I wrapped up Block 4 of my off-season Base Builder Program last week. I am super pleased with how my fitness is improving. Block 4 consisted of Vo2 Max intervals, which in my opinion pack the biggest punch of fitness improvement. They are hard, and you have to stay on top of your recovery and fueling through this key block of training. Read about Block 4 details HERE.
If you can keep up and make it through these workouts in Block 4, fitness will take a big leap. Guaranteed!
This brought a return to lighter weights after peaking in the third block. The goal is to take a step back with new training loads in-hand from the peak in block, and perform a second, slightly less intense rebuild of strength. Along with the re-progression of strength, more stability movements were introduced with single-leg, dynamic movements. Also progressing was plyometric movements. Over block 4 we progressively challenged ourselves with higher and higher box jumps, along with challenging varieties of floor jumps for max explosive power production. Pretty fun stuff. Feels more like play time, but it leaves a mark in soreness in the beginning.
As mentioned previously, Vo2 Max intervals were the focal point of Block 4. Powers targeted were the 8:00-16:00 max power levels, broken into 2:00 & 4:00 intervals. The weeks progressed with shorter and shorter recovery intervals between the work intervals. These get harder, despite the work load remaining constant. I was happy to achieve all my targets, even as recoveries decreased, with even some slight increases in power in the last week, indicating that the gains were being made!
Along with the twice weekly interval sessions I included a solid weekend ride with the local group road racer crowd. With fitness improving I was able to become more “competitive” within these rides and begin to push the pace a bit which is always super fun and motivating. With the hard interval sessions and challenging group rides, I keep the remainder too the riding fairly light and minimal. Vo2 Max intervals are hard, and they leave me pretty fatigued. So backing down the volume a bit helps me recover between sessions and able to hit my targets each time.
This left me eager to re-test at the end of the block and see my data-driven proof of improvement in addition to my positive feedback in training sessions.
Week 16 Testing (off-season test #3)
After three easy days of recovery it was time for my third test of my off-season base build. Per usual, the testing protocol consisted of a 20-minute sub-max aerobic test, followed by three short duration anaerobic power intervals to see where the top-end is at and determine my new Fatigue Rate, track progress, and re-set training zones for the final blocks of my off-season Base Build program.
My first test of the 2018 off-season training season was back in late October, and my last test was 8 weeks prior at the beginning of January. Having focused on Anaerobic Threshold & Vo2 Max energy systems in the last 7 weeks, I was expecting some significant improvements across the board, on both the aerobic test and anaerobic tests. Here’s the recap…
- 20:00 Aerobic Threshold Power @ 148 bpm
- Test #1, November: 238w
- Test #2, January: 256w
- Test #3, March: 264w
- (Recent “Best” from Summer 2015: 274w)
- 1:00 Max Power
- Test #1, November: 499w
- Test #2, January: 505w
- Test #3, March: 526w
- (Summer 2015: 529w)
- 2:00 Max Power
- Test #1, November: 380w
- Test #2, January: 403w
- Test #3, March: 438w
- (Summer 2015: 454w)
- 4:00 Max Power
- Test #1, November: 324w
- Test #2, January: 340w
- Test #3, March: 364w
- (Summer 2015: 382w)
- Fatigue Rate
- Test #1, November: 8.7%
- Test #2, January: 8.17%
- Test #3, March: 7.84%
- (Summer 2015: 6.9%)
- This calculates an FTP of
- Test #1, November: 247w (3.70 w/kg)
- Test #2, January: 263w (3.89 w/kg)
- Test #3, March: 292w (4.34 w/kg)
- (Summer 2015: 308w (4.71 w/kg))
It’s clear, not only by the numbers, but by how I feel and how I’m riding that my fitness is continuing to build and my racing form is coming along. My first season “peak” or goal event comes in the first week of May just two weeks after my Base Build program wraps. My 4th test at the end of my build, assuming I’m able to continue my build at a similar rate, will have me nearing (or possibly exceeding) my post-35 year-old “best” fitness from 2015.
With blocks 5 & 6 focusing on Anaerobic Power & Peak Power, I expect my top-end power to drive upwards over the next 7 weeks. At this time I will also attempt to extend my aerobic endurance with some final long rides to have me prepared for my first two key marathon MTB events at the end of April (Whiskey 50) and first weekend of May (USAC Marathon National Champs).
I also get to “test” my fitness and have some early season fun in my first race at the end of this week: the Specialized Cactus Cup. This is a low priority race for me. One more for getting a feel my fitness amongst some solid racers and blowout the pipes a bit before racing season really begins for me.
Lastly, I got a chance to be a guest on the Echelon Podcast a few weeks back. I get to ramble on about myself, my training, and what we do at Sessions:6 with the off-season Base Build program . Give it a listen by clicking link below…
Now on to Block 5 & Anaerobic Power!
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed the insights and follow along for the 2018 season!
Cody Waite, Professional Off-Road Endurance Athlete & Coach
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