Ingredients for Off-Season Success

I’ve been gone for wayyyyy too long, and I have been getting the itch to write again.

I finished my third Hotter’ n Hell 100 ride 45 days ago, and the training methodology continues to evolve with each ride I compete in.

While I was pleased with my time, I was NOT happy with the preparation going into the ride which simply means I can reevaluate my training prep and make a few changes going towards next year.   

Comparing my 2019 training prep with 2018 was interesting. Preparation in 2018 was much more regimented and very strict. Each week had a mileage goal I wanted to reach, and a time I wanted to complete said ride in.

Saturday’s we were up by 5:30am, and ready to go by 7am. I made sure we were in bed by 9am so I could get in a full night’s sleep and my meals were on point. I had a plan and relentlessly pursued it and if you got in my way, I was running you over!

I admit I get a bit obsessive, but maybe just a little over dramatic ha!!

I felt great going into the 2018 HH100, and my ride time was a massive improvement over the 2017 time.  We would ride 30 – 35 miles Saturday mornings with Performance Bicycle, followed by 50 – 80 miles on Sunday with my riding partners (Brandon and Christina), and I put an additional 30 – 50 miles during the week for a weekly total of 110 – 165 miles.

I felt fantastic with this volume of training, however rolling into August Christina let me know she was not enjoying the ride any longer. The miles were just too much so there would need to be a change the following year.      

Training for the 2019 HH100 would definitely be different than the year prior.

First one of my riding partners had to bow out as he would not be able to ride in August. Secondly, Performance Bicycle closed their locations nationwide so I joined a cycling club (Plano Bicycle Association), and Christina began training with Coach Richard Wharton of Online Bike Coach to improve conditioning and power and learn to manage energy expenditure.

Secondly the spring and summer months in North Texas were unusually wet resulting in many of this Saturday group rides being cancelled due to the deteriorating weather. Also, there were more than a few times we stayed out late on a Friday or Saturday night which meant the following day’s training was cut short or skipped all together.

Finally, my eating was not nearly as strict, and I was not nearly as dedicated in the weight room as I had been the year prior. The end result was we still put in quality miles and training time, but I still didn’t feel as prepared as I should have been and that simple fact has been eating away at me for the past month. 

So looking ahead to 2020, my first objective will be to revert back to my 2018 training prep format with a higher volume of training. I will still participate with the PBA group rides on Saturday morning, but focus on the distance builder rides (50-80 miles), and Sunday’s will be reserved for recovery rides with a small group or ride by myself.

I am also getting back into heavy resistance training. My personality is to go hard and heavy with my training, however being in my mid-40’s and having sustained multiple injuries over the years has definitely take a toll on my body. Researching a number of different training systems (conjugate training, linear progression, 5×5, etc), I settled on following a concurrent training protocol which will allow me to balance longer distance training with lifting high intensity loads with a lower training volume to minimize over stressing my nervous and muscular systems. I suffered a partial quad tear 6-weeks prior to a race in 2017 as a result of training heavy with too much volume focusing on a concurrent model should remedy this.

A snapshot of my off-season training through the winter months looks something like this

  • Monday: Weight training session (Push focus)
  • Tuesday: Cycling (10 – 15 miles in am), weight training (Squat focus in pm)
  • Wednesday: Weight training (Pull focus)
  • Thursday: Cycling (10 – 15 miles in am), weight training (Hinge focus in pm)
  • Friday: Rest day or putting laps in the pool.
  • Saturday: Long group ride (30-80 miles with cycling group)
  • Sunday: Recovery ride (up to 20 miles)

I’m purchasing my cold weather gear for outdoor cycling (weather permitting), setting up my trainer at DUSF for those times I cannot cycle outside, and will get more detailed into how I break up my training sessions (sets, reps, movements, etc) at a later date.

Until next time, may all your rides be fast and efficient!

Steve

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