I wanted to provide another insight into what goes on in my life. This time we will look at a week of training. I will pull from last week as it was a good solid typical week of training for me. Last week marks 4 weeks out from my JMSR is my A race for the first half of 2017. Joe Martin Stage Race (JMSR) is a 2 day - 3 race - stage race. A stage race is a cycling event in which the overall winner on day two is determined by cumulative time of the races. You must finish every stage in order to win the overall. Note, this is different from your typical omnium because you do not have to finish every race in an omnium in order to race the next stage.
Joe Martin Stage Race, located in Fayettville, AR is one of America's oldest stage races; celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2017. Surviving 40 years in American stage racing is quite a feat! America has a tumultuous history with races popping up and disappearing in a year or two. The race's history and growth to become one of the most popular stage races in America is a direct result of the amazing leadership organizing the event. So, when it comes to training the most important question to ask is, “what aspects of fitness will I need to obtain my goal at the event?” One of the easiest ways to get a grasp of what I need to train for is by looking at the parcours.
Stage 1: A challenging 2.4 mile uphill time trail. This is all about power to weight ratio for 10 minute power. The average gradient is 5% with an elevation gain of 725 feet. All of the climbing is done in the first 80% which includes 7 switchbacks and averages 6.6%! Looking at some historical data of riders with similar weight I will need to average around 420-430w in order to win or guarantee a podium.
Stage 2: This is a 68 mile hilly road race later in the afternoon on day 1. There is a minor climb, which should be handled pretty calmly within the first three miles. After that, there is a 9 mile flat trip to the 23 mile loop, which we will do twice. The loop begins with a 1.2 mile Category 4 climb (according to Strava). There is a slight descent after the categorized climb and then back into a more gradual climb to a plateau. After completing the loop twice we head back to downtown on the same route we came out.
Stage 3: The final race of the weekend is a 40 minute technical crit with a hill top finish. The course has 8 turns and a long (for a crit) 110ft climb to the finish. This will be a crit where it is important to stay at the front and punish legs on the climb. It is a course designed for the breakaway. Here is a link to a video file from last year's CAT 3 criterium: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qi78GzPCbW0
Now it is time to break down how the race was won last year. The overall GC winner came in second overall in the TT, pack finish in the RR, and 3rd overall for the Crit (part of a breakaway). The road race stayed together for the entire race and it finished in a group sprint. With this knowledge, what kind of fitness will I need to be successful at JMSR?
Important workouts going into this will be:
Timing of these workouts is extremely important. Certain aspects of fitness will have a slower decay rate (like base training and sweet spot work) and can be focused on farther out from the race. This allows focus closer to the race being placed on threshold and above threshold intervals. Throwing in the occasional longer tough ride will maintain any fitness in endurance. Alan Couzens wrote a great article about periodization and training specificity. He also created a great illustration for decay rates. His article can be found here (https://www.alancouzens.com/blog/periodization.html) which is where I grabbed the following graph.
It is clear from the chart above that ‘sharpening’ training – the type of training designed to elicit the maximal changes in VO2max has the most positive impact ~16-70 days (2-10 weeks) before the event. Threshold training tends to have the greatest positive impact 4-16 weeks before the target event &, any time prior to that, training designed around improving aerobic economy leads the way. -Alan Couzens
Tomorrow I will post a look into what training looks like 4 weeks out from the race.
2016 Results Cat 3:
Daily life is a complex and variable puzzle of time. The goal for most people, especially athletes, is to make a 50 piece puzzle out of a 24 piece puzzle. We want to get as much stuff into our day as we can and that requires sacrifices and adaptations to schedules. A lot of us are forced to work around jobs and other people’s lives. Eventually, you can get into a rhythm but this chosen rhythm might not be ideal for our biology. The quality of our work, or workout, begins to suffer. Is there a better way to live your life by optimizing your schedule so you produce quality output?
Do you know someone who works better at night and struggles to get going in the morning? I certainly can think of a couple people. Don’t be quick to judge them as being lazy. These people might just be biologically setup to be awake later. Every animal has a cycle, called the circadian rhythm. This rhythm dictates when the animal will be awake to hunt or work. In the case of humans, we were born to be awake and hunt during the day. That is no longer the case though. With the discovery of fire, the invention of the lightbulb, and easy access to computers and the internet; our bodies began to adapt. People are able to shift their circadian rhythm to better suit their lifestyle and work schedules. Think about night shift workers compared to day time workers. You can also just think about a typical weekend night life. Technology has provided us the opportunity to be awake whenever we want to be. Is this healthy or are we forcing something upon our bodies that isn’t natural? Chronobiology, the study of natural physiological rhythms, focuses on answering this question.
Dr. Michael Breus, a sleep specialist, wrote a book called The Power of When which dives into circadian rhythm. Typically, we hear that there are two types of people, either night owls or early birds. Dr. Breus actually says there are double the categories we can apply to humans.
I am a lion and luckily I can tailor my workday for that schedule to fit. I realize I won’t have the motivation to work out in the morning. I still enjoy waking up, but prefer to knock out some more creative type work. I like to program workouts and write early in the morning. After work, my motivation might be lacking but after 10-20 minutes of warming up, and some dubstep or motivational videos, I am raring to go. My performance metrics are always higher in the afternoon which makes training easier and more fulfilling. When it comes down to it, the first step is get the work done. If you are beyond that stage, optimize your nutrition. Finally, if you have your nutrition optimized and you are putting in the work then finally look into your schedule.
Dr. Brues has created a quiz in which you can determine your animal type. Click here to take the short quiz.