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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Friday, 11.10.17. “Friday blathering, and some openers. Maybe.”

•November 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Happy Friday!

Just a couple of quick things about the coming weekend before we get to the workout…

If you’re looking to race through Nationals this season, you should probably be thinking about dedicating at least a weekend in the near future to some long, hard miles. Trust me on this, at this point in the season most people have just about run through whatever reservoir of deep fitness they had coming in to the season, and could use a chance to top up the stores.

If not that, you could probably use some rest.

Either/or.

If you’re one of those folks who basically – or literally – has races scheduled every damn weekend for the entire season, think about skipping one of those weekends.

It’ll be worth it in the long run.

Anyways, today is (maybe!)

Ignition –

IGNITION

You’re going to do a series of short, hard sprints midway through a 1 – 1 1/2 hour ride. Before you head out the door, give some thought to where you can do that effectively.

A flat, straight, low-traffic section of road is what you’re looking for.

It would be great if it’s about a :45 minute ride away; that would make things nice and simple.

Hop on your bike and roll out the door.

Ride steady, at a moderate pace for 1/2 hour – 45 minutes, eventually winding up at the aforementioned stretch of road.

You’re now going to do a series of Hard out of the saddle sprints.

How hard?

Well, hard to say. You’ll start to get the hang of it pretty quickly, but figure that you’re shooting for an output level that will allow you to crank out all the sprints in the set at about the same level, but not easily.

You aren’t sprinting to failure here, and you aren’t doing a max power test.

Don’t overdo it, you’re trying to open your legs, not destroy them.

Make sense?

10 sprints, 10 seconds each.

1 minute between each sprint.

After the last sprint, roll back home spinning easily to recover.

Budget at least 15 – 20 minutes for the spin/ride back home.

when you get home, put your feet up and relax.

For some folks, this isn’t quite enough to get their legs open and ready the day before the race – or at least it doesn’t feel like it’s enough – and the importance of “feeling” ready can’t really be overestimated.

If you’re part of this club (I am) add a 10-minute effort at right about your 2×20 output level before you start the sprint sets.

Warm up, 10 minute effort, 5 minutes spinning, sprint efforts, spin down, go home.

Try to get an extra hour of sleep or so tonight, ok?

Not racing tomorrow, but racing on Sunday?

Take it easy today. Go for an easy spin or take the day off completely. Openers tomorrow!

Not racing at all this weekend?
If that’s the case, see above.  Hopefully you’re taking advantage of the free weekend to get in either some serious rest and recovery, or long saddle time.

Either way, you should probably take it easy today as well. Tomorrow is going to be a long, hard day or an easy, restful one. If it’s going to be a restful weekend for you, get a start on that today. If you’re going to be hitting it hard tomorrow, well… rest up today so you can really do it right tomorrow.

Have fun!

M

 

Hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

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Looking for a coach? Check out…

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Thursday, 11.9.17. “Kinda this, kinda that”

•November 9, 2017 • Leave a Comment
Howdy folks,
Happy Thursday!
Short and sweet is the theme today. Well, kinda’ short. Kinda’ sweet.
Kinda’…
Hill Repeats that roadies would call short, but they ain’t on a cross bike!
Warm up well, ideally as you ride out to an area that has a climb that’s going to take you about a minute to summit, pedaling hard.
When you get to the hill, sprint up the damn thing. Hard.
Coast back down, turn around, go up it again. Hard.
Repeat x 5
That’s a set.
Recover for 5 minutes.
Do 5-6 sets, or as many as you can before seeing a precipitous drop in output level.
Warm down on way home.
Enjoy!
M

Hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Wednesday, 11.8.17. “Go fast or go home”

•November 8, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s…

Cyclocross Skills Day!

Well, unless you were out at Wednesday Night Worlds (on Tuesday!) last night.

In which case… take it easy today.

Doing race simulation efforts in really damn cold weather the second day after a race is a lot of training load for most people.

Honestly, it’s too much for most people.

So, if you did that? Think about recovery today.

Doesn’t apply to you?

Excellent.

Today’s workout is all about speed…

Go fast today.

Explode out of corners, accelerate up climbs, get out of the saddle and punch it every time you remount your bike after an obstacle.

Leg speed should be high tonight. No slogging a big gear, get the pedals turning over and get up to speed as quickly and emphatically as you can.

Think quick, snappy, dancing on the pedals type behavior. Maybe do everything one gear smaller than you ordinarily would tonight, just to reinforce the idea.

On with the workout!

 – warm up on bike, 10-15 minutes.

– Brief run. 5 minutes, focused on short, quick steps.

– Active stretching, as discussed in previous posts.

– Barrier skills, 10 minutes.

Every time you remount your bike, immediately get out of the saddle and sprint up to speed.

You are remounting with your hands on your hoods, right? If not, you should be. Every time you get back on the bike, butt comes off saddle, and you give ‘er gas. Hard to do this when you’re planted on the tops…

Begin slowly, and gradually up the tempo until you’re going too darn fast, then take it down a notch.

This is your race speed. Just one notch below your absolute max.

You should always be able to do things one notch faster in practice then you ever have to do them in a race.

When you try to get that extra tiny little bit of speed out of the technical sections in a race, you tend to wind up flat on your face.

Falling is always slow.

Get things perfect at race speed, and then move on to…

– Technical skills, 15-20 minutes.

Off cambers, tight turns, wide/fast turns, mud, sand…  whatever you’ve got to work with on your training circuit, have at it.

Remember, speed is everything tonight.

Come out of corners faster than you went into them.

Sprint through the sand & the mud.

Go fast.

– Starts

Full-gas starts from standing, foot on the ground. Just like the beginning of a race.

Each start effort should include a second effort: after you’ve gotten up to speed and settled into the saddle, get your ass back up off of it and hit the gas again. Second effort is the focus!

Go until you get 5 perfect starts in a row.

– Race simulation. 3 x 10 minutes, 2 minute rest between efforts.

Explode out of the corners.

Attack up the climbs.

Go fast.

Got it?

– Warm down.

Go Home. Eat. Recover.

Have fun!

M

 

Hey there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, so hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

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The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Tuesday, 11.7.17. “End Sermon”

•November 7, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Today is Tuesday, which means – in Seattle – it’s time for…

 

(click the banner)

Confused? Yeah, it’s confusing. Suffice to say that we’re doing our weekly group workout on Tuesday these days, but it will always be Wednesday Night Worlds.

If you can make it out, you should. I honestly can’t come up with a better way to improve at cyclocross than attending these workouts. It drives me a little bit nuts when my local training clients just can’t make it out to these for one reason or another, because they can get so damn much better just by making that once-weekly trek…

OK. End Sermon.

In the Seattle area? Just go.

Not in the Seattle area? Just can’t make it over to Redmond?

Previous sermon aside, no sweat. Today is, of course…

 

2×20 Tuesday! (get-up style)

 

At it’s most basic the 2×20 looks like this:

– Warm up.

– Go as hard as you can for 20 minutes.

– Recover for 5 minutes.

– Go again for another 20 minutes.

The idea is to go as hard as you can for the duration of both intervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the second interval.

It’s all about doing two intervals.

Two intervals at as close to the same level of consistent, steady power output as you can manage.

If you’re doing this with a power meter, you want your wattage output to be as constant and unvaried as possible.

For both intervals.

Both.

How steady?

Can you keep it in a 10 watt range?

Probably not.

15 watts?

More likely

20 watts?

Try.

Keep it steady.

If you run out of gas before you finish the second interval, then you went too hard.

If your vision isn’t blurry at the end of the second interval, you went too easy. But guess what?
It’s way better to go too easy and finish both intervals than it is to go too hard and crater part way through the second 20.

That’s the basic version (and if you’re new to all this, it’s probably the version you should do.) Today, though?

Today we’re doing the get-up version, so…

Start your 20-minute interval out of the saddle, and stand for the first 30 seconds.

After those 30 seconds are up, sit down. Keep the effort going, and keep your level of output consistent.

Stay seated for the next 1:30, then stand for 30 seconds.

Repeat to the end of the interval, and follow this format for the next 20 minute interval.

Remember, the idea here is to go as hard as you can for the duration of both intervals without being forced to go easier at the end of the second interval.

If you’re doing this with a power meter, you want your wattage output to be as close to constant as possible, and the out of the saddle time we’re throwing in makes this even more challenging.

Keep it steady.

These take practice to do well, and the better you get, the harder they get, as your output level gets closer and closer to the absolute max you’re capable of doing for an interval of this duration.

Add in the constant standing and sitting component, and you’re going to know you did some work when you’re through.

I know I’m repeating myself, but do try to avoid the temptation to up the output level when you get out of the saddle, OK?

That’s an entirely different workout, and we’ll get there soon enough, I promise.

One of the things we’re learning with this workout is how to calibrate our out of the saddle efforts. We’re getting a better handle on what we’re actually doing when we stand up on the bike.

You need to know – really know – when you’re going harder and when you’re not.

What most people find when doing this workout is that every time they get out of the saddle their power output takes a big jump.

Which isn’t a huge surprise, because we largely train our bodies to correlate out of the saddle with “go time.”

The thing is, though?

Cyclocross ain’t road racing.

A lot of the time you’re getting out of the saddle not to accelerate, but due to a bike handling challenge.

Heck, in Cross if you get out of the saddle in a super sketchy tech section and really put the power down, pretty often that’s going to result in rear wheel slip and lack of traction, with the expected bad results.

Here’s a little secret:
One of the keys to good bike handling is having a really good understanding of how much power you’re producing, and the effect that has on your traction.

Step one to developing that understanding is getting a real feel for how your power output can change when you get out of the saddle.

Nothing will give you a better feel for that than this workout.

Make sense?

Especially since we’re trying to work on perception, not just output, this is a workout that works great on the trainer, and that’s how you should do ’em, if you can stand it. If not, really try to find the most vacant, flat, soulless terrain possible. The fewer the distractions the better.

Tips:

– I do these on the trainer, with a stopwatch on the bars and an Ipod blaring in my ears. Start the stopwatch at the beginning of the interval, and the format is really easy to follow; you stand up for :30 at the 2:oo, 4:00, 6:00, etc. mark(s). Get it? It’s easy!

– A power meter will help you to keep the level of intensity constant. You want the power output to be as steady as possible with these. If you don’t have a PM, do these on the trainer,  choose a gear ratio and a cadence, and stick to that for the duration of the exercise – instant home made ergometer.

 

Enjoy!

M

 

Thanks for following my blog!

I’m not trying to get rich off this thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose money doing this.

Heck, allow me to rephrase that; I can’t keep doing this if I lose money on it.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, and you’d like to see it continue, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

btn_donateCC_LG

Thanks for the consideration!

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Monday. 11.6.17. “Ohhei, how about a workout with your vids?”

•November 6, 2017 • Leave a Comment

 

 

Howdy folks,

Well, it’s Monday. I know why most of you are here, so vids first!

This weekend was the European Championships, and the women had a humdinger of a race…

 

 

Definitely watch that race first, so that you’ll have some normal human perspective when you watch the top guys float over some seriously difficult terrain. There’s some pretty bonkers riding going on here…

 

…and yeah, this is getting to be a bit like Formula 1, where there’s some great racing going on… it just isn’t happening at the front of the race. Great battle for third, though!

…and can I just one more time mention that whole “If you aspire to be world class, learn to hop the planks, damnit!” thing one more time?

 

Oh, there’s a workout today too. It’s a nice, relaxing…

 

Recovery Spin – 

– Get on your bike. Roll out into the street – or into your living room if you’re on the turbo watching the vid – and just spin around for an hour. Or more. Or less. Whatever it takes.

– Really small gear, no hard efforts – heck, no medium effort.

– Spin. You’re looking to move your legs around in circles, almost like there is no chain on the bike.

– The idea is to get your body moving, flush the systems out, and speed your recovery.

– Just get out on the road and spin easily and aimlessly. At a certain point, your legs will start to loosen up.

– When that happens, turn around and go home.

–  If you’re doing these on the trainer, same deal. Just spin. No hard efforts, just make the legs go around in circles in a small gear.

– Follow up with as much relaxation as you can. Eat, stretch, and put your legs up. Get a massage if possible.

 

Enjoy!

M

 

Hi there…

Thanks for following my blog!

This thing started off as a lark, and over the years that I’ve been doing it, has become a little bit of a monster.

It takes a fair bit of time – and a wee bit of money – to keep this thing rolling, and it’s the time of the season where I’ve got to pay the bills to keep this thing going.

I’m not trying to get rich off this thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose money doing this!

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

btn_donateCC_LG

Thanks for the consideration!

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Sunday, 11.5.17. “Back to the well”

•November 5, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

It’s race day for most of you.

Since you’re racing, before the festivities get underway you need to…

Warm It Up.

First of all, don’t overdo it.

I see way, way too many people spending a ridiculous amount of time on their trainers before the race, and frankly, I think a huge number of racers leave their best effort of the day back in the tent on the Gerbil Wheel before the race.

Don’t let this be you.

If you feel like you need to spend more than an hour warming up for your race, frankly you’re doing something wrong.

There’s been a fair bit written about warming up for cycling events, and if you spend any time at all reading through some of the stuff that’s out there, you will no doubt find that the only commonality is that most everyone disagrees.

Until you start reading some of the science, and some of the warm-up protocols suggested by those who have also read the science.

Here’s an interesting study…

with an interesting conclusion…

During endurance events of intermediate duration (4-5 min), performance is enhanced by warm-up irrespective of warm-up intensity

Note, also this little tidbit –

There were no differences in anaerobic power output during the trials, but aerobic power output during the first 1000 m was larger during both EWU (203 W) and HWU (208 W) versus NWU (163 W) trials.

Huh. Go figure.

I pretty much never warm up for road races, unless I Know the first few K are going to be pedal to the metal.

When people ask how I can get away with this (and they do!) I always respond with “that’s what the first lap/loop/5k is for…”

You can’t really get away with this in Cyclocross.

You need to hit that first K, hell that first hundred meters at 100%, with all guns blazing.

Warming up definitely improves your aerobic power output over the first K of a race.

End of story. You need to warm up for Cyclocross.

How much do you need to warm up?

Well, here’s where we get into interesting territory.

The study I linked to above basically showed no difference between the results of warm ups conducted at different levels of intensity and duration. The key was simply to warm up, get the legs turning over.

However you do it, warming up helps.

Nice.

Remember this the next time all hell breaks loose and you can barely get in any kind of a workout before your race. Even a little bit of a warm up helps.

OK, it’s just a study. Heck, it’s just one study.

Frankly, for Cyclocross, I think you need to warm up pretty hard, if for no other reason than that you don’t want the shock of that F-ing start effort to hit your body (and mind!) like a ton of bricks.

What you don’t need to do is warm up for a long time.

After a certain point, all a long warmup does is get you tired. And that ain’t good.

OK, so what should your warm up look like?

Something like this…

Get on your bike.

Ride at a super easy level for 5 minutes. No pressure on pedals, recovery day light.

5 minutes more at just one notch higher.

2-3 minutes at right around your 20 minute output level.

then

2-3 minutes at one notch/gear easier

30 second race pace effort.

recover for 2 minutes easy…

30 second race pace effort.

recover for 2 minutes…

2 full-gas start efforts, 2 minutes between them.

Spin for 5 minutes.

Go race.

That’s just the actual warm up, though.

You need to figure in course preview time, getting all your stuff schlepped to where it needs to be, registration… the whole package.

Heck, in a perfect world, you would go ride for an hour in the morning several hours before your race!

The whole shebang is what’s important, and in a perfect world, your race day would look something like this:

Wake up.

Eat breakfast.

Ride for an hour.

Snack, take a nap.

Eat lunch (3 hours before race.)

Course preview

(while mechanic preps bikes, team staff handles everything else.)

Snack, electrolyte drink, change into race clothing.

Warm up (that thing we just talked about)

Win Race.

Post-race cool down.

Yeah, right.

Oh well, we try.

Get as close to that as you can, and remember – the science shows that any warm up is better than none!

I’ve managed to do really well in races where the only warm up I got was a 1 or 2 lap preview of the course, and I know I’m not alone!

If you are forced to choose, always pre-ride rather than warm up.

You get a less than perfect course preview, and a less than perfect warm up, but part of each is better than none of one!

Ok, after all that, are you ready for the reality-based warm up?

Quite frankly, this is what I wind up doing most of the time, and almost always if I wind up stuck on the turbo. It’s the –

R.S.W.O. – The Rock Stupid Warm-up and Opener –

First, get everything you need to do before the race done. Sign up, course preview, etc., etc. More questions you probably didn’t even have on the topic of race day routine answered here –

https://crosssports.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/the-workout-of-the-day-for-monday-9-5-10-laborious/

– Get on trainer. Spin for about 5 minutes.

– 2-3 minutes at your 20 minute output level

– Shift into big ring/largest cog combination.

– Ride 30 seconds in this gear, then shift up one cog.

– Ride 30 seconds in this gear, then shift up one cog.

– Repeat until you hit the hardest gear you’ve got, or can handle.

– Ride 30 seconds in that gear, and then shift all the way back down to the Big/big combo.

– Ride 30 seconds in that gear, then immediately shift to hardest gear you can handle.

– Full gas sprint, out of the saddle, for 30 seconds.

Back to big/big combo.

– Spin for two minutes.

Repeat The entire sequence (Usually minus the 2nd “20 minute level” effort.)

Oddly enough, this really simple warm up winds up looking a whole heck of a lot like…

…This…

team sky warmup

Yup.

That’s the actual Team Sky Time Trial warmup, photo is of a reminder sheet that was posted on the side of the team bus.

Go figure.

’nuff said?

Have fun,

M

* If you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about when I say “20 minute level”, check this out…

** The Warm Up routines I describe here are actually pretty hard, and believe it or not, are likely to be too damn hard and too long for non-elite racers. You will need to experiment and figure out what works for you. Don’t be afraid to cut the warm up short, or go easier. You don’t get a prize for winning the warm up!

 

 

Thanks for following my blog!

I’m not trying to get rich off this thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose money doing this.

Heck, allow me to rephrase that; I can’t keep doing this if I lose money on it.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, and you’d like to see it continue, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

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Thanks for the consideration!

The Cyclocross Workout Of The Day for Saturday, 11.4.17. “Openers. Just openers.”

•November 4, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Howdy folks,

Minimum blather today. It’s Saturday. You’re probably racing tomorrow. That means that today you’re doing…

Can Openers – 

 

 

Here’s the drill:

– Warm up for 1/2 hour or so, spinning easy with a couple of short bursts thrown in.

– Follow with several short attacking efforts, IE 30 seconds at 80% of your max, or pretty damn hard. 2 – 3 of ’em.

– Back off and spin for 5 minutes.

– Follow with 10-15 minute effort at right about your 2×20 output level, or “I could talk to you if I had to, but I don’t want to” level.

– Spin for several minutes.

– Follow with 5-6 hard 10 second efforts, ideally on CX type variable terrain, level or slightly uphill.

– Finish  with 5-6 start efforts on a straight section of paved road, level or slightly uphill.  You want to begin these from a dead stop, with one foot unclipped. Do not stop until you get at least        3 perfect starts in a row, and I mean perfect. This is the cross equivalent of practicing free throws. Make ‘em count!

– spin out the legs, go home, and get ready for the race.

Enjoy!

M

 

Thanks for following my blog!

I’m not trying to get rich off this thing… or really even make any money from it at all.

It’d just make my life a fair bit easier if I didn’t lose money doing this.

Heck, allow me to rephrase that; I can’t keep doing this if I lose money on it.

So, hey… if you feel like you’ve gotten anything of value out of this blog, and you’d like to see it continue, please do me a favor – and yes, it’s a favor, and I will be truly thankful for it – and send a buck or two (or five, or whatever…) my way.

How do you do that?

Simply click on the graphic below, and PayPal will be glad to make it happen.

btn_donateCC_LG

Thanks for the consideration!