Date of Training Makeover: November 17, 2016
As a younger man, Steve Walker was an accomplished roller skater, representing Great Britain and using cycling to improve his fitness. Aged 45 and weighing in at 81kg at the start of the makeover, he was looking to move up from the ranks of third-cat by having his schedule overhauled by Matt Rowe.
HIS goals: 1. To win a third-cat road race 2. Secure a second-cat licence 3. Become much stronger on the bike
1. Add a sprint-specific session to help nail that race-winning effort 2. Include a strength session to build power 3. Add a threshold session to improve climbing ability
CW: Have you kept to Matt’s plan? SW: Yes, but I had to swap the plan around a bit to try to fit in the racing too.
CW: How have the changes helped you? SW: I do feel much stronger on the bike than ever before, and have lost about 4kg since November. I’ve learned to listen to my body — if it’s a rest day, then rest. Then again, just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you should opt not to ride your bike.
CW: Have you achieved any of your key goals yet? SW: Since we last spoke, I have got a power meter but am still trying to find my way with it. I still need to do an FTP test to get my figures.
I’ve gone from doing our chaingang at 1hr 24min 5sec down to 1hr 19min 37sec. At the start of the season, I’d hoped to break the 1hr 20min mark, so am very happy with that. I’m now riding in the long group on club runs with all the racers from St Neots. The racing has been hard work in the cat-three races.
CW: What are you aims now?
SW: In our chaingang, it’s one pace — about 24mph average — whereas in racing it’s a case of sprinting out of every corner, and I still struggle with that, as well as taking the correct racing line on tight corners. I’m cat-three still, so there’s loads of work to be done but I do believe that I am improving with the training.
Matt Rowe says...
Steve followed most of the plan prescribed, but as expected — life gets in the way — his personal circumstances meant he couldn’t follow it to the letter. This is the key advantage of one-to-one coaching over an off-the-shelf plan: frequent changes to training can be made in line with rider feedback, progress and the coach’s observations.
A really common mistake we see at Rowe & King is riders pressing on too hard on a rest day, and then, the following day, failing to train optimally because of not being fully recovered. It’s great to see Steve resting properly.
Knocking five minutes off his chaingang loop is great progress, though a better measure of development is the fact he can now ride with the stronger club run group. Using a power meter, he’s now able to much more accurately measure his efforts in training. Numbers and data aside, Steve can now ride with a group that was once too fast for him — great job!
Looking ahead, to cope with the demands of racing, we are going to need to focus on Steve’s tolerance — his ability to make repeated efforts, as required in a race. We also need to work more on Steve’s top-end speed. For this I suggest some short, max-effort intervals while fresh; and, to develop tolerance, some Zone 4 efforts with minimal rest — like three blocks of six times one minute at Zone 4 followed by 30 seconds ‘off’.