Friday, May 2, 2008

What's Old is What's New

As Eddy Merckx said when asked how to get better, 'ride lots'...

It's been a while since I've posted because life has been very busy. The doctor says ride as long as you don't fall off or get smashed by a car again...great advice. My body seems to be healing, although it's frustrating at times when I remember what sleeping a whole night without waking up in the middle because some movement caused pain. I am, however, very hopeful that I'll get back to much mentally as physically. Recently, I have been training quite a bit in an effort to resume the seemingly massive amount of fitness lost since the accident while avoiding falling off. I have also been training a bit with several athletes that I am coaching and in particular, a number of them that are training for Ironman Lake Placid.

Training with these athletes has afforded me some new(perhaps, old) knowledge. It has allowed me to recognize that a slightly different approach to my own personal training was necessary. I needed this in as much an effort to 'spice things up' as to prepare for racing without the intensity that actual racing provides. I have experienced, as well as witnessed countless times, the benefits of focusing on plenty of riding in 'The Sweet Spot", at Functional threshold, VO2 max and tossing in the odd Anaerobic capacity session to 'hit' every race system (I know... Neuromuscular power omitted) but, I needed a 'new outlook'.

Part of the beauty of getting older is having been around long enough to see certain ideas come full hairstyles. The 'real' beauty is in being able to mold new ideas into old ones to make something better.

What I am currently doing is completing 2-3 multiple-systems interval training sessions per week and riding 'easy' to 'steady' in L2 the remainder of the time. What seems to be happening is that I am getting stronger as a result of being able to keep my chronic training load high with plenty of TSS points/miles/hours AND I am increasing my power at VO2, threshold, anaerobic work capacity and even my endurance. Clearly, not everyone is capable of putting in the 4+ hour rides as often as I have time for, but for those who do, the benefits are very interesting.

Surprised at how quickly the power output over these intervals has risen for myself, I have been incorporating them into athletes' training schedules at appropriate times in addition to 'the bread & butter' endurance sessions that have been successful for so many and have been receiving some frankly, fantastic results. With the addition of these intervals, I've witnessed a new cyclist's MAP rise about 3W per high intensity, multisystem interval session over the last 6 weeks. What is even more impressive is that I am seeing in myself, as well as others that have long histories of endurance training, and for whom the struggle seems to be trying to get back to where we were when younger, tangible improvements...this isn't to say that an athlete who was otherwise unable to climb Tiorati in the front group will now win Bear Mountain, but I am seeing power numbers that are better than ever before.

Oh..I almost forgot...for those that haven't been around cycling for long...Eddy Merckx is the greatest cyclist that ever lived...he won 5 Tours De France in route to amassing over 500 career wins...think Tiger Woods on a bicycle.