Sunday, October 16, 2005

Off season training Pt1: Intro

This is part 1 in a series of how I've been training on the Morris Plan

I'm going to write a series of posts about my training during the off season. This is part 1:

Introduction/basic concepts

***Big Note; I am not a coach. I am not a excercise physilogist. I did not stay in a Holiday Inn last night. Much of the things I'll talk about are just paraphrases and parroting from the books and coaches I follow. But I have been riding/training for many years, and know my body, and am more talking about my specific experiences under this kind of training. The level at which I'm riding as it relates to limited # of hours trained combined with enormous stresses of being married, with children, holding a full time job, being a home owner, and not being blessed with the genes of Lance says to me that something is working.

Why Train in the 1st place
Well I am racing and want to race as well as I can, so that is that. Want to do well? Well gotta work at it. Sure, lots of people can just ride for fun and race well. But read the title of this Blog. Team MWC, FTJ, NGT. If I want to do well I gotta train.

But for many, racing just isn't your thing. But regardless of racing, I think one thing is true across the board. There is nothing as much fun as riding well, and riding strong. And I think you can incorporate some of these training philosophies into your riding for fun and you will get better and faster, and whether you admit it or not, you'll like it.

Also you may not believe it, but there is a sick fun

to the hard intervals. Completing each one and each session is like it's own short term goal. And every success is positive mojo to keep going another day.

The Morris Way
This will be the Third Full Season that I'll be following the Morris plan as outlined in his book:

I've also gotten some loose coaching from him in the form of some generic schedules and phone consultations. The book is interesting. It is very small, but there are a lot of principles in it, that for me took several readings to fully absorb and understand. Don't expect a cookie cutter plan from it either. What is presented is more of a general framework. It takes a lot of thought to figure out how to take the frame work presented and tailor it to your specifics:
-Type of races
-Level of racing
-Time commitments
-Ability to recover
-How much work you can endure
-when you races are..etc.etc.etc.

And I've loosely followed some of the training philosophies for several years prior. But this past year I've really felt like I was able to take the previous year and build upon it and keep take another step up that staircase. Which to me is as important as any race results I got this year.

Four Phases to the Off season
There are 4 main phases in this off season training program:
1) Resistance Training
2) Aerobic Endurance
3) Supermaximum Sustainable Power Intervals (PAINFUL)
4) Maximum Sustainable Power Intervals

I like the different phases. Each phase is sort of like when you are raising a child:

During each phase there are some good things and there are some real pain in the ass things. And during each phase you work hard but are always looking forward to the next phase, and when the next phase comes you wonder where the time went.

The BLOCK TRAINING philosophy. One thing that underlies the training I do is block training. On the micro level is :3days on, 2 days off, 2 days on 1 day off. Or something similar. A lot of people say that you shouldn't do back to back interval sessions. And that you need a rest or easy day in between. Not here. Even in the strength training I do some back to back days, but you decrease some duration the second day. I think this philosophy has been key to my improvement.

For someone who doesn't want to 'train' with intervals, etc. Do what I did when I had my first child. I decided to just ride for fun and ride to smell the roses. just enjoy being outside, just enjoy being on the lla.
What a load of crap. You try riding on Brush Mountain when you are out of shape and you tell me how much fun it is. Let's just say that I was not having a fun time. Pieces of my lung were being ejected on the trail. I couldn't fly on the single track, and my skills were going to heck because there was no fitness there. I wasn't racing or even had thoughts of racing. But I was not riding at what I call "The speed of fun" There is a certain fitness minimum needed where you can really have fun on the trail. Where you can hold your momentum on the single track rollers, and climb something without certain death.

So I started doing some blocks.
day 1: 1.5hrs as hard as I could
day 2: 1 hr as hard as I could
day 3: 1/2hr as hard as I could
Day 4 off
Day 5 off
Day 6 easy
day 7 repeat

Something like that. And within a month or so the speed of fun was attainable and I was happy.


At 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what type of resistance training are you referring to

At 5:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am back into mountain biking after 15 years - I just rode for fun back then. Would you recommend your off-season program to someone who wants to get into shape so as to be on the bike longer/reduce the pain and thus have more fun riding? Note: I have no 'base' miles on my legs from cycling nor running, for that matter. Weekend warrior volleyball and softball player who just got bitten ( hard ) by the mtb bug after 15 years ( and a wife, job and 2 kids )off. Thought I'd be able to ride anything and do it all day long like I could when I was 22 - wrongo. Thanks for your input.

At 6:38 AM, Blogger Ashwin Amanna said...

This plan is pretty structured and some would say even a little anal when viewed from the 'riding for fun' perspective. But it really works.

If you're like me even though you're riding for fun you want to ride strong. There is nothing more fun with mountain biking than being able to hold your momentum through technical sections and hills, and that is very dependent on your fitness.

What I'd suggest is a hybrid of this program to see if it works with your lifestyle/mentality.

Follow this basic cycle and then every 3 weeks take a 5-7 day rest period. For the ON time I'll just say X. Add or subtract based on your available time.

The two keys are:
-your riding should be as hard as you can go for the length of time your working out. Do it outside inside, mountain, road, whatever.

-decrease the time your workout on consecutive days but try to keep intensity the same

When my first child was born I'd go out for 1.5hrs max and then 1hr the next day and 45mins the next day...

Day1 On Xhrs
Day2 On 75% of X
Day3 Off - rest or just spin around
Day4 On Xhrs
Day5 On 75% of X
Day6 On 50% of X
Day7 Off
Day8 Off

Rest period Done every 3 weeks
Day 1 Off
Day 2 Off
Day 3 1hr easy + 5x1min on, 2 min off very very hard
Day 4 Off/easy
Day 5 1.5 hr easy

All that being said, if you think you can follow the entire plan than buy his book and use my tutorial and put together a complete off season. You WILL get better and will be riding much stronger come spring time.

hope that helps


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