Thursday, April 22, 2010

Many Thanks

Thanks to all of you for your condolences/well wishes re: the passing of my Mom.  It was quite unexpected and a shock to the entire family.  We will miss her dearly.  Life goes on however, and we must continue our journeys- each and every one of us, until we meet again.  I will start publishing new blogs in a week or so, after a return to normalcy.  Coach Rob

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I won't be posting any blogs for the next week or updating any ATPs.  My Mom passed away unexpectedly last night and my entire family is in mourning.  To all my athletes I coach, and friends, please be patient with the Annual Training Plan updates.  I think I have most of you covered for this week.  If in doubt as to what training you should be doing next week, you can't go wrong with including one Threshold Workout (2x20s) and one VO2max Workout (5-8x3s).  Also, try to get out on a group ride (and ride hard) at least once a well as one long Tempo/Endurance ride (2-3 hr) on the weekend.  Coach Rob

Sunday, April 4, 2010


It's usually long after hard rides, and after long hard rides like today's Hell of Hunterdon ride, that I think about post-ride nutrition and rest for recovery.  Yes, at times even I forget how important it is to consume high quality protein and complex carbs immediately after a hard ride...that is if you want a speedy recovery.  (And no, pizza w/ pepperoni and beer doesn't count as high quality protein and complex carbs.)  Because it's the AFTER part of the ride, when the recovery occurs, that your body builds back up- stronger...not during the ride.  (During the ride, you're tearing down the muscle tissue/fibers.)

Here are some things you can do AFTER your ride to speed-up recovery:
a. Consume high quality protein and complex carbs.  As I mentioned previously, consume high quality protein and complex carbs within 20 minutes of the end of your ride.  Consuming foods (w/ protein and carbs) within this time period, which has been scientifically proven, speeds up the recovery process.

b. Replace fluids.  Even I don't drink as much as I should on a ride..or afterwards.  If your urine is dark in color, you're not drinking enough.  And, it's probably NOT a good idea to drink beer (or any alcohol for that matter) after a ride (even though I do) because the beer will only dehydrate you more.  Water supports just about every metabolic function and nutrient transfer in the body.  So, drink plenty of it.

c.  Rest.  Sounds easy enough but it's amazing how much running around I seem to do after a hard ride.  If you can swing it, try to take a nap for an hour or two when you get home from a hard ride.  (see sleep)

d.  Massage.  I know we don't all have the luxury of a masseuse after our the big boys (pros) do.  (BTW, the reason they get massages is not because they are pampered athletes, but because it speeds-up recovery.)  But, you can get a similar effect by using a "massage stick" or "electronic rollers". I use an electronic roller pad, made by Home Medic that I originally bought for my lower back, and it works great.  A massage will improve circulation.  Plus, it feels great on sore/tired quad muscles.

e.  Sleep.  Get lots of it.  While you sleep, your body produces a growth hormone which is responsible for tissue growth.  Unlike the photo above, try a's much more comfortable and relaxing and you'll sleep better/longer..haha.

Having said that, time for BED..need to start recovering.  Power ON! Coach Rob

Thursday, April 1, 2010


When I hear the word "patience" I think about the song "Patience" from Guns & Roses.  Maybe you remember the lyrics- "All we need is just a little patience"  Maybe not. (Good song by the way).  Regardless, there may be times during your Annual Training Plan (ATP) where you're just not seeing the results you want.  i.e. your FTP is not increasing and you don't seem to be getting any stronger.  Or, perhaps, you're NOT shedding any pounds from all those workouts you've been doing and what seems like starving yourself to death.  Well, I've got some advice for you: PATIENCE! 

If you have a sound ATP and a good coach assisting you with it..just be patient and stick with it.  You WILL see results.  It doesn't happen over night..sometimes it takes a couple months (depending on the shape you're in).  Same with your weight loss program.  Stick with the resistance training and continue to eat right.  You WILL see results...sooner or later.  How do I know?  It JUST happened to me..all in the last 2 days.  And, I thought the day would never come.  I've been mildly depressed lately because I haven't seen any progress increasing my FTP.  But, just last night, I did a 2x20 L4 workout and on each 20 min. interval my power was 25-30 watts higher than my best 20 min. interval in January.  And, just today, I jumped on the scale and I noticed I had lost 5 lbs. since January.  That may not sound like much...but it's progress.  And, the best part's giving me the motivation to continue to increase both my FTP even more..and drop more lbs.  In fact, I'm counting on increasing my FTP another 25w by my peak in June...and losing another 5 lbs.

Oh, you might be wondering why all of a sudden I'm seeing a marked improvement in both my FTP increase and weight loss.  First, the FTP increase.  If you've been following my blogs all Winter long you'll see that my Annual Training Plan (ATP), as well as the ones I start my athletes on, are designed to work on the more general fitness elements of cycling first: Force, Endurance & Speed.  These types of workouts, although being a necessary part of the total cycling fitness plan, are NOT really designed to improve your FTP (they improve other things).  These workouts are primarily performed in the L2/L3 zones.  If you want to improve your Threshold Power, guess what?  You've got to train in the Threshold (L4) power range.  Only recently (last month or so) have I started working on the more specific cycling fitness elements such as Muscular Endurance, Power and Anaerobic Capacity.  These are the more intene workouts performed in the L4/L5/L6 zones.  Therefore, it's the more intense interval workouts at the L4/L5 that are responsible for my FTP increase.  The weight loss?  Well, lets just say that your body is resistant to change and it likes staying at a fixed weight...regardless of what you try to do.  You eat less, your body will make you tired so you don't exercise.  It will also slow your metabolic rate down (i.e. you burn less calories).  But, what really drops the weight is the hi-intensity rides on the bike and resistance training in the gym.  Because even when you get off the bike or leave the gym..your body is STILL burning calories unlike a hi-spin low intensity cardio workout or high repetition resistance workout.  HINT! all you Spinners out there that think your weekly Spin Session at the local gym is helping you lose weight..or getting into cycling fitness shape.  Probably not.  It will help your Cardio Fitness but I'm not sure about your weight loss.  Plus, these low intensity spin sessions will do nothing for improving your FTP on the bike..unless you crank up the resistance- which nobody does.  Been there..seen it!

One last thing.  You might be thinking after reading this blog (as I did), why not just train at hi-intensity from the beginning of the ATP in December until now?  Well, the problem with that'll eventually plateau, if you don't injure yourself first..and then you'll burn out.  And, that plateuing and burning out will usually happen around NOW.  So, just when everyone else is improving their're peaking.  And, when everyone else is peaking in're toast..spent.

So, hang in there and be patient.  If you persist, on the correct training program, and you're determined and motivated you WILL reach all your goals for 2010.  Power ON! Coach Rob