt in all of this so far is the importance of having a plan and sticking to it. For me I can deal with this fine as I know I am working to a goal that I will achieve but many feel influenced by peer pressure. So many people at the moment are obsessed with strava and just smash every ride trying to go harder and harder. This type of training is not sustainable it will achieve gains initially but not long term.
I am now also using Golden Cheetah which is a great free piece of software to help analyse my training sessions along with my longer term plan. I am trying to take more of a scientific approach to my events this year so I go into them fresh rather than fatigued which is where the PMC chart comes in useful and also monitoring TSS which is basically a measure of how much stress you are placing on your body.
My first race of the year is tomorrow with a 10mile Time Trial which will be a good bench mark for the start of the season, I’m looking at aiming for around 340watts which will hopefully get me in the 23’s depending on the conditions!