When I hear the word "patience" I think about the song "Patience" from Guns & Roses. Maybe you remember the lyrics- "All we need is just a little patience" Maybe not. (Good song by the way). Regardless, there may be times during your Annual Training Plan (ATP) where you're just not seeing the results you want. i.e. your FTP is not increasing and you don't seem to be getting any stronger. Or, perhaps, you're NOT shedding any pounds from all those workouts you've been doing and what seems like starving yourself to death. Well, I've got some advice for you: PATIENCE!
If you have a sound ATP and a good coach assisting you with it..just be patient and stick with it. You WILL see results. It doesn't happen over night..sometimes it takes a couple months (depending on the shape you're in). Same with your weight loss program. Stick with the resistance training and continue to eat right. You WILL see results...sooner or later. How do I know? It JUST happened to me..all in the last 2 days. And, I thought the day would never come. I've been mildly depressed lately because I haven't seen any progress increasing my FTP. But, just last night, I did a 2x20 L4 workout and on each 20 min. interval my power was 25-30 watts higher than my best 20 min. interval in January. And, just today, I jumped on the scale and I noticed I had lost 5 lbs. since January. That may not sound like much...but it's progress. And, the best part is...it's giving me the motivation to continue to increase both my FTP even more..and drop more lbs. In fact, I'm counting on increasing my FTP another 25w by my peak in June...and losing another 5 lbs.
Oh, you might be wondering why all of a sudden I'm seeing a marked improvement in both my FTP increase and weight loss. First, the FTP increase. If you've been following my blogs all Winter long you'll see that my Annual Training Plan (ATP), as well as the ones I start my athletes on, are designed to work on the more general fitness elements of cycling first: Force, Endurance & Speed. These types of workouts, although being a necessary part of the total cycling fitness plan, are NOT really designed to improve your FTP (they improve other things). These workouts are primarily performed in the L2/L3 zones. If you want to improve your Threshold Power, guess what? You've got to train in the Threshold (L4) power range. Only recently (last month or so) have I started working on the more specific cycling fitness elements such as Muscular Endurance, Power and Anaerobic Capacity. These are the more intene workouts performed in the L4/L5/L6 zones. Therefore, it's the more intense interval workouts at the L4/L5 that are responsible for my FTP increase. The weight loss? Well, lets just say that your body is resistant to change and it likes staying at a fixed weight...regardless of what you try to do. You eat less, your body will make you tired so you don't exercise. It will also slow your metabolic rate down (i.e. you burn less calories). But, what really drops the weight is the hi-intensity rides on the bike and resistance training in the gym. Because even when you get off the bike or leave the gym..your body is STILL burning calories unlike a hi-spin low intensity cardio workout or high repetition resistance workout. HINT!...to all you Spinners out there that think your weekly Spin Session at the local gym is helping you lose weight..or getting into cycling fitness shape. Probably not. It will help your Cardio Fitness but I'm not sure about your weight loss. Plus, these low intensity spin sessions will do nothing for improving your FTP on the bike..unless you crank up the resistance- which nobody does. Been there..seen it!
One last thing. You might be thinking after reading this blog (as I did), why not just train at hi-intensity from the beginning of the ATP in December until now? Well, the problem with that is..you'll eventually plateau, if you don't injure yourself first..and then you'll burn out. And, that plateuing and burning out will usually happen around NOW. So, just when everyone else is improving their fitness..you're peaking. And, when everyone else is peaking in June..you're toast..spent.
So, hang in there and be patient. If you persist, on the correct training program, and you're determined and motivated you WILL reach all your goals for 2010. Power ON! Coach Rob
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