Planning for Another 100

This 100th post was much harder to write than I originally thought. I wanted to get it just right. This is why it has taken this long to complete.

About a month ago, I was sitting on the trainer thinking to myself (as I often do) about how my training regimen would translate into race performance. I had been working particularly hard compared to years past and was hopeful that the strategy would pay off. After my ride I hopped on the scale, as I do about once a week, and discouragingly reviewed my equivalent of the magic eight ball’s response. 240. ERRGGGHH! If only I had the discipline to manage my food intake I’d be able to drop weight with the amount of riding I was doing.

And then, as if I were the Wiley Coyotte screeching to a halt over the middle of a gulley, I stopped and said “Wait. What?!” “If only I had the DISCIPLINE!?” That was humbling. I realized right then and there that something owned me. It explained the shame after eating my box of Triscuits and half block of sharp cheddar cheese. But it wasn’t a comfortable realization.

Discipline, I realized, was more than convincing myself at every test not to give in to an option counter to my goal. Discipline wasn’t trying to push myself into the positive action castle, but that I was defending the castle from an intruder. It’s my house. But…seconds tick, minutes slip away, hours pass, days go by and the disappointment of that realization fades. I concede small battle areas. “Avery won’t eat an entire ¼ pounder; I’ll just add that little bit to my burger.” Before you can blink, I’m numb to the frustration I initially felt.

But this is more than just about food. And at the same time it’s not really about anything important at all, either. It’s just the minor battles I encounter while trying to accomplish my competitive goals. They’re not life or death issues so I need to keep that in perspective. But it did point out that there’s more that I can do in my training.

This past Sunday was the Yankee Springs Time Trial; the first true mountain bike race of my season. I took the entire week off two weeks ago, the week I was supposed to really hit it pretty good before a taper week last week. But I just needed the mental reset. I did fine on Sunday. Not as well as I maybe could have if I hadn’t skipped that week, but just fine.

I’m hoping that these are fairly common struggles of weekend warrior athletes. This week is a good hard week and then next week is another taper week leading up to the Fort Custer Stampede. I’m looking forward to the physical and mental challenges of this season. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time training physically over the winter. I’m planning on a few ‘mental taper’ weeks to help out with the mental strengthening . I’m planning them now so that I can hopefully avoid taking them out of necessity in inopportune times. My new plan is to research and add some mental, sport specific, training. I’m thinking this could lead to some new and different posts over my next 100.

Milestones

Gravel Groove

 

With yesterday’s ride of just under 3 hours, I surpassed the 10 hour weekly training mark for the first time. Ever. I’m paying for it a bit today with a sore lower back (legs are tight as a drum pulling on my lower back muscles) but I’ll fix that with an extra warm-up period each ride and plenty of water. That’s a major accomplishment for me. It will be important that I keep up that level or higher saddle time. I also am beginning to work harder on the trainer and have begun what I’m calling “Spring Training”. I’m working on a vide (imagine that) that I’ll post sometime after the Barry-Roubaix.

Our ride yesterday was much better than my ride of the same route last Sunday. The shoulder of Lakeshore Drive had firmed up over the week making it feasible to ride on. Most of the snow had melted off the shoulder as well and drained leaving very few puddles to dodge. The gravel roads were also free of snow/ice for the most part so there were no spills (or even close calls). I rode with two other shop teammates up to the northernmost point and just as we were reaching our turn-around spot, two other friendly faces came riding around the corner. So, we made the return south with five of us, which was great because we were heading into the wind on the way back.

It’s still muddy and cold out there, but there’s just no better feeling than spending time outside on the bike. I had some really wise advice over the past couple of weeks that is allowing me to relax going into the Barry-Roubaix in 2 weeks: don’t worry about the podium, it’s supposed to be a fun race for me and just a part of the training for mountain bike season. I’m still going to give it all I have and am a bit anxious that I’m not in the same shape this year as last year at this time, but I’m no longer placing the same level of expectation on myself as compared to, say, Iceman. It’s going to be a great ride and a fun day.

So on to my training plan. Did anyone notice my scheduling conflict last week? I didn’t think so. I had planned two rides for Saturday which made the plan seem relatively easy until Thursday when I realized the error. I simply added a 45 minute recovery spin on Friday night, which was helpful for Saturday’s ride anyway. I try to plan out my rides around known events, but my actual rides usually vary a bit in response to conflicts that come up and how I’m feeling. Here’s the plan for this week (Sunday is actual):

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF MARCH 10, 2013
Total Completed ?
Recovery Spin:
Spin the lets out 80 Sunday
Sustain:
10 10 minute warm up – 30% 90 Monday
30 20 minute sustain – 80%
35 5 minute rest – 30%
55 20 minute sustain – 80%
60 5 minute rest – 30%
80 20 minute sustain – 80%
90 10 minute cool down – 30%
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long 120 Wednesday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sprint Intervals: 105 Thursday
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
70 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
80 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
85 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
95 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
105 10 minute cool down – 40%
Strength Training – Upper Body
Recovery Spin:
Spin the legs out 45 Friday
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort 150 Saturday
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 9.8

Coming Up For Air

I’m telling you right now, I will have to dive back under again, and soon. I’m hoping I fare better this next round. The last couple of weeks were brutal….for my biking (let’s be honest, here). First launching into a great ski trip out to Lake Tahoe (outside of the 9 hours of travel…flying each way) and then being catapulted into the final stages of multiple deal closings when I returned, my bike training took a real hit.

Though I was planning on my ski trip week as a ‘down week’, I ended up with a cold the Monday before I left which limited my riding to one night of easy spinning. Ski conditions were good, but not the 12-24” of fresh powder that really wears you out, so the first two days of skiing were simply not that draining. It wasn’t until Saturday that we found a real nice groove off one of the lifts and wore it out (I’m still working on the video I took with my GoPro). Sunday was entirely spent traveling home (left Lake Tahoe at 8a.m. CA time, boarded our 11:20a.m. flight out of Sacramento, flew for 3 ½ hours to Atlanta, boarded our next flight out 2 hours later, and landed in Grand Rapids at 11:15 making it home by midnight.

I knew returning to work I’d have some catch up to do, but thought I was in decent shape from keeping up with email while I was out of the office. Uh, yeah right. Outside of Wednesday where I was able to get out on my single speed for an hour, my days consisted of dropping the kids off at school, busting it to work, leaving around 5-5:30, eating dinner with the family, wrestling with the kids, putting them to bed around 7:30, and going back to my work until midnight. It was exhausting, but make no mistake about it, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction in my job by Friday night.

So these are the challenges of being an amateur mountain biker. However, only fools long to replace their life with that of a full time rider. You either quit your job and do it, or be satisfied with the balancing act. I don’t wish to give up what I’m doing to chase that dream. But being a competitive person I do get a bit down knowing that my training restrictions won’t allow me to achieve all that I’m capable of on the bike (or at least all that I THINK I’m capable of 🙂 ).

What I’ve resolved to doing is replacing time with intensity. Trying to be very smart about how I spend my time on the bike when I AM on it. So, I’ve played with some of my workouts again. I’ll still be keeping my sprint drills and sustain programs in my quiver to pull out regularly; but I want to try mixing it up a bit as well. This winter has made it a bit harder to ride outside without a fat tire bike so far with the 8 inches of snow, rain, 8 inches of snow, rain, cycle we’ve had. The plows have not been able to keep up with the snow on the bike paths like usual which makes them essentially impassable with a standard 2.3” tire. So, I’ve had to spend a bit more time in the basement than I’d care to, but hopefully as we near the end of February here, the weather will turn a little which will allow me to start my 2-3 hour shoulder and gravel road rides.

With all of that load dropped on you, here’s my plan for this week (I know part of its already past):

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF FEBRUARY 17, 2013
Sprint Intervals: Total Day
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
30 second on – 100%
20 30 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
24 4 minute rest – 40%
60 seconds on – Standing
30 30 seconds off – 40%  4 total reps (6 minutes)
35 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
45 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
60 seconds on – Standing
61 30 seconds off – 40%  4 total reps (6 minutes)
65 4 minute rest – 40%
72 Sustain – accelerating speed
75 3 minute rest – 40%
95 Sustain – accelerating speed
105 10 minute cool down – 40% 105 Tuesday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sustain Sprints:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
20 10 minute sustain
22 2 minute rest
25 1 minute standing 30 second rest (2x)
30 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off (5x)
50 20 minute sustain – 80%
60 10 minute cool down – 30% 60 Wednesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Trail Ride:
Get to a local trail: Ride hard for a while 105 Saturday
Indoor Fun Ride:
Variation for 90 minutes 90 Sunday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 120 minutes 120 Thursday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 8.0

Passing The Time Away

I decided during my ride tonight that I should share what I watch while on the trainer. In general, I mostly watch anything mountain biking, but have a library of cyclocross, mountain biking (cross country, fat bike, and downhill, separated of course), road cycling, and music videos.

I am just completing the Absa Cape Epic series (all the videos are available by clicking on the hyper-link) from 2012 which cuts the 7 stage race into 8 20-25 minute clips. It’s in highlight format for each stage, but shows some great racing and a couple of personal interest stories along the way.

I’ve also worn out all of the Iceman Cometh Challenge race footage I could find. Race videos are pretty much all of the POV variety, which I prefer, and can range from a 10 minute highlight compilation to several 35 minute splices of the race that you can watch back-to-back-to-back all the way to one complete ~2 hour video of the entire race. The highlight video actually has quite a bit of me in it (black and yellow Cross Country Cycle jersey starting at the 1:52 mark).

Even though the course will change slightly, I’ll start watching 2012 race footage of the Barry-Roubaix in the coming weeks just to re-familiarize myself with the course. I find it helpful to see some of the hills, turns, and terrain of upcoming races even if I have the chance to pre-ride the course. In the same vein I have a video of the Boyne Marathon that’s 2 hours long for some of my longer trainer rides.

What I really like about YouTube is that you can set up playlists to save and sort various videos that you can go back to later. Within each playlist you can manage their order (though the functionality is a bit clunky) and then play all without having to do anything. This is really slick while on the bike if you have your order set up the way you want.

I also have a Vimeo account which is helpful in finding video of a certain race because not everyone uploads to the same service. You can organize videos into playlists there as well, but their search engine is really particular and I find that I have to search for multiple iterations of the same race to find all of the video (e.g. Iceman, Iceman Cometh, Iceman Cometh Challenge, Iceman 2012, etc.). I really haven’t run out of YouTube video, yet, so I haven’t been paying much attention to my Vimeo playlists.

We finally got snow on the west side of Michigan, so after this cold front blows through and the wind dies down I’ll be spending more time outside (I love snow riding) and won’t probably need the videos as much, but until then….

A Good Rest

After posting that I wasn’t feeling quite right, yet, on Sunday I took the night off from riding. It ended up feeling so good that I took Monday off, too. 🙂 However, now I am paying for that a bit in order to get in my scheduled regimen and will end up riding at least 6 days straight (Tuesday to Saturday this week and then my usual Sunday ride). I’m simply going to have to turn one of my scheduled rides into a recovery pace ride, but I think in the end it will have been the right thing to do taking Monday off.

I’m going into this training year with a plan; the most well developed plan I’ve ever had. But, I’ve also decided to subscribe to the idea that I need to listen to my body (as described by several former pro riders) and remember that it’s a long season with risk of burning out mentally before it’s really going to matter to me in November at Iceman.

Last night I left the house thinking “why in the world do I like riding in the cold?” only to realize about 45 minutes into the ride that I simply LOVE being outside, no matter what the temperature is. I felt rejuvenated as I rode up the lakeshore, in to the wind, but warmed by my effort. The only thing I would have added to improve the ride was snow. Without it I bounce around too much on my Single Speed as it’s not geared right for lower resistance riding.

Tonight I have my brother-in-law coming over to sit in the basement with me on our trainers for some sprint intervals. That will be about as much fun as you can have riding on a trainer. Then I’ll just have a shorter recovery ride tomorrow night and hopefully a trail ride on Saturday to complete the week. It WILL be a great week of winter riding.

Discipline: A Two Sided Story

I planned 6 hours of riding this week. Even after cutting back a trainer ride I ended up with over 6 and a half hours. I did take it easy on my drills, but as of today I’m still feeling fatigued. Part of that may be from working out on the new Upper Macatawa trail yesterday, but I don’t feel like I took it easy this week. So, I’m not riding tonight like I normally do to take one extra day off before starting up with a big week this week. I’ll get to bed on time tonight and hopefully I’ll feel fully refreshed tomorrow.

Discipline has been a word I’ve used to describe the motivation necessary to get ON the bike, push hard, and continue all the way to the finish. I was reminded this week that discipline is also showing restraint. This is not a surprising revelation or new to me. Restraint is the application of the word discipline I use for food consumption. I just haven’t really run into the scenario where I’ve needed to apply it to my riding until now.

So, while I plan out my riding for the next week, I’m going to remember to follow the plan and be disciplined to both work the plan; and be disciplined to rest.

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF JANUARY 13, 2013
Sprint Intervals: Total Completed ?
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
70 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
80 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
85 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
95 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
105 10 minute cool down – 40% 105 Monday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sustain:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
30 20 minute sustain – 80%
35 5 minute rest – 30%
55 20 minute sustain – 80%
60 5 minute rest – 30%
80 20 minute sustain – 80%
90 10 minute cool down – 30% 90 Thursday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Trail Ride:
Get to a local trail: Ride hard for a while 90 Saturday
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long 60 Friday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 120 Tuesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 7.75

 

Down Week

The first week of my pivot worked out beautifully. Since that post I have also adopted a training plan technique that was shared through a FaceBook group I belong to. It really helped me plan out my training ramp to this year’s race season, and though I’m still no professional at this, I’m feeling pretty good about the plan so far.

Now that I’m learning more about how I’m performing on my trainer (particularly how effort translates into speedometer output), I’m able to understand and manage my planned effort outputs. For example, on my trainer during my sustain program I’m averaging about 19mph on the speedometer (I am not claiming that this is the equivalent of 19mph out on the open road, but it is consistent enough to base my effort off from) which is about 80% of my speed during my high cadence sprint workout. Hopefully over time this will increase and then I’ll know I’m improving (or so I believe). We’ll find out this summer.

This week will be a down week of training for me. I’m cutting about 75 minutes out of my schedule by reducing bits here and there. I’ll also work at 10-20% less effort. Below is the plan for the week AND my planned season.

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF JANUARY 6, 2013
Sprint Intervals: Total Completed ?
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 85%
20 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
25 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 80%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 85%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
55 5 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 80%
65 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
75 10 minute cool down – 40% 75 Monday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sustain:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
30 20 minute sustain – 70%
35 5 minute rest – 30%
55 20 minute sustain – 70%
60 5 minute rest – 30%
80 20 minute sustain – 70%
90 10 minute cool down – 30% 60 Thursday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Trail Ride:
Get to a local trail: Ride hard for a while 90 Saturday
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long 60 Sunday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 75 Wednesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 6.0

 

2013 Training Plan