Build 2 - Week 2: Building physical and mental strength
After a solid end to the first week of Build 2, I was keen to start the second week well. Given the struggle with the 6 x 3 mins @120% FTP last Tuesday, the coach put in a similar, but more bite sized 6 x 2 mins @115% FTP (1:1 Work:Recovery ratio) to kick the week's intervals off. This was going to be an important one for me psychologically, to remove a bit of the mental scar tissue from last week's session.
The second prescribed interval session of the week would see a "Hill Climbers Special" workout, with some 5 minute efforts at the z4/5 boundary after a short 15s breakaway attempt!
The last prescribed workout had the usual "Endurance with efforts" feel to it, this week focusing on repeated 1 minute efforts. Another variant on the Ed Laverack "Kitchen Sink" workout (the first of which I attempted live on YouTube earlier in the year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FllJiRlL0k).
As usual I supplemented these prescribed workouts with some additional endurance work (mostly z2 rides, but with a bit of sweet spot work on Wednesday as well).
Often taken as a rest day, I elected to perform some pre work z2 riding today courtesy of our favourite pacer bot Bowie Brevet. I wasn't feeling too fatigued after Sunday's outdoor ride, and this felt like a nice way to start the week.
Although not a terribly strong workout on paper, this one was going to be a test after the difficulties with the 6x3mins @385W last week. My intention was to complete as many of the reps as possible "in-the-saddle", and save the out of the saddle efforts (where I'm typically stronger) for when the fatigue hit. I was pleased to get the first 3 reps out of the way in the saddle, and then stood for the remaining 3.
The session was still tougher than I would like it to be, but given I'm still getting my body used to these efforts after some time focusing at sub threshold, I was pleased to tick them off.
In a similar fashion to last Wednesday, I was keen to double down on some fatigued efforts today. I also wanted to get a little time above threshold early on in the workout (to get me used to the efforts, but also fatigue me more for the later tempo efforts).
I setup some two sets of "criss-cross" repeats, with 4 minutes at Sweet Spot (90% FTP here) and 1 minute just into z5 (345W) x 4 reps (so 20 minute sets). The idea with the effort just into z5, was that I could still engage the glutes and remain seated, and not defer entirely to the quads as is typically the case for me as I approach the z6 boundary.
I then completed 3 descending intensity SS->Tempo blocks under fatigue, partitioned by some mid z2 work.
I was pleased with the way that the criss-cross intervals went, in particular how I was definitely working the glutes into z5, and also how much I was able to recover back at sweet spot. The tempo efforts certainly tested the fatigue resistance, but it's something I've been working on quite a bit lately, and so I'm getting used to "sore glutes".
Having taken Thursday as a rest day (just a 20 minute walk around the block to loosen the legs off), Friday saw another prescribed session before work. The "Hill Climbers Special" sees you complete two "5 minute efforts" which emulate an acceleration (15s @200% FTP) into a sustained break effort (1:45 @105% FTP), a short 30s respite, and straight into a continuation of the break (or climb) - 2:30 @107% FTP.
Following these two efforts and a short recovery, you then complete a 10 minute effort @100% FTP bookended by 30s efforts @105% FTP. An hour at mid z2 completed the session.
The first 5 minute effort definitely got me panting somewhat, but the second effort actually felt somewhat easier (I think the first one completed my warm up!). The threshold effort was not easy by any means, but I felt like I got through it fairly unscathed (despite the legs feeling the earlier efforts a little) - A solid, and quite enjoyable session.
With the weekend upon us, it was time for a reprisal of another Laverack "Kitchen Sink" workout. These sessions pretty much do what they say on the tin, and fatigue a number of different energy systems over the course of a longer session.
After a ramped warmup to 90% FTP, the session breaks down as follows:-
10 x (60s @130% FTP, 60s @55% FTP)
3 mins @55% FTP
2 x (5 mins @100% FTP, 3 mins @55% FTP)
6 x (60s @130% FTP, 60s @55% FTP)
15 mins @60% FTP
12 mins @95% FTP
10 mins @60% FTP
12 mins @90% FTP
10 mins @60% FTP
5 x (1 min @100% FTP, 2 mins @85% FTP)
10 mins @60% FTP
4 x (20s @200% FTP, 1 min @55% FTP) - Whatever power you can muster at this stage!
40 mins @65% FTP
It was clear looking at the workout breakdown, that the early anaerobic efforts would fatigue the legs (and the quads in particular) and would set the tone for the remaining efforts. I'm generally fairly strong when it comes to 30s repeats, but it was going to be interesting to see how 60s repeats were.
After 5 reps at 400W the legs were certainly fully aware that this was going to be a strong one, but I remained mentally focused and strong and got through the remaining 5 well. The 2 x 5 mins @100%FTP felt solid, despite the earlier efforts, largely due to more glute engagement at this power vs quad dominance at the higher power. The remaining 6 reps at 400W felt tough at the beginning, but I actually felt stronger (maybe with the end of them being in sight) after the first 3.
I completed the 12 mins at 305W and 290W fairly well, but after 2 hours of work, the glutes were certainly beginning to feel the burn.
I made a pragmatic decision to nudge the over under block down by 5% to ensure I would complete it strong and still have a little something left for the 20s efforts to come. This was a good choice, as I got through them relatively unscathed (standing for the overs, seated for the unders) which may not have been the case if I kept it on 100%.
I turned off ERG mode for the 20s efforts (uncertain of what power I would be able to hold after the earlier efforts), however, I was pleased to find myself building into them, and actually increasing the 20s power with each passing interval - very pleasing!
Some zone 2 to round the session out and then cooldown and plenty of recovery planned for the afternoon as I had plans of a nice outdoor endurance ride the next morning before settling down to watch Liège-Bastogne-Liège in the afternoon ;)
A beautiful morning to get out and enjoy some of the flatter lands to the South. This ride was all about getting some time out on the bike and just enjoying the day. No looking at the power meter, but no real efforts, just riding on feel.
However, far from a ride that didn't add value. Amassing nearly 6 hours in the saddle gave a great opportunity to work on hydration and fuelling, as well as honing those stabilising muscles to keep good form on a long day.
Looking at the power data after the fact, and reassuringly, it seems much of riding on feel resulting in a z2 dominated ride, with very little time above that.
A top morning out, and after an early start I was back in time to enjoy an afternoon of Liege-Bastogne-Liege!
Another solid build week of work completed. Adding a little more TSS than last week (+50), but more importantly, building up some more time above threshold, and accomplishing each of the prescribed workouts at the target power. Although there are still some hurdles to overcome with the longer VO2max intervals, this was a step in the right direction. There were many times this week where the reps were starting to hurt with more to go, but I told myself I could do it, and allowed myself to get accustomed to that sensation.
Next week will see a chance to further improve on that with some more 2 and 3 minute efforts, supplemented with some longer efforts at around 105% FTP. In general I'll be taking down the TSS a bit this week to freshen up a little after two strong weeks. This should then allow for two more stronger weeks, before a steady taper into The Struggle event at the end of the third week. As always, thanks for reading. I hope your training is going well, and until next time... Ride On!