Thursday, November 29, 2018

How Training Has Changed Through The Decades - Bicycling Magazine

Sports psychology, expert coaches, scientists, physiological testing, nutrition, and the means to quantify training effort and dose: each of these factors has played a part in changing the way cyclists train. But how much has training really improved? One thing that has always worked and which remains just as important today is ‘putting the miles in’.

Riding plenty of miles was the guiding principle during the Forties, and it’s still recommended today. Setting aside the controversies surrounding his time as technical director of British Cycling, Shane Sutton knows about training, and he has a universal piece of advice: “Train for 16 hours a week, every week. It doesn’t matter how you do those 16 hours, but you will get better.” Is it really that simple?

>>> How they used to train: Eddy Merckx’s pre-1969 Tour de France week

High mileage remains a hallmark of elite cyclists’ training. What makes it so effective? Studies show that training volume has a direct effect on the physiological adaptations that underpin fitness. These include increases in blood volume and total number of red blood cells, increased cardiac output, and increases in blood capillary and mitochondria density in muscles. Doing lots of miles leads to lots of adaptations; it’s a blunt instrument, but it works.

A few cyclists began experimenting with more efficient ways of training during the era of Fausto Coppi. He was the top dog during the late Forties and early Fifties, and although his overall training advice, “Ride your bike, ride your bike, ride your bike” was traditional — and a tad repetitive — he experimented with pushing harder on parts of rides to simulate race efforts.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

10 Amazing Cycling Classes Every Rider Must Try


It’s easy for cyclists to have their beef with indoor studios. The bikes often don’t compare to what you find on the road, instructors can lack true experience with the sport, and crunches on a stationary bike can sometimes be enough to make even non-cyclists squirm.
Yet, with the advent of indoor trainers, high-tech software, and studios (and imminent cold weather starting to rear its head), more and more athletes are moving their workouts indoors.
Cyclists are not excluded: On snowy days, on a work trip, on vacation, or any time your real bike isn’t in sight, there are indoor studio classes that even cyclists favor. And you can get a great workout from them, too.
Dig enough and its possible to find classes taught by cyclists, computrainer studios with very accurate data, cycling performance centers cyclists flock to, and even big-box companies that have their cardiovascular and muscular perks.
We did some of the research for you. Many of the classes below are also popular with non-riders, but they offer a host of benefits that will make anyone want to sign up and give some indoor sweat a shot.
[Want to fly up hills? Climb! gives you the workouts and mental strategies to conquer your nearest peak.]

Peloton

Cyclists who choose Peloton can ride in either the comfort of their own homes or at Peloton’s New York City studio on 23rd Street. Regardless of where you ride, the classes are a solid pick for serious riders, says Hunter Allen, president and CEO of Peaks Coaching Group in Bedford, Virginia.
“There are good bikes, you can use your own pedals, and many instructors are cyclists themselves and teach from a cycling perspective.” Try Matt Wilpers, Christine D’Ercole, and Jennifer Jacobs who are cyclists themselves, and use power and wattage to give riders the experience cyclist want.

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Help! My FTP Won't Go Up

Level 1 USAC Coach and Master/Elite Coach with Peaks Coaching Group

You’ve purchased a power meter. You’ve trained hard and seen progress. You’ve spent hours on the trainer doing more 20-minute sweet spot intervals than you care to count. You’ve done the Functional Threshold Power (FTP) testing - multiple times - to measure your threshold. For a while, you excitedly watched your 20-minute test numbers rise but then, they stall.
What’s this!? Does this mean you’ve reached the limit of your FTP improvement? Does it mean your training is no longer working? Are you doing the wrong workouts? Are you not trying hard enough? Does this suggest that you should purchase a different power meter?
All too often we assume diligent training leads to linear increasing FTP. This simply is not the case. Threshold improvement is realized, for lack of a better phrase, in “fits and starts”. There are times when improvement follows a linear trajectory. At other times, however, FTP can appear to diminishing despite continued training. FTP can also appear to be “stuck” at a number despite the athlete’s efforts to improve. If this happens to you, what should you do?
To begin, I recommend checking some basic metrics. Are you getting enough rest? Knowing your Training Stress Balance (TSB) can help guide this. Are your hard workouts hard enough and your easy days easy enough? A cycling power meter can be indispensable for this type assessment. If neither of these seem to apply you may need to dig deeper. 
cyclists riding on bikes

CHANGE IT UP

First take a long look at where you are, and how you got there. Are you doing the same workouts day after day and week after week? You may actually be getting too good at doing those workouts. Your body has gotten “efficient” at them and you aren’t triggering adaptations any longer.
Remember, you need to stress the system to send the adaptation messages. Maybe it’s time to change things up. Consider doing a really long ride if that’s not something you usually do.
It might be a good time to vary the workout pattern. If you do a rest day Monday, hard day Tuesday, easy recovery Wednesday, hard skills day Thursday, easy day Friday and two longer ride days on the weekend, try moving those around. Perhaps do an easy day Monday, hard days Tuesday and Wednesday, easy day Thursday, rest day Friday and long rides on the weekend. Give it a couple weeks and see if things get shaken up.
While it isn’t the first choice of many athletes, one way to change things up is to rest more. Often a “training vacation” of 3 or 4 days is followed by a noticeable improvement in performance.