Augmenting volume during summer vacation

I was looking for some advice on how to plan my training for a long summer vacation. I have the chance to be a music teacher and having almost two months of vacation during the summer. I used to race on the road but i have been experiencing some trouble with my vision and I will mostly ride solo on the road and mtbiking. I might resume racing later in the fall (cx or mtb) During the school year I am time crunched like everybody else but during the summer I can go all out. I am 42 years with two toddlers at home # extraTSS

My main objectives for the summer will be:

1- Build a good aerobic engine
2- Raise my FTP
3- Continue Strenght training (twice a week)
4-Developp MTB skills
5- Keep a good level of energy to play with my kids
6-Work on my pedaling technique and breathing on the road @steveneal

In the past month the typical week looked like that:

2 days of strength training + one day of really easy mobility work
1 long ride below AET (3-4h) #dfa 1 alpha
1x trevor’s 5x5 @trevor
1x ronnestad’s 30-15 or some kind of vo2 or a type of MAP workout based on guy thibault’s work etc…

I guess the question would be how should I ramp up the volume without burning out, should I stop doing intervals in the first 2 weeks while I ramp up the volume, should I keep my intervals in and just do longer rides the rest of the week but at a really low pace? Should I do two a day with strength?

I would like to keep my gains for the rest of the year too…

I guess training is easier to plan when I don’t have the time :grinning: :rofl:

I am sorry about the level of my english, I know I write like a 5 years old :joy:

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What do you want to accomplish with those objectives?

Good question @kjeldbontenbal , I hope in the next year my vision will get better with surgery and I want to build a solid base and develop a solid ftp to go back to road racing in 22-23 hopefully. The objective is to make lemonade with the lemons I have now. Strength training really changed everything, off and on the bike that is why I want to keep it in the mix forever :slight_smile:

I have been riding for 15 years and racing the last 6-7years,I have a feeling my FTP or engine was never that big because my ex-coach was really really focused on MAP and short intervals like 30-30 etc.

Mtbiking is just a fun thing I do and eventually I would like to participate in raids and it seems to help a lot for cx season also. The skill work kinda transfer on the road and certainly gives confidence on the tarmac.

I would use the extra time in the summer to progress duration at low intensity first. Get up to 4-5 hours, maybe more if you want to, keeping it first low end Z2/well below LT1. Once you progress the duration out to where you want it, start adding some aerobic threshold riding up closer to LT1 and progress that duration next. (E.g. a 4 hour ride with efforts at or around LT1 or even tempo on the climbs).

Keep those two sessions of some intensity if you like. Personally, I don’t like to do MAP work while progressing my endurance duration as it can be highly fatiguing. I’d rather do some threshold/threshold-plus work like Trevor’s 5x5s you mentioned.

Once you progress your duration for your endurance rides, then when school starts again, you only need to hit that 4-5 hour ride every few weeks to maintain it; it’s easier to maintain than to build… so I would use this time to really work on that “low intensity durability” the guys talk about. Then when time gets to be more of an issue, that’s when you can start making accommodations with more tempo riding and add in the MAP intervals when your overall volume is reduced.

So in summary, my advice for your summer:
Drop the MAP intervals.
Add one more 5x5 session.
Progress the duration of your longest rides to a suitable duration at low intensity, then…
Add a bit more intensity (around or just above LT1) to those long rides.

With respect to strength work, I personally like to do it on the same day as my interval sessions. So my intervals might be 1-hour or 90-minute sessions which makes it easier to fit strength in. And it also helps make my hard days hard while allowing those easier days to remain easy without the added load of strength. I try to do my bike intervals first, then strength at least four hours later. (Personally I get up and knock the intervals out at 7am when it’s cool, then I have the rest of the day to find 45min for strength).

The bottom line with strength: when you’re time-crunched, get it in when you can without trashing the rest of your training.

One note on MTB skill work: I’m a roadie myself, but I’ve had fun going to the local bike park on my hardtail on recovery days. Instead of getting on the road bike or trainer and riding very easy, it can be fun to just ride around on the MTB and do skill work either at a park, or around the neighborhood. I practice manuals and track stands in my front yard, balance drills, stuff like that! At the park, I’ll session the skinnies, do a couple runs on a pump track, and ride around a little bit. Just don’t forget that the point of the day is recovery first… MTB on “real” trails isn’t going to be good for recovery!

Enjoy your time!


Formidable ideas @Kurt.braeckel , thanks a lot for your time. I will follow your advice and in august I will let you know how it went.

Looking back these 15+ years of riding, I can’t recall a period where I was riding extra long at low z2, I am kinda excited to try it and see how my body reacts.

With my ex-coach it was always Map, Map and a bit more map :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

Nothing wrong with MAP at all. Just that there’s a time and a place for it. In my opinion, that doesn’t run in parallel with ramping up volume. Cheers!

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If you are training for summer 23, you should think about the number of hours you can train in the winter.
Aerobic gains only last for about 3 to 4 weeks so maintenance after build is more important for you .

You can gradually build your long rides this summer, but should maintain long ride duration in the winter (on a trainer).
Strength lasts a bit longer and can be easily maintained in the gym.

But i would just enjoy the summer and ride a lot together with the kids :slight_smile:

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I think it sounds like an interesting plan you are putting together glad I made the list on one of the days :slight_smile:

I have always found good success when trying to build tempo/ftp type of fitness, to have one hard session a week like you have in your list. One long session (maybe 3h is the shortest and if time crunched 4h might be the longest needed).

I usually include some tempo at what I would determine Lactate Balance Point. A really strong master this might be around 235w when low and 250w when high. An intermediate around 220-235w and beginner 200-215w. Training at this correct level when measured allows for some great endurance gains when less time available and can be included in some 90-120m rides one day during the week, or even included in the long endurance ride of the week.

I agree…keep the energy to play with the kids!


@steveneal, thanks a lot for your feedback, it’s appreciated!

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I did a long base period of training between November 2021 and Easter 2022. During this period I did not do any high intensity, just easy effort rides. I did a standard test on my turbo to assess my power at a steady heart rate (after warm up) for the first 3 months. That heart rate being below LT1 according to my DFA1 data, and RPE assessment. I saw the power increase by over 30 watts in that time.

I can’t tell you about my FTP and what it did during that time as I wasn’t testing it. I only do FTP tests when I need to them to help set the intensity of my high intensity work. But I suspect it saw a similar increase despite no high intensity work at that point.

I can certainly recommend the long easy effort ride to help build the aerobic engine base. Since Easter I brought high intensity back into the mix and continue to make good progress.

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Thank you for the feedback, 30 watts is impressive! Good job!

@steveneal, yeah looking back, it’s weird I tagged you there but the last discussion on breathing was really interesting and I guess I wanted to have your opinion on my plan too! :slightly_smiling_face:

I am not planning on doing a lactate test soon but I will definitely incorporate tempo work that imitates that lactate balance point.

What is your opinion on mtb workouts without a power meter? It’s hard to keep steady efforts but if I am using the right trails I might be able to stay in the endurance/tempo range with the occasional surge to clear some obstacles.

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You could plan an mtb workout session that starts with skills and easy terrain for a warm-up, then move towards repeats of a small section of trail that has a hill and tech descent, do repeats here in place of a hard session.

Or just plan a hilly trail and look for a certain total time at 85-95% of max hr to get in one of your intensity sessions, this way you can accomplish an intensity session while having some fun!

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I would suggest looking into Dr Stephen Sieler and his polarized approach. In addition Fasttalk had a podcast recently that oulinted this 4x8 min approach on the MTB bike and how to execute out on the trails- it was really good info! Basically, if you are not fmailiar with polarized training it is all about going really hard or really easy, staying away from the “middle zone” which is tempo/Sweetspot, accumulating some time at this intensity is natural and will happen but you want to be conscious of it and how much. polarized is the 80/20 model but not based on total time, it is based on number of workouts so 80% of your rides are easy and 20% are hard. Lots of info out there when you :google" poloarized training. The reason I am a fan in this situation is it is pretty easy for the self guided athlete to administer as long as you can stay disciplined on the hard and easy days. the ONLY way to get gains is to follow the easy/hard rhythm of your training week. The speciifc intervals can be adjusted for your events/goals. Based on what you said in your post I owuld start with 4x6min and taregt 105-115% FTP, then graduate to 4x8min with goal being 120% FTP. Doing these on the trails will vary your power output or RPE intebsity, the goal is 120% but you may only come away with 100-110% because you cannot put out constant smooth effort on the trails. Do these 2x week with at least 1-2 days of easy rides or a rest day. I also love “booster” rides that are double length of your average endurance/easy ride. Insert one of these very 2-3 weeks and you will be amazed at the benefits. Hope this help and happy training!

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Thanks a lot for your feedback @Fpike, yes I am quite familiar with Dr. Seiler’s work and I really appreciate all of is content. I try to follow the polarized approach the best I can during school year but it gets tricky when time crunched but I think now is a great time to apply the approach to a tee and see How I react to it. I like te idea of a booster ride too.

I am overwhelmed with the response I have had on this post it’s certainly appreciated, now I have to go to the drawing board and try to fit all of it together! And keep it fun, I am on vacation for goodness sake :rofl: