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Training Camp Dos & Don’ts 05

Have a recovery week when you get home. An easy week will give your body time to recover from the hard training you have done, so you are fresh and ready to use the fitness from your camp as the springboard for the next phase of your training.

Fall into bed without devoting 15-minutes to stretching, says Lexie Williamson, author of Yoga for Cyclists. “Stretch out the glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings and quads. A little stretching will aid recovery, freshen up the legs for another day’s training and improve comfort levels, especially around the lower back."

Training Camp Dos & Don’ts 04

Take spares specific to your bike. As bikes get higher end and more specialised the components get more individualistic and hard to get hold of. A humble spoke or two breaking could be crucial to your camp, with replacements hard to source even somewhere with a multitude of shops like Majorca. You don’t want to end up on a hire bike while your pride and joy awaits repairs.

Make weight loss your target for the week. It’s more important to fuel your riding correctly so that you can train hard and effectively. You will be training significantly more than at home and under-fuelling will leave you fatigued and more at risk of illness.

Training Camp Dos & Don’ts 03

Tool up appropriately. If you’re travelling with an organised training camp you are unlikely to need to take more tools or spares than you would on a normal day ride back home. However, if travelling as a group of friends it’s likely two things will happen — you will have 10 different track pumps or everyone will look around at each other’s deflated tyres before someone saying “I thought you were bringing the track pump..."

Act like you’re in a road race on the first ride. On every training camp someone will try to be the hero on the first day. Of course you will be excited but ensure your first day’s ride is just a leg stretch. Work up to a longer or more challenging ride in the middle of the week before backing off to shorter distances.

Training Camp Dos & Don’ts 02

Plan your flights well, particularly if travelling in a large group. A club of 24 recently flew out to Majorca from Liverpool. As their plane taxied off, 12 bike boxes remained firmly rooted to the tarmac. If there are a lot of you think about booking two separate flights, as certain airlines will be only too happy to take your booking even though it may lead to your bike having an ovemight at the airport before joining you.

Believe the forecast. Many a training camp boasts 364 days of sunshine a year, but if you happen to be unlucky and be there on the 365th day when all the yearly rain falls, your lovely white cycling top will not shelter you from the elements. Don’t forget the sun cream but always remember at least one set of kit suitable for a UK winter’s day.

Training Camp Dos & Don’ts 01

With Majorca just around the corner there were some timely tips in the February 26th edition of “Cycling Weekly" - here is some of the advice:

Have a rest day. When you only have a limited time to train but the sun is shining and the mountains beckon, it’s tempting to smash out the miles every day that you can, but a midweek rest day will allow you to continue to train hard in the latter part of the camp rather than accumulating increasing amounts of fatigue.

Put your shoes in with your bike. If your bike goes missing you lose your shoes too. It’s a good idea to pack shoes, pedals and helmet in your hand luggage so if your bike is delayed you can still hire one and not miss a valuable day’s training.

How Recovered Are You?

As we all know in order to get the best out of our training it is important to not only train at the correct intensities and durations but also to ensure that we recover properly between training sessions. Another factor in all this is how do we gauge our training efforts, do we use power meters if we have them, do we use heart rate monitors if we have them or do we just ride on feel as they did in the good old days?

I do not pretend to have the answers to all these questions but I thought a little bit of data might just be of interest to illustrate just how easy it is to get tripped up in the recovery - heart rate - intensity melting pot. To illustrate my point I conducted a small experiment which was designed to guarantee that I completed a training session when I knew I was not recovered and to gather some heart rate data to illustrate my point whilst keeping other factors constant.

What I did was complete two IDENTICAL workouts, each lasting 65 minutes. My power outputs were absolutely identical during both sessions. Identical power outputs for both sessions were ensured by using a VELOtron (RacerMate) running in ergo trainer mode, the trainer controlled the wattages precisely throughout and the wattages during both sessions were identical, both sessions being controlled by the same control file. The session consisted of a lengthy period riding at a steady intensity and every four minutes there was a one minute effort at a substantially higher intensity before the load returned to the steady state, there were ten such efforts during the sessions. Heart rate was recorded throughout both sessions so that comparisons could be made and the data plotted and compared using Golden Cheetah v3.1.

The two sessions were performed on the same day and there was a period of approximately five hours between the two sessions.

Below is the chart showing the cadence, speed and heart rate traces for the two sessions. The pale blue heart rate trace shows the heart rate trace for the second session performed, as you can clearly see the heart rate during the second session was consistently, and unsurprisingly, higher.

The average heart rate for the first session was 136BPM, the average heart rate for the second session was 145BPM. Bear in mind that the power outputs for these two sessions were IDENTICAL, the only variable was my state of recovery. The percentage increase in average heart rate for the two sessions was 6.6%, that doesn’t sound too much, does it really matter?

It does matter if you are using heart rate to set the intensity of your workouts. To illustrate I plotted my heart rate distribution by training zone for these two sessions, the results are shown below:

Session 1

Session 2

As you can see the fact that I was less recovered for session two than for session one five hours earlier has changed the apparent training intensity of the workouts in terms of time spent in HR training zones completely. What was, in HR terms, a predominantly endurance (L2) session the first time it was done has become a predominantly tempo (L3) session when performed five hours later, remember THE POWER OUTPUTS WERE IDENTICAL.

The message is, do consider your state of recovery or fatigue when attempting to reach specific workout intensities if those intensities are set by heart rate data, if you do not you could easily end up doing a session which is, in power terms, a lot harder or easier than it was intended to be!

The RacerMate Forum - VELOtron - RacerMate One

There is an ongoing discussion on the RacerMate forum about the lack of software development to support users of the VELOtron cycle trainer, these were my thoughts, posted today.

KEYWORDS: RacerMate, CompuTrainer, VELOtron, PerfPRO, Golden Cheetah, TrainerRoad

-> CharleyR

I applaud your efforts to bring some clarity to things. One of the major issues is the apparently never-ending "under discussion" "being worked through" "under consideration" responses we always seem to be stuck with. I would certainly feel very differently if we knew what was and was not going to be available to users and users could then make their own informed decisions. If for example I KNEW that RacerMate were going to "allow" the likes of PerfPRO, TrainerRoad etc. to work with the VELOtron I would stick with it. The problem I, and I suspect you also, face is the constant unknown. If I KNEW that my VELOtron was NOT going to be able to be used with PerfPRO I would put in place arrangement to sell it immediately because I feel I am really being left behind in terms of the training packages available to me when we know, from the ErgVideo experience, that there is no technical reason why this can't happen.

What I find so amazing is that the ability to use alternative packages with a core unit (in this case the CompuTrainer or VELOtron) is an extremely powerful incentive to buyers to buy the core product and the inability to so so is an equally powerful disincentive. Fewer and fewer people, it seems to me, are willing to pay top $ for something that is apparently stagnant and it showing no real signs of inter-operability. Sadly I have been a long time user and supporter of the CompuTrainer and VELOtron but that support is rapidly waning as I fall victim to a lack of development and an adherence to a largely closed systems approach. There are just too many options becoming available to buyers these days and one of the key selling points is having plenty of options.

Cycling Rush Hour in Utrecht - The Netherlands

Absolutely brilliant video showing just how popular cycling can be if the required infrastructure is in place. This is the result of years of investment, it’s worth noting how very slim all the cyclists are and one can only begin to imagine the health benefits enjoyed by all these people, and the nation. Inspirational.

The Training Intensity Handbook

During the course of a Skype conversation with a cycling coach in Texas this evening I had cause to refer to a little book I bought and read some time ago called the Training Intensity Handbook. I was reminded just what a simple to follow little guide to training intensities this little book is and how useful it can be to people who are interested in endurance training, particularly if they have an interest in training using blood lactate measurements.

I thought it might be useful just to make some details of the book public so that if anyone has an interest in this sort of material they might happen upon this posting and make further enquiries about it’s availability, if it was of interest. Below is an image of the cover of the book and the text below the image is from the rear of the book and provides a little more detail.

The Training Intensity Handbook
Dr. John Hellemans

The Training Intensity Handbook is a classification of training intensity based on lactate, heart rate and perceived exertion. Suitable for all endurance sports and written for sport scientists, coaches, athletes and students.

"John Hellemans brings unique insight as a sports physician, coach, and champion triathlete to provide the most straightforward approach to training that I have seen. This little book gives you the tools to more effectively guide your own training or plan training for others."

Pete Pfitlnger MSc - Olympic Marathoner

ISBN: 0-9582287-1-x

Time to give Lance a break?

Reading Brian Cookson's thoughts on potential redemption for Lance Armstrong I was struck by what a sensible and human approach he seems to be taking. It is hard in life not to draw comparisons between the treatment of high profile athletes when things go wrong. Lance Armstrong cheated in a big way and ended up losing all his titles, his sponsorships and was banned for life from competition. Oscar Pistorious killed his girlfriend, he was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to five years in prison, they expect him to be out in ten months. Once he is released he would in theory be able to compete in 5 years time and could potentially be at the Tokyo Olympics. Lance didn't kill anyone, surely he deserves a break?