Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Racing..the best training there is!

For me, the end of May is also the time of year I start winding down my coaching for the season;  at least for the majority of the athletes I coach.  I still coach a few athletes but for the most part I'm done.  Why?  For a few reasons: 1) Because once the roadies start racing regularly in May/June..there really isn't much time to fit any kind of formal training in during the work week..especially if you enter a training crit/race during the week.   Lets look at a normal racers week: if you race both Saturday and Sunday and do a training race mid-week:
Monday- Day OFF/Recovery Ride if you raced on Sunday
Tuesday- Group Ride
Wednesday- Solo Ride
Thursday- Training Race/Criterium
Friday- Pre-Race Ride
Sat/Sunday- Race

So, you can see from the weekly schedule above..there is really only one open day to go hard and that is on Tuesday where I have a "Group Ride" penciled in.  (And, you SHOULD go hard on a group ride.  Also make sure you're one of the weaker riders in the group/ride.  If not, find a faster group/ride).  You might be thinking, wait a minute, I see "Solo Ride" on Wednesday.  Yes, there is a "Solo Ride" penciled in.  But, if you go hard on your Group Ride on Tuesday there is no way you're going to be able to go HARD on Wednesday.  And, there is no reason to go HARD on Wednesday..especially when you have a HARD Training Race/Crit on Thursday.   By doing a fast group ride, a traning race, and weekend race per week..that's all the training you'll have time for..or need.

2) the whole purpose of your Annual Training Plan (that most of you started in December) was to get you in shape for the racing season.  That is, it will improve both Functional Threshold Power and Power at VO2max.  Therefore, once May/June rolls around..the goal/objective has been least I hope it has.  I'd say the average athlete I coach increases his/her FTP a minimum of 50w over the Winter.  I had one athlete increase it as much as 75w.  My FTP increases 50w from December to May..granted, I lose most of that increase when the cycling racing season is over.  Once May/June rolls around the emphasis is moved from "general" training to "specific" training.  That is, if you're a sprinter we'll spend a lot of time on L6/L7 Anaerobic Capacity work in June.  If you're an endurance's time to work on muscular endurance and skills/tactics.

3) June is the time of the year that I'm normally racing myself- or officiating.  However, this year I'm having a home built in the Pocono Mtns of PA so there is NO racing.  To be honest with you, I don't miss it.  I'm having more fun fishing, boating, mountain biking, officiating, etc. this year.

So, if you race, continue racing.  If you want to continue to train (get stronger)..enter a real race or a training race.  After all, racing is the best training.  Power ON! Coach Rob

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Walk before you run/ride

There's an old proverb that reads, "You must walk before you run".  I'm pretty sure we're all aware of what that means.  Except for me, it reads, "You must walk before you ride".  Why?  Because I've gained twenty pounds since last year- this same time.  (You think I'm kidding?  I wish I was.  Long story on why..but I don't want to get into that)  I told myself BEFORE I attempt to get back on the bike, I'm going to walk-off at least 5 pounds- which I've successfully done in the last month. (I've been speed walking at lunchtime).  Tonight, I'm going on my first group ride (in over a year) with the Central Bucks Bike Club.  I'm really not enamored with these "group" rides but I figured I've got to start somewhere.  At least I can ride with the B/C group and feel good about myself.  If I rode with the A/B group I'd get shelled out the back in the first couple miles.  I have no doubt about that.  A lot of you may be laughing at this blog..thinking, how the hell can he get this "out-of-shape" in only one year.  Let me tell you- it was easy.  You just stop riding and continue eating the same..that's how. 

If you've "given it up" for a year like me (for whatever reason..possibly an injury) don't despair.  Just be patient.  Don't expect to be where you were for a while.  It will take time getting back into your original shape.  And, don't get discouraged.  Hell, I don't even know if I'm going to put my bike computer on my bike tonight.  I don't want to see how paltry the Power Meter numbers are.  I may laugh myself sick to my stomach..ha.  I've read many stories about how guys have had serious injuries (on and off the bike) and have come back even STRONGER years later.  There's one guy that keeps coming to my mind and if you haven't heard of this guys story you've got to read it.  His name is Alex Simmons.  Check out his blog and his accident and recovery story.  Just amazing if you ask me.  In addition to his story he is an expert when it comes to racing and training with a Power Meter.  Just like Alex, I will be back..faster..stronger (like the 6 million dollar man- for you guys over 40..ha).  I'm not sure what my long term goal is but my short term goal is to get my FTP to where it was last year by September of this year.  I want to go into the 2013 season stronger than 2011.  For a long term goal, I was thinking of a "pack finish" at the 2015 Tour of the Battenkill where I'll be racing with the 55+ crowd.  We'll see.

For now, I've got a long road ahead of me.  And, the most important thing for me to do now is to "walk" NOT "run" and be patient.  Actually, it will be "walk" at lunch and "ride" after work.
Power ON! Coach Rob