Summer Break 2!

In the last post we were talking about the ‘why’ of taking a summer break . Hopefully, you realize that if you are struggling to A) ride in the summer heat B) suffer from burnout and lack of desire to race in the late fall then, a mid-summer break can be just the thing to refresh your mind and body so that you can train and race at your optimal level.

Tired as a Dog!

The first thing is obviously to take a full hiatus from cycling for at least 2 full weeks. It may seem that you will loose everything you have worked for – BUT you will not if you bring your body back up to speed before testing yourself. Remember, you only get stronger when you rest! So give your mind and body some R&R and you will notice an increased ability to push yourself more!

After the 2 weeks off, we are going to ramp you back up to speed with intervals. To do this, the first week you should do 3 days of 60 minutes of 80% max efforts. For example, my max is about 190 – so I would go out and do these efforts at 150-155 HR. Since this is slightly lower HR I usually break this effort into 15 minute blocks and do 4 of these efforts. Hopefully you recognize these efforts from your early season training! Find an area with minimal traffic that you can do these efforts with little interruption. Just go out and put in solid efforts at the prescribed HR. Use good form and a good aero position on the bike. For the rest of the ride keep the HR under 140!

The second week of training (same 3x this week) you will need to bump up the HR a little more and lower the amount of time in that zone. We should still keep the total time at 60 minutes of total efforts, but I break these into 10 minute efforts at the prescribed HR. The HR will now be 85% of Max HR. So in the same example of 190 max, I would do these efforts at about 160-165 range, and I would do 6 (ten) minute efforts to equal 60 minutes of total time in the prescribed HR zone.

By taking your time and doing these efforts you ramp the body back up to speed rather than just jolting it. And re-visiting the lower and longer efforts is always a good thing for your training, esp. your sustained or Time Trial abilities!

What are Junk Rides

When you go out for a training ride, do you end up doing a Junk Ride?

I know a couple athletes that can ride at the front of a group ride, but can never seem to finish well in a race.

They do several of the group rides during the week, and 1 or 2 on the weekend. Then when I see them riding alone, they are going so hard they can barely pick their head up.
They end up doing Junk rides. They ride at the same level on each ride, they never have any peaks or troughs.

Junk rides can be rides that you go on that don’t have a set goal before hand. There isn’t a training plan in the background that this ride fits into, and you do the same thing each week.
NOW, don’t get me wrong, listening to what the body says is always a good thing, but when you don’t listen to what the body says and always push hard, then you may very well end up in the junk zone, and this is why.

What tends to happen is that some athletes think that they have to go out and kill themselves on every ride. Although initially there can be significant gains for beginner riders, it is usually because they don’t ride as often as experienced riders, therefore, they are getting more rest in between the hard sessions. But more isn’t always better. And as you start riding more you start increasing the number of hard days and decreasing the number of rest/recovery days.

As cyclists become more adapted to cycling and train more often, the Easy ride should become just that, EASY! Let me say that another way to emphasize this point – Easy rides have to be Very Easy! No climbs, no hills, the flatter, the better. Use the time to talk w/ friends, check out the scenery, and work on your pedal stroke and cadence.
Now, that you have done that, THEN you can train HARDER. You have to have those valleys in the cycle to also have those Peaks. Otherwise your training line doesn’t have peaks and valleys, but becomes flatter.

Some people do too many unnecessary base miles. Some people do too many hard efforts all year. This is where getting a VO2Max Test will show you exactly what heart rate range to do your intervals to get optimal performance.