November and December had me out on the bike more this year than last year - which is good. And more of that was higher intensity riding thanks to the singlespeed. Janaury training (at least the first week) has been going well. Last year was the first year I really spent time building a pretty decent base for my needs. It helped that I was able to get outside to take advantage of the warm weather, but being inside this year I am able to use my equipment to really focus on wattage, cadence, heart rate (I don't have or use any equipment like that outside). So it keeps me honest and so far I feel that this is leading to an advantage for me this off season. In spite of not getting the big hours the past 2 weeks that I did last year due to really warm weather, week by week my numbers are looking better this year than last year for the base building. That's good.
I say I guess because there are plenty of
arguments these days on the internet about base training. What is base
training? Is it needed? Who has time to do it correctly? Is it more
important to be doing intensity on the bike these days because base training is dead?
Should one lift weights or should one get more time on the bike? Should
one cross train? On and on the arguments go, the opinions are stated,
and solutions are offered for those of us who choose to race and do some
off season work while the white stuff is on the ground to prepare for
the upcoming season. I've been learning a lot, but am about getting to the
point of information overload at this point. In the meantime, I've got an FTP Field Test on tap in the next few days. Here's a shot of the Excel calculator that I will plug my FTP test results in to base my Zone training on for this part of the season...
I don't have the right equipment on my C7i for conducting the test, but the recumbent bike in the background does have the correct computer to tell my the average wattage output for my 20 minute field test.
Slightly different set of muscles in the recumbent, but it will do for now and I have put some time in on it the past few weeks to get in shape for the recumbent test. I certainly have thought about a power meter device on the mountain bike and have been waiting for the crank arm or pedal ones that were due to be released any day now as they are much cheaper and might be worth it for me. In the meantime, I do get my wattage, heart rate, distance, time, speed, etc... from the computers on our exercise bikes. I just can't download the data into a program on my computer. I have learned to memorize the various wattage, cadences and feel for a pretty good PE (perceived effort) that I take outside to the bike. The time on the bikes in the basement with computers is re-establishing my PE memory as I pretty much skipped all of that last year with the nice weather.
What about weights?
cycling coaches/trainers such as Dave Morris, Joe Friel, Lynda
Wallenfells, FastCat Coaching staff of Jason Hillimire, Jon Tarkington,
Jeff Winkler, Frank Overton and on and on down the list of Who's Who in coaching cyclists all suggest guys of my age to
hit the weights for a number of weeks in the off season. The juxtaposition viewpoint of this comes from guys on
cross country race message boards who shoot down the idea of weights. Hmmmm..... I'm sticking with the professional trainers advice figuring there must be a method to their madness. I'm sure they have
some clients my age that they recommend not to do weights due to their
individual situations, strengths, body type, weaknesses and
what not. All I know is my body is responding well and enjoying the benefits of weights. And Zack yells at me if my form is even the slightest off. He was the squat champion at his school on the football team and has amazing form which I try to emulate.
even added singlespeed riding to my off season this year as it almost substitutes as a full body workout depending on where I ride and how hard I ride. Based on PE (perceived effort), just singlespeeding along in the snow in the field with the dogs feels way over and above what a 350 watt anaeboric capacity interval feels like on the exercise bike as I plow through some of the snow in the field. It hurts so good. I've been hitting that snow covered field twice a day since the blizzard and come out of there dripping wet with sweat when on the singlespeed. But the weights in the basement and the lifting is a great way of increasing my power, keeping the joints in shape, creating testosterone and preparing for the upcoming season.
My goals this off season are trying to come up with a training plan that takes me to a level of improvement over last year. I've got a couple I am using as examples along with my Friel and Morris books. As soon as I get all the dates plugged into my annual plan, then more specific goals can be doctored to match the planned season. I do know, I'm not doing 24 events in 2013 like I did in 2012. I'll scale back to a much more reasonable number.