Ben Senevi­ratne

Cycling Weekly - - Fitness -

Date of Train­ing Makeover: March 1, 2017

First-cat rider Ben Senevi­ratne, 21, has been cy­cling since he was a kid, and stepped it up this year, rac­ing abroad with a Bel­gian U23 devel­op­ment squad. He is tar­get­ing UCI ker­messe and stage races. Senevi­ratne wants to make the most of his op­por­tu­nity to progress to elite sta­tus this sea­son.

HIS GOALS: 1. Short term: To achieve a top-10 in my first five races of the year 2. Medium term: To fea­ture in some breaks and bunch sprints while rac­ing in Bel­gium for U23 Bel­gian devel­op­ment team 3. Long term: Gain elite race li­cence dur­ing the 2017 sea­son by pick­ing up podium places in Na­tional B road and cir­cuit races

COACH’S AD­VICE: 1. In­clude more spe­cific sprint work 2. Re­duce the ef­fort of gen­eral rid­ing to Z2 3. In­clude spe­cific power ef­forts


CW: Have you kept to Matt’s plan? BS: Matt’s plan has been very use­ful for me, es­pe­cially the early part of the sea­son lead­ing up to go­ing out to Bel­gium. The plan en­abled me to fo­cus on weak­nesses as well as im­prove my strengths through both HIIT [high­in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing] and long en­durance train­ing. When I was out in Bel­gium, the rac­ing was very full-on, with each race be­ing 120km­plus, three to four times a week. I no­ticed a big in­crease in my en­durance abil­ity, as I was fresher to­wards the lat­ter half of the races.

CW: How have the changes helped you? BS: I have seen im­prove­ments in my econ­omy through­out road races and an in­creased feel­ing of fresh­ness to­wards the end. I also saw im­prove­ments in my sprint as well as my abil­ity to re­cover be­tween hard ef­forts when chas­ing or try­ing to get in a break. I felt more com­fort­able sit­ting at a higher power out­put with­out los­ing the abil­ity to win the sprint — as I did at Lee Val­ley Velopark three days be­fore go­ing out to Bel­gium.

CW: What have you learnt through this process? BS: Through­out th­ese changes to my train­ing, I have learnt that the key pri­or­ity for any cyclist who wants to com­pete at a good level is the speci­ficity of ev­ery train­ing ses­sion. Hav­ing a goal in mind be­fore the ses­sion is key, along with hav­ing a struc­ture of the ses­sion be­fore­hand so you can vi­su­alise what is re­quired of the ses­sion.

CW: Have you achieved any of your key goals yet? BS: Af­ter re­turn­ing from my two-month stint in Bel­gium, I caught a vi­ral stom­ach in­fec­tion, which took me off the bike com­pletely for two and a half weeks. This af­fected my train­ing and set me back a long way in terms of race fit­ness and days raced. As one of my main sea­son goals was to re­tain my first-cat race li­cence — I’m cur­rently on 58 points and aim­ing to re­turn to rac­ing in the up­com­ing weeks — I’m con­fi­dent I will achieve this goal.

Matt Rowe says…

It’s great that Ben adopted much of the guid­ance we pro­vided for his pre-sea­son pe­riod, in get­ting ready for his Euro­pean rac­ing cam­paign. We re­ally fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing Ben’s top-end power, and his abil­ity to sus­tain a high power out­put, above thresh­old — an un­com­fort­able ef­fort to main­tain, but a cru­cial abil­ity for rac­ing cy­clists. It’s fan­tas­tic to see that the train­ing has helped de­velop Ben as a com­pet­i­tive cyclist, mean­ing he has been able to make it into the lat­ter stages of races with enough left in his legs for the sprint. Good job on the win this year!

On the topic of sprint­ing: it’s one thing be­ing able to pro­duce a blis­ter­ingly fast sprint when fresh on a short train­ing ride, but an­other to pro­duce that ex­plo­sive ef­fort once fa­tigued, at the end of an event. This is where the con­cept of ‘fatigue re­sis­tance’ comes into play, and is what sep­a­rates the pros from am­a­teurs.

Sprint train­ing needs to con­tain a care­ful blend of peak power sprints and sen­sa­tion sprints — sprint­ing with legs

heav­ily fa­tigued af­ter a ses­sion, cop­ing with the sen­sa­tions you ex­pe­ri­ence at the end of a race. If you only train with ‘good legs’, you are go­ing to strug­gle to sprint on tired legs come race day.

‘Va­ri­ety is the spice of life’ ap­plies to cy­cling, both for phys­i­cal devel­op­ment and en­joy­ment too. Part of a coach’s job is to keep train­ing fun, chal­leng­ing, in­ter­est­ing and rel­e­vant — treat­ing each rider as an in­di­vid­ual, not just a num­ber.

Ben Senevi­ratne’s makeover led to a lee Val­ley vic­tory

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