My Rides

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spring Training Plan - Concept

About a year ago, I started my first cycling training program outlined in Chris Carmichael's "The Time-Crunched Cyclist."  The first few weeks were seriously draining.  In my third "cycle" of this program, the efforts are still just as hard (intentionally so in a progressive program, based on feedback related to current/present fitness level), but I've gotten better at the recovery.  The seriously draining period lasts only a few hours following...

A couple of months ago, I started my first progressive, interval based strength training program - from Mark Lauren's "You Are Your Own Gym".  Again, the first few weeks produced a lot of fatigue, and muscle soreness, between workouts, but now I recover faster.

In the coming year, I really want to progress significantly in my cycling performance, and overall fitness.  My experiences last year tell me I'm ready for a bit more workload.  Basically my concept is to do both programs - cycling endurance training, and strength training - simultaneously.  With a few modifications/caveats:

  1. I'll be adding plyometrics (jumping exercises) on the days I do Power Intervals (VO2 max intervals) based on an article I read by Chris Carmichael.  Basically, I'll warm up on the bike, get off and jump up and down (I'll do specific, cycling focused/beneficial exercises like jump squats, box jumps, etc), and then get back on the bike to do my max-effort intervals.  The total duration of these workouts will be the same as that of the un-modified cycling program, but the intensity will be higher/increased by the addition of the jumps.  The jumps will taper off as my March 24 race approaches.
  2. I'll be mixing in the non-leg (Push, Pull, Core) exercises in on the 3 "rest" days in the cycling program. If these interfere with the cycling recovery, then they will taper off as my race approaches.  This will add about 1 to 1.5 hours per week to my training program.  
  3. I'll be riding 15-20 min, either on the trainer, or on some nearby trails on "rest" days.  This will be done below lactate threshold to allow proper recovery, but should add a little extra "base-building" into the routine.  This will add about 3/4 to 1 hour per week to my training.  
This will increase my training from 6-8 hours per week, to about 8-11 hours per week.  Doesn't seem huge, but the bulk of the added training volume will be intense efforts which should be sufficient to challenge my ability to recover (I expect serious fatigue, soreness, and suppressed immunity for the first few weeks).  I think the biggest benefit of this will be:

  1. Really making me focus my diet on supporting good workouts and recovery (rather than a social thing, or a reward or treat).  Good carbs before, during, and immediately following workouts; good fats, fiber, and lean protein for dinner; and fruits and low-fiber vegetables during the day.  It will be pretty essential to avoid the occasional bad week, huge meal, excessive sweet treats, or I'll really get off track.  Further improving my "tao of food" will be good all around, for me.  
  2. Help me be in shape for a median finish in my big fall race (48 miles, 3+ hours).  This volume and intensity of training is probably more than I need to undertake to meet my goals for my big spring race (23 miles, 1.5-2 hours) - and may even hurt my results a little, if I'm not perfect in my approach (realistically, the program is a "stretch goal", and I expect some mistakes).  However, if I stick with it, I'll probably get over the next hump, and be in good shape for longer events.
My long term goals are to:

  1. Be sufficiently fit to ride in 100 mile mountain bike endurance events (and not struggle to finish)
  2. Have good general fitness to:  run a 1/2 marathon, compete in a mini-triathalon, participate in warrior dash type events, kayak with the family, keep up with my 3 boys.