Friday, January 06, 2006

Block training gets some love

In the latest edition of's weekly email newsletter, Coach Fred gives some props to Block Training.

This is a really good email newsletter. Even if you don't ride on the road there is still some good content in it.

Exceprt from News letter:
3. Best of Coach Fred o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o o^o

Am I Doomed By My Age and Work Schedule?

Question: I work four consecutive days of 13 hours each, then have 4 days off when I have unlimited time to ride. I usually do 2-4 hours, but especially on the first day I feel sluggish. I just turned 50 and my fitness and endurance seem to be on the decline. How can I turn things around, given my weird work schedule? -- Rick T.

Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Your question really has two parts, Rick. Let's look at each.

First, what training technique is best when you work four days on/four off?

A schedule like yours lends itself to "block training." When you have several days with unlimited training (and recovery) time, you can train hard on three consecutive days and recover during your non-riding work days. Cycling coach Dean Golich is a proponent of this system. He says that because consecutive days of racing often lead to greater fitness, we should take advantage of this phenomenon in training.

Here's how you might go about it:

---Day 1: Ride about 90 minutes at an easy-to-moderate pace. Just get in the miles and recover from the sluggishness caused by your long hours at work.

---Day 2: Short, intense intervals. Do sprints and jam short hills for 90 minutes or so.

---Day 3: Longer ride with longer but less-intense intervals. Ride lengthy hills and go at time-trial pace for periods of 3-15 minutes.

---Day 4: Group ride or moderate pace for several hours to build endurance.

Notice that rides on days 2, 3 and 4 get longer but less intense. You do the really hard stuff on day 2 when you're recovered from work but not tired from longer intervals.


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