Training and Recovery

with regard to training and recovery, one thing i’m absolutely certain of is that what works for some people won’t work for others. on certain forums there’s all kinds of talk of crippling inverted interval sessions that turn previously lumpen cyclists into stiffened hulks of monstrous muscle, tearing across the tarmac and reducing allcomers to tears of frustration.

here, essentially, is how i approach things in race season:

1. i eat less and cycle more; conspicuously thinking about what i eat and cutting down on chocolate, cakes, cheese and ale. i have been known to have the most spectacular relapses on all fronts, often simultaneously, but this is also a part of any fairly strict regime, and i don’t beat myself up about it.

2. i’m 6″1 and weigh around 67kg during the racing season, sometimes less, but never lower than 65kg and never higher than 68kg. i’ve worked out that when i am at this weight i tend to go much faster uphill, and on the flat.

3. i try to ride 15 hours per week when training, as soon as i start racing it’s less. i have one completely off-the-bike day a week, usually the day before a race, and treat monday as a gentle spin. for some reason i have it in my head that someone famous, like allan peiper, once said ‘do 15 hours per week’ and it’s stuck with me.

4. i don’t do conventional intervals. essentially, i ride to work. it just so happens that my ride to work includes 3 big climbs,coming it at around 100o feet in 15 miles. i ride hard on the hills. sometimes i ride hard all the way in and back. i try to make sure that my average speed is in excess of 20mph, this means i’m working hard on the flat and the hills. sometimes after a hill-assault, i rest for a bit before picking it up again. i rode home on monday up and over dundry and redhill, 15 miles, 1000ft, 20mph average. in hill climb season i will do hill reps, i perversely enjoy these.

5. i train like for like. again, someone famous advocates this approach, i think it’s graeme obree. for example, in the run up to the little mountain time trial, which was 48 miles with 3500 feet of climbing, i planned a mendip route that matched this criteria, and did it quite a few times.

6. i factor in recovery wherever possible before i’m tired. that means taking the next two days off completely prior to the 100 on sunday. i rode 60 miles on the TT bike yesterday, including a PB on the club evening time trial. i rode in this morning, and felt heavy legged, so took it very slow. i planned to the same this evening but had to attend the most boring meeting i’ve been to, then was late leaving so had to really step on it, resulting in a 22mph average speed over the usual route. this tells me i’m strong at the moment, but also that i need to manage fatigue before i over do it.

7. i practice the things i’m not so good at, notably descending at speed and pushing big gears.

that’s about it: ride more, eat less, avoid dead miles: quality over quantity, drink hot chocolate.


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