Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 My Winter Training Week

There was a piece put up on Sticky Bottle about my 'average' training week - this is the extended original.

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The only thing that is regular about my training week is that it is usually pretty irregular. Training, work, travel and racing means every week is different - I think the last time I had 2-3 weeks that looked the same together was back in January 2014 while I trained in Gran Canaria! Having said that, the follow week would be as close to typical as I could describe for this time of year (say November/December). It is all about enjoying riding the bike and not doing anything mentally taxing - no killer turbo sessions and switching in mountain biking if possible. For me, my body never feels particularly tired or fatigued - a few weeks taking it easy and everything feels good. But after a long season of racing and traveling (around 80 races this year) - I want to make it as mentally easy and FUN as possible.


As I have usually trained a lot over the weekend, Monday is a day I focus exclusively on the job that pays the bills. Both Mel and I work for a Californian based online antifraud/anti-money laundering company, IdentityMind, as software developers - we work with really great people who understand our cycling background and although we quite literally only work and cycle, it has been an incredible journey.

Having trained long enough, I have a good understanding of what my body needs to feel the best for the training later in the week. Sometimes it is simply a walk around lunch time or 30-60 minutes of easy cycling. If cycling, it is really really easy - people passing me on toy bikes on the Enniskerry road easy, 25kmph average max with my average heart rate being around 100 or less. With my job being an office type job I try to move around a lot and do not stay seated for more than an hour at a time.


This would be a moderate/easy day on the bike. I’ll get up early, have a black coffee and head out on the bike hopefully with Mel in tow. The first and last half hour would be pretty easy with some periods riding endurance/low tempo on the flats. The ride would be around 3 hours and I would do it without any food. Once I get home, rice and eggs for lunch and then back to work until late in the day. In the evening, three or four times a week I would do a 20 minute self massage with a torture device called “the stick”.

This would be a typical moderate flat spin

The first of the harder sessions. I love riding my bike - for me, biking and enjoying out doors came before racing and I love the type of riding I do this time of year. I sometimes use the Cyclops Indoor Trainer but only if the weather is really really bad or dangerous. Now I would typically go out, ride easy for a bit and take in a loop that has many longer climbs. Each climb I would ride tempo or sweet spot (basically 80-90% of my threshold power) - I will be going by feel though - if I feel crap, I’ll take it easier and maybe focus on cadence or some skills, if I feel good, a little harder - just enjoying the bike. Typically 3.5-5 hours depending on the weather and work schedule.

This would be a typical Gran Canaria tempo climbing day

Similar to Wednesday, except I may work a little more on some cadence drills (high or low) and tempo riding on the flats. Towards the end I would up the pace, maybe some criss-cross climbing drills (say 2 minutes low tempo, 2 minutes threshold, repeat) and throw in some sprints. If the weather is good - I would plan a long loop and let the terrain dictate the type of riding I do. If possible, I would do this on the mountain bike.

Another Sweet Spot climbing day example


Similar to Monday, work all day with possibly a bike ride thrown in. For many years I was fastidious about riding each day - now I’m more relaxed about it all and if work is very busy, I would go for whatever causes a less stressful day. I would still make sure to move a lot during the day though. Having a happy relaxed day is more important to me than having to ride on a recovery day.


Maybe a long flat ride on empty or a small fat based breakfast - I would then start eating carbs (home made rice bars etc..) from about 2.5 hours in. I would keep the power pretty constant and not too hard throughout - just solid endurance riding throwing in the odd sprint.


Another big ride - lots of hills and all ridden around Sweet Spot (for me around 355-375W) - maybe a few of the climbs I would up the pace for the last 5 minutes or so. I would also make sure to do similar tempo type efforts on the flats. Every couple of weeks I would throw in what is called a kitchen sink ride - these are long, hard training rides that works through all you training zones and typically takes several days to feel normal from. Think of racing the Des Hanlon and then riding back home to Dublin at a steady/fast pace.

In January, things become more structured but my main focus is still simply enjoying riding the bike but with very specific intervals thrown in.


Anonymous said...

All very hard work,but I like the idea of training in different Locations (country's) ,certain to keep the adventure alive. That said training around Dublin and Wicklow mountains has been extremely challenging in terms of the bitter cold fog and the awful rain.

Keep it going!

And all the best for 15!

Mountain Goat.

Ryan Sherlock said...

Yeah - training like I do through the winter (the hours) is very difficult in Ireland/Europe this time of year. The cold gets in too easily and the danger levels go up. The winters that I did spend in Ireland I rode the mountain bike a lot and only went out on the road when the weather played ball.

With spending time in nicer climates - when I do ride in Ireland now, volume isn't so important - mostly working on technique or other things that don't mean I need to spend 5hrs out training!