My last post included a link to a video by Dr. Rhonda Patrick on vitamin D and the importance of that vitamin. She made a reference to testing relatively frequently to make sure you are in the optimal range (40 to 60 nanograms).
I test every six months with InsideTracker. They have quite a suite of biomarkers that they test for, including vitamin D and many others that are performance related (testosterone, cortisol, hemoglobin, among others). I’m used the information I’ve gained to alter my diet and make adjustments to my other routines.
Send me a note if you’re interested in finding out more. I may have a discount code that I can give you if they aren’t running any specials (no benefits to me; I’ve asked for one in the past and they’ve obliged for clients/referrals).
A couple weeks back, on the weekend of April 10th, 11th, 12th (counting Friday), I went to the IMBA Level 1 instructor certification clinic. This clinic focused primarily on guiding a ride, but did include some basic skills instruction. I had two really good instructors that were great at passing along not only the skills but on how to instruct the skills. One of the things that I found most challenging at first, was watching the other students who were making deliberate mistakes and trying to catch/correct them.
Overall, the course was fun and a informational. I’m pretty excited to go for my Level 2 at some point, but will probably have to wait until next year.
This past weekend, I went with a few friends to a training camp. Most of the folks on the new team I joined were there (www.twowheelfixation.com). That got me to thinking a little bit about the purpose of training camp and how to get the most out of it.
#1. Have a primary purpose. There are a lot of reasons to do a training camp and one of the most common reasons athletes choose to go to a training camp is to get better/stronger/faster/fitter. However, take a few moments to really think about your objectives and be specific in what you want to accomplish. If the idea is to get a lot of duration in, then you probably shouldn’t plan to work on your sprint. Conversely, if your focus for the upcoming season is track racing, maybe long distance road rights don’t fit with your plan. Having a primary purpose (your #1 objective) will help you choose the right training camp (if that’s an option) or choose the right activities to do and those that you can pass on.
#2. Assess supporting objectives. Lots of racing clubs hold a training camp. One of the supporting objectives is to create a sense of camaraderie among the team members. Other supporting objectives might be to work on specific skills. Keep these items in mind when planning out your specific activities. Speaking of which…
#3. Plan out your specific activities. It’s great to go on a camp with your teammates and other folks who are taking care of everything. It’s your responsibility though to know what the daily activities are and make sure they are aligned with your purpose and objectives. If you have the chance to influence things, great. If not, then consider why you are going to camp and maybe reconsider your primary purpose. If you’re not getting paid to ride a bike, your primary purpose could just be to have a fun time and socialize with your teammates doing healthy activities. Or you could have some specific training goals in mind that you need to achieve.
#4. Make sure you’re with the right people. When you go to a training camp, you’ll be spending a few days with a specific group of folks. Make sure these are the folks you want to spend this time with — they have similar goals, are compatible in terms of style and timeliness, are willing to ride in the same weather conditions you, and have the eating habits that are also somewhat aligned.
There are naturally other things to consider, but these are the thoughts that went through my head. I had a great time at my training camp. We stayed at the Stokesville Lodge and rode through that area on road bikes and mountain bikes.
Here’s another good post from the folks at Precision Nutrition. It provides some guidelines on what to eat when sick. This is a great post because you often know that you should eat healthy to prevent being sick but rarely get some additional information on what to eat when you are sick.
I enjoy reading various cycling related website. One of the regular stops on my reading list is “In the Crosshairs” at www.cxhairs.com. Bill does a great job providing some good coverage of cyclocross racing and providing some analysis as well.
One of Bill’s recent posts was looking at the Belgian national championships for this year. The post wasn’t following the top elite riders (he did that in another video) but rather the ‘race within the race’ for the top non-contract riders. For those riders that can’t win the race, what about their goals and how does a good race put that in perspective?
In the last post, I described the high level steps you should take when establishing your season training plan. There are lots of ways to go about it and you could follow a specific method, such as Joe Friel’s “Training Bible” method or an automated plan built into TrainingPeaks.com.
These methods give you a good structure for your plan. However, you will still have to customize it to fit your needs. Here is a high level calendar for 2014:
This Excel file is designed as a one page view of the year that you divide into your training phases and the focus for the phase, such as “build”, “threshold”, “VO2”, etc. The devil is in the details because you then have to go about building your training weeks and the specific workouts you will do. If you have any questions on this, drop me a note.
With 2013 just about done (or perhaps done by the time you read this), it’s time to start planning for 2014 if you haven’t already done so.
Step #1: Decide on your key events
It seems kind of obvious that you should figure out what you want to do first, but this helps establish how you should train. Look through last year’s training log and review the events you did, as well as look at the upcoming events for the year. Decide what evens you’d like to do and which events will be your priority “A” races (for more on that, read here).
Step #2: Analyze your calendar
Once you’ve decided what you want to do, lay it all out on the calendar. Figure out the time you have until your first real event and the time between your events. Is there a natural grouping of events? If so, that’s a great time to be peaking. Are your events spread out over a couple of months? Then you will have to decide how you will build for the events and then perhaps incorporate some block training to stay sharp over a relatively long period.
Step #3: Determine the demands of the target events
Look at the events you’ve chosen and try and determine the physiological demands. Will you be needing more threshold – and who doesn’t, but is it the key? Will the events be punchy events like crits or certain mountain bike races? Or will it all come down to the shorter efforts and the ability to sprint?
Step #4: Choose a periodization plan and lay out your training phases
Once you’ve determined the demands of the events, you can start to lay out the training phases. The classical periodization is to go from lower intensity training to higher intensity training, but that’s not the only way to do it. Also keep in mind that you’ll “use it or lose it”, so you may want to throw in some varied levels of intensity no matter which route you go.
Pretty general stuff so next up, I’ll show some examples of annual training plans broken into phases.
I’ll be helping to lead a new program that The Bike Lane is kicking off this year. It’s a program geared towards the Shenandoah Mountain 100 mountain bike race in the George Washington Forest. It’s an epic race, with some amazing climbs and descents, including some very technical sections. The program includes a weekly training schedule, clinics, and group sessions (including some pre-riding of the course). You can find out more details here. It’s a steal at $300 for a 6-month program.