Sunday, 28 December 2014

Training and the winter blues...

Sooo,  whilst most have been over eating, over drinking and laying about, I've been over eating, over drinking and riding my bike.  Christmas, notoriously a time for excess has seen me out on my bike in sub zero temperatures wobbling round trying not to crash on the ice.

I'll come out and say it, riding a road bike this time of year is miserable.  I'm in Suffolk at my mum's at the moment where it's VERY flat and as such, brilliant for long gentle road rides.  However, with the mercury never really getting above 3 degrees, a strong wind and sudden freak rain showers I'm needing muchos effort to drag myself out the door.  I did manage a long'ish ride on Christmas day, but the past two days have seen me going to thetford on the MTB.  Boxing day was amazing, super grippy trails, fast singletrack and some swoopy berms kept me entertained and more importantly got me out on the bike.  Yesterday I was hoping for a repeat performance and went with my brother, however the rain gods had other ideas and we rode round in the wet and muck for two hours before calling it a day.  However we got 'some' riding in and that's what counts.

Some riding.  Read any training book and the common theme in all of them is consistency - get out and ride lots.  I'm sure at this stage I should be doing century rides every day but sadly i don't have the minerals for that just yet.  So I'm just trying to get out as much as I can, both road and MTB to get in as much time on the bike as possible.

Coming from a racey background (well, I stood on a podium a few times), I'd like to think I'm fairly switched on about training.  I've had coaches in the past, I've sat on the turbo burying myself until I couldn't see straight and I've done chaingangs until I've been sick out of my nose (yes, really).  But it's not really applicable to a race that spans a number of weeks with huge mileages each day.

My brother bought me the paper version of Joe Friels training bible for Xmas. I've used it quite a few times in the past and its always been pretty insightful.  In fact, I'd go as far as to say it has too much information as its quite overwhelming once you get started in anger.  But the fact is that if I want to succeed with this then I need to put together a training plan.  Just going out for random rides isn't going to do the job, even if it means that I can only fit in an hour or two on a week/work day.

So what have I learnt so far?  I can't go full bore into a 30 hour training week because i simply don't have the fitness.  I also can't spare 5+ hours on a week day because i have to work.  I can ride to work (as I've already mentioned) but to start I can't do that every day and additionally, it's bloody icy at the moment and I don't fancy missing 4 months training while I wait for a collarbone to heal.  But I do need to ride so what to do...

I need to be riding at least 5 times a week.  Weekends are straightforward enough with big rides planned either on the roadie or a big loop that I have from home on the MTB.  During the week it'll either be rides to work once its warmed up, or as is the case at the moment lots of turbo sessions.  I've bought a Garmin dongle (fnarr!) and a subscription to TrainerRoad - hopefully that should be waiting for me when I get home so I can crack on straight away.  The nice bit about this is that I can train on 'Power' using the 'virtual power' tool on TrainerRoad without having to buy an expensive powermeter.  I've had powermeters before and whilst great on the turbo, they always seem to be either broken or on the wrong bike.

I did also think about signing myself up to TrainingPeaks but it does seem a bit expensive for what is essentially a glorified calendar.  I think if I had a coach then it would be useful ( I know DigDeep coaching send out plans in this manner) but for the self-coacher I think its a bit overkill.

So two big sessions on the weekend, then three sessions on alternate days on the turbo.  Or Turbot as it'll be known going forward.  These will be moderate sessions at zone 3 to start, although I'll increase the intensity as I improve.  I also need to do an FTP test when I first get on the turbot, I'll post the numbers up here so you can laugh and point.  On the rest days, I'll head to the gym at lunch and do some work on my feeble core strength.  Or swim.  Because I like swimming.

Anyway, I need to get out for a spin now the ice has melted.  In a bit..

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