Monday, January 14, 2008

Thoughts On Training

Those who ride with me know my propensity for wanting to slow down here, speed up there (OK, very rarely the speed up part), and trying to be vigilant about my heart rate. I read the books; Friel, Carmichael, etc. and am on-board with the idea of periodization.

I also have precious few hours to ride each week. I have a team, Cyclisme, that I love to ride, race, hang out and train with. Hence a slight dilemma. To get what I think I need, which is a good solid endurance base and the loss of a few pounds, I need some Long Slow Distance this winter. My big chunk of riding time comes on Sundays, with our team training rides. I've been a bit grumpy at the start of these rides (we're only two weeks in, so I have plenty of time to get less grumpy), grousing that we're going too hard, too fast, too high HR. Last week Charlie made a helpful comment that really made me remember though, that HR is a distinctly personal trait, and on a group ride I need to be mindful that just because I'm at 165 on an incline, some other folks are cruising at 140 or so, and someone else may be at 180!

So, this winter I need to be super diligent about riding on my own, either indoors on rollers, or outside with lights early am before work, or evening after work. Now that I've typed this out, it really doesn't seem like as much of a dilemma as I thought. By the way, for anyone who can make it to Dishman Community center in N. Portland, on Thurdsays between 4 and 6 PM, John Benenate is running the Rollers 101 program, which is a great opportunity to ride the rollers with a successful and experienced coach. See here for more details.

I need to embrace the team group rides for for the fun that they are, even if I do get caught up in the moment and end up riding harder than I wanted to. When I really got structured with periodized workouts last spring, I had a great late summer and fall of racing. I think that I will improve with a more solid "foundation" period this winter with lots of base miles, a little weight loss and good structured rest.

I read the following on Argentius' blog, and thought it was a good reminder for us:

"One of the easiest and most common mistakes newer riders make is failing to adequately rest. I think it's right up there with failing to adequately train. You miss some workouts, you cut your hours short, and to somehow "make up" for this you train longer or harder on the times you are supposed to be resting. We've all done it. The behavior of a competitive endurance athlete has a disturbing number of parallels to an addict.

Humans are all addicts to their habits. They are oddly hard to change, even the healthy ones. That's why there are so many runners that don't listen and blow themselves to pieces. At least, their joints, ligaments, and cartilage are all in ruins. Then they start cycling. Periodization is NOT a habit. It's completely contrary to whatever internal motivational forces drive us to do the same thing, the SAME thing, every day. I didn't appreciate at all how HARD this would be when I started training."



MtMann said...


Coincidentally, I had just read the same training comments on Argentius' blog before reading your comments. Good thoughts. I'm way newer at this than you, so rely on the wisdom of guys like you to know if our pace is good for us or just testosterone- fueled competitiveness. And you're spot-on about the heartrate thing being specific to individuals, and keep in mind it also drops (bottom and top) with age. I may have been lower than you on that one incline, but in every Master B cross race we were in together, you finished miles ahead of me (literally) so you're obviously doing it right. Given the choice of a lower heartrate or a top 15 finish, I'll take the finish!

John said...

Over the years directing teams from the car I have often felt a choice at hand: let 'em fly or choke 'em back.

What I have found is get them to perform slower is always safe for the body, but letting them fly makes them tough.

Letting them fly too much gets them injured, while choking them back too much leaves them not race ready - and makes them angry.

I think with cat 4s who are experienced it is ok to let them fly a little more often because they don't control themselves anyway.

When working with more elite riders who understand the value of recovery I try to get the others to follow their edicts as well. Having a Cat 2 training in the bunch is very useful.

As an active Directeur Sportif my moment to respond is now. It always cracks me up when folks say they are riding a famous coach's program, because I wonder if that coach would agree when they were reading the athlete's training log.

There is what people say they are doing, then there is what they really have been doing.

At the lower categories especially, they are usually two different things.

When the crew will agree, I almost always prefer to ride slower longer with good form.

Greg said...

All right, at least 3 of us read this thing!