Where will Next Season Take You? Ready to Change your Routine? Get Healthy and Take Control of Your Goals
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Simple Answers to Tough Questions
The Best Bike Fit and The Best FaCT Testing Through Crossfit Orangeville
Monday, September 22, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
So some time off for Peter the last few weeks where he enjoyed riding with friends and doing what he felt on a given day. Some days this meant 5hour offroad rides, others some running or strength and some days it meant some arm curls in the coffee shop :)... and if you have seen us both lately you know that I can drink way more coffee -- So with some good motivation and the urge to do some testing we used the day before Crank the Shield as a testing day to set the baseline for his fall endurance training block and to get him ready to chase a couple of quick guys around northern Ontario for 3 days.
The test (using FACT protocol) starts off with a 20min warm-up before starting the first stage which is typically well below what they would consider their 'endurance zone' or ~50-55% mhr depending on the person. For Peter we start at 150watts.
Every 3 min for the rest of the test we increase the wattage (or resistance) a uniform amount (varies with person/fitness level) and for Peter this is 25watts / stage. This goes on until the athlete is unable to push the wattage at their optimal RPM +/- 5.
Once the athlete reaches this 'maximal' point the first lactate is taken by a small 'pin-prick' and collected with a lactate analyzer, which provides the current blood lactate level. Peter made it right through the 350 watt stage this test, with a heart rate of 184bpm at the end of the test. His first lactate was 10.4 mmol, taken only a few minutes after the below picture, tough to tell he is going very hard but you can see his deep breathing by watching is stomach below his hr strap.
After the rider reaches the 'top' of their test the wattage is then decreased and the rider continues to pedal at this wattage for 5min while their bodies clear lactate at this sub-maximal wattage. At the end of the stage another lactate sample is taken (should be lower then the max lacate) and the wattage increased to a slightly higher but still sub-max wattage. These 5min stages with lactates at the end continue until the athlete's lactate levels don't decrease but instead start to increase, indicating they aren't clearing the lactate as fast as it is being produced. This increase indicates the wattage/workload/hr the athlete is able to ride and still clear lactate and is termed 'lactate balance point' or LBP, which is one of the key wattage/hr/lactate points we will use in building Peter's Fall endurance block.
What have you accomplished this year ?
What is Left to be Done ?
What Changes can you make in your daily life ? Your Training ? Your Outlook?
This is a great time to start planning your next season with the end of most competitive seasons, this annual 'milestone' of 100 days, and the completion of your Year End Review (you have it done right ?) It is a great time to consider what we would like to achieve in the next season and what changes we can make in our training plans to reach these major objectives for the next season. We like to start with those big Outcome goals (i.e. Win your category, move up a category, win certain race), add in some Performance Goals that are not dependent on competition (i.e. Wattage in a test, Wattage for a duration). Write these down at the bottom of a piece of paper.
Your current situation can now be added to the top of a piece of paper. Consider your results/test results (most current ones are best). The gap between your current and goal performances is the blank middle portion of your sheet. How will you fill in these gaps? What training will bring your current abilities to the goal performance?
How you fill the middle of your paper is entirely up to you, there is no 'right way' but having a plan is important in motivating yourself during those tough times in the training year because you know you are on a path directed at your objectives.
Consider mini goals that act as stepping stones to construct your training path. Training goals like stretching daily, doing so many tempo workouts/wk or testing a certain amount, asking a certain number of questions to a trusted coach, attaining a certain body weight ... riding with a certain group etc. all act as little motivators and victories during your seasonal journey.
Most importantly include a due date/time to complete and criteria to know you reached each goal. Make sure you WRITE IT DOWN. Goals are more likely to be reached when you write them down and keep the paper somewhere you will see it daily (the bathroom mirror or in your training room? ) It sounds basic but that daily reminder is often a bit of extra motivation to train after a long day at the office or at the end of a tough block.
Take this down time after a tough season to consider and write down your plans ... regardless of your level of participation and help yourself start building a successful season.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
This morning I enjoyed the above video about slowing down in our general lives and it is worth a viewing if you can take a second to focus on it. I caught myself going to check email that had just come in during my viewing and quickly re-focused and let it wait ... it turned out to be a junk mail about how I can claim my million dollars by giving someone my bank account #.
With training this same problem transfers from our work and personal lives. We try to cram the most we can into our training sessions and think we are maximizing our days. Have you caught yourself using your cell phone during a ride? What about being completely focused on something other than the ride/workout you are in the middle of ??
Working on setting aside time to focus completely on your ride is a great place to start developing the habit of focusing completely on what is at hand. Try to take 5min and plan your ride, visualize what your going to focus on (RPM/Intensities/Interval durations etc.) and then during your ride practice thinking about only relevant aspects of your performance. At first you will find yourself wandering but slowly it should become easier to focus only on the task at hand. A cue word like 'smooth cadence' or 'steady power' can sometimes help maintain focus and form during intervals or drills.
This practice, once embraced, is rarely regretted. It frees us from the world of 'speed' so we can practice becoming better cyclists, athletes, fathers ... and more importantly enjoy each minute of the journey.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The length and composition of this time off is varied between individuals but an important component that should be part of every athlete's season is an assessment, perhaps with your coach, of your season and performance.
1) Did we reach our goals ? If not, Why not ?
2) What were our successes ? What did we learn ?
3) Highlights of the season ? (races and training - result and process achievements)
4) What were Disappointments ?
5) What would you change about your season in terms of :
a) Training (Frequency/Intensity/Type/Volume/Timing/Focus/Prep etc.)
b) Racing (amount/frequency/level/location etc.)
The questions will vary with your situation and level but the above are a good place to start. Critically looking back and finding places to improve and most importantly realizing that their are positive aspects to every season, even if it comes from learning valuable lessons at the expense of a few lost positions in the big race !
Next up is Goal setting for next season but I'll give you some time to develop your assessment of this season first !