Competition Winner – How Did the 3 Months Go?
For the last few years, I’ve been running a competition to win 3 months of free coaching. It’s a good way for someone who may be interested in coaching to experience it, with no risk.
3-Months is a fairly long time in some ways…but actually, for endurance gains, it’s a drop in the ocean!! However, it does allow the winner to really see what my coaching is all about and I’m pretty confident that they’ll see progress in that time.
I’ve written previously about the 2022 winner here:
And also a follow-up a year later here:
I actually launched the 2023 competition a little later than planned in March/April time, but actually had a good few more responses this year, which is great.
Where to Start?
There were 2 winners this year and this is the journey of one of them:
57-year-old male cyclist with a long history of training and racing. He commonly competes in local circuit, road races, the occasional TT and has done long road races abroad. Has been coached a few years ago, but more recently self-coaching and using Trainer Road.
First Thing First
Once a few forms are filled in so I have a good idea of the goals and training time available, it’s time to chat through it all and begin getting to know my new athlete.
This is really one of the most important things. I always see the whole process as a team effort, we have different roles, but we are in it together.
There were some nice road race goals including some National Masters racing and some performance goals, which gave us something to get our teeth into during the 3 months.
Also during this time, I usually get stuck into a bit of their training data to see:
- Where they are at now fitness/freshness wise
- What has their recent training has been like
- And if they have historical data, I like to see where they’ve been previously.
With recent weeks and months being a mixture of VO2 and Threshold sessions, it was clear to me we had to get the Z1 % up. Competing in local races once a week meant that the high intensity was covered and that the rest of the week could be dedicated to getting Z1 sessions and focus on volume.
Though there was probably a little too much high intensity recently, it’s not for nothing…as long as we get things back in balance, some of that work will carry over and we can build on it.
As you can see from the rough plan I made, we had chance for a couple of blocks of focused training prior to the goal race. The first month was dedicated to lots of Z1, then a block of VO2max sessions (2 sessions a week), but still with plenty of Z1. Then a block of threshold where we mixed in some TT’s.
How did We Progress
As we discussed, first lets see where you are, then make the next best step.
A typical week prior to beginning coaching looked like the image below. 4 hard sessions, though some differences in intensity, the TSS is very similar and there is something to be said about training monotony, which Stephen Seiler and Alan Couzens talk about a lot…and that it ultimately limits progress.
So…my first goal was to really take out a lot of intensity and vary things up a bit…more recent weeks are far less regimented, this is partly due to the time of year and racing but is also deliberate. Fitting training in where there is the best chance of adapting to it, which means working around life/work stresses.
You’ll notice that there isn’t a big difference in TSS in the new plan, though frequency is up, volume is up and from subjective feedback from the athlete, there is less fatigue associated with the current plan.
Below we have training volume prior to coaching:
Below we have recent training volume:
Below is FTP, TTE and CTL for 3 months prior to coaching:
Below is FTP, TTE and CTL during the 3 months of coaching:
What the Athlete had to Say
I’ve been coached before and felt strong using self coaching and Trainer Road, picking up a few wins and many top 10’s in races. However, I went into the 3 months with an open mind and looking forward to seeing if I could improve more overall.
You can see from the numbers, by the end of the 3 months I feel much stronger and riding and competing at the front end of the races, picking up an age group race win and road bike TT win in the last few weeks.
Like I said at the start, 3 months can be seen as a long time…and some changes can be made, it’s certainly satisfying to see FTP going up and good race results. However, endurance performance has a long time horizon and with the right training, improvements can be seen over years.
It’s been a fab 3 months of coaching and it’s gone so fast!! I’ve only done the competition twice and have been so lucky to work with such nice and motivated people.
I plan to run the competition earlier this year, as I think it will be better for the athlete if it’s more in the base build phase…if you want a chance to win, follow me on Facebook and keep an eye out for the next one 🙂
Any questions, feel free to comment below or email email@example.com
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