Weekly Update

I’m back on the bike and I’ve been riding for a week pain free.  I know I’m not 100% out of the woods yet, as I can still find a tender spot in my knee, but it seems as though the cause has been found and it should be able to heal now.

My Work Schedule

The big news is that I got a new schedule at work.  My new schedule has me working 48 hours straight, followed by four days off.  I know it seems crazy but it has become a common shift structure for fire departments and our ambulance service has decided to use synchronize our crews.  I haven’t worked many 48s, so I am going to reserve my judgment on their safety and efficacy until I have more experience.  I can say that almost all the crews that work the 48/96 schedule seem to like it.

My situation as a bike racer is a little unique.  I’ve decided to stop thinking in weeks, since my six day schedule is constantly shifting across the week as time passes.  I also cannot ride at work.  I can do some strength and stretching, but I don’t really have an opportunity for aerobic activity.  This means I must rest two out of every six days.  Thus, I’ve decided to ride the other four.

Four day blocks will be difficult to schedule.  Fatigue builds after days of back-to-back workouts, so generally cyclists will train seriously for two or three days before having an easy day or day off.  My next training phase is Base 3, the highest volume phase.  I won’t have the time to take complete rest days, but have tried to arrange my weeks to get plenty of aerobic work, but stay fresh enough for some of the more intense workouts.  As I enter the Build phase and focus more on intensity, I may take a rest day during my four day blocks.

Performance Manager Chart 03/2012

One of the great things about using TrainingPeaks is planning my workouts.  For next month, I have planned my workouts and estimated the TSS Score (training load) of each.  The Performance Manager Chart above shows accumulated training stress (Training Stress Balance, or TSB) in yellow.  I can make sure that my TSB isn’t too low on the days I have harder workouts scheduled.  I can also predict if the hours and workouts I have planned will be too much for me to handle.

The first thing you will probably notice is how organized the ‘planned’ section of the graph is.  Firstly, my schedule will be more regimented now that I have days that I cannot ride.  Secondly, it will certainly be less organized after unplanned adjustments for family, weather, and fatigue.

From today, there are exactly 15 six day cycles and 90 days until the State Time Trial Championship.  Despite a few minor setbacks, I’m still very much on track for this season’s goals.

About Russell

I have been racing bicycles for a decade. This blog will chronicle my efforts as a Category 1 road racer lining up with the pros.
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4 Responses to Weekly Update

  1. says:

    Hey Russell,

    Despite being able to do any aerobic training at work, I personally used to love 48′s when I worked them. It would be nicer with 5 or 6 days off but what can you do… perhaps you can just do a little strength training like you mentioned and ride to work and home again?? What time is your shift change? Would commuting on the bike be a possibility?

    TTYL ;)


    • says:

      I do already commute by bike, but it is only 3 miles to work. I may be able to bring the rollers to work, but it will have to be a low-workload rotation.

      I work at the busiest station in a college town. On St Patrick’s day (Saturday night) we transported 10 patients between 5pm and 5am. Most cycles will be quieter, but I think we’ll still average 15-20 calls per 48 hour period.

  2. Christopher V says:

    Hi Russell,

    I’m curious about how you’re going about estimating your TSS scores for each workout? Next week I start build 1 and I have my workouts planned out, but I don’t know how I could estimate TSS from them. Any suggestions?

    Thank you!

    • says:

      Usually I look at similar past workouts. Otherwise I will predict based on TSS/hour. An endurance ride is about 50, and maximum is 100TSS/hr, so it is pretty easy to estimate TSS within a reasonable range to plan properly.

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