It’s early November and you finally start to see some adaptations take place in training. That sluggish cadence starts to become more fluid, you start to see a reduction in heart rate and your efficiency factor begins to rise. This is when you start to become optimistic about your off season. Those early October worries about your form are now a distant memory, you look to the future and that next training session.
Tuesday evening comes around, you are sat on the couch resting after just completing a quality indoor session. As you sit there you feel something in the back of your throat, it starts to feel a bit dry and you think to your self I’M GETTING A COLD! Panic sets in and you find yourself telling people the next day I think I’m getting a cold my throat is killing me.
Then all of sudden man flu is upon you and you feel like death.
You go home gutted and start thinking about the last 7 weeks of training. You start to create belief patterns that all the hard work will be undone and you will be back to square one, you actually go to the extent of openly saying this to people. Then all of a sudden through the repetition you create a belief. You believe you will go back to square one and you believe all those adaptations created over the last 7 weeks will vanish. Early October is no longer a distant memory, it’s now a current reality. You allow yourself to be pulled back and all optimism is out of the window. Some riders even go to the extent of saying “I think I’m going to change my early season goal now and move it forward a month”
If you resonate with any of the above STOP!
I see so many riders beat themselves up inside. They've just completed 7 weeks of consistency and that consistency is not celebrated.
Let me point out a few things.
1 - Over my last 6 years woking in the world of cycling I have never come across a rider who has completed every training session in the off season and stayed illness free.
Even in the professional world cyclist pick up the common cold and have to take time off the bike. One thing they don't do is worry that they will lose all the physiological gains from having a week off the bike.
2 - Insufficient training or just stopping training all together will result in a gradual loss of adaptations which have been gained over the winter. Areas such as V02max and blood volume can decrease 10-15 days after a rider stops training. This will continue to decrease the longer you take off the bike. Around about 6-8 weeks this level will then stabilise but what you will find is it's still at a higher level that most people who do not train.
3 - When a rider detrains they will usually experience an increased heart rate both at maximal, sub maximal and resting. This is natural and once you've activate the pathways again (5-7 days) things will be back to normal.
So you've had 7 days off the bike and your head is all over the show. You jump back on the bike and think ah crap my heart rate is 15 beats higher in my tempo range than it was two weeks ago. So more internal bullying goes on, you begin to convince yourself you've lost all your fitness (this is where my work comes in as a coach to keep my riders heads firmly on) So if you go back to point 3 this is a natural thing and actually a healthy thing so expect it to happen. Also tell yourself once I re activate the pathways it will be back to normal in a week. All that really happens after a week off the bike is glycogen levels begin to raise towards sedentary level. It's not really enough to cause fat tissues storage so don't worry about the extra calories as your cold, longer working hours etc will probably need the extra fuel. The raised heart rate and feeling blocked messes with a riders head but this is just a short term response.
If you currently find yourself in this situation relax. A week off the bike is not long enough for you to lose big chunks of fitness, yes you will experience an elevated heart rate but give it a week and you will be back in to your training and moving forward in to the future.
At Transition we fully utilise the power duration curve. Today we would like to explain one area in which we use the curve to fine tune and individualise our training/racing approach.
When a new rider comes to us we link them to our coach edition Training Peaks account and then sync this account with WKO4. The first thing we do is look at the shape of the curve but why do we do this ?
The shape of the curve gives a unique insight in to the physiological capabilities of the rider. So in a nut shell their strengths and weaknesses from the full data set.
In WKO4 the shape of the curve will categorise you either a sprinter, pursuiter, all rounder or TT steady steady state. The shape of the curve will help up establish the length of your FTP test. The riders with a steeper curve sprinter, pursuit rider will be tested over a longer duration 50 minutes. An all rounder 30 minutes and Tter 20 minutes. This helps us input the correct data in to the curve and really fine tune the testing process.
Once the rider has performed the full power profile we look at the curve again and the category the rider is now under. So for example a recent female client finished her PDC power profile and was categorised a Tter. She had moderate to high FTP but poor neuromuscular abilities. These riders can sustain power outputs for a long time and also have excellent endurance capabilities.
We now have a clear insight in to the unique physiological capabilities of the rider and can begin to plan forward. So the above rider is good at stage races, long rides, time trialling, climbing and any event which requires hard sustained efforts. This now takes the guess work out of our approach moving forward. We objectively know the strengths of the rider so let's double down on those strengths and make them excellent.
The key to success is when you create synergy between the capabilities of the rider and the demands of the event. The power duration curve and testing analysis helps us fine tune and personalise the approach we take to make sure we get the most out of you as a rider.
The most important aspect of coaching is the coach/rider relationship. You need to build a relationship based on trust and clarity. Training needs to evolve and progress from one phase to the next and one vital piece missing in the coaching world is the feedback process. Without an in depth feedback process the rider will never gain clarity in what they are doing and why they are doing it. Also the coach loses personal clarity in his approach with the rider and those optimal adaptations are missed.
At Transition we use Training Peaks to manage our clients and WKO4 to delve deeper in to the data. The eco-system of web, mobile and desktop products help guide us on your journey to creating optimal adaptations with the training time you have available.
Below is a snap shot of how we deliver and review all our riders training.
Click the image to zoom in.
Founder and performance manager Transition Cycle Coaching