At the beginning of December in the first part of this article we told you about our strengths, our weaknesses and the resulting winter goals. Now, a good four weeks later it’s time to report on the first phase of our winter-workouts. You could say ‘false start’ is the best description up until now, but read on for yourself…
It has been a bit of a slow start to the Ride Fit program for me, waiting to get over the motivational hurdle that is the New Year. But 2015 has rolled in and it’s now time to get serious. As a target driven person I really needed some structure to benefit from a training plan and so will be working with a Dirt School personal trainer, Rab Wardell, an XC missile, who has raced for the GB Team in the Commonwealth Games and numerous World Cup Races. As a UCI World Cycling Centre Expert Coach, he is well qualified to drag my lazy body back to a decent level of fitness.
Before we begin building a program, Rab needs to see what level he has to work with, so it was off to the Edinburgh Napier University to get thoroughly tested in the Sports Science department. One of the leading centres for cycle fitness studies, Napier is pioneering a new fitness test based on the specific demands of elite enduro racing, mixing anthropometry (how fat I am) with maximal aerobic power and repeated anaerobic power studies. I had a feeling this was going to hurt!
For 2 hours, I was poked prodded and probed, desperately attempting to put down my feeble power on the Wattbike. There is nowhere to hide during these tests, it is all or nothing and with no ‘end’ a massive mental challenge. However, I did not pass out and now I have a baseline. I know that my body contains 42.8kg of lean muscle, I can only presume that the additional 32.8kg is fat! My power to weight ratio from the ramp test was 4.46W/kg (with a peak power of 335w) and I can put down just over 1000w in a sprint. The next step is to meet up with Rab and come up with a Dirstchool Coaching program that I will stick too like glue and retest in 3 months. Until then I have dusted off the old running shoes and am putting in some easy miles at night in preperation for ramping things up.
“Things always work out differently than you expect”, – one of those wisdoms my mother used to tell me and it certainly can be applied to my winter training. I set out into the off-season highly motivated, did a performance diagnostics test and set myself aims to improve on my weaknesses. These are above all in the area of base endurance fitness and are best worked on with long, low intensity training sessions.
But who wants to sit on their bike for hours in filthy weather and temperatures of zero degrees and ride for so long you can’t feel your toes? Not me! And then a lack of time started to be a problem: I had to get rid of the illusion of excessive endurance training.
So my current aim is primarily to increase my core strength, my agility and to improve my coordination. To do this I’ve discovered a completely new winter compatible sport – ice hockey!
The short, hard intervals make you harder and the combination of skating and the stick really schools your coordination. The “fights” over the puck bring strength too. Additionally I’m going to the gym once a week for strength work, ride at least once a week and sometimes do a session at home on the black roll whilst watching TV. Endurance training has been postponed and will be resumed when it gets warmer – thank goodness I don’t have any competitive goals.
If the sun does come out for a bit I prefer to thrash down the trails than to get on the road bike and hit the tarmac. Here’s an edit from the last weekends:
This knee is getting on my nerves! Yes the swelling after the ligament damage is almost gone and the movement is coming back but the joint still isn’t working completely smoothly.
After the few times in the past weeks when I’ve managed to get on the bike I’ve had 1-2 days afterwards when walking has been a bit uncomfortable. The combination of horrible weather, Christmas celebrations and full-time-job has naturally been poison for my motivation.
But: progress can be seen and that’s what counts! So at the moment my focus is on stabilisation training, occasional turbo trainer sessions and a little bit of gym work.
In the next weeks we will give you more exciting and interesting insights into our winter training. You can experience the highs and lows. How can you overcome your lack of motivation and integrate training in your routine in-spite of a stressful job? We’ll do our best and continue to inform you.
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