Date of Training Makeover: February 2, 2017
Having racked up results on the British national scene, and with some experience at UCI level, 36-year-old Rachel Pryzbylski took a break from cycling two years ago to have her first child. She sought advice on regaining form on the bike while returning to her demanding job in finance, working for Saxo Capital Markets. Matt was confident he could help Pryzbylski, working within her limited time frame, to achieve optimal results.
her goals: 1. To get fit for leading Hotchillee Events including the Alpine Challenge 2. Take part in Saxo’s Ride Like A Pro programme 3. Return to racing fitness to compete in TTS
coach’s advice: 1. Increased volume of quality work (inc. max efforts) 2. Focus on threshold and fitness, not just ‘plodding’ and Z3 efforts 3. Longer group rides
RIDER Q&A: cw: have you kept to Matt’s plan?
RP: Mostly. Matt put together a 12-week plan for the Saxo Ride Like A Pro group, which I am part of, so we could achieve our goal to do the Chiltern 100. He gave me some guidance for achieving my time trial goals as well as the long-distance events.
cw: how have the changes helped you?
RP: Having the initial FTP (Functional Threshold Power) test and working with power numbers has helped me. Also, the big-gear sessions and really short, sharp sessions have helped increase my 20-minute power from a threshold of 3.4W/kg — 170W, weighing 53kg — to 4.1W/ kg, having gained 40W and lost a kilo.
I did the National 25 and achieved a PB of 1:03 even though it was a really windy day. Given the little time I have to train, I was superhappy to get a PB and I know there were so many things other than getting stronger that would have saved me time. So, with a winter of specific training and aero trickery, I can chase that elusive hour mark.
cw: What have you learnt through this process?
RP: That I need to be clever with the sessions and make sure the quality is there. I am doing well on four to six-hour weeks, with a few weeks, when I can, of 10-12 hours.
cw: have you achieved any of your key goals yet?
RP: I did a 25-minute 10 TT and set a new PB, I completed the Hotchillee Alpine Challenge and the Chiltern 100. I’m riding London to Paris, and after the recent Alpine Challenge and Chiltern 100, I certainly have my climbing legs in good form.
cw: What are your aims now?
RP: I have several 25-mile TTS booked. I aim to do a circuit race but more as a test for how my top end is — or isn’t — and then I may do more racing next season. I have the L’etape London sportive soon and am considering a few hill-climbs.
Matt Rowe says...
Rachel rides fantastically off an average of around five hours’ training a week — albeit including some really intense sessions. When I first met Rachel, her training was very single-paced — each ride was ‘quite hard’. Having spent the last 12 weeks including some intensity in her training, we are now seeing some real progress. At the Chiltern 100, Rachel was super-strong on the climbs, visibly pushing on and passing others.
The key session that has led to Rachel’s improvements has been the low-cadence, strength sessions. Some
women can struggle for brute strength, so strength training is recommended for all female athletes. By identifying Rachel’s weaknesses through FTP and capacity tests, we were able to target those specific areas.
Having spent 12 weeks primarily working on her strength, the next step