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2024 Race Season
Lets get started!

By Coach Jerry

VeloJawn Athletes-


Ok, this is an exciting time. We are about to transition into your training for the 2024 race season.


If you have rested properly and really had an off-season, you should be super motivated to get started. You should have taken some time completely off the bike and/or had a period of much lower training stress. If not, this will put you on the back foot heading into the race season.


There are a few critical points that will make the early season building process optimal. 

This is the only period of your season whereby your coaches urge that you really stick to the schedule given. 

The Build 1 and Build 2 periods are designed with a specific goal in mind. There are critical building blocks for your season. Done correctly, you will enter your season with a strong base and a higher FTP. 


After that, there are many variations that can work. Jump in some group rides. Move things around. Mix it up and have fun.


Early Season Structure / Intervals


The primary focus here is raising your FTP (functional threshold Power). There is a specific way to do this that works the best.


The key is spending a lot of minutes at moderately hard intensities just below(Sweet Spot) and then at or just above your FTP. Going too hard too early is actually seriously detrimental to your training plan.


The reason is there are only so many weeks that any athlete (including the best professionals) can push very hard interval work. You have maybe 6 to 8 weeks of maximum type efforts. Every athlete will crack if trying to do more than that.


One of our catch phrases here at VeloJawn is 'stay in the box'. For those of you new to the program it simply means all your workouts feature a target zone (the box) with a low and a high target wattage. You can ride anywhere in your target zone you are comfortable with.  However, if you ride below the low end or above the high end, you are not in the box and that means you are now doing a different workout entirely.

Don't make a straight line crooked.

Stay in the box.


If you do "stay in the box", and complete the early season work at the levels on your calendar, you will be able to build for many more weeks. Your ultimate peak will be higher by building a strong base with these challenging (but not maximum) type intervals during the early parts of your building process.


Done correctly, you may have 16 to 20 weeks of productive training. That last 4 to 6 weeks will be very hard. This period just before your priority "A" races is where we will push you to your limits.


Z2 Rides


Z2 type rides are critical for a successful racing season. This is where you will train your body to metabolize fat more efficiently, and not just burn up your glycogen (fast fuel). Done correctly, you will greatly extend your time to fatigue. You will race better, longer.


This is absolutely crucial for any athlete that is targeting an event longer than about 3 hours. Ironically, it is even helpful for athletes targeting shorter and harder races such as Crits. 

Even there, having more stamina and extending time to fatigue helps.


Not every long ride needs to be Z2. Variation helps just about everything. Some other long rides can be easier EN (endurance rides) and some can be harder group rides.


If it is a proper Z2 ride, the keys are to stay in the Z2 range. Even a few hard sections defeat the primary purpose of this type of ride. A hard 5 minute climb in the Red Zone will click on the glycogen burning systems. It then can take up to 30 minutes for your body to re-set and get back to fat burning zones.


Longer stops and fueling during the ride also defeat a primary purpose of a proper Z2 ride. This refills your glycogen. That makes the ride less effective at training your body to extend time to fatigue.


The keys are extended in these fat burning zones with no stopping or refueling. Longer is better, within reason. For athletes targeting long events, go 5 hours if the weather is good and you are feeling rested. Above 5 hours is where most athletes will be going backwards.


Fuel properly before, during and after the ride. Fueling on the ride is different from stopping for an extended period of time. 


For a deeper dive on Z2- Z2 coaches blog


Recovery Days


Ironically, this can be the hardest part of the training plan to stick to for many highly motivated athletes. Many will want to do more or go harder. 


Proper recovery is absolutely mandatory to be successful during your race season. If not, you simply will not be able to do the hard work productively. There are just no exceptions to this rule.


This means your IF (intensity factor) must be .60, or below. Some athletes can get away with an IF of .65, but it does not help. 


There must be no hard digs or any work above FTP. This creates lactate in the legs and is counterproductive.


You can get away with adding some volume, but it really is not helping either. Save that extra volume for your Z2 and long rides. 


Importantly, recovery days are not training days. This is not about adding stress. The sole purpose of a recovery day is clear lactate out of your legs, clear your mind and prepare for your hard training days. Nothing more.




Early season building is a time to, yes indeed, "stay in the box". Follow the schedule given and the zones recommended. This is a period to go longer, not harder if you are capable of doing more. 


Later in your season, it is the opposite. As you prepare for racing, it is all about enough quality.


During your active race season, success is achieved by going harder, not longer, resting enough and racing well. 


Let's get started!

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