Off-Season Training

This time of year often means time for relaxing, catching up on chores, and doing some things you haven't had time for. But don't get stuck on resting (though that's important); get in the training to charge 2015!

How to Build a Training Plan Using Your Power Meter

The number one question we get at seminars is: How do I get started with a training plan? There's no simple answer (except hire a coach), but Hunter shares some basics to cover.

I Don't Care if I'm Getting Old; I Wanna Go Fast!

Coach Tim Cusick is 48 years old, and he wants to go faster! Luckily he's into cycling, one of the few sports that offer the opportunity to improve even at such a “mature” age (and way beyond). Click through for his tips.

Off Season Homework for Triathletes

While "off season" sounds so vacation-like, most of us know it's anything but. It's the crucial time to get in your homework for next year's season, especially if you're aiming for the next level of success.

How to Interpret Power Data and What to Do With It

A power meter is an incredible tool and one of the most important purchases a cyclist or triathlete can make. But it won't do you any good unless you know how to use the information it gathers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Key Clothing Layers for Outdoor Winter Cycling

Peaks Coaching Group Key Clothing Layers for Winter Cycling Outdoors

I’d rather be outside on the bicycle than on the trainer. From what the weathermen are saying, I just might be stuck inside for awhile this winter, but I’m not giving in yet! Instead I’m making sure I have the layers I need to keep me as dry and warm as possible on those long cold winter rides. 

There are three key layers that make up the perfect winter cycling outfit:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Why Go To a Winter Training Camp?

Peaks Coaching Group Cyling Training Camp

Full disclosure: We host a lot of camps, so be advised this could include a blatant sales pitch. That being said, though, the reason we do winter training camps is that we know how effective they are in boosting your foundation training fitness and setting you up for a season of success. I could give you a thousand reasons to attend a winter camp, but I'd like to suggest four main ones.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Recipe: Chicken and Rice Bowl

from the kitchen of Namrita Kumar, PCG nutritionist
Peaks Coaching Group Chick and Rice Bowl Namrita Kumar

Chicken and Rice Bowl

Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 ounces grilled chicken breast, diced (or other lean protein like ground chicken breast, turkey breast, etc.)
3/4 cup cooked brown or wild rice
4 cherry tomatoes
1 cup raw spinach or kale leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 ounce feta cheese
Salt, lemon pepper, and other seasonings to taste
1 tablespoon hummus (optional)

Directions:

Pour the olive oil over the greens and stir to coat. Season to taste. Stir the seasoned greens into the rice and then stir in all the other ingredients. This can be eaten hot or cold.

Optional: Top with 1 tablespoon hummus.

Nutrition information:

424 kcal, 21 g fat 32 g CHO, 28 g protein without hummus added
463 kcal, 23 g fat, 38 g CHO, and 29 g protein with hummus added

This recipe is from Namrita's new e-book, Carbs are King: The Importance of Post-Workout Recovery. Click here to get your copy!

Image credit: ForTheLoveOfCooking.net


Namrita's racing background is primarily in endurance mountain biking and, more recently, some XC distance racing and XTERRA off-road triathlon. She works with triathletes, ultra-endurance mountain bike racers, self-supported ultra racers, marathon runners, and more. She is an active member of the American College of Sports Medicine, Professionals in Nutrition for Exercise & Sport (PINES), and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Honorary Board, and she is a founding member of the Georgia High School Cycling League. Namrita can be contacted directly through Peaks Coaching Group.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Pitfalls of the Quest for Perfect Nutrition


I once overheard a personal trainer at my gym say to another trainer, “I was so bad today; I had a white bagel!” As the other trainer gasped in horror, I cringed to myself and debated whether or not it was worth telling the trainer how silly she sounded. I don’t like when people refer to themselves as bad because of something they ate. That’s classic eating disorder talk, and it’s sad to think that some people genuinely feel so guilty about something they eat. Sometimes statements like the trainer said are meant as an exaggeration or for effect, but it’s still not a good habit. Eating a less-than-healthy food does not make one a bad person! Lying, cheating, stealing…those things make you a bad person, but not your nutrition choices.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Off-Season Training: It's Time to Get Your Homework Done!


October and November signal the start of the off-season for many athletes and a key period of time for cyclists. It means time for relaxing, catching up with chores around the house, making deposits into your spouse’s emotional bank account, doing some things you haven’t had time for earlier in the year, and more casual riding. I highly recommend to almost all my athletes that they take down time in October or November to recharge their batteries—not just physical batteries, but also mental/emotional batteries. “Emotion creates motion,” as my good friend Tom Coleman at Wobblenaught says. Emotion is key to motivating yourself for peak performances throughout the year, and just like your muscles, tendons, and ligaments, your head and heart need a break, too. One of the keys to a successful off-season is the proper amount of rest to recharge the batteries and then just the right amount of training to improve your key limiter(s), all while making sure your batteries don’t de-charge too much.

Friday, October 17, 2014

How to Build a Training Plan Using Your Power Meter

Peaks Coaching Group How to Build a Training Plan

It's the number one question at every seminar I teach: How do I get started with a training plan? There is no simple answer to that question, which is why so many people ask it. However, there are some basic steps you have to follow with your power meter before you build a training plan. Let’s review those steps first and then dig into how to build a training plan.

When Dr. Coggan and I decided to write our book, Training and Racing with a Power Meter, we wanted our readers to be able to finish the book knowing the basic steps of using their power meter effectively. Since those steps are in the book, I won’t go into detail here about each one, but a quick review of them will be helpful.

The first step in effectively using your power meter is an easy one; all you need to do is ride your bike and collect data. Don’t change the way you ride; just collect your data for a couple of weeks in order to get a good understanding of how many watts you do up a hard hill, on a long climb, in a breakaway, etc. Once you’ve collected two or three weeks of data, you’ll need to do some testing. I recommend testing four different time periods representative of the four main training zones: your best five-second, one-minute, five-minute, and twenty-minute efforts (your neuromuscular, anaerobic capacity, VO2Max, and threshold power, respectively). Choose a nice day, get in a good warm-up, and choose a flat or steady climbing road with no stop signs and low traffic.

The twenty-minute effort is one of the most important tests to do. Take your average watts from that test and subtract 5% from it; use that as your functional threshold power (FTP). A normal FTP test is sixty minutes long, but the twenty-minute test can be substituted for it as long as you subtract at least 5% off the final value. FTP testing is important because it’s the next step in the process: setting up your training zones (our book contains detailed descriptions of each training zone and what they mean).


After setting your FTP and establishing your power zones, determine your strengths and weaknesses relative to your peers. Dr. Coggan and I developed a chart called the power profile, which takes wattages from representative athletes all over the world and lists each category in a table so you can compare yourself to others. The main benefit of this is that it allows you to see which of your physiological energy systems is stronger or weaker than riders of similar caliber and then begin formulating a training plan to address these systems.


Just like anything else in life, the only way to improve an aspect of your training is to recognize you need to improve (test), understand what can be done better (power profile), set some goals, and develop a plan to improve. We can take the findings from our testing data, look at our season-long goals or even upcoming goals, and begin to focus on the steps needed to accomplish those goals.

So for the purpose of this article we need some goals so we can begin to develop a training plan. This is the final step before creating a training plan. Goals are the blueprints a homebuilder creates to make sure he builds the house just the way the owners envision it. Can you imagine buying a load of lumber and some nails, starting to hammer away, and building a house without a blueprint or plan? There’s no telling what you might end up with! Before any training plan can begin, goals must be set and decided upon.

Let’s look at a fictional athlete named Tommy Torque. Tommy wants to peak in mid-July to win the Masters Nationals road race, and he also wants to compete and podium in the time trial. Tommy isn’t concerned with any other races in the year; he only wants to do them to have fun, keep his mind and racing legs sharp, and gain the training effect. This is a great yet scary scenario for a coach to build a training plan for; it means building a plan up to one big peak of fitness in mid-July, which means his training can steadily ramp up higher and higher before a taper period, but it’s also scary because all the eggs are in one basket. This is bike racing, after all, and lots of things can and will happen. The airline might lose your bike. You might get a flat tire in the first mile of the race. You might miss your water bottle hand-up on that critical lap in the feed zone. Those risks, however, are Tommy’s. His coach needs to focus on coming up with the best training plan to put him in the right spot at the right time.

Stephen Covey, one of my favorite authors and speakers, says, “Begin with the end in mind.” That’s exactly where we start when we build a training plan: at the end. We have to work backward to develop the build and rest cycles in the training plan, since we only have so much time between now and Nationals. Working backward, we can build a plan with the traditional three weeks of work followed by one week of rest and include two weeks before Masters Nationals for the rest and taper weeks. I highly recommend doing this in an online training program like TrainingPeaks’ ATP planner, in an excel spreadsheet, or even on a dry erase calendar pinned to your wall. Work backward on your calendar to develop the different training micro-cycles (3:1 work and rest weeks), which will bring you back to your current week. Once there, you can begin to decide which phase of training you need to do in each 3:1 cycle. Not everyone needs or responds to a 3:1 training cycle (I’ve had athletes on a 1:1 or 5:1, etc.), but if you haven’t done a semi-organized training plan like this, a 3:1 ratio is a good place to start.

Once you’ve decided on your work-rest ratio, I recommend thinking about the training by addressing your weaknesses first and then working on the main necessary energy systems necessary for cycling. Tommy Torque has a moderate sprint (five-second best effort), a fair anaerobic capacity (his one-minute best is low), a very good VO2Max (five-minute best effort), and a very good FTP (his twenty-minute best is high), which bodes well for success in the time trial but might not help him as much in the road race as much. Since the Masters Nationals road race course is comprised of short hills, anaerobic capacity is a key determiner of success, along with FTP. Tommy’s FTP will keep him in the race near the front, but AC is the thing that puts him into position to win. With that in mind, he needs to spend at least one day a week working on this weakness, from now until eight weeks out from Nationals. At that point we’ll make sure he begins doing twice-a-week workouts with anaerobic capacity efforts intertwined with other time trial-specific workouts and FTP work. From March to May, it’s imperative that Tommy spends plenty of time working on his FTP, raising it as high as he can.

Since Tommy’s goal is a peak in mid-July, he shouldn’t be doing a tremendously hard early spring training plan, but May will be a key training month. Always think in eight-week blocks of training, since many training adaptations occur in eight-week cycles, so thinking backward from July really emphasizes the importance of a very strong May training block. FTP will be the main emphasis, as the aerobic system takes quite some time to improve and a big push in this area will provide great benefits in July.

With this rough sketch of a training plan for Tommy, all that’s left to do is filling in the blanks with the appropriate workouts each day. The daily workouts should be planned about three weeks in advance, since it’s hard to predict exactly what life will throw at Tommy throughout the season. If you plan out the daily workouts too far ahead, you’ll probably end up rewriting them later as life happens.

The contents of the actual workouts are far beyond the scope of this article, so I won’t go into that, but the composition of those workouts is very important. It’s key that you design your workouts to address correct training zones and do your best to adhere to them. Use the power training zones chart above to make sure you’re doing the correct wattages on your training rides. Focus on your efforts and make them count. It’s always the last couple of repetitions in an interval set that make the difference, so don’t give up!

Building a year-long training plan is no easy feat. Many books and articles have been written about doing it well, and I hope this article has given you some insight into the basic design of a training plan. A power meter will help you define your training dose much more easily and allow you to control that dose. Be sure to build up each week and keep the rate of training stress climbing, but not too fast. Nothing has really changed since the invention of new technology for training; we still have to use all the same periodization training principles that have been around for since Dr. Tudor Bompa wrote about them in 1968, but a power meter now quantifies that training stress.

As you review your goals, strengths, and weaknesses, make a plan to succeed and achieve those goals, however lofty or modest they may be. Your best season is right around the corner!



Hunter Allen is a USA Cycling Level 1 coach and former professional cyclist. He is the coauthor of Training 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.  

Article originally published in Road Magazine.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Dryside Training for Swimmers: Using Ropes to Increase Muscular Endurance

Peaks Coaching Group Dryside Training for Swimmers

Balancing dryside and wetside training for swimmers can be a challenge. USA Swimming defines dryside training as “any training a swimmer performs outside the pool” (Frost, 1999); many of us think of weight lifting and calisthenics. Wetside training, as you might imagine, is any training a swimmer performs in the pool.

The problem with wetside resistance training is that it builds muscular strength, not endurance. Specifically referring to the front crawl stroke, Vliet, Carol & Toussaint found that weight resistance training can lead to small improvements in sprint performance with little to no improvement in endurance. This outcome is not surprising due to the muscle types being trained; typical weight resistance does not train endurance muscles. However, if you add some battle rope training to your regime, it can provide the necessary resistance training to increase your endurance strength.

Let’s take a look at the front crawl stroke. Many muscles in our bodies are utilized in this stroke, and the pulling stroke of the front crawl creates almost 90% of our propulsion (Funk, 2009). The upper body front crawl stroke can be broken into six phases: entry, catch, downsweep, insweep, upsweep, and overwater recovery (Char, 1991).
Funk, 2009

Our range of motion comes from the shoulder, flexion of the elbow, and rotation of the forearm. The shoulder girdle is comprised of three bones, and several tendons, ligaments, and muscle groups allow us to move the shoulder in the 360-degree motion that is the essence of the front crawl stroke (Ho, 2010).
            
All the deltoids, lats, pecs, and biceps are the prime working muscles in producing the motion of this stroke, and the muscles of the shoulder girdle and forearm also assist in the stroke. Each one of these muscle groups contains endurance muscle fibers, and a great way to train these muscles to improve endurance is to use battle ropes.

A battle rope is typically 1.5-2 inches in diameter and ranges from 30 to 100 feet in length and from 50 to 75 pounds in weight. We can use these ropes to perform strength or endurance training exercises that train the same muscles used in the front crawl stroke. A battle rope forces us to use more stabilizer muscles in addition to the prime mover muscles, unlike in standard weight training; because the rope has unstable characteristics depending on the exercise being performed, our stabilizer muscles have to kick in to keep the rope moving in the proper direction.

Battle Rope Drills

1. Alternating Waves


This endurance exercise trains the endurance muscle fibers of the upper back and upper arm. The muscles of the shoulder girdle must also assist in stabilizing the rope.

To perform the drill, take the end of a rope in each hand and move your arms up and down. Keep your arm strokes small, which results in smaller and faster arm movements. The upper part of the stroke should end at shoulder level, while the lower level should end at your waistline. The resulting alternating strokes cause the rope to produce alternating vertical waves.

2. Double Waves


This exercise is very similar to the alternating waves above; just hold both ropes together with both hands and make the same up and down arm motion. Since the rope ends are held together and the arms are near the centerline of the body, different muscles are trained: the shoulder girdle muscles, biceps, triceps, and muscles of the forearm. The main difference between the two exercises is that you need to keep your abdominal muscles tight in order to maintain good control of the rope.

3. Side-to-Side Waves


Hold one end of the rope in each hand as in the alternating waves drill and lift the rope to waist level. Twist and swing your arms from side to side, creating a horizontal double wave with the rope. Creating this motion will use much of your upper body muscles, including the deltoids and rhomboids of your upper back, your lats, and your abdominal obliques.

4. Thumbs Up Double Waves


Hold each end of the rope with your thumbs pointing upward and move your arms up and down as you did in the alternating waves exercise. The change in hand position allows for additional muscle groups to be exercised; you’ll work your lats, triceps, and upper muscles of the shoulder girdle, and your lower abdominals are activated to stabilize your body during the drill.

5. Double Circles Waves


Hold one end of the rope in each hand as in the alternating waves drill. Swing each end of the rope in a circular motion, similar to a double-dutch jumping rope exercise. This exercise works the same muscles described in the side-to-side waves drill.

Sample Dryside Training Regimen Using Battle Rope Drills

The following sample of battle rope drills can be used as part of any dryside training plan to assist in developing muscular endurance. The purpose of these drills is to train and develop your type 1 muscle fibers that are involved in the six phases of the front crawl pulling stroke.

1.    Alternating waves 3 x 1 minute, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.
2.    Side-to-side waves 3 x 1 minute, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.
3.    Double waves 3 x 1 minute, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.
4.    Double circles 3 x 1 minute, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.
5.    Thumbs up double waves 3 x 1 minute, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.
6.    Double circles 3 x 1 minute, with 30 seconds of rest between repetitions.

Keep in mind that the above regimen is merely a suggestion. The key principle is to train your musculature for endurance, and the longer you perform the exercises, the more type 1 muscle fibers get trained. The number of repetitions and time can be tailored to each swimmer’s skill level and age.

Many different forms of battle rope drills are used to train both muscular strength and endurance. The exercises mentioned in this article are only a small sampling of the drills available when using these rope drills. Drills mainly translate to the direct training of the muscles we use in the front crawl stroke. By adding these drills to their dryside training, your athletes will gain muscular endurance that will complement wetside training.



Authors
Peaks Coaching Group Chris Myers

Chris Myers is a USA Cycling Level 2 coach, a USA Triathlon Level 1 coach, a USA Swimming Level 2 coach, and a Peaks Coaching Group elite coach.


Peaks Coaching Group Lisa Colvin

Dr. Lisa Colvin is a USA Cycling Level 2 coach, a USA Triathlon Level 1 coach, a USA Track and Field Level 1 coach, and a Peaks Coaching Group elite coach. She holds a B.S. in Health and Physical Education/Biology, a M.S. in Exercise Science/Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology.




Chris, Lisa, and the rest of the Peaks Coaching Group coaches create custom training plans for all levels of athletes. They can be contacted directly through PeaksCoachingGroup.com or info@peakscoachinggroup.com



Bibliography

Frost, D. (1999). Middle distance swimming. Retrieved from http://www.swimmingcoach.org/articles/9911/9911_1.htm.

Funk, L. (2009). Swimmer's shoulder. Biomechanics of Swimming, Retrieved from http://www. shoulderdoc.co.uk/article.asp?article=769.

Ho, S. (2010). Emedicine. Biomechanics of Swimming, Retrieved from http://emedicine.medscape.com/ article/93213-overview.

Vliet, R., Carol, M., & Toussaint, H. (n.d.). Effects of strength on sprint swim performance. Retrieved from http://www.azswimminggauchos.org/azasg/UserFiles/File/Effects of Strength training on Sprint Swim Performance(1).pdf.

Exercise demonstration images retrieved from http://mymadmethods.com.

Battle rope image retrieved from http://totalperformancesports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Battling-Rope-.jpg.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Peaks Coaching Group nutrition Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

"I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers."  - Anne of Green Gables

One of the classic images of October is a browning field of the varied colors and shapes of gourds: small and large, orange and white, bumpy and smooth. Grab a few (dozen) to grace your seasonal decor, of course (if you decorate your bike, send us a picture), but don't forget to carry a few into the kitchen, as they've got more to offer than their good looks! Dig in with this recipe for a delicious acorn squash roasted and filled with quinoa, goat cheese, and cranberries.

Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2-3 ounces goat cheese
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut squash in half and scrape out the seeds. Pre-cook by baking both halves in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.

Cook quinoa in the vegetable broth according to quinoa package directions (usually 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed). Add the goat cheese and cranberries to the quinoa and mix well. Scoop quinoa mixture into squash halves and bake another 15-20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Enjoy!

Image credit: passportsandpancakes.com


Jen Sommer is a registered dietitian, a certified specialist in sports dietetics, a former NASM certified personal trainer, and a self-appointed mountain girl. As a cyclist, skier, hiker, and runner (among other things), she knows firsthand the importance of proper nutrition and training. She offers nutrition coaching and consulting through Peaks Coaching Group. Find more great tips, recipes, and articles at Jen's blog, Mountain Girl Nutrition and Fitness.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Coffee: Good or bad for health and sports performance? Or just delicious?


Do you ever wonder if your daily cuppa joe is helping or harming you? Have you heard that caffeine can improve your sports performance? Like so many foods and drinks, coffee gets a fair amount of press for its health implications. Most is positive, but some is negative. Since it’s such a commonly consumed beverage (I myself enjoy a cup almost every morning), I decided to do a bit of sleuthing into the topic. Here’s what I found.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I Don't Care if I'm Getting Old, I Wanna Go Fast!

Peaks Coaching Group Faster Masters Racers

I’m 48 years old, and I wanna go faster! There, I said it. This happens to me every fall; it’s something about the cool night air, changing colors, and Sunday night football. I start thinking about next year and planning ways to get faster. I love it. So few sports give us the opportunity to look for ways to improve even at the “mature” age of 48 (and way beyond).

I train with power, so my performance goals for next season are in watts. Somehow I will find a way to squeeze a few more watts out of these old bones. I don’t care who says I’m too old or past my prime. I know that if I can find ways to improve my training, I might make it happen. Sure, the odds are against me: things don’t work as well anymore, there are a few more aches than last year, and occasionally I wonder how much gas I have left in the tank, but I DON’T CARE! I’m going for it anyway!

So as I sit down and start thinking about my 2015 plans, I figured I’d share a few of my tips.

Limit the loss of Chronic Training Load (CTL).

As a long-time coach, I preach taking a nice long(ish) break in the fall for all my athletes under 35, but for those of us over 40 (yeah, yeah, I know I skipped five years; you can decide which side you are on), I go the other way. See, when you’re young and have some time, you can dump more fitness, rest up your system, start rebuilding again in the late fall/early winter, and regain your fitness, but once we start to age (for argument’s sake I’m talking 40+, but there’s really no hard number) we have to balance the rest more delicately, as building back is harder for us. Typically a young rider can handle a steady ramp rate of fitness growth of 6-7 chronic training load (CTL) points a week and maintain a good balance of fitness and freshness to train hard and realize gains, but once you’re over 40, that number goes down. I typically estimate it more like 4-5 CTL points a week. This limits the speed at which a masters athlete can gain fitness while still building performance.

The way to deal with this is to first accept it and then move on to planning accordingly. I start my season plan early and build CTL a little slower to ensure proper over-reaching and growth as I build to a target fitness.

Build some strength.

Just do it! This is a much-debated topic, but I see results time and time again. It’s doubly important for the masters rider. As we age, two key things we lose that hurt us in cycling are VO2max and strength (as a general term). The benefits of strength building are well noted in masters athletes, and you should be doing it. What is “it”? Here’s what I do myself and recommend to build strength:

1.    Start with a functional strength-building program. The traditional definition of functional strength training is the practice of motion against resistance, with an objective of improving your ability to perform a specific athletic activity. A year’s worth of cycling, attached to your handlebars, saddle, and pedals, improves your fitness and performance, but it comes at a price, and your body can develop some imbalances and issues. The best way to begin your annual strength build regime is to start with a short (eight weeks) functional strength-building program. The program should focus on rebuilding and balancing cycling-specific strength by focusing on the motions of cycling while balancing out the support muscles. This phase is important because it’s the ground work of a more intensive strength-building program.

2.    Once I complete my functional program, I move to a more traditional strength resistance program in the gym. This is typically ten to twelve weeks for me and includes a blend of programs. I know everyone fears weight gain, but if you do it correctly, you can minimize the weight gain, and actually lose some. My program is two weeks based on strength endurance (low weight, high reps), two weeks of hypertrophy (heavier weights, 8-12 reps), four weeks of strength building (heavy weights, low reps), and finishing up with two to four weeks of strength endurance building again.

3.    Maintenance. I like to maintain strength once in season, but it’s a real time challenge. Once I complete my basic programs above, I try to stick to a maintenance program one or two days a week, but if time is limited, I choose time on the bike over time in the gym.

This combination seems to get me most prepared for the season, healthy and strong.

Change it up.

Another thing that gets harder as we get older: change. At 40+ it takes some extra discipline, but each year I challenge myself to introduce something new. Your body gets used to the “same-old-same-old” pretty quickly, so bringing in some new exercises is important. This year my new thing is a fitness course. You know that odd bunch of signs and bars circling your local park? Try reading those little numbered signs, and you’ll see they’re actually a series of progressive workouts, typically focused on body weight. My plan this year is to (carefully) introduce some running into some functional strength building and look to get some gains. I know this is a touch old-school, but I need something new, and a fitness course allows me to run on the grass, add functional strength movements, and actually create some intensity. You could argue that I might get better performance results from spending that time on the bike, but this isn’t performance phase; this is strength building. The change will force my body to adapt instead of being prepared for the same experience.

This will give you a really good start! It’s the simplest advice I have for masters riders who want to go fast: start early, build some strength, and change it up.

Photo: PCG athlete Brad Clemmons


Tim Cusick Peaks Coaching Group president
Tim Cusick is a USA Cycling Level 3 coach and the president of Peaks Coaching Group. He and his coaches create custom training plans for all levels of athletes. Tim can be contacted directly through PeaksCoachingGroup.com or info@peakscoachinggroup.com