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Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at fitness@cyclingnews.com. Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of racing or riding.

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 any geography.

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 other end.

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 MyEnduranceCoach.com, a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find a coach.

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 16, 2003

Iliotibial band surgery
Resting heart rate
Peaking twice
Track riding

Iliotibial band surgery

I was wondering what your views are on surgery to release iliotibial bands. I've tried stretching out my iliotibial bands for the better part of two years and have had little if any progress, and my knees still make unnatural cracking and creaking noises. How quickly do cyclists generally recover from this surgery, and are there any long term effects on performance?

Alex Turnbull
Sydney, Australia

Erik Moen replies:

Surgical release of the iliotibial band has been described in medical literature. It is usually the last attempt at remedy of chronic iliotibial band syndrome.

Iliotibial band (ITB) syndromes are most often the result of faulty mechanics above or below the knee. Attempts at "stretching" the ITB are often times in vain due to the origin of symptoms being a result of something other than the tightness of the ITB. The ITB has a finite ability to stretch.

You no-doubt have a chronic soft-tissue irritation at your knee as evident by the "crunchy" tissue.

Prior to surgical intervention, you should consider a biomechanical analysis of your bicycling position and of your feet/ankles, legs, trunk and spine. This analysis may provide valuable information as to why you are creating/maintaining an ITB irritation. Part of your treatment plan may include flexibility and strength training of objects other than the ITB or adjustment to bicycle-fit.

Resting heart rate

The question is when to measure resting heart rate?

When I first get up, I'll walk to another room, lie down with HR monitor on, and measure HR and find it's in the low 40s. However, I will remeasure my HR after making my lunch, shaving, going to the bathroom, etc... and I measure my HR in the mid-to-high 30s. Invariably, it is four to six beats lower in the latter situation. It also seems that HRs measured in the latter situation show less volatility day-to-day. This doesn't make sense to me. When is the best time to measure resting HR, and is the latter situation my resting HR? Please advise.

Greg Russell
California

Eddie Monnier replies:

In my opinion, the important thing is to follow the same procedure. You cannot tell anything from "resting" HR alone without considering other data, though it may serve as a warning to examine other factors carefully. For example, if one morning your resting HR is five beats per minute above normal, then you should pay attention to other signs that may indicate you're not recovered/ready for a hard day of training (i.e., how do you feel physically and psychologically, what are your power levels when you train, etc.). Additionally, I generally look for trends over time rather than draw conclusions from data on any one day. So just pick the procedure that's easiest for you and stick with it.

Peaking twice

I am a 21 year old Cat 3 and Collegiate B racer from Michigan, who has already done 17 races this season. The preparation for my season started in November '02 with lots of long slow trainer miles, and didn't include much work at or near threshold (179). My current training schedule is relatively unstructured , but I do intersperse recovery days with hard days and try to listen to my body and take it easy if I need it. This is my typical week:

  • Mon: 2:00- 1:00 Group ride (Z3) with 30 minute warm up and cool down (Z1)
  • Tues: Off or 1:00 hour easy
  • Wed: 3:30- 2:15 group ride (Z3-4) with 35 min warm up and cool down (Z2)
  • Thurs: 2:00- Z1-2 w/ LT intervals 2*5 @ 3:30 (Z5) or 4:00 @ Z2
  • Fri: 3:00- 1:15 group ride (Z3) with 50 min warm up and cool down (Z2) or 1:00 recovery w/3*2min @ Z3
  • Sat: Race or 3:00 hr endurance
  • Sun: Race or 2:00 Z1 with small group

This schedule was what got me to my peak performances in late April and early May, however, I definitely have started to slide off of my peak. This is almost perfect timing for me, because I am taking a trip to Europe to study. I don't plan on training hard while I am in Europe, but I will be riding at least three times a week, five if possible, mostly at or below Z3.

My big question is, based on my schedule that I have already ridden, including the races and the month and a half of recovery, do you think I can peak again in the Fall?

James Whitesides
Kalamazoo, MI, USA

Eddie Monnier replies:

Achieving two, and in some cases three, peaks in a season is definitely possible for most racers who tend to do non-stage races. The number of peaks and how closely they can be planned depends in part on how similar the athlete's limiters for the target events are. But in any event, I don't like to plan on fewer than six weeks between peaks.

The key question for you is how much fitness you can maintain with your limited riding opportunities while studying overseas. I don't what your zones are based on so I cannot comment on your planned intensity. But if you're able to ride 3-4 times per week, you can maintain and even fitness so that you'll be able to peak again in the Fall. Figure out when you want to peak and work backwards from that date to see when you need to dial-up the intensity. If you maintain some intensity via 1-2 lactate threshold interval sessions each week, it shouldn't take too long to get race ready off that level of fitness (probably 6-8 weeks).

Track riding

I'm a 28yr old MTB and Road rider weighing in at 100kgs with a 16.8 percent body fat. My training is usually between 8 and 12 hours a week, depending on work schedule. I enjoy doing long MTB enduro events of 55km+ the most, but found that I needed to do more LT work, especially since I really really suffer on climbs.

I was then introduced to track cycling by a training partner, and thoroughly enjoy it. We try and ride on the track at least twice a week, Wednesdays and Sundays. Track sessions usually are a mix of about 40 laps warm-up, 20 laps race pace, 'Team Sprints' and then end with timed '1km TT' also known as 1km Pursuit or the 'Kilo'. After this it's a warm down ride of about 10 laps. Is this adequate for LT work, or is there anything else I can do?

A usual week would look like this:

  • Monday - rest (or mild road ride of about 1hr)
  • Tuesday - 40km indoor trainer at 70% of Max HR (roadbike)
  • Wednesday - 1 - 1.5 hrs Track mixed (LT work mostly)
  • Thursday - 2hr MTB ride
  • Friday - 1hr MTB ride
  • Saturday - Road ride of 80-100km avg 30 - 33km/h (HR usually between 80-90%) OR MTB Enduro event...can be anything from 4 to 5hrs on the bike!
  • Sunday - Morning - MTB ride of 2 - 3hrs
  • Sunday - Afternoon - Track 1 - 1.5hrs mixed

Pieter Blaauw
South Africa

Brett Aitken replies:

When you are trying to be specific about certain types of training it is always better to do it in a controlled environment. I take it that the work you are doing on the track is in a group situation where you are swapping turns on the front of the pack which may not be best suited for working your lactate threshold. More than likely you are bouncing between high power outputs on the front of the group and lower power outputs when you're sitting on and are also being dictated by the speed of the other riders turns which creates an uncontrolled environment.

I would suggest instead that you incorporate your threshold training into your Tuesday's indoor training where you are able to focus more specifically on a constant heart rate. Start with a couple of efforts that last for about 10 minutes and build this up to three intervals of 15 minutes over about six to eight weeks. The track work on Wednesday will still have very good anaerobic benefits so if you continue with this then it may be wise to back off the Thursday's ride to promote better recovery.

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