How To Make It To The Podium With Less Training

Yesterday I published and commented on the results from Dave Simonson. Today, I will talk about Marc Moeller, a category 3 rider with an ambition to promote to category 2 this season. That goal sounds quite fair if Marc’s training wasn’t limited to only 8 hours per week. Thus, Marc gave me a challenge when he entered the project and a great chance to test how much progress you can achieve with a training program with limited time available.

Wattage controlled intervals
I chose to push Marc’s intervals to the maximum capable amount. He was supposed to do intervals three times a week, but these days were not only like regular interval days. They were tough workouts that required a dedicated effort to succeed. These intervals were monitored on his PowerTap Pro. There was a risk that this program could fail if the total training load was too heavy.

The three interval days were one session with anaerobic intervals (6 bursts of 40 seconds at 600-650W, recovery 6minutes), one training day with VO2 max intervals (3 times 3minutes 400W, 3min recovery or a couple of sets of 6 bursts of 40/20seconds at 410+ W) and finally one day with threshold power intervals in the range of 3 to 15minutes, generally with a total time of 24-30minutes. In addition, two times a week, there were sprint sessions with short power sprints and regular sprints.

Results
Marc improved all parameters and achieved a slight weight loss, making his watts per kilogram even better. These results are remarkable because Marc had excellent fitness before entering this project and was even more impressive when looking at the limited training time. The threshold power did not improve as much as the other parameters, but that is not surprising. Even though the improvement is more negligible in threshold power, it’s still worth the effort because that skill is essential in road cycling.

Critical Power Tests5sec1min5min20minBody Weight
Week 1 (Watt)1110W600W395W337W82.6kg/182lbs
Week 1 (Watt/kg)13.4W/kg7.3W/kg4.8W/kg4.1W/kg 
Week 6 (Watt)1184W649W417W351W80.4kg/177.2lbs
Week 6 (Watt/kg)14.7W/kg8.1W/kg5.2W/kg4.4W/kg 
Week 12 (Watt)1286W684W436W352W79.8kg/176lbs
Week 12 (Watt/kg)16.1W/kg8.6W/kg5.5W/kg4.4W/kg 

Postscript
These results have convinced me that you can reach a very high level of cycling with focused power meter training. I decided to use many of the intervals Marc performed as a test pilot on one of my most considerable U23 talents, limited in training time this spring due to schoolwork. As a result, my rider has had his most successful spring ever, indicating a significant potential in tough wattage controlled intervals.

3 thoughts on “How To Make It To The Podium With Less Training”

  1. Very impressive results. Were the interval workouts (as described above) the same each week. I.e., were all 12 weeks exactly the same training plan?

    Thanks.

  2. where did he do the interval training? I live in New York City and have been doing the indoor training sessions to build aerobic and anaerobic capacity after a long time off the bike.

    I’ve been doing them on rollers indoors, but the neighbors recently complained of the noise and vibration (one of the many problems of living here).

    What the best way to do structured interval training outdoors? hills? find the emptiest road i can?

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