Tuesday, December 29, 2015

6x4 minute hill repeats

did the 6x4 minutes on Heekin Avenue today: 367, 362, 361, 363, 361 and 360; felt a little tired from yesterdays spin class and circuit class; also getting colder...low 40's today

Monday, December 28, 2015

Strength Training

I spent an hour today with a 60 year old cyclist looking to add strength training to his program. We spent time with minimal weights as we ran through squats to a press, lunges to a press and/or curl, side lines with a curl, forward lunges to angles, step ups and down, along with a few key core exercises. When you feel muscles firing that you just don;t use you start to realize how much more efficient you can be in your sport. You'll also lessen your chance of injury, increase strength through a greater range of motion when you train through a great range of motion, and you'll increase your ability to go more aerobic in your efforts. More lean tissue is never bad idea either as body fat % takes a dive.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Rainy Weekend

Had planned on spending the weekend hiking in Tennessee but due to a friends illness we canceled. Did just an hour of endurance today where I started at 150 watts and added 10 every 5 minutes until I was at 280 then backed it down to 220 for 15 minutes.  Will likely ride easy tomorrow and start back up on Monday with intervals.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Gearing Up For A Successful 2016

In a little over a week, 2015 will be history.  This is a great time to assess what went well and what didn't in the past year and how you plan on reaching your goals for 2016. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Did you find that you were in good position for the sprint during the crit season but not able to muster the power needed to cross the line first? Were you unable to bridge during breakaways during road races? Was the pace in any of your races simply too fast for you? Did you find that you didn't have the sustained power to be competitive in time trials? What kept you from reaching the podium?

With these and other questions in mind you then ask yourself what type of training did you focus on and how did you progress over the season? What metrics do you use to define progress? Sprint power? Functional Training Power? 20 minute power? Normalized Power over longer rides? Do you have an innate ability to be better at one type of racing? Are you capitalizing on this?

How is your weight and do you know your body fat %? If so, how has it changed? Do you occasionally consult with a sports dietician? Do you know how to fuel before, during and after training and racing?

Do you have a year-round strength training program? Does it incorporate exercises that improve mobility, stability and strength? Do you know what exercises improve each of these and what areas you need to improve?

Do you take enough off days each week? Do you incorporate true recovery rides into your plan? Do your team group rides have training goals? Who sets these and who are they designed to benefit and why?

How many hours per week do you have to train and are you using them effectively? Do you have roads conveniently located that you can use for training? Are you able to train effectively inside?

Are you mentally prepared for your training and racing? Are you confident that you will do your best in both? Are you focused when preparing to train and race?  Do you have a pre-race list of gear and food/drinks to take with you? Do you have an effective warmup designed for you and your event?

What are your specific goals for 2016? Are they realistic? What changes do you need to make to your training, fueling, mental preparation, etc. to meet these goals?  

The race season will be here soon enough. Training is cumulative over weeks, months and years. A well thought out comprehensive plan is what separates the winners from the rest of the field.

Hill Repeats

Used Heekin Avenue from Eastern to the playground at Ault Park. I allowed the cadence to fall where it may and went for power: 371/73, 372/77, 372/78, 363/78, 366/76, 365/77. When I tried keep cadence at 90 last week power was closer to 350. The lower half of the hill is 10-14% so cadence is in the 70's even in my 30/25 (triple chain ring) so last week I pushed to 100 on the second half. Today, I just kept it in the low 80's once past LeBlond.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Indoor Time Trial Photo's December 13 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

10x1 minute

Kind of warm out, mid 50's, with colder air coming later in the week so I went to the Ault Park crit course and did 10x1, power/cadence: 504/97, 502/100, 499/101, 489/99, 479/90, 493/97, 485/98, 478/103, 483/104 and 500/103. Felt good about the cadence and power not too bad consider yesterdays time trial. Will rest tomorrow.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Indoor Time Trial

Rode a 14:40, just 6 seconds off my PR. Held 373 watts, close to 100 rpm avg and 169 avg HR or 93% of max. Hit 180 over the last minute, 99% of max. Can't say that feels good at all. Was fortunate to have the best time in my age bracket and overall also. Same competition as last month so always thankful to finish a few seconds ahead of the younger riders.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

Why Base Miles Are Worthless.....from CTS

Traditional aerobic base training needs to go the way of the dodo. Long, moderate intensity rides are fun and good to incorporate into training, but even if you’re a pro it is a fool’s errand to devote the winter to low-intensity training in the hopes of building a stronger aerobic base. For the rest of us who are time-crunched amateur racers and enthusiasts, traditional base training is a waste of time.
The premise of aerobic base training is that accumulating a large volume of work at a low to moderate intensity will result in increased capillary density (greater perfusion of oxygenated blood into muscles) and greater mitochondrial density. The latter is important because more and bigger mitochondria in muscle cells increase your capacity to break down carbohydrate and fat into usable energy more quickly. Processing more fat and carbohydrate per minute through mitochondria increases maximum sustainable power or pace. It also means you can operate at a lower percentage of your VO2 max at your “all day” pace, which may help you rely on a higher percentage of fat for energy and conserve stored carbohydrate. Those sound like the exact goals of endurance training, so what’s the problem?

Doing Less With More Doesn’t Work

As an endurance athlete you have already habituated to a certain volume of weekly training hours, likely because that’s all you have available. Training the same number of weekly hours (because you don’t have the time to add more) at lower intensities produces a lower total workload than you have already adapted to. As a result, it won’t stress your aerobic system enough to stimulate a positive adaptation.
When base training works, it only works because increased training volume contributes to greater total workload (or at least greater focused workload) despite reduced intensity. These longer rides are slower because of the inverse relationship between intensity and duration. You can go harder for shorter durations, but as rides get longer sustainable intensity naturally decreases. When volume is held basically constant by your training availability, reduced intensity only results in reduced workload, and therefore reduced training stimulus.

You Don’t Need a Huge Aerobic Base Anyway

While time-crunched athletes struggle to build a big aerobic base, the good news is that most amateur and masters racers simply don’t need one to win or be competitive in criteriums, road, cyclocross, and mountain bike races lasting 45 minutes to 3 hours.
Your limiting factors are your power at lactate threshold, your power at VO2 max, and how long you can maintain those intensity levels. All three can be improved with a lower volume (8 to 10 hours a week)and higher intensity program that includes a mixture of 8 to 20 minute lactate threshold intervals and 1 to 4 minute maximum-intensity intervals, along with some endurance and recovery rides, of course.
The reason pros still need to spend a lot of time combining high volume with high intensity is that they need to make race winning moves after 200km of racing. Aerobic endurance is a limiting factor for them because of the power demands required in the final hour of much longer elite-level events. You’re not a pro and you can be completely prepared for the demands of your shorter events without a huge pro-style aerobic base.
Even ultra-distance competitors, like 100-mile mountain bike racers, 200-mile gravel racers, and Ironman triathletes, benefit more from training that elevates power/pace at LT and VO2 max compared to performing more volume at low intensity. In a well-trained endurance athlete more volume at low intensity will no longer result in greater mitochondrial density (they’ve already adapted to the intensity level required)1 (Dudley, 1982). To get faster they need to stimulate mitochondrial development with higher intensity efforts.2 (Burgomaster, 2005) Very long training sessions are still necessary, but more from an experiential standpoint than a physiological one.

Going Slow Makes You Slow

Focusing your training on a particular intensity for a block of time is the basis for periodization, and there are benefits to focusing time at several different intensities. In that sense, base training is just a block of low-intensity endurance training, and the only real problem is that it’s typically too long. For amateur athletes, two- to three-week endurance blocks can and should be incorporated into training throughout the year. That’s different than a single two to three month block of low-intensity riding, during which you will see your power and pace at lactate threshold and VO2 max decline significantly.
The old premise of periodization was that you needed the big base of aerobic fitness before you could handle the stress of higher workloads. Hence, the schedule of base training first, followed by lactate threshold training, and then race-specific high-intensity speed work. The more modern view is that the pathways to producing energy are intertwined and you can improve performance in either direction. For instance, Helgerud showed that high-intensity efforts are more effective for improving power at VO2 max than moderate-intensity training3(Helgerud, 2007). Researchers like Burgomaster, Gibala, and other have shown that these same short, high-intensity intervals improve oxidation of fat and carbohydrate by mitochondria to a similar degree as traditional, lower-intensity endurance training, but in a fraction of the training time. Practically what this means is that by working at the highest end of the intensity spectrum you can improve performance at all intensity levels below that, making it a very effective use of your limited training time. Similarly, lactate threshold workouts improve power at threshold and improve power for endurance intensities, too.

Base Training Was Never About Improving Fitness

There is some validity to the notion that too much intensity can lead to overtraining (better thought of as under-recovery) and increased risk of injury, so one school of thought is that a long period of lower intensity is safer than year-round structured training. There was a time when this was smart advice, but now that we have better tools for measuring and monitoring workload, fatigue, and recovery, the risks of pushing an athlete (or pushing yourself) over that edge is much lower. And for time-crunched cyclists, both the need for prolonged recuperation and the risk of overtraining are already reduced because your busy work and family schedules result in relatively low training volume and abundant time for recovery.
But perhaps the most pernicious reason the idea of base training is still around is that it has long been the refuge for athletes who just want to ride their bikes. Base training is largely unstructured, low-intensity cruising. In an effort to escape structure after a season of interval training, athletes fall back to the comfortable and antiquated idea of base training.
There’s a difference, however, between desiring less structure and needing less workload. If you want a break from intervals, that’s fine. Let your mood, the terrain, the wind, or the group you’re with dictate the intensity; just make sure there’s some intensity!
  1. Dudley, G. A., W.M. Abraham, and R. L. Terjung. (1982) Influence of exercise intensity and duration on biochemical adaptations in skeletal muscle.  J Appl Physiol. Oct; 53 (4):844-50.
  2. Burgomaster, Kirsten A., Scott C. Hughes, George J.F. Heigenhauser, Suzanne N. Bradwell, and Martin J. Gibala. (2005) Six Sessions of Sprint Interval Training Increases Muscle Oxidative Potential and Cycle Endurance Capacity in Humans. J Appl Physiol. Jun; 98 (6): 1985-90.
  3. Helgerud J, Høydal K, Wang E, Karlsen T, Berg P, Bjerkaas M, Simonsen T, Helgesen C, Hjorth N, Bach R, Hoff J. (2007) Aerobic high-intensity intervals improve VO2max more than moderate training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2007 Apr;39(4):665-71.

Life time mile update

just noticed that I passed 280,000 lifetime miles last week....should hit 300,000 in early 2017

Recovery Day

Even though its 60 degrees on a Saturday in December, I'm sticking to the plan of a recovery day after yesterdays steady state efforts and 50 miles. Will use the time to get some other things done around the house and garden.

Friday, December 11, 2015

3x5 minute steady states

These are the last efforts before the indoor tt on Sunday. Felt very good on these: 357, 361 and 369. I'm going to ride my Cervelo P2 tt bike at the indoor tt on Sunday. makes more sense to use that than a road bike.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Article on Pedal Stroke

Interesting article sent to me by a client. I've always considered one legged drills to be a waste of time and thinking of pedaling in circles the same. I think of the pedal stroke as a down motion. I do relax a little at the bottom. Its not a dramatic pull up at all, more of just a matter of not mashing my foot into the pedal. Feels smoother to me and puts less wear and tear on the bottom of my foot.


Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I renew my USAC Level 1 license every two years so I have to turn in my current tally. The requirement is 40 over two years and I'm happy to say I have 63 in that time. Some of the highlights:

every ACE Fitness Magazine quiz, monthly, 2-7 quizzes at .1 per quiz
Safe Team webinar (required)
2012 USAC Summit dvd 20 CEU's
USAT coaches clinic 20 CEU's
PED's, Coaching Juniors, The Winning Mind, Low Carb High Fat Diet, Intensity Metric Triangulation, 10 Simple Ways to Lose Weight, 10 Ways to Increase Power, Long Slow vs HIT, and CPR/AED

Monday, December 7, 2015

Descending Intervals

feeling better, and it was in the mid 40's, so I headed out to do these; each set of times represents 60, 45, 30 and 15 second efforts with the same time between (60, then 45, then 30, then 2-3 minutes between sets): 512/567/569/624, 529/537/586/661, 534/515/584/647, 508/514/569/651, 513/522/602/630...avg cadences between 97 and 102....NP for 55 minutes at 340

Sunday, December 6, 2015

December Training

Pretty cold weekend so I did some indoor rides with some tempo (20 minutes at 280). Certainly less on that power than I did outside in TN last week (310+) but HR was about the same so I went with it. With temps at 30 on Saturday morning, I decided to ride inside with an hour session in the morning and another in the afternoon. Did the same today, one in the morning and another watching the first half of the Bengals-Browns game. I just don't get much benefit from riding when its below 40. Even with my SIDI cycling boots and warm gloves, I'm still too cold. Thirty degrees at 18-20 mph with no additional wind gives a temperature of 17-19 degrees. My basement is a pleasant 68-70. I'd rather sweat than freeze. I get outside for a daily hike in the local park and yesterday I did some mulching in my garden for a couple of hours.

Looking ahead, we're still going with shorter efforts with lots of intensity. I see descending intervals, some short steady state, etc in the next 10 days. Its a long way to the first events in the spring so some pacing in the schedule is important. We certainly want to keep up the power but not over do it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Over Unders

Did these inside as it was just a little too cold to head outside (low 30's). Held 320 over and 290-300 under for 2 minutes over/2 under /2 over /2 under, three sets. Not my best effort as fighting a slight cold but ok for December. 

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