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Form & Fitness Q & A
Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject?
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The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping
athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie
specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track
racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology
from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology
from John F. Kennedy University.
Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com)
is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16
years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities
from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl,
daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.
Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of
Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before
obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000.
Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows,
he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins,
CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural,
urgent care, inpatient and the like.
Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com)
is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting
(Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy
for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports
Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in
the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10
years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.
Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com)
is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds
undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy
from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track,
road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with
and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included
World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes.
He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's
degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual
medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization
musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.
Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider
positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders
from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable
cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of
the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the
Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick
Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica
Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.
Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular
Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University
and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University
of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency
on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated
changes in menstrual function on bone health.
Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling
competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion.
Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.
Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a
former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in
exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.
Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and
has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years
of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.
Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching
experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.
Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com)
is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association
of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been
professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels
from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching
with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive
cyclist for 20 years
Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com)
is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training.
He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and
a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).
In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports
Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered
training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past
4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.
Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com)
has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified
USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion,
and a Fitness Professional.
Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United
States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns
a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around
the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find
Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual
athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews,
you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before
beginning any exercise program.
Fitness questions and answers for May 29, 2003
Training twice per day
Mononucleosis and the Etape Du Tour
Eating vs. Power
Training twice per day
I am a 21 yr old college student, and hope to qualify for collegiate mountain
bike nationals this fall, and for road nationals in the spring. I'm approximately
5ft 9in (1.75m), 162lb (73.5kg), and am a Cat. 4 road racer, and sport level
mountain biker, with one and two seasons' experience respectively. I am currently
training eight to ten hours a week.
This summer I am hoping to make some focused progress in my cycling fitness,
and think that doing two workouts per day would help with my goals, but I have
found little information on this approach. My work schedule this summer will
be consistent, 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday, and makes scheduling easy. This
program would last approximately 10-12 weeks, beginning in June and lasting
until mid-August. I would do a ratio of three 'build weeks' to one 'rest week'.
In August, I would take a two-week break of just easy riding before school and
the collegiate mountain bike season start in September. Here is what I am thinking:
Monday: One ride. LSD in morning or evening 1.5 hrs
Tuesday: Two Rides. Hills in morning 1.5 hrs, Sprints or Training race in evening
Wednesday: Two Rides. LSD in morning 1 hr, speed endurance (ITT)or A-group ride
evening 2 hrs
Thursday: Two Rides. LSD Morning 1 hr, Sprints 1hr or Training Crit evening
Friday: One Ride. LSD Morning or Evening 1 hr
One or two weekends per month I would do only one race, and would substitute
a three to four hour endurance ride.
I have shown this program to some folks and they feel it would lead to burnout
and/or overtraining. Would this be the case? I know my race results would be
poor this summer, but I am willing to sacrifice something now if it will help
me later. Is there a better way that I could maximized my schedule with the
14-20 hours per week I want to dedicate to my bike? I guess it all comes down
to whether this will help me fly or make me flat?
Swarthmore, PA, USA
Dave Palese replies:
I can't tell you for sure whether this is the best schedule for you or not,
but here are some thoughts.
My first impression is that the schedule you've sketched out is pretty dense
and I think that your friends might be on to something. I can't say for sure
if this is the case since I don't really know you or the events you are preparing
When doing two-a-days, you might consider putting the harder session in the
morning and then having a second session in the PM more directed at recovery.
I think the schedule you have proposed might be out of balance with regards
to the volume of high intensity work in the week. With racing on the weekends,
you are doing five high intensity days. The general rule is two high intensity
days per week, including races, so you may want to look at that balance, working
in more low and middle intensity work (i.e., Tempo and Threshold).
Remember, more is not always more, and does not always yield maximum results.
Brett Aitken replies:
I agree with Dave Palese that you should do your harder intensity sessions
in the morning. You will find that this is mentally easier for you to put
in 100 percent on these more important efforts when you are physically a little
bit fresher. This way you don't have the worry of having to do the hard stuff
for the rest of the day either.
Also I would advise that you substitute the training races during the week
for some more specific sessions such as intervals for the development of VO2,
Lactate Tolerance etc. This way you are in control of the intensity of the
sessions rather than the training races dictating the quality of your training.
Mononucleosis and the Etape Du Tour
I live in Japan, and I have been training recently for the Etape du Tour
this summer, on July 16. I'm 34, male, 184 centimeters and normally 80 kilos,
which has gone down to 76 in the past week.
I didn't have a good Spring, with a few colds interrupting training (my
job is teaching those little human petri dishes known as "children"). Up until
last week I had about 2,000 kilometers in my legs. My plan was to get three
200 kilometer rides in before the Etape, which is 198km, with weekly 120km hilly/mountainous
rides on the weekends in between the 200km rides. I usually do 3-4 50-60km rides
Last week I came down with mononucleosis, which effectively wipes out three
to five weeks of training, giving a scant three or four weeks to prepare for
the Etape. Provided my basic health holds up, How should I train during those
last weeks for the Etape? Or should I call it a day and wait for next year?
The only positive point is that I'll probably be down to 74 kilos by the time
this is over, which may help balance the loss of training somewhat.
I was planning on a 38x27 as my granny gear, but I'm supposing now that
if I go I'd better take a triple just in case.
Dave Palese replies:
I wouldn't give up so easy. Mono and illnesses like it do hit the body hard.
But I don't think that all the hard work you have done will be a wash. You
may initially feel below par when you get back on the bike, but if you are
realistic and smart when you get back on, I think you will find that you haven't
lost that much.
My initial guess is that the first week back on the bike will feel very off.
You will more than likely see higher heart rates and higher perceived effort
ratings for normally low intensities. This is pretty normal. Just grin and
bare it and don't over-react by pushing too hard. You may even want leave
the heart rate monitor in the bag for a few days and just ride how you feel.
The systems that you worked on so well before you got sick are pretty substantial
and don't usually just crumble completely from short-term illness. Even though
it may feel like it when you get going again.
Give it a couple weeks and I think that you find you aren't as badly off
as you might think.
Eating vs. Power
I currently use a Power Tap to measure my power gains and fitness level.
I would like to know how eating too much and gaining some extra weight would
affect my performance, in particular on mostly flat criterium style courses,
as long as my power output remains constant or even improves over time. I know
cyclists generally try to lose as much weight as possible, but unless I'm going
to grind up the Zoncolan, does it really matter if I'm 185lb or 172lb?
Dave Palese replies:
It's great that you are maintaining a consistent power output.
The short answer to your question is, "yes, it does matter". If you keep
your power output the same and reduce the workload you (i.e., lower your weight
so you have less weight to move), your power to weight ratio will increase.
This is a good thing for cyclists, even in short, flat criteriums. If you
have less weight to reaccelerate out of each corner, you'll save more energy
for when it counts.
I'm 41 years old and have been riding for about 11 years. I typically ride
3,000-4,000 miles a year and am limited due to family, work, homeowner responsibilities
etc. I typically race infrequently on the road but have raced consistently on
the local velodrome for the past three years. This spring I decided to do more
road racing in an attempt to help me on the track. I'm struggling and getting
dropped all the time. I've never been terribly successful as I am genetically
challenged, and my training time is limited to four times a week at best. On
the track my personal bests are only a 13 second flying 200m and a 1:18 kilo.
My 4km pursuit time is even worse at 5:45. I can place in points races but rarely
win. I'm basically pack fodder. During the season my schedule is as follows:
Monday: off, lift weights
Tuesday: Train at the track or ride in local crits
Thursday: Race at the track
Friday: Off, occasionally commute to work (15 miles one way)
Saturday: Intervals or road race
Sunday: 50-75 mile ride
I can ride all day at 22 mph and can go hard for short periods, but I blow
up easily, have to recover then I can go again. Last August when I was in shape
I tested in a lab and had a VO2 max of 57 and peaked at 400 watts. On the Wingate
test I hit 1300 watts. I doubt that I'm at that level right now. I'm 5ft 10in
and 170lb with a body fat percentage of around 14. I have knee problems from
old sports injuries (basketball and softball). I've had an ACL replaced in my
left knee and have a torn meniscus and arthritis in that knee. My right knee
has patellar tendonitis which has bothered me the past two seasons. Because
of the tendonitis I have taken it easy training over the winter as far as heavy
weights or pushing big gears in training. I rode the rollers a lot this past
winter, so I seem to have a good aerobic base and spin but I'm still getting
dropped after I put in a big effort to hang on an attack or going up hills.
I seem to have lost some speed at the track also.
What has been keeping me going is the fact that I love cycling to the point
of obsession. However I'm frustrated and am thinking that I should just accept
the fact that I'm lousy at this sport and quit putting time and money into it.
What do you guys think? Should I quit racing and just ride recreationally, or
swallow my ego and continue to race and struggle?
Minneapolis MN USA
Dave Palese replies:
You have many issues that need to be addressed, but my advice is never give
If you love the sport stick with it.
I suggest finding a coach in your area and working with him or her to maximize
you time and energies.
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