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Form & Fitness Q & A
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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 June 5, 2003
Training for climbing and distance endurance
Heart rate control
Which days should I train hard?
Over-trained or under-trained?
Training for climbing and distance endurance
I am a strong 45 year old female recreational rider who lives in one of
the mountain states. My organized training with an internet coach has developed
an endurance base, tempo base and leg speed. I am thrilled with my accomplishments.
I completed a flat century in under 5 hours and my hill times have improved
by 10%. My current goals are to tour in the French Alps for two weeks (57 miles
and ascent 6000 feet per day), improve my time on the Snowbird Hill Climb (10
miles, ascent 5000 feet, 8/03) and finish the LOTOJA (200 miles, ascent 4500
feet, 9/03) in under 10 hours. I have lost my focus. I have returned to multiple
group rides that include ascents. I am open to suggestions for developing endurance
for climbing and distance? How can I utilize the 4-7% grade hills in the area
without developing fatigue or overtraining? I train 5 days per week and my hours
per week are 10-12.
Brett Aitken replies
I would suggest that you break your week down into a structured routine that
is giving you measureable results to gauge your progress on a weekly basis.
If you train 5 days a week for a total of 10 to 12 hours then try breaking
this up into 3 hard days which alternate with 2 recovery days between. The
3 hard days could consist of one long endurance ride of 3 to 4 hours at medium
intensity while the other two could be more specific sessions of 2 hours in
duration. This could include one day comprising of short intervals between
3 and 6 minutes while the other could focus on developing your anaerobic threshold.
Being focused is very much reliant on seeing improvements so you could incorporate
hill climb time trials as part of your anaerobic threshold training. If you
are consistent in doing the same hill for your time trials each week then
this can really motivate you to improve upon your best times and will help
you achieve all the cycling goals you've set yourself.
Finally if your worried about the hills leading to fatigue or overtraining
then stay inside on your recovery days. Instead put your bike on an indoor
trainer and just pedal lightly. Otherwise careful monitoring of your heartrates
can help avoid any unnecessary overload.
Best of luck with your coming events.
Heart rate control
I'm a 20 year old, male, Cat 2, in my 2nd year of racing, and extremely
mystified with my current condition. My maximum heart rate is 203 and has been
reached at least three times on the bike, twice in the last six months in prologue
type events. My resting HR this morning was the lowest it has been since December,
Based on this, regardless of how useful you consider them, it should be
possible to do intervals in the mid-180s. I'm finding that getting my HR up
that high, at least in training, to be an exercise in futility. I managed to
hit 183 twice in my warm-up, but I felt like I had to dig as deep to get up
there as I would in a race. Getting up a third time to begin the first effort
wasn't within my means. For what it's worth, I feel good (that is, not fatigued
or tired), but am coming off of some racing that I consider to be well below
my ability. I've come to terms with getting beaten in races (it happens), but
getting beaten by a workout is pretty demoralizing.
San Diego, CA
Eddie Monnier replies
You didn't indicate what sort of intervals you were doing, but I'll provide
a few thoughts nevertheless. First, a low resting HR in and of itself doesn't
say anything about your fitness. It could mean you're more fit. But it could
also mean that you have a cardiac condition. You have to look at it in the
context of other variables. But since you did say you're not feeling fatigued,
let's assume that at worst the lower resting HR is neutral.
Second, some individuals are able to realize much higher HR when racing then
when training because they get pumped up for the event. This is one of the
reasons why, when I derive HR-based training zones, I do so from training-based
tests and not races. Additionally, when using HR-based zones, I like to base
them off an estimate of lactate threshold HR (LTHR) and not max HR because
the former is more responsive to training than the latter. I typically use
a 30-minute all-out TT in training. The average HR for the last 20-mins is
a good proxy for your LTHR and your average power for the entire 30-mins is
a proxy for your lactate threshold power. These are important metrics for
any endurance cyclist.
Third, power is a more immediate and objective indicator of intensity than
HR and is ideal for interval workouts. Since I know you have a power meter,
I would base your interval workouts on power rather than HR (I sometimes use
HR as a secondary governor).
Fourth, you might want to review your warm-up procedure. It sounds like you
may be going too hard in your warm-up. A good warm-up is important (increases
availability of fatty acids for fuel, increases body temperature which has
numerous benefits such as opening capillaries to allow more oxygen to get
to the muscles, etc.) but you don't want to burn yourself out.
Finally, on one hand you indicate you're extremely happy with your conditioning
yet on the other you mention some recent results that you feel are below your
ability. If you test periodically (and you should to assess the efficacy of
your training program) then you can test to see if your fitness is where it
should be. If it's not, you may need some recovery time, like an easy week
(or even a week off the bike). Or, it may be time to review your intense workouts.
Maybe they're not leading to the expected outcome. If good fitness is evident
in the tests, then you need to examine what specifically led to sub-par results.
Bad tactics? Diet? Better then expected competition? Simply a few bad days?
Good luck in getting back to the results you deserve!
Which days should I train hard?
I am an Australian B grade rider hoping to become A grade in the near future.
I am 26, male, 75kg, and I train 6-7 days a week (normally 400-600km). I do
very little specific training (most of my rides are semi-fast group rides),
and am starting to realise that I need to train specifically in order to improve.
I have been reading a number of articles about doing VO2 and Lactate Threshold
training and it seems to be what I need to do in order to improve.
I normally race on a Sunday, and only get a chance to do long rides on Saturday
and Sunday, so which days should I be doing this sort of training on?
Also, on the days when I am not training hard, what sort of training should
I be doing (assuming I only have about two hours per day on these days)?
Perth, Western Australia
Eddie Monnier replies:
Sounds like you've reached an important step in deciding to focus your training.
First, I would strongly suggest you do some reading on periodization (eg,
The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel, any of Tudor Bompa's books for
endurance athletes, etc.) and/or consider getting a coach to help you make
the most of your focused effort. Second, I'll provide some general comments
that may be helpful.
You may very well find that you can reduce your hours somewhat when you focus
your training. Once you've built a sufficient base of endurance, it can often
be maintained for quite a while by doing some occasional long rides. There's
no reason you can't schedule your hard workouts during the week, especially
when you have up to two hours to ride.
Most high intensity interval type workouts can be done comfortably in 90
minutes, including proper warm-up and cool-down. You could schedule hard workouts,
say, Tuesday and Thursday. This would allow you some recovery following a
Sunday race as well as allow you to go easy on Friday and short to moderate
with a few efforts on Saturday. You will need to plan your schedule in a manner
that balances the need for focused, intense training with your own recovery
needs. Not everyone can handle three hard rides in a week. And even for those
who can, it's important to take periodic rest periods (for example, every
fourth week a lighter week) so that you don't end up overtrained.
Also note that it may be counterproductive to race too much. You may find
that you will do better in your key races by foregoing some races in lieu
of training specific to your big objectives. On day's when you're not training
hard, you will either be recovering (fully off the bike or actively on the
bike), maintaining endurance, or working on skills (eg, cornering).
Best of luck earning that A upgrade!
Over-trained or under-trained?
I'm a junior cyclist, age 17. I'm about 5ft 6in and weigh about 127lb. I've
been cycling for six years now although I've only been really serious about
it for the past three years. My question is basically about my training methods.
In the past I've done huge mileage as part of my training which hardly ever
paid off. This year, however, I've shifted my focus more to VO2 max, and lactate
tolerance training. I still do a fair amount of mileage (about 150 miles per
week), but I don't seem to be improving.
Here is an example of a typical training week:
- Monday: 3 x 3 minute intervals at 85%+ max heart rate with 3 minutes
recovery between intervals
- Tuesday: 2 Lactate Threshold Intervals of 20 minutes each at 80-85%
max HR with 15 minutes recovery
- Wednesday: 30-45 minutes at 60-70% max HR
- Thursday: 30-45 minutes at 60-70% max HR
- Friday: 30-45 minutes at 60-70% max HR/Day Off
- Saturday: Race
- Sunday: 30-45 minutes at 60-70% max HR/Day Off
I do three build weeks with 1 week recovery afterwards. I also try to vary
the types of intervals, still focusing on speed rather than endurance, since
the races we do are rarely more than 3 hours.
Do you have any suggestions as to why I'm not seeing any improvement or
how I can change my approach.
Oudtshoorn, South Africa
Kim Morrow replies:
It is a bit challenging to answer your question as I do not have enough information
about you, especially regarding your specific race goals and your strengths/weaknesses
as a rider, to name a few. I'm not sure exactly what you mean when you say,
"...but I don't seem to be improving." How exactly are you gauging improvement?
Is it by race results? Is it by objectively measuring improvements (or lack
of improvements) in your speed/power at lactate threshold, for example? It
is important to determine an objective, measurable way to gauge improvements.
Let me make a few brief comments on your training schedule. It looks like
you have scheduled three out of four consecutive days with quality training
sessions (Saturday-Tuesday). I'd suggest spreading these sessions out throughout
the week with a bit more recovery between key workouts. In many cases, an
athlete will not be well recovered after a Saturday race to attempt another
quality session on Monday. And, if you are, then you probably would need to
take a recovery day after Monday, instead of doing more quality work on Tuesday.
Also, what are your strengths/weaknesses as a cyclist? I don't see any sprint
sessions in your schedule, and if this is an area you need to work on (as
many of us need to work on this), then you should schedule a specific training
session to improve your sprint abilities. Finally, I have the riders I coach
do a specific pre-race ride the day before a race. This includes a few race-pace
efforts to prepare them for the race pace intensity the following day.
Hope this helps and keep on riding!
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