Saturday, February 27, 2016

Nice long ride from our house in Gatlinburg to Cades Cove, once around the loop, and back. Felt great. That's probably the longest ride I've done since late December. Considered going longer but didn't want to overdue it. I'll do some hiking on Sunday before driving home and will do some recovery miles tomorrow evening.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Training too little, too much or just right?

from the Feb 25, 2016 RoadBikeRider, by Coach John Hughes


How much should you train? The answer: Probably not as much as you think.
My friend and fellow cycling coach Neal Henderson says that 65% of the athletes he sees train too much, 25% train too little and 10% get it right – the pros who are paid to perform.
Henderson is the head of Apex Coaching and was named the 2009 USA Cycling Coach of the Year. He coaches clients ranging from novices to World and Olympic champions. And he says only 10% of his clients train the proper amount!

What should be your training goal? 

Joe Friel puts it succinctly in The Cyclist’s Training Bible: “An athlete should do the least amount of properly timed, specific training that brings about continual improvement.” (emphasis added)
During the first year that I work with a new client, when I send the client workouts to do, the response often is, “But shouldn’t I be doing more?” My answer is, “You are doing enough X (specific training such as endurance riding, strength training, etc.) for the current period (properly timed).”
Improvement comes from asking your body to do more than it is used to doing. Your body thinks, “Hey, I can’t do this.” If you’ve given your body a moderate dose of overload and allow your body time to recover, then it thinks, “I’ve got a bit of a break so I can get stronger and do what you want.”
Important point: your body (and your performance) only improves if you give your body time to recover. 
Your body won’t increase contractile force, repair muscle damage or create new mitochondria (where fat is metabolized to produce energy for endurance) if you don’t allow it to recover.
For more detail on proper and adequate recovery, see my eArticle Optimal Recovery for Improved Performance.

What happens if you ask too much? 

You could develop an overuse injury from muscles and/or connective tissues that aren’t strong enough to handle the overload. Or you could get sick. Or you could ask your body to do so much that it can’t compensate quickly and get fitter.
This is called overreaching, and you might not ride as well for a week or so, after which your body can return to where it was and then get stronger. But overreaching can easily develop into overtraining, from which it could take you weeks or even months to recover.

How do you know if you’re overtraining? 

The key indicator is declining performance. Everybody has an off day. But if you’re not riding as fast or climbing as well, for example, watch out!
The other key indicator is your mood. We all have a day here and there when we blow off a workout or just don't feel like riding. But if you think, “I really don’t want to train, or ride!” for several days, conider yourself warned.
Too often, a roadie responds to either of these key indicators by forcing himself or herself to get out there and ride – which is exactly the wrong response! If performance drops significantly and/or you aren’t excited about riding, take a few days off before you fall into overtraining.
(You may have heard that these, too, are indicators of overtraining: a change in morning heart rate, or a change in body weight, or a change in how fast your heart rate drops after a hard effort. However, research shows that there is little correlation between any of these and overtraining.)

Balancing overload and recovery in your training

Since you need to overload your body in order to improve, how do you manage your training so that you don’t ask too much of it and do, in fact, improve?

Remember the 80 - 20 Rule

According to the Pareto Principle, 80% of the benefit comes from the first 20% of the effort. Doing more training only brings marginal gains and risks the problems described above.

More recovery brings greater gains

Brent Bookwalter, who rides for BMC, advises that if you have a choice between an extra 20 minutes of riding or spending that time recovering, do the recovery. (VeloNews, June 2015) More training only brings marginal gains; however, more recovery brings greater gains.

Change only one overload at a time

You can demand more of your body in five different ways:
1. Volume: If you’ve been averaging four hours a week of riding this winter, then to continue to improve you need to ride more.
2. Duration: If your longest rides this winter have been 90 minutes, then to continue to improve you need to ride longer.
3. Frequency: In general, you need to ride three times a week to maintain fitness and at least four times a week to improve. If you’ve been averaging three days a week then you need to add another day.
4. Modality: If you’ve been doing strength training three times a week and then switch to riding (only), just changing the mode overloads your body. Although you’re using many of the same muscles riding, the movement patterns are different than in the gym.
5. Intensity: Conversational endurance rides are the foundation of all training. However, if this is all you’ve been doing, then you need to include some intensity in your training.
Change only one of these variables at a time to avoid overreaching and overtraining. Change slowly. For example, only increase your volume by 10% or so a week.

Use intensity training effectively

Intensity is like prescription medicine. Taken in the right amount, you improve. Not enough and you don’t get better. Too much and you get worse. Take the wrong medicine and something different may happen to your body! Here are a couple of good examples from VeloNews.

Polarize your riding

Top endurance riders spend about 75% of their training time riding at low intensity, 15 – 20% above lactate threshold and not much time in between. Low intensity means an easy conversational pace. High intensity means so hard you’re about to barf. Your fast weekend club ride isn’t easy enough to be low intensity and isn’t hard enough to be high intensity. (VeloNews, February 2016)

Target your hard riding

Most amateurs tend to ride at about the same intensity or spend too much time doing very hard riding or add intensity rides without reducing endurance riding. Because intensity riding increases the total overload on your body a lot, just adding it to your regimen risks overreaching. Instead, cut back on total volume at the same time as you add intensity.
Inspired by Sir Bradley Wiggins’ record-setting hour time trial, VeloNews Managing Editor Chris Case decided to do his own one-hour TT on the track. He already had a good endurance base. For seven weeks he prepared with only two short intensity sessions a week, fully rested for each. The rest of the week he did two or three one- to two-hour rides.
Testing showed that Case should be able to hold 275 watts for an hour. He did his intervals at 260 watts, 90% of his sustainable power. He did this because “training right on that edge [275 watts] can cause too much stress and actually target the wrong energy systems.” (emphasis added) (VeloNews, November, 2015)
Your body has three different energy systems:
1. Oxidative aerobic system (low power / long duration).
2. Glycolytic anaerobic system (moderate power / short duration)
3. ATP-PC (high power / short duration)
Each system responds to different types of training.
To complicate matters further, your legs have three different types of muscle fibers:
1. Slow-twitch (low power, great endurance)
2. Fast-twitch IIb (moderate power and endurance)
3. Fast-twitch IIa (high power and shorter endurance)
(“Slow” and “Fast” refer to how fast the muscle fibers fire, not how fast your cadence is.)
The mix of fiber types is determined genetically and varies by individual. Although you can’t change the mix of types, you can focus your training on a specific type, depending on your goals.
One final note: I’m writing a new eArticle for RBR tentatively titled: Intensity Training for Cyclists: Using a Heart Rate Monitor, Power Meter and Perceived Exertion to Maximize Training Effectiveness. Look for it soon.

Coach John Hughes earned coaching certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association. John’s cycling career includes course records in the Boston-Montreal-Boston 1200-km randonnée and the Furnace Creek 508, a Race Across AMerica (RAAM) qualifier. He has ridden solo RAAM twice and is a 5-time finisher of the 1200-km Paris-Brest-Paris. He has written nearly 30 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training and nutrition, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach John Hughes. Click to read John's full bio.

Steady State in Tennessee

I did this ride in Tennessee. Temperature around 30 at the coldest, 35-36 at the warmest. Those downhills were wickedly cold! Anyway, did 23.75 minutes at 330 on one of my favorite climbs, then 4.75 at 330 and 5.25 at 331. Small gap between 1 and 2 and then longer between 2 and 3 as I wound my way through the vacant campground. On the way back I took most of the last and uphills pretty hard. I added in 3/313, 3.5/330, 4.5/308 and 4.5/320. Close to 44 minutes at 320-330+. NP for 1:31:00 at 283. Should warmup up daily though the weekend. I hope that is the last cold ride until next fall/winter ;-)

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Important Training Components

I listened to a USAT webinar last night and given how most of us are pro's so time is of the essence, these are the key take-aways:

Quality over Quantity: an hour of intervals well above race pace is better than 4 hours of mediocrity

Its not about volume but about how well you recover: more time training won't make you better if you're exhausted and/or don;t take the time to get the gains from training, and that means rest days

Do your intense efforts early in the week and endurance later....if you do the opposite you're trying to do intensity when you're already tired

pre-load key weeks based on training goals and events: its helpful to know ahead of time that key blocks of training are on the horizon

have benchmark testing for all events whether 4x1 mile for running, 4x100 swimming, and a cycling time trial...there are many options but you need to test to see improvement

know your training zones for LT, wattage, etc

train above your race pace, substantially above for shorter efforts, marginally above for longer

Friday, February 19, 2016

day 2....3x12

I used the crit course so I had some consistent up/down on these. Held 335, 330 and 309. Kind of died on that last one. Cadence did go up from 85 to 87 to 90 on each of the 12 minute efforts. I think I just couldn't push he bigger gear up the hill so I went to slightly higher cadence. I also think that given Mondays and Wednesday spin/strength class and intervals the last two days, my legs were a little tired. NP for 45 minutes at so effort there. 

I'll go light tomorrow as I have some meetings and other events. I'll get the 2 hours in on Sunday, maybe more. Going to 60 tomorrow and mid 50's on Sunday. Yes!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I did the 3x12 steady states today along Riverside Drive. I was little sore from yesterdays strength class but not sure it affected my power too much. You'll find the 12 minutes broken into 2x6 with 15 seconds between as I did the u-turn in the road. I took 3 minutes +/- between the 12 minutes. Cadence all all fell right at 88. Power was 339/341, 341/341, and 344/339. Was shooting for 345-350. I'll get there. Still cold, low 40's.

Strength Training Benefits from ACE Fitness

The current issue of ACE Fitness has an extensive article on strength training. On a local tv interview I mentioned that endurance athletes who just can;t seem to find the time to fit in strength training should give up a run, bike or swim. I know, blasphemy, but it's true. According to the article here are some of the benefits:

increased resting metabolic rate (burn more calories 24/7)
improved self-esteem
improved systolic and diastolic blood pressure
increase in bone mineral density
improvement in blood lipid profiles(higher HDL and lower LDL)
enhanced functional fitness for daily activities
slowing of sarcopenia
improved insulin sensitivity
heightened cognitive abilities
management and control of depression

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Transition into Spring

With temperatures headed into the upper 50's and near 60 this weekend, after 4" of snow just two mights ago, there should be some opportunities to get outside to ride. After several weeks inside doing all of my interval training, it'll be nice to see some scenery going by. I'm optimistic that my power outside will be a little higher than wheat I've been doing inside for comparable efforts. Inside power has been fine but outside is typically higher for any given effort.

With the start of spring being March 1 in my mind, its a good time to look at the winter training to see what went well and maybe what didn't. Overall, the strength training component has been very strong. From head to toe, I feel as strong as ever. on the bike I've been taking the rest days as recommended and trying to get more sleep. using the indoor time trials as a barometer, power seems to be as high if not a little better than last year. Training power inside is a little lower but outside power, when able to get out, has been as good if not a little higher than last year. Getting through the winter and coming out as strong as the previous year is ok, especially riding as a 54 year old.

Friday, February 12, 2016

This Week

Busy week so I didn't post much but it was typical as far as training: Monday spin in the am and circuit in the pm; Tuesday off; Wednesday spin and circuit consecutively in the am; Thursday off; Friday, 3x12 minutes at 330+.

Took my Giant Trinity in to the shop to replace the tires. I'll be going with the Specialized cotton Turbo's, rear tubular, front clincher. Also doing some work on the bars to create some space between the arm pads/bars and the lower basebar.  

I've added a lot of clients lately and most are all over the strength aspect of the training. Glad to see that catching on.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Indoor Time Trial

Rode a 14:28, my best ever at that event by about 6 seconds. CompuTrainer had me at 389 watts. HR at 168 avg, max at 180 (known max of 182). Cadence at 94. Had a good warmup and felt very steady from start to finish on the tt. I stayed focus on the power on the big screen and never looked at my HR. Occasionally I glanced at the cadence.

peak power: 30 seconds at 444, 1 minute at 404, both at the end.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Some Thoughts on Riding Safely

Here are some things I do to remain safe on the roads:

1. Always wear your helmet, even when just testing your bike in the driveway, riding between your car and the registration booth at a race/event, etc. Always put the helmet on.

2. Use lights always: We have daytime running lights on cars so do the same on your bike. Front and rear lights always on can only help make you more noticeable.

3. Wear bright clothes: The typical black bibs/shorts may be unavoidable but use brightly colored jerseys and jackets.

4. Use a mirror: Its amazing to me how few riders use a helmet mounted, eye-glass mounted or bar-end mounted mirror. You wouldn't drive your car without one so why ride without one? I use mine in time trials unless the road is closed (the eye glass mounted type). In casual riding, training and racing, I glance back when I hear cars approaching. I use it to change lanes although I still turn and look. It's indispensable when turning left and you have to stop in a non-turn lane. Its also a great way to know if riders are dropping off the pace. Mirrors aren't regarded as 'cool' since the racing crowd would never wear a mirror when training but I think they are essential to safe riding on roads.

5. Take the lane: If there are two lanes in your direction and not enough space along the white line/curb to ride and allow cars to pass, take the lane, and make it obvious. On single lane roads I try to stay close to the white line to allow traffic to pass but if it looks like I may get squeezed when opposing traffic would cause a passing car to push me off the road, I'll take the lane until things are clear.

6. If possible ride outside the white line: No need to take the lane when the shoulder is wide enough for a bike. Cars will love you for it.

7. Never run red lights or stop signs: It's dangerous and will just make the other users of the road mad. It gives us all a bad reputation. Act like a car and drivers will treat you like one.

8. Left hand turns are very dangerous: A mirror helps since you're standing or balancing while traffic approaches behind you. Be emphatic with your hand signals. I've bailed on left hand turns if traffic is too heavy. If needed, a few right hand turns will work just as well.

9. Never go through an intersection without looking both ways just to be sure no side traffic is coming. It's little consolation knowing you had the right of way when a car hits you.

10. Pick times of the day to ride with lighter traffic like early mornings before rush hour, mid mornings, or after evening rush hour.

11. Pick your roads: While bikes are allowed on most roads that doesn't mean these roads are safe. I'd rather add some miles (thats always good) by taking out of the way and lightly traveled roads.

12. Keep your head up: Running into a vehicle or stationary object because you were head down is completely avoidable. Look ahead, always.

13.  Do your interval training on the safest roads possible: Concentrating on power, HR, cadence, etc is distracting. Trying to deal with heavy traffic at the same time add's substantial risks. Pick your roads carefully.

14. Never get into it with a motorist unless you are immediately physically threatened. A driver who passes by and honks or yells trying to frighten us is just an idiot. Let it go. Someone trying to run us off the road is a direct threat but they'll likely keep going. If you get the license plate, turn it in to the police. They may or may not do anything (likely not). Someone stopping and making threats should be avoided. Try to defuse the situation. You never know what they have in mind or have on them. Then again, should they become physical, you just go for it defending yourself. Most of the general population is pretty out of shape. Go for the larynx. The Survive Institute says its the best way to stop someone.  It may be worth the 'are you willing to take the chance that I may be an off duty cop' comment to scare them off. You didn't say you were, just that you might be. I've actually used this locally and in Great Smoky Mountain Park. In the latter, some college idiots drove by me and tried to scare me by hanging out the window and swerving their vehicle. I happen to see them not far up the road at an overlook. I mentioned that I might be an off duty ranger. They all of a sudden became very apologetic.

15. Use hand signals: Let drivers know your intentions. Cyclists, when driving a vehicle, may have a better sense of what a fellow cyclist is going to do o the road but to most drivers we're just another road obstacle they have to worry about. Be obvious with your turn signals, when stopping, etc.

16. Make eye contact: This is an add-on to #15. make sure people see you and acknowledge you.

Indoor TT Prep

This file contains the last two days of rides. The last half is todays effort with 3x3 minutes at around tt pace with average power at 351, 361 and 363. Feeling pretty good for tomorrows effort. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Steady States, and very cold

Decided to go outside today. It was a brisk 33 degrees. I had my new arctic-ready pants, my lobster claw gloves and multiple upper layers of both thermal and wind protection. And still, 6 hours later, I'm still cold. I'm going to use our hot tub like a human crock pot later tonight. Anyway, I did 11 minutes at 311, 10 at 310, 5 at 301, 4 at 367 (up my short climb I use for the power intervals) and 5 at 296 doing a few laps around the park crit course. Not my best work but I have say that I was (besides cold) pretty tired from yesterday two hours of spin and circuit, or as the few who do both with me call it, Pete and Re-Pete. I'll relax tomorrow. I did post a lot of tt dates on the schedule. Still need the Ohio USAC tt date and the KY Senior date.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WCPO News at Noon, January 25 2016

Monday, February 1, 2016

WCPO Inteview re cyclist hit in Cincinnati

and then in the evening WCPO stops by the house to discuss bike safety

WLWT Flying Pig

Sunday, January 31, 2016 on WLWT here in Cincinnati

Cyclist hit, driver flees

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