Granted this is not my realm of expertise … But every woman I have coached has told me that their training and performance is effected in some way by their period. Some months are worse than others obviously. When these “bad” months do come, it is very useful for the athletes coach to be aware. A lady that I coach in cycling online sent me this this PDF, click here. It gives a breakdown of the menstrual cycle phase and its effect on training.Read More
December has come and gone. Hopefully you were good little boys and girls and put some good training on your Christmas lists. Guess what ….. March is right around the corner so you will need those Christmas wishes to come true!
The 2010 Spring Series was awesome – great venues, solid racing and competitive fields. Big Dave did a fantastic job taking the reins of the event. Next year’s series looks as though he has stepped-up the game another few notches.
March 21st is the opener for the 2011 Spring Series at Deer Creek. For many local cyclists, the Spring Series is not only a highlight of their season but also a major goal. Where else can you find so many races in your own back yard? Many of my clients have the Spring Series as a major objective on their 2011 Goal Sheet. Even if your objective is to use the series as training, it is good to go into it with solid form. So, what are the nuts and bolts of getting ready? What do you need to do to hit your target for the series?
Ideally, your preparation should have started in October by taking that month off and letting your body and mind recover from the 2010 season. Time off is just as important as the physical training you did all season. It can set the tone for the training you are about to undertake again. Bike racing is not only consuming in terms of time spent training, but is physically and mentally demanding as well. You need down time to rejuvenate and get that fire back in your belly.
Now it is December, and you may be asking, where do I go from here? How do I get fit for the 2011 Spring Series? Given your off the bike commitments, what can I do to maximize my training? Remember, training is about QUALITY, not QUANTITY! A very common mistake made by many.
Winter training has multiple phases:
- Weight Control
- Gym Work
- Base miles
- Trainer Time
- Putting it all Together
There is no getting around it – the leaner you are the less work your body has to do to propel forward, especially up hill. Diet and weight control are critical in the winter. Your saddle time is limited to the trainer and short rides outdoors; less riding time = less calorie burning. ‘Tis the season to over-indulge, so make smart choices! Being focused on the long term goals and staying fit is much better than trying to shed those pounds when it is crunch time.
It’s not too late ….. start a gym program! As long as I have been racing (25 years now) I have been hitting the gym in the off season; October through the end of February. The gains made in the gym are crucial to the competitive cyclist. The goal is to build a solid base of strength without bulking up; remember you have to carry that muscle up a hill!
Not only does the gym serve the purpose of building strength, but it also adds diversity to your winter program. By dedicating at least 3 months to working out in the gym at 2 sessions per week (separated by at least 1 full day), you will see and feel the gains you’ve made when March comes around. A structured procedure is key to your program.
This is your foundation. Before you do any structured efforts, you have to have base miles in your legs. This prepares your legs and cardiovascular system for the coming workload. Are there a set number of miles you need to achieve? That depends on your level of racing experience. For a Cat. III cyclist, I would say a solid 1,500-2,000 pre-race season miles (November to March) are acceptable. This is done on the weekends, of course when the weather lets us.
Base miles is simply that; spending maximum time in your Tempo / Endurance Zone. That means no racing your buddies on the Sunday Ride, no sprinting for the county signs or racing up a hill. Short 1 to 2 minute bursts are “okay” as long as you have plenty of recovery time afterwards.
No way around it, you HAVE to hit the dreaded trainer. Unless you can just fly off to Majorca or Tucson to spend your winters, the trainer is a valuable tool. For me, 2 hours indoors is my MAX! The great thing about a trainer is the quality you get out of it. There is no scientific equation, but my estimate is that 1 hour on the trainer equals 1.5 to 2 hours on the road. This especially holds true if you are doing structured efforts. Try to dedicate 2 trainer rides per work week and on Saturday’s and Sunday’s if you are not able to ride outdoors.
So, what should I be doing on the trainer now??? Well, I can’t give away all my secrets, but you want to start with the same principle you are applying to your time on the road – base time or base efforts. It is a building process; you need to get your body ready to do those short, hard intense efforts. To get there, you need base efforts first. You are not going to get maximum benefit from a 1 minute 100% effort unless your body is prepared for that work.
Putting it all Together
When March rolls around and you can put all those pieces together; you are at your fighting weight, your time in the gym has given you some good base strength, the base miles you have logged have given you a good foundation and your knife has been sharpened by doing structured work on the trainer. Now, you are ready for the Spring Series and a great racing season!
Don’t let the winter fool you. Now is a crucial time in your preparation for the 2011 Spring Series. If you are thinking about getting a coach, now is the time.
This is from one of my clients:
As with any hobby or sport, time to enjoy them is hard to fit in ones schedule. Maximizing my limited training time was difficult and not very productive for the hours I spent in the saddle. Once on board with Coach OB I noticed a reduction in miles and saddle time. His program has reduced my time spent training by 20 percent and has given far better returns than prior efforts. I no longer find myself suffering in LONG rides and wondering what the hell am I doing this for?!!!!!!!
David SavageRead More
You have to love the weather here in Cincinnati, well, the mid-west for that matter. One week it is 95+, the next it is in the mid 70′s. What does this mean for us in our training? It means we have to take extra steps to make sure our bodies adjust to the changes. Your body needs time to acclimate to the cool fall weather.
We have to start taking those extra steps to make sure our bodies, especailly our legs, are staying warm. Keeping our legs warm not only applies to the changing seasons, but also with the cooler tepmeratures in general. When it comes to my legs, I have a standing rule I follow when I ride outside; “70 and sunny – 75 and cloudy – cover your knees!” As a coach I share this with all of my cleints, especailly the younger ones. You have to keep your knees and leg muscles warm. Warm muscles are happy muscles!
Coaching a cyclist isn’t just telling them to do “this interval” or “that interval”. It is about helping the athlete to become a better cyclist in general. Part of good training is developing good habits ON and OFF the bike. One of those good habits is keeping your legs warm even in moderate temperatures not waiting until it gets cold. When you make sure all of the little things are taken care of in your training, the bigger things tend to fall into place a little more easily.
Eat Well! Sleep Well! Train SMART!!!Read More
I see bike riders who spend thousands and thousands of dollars on fancy bikes, TT equipment, tricked out wheels, etc. HUGE $$$! And they are missing one of the key fundamentals of efficient bicycle riding – KEEP YOUR KNEES IN! You can save yourself a few grand in aerodynamic equipment, and BE JUST AS FAST, if you keep your knees tucked in!!! It is more aerodynamic and it is so much more efficient! Think of your legs as the pistons of your car engine. Do the pistons bow outwards as they go up and down? That would reduce the amount of power if there was a curve to the movement.
Same with your legs. Your legs will transfer more power to the pedals if there is a straight up & down motion without any “bowing”. With your knees in, or just simply in line with your hips, you are able to fully engage all the muscles in your legs, hips and butt in the down stroke. AND the up stroke, so much easier to pull the pedal upwards!
Think how much more aerodynamic it is!!! Less drag to slow you down. Keeping your knees tucked in is one of the first lessons I teach to all of the young cyclists I coach. If you learn at the beginning of your cycling experience, you will hold onto that principle for the rest of your cycling career.
So, KNEES IN!
I was thinking today on my ride: How cool is the body? You can totally prepare it for an event, everything can be perfect, you are totally fit, you are 150% mentally prepared, you have all your ducks in a row! You get my point. You are PEAKED for your event. I was peaked for Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. It was great!!
But let me tell you, there is the OTHER side of the peak. That is the mental and physical recovery time necessary after hitting top form. And, brothers and sisters, I was on the OTHER side this week. My cycling this week – Monday: off. Tuesday: attempted a long ride, no go, no juice! Wednesday: tried another 2 hours, felt like poo! Thursday and Friday: OFF, I had too! Saturday: 3 hours and starting to feel a bit better. I went up a hill Saturday where two weeks ago I would have flown up. Today, I felt okay, but my power was down and my HR was still not hitting the higher numbers it should have on this hill. In other words, I am still recovering.
NOTHING wrong with this. It was my intention to hit peak form for Nationals. Here is the cool part – for every action there is a reaction. My action was peaking, my reaction is the total fatigue and tiredness I have felt all this week. What does this tell me? It tells me that I WAS ready for Nationals. If I would have felt great, or even normal, all this week it would mean that I wasn’t prepared. I have heard some say you have to train at 100% ALL THE TIME to be good. That way you are good all the time! Well, if you do that, how can you find your PEAK???
Eat Well! Sleep Well! Train SMART!!!
Coach O’BRead More