Posts Tagged ‘Masters Cycling’

I’m not sure if that title is accurate for this post, but I wanted to provide insight into a few challenges I see with aging and racing.  I focus entirely on Pro/1/2 races and dabble in the Pro/1 NCC criteriums during Speed Week and sometimes a few other races on the calendar.  When racing regional Pro/1/2 races, the speed and attacks are strong, but nothing like the intensity of a large Pro field of dedicated Pro/1 riders who focus 100% on racing.  For me, the road races are not that difficult because they are hitting the endurance and aerobic areas of fitness where I spend the majority of my training.  If we are drilling it for 100 miles at 90%, I am in much less pain than the first 20 minutes of a tight or rainy crit where it is essentially 20 minutes straight of 5 – 10 sec all out / 5 – 10 sec rest.  Since I don’t like Tabata efforts due to the fact that they leave my legs and back fatigued for multiple days, I have a huge gap in repeatability.  If I had a huge base, I’d spend a couple weeks before the season focused on this top end training.  However, I’m typically still building in March and can’t realistically do 1 or 2 days of intense intervals without losing a ton of base fitness due to the recovery time.  If I do efforts like those in training, I may not be able to go hard again for up to three days.  This is where the difference between a young pro and an older masters racer really start to diverge.  I get frustrated when I hear masters racers say that they can’t ride fast because they are getting older.  It’s true, but the blanket statement isn’t correct.  It has more to do with picking and choosing your training to minimize long periods of soreness so you can maintain a high level of fitness.  If an older athlete attempts to build a lot of any single type of fitness (i.e. zone 5, zone 6, or zone 7), they leave themselves open to prolonged soreness that will erode their base fitness.  If you work full time with a family, it is very unlikely that you can regain the lost base fitness, so the cost / benefit of doing short intense workouts is minimized.


Part of me can accept the above statement, but part of me cannot accept that statement.  So, I’m planning to play with different types of intervals over the next few months to see which ones can build this repeatability while minimizing fatigue.  By definition, you need hard efforts to create training adaptations, so this isn’t completely logical.  However, I’m going to be pursuing the best workout that adds repeatability while minimizing fatigue.  I’m thinking of it as a sort of “anaerobic sweet spot” interval.  I also think that it will require a combination workout where some base fitness and FTP can be maintained while also working the anaerobic engine.  What I haven’t figured out is what it will look like in practice.  Next week I’ll head out and try some tabatas 8 x 10 sec all out / 20 sec off for 2 sets and then attempt to do an SST ride.  I’m sure that like anything in training, I will need to start slow and build up.  If the old saying of “no more than 10% increase in training per week” holds true, this all may just come down to starting intense intervals prior to rides at an almost embarrassingly short duration and slowly build up over time.  So, maybe it’s as simple as doing a quick tabata before every training session for two weeks, then adding a second set after two weeks, a third set after a month, etc….   We’ll see, but I’m icing my back as I type this post, so whatever I decide, I hope it fixes these soreness and fatigue issues so I can improve my repeatability while decreasing this pain.

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