Hunter explains the concepts, analysis, and benefits of data collected with a power meter that measures each leg's power output separately from total power.
It has been said that if you fail to plan, you may as well plan to fail. If you want to get the most out of your training program, you need a plan. Click to read more!
The days are getting shorter, the big events have passed, and our attention is turning to preparation for next season. Tim explains how the proper design and execution of this off-season phase pays big dividends later.
Winners think differently. They are constantly focused on moving forward, getting things done, taking action, and improving. Click through for more about why winners win!
Determining our power zones is one of the most basic elements of power training. Click through to read more about each zone and how they work together.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Monday, March 28, 2016
We had some questions come in on this topic and we asked our coaches what they use.
Here are the results:
Coach Len Pettyjohn:
I’ve easily used more than a dozen different bike carriers over the years with teams as well as solo trips. A few years ago I purchased the Bike Box Alan and now have the most versatile and secure carrier ever. A lot of thought went into the design and Alan took all the best features from the options out there and built them into his box. It’s only available online from the UK, but fortunately the dollar is strong so it’s a relatively good value.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016
There it is again, your old pal. It always shows up right before that big presentation at work, before you ask for that raise, and before each and every important race that you do. Nervousness. Are you nervous? Do you feel that old queasy feeling before your race? How do you deal with it? Do you get upset? Do you let it get to you? Or do you revel in the feeling and let its energy flow through your body?
If after all these years of training, and racing you still get those feelings, you’re probably in one of three camps: (1) you hate it and feel it’s the worst part of being a competitive athlete, (2) you’ve learned to deal with it and accept it as part of the experience, or (3) you’ve realized that it’s an essential part of you and your race (or project, etc.). Those in the third camp have recognized that feeling excited before a race is actually a great thing and something to look forward to. They realize that it’s just their bodies telling them their muscles are strong and ready for a peak performance.
If you’re not in that third camp, I’d like to encourage you to recognize the inherent positive in the energy of “nervousness.” In fact, let’s stop calling it that. I think the word nervousness itself can bring on bad connotations, so I refer to the feeling as excitement instead. At some point in my career I decided to change the way I viewed excitement. I decided that instead of fighting the feeling and using essential race energy to fight it off, I would instead just let it run through my body and be used for a better performance. I’ve coached many athletes since then, and it’s interesting to see how each has a different way of dealing with this subject.
The true professionals, Olympians, etc. are all in the third camp I mentioned above; they use the energy and make it work toward their advantage. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Summer Sanders, and even the great one, Wayne Gretsky -- they all get excited. You just can’t tell it from watching them on TV. These top athletes have recognized the feeling of excitement as good, and they use it to raise their performance to even higher levels.
Have you ever been at a concert or gone dancing when a loud band was playing? You’re up there close to the stage, the music is good, the company is great, and you’re really enjoying yourself. It’s loud, but the rhythm is great and you can literally feel the music running through your body: the deep thump of the bass, the smooth rhythm of the guitar, the steady beat of the drums. What you’re feeling is the vibration of the music and energy coming from the instruments and the musicians themselves. You don’t resist this feeling; you just enjoy it and let it flow through your body. Bingo! You made a decision. Whether or not it was conscious, you allowed yourself to become part of the energy created by the band.
Now, how does this relate to athletics and pre-event excitement? Well, it’s similar because when you get excited before a presentation or race, your body naturally creates energy that moves throughout your body. It’s a powerful force, so strong that many people aren’t comfortable with it at all. Many of us learned incorrectly somewhere in our past (maybe in the fifth grade) that it’s bad. Let’s say a kid is really excited before a school play because of holding a major role, only to have his belt come unbuckled during the play and his pants fall down, causing all of the kids to laugh at him. Boom, his brain now begins to associate excitement with embarrassment and failure. For the rest of his life, every time he gets excited he feels those impending signs of doom.
Your job is to change your thinking and your paradigm and to allow your mind to relax and enjoy the feeling that your body-mind connection is creating. Change the false beliefs about yourself and your body’s energy. Here’s the key: pay attention, allow yourself to let the feelings flow through you, and decide to enjoy them. Feel the energy flowing into your arms and hands and legs, through your chest, into your back, and up and down your spine. The next time you get excited, take a minute to sit back and really feel that energy. Once you’ve done that, compare it with the energy you felt when excited about a great success, maybe your wedding, your first race win, the birth of a child, a great training run, or a big promotion or raise. How does it compare? It’s the same feeling, right? It’s the same exact feeling as when you’re excited. They’re one and the same. It’s just our incorrect thought patterns and false beliefs that create a difference between the two supposedly different feelings.
The energy of your excitement is of great benefit to you in your everyday life and races; it opens you up, allows you to perform at your maximum, and gets you focused and ready for the effort. You must use it and realize how important it is to have those feelings. They’re good! Allow your body to flow with the energy. The next time you feel that excitement, you’ll know it means you’re ready for a peak performance in the office, in your training, or in your event. Recognize it, allow it, accept it as good and important, and then put it to good use.
Make it a healthy day!
Hunter Allen is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach and former professional cyclist. He is the coauthor ofTraining and Racing with a Power Meter and Cutting-Edge Cycling, co-developer of TrainingPeaks’ WKO software, and CEO and founder of Peaks Coaching Group. He and his coaches create custom training plans for all levels of athletes. Hunter can be contacted directly through PeaksCoachingGroup.com.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Whether you love rainy days or hate them, it’s very likely that you will find yourself riding in the rain at some point; probably racing in it, as well. And rain changes things. As you watch the weather report, here are a few things to keep in mind when faced with the drips.
Road HazardsThere are several places that can become slick as glass even if just mildly wet or damp:
- Painted lines
- Railroad tracks (hopefully there aren’t any on the course, but you never know)
- Manhole covers
- Intersections where cars stop. These are usually worse when the roads are just damp versus very wet. When cars stop at intersections, oil drips down and accumulates on the asphalt. Combine that oil with just a little bit of water, and it’s crazy slick.
- Dirt and gravel that might have washed out on the road. Be on the lookout for this, especially in the turns.
This is so obvious I almost hesitate to include it, but I will: Allow extra room between you and the rider in front of you. Even if you do a great job of keeping the water away from your brake pads, it will still take extra time to stop or slow down on wet or damp roads, so give yourself plenty of room.
Hands in drops is even more important when it’s wet. It’s easy for wet hands to slide right off the top of the brake hoods. Keep your hands in the drops; you’ll have more control and won’t risk losing your grip.
Gear and Clothing
I highly recommend wearing eye wear with yellow lenses, or some other light color. If you go without, you’ll get tons of road spray in your eyes (from the wheel in front of you or your own front wheel) and won’t be able to see well. The lenses will of course get wet and dirty, but I find that a quick swipe with my finger will clear them off enough for me to see the road ahead.
If you’ve been using the same helmet for a while on these hot, humid days, chances are you’ve accumulated a lot of sweat on the pads and straps. If the pads get very wet and water drips in your eyes, you’ll feel a serious stinging (think salt water in your eyes). So now is a good time to clean your helmet and get that sweat and grim out of the pads and straps.
It’ll probably be a little cooler in the rain, so don’t forget to pack an extra base layer and maybe arm warmers. A vest is good too, but you’ll need your race number to be visible at all times, so if you plan to race in your vest, be sure to pin your number on it. And I KNOW you all know how to pin on your number!
Getting it DoneRemember: rain shouldn't stop you. It simply creates another opportunity to become a better athlete!
email@example.com or www.peakscoachinggroup.com.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Main Set: Nail it at 88-93% of your FTP for 60 minutes, with 20 bursts (every 3 minutes!) to 120% of FTP, hold for 15 seconds, and return to previous pace (88-93% of FTP)
EASY 10 minutes riding at endurance pace 56-75% of FTP
Then do 30 minutes at 88-93% of FTP and this time do big gear intervals- every two minutes. Slow down to 12mph, put your chain in the 53:13, stay seated and then use strength to explode on that gear and push it hard for 30seconds or if you reach 90rpm, stop when you reach one of those criteria first and return to 88-93% of FTP.
Cool Down: 10 minutes easy spinning at less than 56% of your FTP.
To remind you of the Coggan power training levels, see figure 1.
FTP “Well of courage”
After completing the (4) x 12 FTP intervals, ride for 20-30 minutes endurance pace (56-75% of FTP).Finish with one more 12 minutes at FTP interval to completely bury yourself! Make sure you push it hard and do your best completing a total of 60minutes at FTP for the day!
Cool Down: 10 minutes at least than 56% of FTP
On your weekends, make sure you are getting in at least one day of group riding as this is fun and it will also help to develop your race fitness with short, hard bursts and simulated attacks.
I recommend to my clients to do a group for an hour or two and then go longer afterward if they can.
This really makes a difference in your endurance and stamina for the upcoming season. On the other day during the weekend, it would be great to work on your shorter, more intense efforts. I recommend this workout:
Weekend: “A bite of it all”
Warm Up: 15minutes at 56-75% of FTP.
Main-Set: Do (3) x 1 minute fast pedaling. Then do (4) sprints- BIG RING –Put your chain in the 53:15 and start from 22mph. Only do two gear shifts in these sprints to 14, then to 13. Rest for 3-4 minutes between each and get psyched for the next sprint!
Now, finish the workout with 4 x 2 minutes on a flat section of road. 2 minutes ON, 2 minutes OFF.
Do your best to hold 130-140% of FTP on the effort. Lastly, ride at endurance pace for 20 minutes (56-75% of FTP)
CD: 5 minutes (<56% of FTP)
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Worlds. Amazing. You had to be there. Thousands of people, incredible course, the best riders in the world and stellar bike racing. Richmond Virginia shined and really laid out the red carpet for everyone and it was heart warming and reassuring to have drivers honking at you with “Thumbs up” and taking pictures of cyclists as they rode around the outskirts of town for the week, instead of giving you the other finger. Ben King, local boy makes good. Ben not only rode in the breakaway for 90+ miles, but not was he only one from the breakaway to finish the race, but he in the front group at the base of Libby Hill on the last lap. Only then, did he lose contact with the front group, finishing in 53rd place, 55 seconds down on Sagan. Let’s have a look at this amazing power file from the World Championships.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Power training and indoor trainers simply belong together. The pure efficiency and controlled environment of training indoors partner amazingly well with precise training based on specific targeted power numbers. The combination of accurate power measurement and controlled smart trainers have taken this to new levels, and because more and more people are now training indoors with their bicycle power meters, we are seeing significant improvements in the effectiveness of indoor training.
But there’s always a catch.
Training indoors with precise performance numbers can have some negative effects on your training. The introduction of clear training targets measured by watts has brought about some bad training habits, and they’re often disguised as the desire to improve performance as we focus on increasing just one number: average watts.
Here are two ways to look at indoor power training differently to improve your results.
Power vs. Duration
The ChallengeThe introduction of power to indoor training has created a focus on “more power” that can actually be detrimental to long-term improvement performance; I often see athletes striving constantly for more power (increased watts) as the key to their breakthroughs, often repeating similar workouts in their pursuit to track their improvement by tracking their power numbers. This obsession with power leads to problems with training focus. We can become overly focused on increasing power and forget about increasing power duration and fatigue resistance.
The SolutionChange your thinking this winter. Focus more on power duration instead of pure power output.
Here’s a simple example. Say you do a lot of 2 x 20s at tempo, sweet spot, or FTP training levels. This probably means you’re trying to get more watts each session, often turning tempo and sweet spot work into FTP intervals. I recommend that you focus more on increasing your time in those zones and let the power come up more naturally as you grow more fit. Instead of doing each 2 x 20 a few watts higher, progressively expand the duration of your time in that zones. You could start at 2 x 15 minutes of SST and progress to 2 x 20 minutes and then then 3 x 15 minutes, which leads to 3 x 20 minutes of SST. I progress my athletes incrementally (often 1- to 2-minute increments) over the course of their base training, but there’s no reason to sit stagnant; I will rarely plan more than three workouts at the same time length before increasing the time demand. Just remember that your power numbers will be coming up as the time increases, so you’ll need to test and monitor other data to gradually move up your power targets.
The ReasonWhy give this a try? Results! Increasing your power duration/fatigue resistance is more likely to improve your results than adding a few more watts of pure power in the base training phase. How many times have you made the break and got into the lead pack only to be dropped or be unable to hold? You had the power, but you couldn’t sustain it. It’s time to change that.
Power vs. Cadence
The ChallengePower training is exactly what it sounds like: training by power. However, this has led to such a focus on output numbers of average power that I see more and more athletes not using their indoor training time to work cadence drills and focus on potentially improving efficiency.
The SolutionStart using more of your available data to track and encourage the introduction of efficiency drills into your training. I have my athletes focus on three types of drills during their base build:
1. Fast Pedaling
This is the simplest of all the drills, but I add a twist. I suggest doing fast pedaling drills 2-3 times a week as 10 x 1 minute with 1 minute of rest, but I like to break them up by doing 5 x 1 minute just after warming up (before the actual workout effort), then completing the final 5 x 1 minute after the workout effort (just after cool-down). We want to get cadence above 125 rpm for the minute, to not focus on power, and to focus on spinning without bouncing.
2. Over Fast Pedaling
This is a slightly more complex drill (I call it “rate coding pedaling intervals”), but it’s very effective. Just like the fast pedaling drill above, these are 10 x 1 minute, but you need to start them in a mid-range gear, get your fast pedal up to max for 30 seconds, then shift into one easier gear, spin fast for 15 seconds, and shift again to one easier gear for the final 15 seconds. This fast pedal format will teach you to “over-spin,” as each gear shift will help you spin faster than you thought possible and help improve your neural muscular pathing and performance.
3. Progressive Pedaling Intervals
During the base training phase I also use cadence targets in my longer intervals to help develop efficiency and fatigue resistance. For example, I might prescribe a 45-minute Tempo effort with progressive cadence. This means the first 15 minutes will have a target of 75-85 rpms, the second 15 minutes 85-95, and the final 15 minutes above 95. This helps us focus both mentally and physically on the effort and on maintaining good cadence targets. This is harder than it sounds, but it’s worth it!
The ReasonWhy give this a try? Improving efficiency is low-hanging fruit for many cyclists. Building both short-term and long-term efficiency can improve your ability up to 10% as demonstrated by this training response chart supplied by Dr. Andrew Coggan.
The benefits of indoor training are clear: efficiency, a controlled environment, focus, and more. Just make sure your power meter doesn’t cause you to repeat the same old training focused only on more power. Make the most of this season. Do things a little differently to get the results you want.
Want expert help with your training this season? Contact us to find out how we can help!
Pez Cycling News
Tim Cusick is a USA Cycling Level 3 coach and a PCG master coach. He and our other coaches create custom training plans for all levels of athletes. Tim can be contacted directly through PeaksCoachingGroup.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Soup can make a quality meal paired with a nice whole grain baguette and/or lean protein on the side, or it can even serve as a starter to a meal or a healthy snack. The thing I love about soup is that just about anyone can feel quite accomplished in the kitchen after making a soup. It doesn’t take a seasoned pro to put amazing soup on the table. Trust me. Generally, if you have a few basics on hand like broth, garlic, onion, and ginger, as well as a few basic spices (salt, pepper, curry, chili powder, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, etc.) and maybe a few limes and lemons, you can pull off some good flavors.
Sweet potatoes and potatoes are my favorite things to have on hand at this time of year, as well as beets, all of which make for amazing soups. Add a blender, and voila, your soup goes from chunky to creamy. Trust me, you won’t believe you made it. Neither will your friends.
Sweet Potato Apple Curry SoupServes 3
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 1 large apple (or 1 1/4 cups of applesauce)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups chicken broth or water
InstructionsPeel and cube both the apple and sweet potatoes. Set aside.
Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the ginger, nutmeg, curry powder, salt, and pepper and cook until toasted, about 1 minute. Add sweet potatoes and chicken broth; cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium low and add apples. The broth should just cover the potatoes; they may even stick out a bit. Cover and simmer until the sweet potatoes are soft, about 20 minutes. Puree soup in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.
This pairs very well with a blackened white fish or salmon with a lime drizzle on top.
119 gram carbohydrates
12 gram protein
23 grams fat
Pez Cycling News
Anne Guzman is a PCG nutritionist, a registered holistic nutritionist, and a sports nutrition consultant with a degree in kinesiology. Her passion lies in sports nutrition for endurance athletes, as well as general health and wellness. Anne raced full time on the women’s professional circuit in North America with some bouts in Europe from 2008 until 2011, and before cycling was a provincial and CIAU champion and national bronze medalist as a Varsity Freestyle Wrestler. Currently Anne works with athletes to help them reach their potential by combining their own training plans with her nutrition plans. Anne believes that many athletes undermine their intense detailed training regimes by not backing them with sound nutrition. Her personal experience as a cyclist and athlete is a great asset to her business as she understands the needs and nuances that come with the sport. Anne can be contacted through PeaksCoachingGroup.com or at email@example.com. Read more nutrition advice on her blog.
Photo credit: Taste.com.au