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Episode 10: Getting Ready for Trainer Season & Base Builder Week 6

This week we cover all the necessities for setting up your ‘pain cave’ for the coming Trainer Season.

Fall has arrived in the northern hemisphere and that means for many that trainer time is around the corner. Don’t wait until last minute to get your gear sorted; instead optimize your pain cave now in order to maximize your performance later. Everything from Smart vs. Dumb trainers, software, hardware, and even what side of the towel to blow your nose on!

We wrap up the show, as always, with a look into week number 6 of our Base Builder Training Program. Haven’t joined us yet and gotten your base training efforts on track for 2020? What are you waiting for?! Read on to learn how you can get on board and start building your base!

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Join us for our 15th Annual Base Builder Program to build your best base for your 2020 cycling/triathlon season.

You can join in with us at any time between September and January to get your base training on track! 

Listening to this weekly podcast will provide valuable insights into each week’s training objectives and workout details to help you better follow our Base Builder Program and maximize your training gains. Even without following our program, you can listen in each week to learn concepts you can apply to your own training program for improved results.

Do you live in Denver and want to train with us? You can join us in-house at Sessions:6 in Lakewood. There are only a few spots remaining for 2019/2020! Go to: https://endurance.sessions6.com/complete-base-builder-program/ to register.

Do you live outside of Denver? Join us remotely from wherever you are with our Remote Base Builder Program. Follow the exact training progressions, both on the bike and in the gym, that we do in-house and gain the essential knowledge through our weekly podcast. Learn More & Register at: https://endurance.sessions6.com/remote-base-builder-program/

We also have Base Builder Strength and/or Base Builder Cycling Training Plans available via Training Peaks here: https://endurance.sessions6.com/stock-training-plans/base-builder-plans/

To have your training related questions answered or communicate with others following our programming, visit our Forum on our website: https://endurance.sessions6.com/forums/

To have your questions answered “LIVE” on our podcast, email either Coach Cody at cody@sessioins6.com or Coach Kathy at kathy@sessions6.com

Lastly, you can follow us on Instagram at the following accounts:

Episode 9: Nutrition Periodization & Base Builder Week 5

In this week’s episode we talk travel and working your training around work travel; trainer sessions and why they are so beneficial (even if your climate doesn’t ‘require’ it); and the concept of Nutrition Periodization for endurance sport performance.

You likely periodize your training (think: base, build, peak)… you should also consider periodizing your diet to follow suit to reach peak performance. We touch on what is periodization, the what & how to periodize your nutrition around your training, and benefits that include improved fueling & recovery for increased performance as well as improved body composition.

Now is the time of the year (Fall) to get your diet & nutrition on track with your training so you can make the performance gains you’ve been seeking… Let’s talk Nutrition Periodization!

We wrap up the show, as always, with a look into week number 5 of our Base Builder Training Program. Haven’t joined us yet and gotten your base training efforts on track for 2020? What are you waiting for?! Read on to learn how you can get on board and start building your base!

——————————————————————————————————

Join us for our 15th Annual Base Builder Program to build your best base for your 2020 cycling/triathlon season.

You can join in with us at any time between September and January to get your base training on track! 

Listening to this weekly podcast will provide valuable insights into each week’s training objectives and workout details to help you better follow our Base Builder Program and maximize your training gains. Even without following our program, you can listen in each week to learn concepts you can apply to your own training program for improved results.

Do you live in Denver and want to train with us? You can join us in-house at Sessions:6 in Lakewood. There are only a few spots remaining for 2019/2020! Go to: https://endurance.sessions6.com/complete-base-builder-program/ to register.

Do you live outside of Denver? Join us remotely from wherever you are with our Remote Base Builder Program. Follow the exact training progressions, both on the bike and in the gym, that we do in-house and gain the essential knowledge through our weekly podcast. Learn More & Register at: https://endurance.sessions6.com/remote-base-builder-program/

We also have Base Builder Strength and/or Base Builder Cycling Training Plans available via Training Peaks here: https://endurance.sessions6.com/stock-training-plans/base-builder-plans/

To have your training related questions answered or communicate with others following our programming, visit our Forum on our website: https://endurance.sessions6.com/forums/

To have your questions answered “LIVE” on our podcast, email either Coach Cody at cody@sessioins6.com or Coach Kathy at kathy@sessions6.com

Lastly, you can follow us on Instagram at the following accounts:

Nutrition Periodization

Nutrition Periodization for Endurance Performance

  • September 20, 2019
  • Blog

As your physiological training demands change with your training objectives, your nutritional demands change as well. The basic principle of Nutrition Periodization is simply that: changing your dietary consumption to match that of your training efforts. Periodizing your diet can be achieved on two levels. The first is the larger training block level of macro-cycles. The second is the smaller weekly level of day-to-day training in micro-cycles. The goal of periodizing your nutrition is to improve your cycling training program in two primary ways:

  1. Better Fueling for Improved Performance (increasing fitness)
  2. Maximizing the Quality of your Nutrition (improving health & body composition)

Proper fueling will allow an athlete to maximize their training efforts and adaptations making their training more effective. Similarly, maximizing the quality of your nutrition will enhance an athlete’s recovery from training. More effective training and enhanced recovery leads to improved body composition and increased fitness. Achieving a lean body composition is critical for maximizing performance in an endurance sport such as cycling. In fact, for many riders carrying an extra 10 pounds or more, it can be the single biggest performance booster there is! Periodizing your diet around your training program can be a big help in working towards your body composition and fitness goals.

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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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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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My LT100 Race Prep Plan

With my first bit of early season racing done & dusted (Epic Rides Whiskey Off-Road & USAC Marathon Nationals), I’ve reached a transition point in my season. With such early early-season targets this year, I basically raced off of my Base Builder Program for my first little peak of my season. After three weeks of tapering, traveling, and racing in late April/early May, upon return home I took a week off of training to recuperate and prepare mentally for my next big block of training and racing that is on the way.

NEXT UP

My “A” race for 2018 is the Leadville 100. Along the way I will race a handful of other events, but the LT100 is priority #1. After my week off last week, I’m ready to dig into a big block of training to build my endurance and race preparation training. You can get the full run down of my Race Prep Programming in a previous post. The LT100 is an Ultra-Marathon distance event so the S:6 Stock Plan would be a 12-week buildout; however I will make some small adjustments around the stock plan to fit my other racing targets, life schedule, and personal preferences. This is perfect example of where our S:6 Custom Training Plans come in handy.

My personal program will look like this:

  • 8 Week Training Block

  • 1.5 Week Recovery/Family Vacation

  • 1.5 Week Final Endurance Build

  • 2 Week Taper

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Onto Race Prep…

We wrapped up our 2018 off-season Base Builder Program with Block 6 at the end of April.

Our “in-house” athletes that stuck it out for the full six month program experienced some solid gains in off-bike strength and on-bike power, both on the aerobic end and the anaerobic end. In fact, every single rider saw improvements to the tune of 12-36% at estimated FTP, with a “class average” of 23%. Boom!

You can read the full the run down of our annual off-season Base Builder program by clicking the series of links above. With Spring here and race season is in full effect, what do we do next? With your solid strength and aerobic base established, it’s time to get more race specific and dial your training in with in-season Race Prep training.

 

RACE PREP TRAINING

Through our Base Builder Program we build fitness up. We start at the low end of the energy system chain focused on low-intensity aerobic training combined with technique work on the bike, and the early (lighter) form-focused resistance training in the gym. From here we build our base through gradual progression of intensity through increasing intensity with each successively higher energy system, and gradual increase in resistance training loads.

  1. Aerobic Endurance/Technique, “all day” power (4+ hours)

  2. Aerobic Threshold (AeT), “2 hour” power

  3. Anaerobic Threshold, 32:00-64:00 power

  4. Vo2 Max, 8:00-16:00 power

  5. Anaerobic Power, 1:00-4:00 power

  6. Peak Power, 0:05-0:30 power

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6 Week Nutrition Program

  • April 5, 2018
  • Blog

Sessions:6 Sport Performance has partnered with Steve Acuna, nutrition & endurance coach with Do Athletic Shit, to present a 6 week Nutrition Workshop to help you achieve nutrition success.

Eat to Perform

You may already be training to maximize your performance, but are you eating to maximize your performance?


REGISTER NOW:



Workshop Overview:

Meetings are on Sundays from 4:00-5:30pm at Sessions:6 Sport Performance. Each week we will go over a new nutrition topic that will build on the past week. Each session we will go over individual successes and failures and address how to overcome the problems we have encountered. We will cover a new educational topic tailored to meet the needs of the group. Homework will be assigned each week, and coaches will be holding you accountable for action. Our goal with the workshop is to give you the tools to make smart nutrition choices and change individual behaviours that impact how our bodies look, feel and perform.

Week 1: Introduction to the program overview, awareness of what we are eating, counting calories versus not counting calories

Week 2: Adequate Protein, Carbohydrates, Fat and Hydration and Why this matters

Week 3: Food timing and Blood Sugar Regulation’s role in body composition

Week 4: What to eat; How to structure your plate

Week 5: Gut Health: How the 2nd brain impacts our bodies

Week 6: Fueling better for workouts and recovery + Supplements: pros and cons

Join us for this six week program to kick start your efforts towards improved health & fitness for the season ahead!!

The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 5

  • March 4, 2018
  • Blog

Spring is on the horizon and we’re 2/3 complete with our Off-Season Base Build Program with the final 1/3 coming up! I’m not going to lie, the last 8 weeks have been challenging for our 45 in-house athletes training with us Monday-Thursdsay each week. The middle third of our program is perhaps the most challenging on the bike with Anaerobic Threshold intervals (block 3) and even more so the Vo2 Max intervals twice weekly (block 4). Combine that with continued resistance training on Mondays and Wednesdays and you can see how the training load is reaching a peak. See exactly how we structured our Vo2 Max intervals on the bike in our previous post in this series: Block 4.

This very same 24-week program is available as a downloadable training plan on Training Peaks ( 24-week Base Build Training Plan ). We also have a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan available to those that prefer a shorter, faster build of early season base fitness. Both versions allow you to follow my programming on your own where ever you live!

Our upcoming Block 5 makes up weeks 17-20 in the 24-weeks of our Base Build Program. You can read more about each previous block from links at top.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 3

  • January 15, 2018
  • Blog

Happy New Year! January brings block 3 of our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym sessions, trainer sessions, and testing. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Upon conclusion of Block 2 we took a little recovery time through the New Year holiday window and returned on January 2nd for our second of 4 testing sessions within our 6-month program. Our first test was at the end of October right before we kicked off official training; test two was 8 weeks later right after the new year, tests 3 and 4 will follow in 8-week cycles at the 2/3 point of the program and conclusion of the program. We prefer testing every 8-weeks as this provides enough time for fitness to evolve and provides a carrot of sorts to keep your training consistent so you make the improvements you’re looking for.

With test results in-hand we can check progress, reset training zones, keep motivation high, and get ready for further improvements over the next blocks of training.

Block 3 builds upon Blocks 1 & 2 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 2

  • December 14, 2017
  • Blog

It’s December now and we’re digging into our second of six blocks that make up our Off-Season Base Build Program with our local in-house athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym and trainer sessions. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

Hopefully a routine has been established in the first month of training, and you’re beginning to feel some level of fitness returning after your end of last season break. You can get the full rundown in the first post of the Series: Off-Season Base Training: Primer, and get caught up through previous posts in the Series Links above.

Block 2 builds upon Block 1 with continued progressions in the gym and on the bike.

In my previous post I laid out the general weekly schedule that is built around three types of sessions: gym sessions, structured trainer sessions, and endurance sessions. We’ll continue to follow this scheme into block 2 and break down the subtle progressions in each of the three domains. Block 2 makes up weeks 5-8 in the 24-weeks of the Base Build Program.

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The S:6 Base Builder Program: Block 1

  • November 11, 2017
  • Blog

We offer a 24-week Off-Season Base Build Program to our local athletes in Denver. We meet 4 days a week, most weeks, for 6 months for indoor gym and trainer sessions. Weekends are for getting outside on your own and going longer to build endurance. We also offer the very same program as a 24-week Base Build Training Plan, as well as a more condensed 12-week Base Build Training Plan, to follow on your own where ever you live.

The following blog series will share some specifics of what each block of training is made up of and how we progress through our 6-month long base build to reach serious fitness by Spring and ready to dive into more specific Race Prep training for your goal events. The same progression occurs in our truncated 12-week version of the plan; however progression occurs at a much faster pace. This plan is ideal for the more experienced athletes with years of base in their legs or for those that don’t have the time or patience to spend 6 months building a killer base of fitness for the upcoming season.

The first of six blocks comprising our Base Building Program focuses on returning to structured training, finding your rhythm, and adapting to the movements.

There are three basic categories of sessions that make up our regular training week:

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Getting Ready for 2018

  • November 7, 2017
  • Blog

After a crazy busy summer (mentioned in previous post), things are finally coming back together for Fall. Kathy and I both had an amazing experience over the last few months being a part of the NICA sanctioned Colorado High School Mountain Bike League and coaching the Green Mountain Composite High School Mountain Bike Team. It was so fun and so rewarding to see these kids get excited to race their bikes. Not to mention see our own kids who both really surprised us with not only how good they were right off the bat but also how much they loved it!

On the business front, I really had a productive couple of months preparing for the 2018 training season. Writing new training plans for our remote athletes, marketing our in-house Off-Season Training Program for our local athletes, and getting Personal Coaching clients dialed in for the new year ahead.

With all this solid work behind us and things back on track, I’ve finally turned the corner on gaining enthusiasm for my own training and racing goals for 2018.

After many weeks of chewing on things and talking through things with Kathy, I think I’ve narrowed down the bulk of my 2018 racing schedule. Assuming budgets are similar to years past, I’m still working through some final sponsorship details for 2018, here is what I have in mind for 2018:

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The S:6 Testing Protocol, Part 2:

  • October 30, 2017
  • Blog

In my previous post (The S:6 Testing Protocol, Part 1) I talked about the importance of testing to track the progress of your training. Through testing we look to see improvements in power outputs at specific interval durations over 6-12 weeks between testing. I explained how we prefer to test over FOUR different durations:

  • One longer one at a specific sub-maximal aerobic heart-rate, to identify Aerobic function
  • Three shorter maximal efforts to identify ones Anaerobic Power.

I also introduced the concept of identifying your Fatigue Rate. This sheds light on where your aerobic fitness, or endurance, is compared to your top-end strength/power. With this data, we can then track improvements in power as well as improvements in fatigue resistance (ie. endurance). Through testing and training we attempt to maximize both ends for peak performance.

The goal with training is two-fold: maximize your power output & resistance to fatigue, ie. endurance. The tricky part is, improvements in one usually results in the decrease in the other; and what gets tracked, gets trained.

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The S:6 Testing Protocol, Part 1:

  • October 24, 2017
  • Blog

There’s More to Power than Just FTP.

Before diving into another season of training on the bike, or jumping into serious training for the first time, it helps to know a few things about your current fitness as you get started…

  • Where is my fitness at right now? Identify a baseline from which you plan to improve.
  • What are the best ways to spend my training time? In order to maximize your improvement.
  • What effort levels should you should be training at? Set your training zones.

These insights can be found through power testing on the bike. For many years, a rider’s FTP (Functional Threshold Power) has been the focal point of where a rider’s fitness is and from what to set their training zones. FTP works well. It shines light on one area of fitness and can be re-tested again and again to check for improvement.

By definition, your FTP is the power you could sustain for one hour, full gas. I say could sustain because who’s going to go all-out for an hour to find this value? So it’s become common place to go hard for 20-minutes and subtract 5% from your average power. Pretty much the Gold Standard, and everyone accepts it. Even going all-out for 20 minutes is pretty tough on your own, so more recent models are doing either one or two 8-minute intervals and subtracting 5-10% from those averages to estimate FTP. All said and done, these methods of FTP testing highlight one energy system (Vo2 max) and calculate the FTP from a “one size fits all” percent reduction from the test effort. From here, it doesn’t tell you much else. Does it work? I suppose. However, if you’re like me, you would likely prefer more.

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Training with Power or Heart Rate?

  • October 19, 2017
  • Blog

We get this question a lot…

What’s the better metric for training on the bike: Power or Heart Rate?

Since power-based training has risen to the status of “must have” for effective training for serious cyclists, the use of heart rate as a training metric has been tossed aside by many. The power meter is a wonderful tool, and one we strongly recommend (in fact all our Personal Coaching clients are required to use power), without the simultaneous use of heart rate you are only seeing half of the story and getting half of the benefits.

So our answer is: BOTH power & heart rate are needed for maximum training effectiveness!

Using one without the other is a mistake. Here’s why…

  • Power (watts) is the direct measurement of the amount of work that is being done. Many will say, “a watt is a watt, and watts don’t lie”. This is true, power is an absolute. You either have it or you don’t on a given a day. However, the effort required to produce those watts on any given day is effected by many variables, and that is where HR comes in.
  • Heart Rate (bpm) is an indirect measurement of your bodies response to the work (power) being done. You might hear people poo-poo HR. They’ll claim that it’s affected by so many outside variables, such as sleep, hydration, elevation, temperature, fatigue and so on that the usefulness of HR is no longer valued. But…why are these affects considered a negative attribute? When in fact, it’s these very affects wherein the value of training with HR comes in!

Let’s look at this example of a training block using both power & HR…

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Ideas For Your Off-Season

  • October 12, 2017
  • Blog

Fall has arrived and most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are entering our Off-Season. So what exactly is the Off-Season? The term “Off-Season” can be a bit misleading to some. The Off-Season is not time taken off from training, but rather it is time taken off from racing. This all so crucial time away from racing allows you to focus more on your training to allow for bigger advancements in your overall fitness and future racing ability.

Here is how a year of training and competition looks to a committed, high level amateur or professional endurance athlete:

  • END OF SEASON BREAK: after a short 1-2 weeks of time off, truly ‘on vacation’ from their primary sport, they’re ready to get back into training in their off-season. 
    • Pro Tips: As a general rule of thumb, the older and/or lower training volume (ie. time crunched) the athlete, the shorter this break should be. If you only train 8-12 hours a week, you don’t need to take much of a break. Simply changing the type of training you do in the off-season will be enough of a break or change of pace. It is just too hard for most people to get back into ‘training mode’ and too much fitness can be lost if the break is too long. The younger or higher volume athlete may take up to 2 weeks off from training. These athletes will recover faster and have a higher fitness base that will not drop off as much with more rest time.
  • THE OFF-SEASON: the Off-Season is the larger chunk of time sandwiched between your short ‘end-o-season break’ (above) and the start of your competitive race season (below). With the stress of racing and being “race fit” removed in their off-season, they can focus purely on training to improve weaknesses and gain a higher level of fitness for the next race season.
    • Pro Tips: Depending on the athlete and when his/her race season begins, the off-season can be as short as a couple months (ie. end racing in October and begin racing in February); or it can be several months (ie. end racing in September and begin again in April). Keep in mind that the longer your off-season, the more time you have to train and improve your fitness and likely the greater improvement you’ll see in your racing ability the next season. Those athletes that can’t stay away from racing and pack their annual schedule full from spring through fall are often the ones that don’t improve a whole lot from year-to-year, or they are getting paid to compete (and are already at the top of their game!).
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