Random Training Philosophies
Cycling Training Tips for Triathletes
Glauco is a mentor to bike racers in St. Catharines. He grew
up with cycling watching Coppi and his compatriots train and race. He shares
his knowledge freely. The kids he trains now pull a tire. A big heavy old
car tire. There is a metal loop fastened through the tread to tie a rope
through. The other end of the rope goes around the seat post. This simulates
a mountain. We have some good hills but no mountains in St. Catharines. He
has them pull the tire for 8 km three times and then he meets up with them
for some motor pacing. They draft behind the motorcycle going in and out of
the wind reaching speeds upwards of 70km an hour.
Glauco will be the first one to tell you that it is not the motorcycle or
the tire that is important. He would say the motorcycle is not a magic wand.
The important thing is that they work hard and the more important thing is
that they recover.
Overload and recovery is the first principle of training. You need to
overload the specific system and then after it recovers it comes back
stronger. There are many different ways to train and many different
programs to choose from it is hard to know which one is best.
First of all you need to try different things to find out what works best
for you. Bill Rogers pointed out in one of his running books that he and
Frank Shorter reached similar personal best times in the marathon with
almost opposite approaches. Frank Shorter trained less but built his
training on interval work. Bill Rogers ran many many miles. Almost any
training program works for some people but there isnít one training program
that works for everyone. The most talented athletes do well under any
training program because they have talent, but if they trained the best way
for them, they would be even better. After two weeks on a program you should
start to get an idea if it is working; four weeks you will know. If
something isnít working, change it.
Consistency is important because your body canít adapt to things you
donít do consistently. Change is also important. If you are adapted to
what you are doing you need to change it slightly to reach that overload. If
you overload a little you recover quickly. If you overload a lot it takes
longer to recover. If you are not fully recovered you overload more quickly.
You need to take days off for full recovery eventually. It is
confusing but very simple. You need to train hard, you need to train a lot
and you need to back off and take it easy. It is all just a matter of when
to do it. This is where your training plan comes in. Personally I plan my
hardest weeks and build towards them gradually by how I feel. Iíll hit that
hardest week and then have to back off. Iíll rebuild and hit the hardest
week again and again until that is my typical training week. Then it is
usually time for my big race of the year and I get to take a bit of a break
before and after.
Your training plan is a guide but you donít blindly follow it. You
need to watch yourself. You shouldnít know exactly what you are going to do
until the day you are to do it. You need to train hardest when you feel good
and back off when you feel bad. Check your resting heart rate in beats per
minute every morning. If it is up by more than 5 back off. If it takes more
than two days to recover from a workout you are training too hard and need
to go back to doing easier base training for a while. I see many cyclist who
need to rebuild mid season with a week off and then a couple weeks of slow
If you are a hard trainer, training less often is a good idea. If you train
easier, you can train more often. Your training not only needs to fit your
life but also it must suit your personality. If you are mellow and like to
just ride, do it. If you like to lay it on the line and go fast do that but
make sure you recover. Chances are the training you enjoy the most is best
for you and you enjoy it because it suits your personality and your
physiology which is more connected than anyone realizes.
I think it is also very important to believe in your plan
because if you donít believe it won't get you the results you want you will
never stick to it. Take your plans off the Internet and from books but
factor in yourself and your life. If a program doesnít fit with what you
think is best adapt it. You are in control of what you do. A coach is good
because they have experience and can see signs before you can. There have
been days when Glauco has told me how I feel just by looking at me and he
was right. A good coach will ask you as many things as he will tell you and
a good coach will have you do what is best for you. A good coach gets to
know you and is honest with you. If you coach yourself, you need to get to
know your body and you need to be honest with yourself.