Episode 31 – Building A Training Plan for Cycling- Base, Build, and Beyond

The strong savvy cyclist & triathlete podcast

Transcript

Speaker 1:

Human Vortex Training and Menachem Brodie, present, The Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathlete Podcast, where we talk strength training, physiology, psychology, tech, and much more, to help you get fitter, faster and stronger in and out of your sport, giving you expert insights, talking with other leading experts. And now your host world-leading strength coach for cyclists, and triathletes, Menachem Brodie.

Menachem Brodie:

Hi, everyone. And welcome to episode 31, our last of 2019. I am very excited to wrap up this year. It has been one heck of a year and it has been just a lot of fun to go through and start this podcast. And really, we started on February 12th with our first one for the year, so that’s minus six weeks. So that leaves us with 46 weeks. We got 31 episodes, which means that pretty much I missed about 13 and I’m looking forward to 2019 over the holidays here. I am recording a bunch of new episodes that will be put in a vault. So you can have a weekly episode of The Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathletes Podcast here. Now, just like last week, I’m going to ask you a huge favor. I have a goal with this podcast to help at least 15,000 athletes from around the world every single week, be able to get the most up-to-date and expert training advice and insights from this podcast.

Menachem Brodie:

So I’d like to ask you to do me a favor and really help me out and give me a present this holiday season. And it would be the least you can do as a thank you for the podcast and the content we’re putting out here. You’ll notice you don’t have to pay to get this. There is nothing that you have to do other than show up each week, or whenever we upload one and to listen and to send me your emails and questions. So as a gift, if you can, if you will, this holiday season, if you could go over to iTunes and give me a five-star rating with two sentences about what you enjoy most about this podcast, it can be my wacky sense of humor or my dead sense of humor as people say, or hopefully it’s the quality information and the level of guests that we’re getting here on The Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathlete Podcast.

Menachem Brodie:

If you can do that, give me a five-star rating, two sentences about it, like and share. I really want to hit 15,000 listeners, which in the world of podcasting is very small. I mean, it’s a very tiny audience. You look at Joe Rogan Experience and he has 8 million or 12 million people. So 15,000 is very small, but I can’t do it without your help. So please like, and share and give me a five-star rating over on iTunes or wherever you are downloading this podcast or listening to it from that would be a huge help.

Menachem Brodie:

Now, before we get into today’s podcast, which is going to be part two of answering Pavel’s email asking about training and building a paradise program, and remember Pavel has been racing a UCI continental team level for quite some time. So this is a big signal of what’s going on in the world of cycling, where people are realizing there’s a better way of doing this than what’s been traditionally done. So we have some really great content for you today. We’re going to get into the details and we’re going to get into part two of Pavel’s question of how to actually build that base and build period of the year and what that actually entails. Before we get into that, after you have done me a huge favor in giving me that gift of a five star rating with one to two sentences on iTunes or wherever you download this, head over to Human Vortex Training’s YouTube channel @HVTraining, subscribe and like some of the videos that you actually do like.

Menachem Brodie:

If you’re not one for videos, then forget that. Don’t go over there instead go over to the Human Vortex Training website, humanvortextraining.com and sign up for our newsletter because I’m going to give you short little blips of information on what’s going on here at Human Vortex Training throughout the year. So just this past two weeks ago now, at this point of the release, I put out a newsletter sharing bird dogs and showing you two different athletes at very different levels of their development and how we use the same exercise to be able to do or accomplish similar, but very different end outcomes. And I’m going to have a YouTube video here in 2020, where I actually go through that video and break down what we’re seeing with each of these athletes. So one’s a professional basketball player, the other one is a developmental basketball player, and you can see very big differences in how they’re able to execute the exact same exercise with a little bit of a tweak to it.

Menachem Brodie:

So if you’re at all interested in that, make sure you head over to the Human Vortex Training website, sign up for the newsletter. It should be available at the bottom of each page, or if you’d like to have a free gift from me as a thank you for your five-star rating and signing up for the newsletter, wait for that pop-up to come up and you’re going to get my all about intervals on download as a gift. And that’ll explain quite a bit about why a lot of endurance athletes and hopefully this doesn’t include you because you’ve been a listener of The Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathlete Podcast here for some time. But why many endurance athletes don’t get what they need out of their intervals. And it’s a very powerful piece. I’ve actually gotten, probably about 45 or 55 emails this past year about how that really opened some of the people’s eyes as to what they were doing was wrong. They were going out just hammering themselves.

Menachem Brodie:

So a fantastic piece, a free gift from me to you as a thank you for putting your name on the newsletter list and just getting even better information. So it’s a thank you for giving you more information. So it’s like, thank you and here’s more gifts for you. All right. Today’s episode we are going to get into, and we’re going to answer part two of Pavel’s question. Now, if you didn’t listen to part one that was episode number 29, and what we did is we answered the first part of this question, which was actually asking us in general about periodization, because it’s a relatively new training system to him. And we went in and we broke it down. So today what we’re going to do is answer part two of his email, and that is, we’re going to continue what he said. “I’d say that the first base phase is the best to focus on extension of time to exhaustion curve. So trainings would focus on tempo and sweet spot two times a week, maybe some short VO2 max efforts, for example, 20 seconds on, 40 seconds off for a session one time a week, would that make sense?

Menachem Brodie:

And then the remaining days would be endurance training and two days a week at the gym, is that right? Then the second, the build phase, it would be four weeks to focus on increasing the time to exertion curve. So training is focused on threshold, longer durations, VO2 max, longer duration. So maybe 10 by two minutes, VO2 max with two minutes easy in between. And then the third build phase, would focus on max efforts. FRC efforts in the mid week trainings and also racing, which means more intensity or riding races weekly intensity in the trainings in the mid week. So the Tuesday Night Worlds, Wednesday Night Worlds.” So in Pittsburgh we have the oval races on Tuesday and Wednesday. That’s what he mean by the midweek races and just focus on some endurance or tempo sweet spot between the races. So to summarize what he’s asking, he is asking during the base, is it the best to focus on pushing your mean maximal power up into the right.

Menachem Brodie:

So this would be based off of the longer time periods. So we’re talking about 10, 20, 30, 60 minutes. So that’s the time to exhaustion curve. We want to push that up into the right, and you can see this, if you go to power curve, a file or graph rather in TrainingPeaks or in GoldenCheetah. So we want to see that push up into the right. So Pavel is asking, would the trainings focus on tempo and sweet spot twice a week, maybe some short VO2 max efforts. And he’s mentioning the high intensity interval training sessions, which I actually answered. Someone posted in the USA Triathlon Coaches group. They asked if this is a VO2 max effort. They had a high intensity interval training session that they posted where it was, 10 seconds on, 20 seconds off a Tabata, essentially. Tabata is just the name of the researcher in Japan that did this and published it. And then Pavel was asking if the remaining days during the week would be endurance training and then twice a week gym sessions.

Menachem Brodie:

So we’re going to start just with that because there’s a lot more to unpackage here. So I’m going to share with you the philosophy and what I’ve been doing here at Human Vortex Training since we opened the doors of the training studio in 2007, and even what I was doing with my friends, who were my athletes at the time, even though I wasn’t getting paid for it, I was just doing it to kind of tool around and see if I wanted to do this. And if I was any good at it, back in 2006, 2005. So here is what I’ve been doing and what’s been working. Now, the philosophy has stayed the same and the approaches have changed based upon the athlete’s needs. So Pavel, that’s the first thing that I would say to you is you’re looking to develop a philosophy, but to adapt that philosophy to what the athletes are actually able to do. And you kind of hint at that a little bit later in part three, when we answer, you’ll hear a little bit more about that.

Menachem Brodie:

But here’s the philosophy here at Human Vortex Training, I started getting into biking and I started reading all this stuff saying you need to do long slow distance, long slow distance, long slow distance. And I just realized that’s a bunch of crap. And I mean this with all due respect. Now, when you get to a certain level to develop your endurance engine, you do need your aerobic engine. You do need long slow endurance rides. However, there are a number of other things that need to happen in the human body in order for us to increase your capabilities. If you’d like to learn more about this in more detail, the four pillars of athletic progression, head on over to the HVTraining YouTube channel, and just look for the exercise science, how your fitness develops over time. It’s a 20 minute, 22 minute video, and I’ll go through the four pillars and actually teach you how your fitness really does progress over time.

Menachem Brodie:

There are a bunch of people on YouTube and podcasts who aren’t coaches, who aren’t exercise physiologists saying that your fitness develops over time, just because you keep pushing your body. Well, no, there’s an under lying reason for it, four reasons, four systems that have to be trained and why it progresses. Okay. Before you throw your computer, tablet or phone against the wall, because you’re upset because I said that I’m against long slow distance rides, let me open up and get into why I don’t believe in only doing that. If you are looking to get into better shape, whether you’re looking to race, whether you’re looking just to ride better, to get stronger, to get more fit, we’re in an endurance sport, you definitely need long slow distance rides, regardless of where you are as a rider or racer.

Menachem Brodie:

If you’re racing crits, guess what? You still need that aerobic engine to be nice and strong. So you do need “long slow distance rides” but the long slow is the part that a lot of people screw up. Oh boy. Okay, here we go. We’re going to get into a little bit, not on a soapbox, but it really bothers me still that most coaches are not correcting their athletes for this. And I include myself in that because there are times where I go to read an athlete’s power files at the end of the week. And then I realized I did not give them a small enough box to play in when they go on their long slow distance rides.

Menachem Brodie:

Long slow distance means you are keeping your power or heart rate below a certain percentage. So the power numbers that I use here is below 65%, 68% for the more advanced and the power numbers are below 70%, 72% for the more advanced, those are the power and heart rate numbers that you want, if you are actually going to build your endurance abilities, your aerobic engine, but guess what? Most of us completely screw it up, completely. And this is why a lot of the time, when an athlete comes to me, especially triathletes, I try and get them to go out with a group for triathletes and learn how to control their efforts. Now, this is going to mean the first couple of weeks you are going to get dropped, dropped off the back. OTB, DFL, whatever you want to call it, dead freaking last, whatever you want to call it, you’re going to get dropped because the ride is probably going to be too hard for you.

Menachem Brodie:

Now, this is where a lot of us as cyclists will go to a group ride that’s actually inappropriate endurance level. And we come back, we’re like, coach, that was way too easy. I’m kind of bored. I’m not really doing much. I’m turning the pedals. I barely feel like I’m doing anything. Great. As long as you’re between 50 and 60, 65% of your power output, you’re hitting it. That is an endurance ride. Congratulations. You’re doing it. Endurance mean I can go all day. I can last forever. That’s what I want to do. Just ride grandma with her streamers is going to probably be riding next to me. And some grandmas will kick your butt because they’re really strong and it’s not an insult to grandmas. I’m just saying that that’s the pace. It’s a chatting pace. We want to go out with our Pomeranian in the front basket with our baguette and our beret and it’s a little bit harder than a cafe ride, but we’re sitting there. We can talk comfortably. That is an endurance building ride. That’s it, it’s that easy, but most of us are going way too hard.

Menachem Brodie:

You can also look at the intensity factor and see, we want to be below 0.7 for intensity factor. If you’re using a power meter that is accurate and precise and calibrated, that last part is important. So make sure you’re calibrating at least once a week. And if your bike is stored inside, now we’re in the winter. If your bike is stored inside, which I do recommend we don’t want to have it stolen, right? If your bike is stored inside and you’re going outside for a ride and it’s below room temperature in your house, which it should be, because you’re probably keeping your room temperature at 70, 67, if you’re trying to save some cash and you like your Duluth Trading Shirt Jac which I talked about in the newsletter a couple of weeks ago, we’re talking about you go outside. That temperature is going to change. That’s going to affect the reading for your power meter. So I do recommend that you calibrate or recalibrate your power meter once your bike has been outside for five to 10 minutes, really, it should be 10 to 15.

Menachem Brodie:

If you’re in an area where it’s safe and you can put the bike outside, but it’s behind a locked door and you’re able to make sure that it’s not going to get stolen, put your bike outside 10 to 15 minutes while you get dressed, so that the temperature is down, recalibrate your power meter before you head out and then use those numbers because we will see adaptations and changes in the numbers due to the adaptations in the metals and the measuring units or the measuring parts in your bike. Because the metal shrinks when it gets cold. Now some of you will say, yeah, but the power meters nowadays, it’s not that sensitive. I’d rather be safe than, sorry. Is it really that big of a fuss to recalibrate your power meter after it’s sitting outside for five to 10 minutes or 10 to 15 minutes rather. So you’ve had that temperature adjustment and the answer is no.

Menachem Brodie:

SRM power meters will be the one where you don’t have to necessarily recalibrate every time the bike goes outside, because those are so accurate and precise, but you also pay for that upfront. I personally have a cork on my bike, so I will set it outside if we’re going to go out and there’s a big temperature difference. Although usually the bike is stored on our porch, which is locked and closed and we’re on the third or fourth floor here, fourth floor. So it’s really hard if somebody really wanted to steal my bike, they’d really have to work for it and I don’t think it’s worth it. Although the electronic shifting is really nice. Before that I had a basic power tap. So I would set the bike. I would go outside, I would ride to the meeting point or I would tell people, Hey, we’re meeting at this time, but we’re going to ride easy for 15 minutes and then we’ll all recalibrate our power meters, which I’ve done when we had the coffee tree rides.

Menachem Brodie:

This is important because we want accurate and precise numbers and consistent for what that power meter is. So, once we’ve gone through and we have done that, now when we get into our actual, and I know that was a little bit of a off shoe, but this is important because we want to make sure that you’re doing actual endurance rides and Pavel, yes, during base period, I will have people do the endurance rides. Usually it’s on the weekends twice a week. So yes, in that aspect, the reason they’re on the weekends is I went back-to-back days. I want a slight neurological fatigue, neuromuscular fatigue, and slight hormonal fatigue and energy system fatigue. So we’re actually getting a compounding effect on those back-to-back days. Now, when it comes to the midweek, I generally like to do intensity.

Menachem Brodie:

So I have used sweet spot, usually once a week and that’s going to be we’re pushing that time to exhaustion curve. That mean maximum power curve up into the right, we’ll use the sweet spot once a week. Usually it’ll be a Wednesday or a Thursday, and we’ll start pushing towards the end of the shape of what the athlete is able to maintain. And this is something, a lot of coaches and definitely athletes miss. It’s not just the power you’re able to put out during that those efforts, but it’s how is the shape of that effort looking? So, one of the great things that we do, and we talk about this a lot in the Strength Training for Cycling Certification course, which by the way, will open again here in January, 2020 for a couple of days, and it’s going to be closed to the fall. We talk about the shape of the power curve. So you’re not just looking at how the body’s moving on the bike and effort during a field test, but you’re also looking at the shape of the curve at that specific energy system. So VO2 max, as well as the steady state.

Menachem Brodie:

I put a lot of emphasis on the shape of the power that they’re putting out through. Because you’re going to have a peak fade peak where they kind of have a droop in the middle or a sag. You’re going to have the opposite where they start off too hard, and then they fall off. You have people start off too easy and ramp up and then end with a little bit of a sprint, a large part of developing cyclists or triathletes, and being able to produce this power and improve. We may improve the athlete’s ability to race simply by improving the shape of that power output and not improving their power necessarily. So Pavel, this is the first thing I would recommend is take a look at how the athlete is putting out power. Now I’m giving this information away for free, and this is totally worth a five-star rating, wink, wink, nudge, nudge on iTunes.

Menachem Brodie:

I don’t do a single 20 minute FTP test. Number one, because it freaking sucks. Excuse me. So it freaking sucks a lot. I hated doing the 20 minute FTP test. I hated it with a passion, it’s boring. I would rather go down. And in fact, I have gone down to the oval in Pittsburgh, The Bud Harris Cycling Track and done 20 minutes of laps instead of doing it on the trainer. Even that sucked a little bit, 20 minutes in the box. If you’re going to be a professional or a category three, category two or higher racer, you totally need to learn how to suffer. But that’s something that I prefer and strongly encourage and actually in my own coaching. So the interns, the apprentices I’ve had here at Human Vortex Training in the past, I have trained them instead of doing a 20 minute FTP, to do a two by eight, or a two by 10, or a two by 12 or two by 15.

Menachem Brodie:

Yes, you’re thinking two by 15 coach Brodie, that’s 30 minutes. You’re making the athletes suffer for 30 minutes instead of just 20. How is that making them better? Because we get to see how well they recover. Are they using good postures? Are they using their breathing to recover in between the efforts of the field test? We are teaching them to be a better bike racer and a bike rider by doing two well efforts instead of one. So we’re not just looking at putting them into long threshold power efforts or long tempo efforts.

Menachem Brodie:

The tempo efforts are great because you’re refining the energy system, they really are a way to solidify the capabilities that you’ve built so far. So those certainly have their place in the base period. But as far as these long threshold efforts, I don’t like them. I think that unless you’re working with a time trialist or triathletes who is intermediate to advanced, these shorter bouts of lactate threshold, as we call them efforts are going to be more beneficial neuromuscularly, hormonally and metabolically, if we get the athlete to be able to repeat a nice steady power output for these efforts. So Pavel, I wouldn’t just focus on tempo and sweet spot, I would do a short FTP efforts. So we’ll start off with the field testing. So let’s say it’s January 1st, which is right around the corner. It’s a couple of days after we’ll post this.

Menachem Brodie:

So January 1st and an athlete comes to you and says, Pavel, I want to work with you as a coach. I want to build the next season. And I’m in base, I’m following a traditional Northern Hemisphere builds. So my peak races are going to be in June, July and August. So you’re like, okay, January, February into the middle of March, that’s going to be our base that’s 16 weeks. And then we have build one, which is going to be a late March to middle of April, middle end of April build two, will be middle of April to end of May. And then we’ll have build three, which would be middle of May to June and then the taper as we get into your racing season. So that’s exactly what we spoke about last episode, or I’m sorry, two episodes ago, number 29. We spoke about the periodization. That’s exactly what we talked about. So we have a nice 12 to 16 week base. So we have January, February, March, most of March. So it’s going to be yeah, 10 to 12 weeks.

Menachem Brodie:

The minimum, again, we want to get as much base as possible. It’s better to chop off a little bit from the build and the taper, in my opinion, especially if they’re new, let’s actually look at 2020. So January has four weeks. February has four weeks, that’s eight. March has five. So we would go eight, 10, 12, 10, 11, 12. So the 22nd of March would be the end of our build for this athlete, right? I’m sorry, base. And beginning of build for this athlete. And then we would go March 29th to April 19th or April 26 would be build one, May 3rd to May 31st would be build two. And then we would do a taper into the middle of June. We’ll say that their ideal race, we can make up whatever we want. We’re going to make it perfect. So their first real race is going to be the 27th of June. And this is going to coincide with most people. And that gives us an ability to taper and then we have race season.

Menachem Brodie:

So looking at that, our weekly sessions we have Saturday and Sunday are going to be long rides. So these long endurance rides are going to be built specifically at endurance. So I may have the athlete go out and ride strictly endurance by themselves and tell them, do not go above this. Now we’re going to train the athlete to be better. I just had a phone call with a cyclist of mine in Colorado Springs. And we talked about how we’re going to be focusing on cadence for this next year, because his efforts across the board are pretty much plus or minus cadence of two to four of one another. So endurance he’s at a cadence of 90 and lactate threshold, cadence of 87 to 90. And we want to be able to tap into different neural muscular motor unit firing patterns and different efforts between endurance and lactate threshold VO2 max and all outs. And this is something that is part of my philosophy.

Menachem Brodie:

Some of you out there who our coaches will say, you know what? I don’t really buy into that. I don’t believe in that. I think it’s best if you’re using the same motor unit. Well, I’m looking at it from neuromuscular standpoint as a strength coach. And I see, let’s give you another skill where you’re able to put power out at endurance. And then when you tap into the lactate threshold VO2 max, you’re using a higher or lower cadence. You’re using a different type, a subset of the musculature. And that works well for some people and it works awful for others. This particular athlete, it’s very clear to me that by giving him these different ranges of cadences. So let’s say 95 to 105 for lactate threshold and VO2 max is significantly going to boost his abilities and he’s also getting into track racing. So we’re looking at now, it coincides with what he’s doing on the track. He’s going to get even more benefit at all that. And we’re tying it together.

Menachem Brodie:

You may be listening and saying, well, coach Brodie, you just went sideways here. You just went off on a tangent. Actually, no I didn’t. These are all considerations. And that’s what I’m giving you here is this philosophy of how to actually build base where it’s not just getting on your bike and riding, but we’re putting more thought into it. We’re training smarter, not harder because it’s all about you and the athlete getting stronger. And that’s what we’re looking at. So this base phase, we’ve got endurance twice a week. We’ve got lactate threshold once a week. And Pavel, I would say the second ride midweek for most of the riders you’re going to have, because they’ll get four rides in. Yeah, I’d go VO2 max and some of you at home will be, what? That should be another endurance ride or should be a tempo ride or a low cadence ride. No, we want that intensity because that’s what our sport entails.

Menachem Brodie:

And that’s kind of been one of the many secrets to success here at Human Vortex Training is I haven’t bought into the long slow distance for all of base. The weekends we culminate, kind of you’re training each week with a big hit to your training stress balance. We go negative pretty significantly because we’re doing back-to-back days of long slow distance. And we’re really trying to reel in how hard you’re going. And for these group sessions, I like to put in foundational miles, which allows you a little bit more freedom for day one. So Saturday would be day one would be a foundational miles, which is where you can go up to roughly 80% of lactate threshold for up to 40 or 50% of your ride. That’s a pretty significant amount. It allows you to kind of be in the group, but be cognizant of how much effort you’re putting out throughout and knowing you have to spend 60% of that day at endurance or strictly at endurance, if you will.

Menachem Brodie:

This teaches the athlete to be able to learn how to follow wheels, how to find good spots in the group to be able to decrease the power that they’re putting out whilst staying up with, or keeping up with the group and staying up in the energy system they need, because most athletes, most riders Pavel, they’re either going way too hard in a group or they’re going way too easy. So yeah, it comes out to an intensity factor of 0.63 let’s say, but they’re not getting the adaptations that they need because they’re not peddling consistently at that endurance power. And that’s what we’re looking for. So yes, our sport is very stochastic, but Pavel, you know better than I do, when you get into that pro Peloton, it’s pretty smooth for the most part, unless attacks are flying right and left. That’s, I think what a lot of people miss and correct me if I’m wrong, please. But if I’m not mistaken, a lot of people miss that when you’re in the professional Peloton, it’s pretty much a big group ride until you get to the hills, until you get to attacks.

Menachem Brodie:

And that’s what it is. You’re just riding next to one another and you’re going at a pretty consistent, smooth speed. And that’s what differentiates professional racing versus amateur racing. And this is what a lot of HVT athletes listening, who I’ve worked with in the past are sitting there shaking their head. Like, yeah, I remember coming back from a race and coach Brodie calling me and saying that was an amateur race. And the athlete says, no, it wasn’t, that was a cat one, two race. And then I say to them, your speed was so inconsistent. There are a lot of amateurs in that race who don’t understand what a road race is. And as they go through and that athlete went through their progression and got to more professional racing, they realize, Hey, coach Brodie was correct.

Menachem Brodie:

There are going to be races where it’s a little bit more spiky because the teams are more active or the tactics aren’t going the way they want to. And there’s a lot more tax flying. But yeah, most of the time it’s pretty smooth and consistent and you’re going 30, 35 kilometers an hour, pretty much straight across. And this is where it comes back to the shape of that power profile or the profile of the power curve, I should say. Because the power profile as another type of test we would do. So the profile of that, that power output for a lactate threshold sweet spot or VO2 max is going to tell you a lot about the neuromuscular capabilities, the local mitochondria, the energy producing capabilities of those muscles, as well as the athlete’s ability to maintain great postures and positions on the bike and their breathing patterns. So Pavel, that’s something I would strongly recommend you begin looking at. Record, videotape your athletes indoors, on the trainer, during their FTP test, during their power profile test.

Menachem Brodie:

If you cannot on the road, if you have a safe loop that’s close to vehicles, or maybe you have a scooter and somebody that will ride on the back and record or someone that will drive a scooter. So you can be on the back and record as they go through. These are the types of things that will take your coaching and your abilities very quickly up to a much better higher level, because you’re not just looking at the power that they’re putting out, but you’re looking at how are they putting the power out? What are their positions of their bike? What can we work on? And yes, Pavel, you got this right two times a week in the gym during the base phase.

Menachem Brodie:

And the two times a week in the gym, actually, if someone tells me Pavel, that they can get to the gym twice a week, but they can work out at home three days a week. I would rather, they go to the gym once a week for a developmental day on Tuesday or Wednesday, and then have two at home strength sessions with kettlebells, bands or body weight and stability ball/bench, because we can go into the gym and do a heavy lift that’s heavy for them, not heavyweight overall. And we can start to get those cells, the muscle tissue to adapt to those heavier loads, but get more consistently three workouts a week. So I don’t want them lifting heavy things on Monday because remember the Saturday, Sunday were the two long endurance rides, the foundational ride on Saturday and the endurance ride strictly endurance ride on Sunday.

Menachem Brodie:

And then on Monday, I would have them do a recovery session or a movement session at home with bodyweight or the kettlebell, learning positions, going through very light movements, push pull, squat hinge, press rotary stability, the fundamental five plus one, which we’ve talked about numerous times here on the podcast. And then as we go through, we would have Tuesday, Wednesday, preferably Tuesday to be the hard, heavy lift at the gym and then Thursday to be the stimulation at home with the kettlebells. And that’s our base phase pretty much and we would repeat that. Again, Pavel, like we talked last time. It may not be a three week on one week off. Now I do like to focus a little bit more on the females here because there isn’t a lot out there. I did mention the three on, one off is not ideal for everybody, but it’s a good starting point.

Menachem Brodie:

If you have a female athlete who is on oral contraceptive, that may work because it’s a three week on and a one week withdrawal. So that may actually work for them, but you need to test and retest for that athlete and see what’s working for them at that time. So we’re going to pause here. This is the base phase. When we come back from our short little break, we’re going to talk about build and a tiny bit about taper and racing. And that’ll be the second half of today’s podcast episode. So let’s take a quick break and we’ll be right back.

Speaker 1:

Want to learn more? Check out humanvortextraining.com for more on this topic from coach Brodie and today’s guest.

Menachem Brodie:

All right. Welcome back for part two. Let’s review what we’ve spoken about so far today, just real quick. So number one, we are answering Pavel’s a listener question about being a better coach and being able to understand how to build periodization. So in episode number 29, we began by answering his question, general question about periodization, how to actually build the rough overview of the training year. And now here in episode 31, we’ve done three things. Number one, you guys have done me a huge favor and really helped out to like and share. You’ve given me a five-star review over on iTunes or wherever you download this podcast, you went over and you signed up for the Human Vortex Training newsletter at humanvortextraining.com and you have liked or subscribed to this podcast as well as to the HV Training YouTube channel. Yeah, I had to put that in there again. It really does help me to grow the audience.

Menachem Brodie:

Then we spoke about the base. The base part of the year is going to take up the majority. In this example, we’re pretending that Pavel has listened to this today and exactly two days from now, from this being released on the 1st of January, Pavel has somebody enter into his life and says, Pavel, I want you to coach me. My peak race is going to start roughly around June. What do we say? I think June 29th, is that the right one? June 27th is roughly the beginning of my peak racing time and I want to be into a great racing shape and I want to start. So Pavel says, okay, great. We’re going to start off on Sunday, 4th of January. And we’re going to build you up over the next 10 weeks, which is going to take us further ahead into the end of March. March 29th, is going to be the end of your build. And then we’re going to have until May 3rd is going to be build one.

Menachem Brodie:

And then you’re going to have until June 7th is going to be build two and then we’ll get into a short taper the 14th until the 28th, and then we’ll get into racing seasons. So that’s what we’ve covered so far. Then we spoke a little bit more about what the training week would look like in base. And this recap is important. I know some of you who just flew that little break, but some of you out there have said that they really enjoy that little break. It allows them to listen a little bit, take a break, kind of go back, revisit and then jump back in. So that’s why we’re doing this here. The training week for base is roughly going to be, Monday is going to be a movement session in the gym or at home rather more correctly. They’re going to be a home.

Menachem Brodie:

Movement strength session, is going to be the fundamental five plus one push pull, squat bench, press rotary stability, getting them moving. We might do the… definitely doing the dynamic warmup, where we’re going to dial into some of their movement issues, some breathing patterns, 15 to 30 minute movement session. Tuesday is going to be their heavy lift of the week, as well as in my opinion, in the morning, they would do the high intensity bike of the week, which would be either all outs or it would be VO2 max. Wednesday would be a rest day. Thursday, they’ll do a stimulation training at home with the weights. Tuesday evening, by the way, is going to be a heavy gym session where we’re actually going to be doing some heavy weights. You’re going to do threes, fives, wherever is appropriate for that time of year. Remember through the anatomical adaptation phase, they’re actually going to be looking at doing sets of 10 to 15.

Menachem Brodie:

So if you’re beginning, don’t say, Oh, well, coach Brodie said on the podcast, heavy weights, no, we need to use our head and make sure we’re doing the right thing for this athlete at the right time. Then as we go through Thursday is going to be a stimulation day at home with the kettlebells, with the bands, with the TRX, with the bench they have at home, the stability ball. So we’re doing medium amount of strength work, that could be before or after their ride in the morning, or they could do the ride in the morning and the strength in the evening because our races happen in the morning. So we want to train that first thing in the day, unless they’re a fresher and find that their strength training is going to be higher quality in the morning. In which case during base, we would do strengthen the morning and biking in the evening, with that Thursday ride being lactate threshold. We can do short, steady state intervals with short rest or three minutes on, one minute off. It could be sweet spots. It could be a little bit of tempo.

Menachem Brodie:

I prefer that Thursday, as I mentioned before, to be lactate threshold. And instead of doing one long effort, doing a bunch of medium lengths. So let’s say three by eight minutes where we would actually look at the profile or the shape of the power output during that interval to allow us to coach the athlete to be more consistent throughout. And that’s where we can help an athlete get “stronger” without actually seeing their relative or absolute power numbers go up because now they’re able to maintain throughout. So even though their average for a steady state effort may be 300, you may see them start off at 375, dropped down to 270 and then the last minute and a half, bring it up to 330. So in a race they’re going to get dropped. And they’re going to wonder why when their “threshold power” is X.

Menachem Brodie:

So now we’re going to get into build. So the build, is actually where I like to do a good amount of the aerobic capacity work, anaerobic capacity, both of them because they’re at opposite ends. So I kind of like working on that. And this is where we get into the longer group rides. Remember also in base, as I mentioned, we are having the athlete go out with groups, having what I call a foundational ride, which is where they’re allowed to do up to 30 or 40% of the ride up to about 80% of their functional threshold power. But the rest they have to nail in endurance, not an active recovery. So we’re not getting this super unprofessional or a super irregular speed up, slow down kind of thing. They want to go, they want to learn how to go nice and slow, consistently. And this is where they may need to get rid of the group and it sucks. Go with the group for the first, however, percentage of time is 40%. Let’s say you have a three hour ride.

Menachem Brodie:

So we have, let’s go three hours is 180. So the 40% would be 18, 36, 72 minutes. So you do an hour and 15 minutes with the group and then you drop off and finish off an endurance or the other way around, which would be a little bit difficult. But that would mean you’d have to go out for about two hours or an hour and 45 minutes before the group starts. So that means if the group ride starts at seven, you’re going out from five, which you can totally do. And then meeting up with the group and just staying with them for an hour and 15 minutes. Find what works for you and build the athlete appropriately. But this is the number one mistake and place that I see to help individuals really build their fitness when they come to me and they’re really frustrated with what’s been going on.

Menachem Brodie:

In the build time, we would pretty much go to tempo. So within the weekend rides, we might do something, what I call a progressive ride, where you start off, let’s say out of a three hour ride, you would do 80 or 90 minutes at strictly endurance. You’ll do a 10 minute warmup, a couple of fast pedals or spinoffs to get the neuromuscular system really working and getting you nice and settled, strictly endurance for the rest of those 90 minutes. Then we would go 20 minutes or 30 minutes at tempo, eight to 20 minutes at lactate threshold, and then a cool-down. So that’s called the progressive ride because you are progressively going faster as you go through. I find this works really well with a cat four, cat three racers and their teams, because it really allows the team to get used to what is going to happen in a race where you have kind of endurance, you have a couple of tacks go off, things settled down, then you get into tempo, then you get into lactate threshold, and then you have the finishing fireworks. So it’s a great way to build that up.

Menachem Brodie:

The other option in build is to do what I call group rides. I mean, that’s what I call the workout, but essentially it is, they’re allowed to do up to 80% of their riding at tempo rather and the rest of the 20% can be any energy system that they need to be able to stick together. And this is great because if you think about it, we’re in April for this athlete. So if this athlete lives in the Northern hemisphere and somewhere that it tends to have a traditional winter spring, summer fall, like we have in Pittsburgh, that means this is exactly what’s going to happen in their group rides, is people were going to be on the trainer. Well, first of all, when they’re on the trainer all winter, they’re probably not going to be able to handle their bikes. So giving your athletes that okay, that green light to do those harder efforts to get away from those riders who are more dangerous because they haven’t actually been on the road or haven’t invested in rollers. And yes, that is an investment in yourself and your safety as a racer, it allows them to really be able to better ride with the group and the other people are really anxious to go. So that would be on Sunday.

Menachem Brodie:

So now during build, we’ve switched the rides. So now instead of having the little bit harder, one on Saturday and the really strictly endurance one on Sunday, it’s the opposite way around. We have the strictly endurance one on Saturday and the harder one on Sunday, because we’re increasing that training stress in a slightly fatigued state. This is going to have an impact hormonally, it’s going to have an impact neuromuscularly, it’s going to have an impact also metabolically. So we’re hitting three and cardio respiratory, because it’s going to be, it’s all four of the pillars we’re hitting by doing it this way. In the build, because I don’t like doing the sprint sessions on the bike, we’re going to jump into power starts. We’re going to jump into stomps. We’re going to jump into practicing their sprints and really getting them the ability to work the bike, teaching them the technique on the bike, if possible or as we mentioned earlier in the first half of this episode.

Menachem Brodie:

I have a athlete in Colorado who’s now on the velodrome this winter. So he’s really refining his abilities to sprint. And his attitude is, Hey, I can go to the velodrome whenever I want. So let’s do that on Monday or Tuesday or one day during midweek. And one day on the weekend and on the weekend, I can go and do these progressive rides on the track because I can do whatever I want. And it’s a great way for me to also practice and get more time on the track bike. So think about using things that may not necessarily be traditional. Rollers is another place. Yes, I have asked people who’ve been riding the rollers for some time to practice their sprints on rollers. Now, you have to be careful because it depends on how hard of a gear they’re starting and how much bike rock, but a experienced rider on rollers should be able to do 90% sprints.

Menachem Brodie:

And some of you may say, you’ll jump out of your seat, coach, Brodie, you’re wrong. Yes. For some people I’m completely wrong and they will crash off the rollers and it sucks. And I laugh because it’s stupid because it happens. And it has happened to me, personally, I’ve done that, where I just put my head down and start sprinting and I forget I’m on rollers and that front wheel comes off and down she goes and everybody asks if I’m okay and your max heart rate and just it’s discombobulating. But this is where also Pavel, I would mention beginner riders, get them on rollers. In the States you can buy off of bike Nashbar. I think it’s $179 for their basic rollers. You don’t need anything fancy. I strongly recommend if you have anywhere that has a lengthy winter, buy a pair of rollers, and then you can set it up so you’re actually able to learn how to ride in a straight line and it keeps your bike handling relatively sharp. And it really helps you dial in your positioning on the bike.

Menachem Brodie:

These are all experts tips I’m giving you guys. I’m pretty much telling you everything that I do with an athlete throughout the foundational period for free on this podcast. And I am going to push again because I really want to reach those 15,000 audience, the 15,000 listeners. So hit the like and subscribe button and share and give a review, a positive review, five stars over on iTunes. Now I’m getting pushy a little salesy, but it really matters to me. And as I’m going through and talking about this, I’m just thinking about how quickly the athletes that I’ve coached and put this stuff into and how fast they wound up developing because of these small, simple things that we do and how valuable this is for you and everybody else. So strongly recommend that you go through and do this.

Menachem Brodie:

Now, the other thing is in the build period, we also need to make sure we’re dialing back, we’re pulling the reins back a little bit. So this is a time of year, as we get more into spring, the weather will get nicer and we’re going to have athletes chomping at the bit to ride more. So I will change Monday. So we’ll do a movement session still at home, but a cafe ride, a cafe ride is a super easy recovery ride. Pretend you’re in jeans and a t-shirt or your favorite dress and you’re riding down to a local cafe just to meet somebody for coffee. You don’t want to break a big sweat. You don’t want to break up your training too much, but you want to get on the bike a little bit more. So do a recovery ride, but this is strictly recovery. You don’t want to break a sweat. 30 to 60 minutes, 20 to 60 minutes, depending on the rider’s level.

Menachem Brodie:

Pavel, if you’re a UCI, continental level, it might even be up to two hours depending on what your total training load per week is. And that can be a true recovery ride. We want to have a training stress score. I’m sorry, an intensity factor rather of under 0.5 for this ride. That’s how easy you need to go, but we want to keep your cadence relatively consistent. And remember we spent all of this base working on those endurance rides on building your cadences as well. So you’re not just doing endurance, but you’re doing endurance at specific cadences. So working on that neuromuscular recruitment and getting everything to fire specifically well for that cadence, as well as using different cadences in your higher end efforts. Now adding the cadences for lactate threshold or VO2 max, that is an intermediate level of training that will take a little bit longer. For beginners, I generally like to see them consistently within plus or minus 15 cadence. So let’s say 85 to 100 RPM, between endurance and their efforts.

Menachem Brodie:

And then their sprints obviously, we’ll work on getting them as high of a turnover as possible, but not focusing on dropping the hammer and filling the resistance, but more on spending those pedals up nice and fast. So during the build is where we would get into Monday’s recovery rides. So now we have five days of riding. So we have Monday recovery ride and movement session for strength. Tuesday, still a heavy day in the gym. Now we’re actually moving heavy weights because we’re either in hypertrophy or max strength. So we’re actually moving heavy weights. Tuesday is paired with a high intensity on bike work, which is going to be anaerobic capacity, VO2 max. Again, looking at those shape of the power hour output that they’re doing, not just the overall raw number and their heart rate recovery. We’re paying more attention to that. So we’re weaving in the breathing exercises. We’re teaching them how to posture and position themselves on the bike to get their recovery, to get that heart rate to drop as quickly as possible.

Menachem Brodie:

Wednesday is off, nothing on Wednesday. Don’t do anything, don’t. And when I say don’t do anything, I mean, don’t put all of your errands to run around on Wednesday. That is a day you wake up, you have a great breakfast, you wake up late, or if you’re a early bird, a bird of habit, then you can get up, have coffee in bed or sit in the living room and read. Do some continue education. Maybe it’s a course I put out, maybe it’s a book. Maybe it’s just having some quiet time before the kids get up, but you’re laying low on Wednesday. Wednesday evening, don’t go out and run all of your errands, stay home. Go to bed early or better yet spend quality time with the family, but not too active. So board games, watching TV together. Not really watching TV together, but doing stuff together that’s not highly active.

Menachem Brodie:

Thursday, we have our stimulation day. So this will be a home workout probably by now. It’s going to be about 40 minutes and that’s going to be paired with a sweet spot. This is where I like to use sweet spot, as well as some neuromuscular efforts on the bike. That sweet spot is going to help us solidify everything we’ve done. It’s going to be longer. And we’re looking at the shape of the effort as well as starting to intertwine some of the neuromuscular stuff we’ve done on the bike. Once we finished build one, the weekend’s build two is going to be more group rides, and we’re going to focus on teaching the athlete to control their efforts and control how much power they’re putting out so that when they need to drop the hammer at the end of the ride, they can. I’m not going to get into the secrets for that because that’s much more complex, much more individualized. But that’s how we would develop, build two, build three and then taper.

Menachem Brodie:

Pavel, I think that really, if your athlete is racing frequently enough, if we’re talking about them racing Tuesday Night Worlds, and then Saturday, Sunday, your trainings in between are going to be super dialed in to what that athlete needs. So, they usually will need less intensity, or if they’re a very, very intelligent bike racer for road racing, and they’re only really doing about 15 to 30% of the time of the road race at work, and most of it at steady state, you may need to keep those upper and energy systems sharp and work on their sprinting. Now, if you’re going to work on the sprinting or you’re going to work on technique, make sure you’re taking plenty of time in between sets. If you’re going to actually work on their sprinting of this time of the year, it’s kind of like plyometrics year round, where we’re not doing tons and tons and tons of repetitions. We’re doing one sprint, riding super easy for about five to 10 minutes, and then doing another one or getting off the bike.

Menachem Brodie:

I’d prefer to have them on the bike board, stopping riding for a minute, going over the film that I took, showing them their technique, how we can improve, and then having them ride around at a lower intensity for the rest time in between those efforts. That’s how I would do it. That’s it. It’s that simple. Getting into taper, really super personalized. I can’t really give you guidelines on that, but that is going to be really, really dialed in. That’s where you’re going to grow as a coach. And then transition, the transition time is really important. We didn’t really mention it up until now, but the transition time of year is pretty much going to be doing something else.

Menachem Brodie:

I like to tell my athletes between seven and 14 days at least get off of your bike. So if you’re a road cyclist, get onto a mountain bike, if you’re a mountain biker, get onto a road bike or maybe not a road bike, maybe get onto a cruiser, do something else, go hiking, take 10 days off the bike and go swimming or just take 10 days off completely. If you’ve had a long season and you feel you need it, you need to listen to your body. But during those 10 to 14 days or seven to 14 days of transition, I do want them to stay a little bit movement oriented. So that means either a little bit of light yoga or a little bit of light movement session at home, or a light strength training where we’re just keeping them moving and keeping them in the habit and not letting them go down the road of inactivity completely, unless they really need that.

Menachem Brodie:

And as Charly Wegelius talks about in his book, Domestique he didn’t need that. He completely needed to get away from the bike because he was so burned after. Now, one thing you mentioned here Pavel, and we’ll wrap up today’s episode with this. You asked about the short VO2 max efforts like Tabata, one to two, work to rest. So for every one second, you’re working two seconds resting. I am a fan of that at the right time. I really dial into what the individual athlete needs. So if they come from explosive sport background or a power sport background, like basketball, volleyball, American baseball, where we already get lots of those short bursts of energy, I’m going to focus more on three minute VO2 max, four minute VO2 max, flat top, I call them where it’s nice and steady and teaching them how to turn the pedals and then recover. During the base period, time of year, the VO2 max efforts, I generally go one to one and a half to one to two work to rest.

Menachem Brodie:

So every minute you’re working, one and a half to two minutes of rest. What this does is allow the neuromuscular system, the metabolic system to both kind of recover, bring the heart rate back down. So we’re truly getting a VO2 max effort. And then later, when we get into build and taper and peak, we will dial that back. So it’s actual one to one or one to half while we’re working on the metabolic system’s ability to take that repeated beating. But that’s my philosophy. That’s what I’ve built since 2007, however many years that is when you’re listening to this. Here in 2019, it’s 12 years ago and there’s rule, this is not a steadfast rule because the rule that I have is, start with the philosophy, keep the philosophy basics, and find what works for that athlete and move around that. And that is truly, I guess, the biggest secret to my success over the number of, now decade and a half I’ve been in the game is that’s why it works so well is because we’re really trying to find the athlete.

Menachem Brodie:

And I’m not the right coach for all athletes. I’ve had people come where, after a couple of months, I’m like, you know what, I’m not the right person for you. I have said that. People listening, I know you are because you’ve sent me emails, they respect that. And I think that’s something that it’s really important as a coach is you need to recognize who you can and cannot help. And that doesn’t mean you give up very easily. We’re talking about athletes that I work with for four for six months, and we tried many different things and the philosophy just didn’t work for them. And then it’s like, Hey, you know what, let’s have you contact this coach or look for a coach who’s done this type of certification or this type of athlete because what I’m doing isn’t necessarily working well for you.

Menachem Brodie:

So, that’s what I would recommend as a coach is you can’t help everybody that comes in. You should certainly try unless that little voice in the back of your head is saying that, Hey, I really need to have a shot at working with this athlete, how can I make this work better? Am I being flexible enough? But within my understanding of what the athlete needs and what my skillset are, can I actually meet them where they are and match what their needs are? Or should I take them, and send them to somebody else? And that’s what the best coaches do. I really firmly believe that I learned that from my coaches. All of my mentors actually do that as well. The people that I communicate with professionally, we all have networks of other coaches where we are okay, sending someone away to another coach because they don’t match what our skillsets are, or we don’t have exactly what they need in the amounts that they need.

Menachem Brodie:

And that’s the last little bit of a little diamond in the rough for you, I guess Pavel, is that, we can’t solve or coach everybody that comes in our door. As you grow as a coach, it sounds like you’re asking, and you’re definitely asking the right questions. And it sounds like you’re looking at things from the right perspective. So I’m very, very pleased to have the opportunity to answer your questions and to serve that role as mentor for you. And I hope you found these two podcasts to be very beneficial for you. And I know you understand why I answered in podcasts instead of an email, because can you imagine how many books I’d have to write an email to get you all this information, and we’ve got to share it with everybody else.

Menachem Brodie:

So, our last part of the series here is going to be talking about preparing the ultimate annual training plan. So Pavel asked a little bit, he’s had a lot of experience with trainings, but nothing really works well for him, sad face emoji. And he’s also had very experienced coaches, but their methods also didn’t work good for him. So we’re going to get even more, and he’s skeptical by the way of these “new methods of training,” still a lot of intensity and variations, but I never know when it’s finished of the training, like high intensity, mixed trainings, et cetera. Now, we’re going to get into that for our last podcast in the series. So I hope you’ve enjoyed this. I’ll ask one last time. If you have, please give me a five-star rating on iTunes or wherever you’ve downloaded this podcast from. Subscribe here, subscribe to the HV Training newsletter and the HV Training YouTube channel, which is @HV Training.

Menachem Brodie:

The more you like share and subscribe, the more people I can help and send me your emails. I’d like to hear your questions as you can hear, I take them seriously, and I really do answer them. This isn’t something that Pavel asked months or years ago. I think the original email came in, in the beginning of December and here we are at the end already answering it. So, please send me an email. Let me know what your thoughts are. B as in boy, R-O-D as in dog, I-E @humanvortextraining with a V as in vortex. Brodie@humanvortextraining.com, sign up for the newsletter, subscribe to the YouTube channel and make sure you’re liking and sharing. And until next time, remember train smarter, not harder. Think outside the box and find what works for you, because it is all about you. We’ll see you guys next week, happy New Year, happy safe, New Year. Make sure you’re dressing warm and enjoy yourself just a little bit this holiday season. But remember to do so responsibly, have a great year and talk to you in 2020.

Speaker 1:

That’s it for this episode of The Strong Savvy Cyclist & Triathlete Podcast with world-leading strength coach for cyclists and triathletes, Menachem Brodie. Don’t miss an episode, hit that subscribe button and give us a review. For more exclusive content, visit humanvortextraining.com or get the latest expert videos from coach Brodie on the HVT YouTube channel @HVTraining. Until next time, remember to train smarter, not harder because it is all about you.

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Menachem Brodie

Menachem Brodie

Coaching since 2000, Menachem Brodie has been working with athletes in a number of settings, and a broad variety of sports.

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