We make holes in teeth!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Wednesday morning, so bright and full of vigor. The sun rising out the right side of the train. Here are 2 pictures from my cell phone:

Going to start off with a bike comment.


"Why are Monday and Tuesday the 4th and 5th days of your block if you're pooped from the weekend? Particularly at this point of the year?"

Let me just say now that you asked for it. So here goes. This is a layered answer so I need to start from the beginning.

Last year I went with a 5 day rotation. I rode both weekend days and Tuesday through Thursday. Being the city commuting monkey that I am, added on top of the standard dad duties, this basically became untenable. So at some point I dropped down to 4 days by dropping the Thursday and things got more sustainable.

Michael Ross in his book Maximum Performance for Cyclists suggests high-end stuff 4 days a week and taking 3 days off in a row. In reading some people's experience with this a lot of people seemed to do well with this, especially adding the 3 days off in a row to their routine. Many said the 4 day block and 3 day rest really helped them see gains. So I decided that in 2008 I want to do the 4 on/3 off approach, but not necessarily all high-end work because I'm not sure I can handle it but more importantly I don't want to spend my weekends in the basement doing precisely measured intervals.

OK I'm getting there. If you go with a 4 day block you have 3 options of what day to start. Ross says it's up to you but leans towards a Saturday start. The other options are Thursday and Friday. The reason it has to be 1 of these 3 days is because as a city monkey I need to include the weekend in there. So I need to have the weekend be part of the block. And in fact those 2 weekend days are the 2 most important days of the week.

Because of that I ruled out Thursday. Sure I would have killed workouts on those days with plenty of rest. But that would leave me flat come Saturday, which is a bad thing. Also, during race season you don't want to hit a Sunday race with 3 days stacked in front of it. Likewise you don't want to have 3 easy days before a race as you won't see gains in the long run. So out goes Thursday.

For the same general reason I knocked out Friday. Now I think Friday is possible and in the long run it may turn out that Friday through Monday works best for me. But using the Important Weekend theory, my mountain bike ride is usually Saturday and always means getting up at 6:00 and out the door by 6:30. If I'm up at 4:30 on Friday morning, topping a full week of work, that 6:00 wakeup time becomes harder and harder to hit. Then I've compromised my Important Weekend to ride Friday morning.

So add it all up and you get a 4 day block, starting on Friday, with a mountain bike ride Saturday, a longer tempo road ride Sunday, and then 2 days of high-end intervals during the season on Mon/Tue. Right now those Mon/Tue days are 2x20 at threshold.

So why am I riding Friday? Well this is Base Season so most of my miles are tempo and threshold. And in the effort to build that threshold power slowly but surely I've added a day on top, namely Friday. So far it's seemed to work, but like I said yesterday, it was a bit of a chore to get up and on the bike. Thus, I may be looking to bag the 5 days right now even though I'm looking to get as much saddle time in as possible right now.

Make sense? In my convoluted world it does. But as it seems to be panning out those 5 might be a bit much. But then, sometimes you gotta suck it up to see gains. On the other hand, what gains am I going to see if I'm dragging myself out of bed Tuesday morning and just going through the motions?

Wow, in NYC already so no more comments for today.

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  • At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm very familiar with Ross (you're not surprised, I assume) so I just wanted to hear if that was what you were doing. And it does make sense, certainly. You also state a key element that in order to make gains, you'll have to suck it up. That's for sure, no matter what plan you're on.

    I did a Ross-style 4 days myself this week, as I did nearly 2 hours each day on the mtb Monday and Tuesday, following 5 hours on the bike over the weekend. Boy, was I hungry last night.

    Being a "traditionalist" training-wise, Monday is usually a day off or a very easy active recovery day for me, but the weather has been too nice to pass up, and college teaching (on Monday) doesn't start until 1/28.


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