Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Get outside and RIDE!

I don't have to tell you the days are getting longer and the fact that it's Daylight Savings Time (DST) this weekend.  So, don't forget to set your clocks 1 hour ahead before you go to bed on Saturday Night.  (Oops, I just told you.)  More importantly, if you want to be competitive this racing season...you MUST get outside and RIDE! 

Trust me, there is no substitute for riding outside.  There are things that you just can't replicate on an indoor trainer such as: handling skills, balance (unless you train on rollers), environmental factors (wind, rain, temperature, humidity, etc.), steep ascents/descents, drafting, dodging traffic/animals, etc.  Plus, I don't know about you...but after 1 hour of riding on an indoor trainer- I'm DONE!  I couldn't even imagine riding 2 hrs. on a trainer.  I'd rather ride 2 hrs. outside in 30 deg F temps then ride over an hour inside at 70 deg F on my trainer. 

If/when you do go out and ride, remember to do it slowly/progressively.  It does NO GOOD to go out and ride HARD for 3+ hours on your first ride.  Build up to your long rides.  I normally start with 2 hour rides on the weekend and up the time 1/4 of an hour each week. (10% volume increase each week)  So, in four weeks I'll be up to 3 hours for my long ride.  I also start to increase the intensity of the rides as well.  I may start out with a pure Tempo/Endurance ride for the first two weeks followed by more Sweetspot pace rides.  I don't normally ride more than 3 hours because none of my races are longer than 3 hours.  I see no benefit of riding 4-5 hours if my races are only 3.  And, I like to ride at the intensity/pace that I know my races will be...which is why I always ride solo on my long rides or with stronger riders that are ALWAYS pushing the pace. 

If you're a Criterium racer/rider, relax, there is still time to improve your VO2max and Anaerobic Capacity Energy Systems. i.e. Sprint and acceleration workouts.  That's because those systems develop more quickly than the Aerobic/Endurance Systems..which take months if not years for some to develop properly.  BTW, if you're a strict Criterium racer...there's no need in my opinion to be riding 3+ hours on the weekend.  You'd be better off going out HARDER for an hour on your training rides.  If you race both longer road races and the shorter Criteriums..you have to mix it up and do both.  And, if you do Time Trials as well..guess what?  You better be putting some time in on your Time Trial bike.  If you want to get better at Time Trialing..then you have to spend time time trialing..simple as that.

What it basically boils down to is the "Principle of Specificity".  The Specificity Principle simply states that training must go from highly general training to highly specific training. The Principle of Specificity also implies that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill. So, put down your XC Skis, Mountain Bike, etc.  And, start reducing your sessions in the gym lifting weights, doing lunges, squats, etc.  To be a good cyclist outdoors, you must cycle outdoors.  And more specificly, if you're a road racer you have to start training like one.  If you're a Criterium racer, you have to start training like one.  Time trialist..same deal.  If you do it all, then you have to train for it all.  That's why, up until this date, I haven't bought a Time Trial bike yet.  Because, I know if you/I want to be good at Time Trialing you have to ride your Time Trial bike..NOT your road bike.  Yes, there is a difference- primarily the position on the bike. 

So, get out and ride.  In addition to the days getting longer, they're also going to be warming up.  Besides, if you continue to ride indoors..you'll never see beautiful looking female riders like the photo above..ha  (Sorry ladies, I'll make it up to you with a good-looking male rider on a future blog).

Power ON! Coach Rob

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