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

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The Pivot

I hear this word too often in start-up land. For as annoying as this word has become, what it describes is so essential to success that I just know it will stick around until someone coin’s a replacement. Though highly prevalent in business, particularly start-up culture, it has wide application and I’ll go ahead and use it here for what I’m about to do with my training plan. I’m on a pivot.

Before I describe what, I’ll explain why: I love riding outside; especially in the winter (and snow). I realized this over the past week as I ended up abandoning most of my scheduled trainer specific training plan and recorded over an hour more of total riding than originally planned. Only 1 hour of my 7.5 hours of riding was done on the trainer and I had a riot. I believe I got a better workout to boot. So, because of this, I am shifting some of my riding to the outdoors and combining my sprint interval sessions into one long session.

I will still be outside less than I am in the warmer months, but it will more closely resemble the picture I have in my head for race season where I ride for skill, endurance, and most importantly fun outside while being able to grab a couple of extra hours a week without leaving the house. I can focus on some drills there, then, as well. So, with that explanation here’s my plan for next week:

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF DECEMBER 30, 2012
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 Sunday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 90 Wednesday
Strength Training – Lower Body
Strength Training – Upper Body
TOTAL 7.3

 

I again recorded a sprint interval workout via Google Hangout and posted it to YouTube. Enjoy (either by laughing or working out with it).

 

Fits and Starts

I’m going to get real honest here. I’ve said this before, but training is 75% mental for me with the majority of that being spent on the decision to actually start. I think its easy to look at pro athletes and think that training just comes natural to them; that its fun. Maybe it is, but I want to believe that they go through the same mental anguish that I do before every training session.

The thought process starts like this: set the plan for the week and get pumped up about how hard I’m going to work and how much faster its going to make me. I do really enjoy creating the plan. I can begin to see how the specific drills and structure is going to allow me to be faster next spring. I visualize how much time I’ll take off my laps at various races. I’m winning first place already. Day one of my week, though, I start the mental back-and-forth of what time I should start that day’s work. Do I get up early and do it before work? Do I get after it right after the kids are in bed? Do I relax after the kids go to bed and get it in just before bed? Then once I’ve determined when I’m going to start and arrive at my pre-determined start time, I start thinking “Do I need to do this tonight? What if I woke up tomorrow morning and got it in? My legs are still a bit fatigued and I’m not sure that’s good for them to push it. What if I skipped today’s plan and fit it in on Wednesday?” And by the time I push through the mental road blocks I’m eather 15-30 minutes behind schedule and need to stay up later to fit in the workout or I dilly-dallied enough to run out of time all-together. I’d say I skip a work-out for this reason about 10% of the time.

It’s a frustrating personal challenge to overcome. I know how good I feel after the workout, and I know how disappointed in myself I feel when I skip a planned workout. Still, I fight this same battle every time. Every successful workout will make the battle easier, but I don’t think I’ll ever eliminate of this battle, either.

With that in mind, here’s my training plan for the next week. I did successfully fit my entire plan in last week, including a really fun trail ride on Friday (I’ll be posting the video as soon as it’s done uploading to YouTube). I posted my sprint workout on YouTube earlier this week. It’s my intent to start posting all of my workouts. Google Hangouts makes it easy to broadcast your Hangout to a public livestream and then automatically records and uploads your session to YouTube for replay. It’s sweeeeeet.

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF DECEMBER 23, 2012
Sprints – High Cadence: 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%
15 second on – 100%
35 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
40 5 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
50 15 second rest – 20%    –   20 total reps (10 minutes)
60 10 minute cool down – 40% 60 Monday
Strength Training – Upper Body
Sprints – Low Cadence:
10 10 minute warm up – 30%
40 seconds on – 90%
20 20 seconds off – 40%    10 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%
40 seconds on – 90%
50 20 seconds off – 40%    10 total reps (10 minutes)
60 10 minute cool down 60 Saturday
Strength Training – Lower 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
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long 75 Sunday
Outdoor Lakeshore or Trail Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes 90 Wednesday
Strength Trainin – Upper Body
TOTAL 6.3

Self Taught

After my ride the other night, I revisited my stack of exercise articles that I’ve printed off over the years and visited a few YouTube sites for tips. It’s amazing what you can find if you really look. I haven’t ever hired a professional coach or personal trainer for bike training. It’s not that I don’t see their value; rather, it’s just not in my weekly allowance budget. Therefore I’ve had to rely on what I hear other riders doing and what I can find on the interwebs.

I am sure that the business of coaching is gratifying, but it has to be a tough one these days with everything that’s available for free on the web. Even though most articles and videos are only teasers for more developed programs, there’s enough information collectively to put together a pretty decent training program. I know that my scheduling and drill structure would be tweaked by a knowledgeable trainer, but I’m also finding that part of the fun in developing a training plan is exploring, finding, and creating on my own.

I’m taking my training program more seriously this year. I am jumping from the ‘Sport’ class to the ‘Expert’ class as defined in Michigan (other states use the ‘Cat’ system).  My training plan for the past two winters was simple: ride outside. Often. After watching a couple of riding buddies really take some strides through a disciplined training plan, I figured it could only help if I was more intentional about it this year.

I don’t claim to have the greatest training plan, or even one that’s going to work. But, if I can offer anything here, it’s my training plan from week to week as I’ve posted, and links to two trainers I’m subscribed to on YouTube (I am not affiliated with them at all, I just found them interesting). I’m providing the links to their websites, but you can look up their YouTube channels as well for some of their free tips to get started. I’d love to hear of some other training tips or resources if you have any.

http://www.bikejames.com

http://www.cyclo-club.com/public/main.cfm

I’m also working on my cross-training this winter with body-weight strength building exercises (push-ups, pull-ups, split squats, etc.). I’m choosing to do body weight stuff to help build core strength at the same time.  I’ve also found that trail building provides a good all-around butt whooping, so I’ve been helping the past few weeks with a local trail that’s being built. Call it a triple bottom line project: a personal work-out, social support, and faster access to a new mountain bike trail :). Here’s the trail so far:

 

 

I’m looking forward to seeing how my plan works out next year. I don’t have any visions of grandeur or expect to improve so much in one off season that I compete for 1st in my new class, but I do want to see some improvement, and 2nd or 3rd would be acceptable 🙂

The Ride I’m Used To

I felt much better on the bike last night. After having a rough morning on Tuesday, I was able to swing right back into my known routine for my ‘sustain program’. This doesn’t mean that I was able to step on it right out of the gate, but it was the ride pattern I’m used to.

I’ve known for a couple of years now that my body takes a while to warm up and that I actually get stronger as I ride, peaking 75% of the way through a ride. It doesn’t matter how long it is, unless it’s a 30 minute sprint. I don’t think I’d ever be good at criterion racing and, while I enjoy it occasionally, would never convert to cycle cross racing.

I believe one of the factors to slower starts could be nutrition and water intake (or the lack thereof). The more I think about Tuesday morning’s ride I believe that it had just as much to do with the fact that I had a Stromboli for dinner Monday night, peanuts (protein) for a snack later that night, and then nothing for breakfast as it did me not being a morning person. Normally I start out every morning with a couple of banana’s, and when I race I have the banana’s, a granola bar, and a handful of peanuts (not too many, but just enough to give me some longer lasting energy). Though my races have historically not been real early in the morning, I’ve never felt that bad during a race start. I’ll be sure to eat breakfast and down a bottle of water before my next morning ride.

Because I felt guilty for cutting my Tuesday morning ride short, I ended up doing my planned 60 minute routine, and then added another 10 minute sustained 80% effort segment with a final 5 minute cool down. I also revisited some of my training materials I’ve accumulated over the years afterwards and developed some thoughts around continued plan tweaks. More on that later.

Morning Workout Part 1 of ….

I thought I’d delay my planned Monday night sprint workout to Tuesday morning because my legs still weren’t quite underneath me from riding Thursday-Sunday last week. While I do consider this time of year NEXT season rather than the OFF season, I want to be intelligent about not pushing the training so hard this first month. What I found out was that my body (being an Owl) does not perform well at 6:30a.m. It just plain SUCKED! I even went to bed early last night (11pm).

I was recently reading an Outside Magazine article about people’s ability to perform opposite of their chronotype (or against their grain), and research is showing that ‘Lark’ athletes (morning people) perform their best in the morning and ‘Owl’ athletes (night people) perform their best in the afternoon / evening. By studying baseball players, researchers were able to correlate chronotype and improved batting averages with games played before or after 2pm. This would suggest that I should be fine continuing my evening workouts. However, before I write off morning work-outs all together, the article points out that my body can be trained to perform better earlier in the day if I train earlier in the day, and Owls inexplicably begin to transform into Larks as they get older (I believe it has something to do with work hours).

I ended up cutting my planned 45 minute sprint ride to 30 minutes. It was rough right from the start. I didn’t feel warmed up after a 10 minute warm-up; absolutely struggled through the first set of 14 sprint reps; and, didn’t find the 3 minute recovery to be even remotely enough time. I couldn’t get back up to full strength during the first part of the second set, so I did what any disciplined, self respecting athlete would do…I quit. I’ll fight the battle another day.

While I’m not ready to discard my evening workout routine yet, it may become important to start training in the morning because my races next year will start 2-3 hours earlier than last year as I make the jump up to expert. It just might not be tomorrow morning.

The Difference Between 90% and 100% Effort

Nothing. Seriously. I put on my neat little work-out program 100% effort for my peak output during my high cadence sprint workout and 90% effort for my low cadence sprint workout. My thought process was that because I was holding that peak for 40 seconds per rep vs. 15 I would need to manage my output a bit to sustain the cadence / speed. After doing both workouts, I knew I put out 100% on the high cadence sprints, but couldn’t really tell that I was lowering my output for the low cadence sprints.

Oh well. I’m not too worried about it, but I thought it was funny that I actually thought through planning my effort output and then really just put 100% effort into both sprints anyway. We’ll see how that changes as I increase my workout load.

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I’m tweaking my training plans slightly because I found them to be a bit too easy (the planned rests in between sets was too long). I’m also going to loosely map out which day I’m doing what to make sure I get it all in. I did end up getting everything in I had planned last week, but I’m starting out a bit behind the eight ball because I rode for fun (but hard) on Friday at Merrell Trails and put in a good 80 minutes yesterday along the lakeshore and at Riley Trails. The result is that I really need to ride a recovery pace tonight (which I’m going to do) when I typically will have an opportunity to do either a time targeted lakeshore ride or the planned fun ride on Sundays. I also have to make sure I plan in recovery rides and strength training.

To get back on a schedule I want, I’m going to mesh my ‘fun ride’ and ‘lakeshore timed ride’ together for Saturday which will allow me to ride again on Sunday next week and put me back on schedule. So, here’s my plan for the week. I put up some of my video from Friday and Saturday’s rides on YouTube, too (below the plan):

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE: WEEK OF DECEMBER 9, 2012

Total

Completed ?

Sprints – High Cadence:

Wednesday

10 10 minute warm up – 30%
15 second on – 100%
17 15 second rest – 20%    –   14 total reps (7 minutes)
20 3 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
27 15 second rest – 20%    –   14 total reps (7 minutes)
30 3 minute rest – 40%
15 second on – 100%
37 15 second rest – 20%    –   14 total reps (7 minutes)
45 8 minute cool down – 40%

45

Strength Training – Upper Body
Sprints – Low Cadence:

Monday

10 10 minute warm up – 30%
40 seconds on – 90%
17 20 seconds off – 40%    7 total reps (7 minutes)
20 3 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
27 20 seconds off – 40%    7 total reps (7 minutes)
30 3 minute rest – 40%
40 seconds on – 90%
35 20 seconds off – 40%    5 total reps (5 minutes)
45 10 minute cool down

45

Strength Training – Lower Body
Sustain:

Thursday

10 10 minute warm up – 30%
30 20 minute sustain – 80%
35 5 minute rest – 30%
55 20 minute sustain – 80%
60 5 minute cool down – 30%

60

Strength Training – Lower Body
Recovery Ride

Sunday

45 minutes at 30-40%

45

Strength Training – Upper Body
Outdoor Fun Ride:
Whatever for however long
Outdoor Lakeshore Ride:
Wherever; just at 75-80% effort for 90 minutes

90

Saturday

TOTAL TIME

4.8