(If you've seen this already, you're also on the local bayareacyclocross mailing list where I first posted it. Please ignore.)
I followed two canned training plans from Lynda Wallenfels on http://trainingpeaks.com March - August, before racing TransRockies.
They worked well for me. I like to train with wattage and I like having
"homework", just doing the work in a plan. I can't afford a coach.
Thinking about doing the Hunter Allen's 12-15 hours / week "intermediate"
cyclocross plan. Have any of you done it? How was it?
hunnerd bucks for a training plan... sounds like a decent deal...
but then... how well does the power meter measure your ability to stick a turn ;)
that's where the races are won and lost
power... meh - leave it for the roadies ;)
i just skimmed this article and while it is Mt Bike focused is seems to be addressing the same elements I remember from power tap files I collected at races last year, no i don't use power now...
A mountain bike race comes down to the rider’s fitness, technical skills, luck and finesse, in addition to the course terrain, weather, and course conditions. In a nutshell it is all about the rider’s ability to ride, as fast and efficiently as possible, over, under, or around any obstacle, any incline or decline, without help or team support, to the finish line.
now scratch mountain bike and replace it with cyclocross
There are plenty of really good training programs out there - that elite one from the 90s or when ever that was online (i got it printed out somewhere, i'll see if i can find it online) seems pretty darn complete and scalable to a master kinda racer...
but then if ya dropping cash on powertaps WKO software, what is an extra $100 for a program to follow... prolly worth getting (if ya can stick with it)
Hey Gewilli, yeah I know your stance on wattage and the measuring thereof. :)
My skills are good enough, can always use work, and I spend quite a bit of time on them. I'm no AJM bunny-hopping 18" barriers to victory, but I'm content with my skills and will continue to drill.
It's the fitness side that really benefits from a good plan. The cool thing about using a pm is that I can self-test as frequently as I want, figure out what my threshold is, reset my zones and then continue to train according to my zones. Works for me, and lets me see progress (or regress) over time.
I looked at the preview of the Hunter plan, and a friend is letting me see his Hunter plan. My main concern is whether or not the plan is too ambitious for me (burning the candle at both ends, having to skip workouts) and whether it will accommodate some of the regular local rides, races and runs I do during cx season. So far I've heard back from two people who followed the plan. One said it was too much and he felt himself losing fitness over the cx season. (He's an A level rider.) The other is Michael, above. Thanks, Michael! A third was familiar with Hunter's road plans and just warned me about overtraining, i.e. the candle metaphor.
So there it is. Lynda's training plans got me ready for a big, important mountain bike race, so to your point about efficacy; yeah, they can work. She also killed it at that race.
race on the weekend, recover monday, training race tuesday and wed, go for a run and do some running intervals thursday, friday do some skills stuff (barrel races, dismounts remounts barrier work stuff but little intensity mostly recovery, race saturday, race sunday, repeat...
what more is there to do? what better way to train for cross than to actually race ;) (but if it was that easy... )
okay so just race once mid week and do some trainer intervals on the other day... or add an extra recovery day (masters need more rest anyway - i've learned that the hard way)...
12-15 hours a week should be more than enough time for my "program" ;)
Seriously though on a cookie cutter program, unless it clearly states what workouts are optional each week, you might be better off getting a custom training plan. You aren't looking for coaching as much as a "what do I need to do." Right?
here http://everybodysbikecoach.com/packages.html $149 for an individual package
"These training programs include 12 - 24 weeks with each day's workouts specified. The perfect way to nail your best performance on the day that matters! "
Hunter definitely has some good plans - and, from what I understand, this one even has input from an experienced crosser. But my view on this is that September is too late to start a plan for it to be useful. If you're like most of us, you'll be racing in a couple weeks (if not already) and once that starts, the amount of recovery that's required usually whittles the week down to one - maybe two - solid workouts, which is why most others are posting that it's too hard of a plan. I haven't personally seen the details of it but the guys that will be at the top of the results this season will have made most of their solid gains in training during July/August/Sept. If you are going into this having come off a prior training block then you should be ok - relative to how much racing/recovering you'll be doing.
As for power meters - certainly there is benefit if you know how to use it in training. It can also be useful to show the frequency and length of efforts (in a race) in order to better replicate it in your workouts.
Thanks, Mike. I did a buttload of endurance training for the TransRockies, then did the race. I have base for days. Some of my training was at threshold and above. Now I need to "sharpen the knife", do lots of short intervals, running, plyometrics and skills. I know it's late, I just want some sort of plan in front of me instead of instinctual riding. That cyclesmart one might be the best. BTW Lynda also recommended Andy Applegate's plans to me, which are cheaper, but HR-based. I'll talk to him...
FWIW I ended up going with the Hunter Allen plan. It's working out pretty well for me. I have missed a couple workouts, or pieces of workouts due to life, lack of daylight, work getting in the way but on the whole it's good.
The intervals are pretty good. They focus a lot on threshold power, VO2 max efforts, recreating cx-race-like conditions with periodic surges while riding at or below threshold.
I would have liked to've tried the Cyclesmart customized plan, but by the time they'd gotten back to me I'd already bought this one. Maybe I'll try them next year. That looks like a pretty good option, for the price.