Learn­ing Train­ing Ad­vice that You Al­ready Know

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - EDITOR’S LETTER - Matthew Pioro Edi­tor

Early this year, I flirted with a form of train­ing that I know doesn’t work. I call it “cram train­ing.” I had let my fit­ness slide. Then, as an event that would have me rid­ing re­spectable climbs ap­proached quickly, I had to do some­thing. So, I planned to ride as much as I could.

Now, I’ve seen cram train­ing go badly be­fore. If you’re a time-re­stricted cy­clist, prim­ing your legs with a se­ri­ous flurry of in­ter­vals a few weeks be­fore a big ride might sound like a good idea. But bing­ing on in­ten­sity just gets your mus­cles a wicked hang­over that can take a while to shake.

So, I knew my lit­tle bout of “re­fresher rid­ing” couldn’t be too hard. But even with that knowl­edge, there were mo­ments on the trainer or on the road when I had to fight the urge to see higher wattages dis­played on the head unit. It feels good to pedal hard. It feels like you’re do­ing some­thing. Of course, the real hard work – the real dis­ci­pline – is to ride at the right in­ten­sity, which is prob­a­bly one that feels too easy.

I’d say I did my re­fresher rid­ing regime pretty well. I kept my in­ner ham­mer­head in check. Hav­ing a power me­ter helped as well as hav­ing an ac­cu­rate (al­beit hum­bling) func­tional thresh­old power num­ber to work with. Andrew Ran­dell and Steve Neal’s look at the train­ing stress score was also a bonus (p.38). What struck me about that look at a con­tem­po­rary train­ing met­ric was how Ran­dell and Neal’s anal­y­sis of it re­in­forces some tra­di­tional train­ing wis­dom: spend more time work­ing on your base at lower in­ten­si­ties.

It’s good to hear a bit of train­ing ad­vice that you might al­ready know a sec­ond time, or a third time, or more. You may un­der­stand it the first time, but it may not truly click un­til later, maybe af­ter you’ve made some mis­takes or af­ter you’ve been fo­cused on some other facet of your train­ing. For this is­sue, Tara Nolan spoke with 12 train­ing ex­perts – ath­letes, coaches and re­searchers (p.54). Their ad­vice is top-notch. You should cer­tainly delve into it if you are new to train­ing. Also, if you’re fa­mil­iar with meth­ods of im­prov­ing your rid­ing, I don’t doubt that Nolan’s ar­ti­cle will have tips that will tune up your train­ing.

When I at­tended a Shi­mano press camp, the fo­cus was mostly on the new Dura-ace gruppo (p.96). But while I was there, I also got to ex­pe­ri­ence a fit by bik­e­fit­ting.com. The pedalling anal­y­sis com­po­nent of the fit showed how my tight ham­strings were ac­tu­ally hin­der­ing the smooth­ness of my pedal stroke. I’ve known for years that im­prov­ing my flex­i­bil­ity would help my ef­fi­ciency and power. Be­fore the pedal-stroke anal­y­sis, I had been work­ing on my core and on my flex­i­bil­ity. The fit ses­sion showed me I still had work to do, which strength­ened my re­solve. Af­ter about a month of reg­u­lar ex­er­cises, I be­gan to no­tice im­prove­ments: my range of mo­tion got bet­ter and I moved my sad­dle up bit. They were changes I knew I’d be able to make, even­tu­ally.

“Bing­ing on in­ten­sity just gets your mus­cles a wicked hang­over that can take a while to shake.”

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