Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Crunch-Time

Yes, that's a picture of Capt. Crunch..one of my favorite breakfast cereals as a kid (if you can call it a cereal..more like a sugar fix).  Don't know why I thought this was a fitting image for this blog...but here it is..ha. 

Anyway, it's Crunch-Time..at least I think it is if you're a cyclist and your cycling racing season starts in April.  According to most dictionarys "Crunch-Time" can be defined as: "A critical period of time during which it is necessary to work hard and fast".

What I believe makes February a "critical period" for a racer (cyclist) is the fact that you only have two months to get your butt in shape for the start of the racing season.  That's 8 weeks of cycling training.  That's 8 weeks to drop some weight (if that's a goal).   And, if you're not starting to "work hard" as the definition implies, you ought to start NOW!  By working hard, I'm talking about ramping up the intensity of your interval workouts.

For me, February is the time to start parting ways with my indoor trainer that I've been married to since November and getting outside with more regularity on the weekends.  I said "start parting ways" not "divorcing".  I won't dump the trainer until April when the days get longer and I have enough light to get a ride/workout in after work.  There is still plenty of hi-intensity interval workouts that need to be done on the indoor trainer in the month of February and March.  And, lets face it, if you live around me..we're still not out of the woods yet with respect to the weather..regardless of what the most popular groundhog in the world has to say tomorrow.

I'm not a fan of indoor trainer workouts when compared to doing them outside.  However, it's a heck of a lot easier to control the intensity of a workout indoors- especially hi-intenstiy workouts.  Plus, if you're time-crunched like I am, it's a helluva lot easier to get a workout in. Only problem with indoor workouts vs. outdoor is the power drop.  In fact, my power is approx. 10% lower inside on the trainer when compared to outside (there are many known factors for this- one being the temperature.)  BTW, ALWAYS have a fan running during indoor interval workouts.  I have to keep reminding myself of this fact (power is lower inside vs. outside) when I see paltry power meter numbers displayed on my computer during indoor interval workouts.

One last thing regarding indoor interval training workouts..especially now since it's crunch-time and I'll be upping the intensity of my indoor interval workotus.  I'll be the first to admit they are NOT fun!  That is, if you do them at L4 or greater intensity.  That's why I do everything in my power to make them less painful.  Here are a few things you can do to spice up your indoor interval workouts:
a. share the pain with a friend. Invite a bud over your house.  You'll be less apt to quit a workout.
b. enhance the view during your workout.  Pop-in a DVD of a popular cycling race.  Watch TV!
c. enhance the listening.  Make-up a good iPod playlist for interval training.
d. use a fan, and make sure the room temp is cool and you have a couple towels- 1 for you, 1 for the bike.
e. hydrate often, especially before, during and after the workout.
f. fuel yourself properly.  Ensure you have the proper glycogen stores BEFORE you start your workout.  Poor energy level= poor workouts. Don't forget to get some Carbs and Protein in you system immediately upon finishing your workout.
g. record your effort.  Again, you're less apt to quit on something you're recording for later analysis..especially if you're going to email the file to your coach for analysis.

So, take Capt Crunch's advice.  Yes, that's what he does..he gives good advice.  (And you just thought he was a breakfast icon promoting his cereal?).  That is, get on that bike of yours and start ramping up the intensity of your workouts and training hard...racing season is right around the corner.

Power ON!  Coach Rob

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