Winter is coming, you’ve finished all your events for the year and had your holidays. What now? It’s the time of year when most cyclists begin their preparations for the following year. It’s a sad fact that building fitness takes a long time. But it isn’t as daunting as most people think, it just takes some focus, some motivation and some direction.
I’d like to share with the world my journey as a 1st category racing cyclist striving for my elite license. Over the next few months i’ll be completely transparent with all my training tips, power data and methods for becoming a better road cyclist.
It’s worth pointing out that there is no ‘one size fits all’ training program, so you follow any of the sessions I complete at your own risk. I quite often completely bastardise (pardon my french) my own training to experiment with new techniques and new sessions which may not be best suited to me and my physiology. I also know my own strengths and weaknesses very well, so the program I follow as a very anaerobic, power based athlete (this is code for over weight) is quite different to your run of the mill skinny steve cyclist.
If you’d like any help with your training or preparation for an event then please get in touch for some coaching assistance. The biggest challenge is often selecting the right program and tailoring it to your unique circumstances, so even if you just want a chat to make sure you’re on the right path then give me a call!
To give some continuity to this blog i’ll post some regular stats so that you can see what is worth monitoring to track your own progress. I won’t explain it all at once but right now the focus is on building CTL and weekly hours.
I am currently in week 2 of my ‘preparation phase’. A preparation phase is a good way of easing back into a structured program after a long break. Prior to this I’ve had 3 weeks of very little training which is reflected in these very average numbers!
As i’m nearing the end of preparation phase and about to begin a winter build I need to make sure that my training zones are accurate. I follow a zone based training program using both power and heart rate. My zones are calculated based on my anaerobic capacity, and sometimes FTP so it’s important to have an accurate and up to date reading. If my zones are accurate and up to date I can be sure i’m getting the desired training effect from the zones i’m spending time in. To get this accurate reading I have today completed a step test using the BSX Insight monitor and Wattbike. Here are the results or take a look at the activity on Strava https://www.strava.com/activities/743406049 . PS follow me on Strava!! 🙂
It’s quite normal to see a drop in FTP after an end of season break. My peak FTP this year at the height of summer racing was 405 watts so i’ve seen a nearly 50 watt or 12% drop off. Some of this drop can also be associated with me exclusively riding recumbent bikes and training for an anaerobic focused event over the last 3 months.
I’ve also piled on a few pounds… this may be something to do with several visits to fast food restaurants on my holidays A very accurate predictor of performance is your FTP expressed in terms of watts per kilogram. Again, my summer peak was 4.65 w/kg. It currently sits at 3.83 w/kg. This is a huge difference and once my training is up to speed I will start to refocus on my diet and calorie intake. But for now, cutting calories and ramping up training could lead to a very quick burn out. One at a time is a wise move for me.
As a larger rider currently sitting at 93kg it’s important that i’m as light as possible by the time I start racing. Getting down to my race weight of 87kg makes a huge difference to my ability to compete in tough races… but it is bloody hard work keeping lean!
So now I have my zones set indoors i’ll be finishing my preparation phase with largely unstructured rides and trying to verify that my power meter concurs with the indoor test. Then the calculated winter training begins next week.
If you want to see anything in particular from this series of blogs, do let me know!
Safe riding everyone,