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Race Prep ‘Peaking’ Sessions

  • July 19, 2019
  • Blog

Your Base has been built, you put in the quality Race Prep training, and now you’re a couple weeks out from your A-Race…

Finding Form

The final weeks heading into an A-Race can be the most difficult time of the training season for many athletes. At this point in the season, with two weeks to go, the training is done; “the hay is in the barn,” as is said. You worked hard for many weeks, if not months, to build fitness and prepare for a peak performance. Your last few weeks of training may have been among your hardest and/or highest volume depending on your target event demands. Regardless, you should be very fit, and likely quite fatigued from the quality work.

With your fitness at or near its highest point of the season, it is now time to recover and freshen up for a peak performance. With high fitness comes high fatigue (as both come from consistent training). While you can still race well with high fitness and accumulated fatigue, you will almost certainly race even better (ie. “peak performance”) if you can shed that fatigue and replace it with freshness; all while minimizing the loss of fitness… AKA: the taper and/or “finding form.”

Within that statement above is the tricky part of finding form and tapering: in order to gain fitness you must accumulate fatigue (meaning you may be very fit, but also a bit tired or lacking freshness). In order to gain freshness you must lose (some) fitness. It’s a balance and one that can be a difficult task to achieve to perfection. You must train hard to get fit – as you train hard you get tired – to perform your best you must train less (for a short bit) to regain freshness and achieve a peak performance. Sounds easy, right?

Lower the Volume…

There are many schools of thought and variables to consider regarding the taper process. Rather than go through all the options, I’ll choose to explain the most agreed upon strategy and share some details on exactly how we prescribe things at Waite Endurance. 

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In-Season Strength Maintenance

  • June 17, 2019
  • Blog

Strength Training, that is training with weights in the gym (or at home), has become more widely accepted in the endurance sport world over the last 5+ years. There are still some hold-outs on the subject of the benefits of Strength Training for endurance athletes, but most athletes and coaches will agree there are valuable benefits to be gained from lifting heavy weights within an endurance sport training program. The intent of this article is not to spew out the benefits of Strength Training (you can read a previous post that covers all those points); rather my intent with this article is to point out the value of YEAR-ROUND strength training and, more specifically, focus on lifting weights within your competitive racing season.

If you’ve gotten this far, I’m going to assume you’re on board with Strength Training (ie. lifting heavy weights for performance gains), at least as part of your off-season training program. The majority of endurance athletes do some form of strength training in their off-season as part of their preparation for their next race season. Then what seems to be very common is many athletes cease their Strength Training program once their more competitive race season begins. The reasons I hear for dropping the strength training modality are often:

  • Wanting to spend more time on their primary sport (“get more miles in”)
  • Lifting weights makes them slow (“legs too sore/tired”)
  • Don’t want to gain weight (“too much muscle”)
  • Getting bored with the strength training (“same old routine”)

I’m here to encourage you to not stop your Strength Training once your race season begins. In fact if you do stop, I can tell you you’re leaving performance gains on the table!

You may be thinking, “Whoa! Hold up. You want me to lift weights during my race season?!”

Yes I do! And here’s why…

When you Strength Train for 2, 3 or even 4 months of your off-season, you spend the first few weeks working through the soreness of training the muscles and then you begin to make some gains in actual strength of movement. These improvements to your health & performance as an athlete include:

  • Increased muscle fiber recruitment (use more of the muscles you have)
  • Increase top-end power (raise the ceiling of your power curve)
  • Increased anabolic hormone production (balance the catabolic nature of endurance training)
  • Improve range of motion/activation (offset imbalances)
  • Improve the overall “durability” of your body
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Race Prep Plans

  • March 6, 2019
  • Blog

With Spring around the corner, most athletes are putting the final touches on their off-season Base Builder training. Following one of our Base Builder Programs, athletes have gone through an extensive strength building program in the gym combined with a progression through the six primary aerobic energy systems we utilize on the bike, from lowest intensity to highest intensity:

  1. Aerobic (all day power)
  2. Aerobic Threshold (2-4 hour power)
  3. Anaerobic Threshold (32-64 minute power)
  4. Vo2 Max (8-16 minute power)
  5. Anaerobic Power (1-4 minute power)
  6. Peak Power (5-20 second power)

Depending on when they got started with their Base Builder training and how much time available for building Base, athletes went through a 12, 18 or 24 week progression; in 2, 3 or 4 week blocks dedicated to each energy system mentioned above. Regardless of your exact Base building protocol you may have followed, as you come to the end of your Base phase you may be asking yourself this question:

With my Base now built and general cycling fitness established, what comes next?

Race Preparation Training

Where Base Building is general fitness development; Race Preparation is specific fitness development for your A-priority event(s) of the year.

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W.T.F. RECIPE: Oatmeal + Fruit, Nuts & Seeds

  • January 24, 2019
  • Blog

The topic of diet & nutrition is a hotly debated one. Everyone has their own preferences, particulars, and persistence surrounding what they eat and why. At Waite Endurance we like to focus on the very basics: simple, easy, repeatable meals that feed our bodies for health & fuel our bodies for performance.

Our motto is to consume mostly plants, drink lots of water, avoid packaged food, exclude nothing (unless you have an allergy), and eat until you’re satisfied, not full.

You can read our general Diet & Nutrition philosophy to get our basic thoughts on how we like to do it.

Having been a professional endurance athlete, and having spent A LOT of time around professional cyclists & triathletes, I can tell you without a doubt, professional endurance athletes take their diets very seriously. An effective diet is as important (or possibly more so!) as any training plan or interval session or long ride. Feeding your body the healthy nutrients it needs to remain strong and avoid illness is critical to maintaining training consistency. Fueling your body to be able to perform at its highest level day-to-day and week to week leads to positive progressions in fitness. And finally, eating correctly for you (and your activity) allows your body to achieve its ideal body composition and mass for peak performances.

Along with first pursuing professional cycling and then triathlon, I’ve been fortunate over the last 20 years of my life to surround myself with food on different levels. I studied nutrition (briefly) in school before deciding a career in dietetics was not for me. I attending culinary school and managed a coffee shop & catering business before deciding the ‘food industry’ was not for me, before confirming my passion in the endurance sport coaching profession in 2005.

What I’d like to do with the BLOG post series is share many of the great meal and snack options I’ve learned over the years and how you too can…

WIN THROUGH FOOD (WTF)

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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

  • 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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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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2018 Leadville Report & Season Wrap

  • August 15, 2018
  • Blog

The 2018 Leadville Trail 100 is in the books. With that, my 2018 training & racing comes to a close (with the exception of one or two final “fun” local races I may jump into over the next two weeks).

The following recap is as much or more for my own reference for the next time I attempt the LT100, as it is for anyones reading pleasure. It will also serve as the final piece of my ‘2018 training & racing recap series’ (each post listed above).

In my last post I left off with a recap of my final few weeks of training for the LT100 and my intended ‘taper’ into the big day. I was able to execute my taper plan more or less to the letter written. All the final pieces fell into place within the final two weeks. After analyzing my final few Race Prep sessions and a 90-minute high-altitude XC race my final “numbers” for my year long build of fitness looked like this…

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Final Bodyweight = 144 lbs.
  • FTP at 6000 feet elevation = 321w
    • equates to ~ 330-340w at elevations under 2500 feet
    • equates to ~ 270-280w at elevations over 9000 feet
  • w/kg = 4.92 at 6000 ft.
  • Complete Power Power Profile results July HERE

I’m really happy with this improvement from back in November coming off of a long break from serious training and racing for most of 2017. I was hoping to get my bodyweight down a bit closer to 140 lbs. but I think with the improved strength training this year I am just running a little heavier than in my early 30s. I’ll take the extra mass as it has kept me healthy and more powerful as a result.

I’ll check this off a as successful training program and diet commitment for the last 9+ months.

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My Taper & Peak Phase for LT100

  • August 2, 2018
  • Blog

In my last post I wrapped up my 8-week Leadville 100 MTB build and was in the midst of a well earned 10-day recovery block to relax the mind, enjoy the family, and let my body absorb all the hard work from the previous 8 weeks.

Upon returning home from family vacation, I was more than ready to dive back in finish off my 2018 Leadville 100 MTB preparations. With just four weeks left until race day, this broke down into the following:

  • a BIG Volume “Over-Reach” Week
  • 1/2 Recovery + 1/2 Intensity Week (w/ Leadville Stage Race) 
  • Taper Week 
  • Peak Week

Over-Reach Week

Coming off of a nice long recovery block I was fresh (if not a little ‘flat’) and ready get going again. A good solid over-reach week (or two) is essential in creating an exceptional training load from which to recover from as you enter your taper phase. Normally in my training plans, following my 2-week mini-block progressions, the overload week comes as the final two-week block with an emphasis on the final big endurance rides. Intensity is all but eliminated to allow for maximum focus of going long, before entering the final two-week taper block into race day. 

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LT100 Build: First Half…

  • June 12, 2018
  • Blog

After a week off of training & racing in early May, I was refreshed and ready to hit it hard with a late-Spring training block as part of my 2018 Leadville 100 MTB build up. My previous post, LT100 Race Prep Plan, laid out all the details of the complete build-up to the August event following a customized version of our Ultra-Marathon MTB Race Prep Stock Plan.

The last four weeks have been focused purely on training.

Meaning, no racing over the last month until just this last weekend (June 9th) with the GoPro Vail Mountain Games XC race. This nice block of time has allowed me to focus on a re-build of sorts, building up some solid volume on the bike with longer outdoor rides while backing out the intensity in two week mini-blocks of training.

In the off-season, within our 24-Week Base Builder Program, we train in the more commonly found 4-week blocks: with 3 weeks of focused energy system training and 1 week of recovery/easy endurance. In our  Race Prep Phase we condense the training blocks into two-week mini-blocks of focused energy system work combined with increasing endurance volume.

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