Tuesday, January 29, 2008

getting there

For at least 3 reps on today's intervals I felt back into the groove. Today was 2 sets of 6reps of 2 on 2 off. The first 3 went well. Well meaning that my face was contorted and I was motivated and just barely able to finish them.

However after those first three it went a little downhill and I was unable to really finish the next reps completely and then decided to bag the second set. What that tells me is that I obviously chose too high a power setting to start with. The key for the Morris style intervals is to select an intensity that you can maintain for the entire workout. When I go too far over the limit I am shot for the remainder. I've often just scaled down the power for the remaining intervals in order to finish the workout. Other times, like today I'll just stop.

From one perspective it can seem like a slightly wasted workout. Where I was supposed to do 2x6x2=24 total minutes of work I only did 6x2=12 minutes work of which the during the last 2 reps the last 20 seconds was below desired power. However for at least some of it I was over my limit. Which is to thing to highlight.

There was an article many years ago in Bicycling Mag by Dean Golich who was Dave Morris's partner at the time. He made the statement, "if you never go 30, you'll never go 30" The 30 is reference to 30mph for a time trialist. His point was that if your goal is to average 30mph for a time trial you are never going to do that if you can't get yourself to go 30 in training. Their training methods center on this ability to work yourself at higher than sustainable levels in order to bump up your overlall sustainable power.

So I burned too many matches early on. After that it's tough. This is the main issue I've had with racing the past years: going too hard too early. Hence my racinng philosophy was to control my efforts and finish strong. However this year I'm going to take that paradigm and flip it upside down completely. Damn results, go for the gold at the start and survive to the finish. This will be difficult to mentally accept but I think I need to do this in order to improve. Just keep the search parties in reserve cause surviving something like Dragon's Back or Douthat is a lot different than a lap race.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Moving onward

The weather last week was not conducive to riding outside long. And I had no focus or motivation for trainer work. So another week lost. I decided to bag this phase and begin to move on. If there is a break in the weather on a weekend maybe I'll switch the schedule and get a long one in, but for now I'm moving to intervals.

Yet once again I have failed to complete a full endurance phase. And we're talking the short endurance phase that Morris does not even one of those 3month phases like most people do.

I took first training calendar that I got from Dave Morris in 2005 and copied it word for word. The past two years I've added sets and reps or increased time lengths. This year I'm going to drop back down to the original plan. The key will be to do the intervals at the highest power for the entire workout. With the Tacx Flow or other ergo trainer this is a great way of working harder and showing improvement.

My thinking is that the area I want to work on most is the ability to put out big power for short time. The past two years I did longer efforts but they had to be at lower power settings. My thinking was that since the races will be longer I needed to up the total work per interval. But it seemed that while I did improve that I didn't get that much better especially in the starts or short efforts. I want to try now going for higher power levels.

For example the first workout of the plan was 3 sets of 5x1 on 1off with 5 min rest/set. I did these at a power level like 30W higher than in 2005. I know that in about a week and 1/2 I will be able to make a significant bump up due to supercompensation.

The workouts have been a little hard. And I could't finish one yesterday. Fatigue is an issue and I am tired. Lots of things going on with work, family and now starting to take a class. Not to mention that I'm not super fired up yet about racing. So getting through the intervals can be hard. The common phrase I've seen is "with sufficient motivation"... With sufficient motivation I can do all the intervals. That might mean the right song, or just digging deep. But to dig deep you gotta really want it and admitdly I'm kinda going through the motions a little bit.

I'd forgotten about the underlying fatigue these intervals cause and the constant hunger. I have however been feeling the spin in my legs coming back. I'm shedding tht plodding, awkward up/down mashing motion for that fluidity and that feeling of momentum in the legs. Where each pedal stroke helps the next.

I haven't been outside in a while, and need to get out there to regenerate some passion. Sometimes it is just easier to get on the trainer and takes motiation to suit up and get outside. But the truth of the matter is that almost every time I realize that I do love to ride my bike. So getting out on the trail or road and feeling the legs move and feeling balanced on the bike is going to be a motivator as much as seeing increased power levels.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How to stay motivated

Someone asked me a question the other day. How do I stay motivated? The timing of the question was actually a little ironic. Because quite honestly I am not very motivated at all for cycling at the moment. It's quite a contrast to the uber focused cycling intensive mindset I typicall have.

It bothers me a little bit. I've put a lot of effort towards meeting some cycling goals over the past few years, and it would be a shame to just let them fall away. But for the moment I just can't fight how my mindset works. It's bouncing around at the moment with lots of things on my mind that is currently leaving cyling a little on the short end of the stick right now.

However, what I'm trying to do is keep the training going but in a way that I don't have to think about it too much. Sort of like brushing your teeth. It's something that you just do and have to do, but it's not something that you have to get all pshyched up for or have the think about obsessively. You just do it.

I'm also lucky to have a friend on the similar training periodization plan and we motivate each other to get out there. We are in the endurance phase right now, and it is tough to get some long days on the bike with work during the week and then family time on the weekend. Taking two days in a row for a 3-4 hr ride back to back probably isn't going to happen. But I have gotten a few good 3-3.5 hr rides in with some good muscle endurance work. Sprints have been very half hearted and not very fulfilling.

Today on a ride I noticed the legs starting to click a little. As if they are remembering what they are supposed to do. Rather than the choppy up/down pedal stroke that has been prevlant the last few weeks, for a few fleeting moments I felt that smooth pedals stroke where power is delivered across the entire pedals stroke each revolution feeds into the next. That's a nice feeling to have and is encouraging that the legs are starting to come around a little bit.

I imagine that I'll get more motivated for cycling when the legs are back in form and I'm on the mountain bike. We've done a few mountain bike rides but honestly they have left me with a little negative feeling. The ground was soft, the legs felt tired and the end result was a ugh that was hard. However after a few more weeks of some solid rides and then getting into the interval phase, the legs and heart really start to come around. Then getting on the mountain bike is really fun. Because you've got the power in the legs and the cardio to back up intensive efforts. Now that is good time.

There are good races coming up this year. To tell the truth they have been far from my mind, but races and especially being scared of the race is a good motivator for me. Dragon's Back is coming up in April. Now that is something to be scared of.

One of the things I need to do and it's something I preach to everyone else is to get my schedule written down and on paper for the next several months. Doing this gets the huge training monkey off my back. I just look a the schedule and do the workout to the best of my ability. If I can't do it because I'm tired or work or some other event than move on, pick it back up when I can. Removing the thought process from the training makes it more like brushing my teeth.

It all comes down to consistency over the long haul. Doing a little bit throughout the course of the years has proven to the be the key to success for me.

One thing I've realized over the years is that I may get into and out of many different things, but the important hobbies always come back around. It always seem to be like a flipping a switch. One micro second I'm not into something and the next it has become my obsession. So for the moment, training continues but on a lower plane of existence, but in time it will move back to a forefront position.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Nothing like a little whoop as to wake up the legs

I've not been too motivated to ride much. It's the endurance phase and when I have been able to ride I go deathly slow in order to make the time pass longer so that when I get back home my ride time is higher.

My friend and I joined a group ride yesterday and it was a shocker. Right from the start these guys were flying. I was going hard enough to wheeze and wish for an inhaler. Within the first 1/2hr I was thinking of breaking off just to go at an easier pace. I ask myself if it is a good thing to be going too hard too early.

But the fact is this isn't somehting I do on a regular basis. A good smack down on my legs even this early helps wake me up, get the legs going and helps to motivate me. But still it was still way faster than I'd be going if I were by myself.

We've gone from high 20s to mid 60s in a week. Better enjoy it while I can.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Slowly moving forward

This sinus infection has taken quite a while to clear up. After about 5 days of antibiotics most of the fever/chills went away. However it has taken till just recently to feel totally better. For awhile I've just been really tired and having a very hard time getting outof bet in the morning.

Riding is of course taking a hit. Physically I can do it but mentally it's been a struggle to get out the door. The less I do it the hard it is to get back into it. I view if as negative momentum. I want to do it, I've invested lots of effort and want to build on my training, yet it's ironic that it is difficult to motivate to get out there when first coming back off a layoff.

The last few rides I've done have felt pretty bad. The legs don't have anything and the transition into more cycling specific strength is slow. With a long layoff it's going to take at least as many days back on the bike to get the legs to start coming around. It's not bothering me too much, it's way to early in the year to be worried about how fast I'm going, but it does bother me when it's a struggle to just ride around.

I'd been all gung ho to get into the endurance phase of riding. The weather has been pretty decent in terms of temperature but now we have a short cold spell again. In addition I'd gotten some other things on my mind which takes away from some of the motivation. Hopefully I can get back into it. My goal now is to not obsess over training/riding and just get out in the saddle and remember howmuch fun it is. while slowly moving forward in the training plan.

I got the snowboard bug again so maybe a few days will be sacrificed to sliding on our east coast ice pack and following another learning curve albeight well down on the ability scale compared to mountianbiking.