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How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes?
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I'm curious how many key sessions you schedule for run and bike? I'm scheduling 4 key bikes workouts (2 V02, 1 tempo, and long ride with some tempo intervals) and 2-3 key running sessions (1 track/speed and long run....sometimes I will do a 3rd with 1/4-1mile repeats at HIM Pace). I'm wondering if I'm better off backing off the bike workouts to 3 key sessions. I find by the time I get to week 3 of a block my legs are smashed and I have a hard time holding power on the Vo2 work. My typical training volume is 18-23 hrs per week and recovery week is 13-15hrs.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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trimac2 wrote:
I'm curious how many key sessions you schedule for run and bike? I'm scheduling 4 key bikes workouts (2 V02, 1 tempo, and long ride with some tempo intervals) and 2-3 key running sessions (1 track/speed and long run....sometimes I will do a 3rd with 1/4-1mile repeats at HIM Pace). I'm wondering if I'm better off backing off the bike workouts to 3 key sessions. I find by the time I get to week 3 of a block my legs are smashed and I have a hard time holding power on the Vo2 work. My typical training volume is 18-23 hrs per week and recovery week is 13-15hrs.

What are your current results and history? What are your short term goals? Your total training time and breakdown looks pretty typical of FOP AG athletes and some pro's.

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New Training/Racing Log - http://www.earthdaykid.com/blog --- Old Training/Racing Log - http://colinlaughery.blogspot.com
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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I find by the time I get to week 3 of a block my legs are smashed and I have a hard time holding power on the Vo2 work

I've got 4 KQ'd for Kona already for this upcoming year but ymmv from what I do with my athletes.

IMO, it's not about key workouts or the number per week. It's about consistency, managing the training load through out this week, next week and through out all the following weeks.

None of my athletes have that many "key" workouts per week. You actually have more "key" bike workouts then they have total "key" workouts per week.

fwiw I don't think in terms of key workouts, hence the " " around key.

If I were in your shoes I'd find this article, read it and then think about my training:

Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training.
Stephen Seiler and Espen Tønnessen

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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If I were in your shoes I'd find this article, read it and then think about my training:

Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training.
Stephen Seiler and Espen Tønnessen

Such a great article.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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Not so much about "key" sets here or there... but rather weekly Time in Zones and what is the purpose of that week in the grand scheme of things.

And then when in those zones... what is the purpose of that training in the grand scheme of things.


I might use the word "key" for some athletes because they relate with that better... but really 1 day should just be a mixture of the entire week set up and ensure the weekly goal is met. So I know that doesn't help much, but as Desert Dude said, look at the week view.

With your training time, you should be seeing strong fitness and results if you're getting specific

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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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You've got too much emphasis on key workouts. They are all key. Instead, watch your CTL. Increase it by little bits for 2 to 3 weeks, then drop it off a lot to recover, then keep increasing it again. Most KQ folks tend to peak their CTL around 130 to 140. But that can vary per person. Still, a nice target if you're aiming for something specific and proven.

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Interviews with Chris McCormack, Helle Frederikson, Angela Naeth, and many more.
http://www.zentriathlon.com
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [ZenTriBrett] [ In reply to ]
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Kind of related, but how much should your CTL come down during taper if you're hitting that 130-140 at peak? Thx
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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Read Brian Stover's post over and commit it to memory.

Like many things people want to know what are the Silver Bullets and the short-cuts - there aren't any!

Consistency is key. Week in week out, almost all year round - that's when after time, you start to feel the real gains.

I've often felt and said that the most important ones are the ones that you drag yourself out the door on those reasonably easy days, when you are not feeling great, and you still log the time/miles. Why? In an Ironman race, after the 2/3 point of the swim you are truly never feeling great from that point on right through until the finish. You are never really fresh and in a somewhat fatigued state for 8+ hours - but you keep going!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
Last edited by: Fleck: Feb 21, 17 15:10
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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You have some good responses already to move yo in the right direction, bit I'll add one statement to you and in general.

The day athletes (and coaches) stop doing / prescribing three week builds, followed by an easy week, is the day that athletes begin moving to more consistent training and consistent gains.

Cheers,

-------------------------
Dave Latourette
http://www.TTENation.com
Last edited by: Dave Latourette: Feb 21, 17 14:52
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Fleck wrote:
[..] Why? In an Ironman race, after the 2/3 point of the swim you are truly never feeling great from that point on right through until the finish. You are never really fresh and in a somewhat fatigued state for 8 hours - but you keep going!


backdoor brag win of the day
Last edited by: jazzymusicman: Feb 21, 17 14:32
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [jazzymusicman] [ In reply to ]
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backdoor brag win of the day

Why? If you are contending for an AG KQ in some Age Categories you will have to get down close to 9 hours. And for everything right up to close to age 50 you have to be looking at bout 10-hours - so yes it's going to be 8 - 9 hours of racing in a fatigued state beyond the end of the swim. That's not bragging, that's reality! :)


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
Last edited by: Fleck: Feb 21, 17 15:42
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [Dave Latourette] [ In reply to ]
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Dave Latourette wrote:
The day athletes (and coaches) stop doing / prescribing three week builds, followed by an easy week, is the day that athletes begin moving to more consistent training and consistent gains.

Care to elaborate?
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [guscrown] [ In reply to ]
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guscrown wrote:
Dave Latourette wrote:
The day athletes (and coaches) stop doing / prescribing three week builds, followed by an easy week, is the day that athletes begin moving to more consistent training and consistent gains.


Care to elaborate?

Schedule in recovery during each week. Ie, not every day is hard/really long. You can do this week in week out without needing a complete 'recovery week'. You will probably also be able to hit the harder sessions harder as you won't be so shelled from having done stuff in the days prior which is harder than an easy pace.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [fulla] [ In reply to ]
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fulla wrote:
guscrown wrote:
Dave Latourette wrote:
The day athletes (and coaches) stop doing / prescribing three week builds, followed by an easy week, is the day that athletes begin moving to more consistent training and consistent gains.


Care to elaborate?


Schedule in recovery during each week. Ie, not every day is hard/really long. You can do this week in week out without needing a complete 'recovery week'. You will probably also be able to hit the harder sessions harder as you won't be so shelled from having done stuff in the days prior which is harder than an easy pace.

Ah, I see what you mean now. My week usually looks like this:



With my available time and paces, this is about 9-10 hours of training, and I have been accustomed to cutting back every three weeks where I drop to about 7 hours of work.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [desert dude] [ In reply to ]
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desert dude wrote:
Quote:
I find by the time I get to week 3 of a block my legs are smashed and I have a hard time holding power on the Vo2 work


I've got 4 KQ'd for Kona already for this upcoming year but ymmv from what I do with my athletes.

IMO, it's not about key workouts or the number per week. It's about consistency, managing the training load through out this week, next week and through out all the following weeks.

None of my athletes have that many "key" workouts per week. You actually have more "key" bike workouts then they have total "key" workouts per week.

fwiw I don't think in terms of key workouts, hence the " " around key.

If I were in your shoes I'd find this article, read it and then think about my training:

Intervals, Thresholds, and Long Slow Distance: the Role of Intensity and Duration in Endurance Training.
Stephen Seiler and Espen Tønnessen

x2 to what DD has said. That part in bold is along the same lines of what Fleck has been pushing for years. It works, but you have to come up with the formula that works for you week in and week out and can adjust for your life stresses, while keeping the training stresses/life stresses in some kind of manageable equilibrium that allows you to get physiologically stronger over time.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [guscrown] [ In reply to ]
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Sure ... the below statement I brought across from a separate thread when I was addressing a similar topic. Almost every athlete I come across has diminishing performance in the 3rd week of a 3 week build then spend a week reducing volume 35-40% ...

*** - "Building" for 3 weeks and taking an easy week is not necessary ... we shouldn't need an entire easy week to recover in a building phase (any phase) by having a 35-40% reduction in load. Most athletes will respond better to 14-17 days of load followed by 2-3 VERY light days (most will function better with the 14 "on" + 2-3 "light") this will take some creative thinking to escape the 7 day cycle ... in a three week build, my experience with most athletes is they have days of zombie training in week 3 just to get to a "recovery week" ... simply doesn't work for most folks. (too much fatigue / too little quality training) If each individual gets there balance of training correct you'll end up with better quality training, higher load over the long term, and that results in better fitness.

In the end our goal as athletes is to generate as much quality training over THE LONG TERM to establish the best fitness as possible ... not create a pile of Zombie training over the short term . ***

If an athlete is strategically scheduled 2 VERY light days every 14'ish days most will not build up massive amounts of load that need 5-7 days to recover from ... the result is higher load over the long term (months). Problem is most athletes do not want to take a truly VERY easy day before they feel they need it. I use a variety of training cycles with my athletes based on age / experience / time of year etc. ... 14-17 days on / 2-4 days VERY EASY ...

Hope that helps ...

-------------------------
Dave Latourette
http://www.TTENation.com
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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x2 to what DD has said. That part in bold is along the same lines of what Fleck has been pushing for years. It works, but you have to come up with the formula that works for you week in and week out and can adjust for your life stresses, while keeping the training stresses/life stresses in some kind of manageable equilibrium that allows you to get physiologically stronger over time.


I remember reading I think a Gordo Byrn blog post from a few years back where it was advised that you build a basic week of training, of modest volume, and then you just push repeat, week after week after week after week after . . . Most people will get to 95% or more of their ultimate performance potential on something like this. Viewed at this level . . . this is NOT that complicated.


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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Fleck wrote:
I remember reading I think a Gordo Byrn blog post from a few years back where it was advised that you build a basic week of training, of modest volume, and then you just push repeat, week after week after week after week after . . . Most people will get to 95% or more of their ultimate performance potential on something like this. Viewed at this level . . . this is NOT that complicated.

I know from experience that this is 100% true. I did it for years with success. I would also say that yes, you are not going to get to 100% fitness. I found I would arrive on race day having left a little on the table during training but I had little to no fatigue whatsoever which likely helped me at the end of 140.6.

On the flip side, friends that I know are far more genetically blessed than myself will go hard as fuck in their training and almost always fail to perform at the level they should.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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tuesday quality bike + z2 t-run
thursday z2 ride + z2 run, make that a z3 run in the last 8 weeks
sat long ride then t run z2
sunday 60-90 minute ride with some HARD 30 sec efforts, then the long run.

other days some recovery spins and swims

It is really not about "key" sessions, it is about consistency over time.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [Fleck] [ In reply to ]
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"Consistency is key. Week in week out, almost all year round - that's when after time, you start to feel the real gains. "
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [guscrown] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
about 9-10 hours of training, ...... cutting back every three weeks where I drop to about 7 hours of work.

At 9-10h you have no need to cut back except for the most important race of your season

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Insta Twitter

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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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Echoing everything else that has been said above, I'd also be interested in why you have chosen two VO2 max sessions and no Threshold work? Or are you using 'Tempo' on the bike to mean Threshold (which it seems to when running)?
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [BrentwoodTriGuy] [ In reply to ]
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BrentwoodTriGuy wrote:
Fleck wrote:

I remember reading I think a Gordo Byrn blog post from a few years back where it was advised that you build a basic week of training, of modest volume, and then you just push repeat, week after week after week after week after . . . Most people will get to 95% or more of their ultimate performance potential on something like this. Viewed at this level . . . this is NOT that complicated.


I know from experience that this is 100% true. I did it for years with success. I would also say that yes, you are not going to get to 100% fitness. I found I would arrive on race day having left a little on the table during training but I had little to no fatigue whatsoever which likely helped me at the end of 140.6.

On the flip side, friends that I know are far more genetically blessed than myself will go hard as fuck in their training and almost always fail to perform at the level they should.

I think this is like managing your stock portfolio scenario. You can have the completely optimized stock porfolio of the best shot at maximum gains, but with that you run the risk that not all those high growth stocks fire at the same time on the day you have to cash out on the market and liquidate all your stocks and convert to cash....that is basically like race day. MAYBE you hit the optimized training perfectly, the optimized rest perfectly, the optimized nutrition perfectly, the optimized taper, the optimized equipment with no malfunctions, the optimized race day execution with zero errors and everything on all fronts comes together absolutely perfectly.....then you basically have the race of a lifetime, like Bob Beamon's once in a lifetime Mexico City world record long jump.

But mainly that almost never happens so it's about balancing things out to get close to optimum in each area without breaking in any....and let's keep in mind that all of this happens in the context of real world families and jobs which no matter how supportive will suddenly get in the way.....in the context of all that, just like a real world stock portolio, you really have to manage your asset allocation for what is likely an optimized outcome given too many forces outside your control. Optimized outcome is the best we can all aim for, simply because we cannot control all variables, and we have to leave wiggle room to react to the real world on all fronts and not break/implode ourselves when the real world gets in the way of optimized racing performance.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [devashish_paul] [ In reply to ]
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OP here-

Thanks for the input. My IM times have come down each year and I missed KQ by one slot this year. I credit this success to consistency. I'm doing 2 Vo2 workouts right now to build my FTP higher. I did a lot of threshold/tempo work last summer so my FTP seemed to have plateaued. I'll slowly move back into threshold/tempo work as I get closer to my races. I listen to my body and if I'm feeling wiped out I will take an easy day. I never really miss a day. I will always just make my bike/swim/run easy if I feel like I need it even if I have a hard session scheduled.
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Re: How many key sessions per week for KQ/elite athletes? [trimac2] [ In reply to ]
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I have to echo the sentiment about scrapping the "recovery week". I think it is certainly possible to get great results with 3 on and 1 off, but for most AG athletes the vicissitudes of life are such that recovery days are often necessary at very random times during the week.

I have had personal success in following a basic week with 6-8 hours of biking (120-160 miles) 3-4.5 hours of running (20-40 miles) and 3-4 hours of swimming (10-15000) yards. If I look at my training log over the past 6 months, I am achieving this week about 80% of the time. Sometimes I have lower numbers from sickness, work, feeling fatigued etc.

My personal thoughts on each of the disciplines
Run: the key to good triathlon running is fatigue resistance. Improving your aerobic pace through a diet of easy-steady running is the way to do this. Tempo runs at your lactate threshold are also important. Track workouts are merely icing on the cake.

Bike:
stay away from riding the same pace every day.
Vo2 work should be done with caution. However, they can be a great way to boost your FTP. Do intervals of at least 2 minutes in length, preferably 3 or 4 for the best stimulus.
FTP intervals once a week, do in the TT position.
Moderate (2 hour at high end Z2) trainer rides are a good substitute for 4 hour easy rides.
Stay away from coffee rides.

Swim
Be angry at your parents for putting you on a swim team as a kid.
You will never be very good if you did not swim as a kid.
No, 1:15/100 yard pace for a mile swim is not that good.
Check out magnolia masters swim workouts, they are really good and contain a lot of work at the right intensities.
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