Making The Most Of Fitness While It Lasts

In the four-season climate of New Jersey, it is natural for outdoor athletes to have peaks and valleys of fitness.  After all, riding on a 25-degree January morning is entirely different than riding on a 75-degree July morning.  I find my fitness on the bike goes through predictable phases.  I usually reach my fitness peak between July and September and reach my fitness valley between January and March.  October through December my fitness is decreasing as I ride much less and usually gain 5-10 pounds.  April through June is the opposite: I’m generally gaining fitness and losing those same 5-10 pounds.

I’ve already achieved my major goal of 2010, finishing Quadzilla within the 40-hour time limit.  But it’s still only early September and I have a couple of other goals for which I hope to maintain most of my fitness gained in training of Quadzilla.  The first of these events is the Hillier Than Thou century on September 19th.  The second is the Pumpkin Patch Century two weeks later, on October 3rd.

Here’s my basic training plan for the period after Quadzilla up to now:

Week ending Sunday 8/22 - rest week, planned 7 hrs, actual 7 hrs 45 min

Week ending Sunday 8/29 - 1st build week, planned 12 hrs, actual 11 hrs 9 min

Week ending Sunday 9/5 - 2nd build week, planned 12 hrs, actual 11 min 31 min

This past week was planned around intense rides on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I set a new one-hour record on the spinner Tuesday at 232 watts.  Thursday I went on a 25-mile ride locally with the Cyclepaths, staying near the front much of the time, averaging 171/204 watts and 17.8 mph.  Saturday I found a 60-mile hilly ride in western New Jersey, finishing at 171/221 watts and 17.3 mph.  Today (Monday) I rode 42 miles with the Princeton Freewheelers on a flat to rolling course, finishing at 167/214 and 19.7 mph.  It was my fastest two-hour ride of the year.

This ride today was very similar to the PFW ride of June 5th, in which I was dropped.  It shows how far my fitness has progressed in three months.  The numbers then were 154/194 watts and 18.0 mph for 41 miles.  That’s about a 10-percent increase overall.  Today, instead of being dropped, I was near the front nearly the whole ride and riding on the front frequently.  I even had enough energy to join the sprint at the end, though I didn’t win it.  I had my highest 5-second wattage of the season, 697 watts, at the ending sprint.  Now that’s not a very powerful sprint number, but still, it’s good for me.

Here’s the plan for the next four weeks.  Note that I am going an extra week before a rest week, but my overall hours are way down from the previous build periods:

Week ending Sunday 9/12 - 3rd build week, planned 14 hrs (includes PA 200k).

Week ending Sunday 9/19 - race week, Hillier Than Thou, planned 12 hrs.

Week ending Sunday 9/26 - rest week planned 7 hrs.

Week ending Sunday 10/3 - event week, Pumpkin Patch, planned 10 hrs.


3 comments to Making The Most Of Fitness While It Lasts

  1. Roy
    September 6th, 2010 at 8:29 pm


    The increase in your fitness this season has been a revelation to me. I wouldn’t have thought that a training schedule could make such a big difference to middle-aged men like ourselves.

    In a somewhat less serious spirit, I planned to start a training regimen for Hillier: no more ice cream between now and Hillier. I also thought about giving up beer, but Shane convinced me I would be just too grumpy without suds. Nevertheless, I failed to start my program this evening since I went to Magnificos for a cone with cookie crunch. I guess I’ll try to start tomorrow.

  2. Shane
    September 7th, 2010 at 12:49 pm


    So how do you handle the PA 200k a week before the Hillier race? Do you go hard, moderate or easy?

    As far as Roy’s training regimen, I think its a smart move to only give up one of his guilty pleasures at a time.
    I’m sure Teresa would appreciate a less grumpy Roy for 2 weeks:-)


  3. jud
    September 8th, 2010 at 3:35 pm


    I make it a rule never to give up ice cream. It’s too depressing. I just have it during or after rides.


    I think eight days is enough recovery for a hard ride on the 200k. I plan to ride reasonably hard, though it depends on weather and how I feel.

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