Peaking at the end of the season

With the many late season races around the corner, such as the Iceman Cometh race – the largest mountain bike race in the country, and countless cyclocross regional and national championship races about to happen, peaking for these races becomes a priority. If you have worked hard all season, you certainly want to go out on a good note and fuel the fire for next year with a great feeling fast race. So, to feel good late season, keep in mind these few simple tips.

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Motivation – Using the left or right brain

Motivation never comes easy, especially when it comes to exercise. Busy lifestyles, schedules and the need to train on a high level will all butt heads at some point. Let’s face it, if you want to be good at a sport, then you are going to need to train when you’re tired, stressed, and pinched for time. So, what motivates you? Are you motivated by the sights and feel of a workout or by the numbers? Determining this will help you figure out which side of the brain you like to use most, which will then help you dig deep for motivation when you need it.

Most athletes will train on a daily basis but never think about what motivates them. As a coach, I try to figure out what motivates people, but as a self-coached athlete, you need to do this on your own and it’s important to do. You need to determine whether you are a left or right brained dominant person and use this to your advantage. So let’s take a look at the differences between left and right brain characteristics.

Left or Right Brained

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Mid-season transition for cyclists

Whether you race often or not, taking a break mid-season and changing gears is always a wise decision. That is of course if you are not preparing for a peak race in the middle of July or early August, and even if so, taking a transition after that peak race will still be a wise move. For cyclists targeting races in May and June, intensity and greater weekly volume needs to be part of the game plan starting in March, leading to four or five solid months of working hard to make fitness and strength gains. At some point, giving your body and mind a complete break will help you advance; otherwise staleness, plateaus, and burnout can happen easily. The following are a few tips to help you structure a mid-season transition, to get you back on the path to making gains through the end of the season. Continue reading

Missing training – Adjusting the plan

Whether you train with a coach, on your own, or use a pre-written program, you are going to need to adjust your training program at times. General fatigue, lack of time, and life in general will always play a role in preventing training and missing training days. So what do you do? The good news is a few days missed will not affect training at all. It will throw you off a little both physically and mentally but there are ways to adjust.

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Adaptation to Training – How Strength Gains Happen

To make gains in fitness, daily consistent hard work to build training stress (and fatigue) is necessary in order to create the need for the body to adapt. How you adapt to the fatigue will solely depend on how you train, and what systems you targeted. Adapting, the part of training most commonly overlooked, all depends on how well you recover from the training fatigue you have accumulated. Individual responses to training stress may differ, depending on genetics and fitness levels; however, there will always be an individual limit to the level of fatigue that can be handled before you lose the ability to adapt to any amount of training stress.

The General Adaptation Syndrome, a three phase response to physiological stress, was introduced by Canadian biologist Hans Selye in 1936. John Garhammer, Ph.D., a specialist in biomechanics and physiology, later took Hans Seley’s work and applied it to resistance training and exercise conditioning. The work of Selye and Garhammer established the groundwork for learning how the human body reacts to training stress, and more importantly, how it adapts.

Let’s discuss and apply the three phases of the General Adaptation Syndrome (the alarm, resistance and exhaustion phase) to endurance training.


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Setting season goals

To do well as an endurance athlete, season goals need to be set early to provide the motivation needed to train hard. It takes a long time to build endurance and reach peak fitness levels, so the sooner you start with setting goals, the better. Your goals can be loose, precise, large or small, just as long as they create the desire to work hard. Most importantly, season goals should be set around something you love to do.

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The variables and trends of heart rate training

Since the invention of the wireless heart rate monitor in the late 1970’s1, heart rates have been widely used by athletes, coaches and exercise enthusiasts as an important guide to training intensity. Heart rate training has been viewed in many ways over the years, from very precise to not so precise. Now, a growing number of coaches and exercise physiologists support the use of heart rates as an important part of biological feedback, as heart rates are a direct reflection of what is happening internally. In order to understand how heart rate plays a key role in training, you must understand the trends and variables that are associated with it.

Heart Rate monitor

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5 ways to improve indoor cycling workouts

We all know that cycling indoors is not as pleasurable as it is outdoors on the roads and trails. Being stationary and not experiencing momentum may play a large role in why indoor exercise is not as stimulating. But for many, indoor workouts are the only option certain times of the year. The cold temperatures of winter and the hot temperatures of summer will force anyone who deals with either extreme indoors to ride. So, for those of you who deal with being forced indoors, here are five ways to improve the quality of your workout.

The Use of Power

Power meters are a great tool to use while indoors. Using power allows you to gauge your effort easier than with heart rates alone. Heart rate is a great tool indoors and out, but heart rate is not as precise as power. When exercising indoors, there is advantage to being more precise. Using power will help you maintain steadier efforts, which will provide a greater challenge and more benefit. The more specific you can be while training indoors, the more it will benefit you when you’re back outside on the bike. Continue reading

Stomach Issues while racing – Possible causes and solutions

If you have ever dealt with a stomach issue while racing, then you have experienced the gut wrenching, painful, disappointing feeling it brings. Once you are dealing with a stomach issue, there is little you can do and no quick solution. Slowing down to allow digestion to take place is one solution but to stop racing may be the only answer if the pain is severe. The best way to avoid stomach issues, otherwise known as the dreaded gut rot, is to prevent it. In this article we will discuss a few aspects of racing that can lead to stomach issues.

Poor pacing can easily lead to stomach issues, especially when you are competing in long duration events. The longer the event, the more need for food and water and the more important pacing becomes, especially for events that last from 7-10 hours. Too many intense surges during these longer events can easily lead to stomach issues. When you surge and work a higher intensity, even for a few minutes, you create an increased need for blood flow to the working muscles and to cool the body. That leaves less blood flow for digestion. Continue reading