Way Too Easy

That’s what I thought last night during the first 3 reps of my high cadence sprint work-out. After starting out with a 10 minute warm-up, I busted into my 15 second on, 15 second off sprint intervals. I was immediately concerned that the resistance setting was not set high enough and I couldn’t get my adjustment nob to stick in a higher tension setting. Oh, but I soon found out there was no need to be worried…at least about the tension setting.

Last week I posted my training plan for this week. Call it accountability. I started out Sunday night with my ‘Sustain’ plan and completed part two last night with my ‘High Cadence Sprints’. Part of the reason why I’m setting weekly schedules is to make sure I’m pacing myself and building, rather than just haphazardly busting into a mid-season training routine by January 15 (which is just not the right timing for my race schedule). As many things in life, training is a discipline game.

If it gives you any indication of the level of my discipline, when I got on the bike, I still hadn’t decided on which sprint interval plan I was going to do. I just knew I had to get on the bike (step 1 is always the hardest). I figured out during my warm up that I couldn’t get the tension on the trainer hard enough to really perform my low-cadence sprint interval plan, so by default I went into my high cadence variation.

I figured I’d learn some things with this being my first real offseason with a training plan (or training in general). What I hadn’t expected was learning so much in the first two sessions. I by no means believe this is all I will learn this winter, but here’s 3 things I’ve figured out so far:

1. Understand Your Equipment and Set-Up – I bought a new trainer a few weeks ago. I’ve never owned a trainer before this. I’ve borrowed and ridden on them before, though, so I thought I knew what I was getting myself into and what kind of work-out I’d get with it. I quickly assembled the trainer and put my bike up on it. I decided to take an old wheel and turn it into my trainer wheel so I could easily and quickly convert my road bike between training and outdoor riding. After a quick trip to Cross Country Cycle for a new spoke and truing, I was set there. After putting my bike, then, on the trainer, I noticed that I was listing a little to the left and that my adjustable tensioner mounted on my handlebar was not holding the tighter half of the tension settings. I will need to spend a little time leveling my bike and bike trainer, so that’s not a big deal (thought it would have been nice to have figured that out before my first real training session). I’m going to have to pull out the directions (ugh) to figure out how to get the tensioner to work properly. Otherwise I’m going to have to ‘improvise’ a way to keep the harder settings.

2. Breathing is Key – After my 7th or 8th rep in my 1st set I figured out that my initial synopsis of difficulty was wrong. My legs were starting to fade from the initial speed peaks in my first few reps and I was starting to get a side ache. Fortunately I had just watched a YouTube training clip on not getting dropped in the climbs, which gave some interesting advice on breathing techniques to assist with fatigue.  Very quickly, what I gleaned from that was trying to breath out as much air as I could during each breath. I combined that with the steady breathing trick I learned a few years ago when dealing with side aches during a run.  The result was that I began breathing very long but deep (both in and out) and steady breaths throughout the 5-minute sets of sprint reps. It was amazing. Within a few seconds my side ache went away and my peak speed began climbing again. I was able to keep up my peaks throughout the 2nd set and most of the 3rd set. It’s a breathing technique that I’m going to continue using.

3. Training Plan Adjustments – Although I found that my plan for last night was adequate, I will be adjusting it slightly next week to include a couple of more reps per set, and reducing the rests in between sets by a minute or two. For the next couple of weeks I want to keep these sprint routines at about 45-50 minutes, but my planned 5 minutes of rest between sets was too much.  I am betting that after I complete my low cadence sprint plan I’ll have to adjust that as well.

4. YouTube – I began creating playlists a couple of months ago to start storing mountain bike videos that I wanted to watch during my training rides. This has proven to be a valuable exercise.  I have been starting with my brother’s posted video of his Iceman race. I have so much more energy to ride when I’m watching video. The only downside is that during my sprints I need to keep track of my time in seconds and I found myself watching my odometer last night more than the video. I may explore doing some things similar to Cody Sovis of kolo t.c. by creating some videos that include intensity level on the video so I can watch both at the same time. Or, I’ll just use the video library he’s been creating for my sprint workouts. We’ll see on that one.

the time I was done with my 45 minutes, I had a good workout in. I am very satisfied with my first couple of sessions and am very optimistic about this off season training plan; or as I exclaimed on the FBook: It’s not the OFF season; it’s the beginning of NEXT season.

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