Archive for March, 2011

Testing so far

March 30, 2011

Yesterday I went out to do my 12sec (sprint), 1 minute and 5minute testing. Here are the results:

Sprint = 1427, up from 1379 (up 3.2%)

1 minute = 693, up from 613 (up 11.9%)

5 minute = 427, up from 417 (up2.3%)

So far so good!! Its is important to note that the tests from last year were at the end of the season and coming off from an event that i was actually training for. So this is very good encouragement as I am up so far and its the beginning of spring training. I attribute many of these numbers from two factors that I have changed during my winter training. One, I kept a fairly consistent weight training program. The three test so far have a large emphasis on shear power. The second reason is that I kept one moderate to intense workout during the winter that I traditionally did not do during the winter. (in the past I focused solely on sub threshold / tempo work as interval)

 

There are two pieces from the testing though that I must focus on from the testing. One, is that 3:55 into the 5:00 minute test, My average power was about 442 watts. It fell dramatically in the last minute. I don’t feel this was a pacing issue though. I could feel the lactic acid really set in and start to sap my leg power. I attribute this to having no anaerobic effort repeats in the legs. If I were to have done sets of 4-8 reps at 5 mins hard, I am sure I can have this power up to 440-450 watts. Next, was that I am unsure if I could produce these numbers after say 2-3 hours in the saddle. This is key to being able to do well in road races.

So in Summary: testing is going very well and my altered training methods have produced some great numbers so far. I will need to work on going to anaerobic repeats (5-8min very hard efforts) and doing these repeats after some longer rides.

Next is the aerobic coupling test and the repeatability test. After completion of these, there will be more analysis!

What to do when it all goes wrong…

March 29, 2011

AS many of you know, I am a huge fan of Marv Zauderer. He is a great sports psychologist and helps us athletes keep our heads on straight. Here is a great articel for any runner, cyclist, and more for helping to deal with mid workout or race crisis.

Article.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

The Coach’s Test

March 28, 2011

So I preach about testing and training methods. Time to put my money where my mouth is. Its my turn to test myself! I figured talking about my own test results might be a fun view. I will be able to analyze my own results and discuss them in depth to help others analyze their findings. So with out further ado, these are the previous standards:

aerobic capacity (1st and 2nd 45min avg’s) = 1% change between the first and second 45mins

anaerobic test: (30sec on, 30sec off, how many times) = 4 times

Sprint max = 1375 W @ 18.21 W/kg

1 min power = 619 @ 8.32 W/kg

5min power = 417 @ 5.6 W/kg

20min power = 340 @ 4.5 W/kg

So these are the numbers, stay tuned as I will update how the tests are going.

Training camps and stints

March 26, 2011

*Note, while written in the context of cycling, this article applies to endurance athletes of all walk or swims of life.

Everyone I know usually looks forward to some sort of spring training ritual. I know in the past mine was a training week in the mountains with fellow team mates. We would binge on miles, climbing, and hard efforts. This sudden jump is something that most cyclist use to kick start the season. In a matter of a few short weeks I will be doing a three day stint in the mountains and logging more time in the saddle in three days then I have most weeks so far.

This sudden binge must not just be hacked job at riding lots and lots of miles. Doing a training camp or a training binge has some great benefits, but must be monitored closely. Here are a few things to think about for this training binge (also referred to as crash training)

1) Do try and get away from the home. Even if for part of the week, it is beneficial to just focus on your training for this week or a few days period.

2) have a clear goal to what the purpose of the training camp. Is it for threshold development? power development? or even just team cohesiveness? At this time in the season I would argue a training binge should be about three things. One mainly to develop endurance. Now is the time to tackle some big longer rides back to back. Be sure to not over do the first few days to save up for a longer ride later in the week or period. Two would be to work on threshold development, spending times in the steady state to threshold on big climbs or on longer rides would be ideal to help create some intensity other than just endurance. Last would be for team bonding and development if applicable.

3) Take the extra time away from daily duties to be sure to stretch and properly fuel between each days rides. A sudden volume spike can increase chance of injury. Counter this with stretching beforeand after a ride as well as later in the evening before bed time.

4) While not all training camps have to be a large team affair. Do try and bring along friends of like ability levels to help push one another through longer rides and to give some challenges. The few team camps I have been part of would always culminate in some friendly competition to help elevate everyones fitness level.

5) use the extra time to think about goals of the season. You don’t have to go to work, so use the time to focus on other things that are important to training.

6) You MUST rest properly after the hard effort. Any gains will not be realized until after your body fully rests from the effort. This period can range from just a day or two for 2-3 day training binge. Or up to w full week after a very intense and long week of crash training.

7) Stick to the goals of the training camp. I don’t know how many times I have seen or heard about a training camp that deteriorates into a mileage fest or week long stage race between friends and team mates. Everyone will have a bit of a different pace. This is ok! I know i said bring them along for SOME friendly competition, not every single mile of riding. Also remember at the end of day quality still beats shear quantity. Yes you will ride more, you just don’t need to ride a century every single day.

Planning a training camp or binge can be tricky, just use the general guidelines I have outlined above and chances are you will have a positive outcome from your sudden training boost.

Ride hard,

Coach Jordan

For more information or for comments go to      www.achievecoaching.net or      email me at coachjordan@achievecoaching.net

Plyometrics for spring

March 20, 2011

As the northern hemisphere rotates into the sun, its getting warmer out!! Cyclist, runners, and man more are starting to see the hints of spring and are salivating to get out on the bike and ride! I am an advocate for strength training for any endurance athlete. By now the strength portion of your weight routine, or off bike routine should be coming to a conclusion.

It is not time yet to totally abandon a weight routine. Instead I am a fan of continuing to work the muscles not used very much by your current sport. for instance for cyclist, working the abs, hamstrings, back, and arms are all critical to maintain an injury free season. Also I still advise athletes to work at least one set of the main movers. For cycling as an example, this would be the quadriceps, glutes, calf muscles, and a few more. (both these lists are not exhaustive, email me at coachjordan@achievecoaching.net for a more complete list for different sports) All this I recommend once a week or so.

This time of the season is not just about cutting weights down to once a week. It is also about addition of plyometric sessions. Plyometrics are explosive efforts that help take the strength founded in the weight work and adds a quick explosive movement to recruit better firing patterns. Power is something most endurance athletes need at some point during an event or competition. The mathematical expression for power is Power = force per time. If we think about this, force (moving a weight) and time (pedal stroke, running stride etc) are something done during every session of workout. Plyometrics takes the weight component and teaches your body to do it quicker. Another benefit is to load muscles, connective tissue, and bones to deal with a high amount of force.

A website I will recommend for viewing different work outs is here: I use this as it is a great tool for showing plyometrics as it would be to difficult / long to try and explain them.

Lower body = HERE

Upper body = HERE

Implementation:

I recommend for endurance athletes to do about 20-30 total movements (1 jump = 1 movement) for the lower and upper body (20-30 lower body, and 20-30 upper body) for starters. Over time this can be increased to 40-50 total movements. Do not exceed more than 50. Plyometrics also carry a risk of injury if not done correctly. Also with the addition of several hours of training each week 50 total movements a week should be adequate for a gain in performance.

As always, Ride Hard

Coach jordan

Please contact me at info@achievecoaching.net if you have any further questions

A letter from one of my coaching clients.

March 8, 2011

Below is email I recieved from one of my clients. I think there are some intersting points and would like to share it.

Jordan,

I have been trying/wanting to get more on the plan but seem to be getting sick much more often than I have ever been in the past.  It is only like a day or 2 of feeling bad but it carries over longer as I don’t want to push it and just get sick again.  That is what happened this weekend.  I felt it coming on Saturday and cut the workout short because I just was not into it.  Sunday I had a fever and felt terrible.  Today I feel good but have a cough.  I will probably skip tomorrow’s workout if there is still any lingering cough.  At first, I wanted to write it off as allergies since I was sneezing all the time but a fever is not allergies.  I am just frustrated right now and don’t really know what to do.  I am scheduling my routine annual physical and will discuss it with the doctor at that time.
Anyway that is just kind of a rambling state of affairs.
On a maybe related note.  Given that the majority of my workouts (as limited as they have been overall) being relatively higher intensity how much more does that stress the body than more low intensity AB-style workouts?
Also, you commented that the workouts I have been doing have drifted into tempo, which is probably true.  Subconsciously harder is better probably has crept in.  When I look at the HR zone of 139 as the upper limit of AB it seems like I “could not keep it that low”.  I totally trust you.  Is it maybe time to retest to see where my numbers are to get better targets?  I am sure they are different than my last test given my long lack of regular training.  What do you think?
 
MY ANSWER:
 
Great feedback. So my thoughts are this. Yes the higher intensity and more days off is more stressful on the immune system and the body in general. The idea behind this form of training is that you get a chane to rest and recooperate on the days off. This being said, I can make one more day easier to help accomdate this. So your schedule would be 2 hard days, one long day and one skills / technique day.

I would be interested to see what your doctor says. If there is something more amiss physiologicaly. Training is nothing new for you, its not an unexpected stress on your body. I think it would be wise to talk with your doc, run some blood work, and get his input on it.

This also can be stress related. If your job is simply really busy at the moment, you may be carrying more stress and getting run down more easily. Other than leaving your job, your best bet is to try and get adequate sleep, eat healthy, and try some relaxation methods for during / after work.

I understand the frustration with not being able to train like you want. Just take this instride of having a challenge. Lets see what your doctor says and I will also adjust the plan to the above paradigm I had mentioned. Also drop one day of the cross fit classes as well. Non stop workouts can also overload the system even if it is a different modality.

As far as tempo and the like, An endurance work out is much easier then most people think it is. This level of exercise is one that allows easy removal of lactate (and lactic acid). Also the steady pressure at a lower heart rate increase the vascular network, builds enzymes and increase mitochondiral density. All this happens at a lower point than most poeple think “training” happens at. Once you enter the next zone or level of effort beyond a desired physiological adaptation, that adaptation ceases to occur at a productive rate. Zone 3 (tempo) is where your body is just trying to keep up. While this a desried training zone sometimes, right now I would like to see more endurance pace with tempo intervals. On the longer rides, I am looking for 2-3 hours in zone 2 with 2-3 20 min intervals in tempo. Later this spring there will be rides I want tempo for the whole pace. These generally are faster group rides and race simulation type rides.

As far as retesting goes. This might not be a bad idea. Lets do a 20min test and a 1.5 hours aerobic test. (1st and 2nd 45mins avg heart rate, ride at an average pace of about 200W) Do these when you are having a good day and do them as soon as you feel you can.

Hope you enjoyed reading the email conversation . I know I have met more than one or two athletes out there that has had this kind of feeling before and htis piece is helpful.

 

Ride hard

Coach Jordan

Calorie restriction and performance

March 4, 2011

Most endurance athletes I know have some vision or goal of increasing their power to weight ratio. Runners, cyclist and many other athletes have something to gain if they could loose a bit of weight and add a bit of power to help them move faster or accelerate quicker. The concept is simple to change this and three are two ways to do it. One, to become more powerful. Two, to loose weight. Three to add both of these together. Option three is the best as it will more drastically change the ratio.

The problem is how to go about loosing weight with out hurting performance. I have been reading and listening to several resources lately that have demonstrated the importance of matching you calories with your exercise output. A study named “Adverse effects of energy restriction on myogenic enzymes in judoists” is a great example of this. In this study they looked at wrestlers who were on a reduce calorie diet. After 12 weeks of this program they competed and found there performances to be sub par. (this was also tested in a lab a few days before competition) Long story short, they found elevated enzymes that reduced muscular function and increased fatigue. The study found that the effect of reduced caloric training can have a negative impact for up to 20 days.

This article brings about two important things I would like to convey to athletes from all disciplines. First, having a mass deficit in calories is a detriment to quality training. I know some athletes like to think that training in a fatigued state is needed. Some think this is how their bodies learn to cope with stress. The truth however is that to realize each workouts intentions, you need to be at or near 100% each day you train. This is especially true on workouts that heavily tax the body and are considered break through workouts. Having the nutrition to support these workouts is a critical piece to help train successfully for an event. Second, with this study in mind, what ever weight you are at about 20 days before the competition should be the weight you compete at. Do not continue to decrease calories with in 20 days of a big competition.

So where does this leave the first paragraph? To get better it is sometimes needed to reduce weight to help the power to weight ratio equation. I would like to give athletes caution that only mild restriction of calories should occur while in the process of training. I am all for reducing an athletes weight (if it is needed and can be done) to help bring about a maximal advantage. In an article “Rules for weight  loss in runners” suggested that for endurance athletes to start at 250-300 calorie reduction only to help maintain performance. I also agree that a reduction of about 300 calories is the most an athlete would want to do. This will help keep performance up and make use of each days training session.

In Summary:

1) Only reduce calories by 250 – 300 per day at most to aid in realizing the benefits of a training session.

2) By day 20 before a big event, whatever weight you are, you will be competing at. reducing calories after this point is more than likely going to negatively impact performance.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan


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