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06/05/2011

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Douglas

Joe,

I have really enjoyed this series. Intuitively, the process makes a lot of sense. I've reached the point in my development where it seems that some aspects of performance (specifically muscular endurance / FTP) take focused work for several weeks to improve noticeably rather than just 1-2 workouts a week with other things interspaced, so it seems a block approach may serve me well.

One of the things you mentioned in prior posts was that some abilities must be revisited after that block or mesocycle is completed for maintenance. You've mentioned revisiting Z2 rides to keep endurance high, but how often do other aspects need revisiting? The ability I am particularly interested in is muscular endurance. How much should this remain a focus for a cyclist racing both road races and crits most weekends during the Transmutation block (IE number 5)? With 1-2 days available for workouts in the week during the racing season after recovery needs are addressed, what is the best way to spend these in a BP approach?

I expect part of the answer will be "it depends on the cyclist, etc."but am interested in your thoughts on the topic in general.

Also, how does the BP approach work for second peaks where 10-12 weeks after the first peak/race block? Would you begin with a focus on muscular endurance mainly and rebuild through Transmutation, or start earlier in the process?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

Joe Friel

Douglas--For some sports ME is the primary focus of specific training. For those in which it may not be I'd include an ME set after the primary set once or twice a week. But actually, even for cyclists who are doing a lot of group/race workouts there is a significant amount of ME involved. So it may not need addressing at all. So depends primarily on the type of training being done in transmutation.

Al

From my understanding block periodization is multiple peaks aiming at introducing higher levels of power multiple times before major peak to have body ready and have some prior adaption to that peak.
this is simply your regular periodization with a little more glamor not impressed...

I recently introduced myself to the micro peaks, with 3-5 peaks a year and attained an amazing 385 20 minute power, compared to last years peak of 345 20 minute peak. mind you I still have 1 more peak coming in july which I am expecting 400 watts.

My methodology (after 3 months of sub threshold base work), is 1 week of super easy 80% max base weekly volume, then 1 week of 2 subthreshold workouts at LT1 or SS or ME 88-93% FTP (flat and mountain) with the other 3 being 2 base rides 2-3 hour rides <70%FTP, with a long ride with some minor mountain work climbing at <80%. 3rd week is 1 buffer workout 30 seconds on ~200% FTP/ off 70% FTP, 4 intervals of 10 minutes, goal of this is to awaken legs to higher power outputs, I do this on hills. I did my base ride prior to this to stimulate aerobic enzyme release, took a day off after the intervals, then began with a base ride then another interval day of 2x40 minutes at 88-93% FTP, followed by a long ride. I take 3 days off, then I do 1 base ride ending with a 20 minute ride at 90-100% FTP at high cadence. The next day is my LT interval... then I base ride all week and usually destroy the race that weekend. For the past 3 peaks I have beaten my LT records by about 10-20 watts. I started off in jan with 310 20 min LT, now im 385.

This is the block periodization I was taught. and the results are incredible compared to last year when I was coached by Hunter Allen and gained only 15 watts in july from januraries numbers.

The whole idea is that the steady peak gives numbers the legs have not been use to. My first peak was 340 in early March, 355 in late apr, and 385 this morning. it was not a steady progression it was just micro recovery/base/build/peak cycles. If i wasnt 185 pounds these numbers would mean something.

rafael

salut Joe:

what do you think about the training residual in the BP ? How can we use that in the ironman triathlon training ?

Alex

Joe, this is an exciting camp, thanks for sharing with us. I´ve been doing some research myself and messing with BP for some time now. I´m 40yo currently self-coached, competitive amateur roadie and after 27 years of training and racing, I´ve discovered that my strenght is good endurance and base (or developed those, who knows).

So what I do is try to keep a good, balanced, decent fitness level throughout the season, and use BP for specific periods in wich I have only to "polish" some habilities to achieve my goals (sprint, AT, etc.), according to planned targets.

We have no rigorous winter down here so I can stay on the bike all yr round, and for the past 7 yrs I´ve managed to stay competitive without injuries or illnesses using this method. I must confess I wasn´t intentionally seeking BP, but now that it´s showing up I can relate. So indeed there must be something for us advanced athletes in it!

Thanks for the post and keep up the excellent work!

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The ability I am particularly interested in is muscular endurance. How much should this remain a focus for a cyclist racing both road races and crits most weekends during the Transmutation block (IE number 5)? With 1-2 days available for workouts in the week during the racing season after recovery needs are addressed, what is the best way to spend these in a BP approach?

Fulton Lopez

Joel,
This was an excellent article, and I truly enjoyed it. I always look forward to your articles. I emphasize time trialing in my races, and what I found interesting is that i can do vomax intervals prior (2 to 4 months before) to my more specific time trial training.
Fulton

Account Deleted

Hi Joe;

My question is simple: Should I use block periodization with atlhetes who are 15-18 years old, considering they are advanced athletes in their category???

Joe Friel

Kanelafreeride - Good question. I can't say for sure. I've only been using it for a bit over a year and have never used it with juniors. My gut feeling is that it should be only used for those who are advanced in absolute terms, not relative to their competition.

Joe Friel

cc jerseys--if you are doing workouts that are racelike on those 1 or 2 days then you should be ok.

Joe Friel

rafael--The only residual you should have to maintain is aerobic endurance. That can easily be made part of workouts that focus on muscular endurance. If for some reason that doesn't work then Issurin suggests doing such training after about 2-3 weeks of ME training. I think it would be better included with ME workouts.

Pierre

Joe,
Do you plan to introduce this type of periodization in ATP/Training Peaks at some point?

Joe Friel

Pierre--Not for VirtualCoach, which is what I think you're asking about, but I will create training plans for TrainingPeaks using block periodization. Unfortunately, it will be a while as I'm a bit overbooked right now. Thanks for your interest tho.

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I have really enjoyed this series. Intuitively, the process makes a lot of sense. I've reached the point in my development where it seems that some aspects of performance (specifically muscular endurance / FTP) take focused work for several weeks to improve noticeably rather than just 1-2 workouts a week with other things interspaced, so it seems a block approach may serve me well.

Will Scruggs

Would you mind expanding on why you consider a block plan inappropriate for a novice or moderately trained athlete? I consider myself in the moderately trained group and your explanation above makes sense to me. I could see using it for my own training. Thanks for your work!

Will

Joe Friel

Will Scruggs - Of course, it's difficult to classify someone as 'moderate' or 'advanced.' This is a continuum and not obvious divisions. It really comes down to how deep your fitness is. Depth' in this case refers to how many years have the endurance abilities have been in development. If they are underdeveloped and the athlete trains using block periodization then those abilities not being trained sufficiently and may return to base levels. That would mean while improving in one area by focusing nearly all of your training on it that others may be lost. Truly advanced athletes with many years of ability development are much less likely to have this happen.

Gian Villata

Hi joe, excelent your article, The BP is the best on planification for athletes advanced. I will working Acumulaction1 in Zone 2 and Maximal Strengh (gym with overload), Acumulation 2 in Zona 3 with Maximal Strenght and Transmutation in Zona 4 and 5a-5b with Endurance Force (overload) and Realization with Zone 3 and Zone 4 with Power for Olympic Distance with period of 8-16 weeks, Thanks. How long time efect residual of Aerobic Endurance in Olympic distance 30-+5 days ? Thanks

Joe Friel

Gian Villata--Yes, that's correct (30+/- 5 days) according to Issurin. I can find no research to support it, however. Continue to search.

Jeff Conrad

There are 2 books by Issurin. Which one would you recommend?

Joe Friel

Jeff Conrad--His first. Block Periodization 1, I believe it is called. Working from memory here as I don't have it with me in Switzerland.

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The ability I am particularly interested in is muscular endurance. How much should this remain a focus for a cyclist racing both road races and crits most weekends during the Transmutation block (IE number 5)? With 1-2 days available for workouts in the week during the racing season after recovery needs are addressed, what is the best way to spend these in a BP approach?
w

Joe Friel

jerseys--If you are racing or doing group rides weekly it will remain stable, I suspect.

mitch

Hi Joe...I'm trying to decide if I should make a long-term investment in a block training program. It's too late for this, given the race calendar, but I'm thinking of skipping the season and re-building from scratch. What kind of gains do you think I could expect?

Today, I'm a mediocre cat 3. I've never really trained properly, so I have no idea where I am relative to my potential. I started riding seriously about 18 mos ago after a series of running injuries. I'm 48 y.o., and was a pretty good triathlete about 20 years ago. Since then, I've gone through years of being in relatively good shape, and years of not.

For the last year, I've been riding maybe 7-8 hours/week, but pretty much violating most of your training principles. I spend little time in zone 2, not too much in zone 3 lots of time in zones 4 & 5 and do lots of intervals. I've never made time for many long (>40miles) rides.

I have pretty good natural power. On a good day, I'll do my 5 x 7min intervals w/2-min recovery at about 345 watts, and 5 x 5min intervals at maybe 370w at a perceived effort of maybe 8.5/10. I have no sprint, but can hold 300+ watts for a good while.

There are not a lot time trials where I live, so I do mainly circuit races. I'm good enough to be just middle of the pack in local cat 3, where I have to compete against much younger, fitter guys, dedicated guys. (I have a family, career, etc.....)

Hence my question. If I can get a (measured in power, let's say), that would really move the needle, competitively, I just might go for it. If I can't and I'm still stuck in the middle, I'm better off just muddling along as I'm doing and enjoying it.

Can you make a wild guess as to how far off I am from my potential?

mitch

Joe,

I asked a longer question earlier, then gave it a bit more thought. Here's a shorter question instead.

Let's say I've decided to start using BP to train, as part of a more general decision to start training smarter. Can I get started asap, while continuing my scheduled race calendar for this summer?

And would I do that by just adding a weekly race on top of the BP program, and not worrying too much about whether I'm in peak form for race results? Or would including the race-level effort reduce the benefits I should be getting from the BP program?

Joe Friel

MITCH--It shouldn't be a problem to adopt BP training at this point in season. Race-like workouts are, indeed, necessary in the last 2 blocks prior to an A race.

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