Sunday, April 19, 2009

Train Smarter not Longer

I was going to title this blog "Train Smarter not Harder" when I realized that part of what I am advocating *is* harder training. What I am not advocating is the need to spend more hours on the bike at the same selected speed that you feel most comfortable riding. That type of training is effective during the off-season; but we are in the meat of the racing season, so it is time for a change.

I have read quite a few resources on training for cyclists (while somewhat educated I am not always the best at putting it into practice) and my favorite book so far is "The Cyclist's Training Bible" by Joe Friel. This book is a treasure trove of information that I will try to pass on through subsequent entries in this blog. If you have the inclination and the resources available (about $17 from Amazon), I recommend purchasing and reading this book.

In "The Cyclist's Training Bible", Friel tells us, "The biggest mistake of most athletes is to make the easy days too challenging, so when it comes time for a tough training day, thy can't go hard enough. This leads to mediocre training, fitness, and performance". In other words, if you are training at about the same intensities and distances each time you ride, then your body is no longer adapting and you are actually losing fitness instead of gainingfitness and speed. All training rides should have a specific goal and the goal of the training rides should help you reach for specific goals as a bike racer.

Unfortunately for me, this probably means that I won't be doing the Monday Night Ride. I love this ride. It is one of my favorite routes and I enjoy hanging with most of the riders that participate in this ride. However, it doesn't fit in my training routine because I want to be able to go very hard at the Tuesday Night Crits. Therefore, I need Monday to be an easier day so that I can go harder on Tuesday. I am in no way saying that you shouldn't participate in the Monday Night Ride. If it fits your training schedule and goals then by all means do it.

I think most of us knew that this would be a "lessons learned" year for us. One thing that I really look forward to doing through the course of this year is developing an annual training plan with the knowledge gained from this year to better prepare myself for next year. For more on that, stay tuned to this blog.

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