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There’s plenty of time to train for next season: perspective needed.

Doubt.  Self-doubt.  It’s horrible. 

I’m sure you all want to hear how positive I feel about my abilities but sometimes that’s not the case.  I’m going to put it down to riding with a Cat 1 racer on Saturday morning’s fast group ride with Stirling Bike Club.  Another soon-to-be Cat 4 club mate is also a lot stronger than me; he’s made a fantastic transformation this year by dropping around 7 stone and getting really bloody fast.  Well done Andrew! 

So what’s my problem?  Nothing really, I’m at the start of winter training and I’m still recovering from a cold; every hill on the Saturday’s ride had me coughing up a lung like it’s 1348.  The ride also featured 1,300m of climbing over 70 miles - this time last year I wouldn’t have even considered going out with the fast guys in the club, so there are positives.  It’s still demoralising going backwards on the climbs though…

The knock on of pushing myself on Saturday was sore legs on Sunday but this morning’s 22 mile ride into work was done at an average of 19mph, a quick check of Garmin Connect shows I was averaging 16.5mph over the same route this time last year, at the same heart rate.

And that brings me nicely to my winter training.  I use 3 heart rate zones, many people use 6/7 but I must be simple because I have no idea what they mean.  The 3-zone training came from Joe Beer, who coached me over winter last year, the theory being that you train for endurance in winter months by keeping a low HR which increases your aerobic base then build on that in the spring with speed sessions. 

What has happened is that I’m quicker, but my body is doing the same amount of work.  I had hoped that this would step me up to pro-level over one winter of training, but it seems that there’s more work required if you’ve spent 12 years sitting on your couch eating junk and supping beers!

8 comments

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TurboJoe [73 posts] 5 years ago
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7 stone?

Nice work.

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SamShaw [266 posts] 5 years ago
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That's right - he's done a great job. I need to make sure I get to the magic 75kg to put my total at 8!  4

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JonMack [169 posts] 5 years ago
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If I lost 7 stone I'd be dead! I often doubt my own abilities have convinced myself that this winter i'll get the training spot on and come out the other end ready to drop everyone on the climbs on my 5 day trip to Portugal in April... In reality however, well, we'll see what happens in 4 months.

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seabass89 [212 posts] 5 years ago
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Wow... 7 stone.. *calculates* HOLY! wow!

A wise man, named Greg LeMond might have a tip for you:
"It never gets easier, you just go faster"

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Marky Legs [124 posts] 5 years ago
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Great stuff lads. As a 51 year old trying to get faster with no possibility of losing weight (except for the little I may put on during the winter months) I applaud your efforts.
I commute 10 miles each way, five days a week. I've ridden two 100 mile sportives this year and find my strength is with the climbing. But I need to go faster on the flats.

I'll be watching how you get on in the hope I can also improve my speed.

Good luck with the winter training.

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Simon E [2898 posts] 5 years ago
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Sam, bearing in mind Joe Beer's comments in the article you linked to about intensity in Autumn, are you sure that a hilly 70 mile ride with the quick lads is ideal for you at this point in the season?

If you're still recovering from a virus you should really lay right off the effort until you have recovered completely. Otherwise you may compromise your recovery and leave the door open for another virus.

I agree with Joe that the changing seasons have an effect; I'm less keen to get out of bed when the alarm tells me to, and there has been a rash of colds going around the office. Sleep well, eat well (lots of fresh fruit & veg, soup etc) and get out in the light whenever you can.

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SamShaw [266 posts] 5 years ago
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Apt timing Simon!

I went out with the Happy Heart Rate group this week, and only went out of zone a couple of times, once going up the Dukes Pass when I eased off, setting my own pace and not trying to follow wheels. 75 miles with 1,400m climbing and the weather was dire, needless to say I was spent when I got home.

Saturday night was bad though - kids were up a lot (one determined not to go to bed, the other has a cold and is teething!) so very little sleep. Yesterday my wife is complaining about an itchy throat and I start to feel the same in the evening so another virus after the other had nearly cleared up.

Plenty of F&V is being consumed along with additional VitC. Needless to say I'm in the car today, breaking my "If I'm ok to work, I'm ok to ride to work" rule.

I'll be re-reading that article this week, doing what I should've been doing before: recovering!

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Simon E [2898 posts] 5 years ago
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My wife reckons Sambucol is a good one for the kids. I crave hearty soup and tinned grapefruit when I'm ill. I suggest you scoff lots of greens when run down - raw spinach, steamed or raw broccoli (don't boil the goodness out of it). And plenty of water.

I have the reverse of your commute rule - if I don't feel well enough to ride I have to ask myself if I'm well enough to be at work all day. If you've chosen the car then take it on the chin and do the other things right too. It will be worthwhile, I'm sure.