Friday, October 27, 2006

Off Season Training

I posted this on my team's Email list and was going to skip posting it here. Ah, but what the hell it's obvious that nobody is reading my BLOG anyway. Seems that we are all too distracted with the adventures of Olaf von Vanderbella and the Wonder Kitty to look elsewhere.
So I had a couple of free minutes and plenty of caffeine and I thought I would jot down some thoughts on Off Season Training that some might find useful. These are not intended to be the one true way, or the best way to structure an off season program, but just some ideas and things to think about.

Riding, Quality vs. Quantity:
I am sure we have all heard the mantra of building capacity through long slow miles, this is always a good place to start. At the same time some alternatives to consider are the quality of those miles and do you really have the allotment of time needed to get the benefit?
Typically for the physiological change to happen to develop capacity, very low intensity in HUGE volumes are required. Not many of us really have the time available to meet the volume required. The other question is, if you DO have the time due to work circumstances and family situations you must also evaluate if this is really the most efficient way to spend your time?
"Blasphemy, why would you say such a thing?"

If your event is typically less than 60 miles, churning out 4 or 5 hours of nonproductive junk miles several days a week may not be the best training plan. Most cyclists lack the discipline to do these miles correctly and without knowing it sabbotage their own goals.
Let's assume you recently came into a situation that affords you some substantial time to train. Much like coming into a substantial amount of money, creating a plan of how to efectively use this new found resource, or hiring a professional to help, would be a wise investment. Several things should be evaluated prior to committing time to exclussively the bike.
1. Strength;
Much improvement and capacity can be gained by a well structured weight training program. I don't mean go out and lift as much as you can and become Arnold Schwartsagovner, but there are some really good off season programs that can be implemented that will not only provide cycling specific strength but also cardio vascular capacity. Circuit Training, Endurance Lifting, even on the bike Low Cadence/High Resistance pedaling are good ways to develop strength.
Cyclists in the lower categories are still developing muscle and cardio capacity, these programs will do both by helping to develop exercise specific muscle fiber recruitment and working the cardio vascular system as well.

2. Form;
How many of us have perfect form and are using our energy/power resources efficiently?
If you answered "me" to that question, you are either fooling yourself or waisting your time on amateur teams and need to apply for a spot on Discovery.
In addition to the strength programs mentioned above, investing some time into improving your form on the bike can pay huge dividends. Again, we are talking about time well spent on the bike verses just churning out tons of junk miles.
Ask yourself these questions:
A. Is my pedaling in circles or squares?
B. Is my sprinting form/position producing the most power it can?
C. How is my position on the bike? Too forward, too far back, too cramped, too low, or too high?
D. Is my upper body stable when I am riding or am I a rag doll on a bike? (core strength issue)
E. Where are my knees? In? Out? Are they working in a good line with the pedals, or am I deflecting my power in every other direction. Working on this will also reduce the chance of injury. One may even consider the pedals being used (I changed from Speed Play to Shimano/Look type pedals) and the introduction of good orthotics (Aline).

Just some things to consider, and I invite some of the more experienced riders to add to or correct the ideas above.

Nome Agusta (pronounced no may gusta)


Blogger Dr. X said...

1. I read it...
2. I enjoyed your off season ideas.
3. I'm already well into my strength program for 2007.
4. Thanks for confirming that 'no me gusta'...

2:57 PM  
Blogger Groove Talking... said...

Hey, put something new on your blog!

3:15 PM  
Blogger Lothar Glerbny said...

i just do what the russians tell me!

8:23 PM  
Blogger Nome Agusta said...

I heard about those Russians. Not sure I agree with the extreme old school...for me anyway.

I think we have had some new understandings of our physiology since the 70s, I don't think it hurts to tweak the program a little.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

sorry, I've been so busy out doing my junk miles I have not had enough time to goof off and surf in blogville.



7:45 PM  

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