Steve Walker

Date of Train­ing Makeover: Novem­ber 17, 2016

Cycling Weekly - - Fitness -

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’.

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