So its January and despite your best intentions
- Your end of season break has lasted 3 months
- Your willpower was lacking when Christmas goodies were offered
- You had a stinking cold at the end of last year that lasted 3 weeks
- That niggle that you were ignoring last summer is really an injury
- You are carrying a few more pounds than you’d like
So what should you do about it then I hear you ask. Well it is only January and the race season doesn’t start until April so you have at least 12 weeks to get some good quality training in between now and then and with any luck the weather will be conducive to training.
There is no point in going out on every ride and thrashing yourself it won’t be sustainable either physically or mentally. I’m sure that your other half would rather you didn’t come home a dribbling mess, eating the contents of the larder and fall asleep on the couch. So rather than looking at each ride or session in isolation you should look at it as being part of the masterpiece that will become your 2015 race season.
Train Easy, Race Hard
This time of year is all about building a strong foundation for your race season. So shift your front mech into the inner ring and leave it there, this will mean that you won’t be tempted to push too big a gear, you will get used to riding at a higher more efficient cadence. If speed is your concern then remember that 95rpm in the 39×12 equates to 24mph, and with a compact 34×12 equates to 21mph.
The key to making the most of the time you have available is by being consistent, there is no point in doing 1 bumper week of training followed by 3 weeks of barely doing anything. Ideally you should do a longer ride at the weekend, and a couple of shorter rides or turbo sessions during the week. Make use of El Capitan Mick Deen’s weekly club runs, riding in a group is always more fun than riding solo.
We are only human and no matter how motivated you are now there will come a point in a few weeks when you start thinking this is boring, is this training really helping, am I getting fitter etc. And for those reasons it’s always a good idea to do some testing, one of the easiest ways is to time how long it takes you to climb a particular hill, and it doesn’t have to be an eyeballs out effort. Instead choose a gear that you can comfortable climb in and note the time it takes you to complete the climb, then 4 weeks later repeat the exercise using the same gear. If you are more technically inclined you could also note your average cadence, heart rate or even wattage. If you complete the climb faster using the same gear at the same cadence you have either got fitter, more efficient or lighter or maybe a combination of all three.
One of my personal favourites is Boxhill, from the bus stop opposite the Burford Bridge Hotel to the car park after the lookout as its 3km on a nice gradient.
So you want to lose some of that Christmas Cake, well one way that can help burn away some of it is through Fasted Rides. They are pretty much self explanatory, simply go out for a morning ride before breakfast, you can have a black coffee (in fact I encourage you to have one), have only water in your water bottles and ride at an easy pace for 60-90 minutes. If you can upon your return home delay eating for 40mins or so this will further improve the training effect. What you are trying to do here is utilise fat as a fuel, and by doing this at least once a week you should be able to stave off the dreaded bonk that little bit longer as your body will be more efficient at using fat as a fuel and therefore less reliant on your precious carbohydrate stores.
It may seem a bit old school but riding with a weighted water bottle (an old water bottle filled with sand or nuts and bolts will add a few Kilograms to your bike), at this time of year works, and when in addition to this you are riding a heavy winter bike come race season you will think that you are flying when you pull your race bike out of hibernation.
Racing as Training
In a couple of weeks the professional cycling calendar starts for 2015 with the Tour Down Under and by the end of February they would have raced in Dubai Qatar, and Oman. Are the riders going to be fully race fit, NO so why are they there? Well other than sponsor responsibilities, they are there to fine tune their fitness. They might not be in such glamorous locations but you can use the Sporting Courses events to fine tune your training and gauge your fitness.