Selecting Your Events

Selecting Your Events

  • November 8, 2018
  • Blog

Daylight hours are shortening, leaves are falling, and temps are dropping… You’ve set your goals for next season (previous post: Goal Setting), and even resumed some base training. The next step in the planning process is selecting your events for your next season. Sifting through the potentially large amount of events in which you are interested, and planning your season around these specific events, is the second step in the planning process. 

Planning your next season around a target event is crucial to setting up an effective training program.

You must first know the “what” & “when” you plan to race your best. From there you can work out your specific training program that will get you there with the fitness you desire. You don’t need to know every single start line you plan to roll up to next year, but you do need to know what your top targets are before you begin more detailed planning. As a preliminary step, sitting down and creating a list of events that interest you is a great place to start. Have fun with this and don’t filter your thought process just yet. Once you have your list of events, long or short, it is then time to narrow things down. 

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Cody’s 2019 Goals

Cody’s 2019 Goals

  • November 5, 2018
  • Blog

With 2019 now just around the corner, it’s planning season: time get things dialed in and training on track.

I recently wrote an article on Goal Setting (read here). Being a coach-athlete, I like to practice what I preach. So I figured I might as well share this process with you to better demonstrate the process and hold myself a bit more accountable. I went over the “hows” & “whys” in the article, so I’ll just cut to the chase and get to the goal setting and my thought process behind it.

MY 2019

Before I get to my 2019 ideas, I’d like to first reflect on my 2018 season. You can get the full recap in a previous post from August. My basic takeaways from what went well:

Strength Training: NAILED IT!

This was perhaps the single best thing I accomplished in 2018.

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I Won A Mr. Potato Head

I Won a Mr. Potato Head

  • November 1, 2018
  • Blog

My Base Builder Block 1 Recap

September marked the end of my race season and the beginning of my off-season. Following the principle of “no structured bike training”, I rode for fun and without rules. I made a concerted effort to connect for rides with friends I hadn’t seen in a while and branch out to different trails such as Staunton State Park near Bailey and Johnny Park near Lyons.

Cody and I coached the Green Mountain Composite HS Mtn Bike Team which meant I was on my bike with the kids a few times per week. If I felt like doing the intervals with the kids, I did; if I didn’t feel like doing the intervals, I didn’t. I could focus on the student athletes, because I didn’t need to worry about my own training. We had so much fun traveling across the state in September and October for the NICA league races, culminating in a cram-packed weekend of excitement in Durango for the State Championships.

The 2019 Base Builder Program officially began in October, and I was ready for some structure again. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I spent 75 minutes with the noon class in our Wahoo Kickr studio at our Lakewood facility, and I’d stay for another 40 minute bonus session. The first block of training focused on ILTs (Isolated Leg Training) and Aerobic Threshold intervals, a nice way to ease into structured training again. And, I continued to ride outside for fun when the Fall weather cooperated.

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Goal Setting

Goal Setting

  • October 31, 2018
  • Blog

Upon conclusion of your final event of your racing season you’re often ready for a break from focused training, racing, and maintaining a high level of fitness. Aside from recovering the body and mind, this short break between seasons allows you the time to reflect on your past season and begin thinking about your next season.

What went well? What didn’t go so well? How can you make improvements for next year?

It’s during this decompression time you can think about the future and begin to set some goals, select your events, and plan your training program for the year ahead. It is through this planning process that you regain your enthusiasm to resume focused training that leads to being competitive in your next season of racing.

 

It’s time to set some goals to help plan your season.

Organizing your thoughts and creating a formal written outline of what direction you want to go with your training, fitness and competitive results is a key piece of the Mental Fitness puzzle. If you don’t know what you want to achieve, then how do you know what you need to do to get there; or if you are making progress in the right direction along the way?

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2019 Base Builder: Block 2

2019 Base Builder: Block 2

  • October 29, 2018
  • Blog

With Block 1 in the books, we’re ready to progress into Block 2. As a quick recap, Block 1 on the bike focused on developing/refining pedaling skill through cadence drills, single-leg pedaling under varying loads, and training the Aerobic energy system with Aerobic Threshold intervals on the trainer and basic zone 2 rides outdoors. Block 1 in the gym consisted of learning the specific strength movements, working through any soreness, and cultivating basic strength to get things started. Get the full scoop in the previous post of this series: 2019 Base Builder: Block 1.

First we Recover.

Upon completion of Block 1, and between every block of our Base Builder program, we insert a recovery week. Our typical Base Builder structure is 3 weeks of training, 1 week of recovery. However this varies with the duration of the Base Builder Program you’re following (we have 12, 18 & 24 Base Builder Training Plan options). In-house, the pattern can vary slightly as we navigate the holiday season from November through New Years.

Recovery Weeks can take on different meanings for different athletes, and different phases of training. In general, recovery weeks are intended to allow for some form of rejuvenation. This can be in the form of fewer training days, easier training sessions, and more days off (lowered volume & intensity). For other athletes it may mean keeping the training consistency the same, while lowering the intensity of the training (maintain volume, lower intensity). For the more experienced athlete, a recovery week could consist of more riding, with all of it done at very low intensity (high volume). This variation is dependent on the overall training load and state of fitness, form, and fatigue an athlete is in. Bottom line, take rest if you need it, add miles in if you want it, but definitely keep the intensity low and be sure you’re eager to resume training when the new block begins.

Now Onward to Block 2!

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2019 Base Builder: Block 1

2019 Base Builder: Block 1

  • September 28, 2018
  • Blog

We covered the basic structure of our Base Builder Program in our LAST POST. Now that we have that out of the way, we can dig deeper into the specifics of Block 1…

Block 1: On-Bike

Three Objectives:

  1. Testing to Identify Baselines
  2. Develop or Improve Pedaling Skills
    • High Cadence Spin-Ups
    • Isolated Leg Training
    • Steady Spins
  3. Basic Aerobic Development
    • Aerobic Intervals (to Aerobic Threshold)
    • Aerobic Endurance

1. Testing

As we begin our Base Build for the new season, most of us are coming off a (hopefully) brief period of little or no training following the conclusion of their race season. Some fitness loss is expected, and appropriate, at this time of the year. Testing as we get started is key to set a benchmark from where you are starting fitness-wise, and to reset your training zones to likely lower levels from your in-season (or end of last Base Builder season) highs.

Normal “loss of fitness” is around 10% for a 2-3 week transition between competitive season and Base Builder Season. Perhaps slightly less at lower intensities (say Aerobic Threshold, our 20:00 AeT Test); and maybe slightly more at higher intensities (say our 1-4 minute Anaerobic Power testing durations). For an athlete using an FTP based training zone calculator an example could be someone with a 300w FTP might see a reduction to 270w FTP when beginning their Base Build.

There are several different ways to test your aerobic cycling fitness. Here is a previous post that covers our Testing Protocol that we prefer. If you already have a testing protocol that you prefer (and have historical data) you can certainly use it. Our test focus on two ends of the fitness spectrum: Aerobic Power & Anaerobic Power. From here we can calculate a rate of fatigue between the two, as well as an FTP if you prefer to be FTP based with your training. Included in the Base Builder Plan is a Training Zone Calculator that will collect your testing data and spit out the corresponding training zones based off your aerobic & anaerobic fitness and rate of fatigue.

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Ready For Base Builder 2019

Ready for Base Builder 2019

  • September 27, 2018
  • Blog

We’re ready to launch into our 15th annual Base Builder Program next week!

Fourteen years ago we started with a single 6pm class of 12 riders, that brought their own trainers to class every week, twice a week for 3 months. We trained with cadence, heart rate, and a lot of determination to improve our cycling fitness. Fast forward to 2019 and we’re into our fourth season in our Wahoo KICKR studio with sessions throughout the day accommodating 36 in-house’ athletes with their power-based training progressions. On top of that we added our strength training progression to compliment the cycling training and have seen truly outrageous improvements in strength, endurance and power on the bike over these last 3 seasons. You can read all about what we did in our 2018 Base Builder season in a previous series of posts HERE.

2019

Finally this year (2019), we’re super excited to continue to evolve and expand with our Remote Base Builder Program option that allows cyclists that can’t train with us in-house to follow along remotely and build their base following our proven program and with the support and accountability of a group doing the same thing, even if only remotely.

We’ll be posting up the basic concepts and direction of our 2019 Base Builder Program, block by block, on our blog here again.  You can follow along and pick up little details that might help you tweak your own Base Build this winter or even consider jumping in and join our Remote Base Builder Program or choose from one of our Base Builder Training Plans that you can utilize on your own when ever you’re ready to start building your base.

So let’s get to it and look at the training concepts for Sessions:6 Base Builder, Season 15…

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2018/19 Base Builder Trainer Series

2018/19 Base Builder Trainer Series

Over the last 14 years we have formulated, tweaked, and perfected our off-season Base Builder Trainer Series to make this years 15th Annual Base Builder Trainer Series the most effective off-season programming to date!

Building your Aerobic Base on the bike through the Fall & Winter months is critical to Spring & Summer racing success. Gone is the old-school theory of long, easy miles as the only way to build your aerobic base on the bike. Long easy miles can be effective; however the time commitment and ability to put in those miles with limited daylight hours and less than ideal winter weather, long slow distance is rarely the most effective strategy. By replacing those long easy miles, with shorter, more focused, highly structured workouts mid-week, combined with a longer weekend ride(s) you can maximize your aerobic base building progression in the least amount of time (and workable around just about any family, school, work, and life schedule).

Our 24-week Base Builder Program is built around six 3-week training blocks (with a recovery week between), with each block focusing on a progressively higher intensity energy system:

  • Aerobic Threshold & Skill – HR zone 2: 2-4 hour power
  • Aerobic Strength – HR zone 3: 1-2 hour power
  • Anaerobic Threshold – HR zone 4: 30-60 minute power
  • Vo2 Max – 8-16 minute power
  • Anaerobic Power – 1-4 minute power
  • Peak Power – 0:05-0:30 second power

This progressive build of power through ascending energy systems allows for highly effective adaptation to each energy system and subsequently establishes a strong base of aerobic fitness upon the conclusion of the off-season program. Targeting the specific HR and/or power numbers as structured intervals within each block allows for maximum control of the workload that is designed to increase with the adaptation. Upon completion of the Base Builder Program a rider has trained every energy system in systematic order and now ready to take on their event-specific Race Preparation training program as they head into the Spring & Summer competitive-season.

Get the full run-down of our Base Builder Program.

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Kathy’s 2018 Season Review

Kathy’s 2018 Season Review

  • September 12, 2018
  • Blog

What a year! After a solid winter of training, I was eager to begin my 2018 race season. The plan was to mix it up and try longer races, new races in different parts of the country, and attempt a stage race.

I worked hard over the winter: twice a week indoor trainer sessions & twice a week strength sessions as part of the Sessions:6 Base Builder Program. The six months of training were progressive, moving through different types of intervals on the trainer and progressing in weight in the strength class with the focus being on posterior chain strength, push-pull strength and core work all which aid in power and bike handling. I typically rode outside (or on the trainer) two other times each week for an average of 10-12 hours of training per week. One of the biggest training changes I made this year was to keep up with strength work twice a week throughout the race season. I firmly believe it kept my body strong to endure 11 races, the most I have done in one season.

The race season started with a bang with two 50 mile mountain bike races in back to back weekends: the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, AZ and Marathon Nationals in Arkansas. Admittedly, I was a little apprehensive though excited, because I had never raced a 50 miler nor had I raced at these venues previously. I also hadn’t been able to log as many endurance rides as I would have preferred to do to prepare for this race distance. Regardless, both races went well and got me in better shape. What’s wrong with racing yourself into shape?!

In June, I had three races: two were shorter distances (Beti Bike Bash and Vail Go Pro Games) while the other was a notorious beast, the Crested Butte Fat Tire 40. I didn’t have stellar placing at these races, but I could tell I was getting in better race shape just in time for my key races in July: Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, the Silver Rush 50 in Leadville and the Leadville Stage Race. I was thrilled to be on the podium for my key races. I finished up the season with some “fun races” in Winter Park in August and thoroughly enjoyed being back on familiar and incredible trails.

Highlights from the race season:

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2018/19 Base Builder Strength Program

2018/19 Base Builder Strength Program

Fall is nearly here and that means it’s time to start planning your off-season training.

It’s the off-season, time away from high-priority events, that is the time to focus on improving your weaknesses. For most endurance athletes, their weakness is their weakness in terms of muscular strength. The fall & winter months are the time to build “off-bike” strength & mobility to not only improve ability on the bike for next years competitive-season, but also to improve whole body health by adding variety in training modalities, improve body composition, improve bone, soft tissue and hormone health, and offset muscle imbalances; all of which help keep injury at bay. Every endurance athletes should include a focused strength training block within their annual training program, and our Base Builder Strength Program is made just for this!

 

‘In-House’ Factory Strength Base Builder Classes

We have an ‘in-house’ option for those that live near our Lakewood, Colorado training facility at Sessions:6 Sport Performance (map). Join twice a week, Mondays & Wednesdays, for coach-led training sessions that builds your strength base progressively from October through March. Leaving you stronger, healthier, and producing more power in the bike come Spring.

Take Me There! 

 

‘Remote’ Strength Base Builder Training Plans

Don’t live nearby or can’t make our class times, we offer our same progressive Base Builder Strength Program as a downloadable training plan. Included with the plan is our training load calculator to prescribe the exact progressions & loads for your program, as well as links to our YouTube Channel with every single movement demonstrated in video so you know you’re doing things right. Plans are available in 12, 18 & 24 week durations to fit your base training needs.

Show Me More! 

 

Don’t neglect the gym this off-season. There are huge gains to be made in both overall health and performance that in the end lead to improving your power on the bike for 2019!