summit cycle coaching

Summit Cycle Coaching

“Cycling in Switzerland is a joy! The air is fresh, the views are amazing, the roads are smooth, there are no gel wrappers, old tubes, etc on the side of the road and the terrain is ideal!”

Cycling in Switzerland

Pretty big news!! The move came about quite suddenly, with an opportunity for our family to move to Switzerland. We jumped at the chance as it’s an adventure we were really keen to take advantage of.

Though any move is stressful (we moved in July) things are finally settling down a bit now. My bikes. finally arrived from the UK last week and I’ve finally managed to get out for a few rides.

FIrst Ride


The first ride was more eventful than you’d hope for! About 20. minutes in my seat clamp decided to give up, forcing me to return home, standing all the way!!

Summit Cycle Coaching

Summit Cycle Coaching

Determined not to give. up, I got. my TT bike out…sensibly swapped off the 60 tooth 1x chainring!! Headed out the door with what turned out to be 1 gear (34×23) in the small chainring and a handful of gears in the big ring…all fun and games

gearsSummit Cycle Coaching

As you would expect in Switzerland the scenery is spectacular!! 

Also, there is no shortage of hills for what was a serious ‘Over Geared Effort’ session today!! But I was out on my bike and very happy!!

Summit Cycle Coaching

I’ve also managed a couple of rides on the mountain bike with the boys this week. There are incredible trails through the forest right on our doorstep!

Back to Training

Having missed more training in the last month than I have in the last few years, I’m not exactly in peak condition…but the base is there and I’ll get it all back.

There’s so much awesome cycling on my doorstep in the Jura Mountains and within reach are the Rhone-Alps across the lake, climbs like the Col de Madelaine about 2 hours away and the Stelvio about 4-5 hours away…I’m really going to enjoy a couple of epic rides!!

The online coaching. doesn’t change, it’s all set up to be remote, so my current clients are able to carry on with no change and anyone interested in joining can do so at any time.

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Summit Cycle Coaching

 

What makes a Great

endurance athlete?

 

Key Terms:

  • Robust Athlete
  • Durable
  • Metabolic Control

 

When you start. working with an endurance athlete the reasons they do it may vary, the goals may vary and the time they have to train will vary. However, there are things that stay the same;  things common to all great endurance athletes.

The priority as someone starting on an endurance journey is that you focus on the areas that get most gain long term, not short, quick hit, one-percenter gains.

My coach at the time pointed me in the direction of some podcasts by Stephen Seiler (links below). This was the first time I’d heard some of these key terms listed above, and it changed the way I trained forever.

Performance doesn’t come from a miracle interval set, or riding so hard you end up lying in a pool of sweat by your bike after a turbo trainer session. It comes from consistent, well structured, disciplined training over time.

The discipline most people struggle with isn’t actually to push hard, it’s to hold themselves back on the easy days. It’s this discipline that. forms the foundation of a great endurance athlete. Taking the easy. days easy enough means heart rate. below 78% of max (as a rough guide). This can be really hard at first, it takes discipline.

If you stay disciplined, keep your hard days hard (1-2 x per week) and your easy days easy you will get. consistent training over time and that is when you start getting sustainable, high-level gains.

It is this approach that will make you a robust, durable athlete with the metabolic control to go easy when it’s easy and hard when it’s required.

Case study

I used to train for cycling with a lot of Z2/3 riding (in a 3 Zone Model). A typical week of training consisted of 2-3 sweet spot rides on my turbo trainer, 1 threshold ride/race and 1 long ride. I used to get regular colds, particularly after a ‘peak’. Nothing too bad, but it would always knock me back a couple of weeks.

The other issue I had that for 2 seasons in a row I had not progressed my FTP. Towards the 2nd season of seeing this pattern of frequent illness and stagnation I heard a Stephen Seiler podcast and then looked for a coach with a polarised approach to endurance training.

I changed to polarised training in late 2018 and had my most consistent winter and build ever. You can see the difference in intensity in the graph on the right.

I felt fresh almost all of the time and when the racing came I was faster than ever. FTP had been about 305 for 2 years and now it was 328. I beat all my time trial PB’s:

  • 19:57 for 10 miles (down from 20:56)
  • 50:46 for 25 miles (down from 54:55)
  • 1:49.45 for 50 miles (down from 1:56.42)

I didn’t get ill, I was able to train more consistently and I could have beaten those PB’s again if I’d had the chance in 2020!

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Stay Healthy

Meaning both not getting injured and not getting ill.

If your training is too hard or too frequently intense you will get little illnesses and injuries that break your consistency.

Keep. your easy sessions easy, for most athletes this means around 80-90% of your training is below 78% of your max heart rate.

Be Consistent

Once you are disciplined with your intensity, you will stay healthier and consistency will come.

Getting on your bike as much as you can, in balance with the rest of your busy life, will be the thing that impacts your fitness the most.

Sustainable rhythm

All this put together means that you can put together long stretches of sustained endurance training stimulus that creates greater adaptation and performance gains.

It’s important to remember to keep life in balance, fit the training in around everything else and don’t dig too deep into your energy or your partner or families ‘good will’. Find a balance.

 

 

How can you do this yourself?

If you want to know how to put this plan together for you, take advantage of a FREE Coaching Call

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Stephen Seler Podcast Link: FAST TALK Ep. 51 – Polarised Training

Summit Cycle Coaching

Summit Cycle Coaching

Everything is logged somewhere already

In this day and age almost everything is logged on internet-based programmes like Strava or Garmin Connect. Personally, I enjoy everything being logged, I like seeing my ride route and a few details of the ride. However, this is not a training diary. You could use it as a training diary, but it doesn’t tell you about how you felt.

You can add details into the ride descriptions that could cover the subjective details of a ride, however, when you review your recent training this becomes very difficult to read and is not very user friendly. There is a lot of clicking and waiting for pages to reload!

Summit Cycle Coaching

What about training software?

In common use for most endurance athletes is training software such as Training Peaks, Todays Plan or Golden Cheetah. These programmes go way beyond just logging rides and try to make use of the data to guide future training. With metrics developed (in Training Peaks I believe) like Acute Training Load, Chronic Training Load and Training Stress Balance you can get a good idea of your fitness and form. However, what you don’t get is how you feel about it. There have been times where the numbers looked great, but I felt totally trashed, unmotivated and unable to produce the performances on race day.

It doesn’t matter how sophisticated your algorithm in the software, it can’t tell how you feel. They introduced a nice smiley face rating for perceived session exertion and that can be used for a more subjective measure, but it’s not as user friendly as a simple diary. Especially when looking back to review recent weeks/months of training.

Summit Cycle Coaching

 

What works best as a training diary?

Really what works best is what helps you get the most out in the easiest way possible. Online/on the computer makes the most sense these days as they are so easy to use. Spreadsheets work the best for me. Either using Excel or Google Sheets is a great option.

Having a table set up that records your session and then a space for writing down how you felt is the key to this. If they then colour code the session as green/amber/red by colour filling the cell, the ease of use is incredible. This set-up means you can see a month on one tab and see where the rides fit together, any gaps, any intense periods and then the colour coding lets you know where to dig deeper.

If your athlete is normally (hopefully) consistently posting green rides and suddenly there are a couple of amber, red or missed sessions (hopefully addressed before you get to red/missed sessions!) you can easily see the pattern of where and when this occurred and start seeing what caused it.

Writing a few lines about how you felt about a session goes a long way, it is a great habit to get into. The most obvious benefit comes from the fact that the coach can get a read on how the sessions are going and how the athlete feels about them. Perhaps an unseen benefit from this habit is that it makes the athlete sit for a minute or two and actually think about how they feel. You will be shocked how many people unconsciously get themselves over-reaching/overtraining and only realising when it is late in the day and the recovery time is greatly extended. If you are in the habit of checking in with yourself after each session you are more consciously engaged with your training and will spot any signs of a problem in time to correct course.

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