Monday, December 26, 2011

Cycling- a POWER Sport!

When you think about it, cycling training is actually kind of trivial.  Since cycling is a power sport..and we know that Power= Force x Speed, we just need to train our legs to be stronger (so they impart more force on the pedals) and pedal faster...right?  Well, kinda.  But, what's NOT so trivial is how to effectively (and simultaneously) develop pedal force and speed without compromising each other.  Additionally, what good is high pedal force and speed if you can't sustain (endure) it?  Joe Friel calls these (Force, Speed and Endurance) the "basic" (or general) racing abilities.  It's these "basic" abilities that I try to improve upon during the base and build periods of my athletes Annual Training Plans.  And, as far as I'm concerned..they are equally as important which is why I prescribe an equal dose of Speed, Force and Endurance workouts during the training week from November thru January.  Once February rolls around, I/we take these newly developed/improved Force, Speed and Endurance abilities and progress to more "specific" (or higher ability) training such as: Power, Muscular and Anaerobic Endurance training.  The difference between the Endurance Workouts from November through January (vice February on) is that they are relatively low force (low intensity) workouts.  Muscular and Anaerobic Endurance workouts are hi-force (hi-intensity workouts).

Well, if it (cycling training) is so trivial..then why aren't athletes training this way?  To be honest with you..I don't have a clue.  Actually, I do, I think it's because most are clueless.  But, even if they are clueless..all you have to do is RIDE and you'll gain more Power.  I've seen it.  If you want to ride with more Power on the bike you're either going to have to train longer or smarter.  I say "smarter" because you don't necessarily have to train long hours to be stronger (more powerful) on the bike.  Hey, I know there are a LOT of coaches out there (mostly from the old school) that still profess the best way to get stronger (more powerful) on the bike is: JUST RIDE!  (I'm talking 10-20 hrs. per week)  And, there's a lot of truth to that..for obvious reasons.  I don't know about you..but with my work schedule, social life, family life, other hobbies, etc. I don't have the time to JUST RIDE!  (I'm lucky if I can fit in 8 hrs. of training a week.)  Therefore, I need to train "smarter".  And, I do that by Training with a Power Meter (developing the abilities mentioned above)...and doing a LOT of research on which workouts BEST develop those abilities. i.e. the best bang for the buck workouts. 

It's up to you.. if you want to develop Power (that endures) you can train "smarter" or you can train "longer".  Me, I'd rather train "smarter"..because quite frankly..I just don't have time to train/ride 10-20 hrs. per week nor would I want to.  I don't think that would be fun...besides, there's more to life (at least I think so). IS a Power Sport!

Power ON!  Coach Rob

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