Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tip #2 - Training as a Lifestyle

I went from a club C rider to de facto senior athlete over about a decade.  While many people can "just ride", I've always found it useful to work training into my lifestyle. I'm writing this note now (in the nominal off-season), because the nominal off-season has always been key to me advancing my fitness and riding.

What worked for me - Summary:
1. Have an annual calendar of activities that adds up to an annual training plan.

2. Use the off season to work on weaknesses.  For me, that has been  fitness.

3. Minimal indoor equipment and body-weight training, slowly accumulating various accessories.

What worked for me - Detail:
1. Have an annual calendar in activities that adds up to an annual training plan.  Elements that I  use or have used.
1. Ride an ultra once a month.  For years I used the UMCA Year-Rounder  to encourage me to ride at least a century every month.  You can only get so far out of shape if you ride an ultra every month.  RUSA has it's own program - R-12.  Or just find friends like Dan Blumenfeld and Stef Burch that like to regularly ride ultras too.  Riding an ultra in a day gives you many of the benefits of a week of workouts - especially with our varied Western PA terrain.

2. DD scouting rides - They are actually a two month emphasis on strength endurance intervals.  Meaning repeats of 5+ minutes at or above aerobic threshold.

3. Participating in a club weekly ride and weekend rides.  When I joined the WPW, there wasn't a weekly ride convenient for me.   So I started my own in Harmarville.

4. Spring brevet series.  These certainly provide base miles.  You learn endurance by doing it.

5. Use an annual goal (now usually a grand-randonn√©e) to force me to sharpen my fitness.  Usually 4 to 8 weeks of in season training (depending on how hard the ride is).  I also use these events to strongly encourage myself to lose weight.  I've suffered by not being prepared in the past.  That is sufficient motivation to get me training and dieting with enthusiasm.

6. In recent years I used the 12-hour Calvin's Challenge as well as RAAM qualifying at the Tejas 500 to motivate me to ride faster.

7. Along the way, I used events like the MS150, the WPW Fall Rally, the Mon Valley Century, and many other local rides to form a string of annual rides. Several years, I rode the MS150 to Lake Erie, then rode back again on Sunday and Monday.

2. Use the off season to work on weaknesses.  For me, that has been  fitness.
1. I had a twofer win in 2004.  I wanted to transition from a C to B club rider, so I looked for a mid-winter century to force me to advance. Instead, I found 8 centuries at Gator Hell Week.   I also found Cyclo-Core from Graeme Street - when I started Graeme had two CDs.   Graeme combines on bike training with core training and yoga.  He's developed many variations of training plans over time - the one I look to now is his Cyclo90 H.I.T if I am looking for training structure. I still use his workouts year-round as needed and they are the content of whatever training I do.

2. Since I never commuted, I start my outdoor riding early.  Normally the week when the clocks change.  Lot's of people wait until April or May.  Ride yourself into fitness before other club riders get out.  Note - commuting is among the best training you can do.  Kudos to those of you that commute.

3. The last three years I've been using the heart-zone based indoor training from Cycling Fusion (Gene Nacy) January to March.  Training like was a racer was new to me, but helped me speed up.  Gene's software keeps me more honest than I do when managing my own workouts.

3. Minimal indoor equipment and body-weight training, slowly accumulating various accessories
I started out indoor training with a bike trainer, a yoga mat, perhaps a yoga ball, and Cyclo-Core and Cyclo-Zen.  I did body weight work-outs for many years.  I slowly accumulated a roll-out wheel, a medicine ball, 5-25 lb nesting dumb bells, and 45 lb dumb dells.  The latter are for endurance squats, getting prepared for the Dirty Dozen or other climbing using Cyclo-Endure.  I've never had a gym membership.  Two years ago I splurged on one of Cycling Fusions surplus indoor training bikes so I can train will power in the off-season.

This is a continuing list of tips in what I explain what works for me.  What I did may or may not apply to you.  However, it should inform your decisions of what can work for you.  I am writing this series because one of Pittsburgh's riders asked me to do it.

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