Train slow, move slow, Train Fast and Move with Power

posted on March 10th, 2010 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Reviews, Ride Reports, Strength Training by Stephen

Train slow, move slow – train fast, and move with Power!
This doesn’t just mean that if you train fast you will have power……

I went out for a spin on a Friday before some Gold Sprints at Peachtree Bikes – but I realized I would waste my time attempting to sprint that night. My legs didn’t have the turn-over required to spin a gear that fast to do well in the sprints. I was having to put too much effort into attempting to spin much above 100 rpm’s…. but it is to be expected, especially when you consider where I am in the training plan.

Although this is disappointing, it is not unexpected, I have been doing a full cold, wet, snow/ice winter of gym workouts this year. Not a lot of heavy lifting, but more true strength building exercises, including weighted lunges & single leg squats. To complement the work in the gym, I have been doing hill repeats at least once a week. When I’m doing the hill climbing my RPM’s are around 70, and the focus is on leg strength – not cadence or Heart Rate. So currently my legs are more used to slowly grinding their way uphill, not turning over the pedals for the county line sprints. So, to suddenly ask my legs to turn over 150 RPM’s for 60 seconds is not suddenly going to be possible!

The good thing about a training plan is things are in phases and I know that the leg turnover comes around much faster than the strength building. Although it has taken most of the winter to build the strength of doing 1 leg squats, it will only be a matter of several weeks to get the legs to increase their turnover again.

As the strength from climbing is combined with the efficient pedal turnover the end result will be power to the pedals. And now that we are into the plyometric phase of the training regime, this is already taking place.

As disappointing as this is b/c I’m not racing in a great event, I know that as I add more speed to my training that the form and turnover of my legs will be a greater reward for the small sacrifice. This is truly where having a plan for the season allows small things like this much more understandable when you are able to look at the big picture and remember the seasons goals, not just what sounds fun this week.

When you are training for a big goal or event sometimes the mind and body respond in funny ways. Some weeks are very challenging physically and sometimes they become challenging mentally. I always let my clients know ahead of time that this is part of the process of becoming stronger. I can even tell them which week in their training plan it will happen & why it will be better the following week.

I find that 1 of the best things about accepting these thoughts as part of the process is although they still pop-up, you don’t dwell on them. Although this does not prevent these self-defeating thoughts from entering the mind, it does help you accept them and push them aside, understanding that it is expected and only temporary. And that just around the corner from this is growth and Strength!

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Hill Repeats

posted on February 24th, 2010 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Ride Reports, Strength Training by Stephen

Hill repeats, how we love to loathe them. If you are lucky, you start off at a steady pace and the Mountain teases you into thinking it is going to be a good day….. then as your heart rate begins to catch up to the effort your putting out, the Mt. truly let’s you know what kind of day it is going to be – on the Mt’s terms, not yours. Sometimes the mountain allows you to climb with less effort than previous, but this time of year, the mountain has it’s advantage and may take this opportunity to show it’s authority as Mother Nature and her companion, mean ole Mr. Gravity.

Yet, you must pedal onward, knowing that the steepness of the Mt that you climb is not just taking you to the top, but is taking you to a stronger point in your fitness. Your legs feel the next upward pitch that causes you to grind away on the crank arms ever so slowly. This is the pain that the mountain inflicts in the normal cyclist that wish to over come the grade and bask in the view from the pinnacle.

Good day or bad day, the fact that you are on the Mountain battling and so many others are not can confirm your commitment. If you start off to hard racing to get to the top, then sometimes the Mountain can really take the wind out of your sails. Caution can be the better part of valor as you climb up the first 1000 meters. The mountain will cause you to settle into a more humbling pace if you miss-judge or underestimate her. The cyclists on the descent smile and nod at those still battling the upward slope, for they know, not only the anguish the mountain is putting on your body, but that once down to the bottom, they themselves will turn around and battle against their own machines to take them to the top.

Your legs scream from the lactic acid being built up from each pedal stroke, which is not spin, but a MASH. Seated climbing is usually the par, until the grade rises at such an angle that the mind convinces you that maybe standing will be easier…. but only briefly, then HR stands with the body, and you flop back down giving the legs what seems like only a brief moment of relief. The mountain can be deceiving, for some stretches you can feel a brief relief, then you turn the bend, and the suffering is there again. The body screams to stop, but the mind must overcome! You must continue and remember that your goal is not at the top, but in the grind of the uphill battle against gravity.

Upward you ascend, slowly, but steadily, knowing that in the end, the mountain will win again, but you will come away a stronger person both in cycling and in mental fortitude for being there this day!
Burnt Mountain
Climbing hills and mountains develops sport specific leg strength to cycling, which if a base fitness aerobic level has been developed and the workouts at a gym have been followed, the body will respond with greater performance and wattage output. As this strength is developed it will allow the rider to be able to ride along with other riders at the same weight/speed, requiring a lower effort so therefore a lower heart rate.

Hill Repeats:
To do these efforts, I try to use a steady climb of about a mile in length. Keep a cadence of around 65-70, and keeping as much pressure on the legs as possible for the whole climb. Speed is not what you should use to gauge your fitness on this effort, use the gearing that you are able to climb the Mt in. By keeping a lower cadence you are using more muscle to climb than Heart Rate. The adaption period is 6-8 weeks of consistent work on the hills.

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Hill Repeats

posted on February 24th, 2009 in Cycling, Cycling Tips, Reviews, Strength Training by Stephen

Hill repeats, how we love to loathe them. If you are lucky, you start off at a steady pace and the Mountain teases you into thinking it is going to be a good day….. then as your heart rate begins to catch up to the effort your putting out, the Mt. truly let’s you know what kind of day it is going to be – on the Mt’s terms, not yours. Sometimes the mountain allows you to climb with less effort than previous, but this time of year, the mountain has it’s advantage and may take this opportunity to show it’s authority as Mother Nature and her companion, mean ole Mr. Gravity.

Yet, you must pedal onward, knowing that the steepness of the Mt that you climb is not just taking to the top, but is taking you to a stronger point in your fitness. Your legs feel the next upward pitch that causes you to grind away on the crank arms ever so slowly. This is the pain that the mountain inflicts in the normal cyclist that wish to over come the grade and bask in the view from the pinnacle.

Good day or bad day, the fact that you are on the Mountain battling and so many others are not can confirm your commitment. If you start off to hard racing to get to the top, then sometimes the Mountain can really take the wind out of your sails. Caution can be the better part of valor as you climb up the first 1000 meters. The mountain will cause you to settle into a more humbling pace if you miss-judge or underestimate her. The cyclists on the descent smile and nod at those still battling the upward slope, for they know, not only the anguish the mountain is putting on your body, but that once down to the bottom, they themselves will turn around and battle against their own machines to take them to the top.

Your legs scream from the lactic acid being built up from each pedal stroke, which is not spin, but a MASH. Seated climbing is usually the par, until the grade rises at such an angle that the mind convinces you that maybe standing will be easier…. but only briefly, then HR stands with the body, and you flop back down giving the legs what seems like only a brief moment of relief. The mountain can be deceiving, for some stretches you can feel a brief relief, then you turn the bend, and the suffering is there again. The body screams to stop, but the mind must overcome! You must continue and remember that your goal is not at the top, but in the grind of the uphill battle against gravity.

Upward you ascend, slowly, but steadily, knowing that in the end, the mountain will win again, but you will come away a stronger person both in cycling and in mental fortitude for being there this day!
Burnt Mountain
Climbing hills and mountains develops sport specific leg strength to cycling, which if a base fitness aerobic level has been developed and the workouts at a gym have been followed, the body will respond with greater performance and wattage output. As this strength is developed it will allow the rider to be able to ride along with other riders at the same weight/speed, requiring a lower effort so therefore a lower heart rate.

Hill Repeats:
To do these efforts, I try to use a steady climb and keep a cadence of around 65-70, and keeping as much pressure on the legs as possible for the whole climb. I have 1 main Mt. climb that is just over a mile long, but takes nearly 10 minutes to get to the top. But speed is not what I am using to gauge my fitness yet, I am using the gearing that I am able to climb the Mt with. By keeping a lower cadence I am using more muscle to climb the Mt than Heart Rate.

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