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Welcome to the forth of our six-month series of articles supporting you in your training and preparation for the 2017 Etape du Tour.
Welcome to April; the clocks have gone forward, spring is in the air, the weather is improving, all of which are making it more pleasurable to be out on the bike. We have been training for 3 months now and at this point it’s not uncommon to have a dip in motivation as the Etape is still some way off. But we need to maintain a healthy level of fear of the forthcoming challenge so this month the training goes up another notch. Until now we’ve been laying a solid foundation to build upon, but now the sessions are becoming even more structured and focused with alternate sessions changing each week. Mid week you might be able to get out on the roads, but otherwise turbo sets are still on offer. In May you might be going on a training camp and riding one or two build up sportive events, so it’s important this month to nail these key sessions to build on those foundations we’ve laid over the winter.
Training is testing and testing is training, so with the Time Trial season underway you could look to try and enter a few events to test your pacing and threshold tolerance in a real-world scenario that we started working on in February. You can find events from 10 miles through to 100 miles, and most areas will have a weekly 10 mile or 25 mile time trial which you can substitute for the midweek threshold session on the training program.
If you want to find local bike Time trials you can go to www.rttc.or.uk or www.cyclingtimetrials.org.uk or www.britishcycling.org.uk
To ensure you are still thinking about the quality of the pedalling technique your test this month is a maximum cadence test and a Floating Leg drill (FL drill). The Floating Leg drill is; roughly 90% force on one leg – 10% on the free leg, done as 2 mins one leg – 1 min both legs recovery – 2 mins other leg = 5 mins.
During the recovery ride (scheduled for Monday on the program) at the start and end of the month test your maximum cadence achieved for the following durations:
1) 5 seconds
2) 30 seconds
3) 1 minute
With the increase in volume and intensity of your training you must pay close attention to your recovery strategies, particularly your post training nutrition. It is easy to think that because you are training hard that you can get away with eating what you like. I touched on this topic last month, but now we pay even closer attention to it. Just like your car, if you put poor quality fuel in you will get poor quality performance from it. Thinking about your post ride refuel strategy you can break it down into two key timings. Firstly that 30min window post ride where you need to replace carbohydrate stores, replace hydration, replace amino acids, replace electrolytes, and reduce metabolic acidity. This can be done through a recovery shake, either homemade (see recipes below) or a prepared powder version. Then you have a second window of 90min to 2hours post exercise where you need to take on more solid food with a similar goal as before.
Recipe(s) of the month
Recovery smoothie 1
2 cups frozen berries
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup almond milk (canned coconut if you want more calories/fat)
1-2 eggs (safest if from free range pastured poultry)
Fill a blender with the frozen berries and quickly pulse with a little hot water to break them up.
Add shredded coconut, eggs, and almond milk.
Continue to blend until smooth, and divide into two glasses.
Note: you may have to cut the recipe in half and blend two smoothies separately, depending on the size of your blender.
Recovery smoothie 2
Strawburst Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie
This smoothie combines the anti-inflammatory ingredients of pineapple, ginger, turmeric, and Flora Oil (omega-3 fatty acids). It’s a great daily post workout drink, soothing aching muscles and is loaded with healthy fats as well as carbohydrates and protein.
2 cups water
1 cup frozen or fresh strawberries
½ cup frozen mango
½ cup frozen pineapple
½ cup frozen shelled edamame
¼ cup dried coconut flakes
3 tablespoons Flora Oil 3-6-9 Blend
1 tablespoon protein powder
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth.
This month, if you’ve not been doing so already, get a massage from a recommended physio or soft tissue therapist and ensure you are keeping up with the foam rolling yourself. I have laid the foundation of self-massage with foam rollers in the earlier articles, but with the increased load this month it is important to revisit this topic. Getting a massage now will help you identify areas which are getting too tight or any niggles which have not yet turned into a full blown injury. This can help you target your own conditioning program to address your particular needs, whether that is tight hip flexors, glutes or lower back for example. Hopefully you had a musculoskeletal screening back in January to put a plan together to reduce your risk of injury, but don’t loose sight of the supplementary work you need to do to keep injury free. Lost weeks from training due to injury now will impact heavily on your ability to complete your events in the summer.
The tools you should have available to look after yourself are as follows:
Foam roller – eg. The Grid (basic self massage)
Foam roller – eg. The Beast (deeper muscle tissue work)
Peanut – 2 tennis balls taped together (soft tissue work / spinal mobility)
Tennis ball (localised soft tissue work)
Mobility band / old inner tube cut down the middle (tack and floss work)
SCR – small chain ring only
LCR – large chain ring only
WU – warm up
CD – Cool down
Rpm – revolutions per minute
% – use heart rate zones, functional threshold power, or simply rate of perceived exertion.
FTP – Functional Threshold Power
Long ride 1 (5hrs, in sections)
1) Warm up in SCR @ 95 – 100 rpm (no free wheeling ) for 30mins, then LCR > 80% for 30 mins (60 mins total).
2) Next section of the ride; start by 10 mins steady then 10 x 5 mins @ RP – with 30 seconds recovery between sets. Then take 5 mins steady recovery before repeating for a second time. (Total 2hrs 15 mins for this section).
3) Next section of the ride; start with 15 mins steady then go for 12 mins @ RP – with 3 mins recovery. Repeat a 2nd time (60 mins)
4) Any time left on the ride split into thirds (Easy, RP, faster than RP) with equal time in each third.
5) Cool down. Last 5 – 10 mins of ride in SCR with a cadence of 95 – 100 rpm – no free wheeling .
Long ride 2 (4hrs)
1) Warm up in the SCR for 15mins, then do a floating leg drill for 5 mins followed by HITS for 10 mins ( 10 x 30” fast – 30” easy recovery ). Then 30mins steady (70%).
2) Next 75 mins OG ( over gear ) by 1 for 20 mins then 5 mins recovery – 20 mins > by 2 gears – 5 mins recovery – final 20 mins by 3 gears.- 5 mins recovery All ~ 75 – 85 rpm
3) Next 45 mins as high spinning @ 100 + rpm,
4) Followed by 1 or 2 x 20 mins @ RP – with10 mins recovery between sets.
5) End the ride with 5 – 10 mins @ 95 – 100 rpm – no free wheeling.
Warm Up. Start at 60 rpm and increase by 5 rpm every 1minute until you reach 120 rpm
Single leg drill with floating free leg – to increase strength & smooth pedalling.
Left leg for 5 mins in LCR @ 50rpm – 5 mins both legs recovery – then Right leg for 5 mins in LCR with other leg floating. Recovery 5 mins both legs.
M/S 4 “ block under front wheel. Or long hill ~ 3 miles if real hill available.
15 mins climb @ 50 rpm – ht rate ~ 75 bpm. Then 5 mins recovery spin. 4 x = 80 mins
Spin Down pyramid, start at 60 rpm and increase to 110 rpm then reduce back down to 60 rpm. (1 min on each rpm).
WU 10 mins easy spinning, then 5 mins as 30” max effort @ 70 – 80 rpm 30” recovery. Then 5 mins ez spin
M/S 6 x 5 mins seated @ 50 / 60 rpm – 2mins recovery spin
Spin Down 10mins
Build ride (Road or Turbo)
Warm Up, then 20k moderate –20k mod/hard – 20k hard – 20k v. hard = 80k then Spin Down
(Recovery week 10k ez – 10k mod – 10k mod/hard – 10k hard = 40k then S/D).
For those with a power metre use your FTP, for those without use the heart rates as indicated.
Warm Up, then 15 mins @ 110% of FTP ( ~ 90% ht rate ) – 15 mins @ 90% FTP ( ~ 80% ht rate.) Repeat 3 x = 90 mins. Then Spin Down.
Easy 30-60mins SCR (include x4-6 spin ups, gradually build to fastest sustainable cadence and hold for 1min- start and end of month do cadence test)
Strength – alternate between Hills set and Strength set.
Core/ gym / pilates / mobility
Threshold- alternate between build ride and FTP set.
Rest / stretch and mobilise
Long 4-5hrs – alternate between Long ride 1 and 2.
Stretch and mobilise
Strength and Conditioning April:
Foam roller / tennis ball 30secs each area
Feet, Calves, Peroneals, Quads, Glutes, TFL/ITB, Groin/Adductors
Pecs, Lats, Posterior shoulder
Resistance day 1:
1a) Deadlift 3 -4 x 5 | Recovery – 3 Min
1b) Bench Press | 3 x 5 | Recovery – 2 Min
2a) Gym ball hamstring curls | 3 x 8 | Recovery – 90 Sec
2b) Bent over rows | 3 x 6 | Recovery – 90 Sec
3a) Bulgarian split squat (back leg on gym ball)| 3 x 15 | Recovery – 60 Sec
3b) Mountain climbers on gym ball | 3 x 30-60 Sec | Recovery –30 Sec
Recover – 10min easy spin on the bike
Resistance day 2:
1a) Backsquat 3 -4 x 5 | Recovery – 3 Min
1b) Pull ups | 3 x 5 | Recovery – 2 Min
2a) Reverse lunges | 3 x 8 | Recovery – 60 Sec
2b) Press ups | 3 x 6 | Recovery – 60 Sec
3a) Side planks single leg hold | 3 x 15 | Recovery – 30 Sec
3b) Front plank with hip extension | 3 x 30-60 Sec | Recovery –60 Sec
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