Archive for the ‘Racing’ Category

That hard ride….

July 20, 2011

Last sunday I went for a longer ride than I normally have been doing lately. I set out to get about 3-4 hours on the bike. I had a plan for a ride to work on some threshold paced stuff during the later parts of the ride. I was shooting for some 5-10 min intervals at least 2-3 hours in to the ride. The short story was I completed the workout, the long story is below.

First there is a time and a place for when doing intervals in a more fatigued state. Just look at the tour de france right now. How many times do the riders save almost all of there effort for later into the ride? By my counter it is nearly every day. The training benefit is to teach your body to cope with large efforts in a fatigued state. This may help you run the last mile hard in a half marathon, conquer the hill in the century ride, or be able to blast past your friends or rivals in the local race or group ride.  This type of work out not only teaches the body, but also the mind.

It has been a while since I have done some quality hard miles  after 2+ hours. This past sunday was the first time back at it. I almost had forgotten how much of a mental game a workout like this can be. My legs were protesting and my body was telling me it was time to relax. The trick is to know that you can push past this point. Jens voigt has been quoted talking to his legs: “Shut legs and do what I tell you to do.” You more or less need to take the same approach during your training. This past sunday I told my legs to shut up, and I finished the ride by taking a long hard pull.

The mental aspect to meeting a goal is huge! Not only does saving the hard stuff for later in the ride help your body adapt. This type of training also helps you to realize that when the pace is high or challenging you to can push past it.

I know this seams to be a bit of “well no kidding” But to know that you can do it during your goal event or race, you need to do it in training first. Remember how it feels, remember the pain, remember how you can cope with it. This element is critical to pre-race or event visualization. Recall these feelings as you are getting ready for a race. I have seen several athletes, just say I know this is going to hurt. You need to push past it, you need to push yourself into the deep pain.

Just remember what Jens voigt said “Shut up legs and do what I tell you”

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan.

for more information go to www.achievecoaching.net to see how Achieve Coaching can help you!

Supplementation

July 3, 2011

Wow it really has been a while since a new post was written here, time to get back on track.

I would like to discuss what I recommend for supplementation. Very very few people I know really have a perfect diet. When you consider the human body does not perfectly absorb everything put into it; there can be huge deficiencies in nutrients by the time it has reached every part of your body. This is why I feel it is so important to supplement your diet.

Just like training volume, type and all the other variables. Supplementation is something that is specific to each athlete. Here is a general recommendation I have found works for a wide variety of endurance athletes.

General Multi-vitamin – One of my favorites is centrum performance. It has many of the basics that an athlete or harder working person may need. Try to pick a multi-vitamin that is also very high in all the B-vitamins. B-vitamins are very important for energy metabolism and production. A multi-vitamin is always a good insurance policy for most any athlete.

Amino-acids – By definition a workout in any form is going to break down muscle to varying amounts. The harder the workout, the more the break down. I have found 2 products by hammer nutrition to be very good. These are endurance amino and mito caps. By having specific amino acids introduced to the body, you greater the chance for a more complete recovery between hard workouts.

Iron – This is a very tricky one. I know I my self always do better under higher training loads with a minor amount for iron being supplemented. I would encourage lots of discretion if choosing to supplement with iron. Iron can help your cells from being anemic and encouraging red blood cell health. Again, use this with discretion.

Electrolytes – I include electrolytes as supplementation because you need electrolyte stores to even start physical activity. I know lots of people who take salt during a ride, but there are other elements that contribute and can be supplemented during your daily diet. In particular, calcium and potassium are needed for muscle and nerve function. These can sometimes to be included in a daily multi-vitamin. If possible try to find one that does. I break up some calcium in my gatorade mix to take with me on the bike when I am going for longer and harder rides.

Race day specific – on race day I use some special supplements, here is a brief list:

Caffeine – multiple studies have found many different advantages for caffeine in athletic performance, don’t go crazy though!

Phosphates – Most popular sodium phosphate to help with electrolytes and phosphates for creatine phosphate production. This is found in Hammer nutrition’s Race day boost.

Lactate pills – these help to flood the system with lactate that helps with lactic acid buffering. Lactate is the compound to absorb hydrogen ions that produce the burning sensation. By flooding the system with lactate, you can delay and reduce the amount of burning under heavy load.

A special shout out – I also highly endorse the use of Optygen. the effects have been debated, but I believe in it. It uses a herb extract that helps to bind oxygen to heme in the red blood cell.

In review, here is what I take:

 

Ride Hard,

Coach Jordan.

Bike Racing Key Attributes

June 14, 2011

Here is an awesome article about bike racing. Read it and check it out!

 

5 Key Attributes about bike racing

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

 

 

 

 

 

So how did the big event go?

June 8, 2011

I just had my big event! It was great getting back into the Pro 1/2 field mixing it up with north carolinas finest. The state championship course was great and the event was ran very well.

I had a pack finish and felt great during the whole race.

It is critical to take a moment and highlight what went well during the race to truly learn from the event. After a big race or event, what you learn from it is just as critical as the result that was during the event. Its impossible to note explain every case, but here is an example of what I thought of my race.

DAY: Started of cool, got very warm during the end of the race. I felt much better during the beginning part and started to feel a bit fatigued in the higher heat.

Stats: 80 miles, 26.1 mph avg. 28 / 42 placing. power = not races with power tap, heart rate = raced with out data.

Nutrition: Great, ate often and early on helping me feel good towards the end of the race. I did not finish the race hungry, so that indicates I was eating well during the event. I hydrated with electrolyte / glucose drink during the entire race and did feel any cramping due to electrolyte imbalance. Over all went very well. I did miss some bottle hand offs and had to take drink from other racers.

Strategy: It played out the way I thought it would. I was a team of one so my ability to impart control over the race was minimal to non-existant. I tried to get in the early break, but was counter attacked and missed the early break that was eventually chased back. I did make a solo effort mid race, but no one else went with me. I knew that I could not stay away solo… I was mis-placed at the end of the race. I was thinking to try a late solo flyer, but was caught at the back. I should have moved up when the field was strewn out  about 6 miles earlier.

Mental state: I was excited and felt good the whole race. I kept reminding myself to stay focused, keep shifting, and keep good placing. Overall the mental aspect stayed very good during the whole of the race.

What to do better next: Pack Placing, and taking hand offs for nutrition.

The above list I feel are the basics that every racer or rider should check through after a big event. It is during the events with the greatest expectations that you learn the most. Again there is no one way to discuss a post race analysis. But I do encourage every one to at least reflect on the race and take a lesson from it.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

Great Perspective about spring racing

January 26, 2011

Go to

Here

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

Cycling testing.

December 13, 2010

There are three basic tests I like to use for cycling. This scope of tests tells me everything from how well your aerobic system is functioning to how much pain you really can suffer. As mentioned a week and half ago, testing gives the basis for how to know what to work on with each athlete.

I will explain why I perform each test.

The first set of testing is 12sec, 1 min, 5min, and 20 min power testing. This testing gives a profile of the athlete. I can several things from seeing the testing numbers. 12sec power relates to sprinting, 1min power is ability to close a gap or make a short effort. 5min power is indicative of short climbing power or ability to out fox a chase group at the line. 20 min power is foretelling of long climbs and time trial prowess.

Looking at the numbers on the whole will give me an idea of what strengths and weaknesses the athlete has. In general most people tend to lack the ability for 1 to 5 min power. This is because group rides are often hard long efforts or short punchy efforts to a town line or the like. Mountain bikers how ever do tend to have high 1 and 5 min power, but low sprint and time trial powers. This is due to the constant variety of terrain and ability to frequently rest in between efforts.

The next test I usually look at is one performed over a 90 minute ride. The ride takes place at a pretty slow tempo (no more than a zone at which conversation is possible. I look at the average heart rate for the first 1/2 of the 90 mins and the second 1/2 of the 90 mins. This is indicative of the aerobic systems efficiency. If the athlete has very similar averages for both portions, they have a high degree of aerobic fitness. If the athlete has a disparity between them, it means more aerobic conditioning is needed.

Last I use a torturous test of :30 second sprints with :30 second rest. The repeat of :30 on and :30 off will only stop when the athlete fails to be able to do any more. This tests tells me the ability of the athlete to repeatability stand hard accelerations before failure occurs. typically I have not seen an athlete surpass 7 to 8 repetitions, with 4 or 5 being the average. The ability to go hard over an over can play huge dividends in the final moments of a criterium, road race or cyclocross race.

If you want to perform this testing on your self please see this page and download the full testing sheet. If you have questions, please let me know and I can help you on your way to a better year!

Ride Hard,

Coach Jordan

The balance of aspirations and reality

November 22, 2010

So its no secret I have been talking about goals. I want to address one more thing in relation to goals. I posted this blog in a forum and received some interesting feedback.

A fellow rider pointed out that while its all well and good to base a goal off of statistics; (i.e. power out puts for periods of times etc… as I discussed) how does this relate to a racer that has heavily performance based standards. After all racers need to be in a top spot to get an upgrade or to be considered successful. This is an interesting question and the previous recommendations I laid you before, fit perfectly.

By training with the goal of needing to perform “x” amount of time or effort, it gives the proper tools to position yourself well for a race finish. It is better knowing that you will go into a race needing to perform 50 times above 500 watts to be able to podium vs. I just want to podium . The difference between these two statements is vastly different. The racer whom trained with some obtainable goal will have a better chance at being victorious. While it might be the case that next year you will need to perform 50 times at over 600 watts; this is always an unknown that is called racing. I will always say its better to have some type of goal laid out in concrete obtainable terms rather I just want to win.

This also starts to touch on the racers psyche, the racer who wants it the most, usually is the best. I know from a personal experience I have been able to do things in racing that I was not expecting. This comes from the mental determination needed to perform at a race.

It is this combination of quantifiable preparation along with the will and want to succeed that will produce a truly great racer.

Next week: Setting up the training year

Ride hard,

Coach Jordan

Why is cross so darn hard?

September 29, 2010

Every season when cyclo-cross comes around, everyone I know (including myself) Seems to be so confused by how hard cross season is, or even some mountain bike races.

During the months of about december to september we are all in the training mode for road season. Road season is always a regimented training program, doing a 20min warm up, 3×10 min threshold intervals with 5 mins rest and then a 20min cool down. From personal experience I know the beginning portion of an interval will be taxing, but after a short bit you “settle” into the interval and it can even feel good. Cross season how ever is one race of intervals all over the place. :30sec sprint through the barriers, long grind up the hill, short burst at top, short rest through the turn… you get the idea. Then add in the attacks by others, trying to move a place here and there, and recovering after a slip up. There is no consistency at all, While criteriums can be close there is a general recipe for how the race plays out. Keeping in mind the human body is a creature of habbit, cyclo-cross is the complete opposite.

So this begs the question of how to train for a sport that seems to be so all over the place? Cross training must replicate the needs of the race; that is high intensity, high muscle force; random cadence, repeat ability, min rest. High intensity being short intervals that train the anaerobic  system.

This will be high out put efforts for :15sec to 2min in length, and be 110-150% of you threshold power. Work outs of this nature will generally be no longer than an hour or so with short warm ups and cool downs. In general the efforts will be focused towards what you know your weakness is. If it is in the 2-3 min area, than those intervals should be in your work outs. Also working on a 1:1 rest to work ratio will help out big time, especially on intervals less than 2 mins long. In road racing we would put more breathing room between, this is not the case with cross. However the recovery time between sets will be greater.

Cross also needs high muscle force as well. Frequently in cross there are situations where you come out of turns in the wrong gear, or going up a hill in to tall of a gear. Both of thee situations require bursts of high muscle tension to get going. Workouts to accommodate this will be things such as low rpm pedaling, sprints starting at 2mph in the highest gear, and pedaling them all the way to a 120+ cadence sprint. You could also try on a mountain bike to just not down shift sometimes on a hill. Furthermore, working in a short plyometric session can help vastly to improve your jump or ability to grind the gear out for a few seconds longer.

Speaking of cadence, there is variability in cadence used. So as just discussed with low cadence you also need to work on high cadence. This is as simple as trying to pedal at 110+ rpm for long periods or doing sprints that build to a 140 or greater cadence. This is also great to pear with the low cadence days. Because in one moment of cross you might be pushing a big gear, and the next spinning like mad for moments in time. Not to mention that sometime the mud clogged drivetrain might dictate some gear choices…

As eluded to earlier there needs to be variability. Looking at a power file of a cross race there is many efforts of more than 400 watts in the last race an athlete raced. Again just like a crit, there is need to produce big numbers for brief periods of time. The only case in cross though is it might look like a :30 sec effort, 1 min effort, :20 sec effort. So instead of just doing straight 1min or :30 sec sprints in from the road season. do :30 sprint, :30 rest, 2min effort, :30sec rest, 1:00 min effort. Vary these and try to repeat efforts until full exhaustion sets in. Once exhaustion does set in though, be sure to give your self ample rest time between sets. Any type of interval that makes you go hard, then go harder again will only help.

Last but certainly not least, cross race type simulation. Every where I have been has some sort of cross practice night. Take advantage in your area and do these practices it will only help with your cross season. Get a hold of you local bike shop, and ask, or look in a forum. These will be the best form of cross practice you can get.

From a power perspective, if you have just done a race that feels like a cross race does. Look at your file and have either gold cheetah, training peaks or email me the file to look at. Your looking for how many times you crossed 400 watts or greater (or zone 6, for those whom I do work with). This number will be a number to replicate and beat in a practice scenario.

Much of what is discussed above is very applicable to mountain biking. The course never follows :30 on and :30 off pattern. These strategies can help take the sting out of a hard technical mountain bike course.

One last note, is that some of this is all to forgotten when road season comes. While most races follow a general recipe and will always split at a certain hill of a certain time. It is good to have the ability to mix it up a crucial stages of a race to test your break away companions, or make it of a group to get in the break.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan

www.achievecoaching.net or email me at coachjordan@achievecoaching.net

Mid Season Break

June 9, 2010

Believe it or not, half the year has already passed. With it several races and events have come and gone. You have been going at it since december or so. There is still half a season left and it is time for a break.

Lots of people know they should take a break, but they don’t. It is time to really learn to give yourself some mid season rest and relaxation. This means for most athletes a few days to a full 2 weeks or so off. The proper amount of time off depends heavily upon the amount of time you have been training and your remaining season goals.

There has been lots of scientific research but I will summarize some of the benefits of taking a break. One, it gives the time for muscles to rebuild themselves after intense use or hard racing. The muscles have time to flush out waste and for them to fully recharge with glycogen, enzymes, and proteins. Not only does this mean static sitting around however;This includes some active recovery work. During the time off it includes self massage or a professional message, stretching and eating a proper and healthy diet. Two, rest gives the time to allow for some healing in the bone and connective tissues. Overuse is a very real danger in cycling, running, or swimming. In cycling the pedaling motion occurs 5,000 or 6,000 times per hour. Recovering again not only relies on rest, but stretching and eating well to aid in recovery . There are several other peripheral physical benefits, but the most key I feel is psychological.

Taking the time off allows you to regain time and focus on what you have done and what is yet to come. Time off from the bike gives a healthy break to the daily grind of the training routine. While the human being thrives on consistency of day to day life it is healthy to just change your routine every now and a again. Think of it even as a vacation like the ones you take from work. Many cyclists think If I am off the bike I am loosing fitness. Research has shown it takes 14 days off complete inactivity to loose even 1-3% of fitness. This time off is a great time to rethink about your current goals and the rest of the season. Instead of training time, it is wise to take time to research races, retune your training plan or just spend time with family and friends. This mental time off is more valuable to racers or the enthusiasts than the physical benefits.

After this time off, a week or two of reverting to simple Long steady Zone 2 rides is ideal to help the body get back into the the swing of training and developing a daily regimen once again. There will be one key difference. 2 workouts per week will still be a very short very intense efforts to help maintain upper end fitness. The other 4 to 5 days will be long and slow endurance to tempo rides.

Ride Hard

Coach Jordan


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