Friday, November 19, 2010

Renato Canova bike training?

I am entered in the Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile mountain bike race and probably will enter the 50 mile run the following day. I always map out my year starting in my head and then roughing out the periods on paper. I have been mulling over the structure and every time I get down to details my mind gravitates to Mr. Canova's methodology which in my opinion is all there need be. So I have started to convert marathon workouts over to bike workouts and will be following his periodization. It's been a while since I have written about this so here's a basic refresher.

Introduction: I'm in this period now and need maybe 3 more weeks of solid volume and weights before moving on.

Fundamental: High volume with a focus on building the intensity of that volume, never allowing one to compromise the other. This period has no definite end and simply evolves in to the next period over the course of ~8-10 weeks.

Special: This period, to me, is the most fun. The goal is to start working either side of the 'goal pace coin'. Longer sessions that build in length done at ~95% of goal pace and shorter sessions done at ~102-105% of goal pace. These two workouts then come to together and meet at a focus on goal pace in the next period.

Specific: About ~8-10 weeks in length. Mileage drops (too often I see athletes trying to cram 100 mile run weeks in to their last 8 weeks... that's a mistake) and you focus on building the % of mileage done at goal pace. The goal would be to spend ~8 weeks building to be able to handle very long time trials of 35-40 miles or something like 3 X 15 miles done at goal intensity (for the marathon it would be maybe building to a workout like 3 X 6 miles at goal pace). This period should be timed so that it ends about 3-4 weeks prior to the 'A' race which then leaves time for the taper and peak.

 The terms 'taper' and 'peak' are very specific (if you believe in them) to a physiological event. I see so many athletes throwing the term 'taper' out there and more often than not it only shows a lack of understanding of training. If you rest for 5 days... it's not a taper. It's rest. Even 10 days of cut back mileage doesn't mean a taper. In order to taper and then peak (the two go hand in hand... if you want to peak you must taper first and if you taper then you should also peak) the intensity, and less so the volume, leading up to the taper must be enough to stimulate super compensation after the taper. And it takes about 10-14 days of rest before you realize the benefits of a hard session. So if you go out and do a huge workout 6 days out from your race you will fall short in your potential for that race due to fatigue. But I digest...

 So for the Leadville 50's this will be the structure of training. What will be fun is figuring out how to train to race my bike 50 miles on Saturday and then race a 50 mile run on Sunday. Having raced a 4:50 bike split for 112 miles and then run a 2:56 marathon at the Hawaii Ironman (16th place) and just 50 seconds apart... I have some solid ideas.


Trigirlpink said...

I can't remember what Nate is doing, the run or the bike in Leadville. Anyway, if he just listens and follows your solid training philosophy, he shall prosper!

skatona said...

Any record of a known best weekend? You're a threat to take it down...

Lucho said...

TGP= You mean MY Nate? He's doing the run. I didn't realize you knew him! Plus you know Kerrie and Mr. Kerrie? Small world.

Shaun- Whatever the record is... it will be mine afterward. Same for the Leadville 100's.

GZ said...

Whoa - is that a declaration that you are thinking of going back to Leadville?!

Anyway, couple of questions ... do you, will you do any Tabata stuff in this bike training - assumedly during the Special period?

And I take it with this approach, you are not a subscriber to (generally) Hudson's 'all phases all the time' (less focus on periodization than this) approach. What's your take on that?

Lucho said...

GZ- Yes, if I win the lottery. Literally. If I get in to the 100 bike race then I would like to do the 100 run 6 days later.

Correct. The Tabata stuff would be placed further out from the race in the fundamental or special period. Because of the length of the races I am training for, the Tabata session wouldn't be specific to the fitness desired. If I were training for a very short race like a crit then it would be specific. You want to place the non-specific work further out from the race. So, speed work and Vo2 would not be done within that last 8 weeks.

I think the structure of a periodized year is important to keep the athlete on track. So in that regard periodization is good. I see a lot of runners not really focusing on a specific aspect of fitness but just sort of trying to mix everything in at once. I think this works for a well rounded and seasoned athlete that has a good feel for their body, but for most people there needs to be a focus on improving their weaknesses... which is almost always basic aerobic endurance (slow at MAF). For me, if you look at the Canova outline you will see a near complete lack of base training. This is a significant change for me where in the past I focused for up to 20 weeks on just building my metabolic and muscular economy at a low HR. Canova believes that once you have spent the time building that economy then there are diminishing returns after about 3 years. But, very rarely do I see an athlete that has truly built the base that he describes. So, I guess to answer your question, Hudson's methodology works well for professional sub 28 10k guys and sub 2:14 marathoners... so if you are in that group then go for it. If you aren't that fast then maybe focus more on your specific weaknesses in regards to your goal race distance.

Jim P. said...

Great post,Tim. Reminds those of us w/ a short-term mindset to think beyond the next run...hell, beyond the next month! I reckon one needs to train the brain in this regard, as well as the body.

Lucho said...

Thanks Jim. If you are truly committed to performing at your best in races, then you are correct. I believe diet is also the #1 factor that we all MUST begin with. That is another huge post I need to get around to writing. In order to train at our best we have to recover and rebuild. Diet plays a huge role in this. Part of why the Africans dominate is because of what they eat... guaranteed.

Josh said...

Great post Tim. However, I think the specific period should be the special period because that is how I feel during the specific period. I also am looking forward to your diet post...which brings me to my next much weight should I gain or not gain during the winter?

Lucho said...

Josh- I think I understand what you mean. Remember that Ironman is a whole nother (mean) creature! At your level the specific work becomes damn hard and might feel like ~102%-105% due more to fatigue. Canova's methods were developed with a single sport focus in mind, not a 3 discipline sport. So for an Ironman athlete Canova's system breaks down due to a lack of adequate rest. Also at your level, and because I had you develop a stronger aerobic base, I continually pushed you at what I felt you were capable of which often times probably was a tick over your current fitness level. You handled it and earned a spot to Kona with one of the fastest run splits at Ironman Wisconsin!
Does that make sense?

The diet post that I WILL write is directly answering your request for the post. It was a perfect question.

I definitely think you need to gain a healthy amount of weight. But not so much that your Spring training has the goal you focusing more on simply trying to lose a bunch of weight. I don't think 10 pounds is too much. Fat has tremendous health benefits in moderation... and I'm talking about body fat, not dietary, but that does also. There is also the implication of caloric intake when trying to hold your body weight down. And I am also a huge believer in relaxing over the Holidays and allowing dietary indiscretions. By relaxing and allowing this in December I find most athletes come around in to January more focused and motivated. So keep the body weight within sight of a good fighting weight. You have a HUGE year ahead culminating with Kona in October. That's 11 freaking months away. So relax now and be the most disciplined and focused when it counts.

Josh said...


Makes perfect sense. I did need to be pushed limiter looking back was my head. I'm noticing some differences in the headspace already this year in my early workouts.

I know I have a long season ahead of me so I don't want to overdo it early on. However, I'm getting real close to the 10 lb. number and don't want to have a huge hole to dig out of early on. Plus, I'd really like to keep some of this hard earned base. Once again, last year I was pretty unfit when starting.


Lucho said...

Ya, you definitely made some great leaps forward mentally! I rode for a few hours with Tim DeBoom today and we talked at length about the mental aspects of 'racing by the numbers'. We both agree that the numbers can get in the way on race day. For training it's invaluable and early on the bike in an Ironman it is very useful for most athletes (unless you're racing for the win and need to keep your competitors close at all cost). Anyway... I think you now have a great platform to further develop the mental side of Ironman. You now recognize the pathways and techniques to strengthen your mind. I have huge faith in your physical ability, but all that is useless with out a strong mental capacity to deal with all the variables that race day and training throw at you.

Hold it at ~10 pounds. Once you start skate skiing I have no doubt the weight will come off! It's a bad-ass sport as you well know!

And I think that it's OK to push a bit right now when you feel good and if you want to have some fun and mix things up. If you think about it, you spent the entire last year building a solid 'base' and you are still working off of that. It won't hurt you to do some Z3 stuff or even up to brief Vo2 efforts. And if you overdo it... well, we have 11 months to make up for it. Basically, if you are going to err then do it 11 months out from your 'A' race! NOT 4 weeks before.
And once again you have me worked up thinking about your race in Kona... I am stoked for your 2011!!!!

FatDad said...

F'ing eh! Claim those records. Love it. That brand of Lucho-crazy lights the fires.
I'm still waiting for GZ to do the research to see if you hold record for top combined Pb and Fe finishes.

Lucho said...

Thanks Dad Who Is Not Fat- I think I own that record by a country mile. The Leadville 100 bike and run fastest combined times (or best placing) would be one that I might appreciate. I'm still keeping a reserved attitude though as I don't have a great chance at getting in.

Trigirlpink said...

He's MY Nate and I TOLD HIM about YOU for coaching Ha!

Do I get a referral tip? Beer, wine, ticket back to Boulder?

I have not met GG (yet)

Lucho said...

Ha! I stand corrected then! And definitely the next time you're in town I will buy you a beer/ wine or three. Thanks!
GG is awesome. Of course a guy would HAVE to be awesome to be married to Kerrie :) Or is it the other way around?

footfeathers said...

I'd like to point out that the Leadville race site is novice (at best) and downright pathetic to navigate and/or find any information (at worse). No past results, dead links, etc. For an event series that undoubtedly nets several hundred thousand dollars, they should be embarrassed with that site. I've wasted 20 mins now just trying to find information on the silver king/queen and leadman event.

Here's the link to the "online store"

Here's the link to the "silver king and queen results"

Add up all the money they have coming in off registrations and sponsors and it's mind numbing trying to figure out how they can't seem to spend a couple thousand for a decent site with accurate and complete results and data. I've built $6.00 websites that have more complete info than LT.

That's my Sunday morning rant!

Lucho said...

They net $700,000 per year I heard. And how about weak ass glow sticks placed randomly in the trees or the highway we crossed at mile ~95?

footfeathers said...

you mean the three glow sticks placed in the last six miles of the race (not to mention, placed 18 hours before the first runner even gets there, so they're not even glowing any more)? Are those the ones you're talking about?

Part of the reason our camp is going to be crucial to anyone doing the lt100!

Lucho said...

Yep- the same. We had more guidance from spectators than the race org.

Joe said...

Great post! Very similar, I've moved off of Ironman's, now doing road & mtb racing, but now have an itch to get grizzle'd on the run with some serious trail racing. I'll be watching you closely on how you balance the training load for the two sports. Thanks for sharing! -Joe