Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 January Training - Part 1

I love the training I do from November through to January – it covers so much of what I love about cycling (aside from the racing) and builds the big base that I utilize for the rest of the year. Long bike rides, beautiful scenery – many of the spins more social than my normal routine – a lot of riding by feel and really listening to your body. An important aspect for me is training the body pretty hard, but not having to use much 'mental energy' – hard training and racing uses a lot of 'mental power', so in the winter I recharge that. I have already talked a little about what I did in November/December, here I will bring it up to date with January.

Well, first, once Mel and I returned from the US – we had one small problem to deal with – the Irish weather. Freak weather meant that much of our training over Christmas and until we headed off again for Gran Canaria was going to be indoors – on our indoor trainer and on the rollers.

I was never a fan of training indoors but the Cycleops 300 Pro indoor trainer has really helped change that (so much so that all my recovery rides are now on the trainer – just more time efficient and I can really tune out). A good road feel, built in power, sturdy and super quiet – it ticks my boxes. When we were away from home (around Christmas) – the turbo trainer and rollers where out. A bunch of two hour sessions (I was doing things like 2-3 x 20 minutes at upper tempo with constant change of pace) kept the legs ticking over.

Before long, it was January 4th and time to travel to Gran Canaria for our 3 week camp.
Stop to enjoy the view (sometimes)
Traveling to the Canaries at this time of year is really a no brainer for cyclists that have the flexibility of performing their day-job from anywhere. Mel and I are both fortunate in that all we need are our laptops and a fast internet connection.

For the first 9 days, I follow a 2 days on, 1 day off training protocol. Too many people when they go to training camps burn themselves out by going on back to back 6 hour epics each day. While we are there for 3 weeks – it is important to treat it as a normal training block and ease ourselves into it.

This is a simplified version of what the first 9 days looks like:
Day 1: Long warmup, and powertest – see where the legs are at – rest of 3.5 hour ride is by feel – enjoy it. I do the same ride at the start of each year.
Day 2: Long ride – again, ride by feel – 4-5 hours – throw in a hard 3-5 minute effort – see how the legs are feeling and use it as a marker for the trip
Day 3: Recovery ride – easy 1 to 1.5 hours, go for lunch
Day 4: Upper Tempo (say 80% of Threshold) on climbs (1.5hrs total at 80%+ of Threshold power) 3.5-4 hours
Day 5: Long Endurance – Upper Tempo on Climbs – focus on various skills (fast pedal etc...) - 5 hours
Day 6: Recovery ride – easy 1 to 1.5 hours, go for lunch
Day 7: 3 x 15-20 climbs at Sweet Spot (90% of Threshold) – sprint work at the start. 4 hours
Day 8: Long Endurance – Tempo on Climbs – focus on various skills (fast pedal etc...) 5.5 hours
Day 9: Recovery ride – easy 1 to 1.5 hours, go for lunch

At this point – the body is pretty well acclimatized and it ready to up the intensity a little.

It is always super important to watch hydration and nutrition during this time (well, ANY time!) especially if the conditions are different from what you usually train in. Weighing yourself first thing in the morning, and then after you return from the ride is a great way of monitoring your hydration levels. On long hot sessions, I tended to lose about 700 grams of body weight – about 1% of my total body weight so more than acceptable for hydration loss. The first thing I do everyday when I arrive in from training is grab the ZipVit Recovery from the fridge, put the feet up and enjoy.
Eat well!
Part 2 coming up soon.

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