COACH'S CORNER: April 4 - A New Phase
There is change in the air, and a healthy dose of optimism I might add. Mixed up in this change is a transition from a Q1 focus to the beefy Q2 piece of the global roadmap. You can review the roadmap and details HERE. What does this mean?
- We build on the platform of work and preparation we began in the last months.
- Many more folk are driving directly toward races - we won’t all be marching to the beat of the same drum.
- Things are going to get a little intense ;)
It is times like this that it is worth looking back.
The last months of work began as very patient preparation, with plenty of easier training sessions and lighter work. We promised that the ‘final few weeks will get more challenging’, and I doubt there are many of you who haven’t noticed a little more cruelty being sent your way. A taste of things to come.
In broad strokes, if we consider the middle of the bell curve (an athlete who has been relatively consistent, stayed on plan for a few months, and remained healthy), then we have strong musculoskeletal resilience, developed in strength and conditioning and completed lots of work that sets up the upcoming phase.
You are fit, but not fast.
Let’s now get strong and fast.
This quarter begins to see a deeper polarization of training sessions. The hard sessions are going to ramp in intensity and challenge, and our mission will be to keep the easiest sessions really easy. You can expect the coming months to focus on:
- Plenty of overload strength-endurance riding, including low cadence at higher intensity
- Strength-based running -- that means extended hill work at strong effort
- Challenging strength -- let’s get strong
- We will integrate more fast work
- Faster running off the bike
- Some high power riding at a more sustained interval
- A sprinkle of standalone speed running
- Fast swimming, as well as high power swimming
- Maximal Steady State:
- We want to improve our sustainable power and pace
- Strong sustained intervals lasting 4-8 minutes
- Fast sustained repeats of 50 to 200 yards/meters in swimming
Supporting this will be the development of baseline endurance, with more outside riding expectations, continued resilience in frequent and longer runs, and the simple continuation of work that fosters fitness gains.
This phase of training is primarily about strength and specific, and not directly race specificity. With all this said, you can race tremendously well off this type of work. Early season races don’t typically require massive race specific work, and I greatly prefer holding back on highly specific builds until the middle or end of the year. The caveat to this would be goal IRONMAN races -- which benefit from some specific race specific intensity for most athletes.
What’s my focus? We will be diving into this over the coming weeks, but here is my hitlist:
- Caution. Work accumulates, hence so can fatigue. It is OK to build fatigue, but you should be able to perform in the more key sessions. If you find yourself constantly dragging through sessions for more than five days, then your load is likely currently too high (or habits need reviewing)
- Maintain the run project. We are seeking to maintain highly consistent running, but much of this running remains short and very easy. Keep this flowing.
- Go easy when asked. Don’t let ego or low courage get in the way of a very easy session. Have the courage to commit to the easy, it is the only path to stay healthy and optimize returns.
- Amplify the supporting habits. Sleep, post workout fueling, plentiful eating of healthy food and daily hydration. All become mission critical.
Support: We will support you in this evolving mindset. A few things we are planning:
- Meet with Matt: Monday, April 5th at 5pm PDT
- Facebook Q and A / Support with Coaches: ongoing
- Live Office Hours on race builds and pre-race training: Tuesday, April 13th at 5pm PDT with coach Brad Hunter
- Additional opportunities for live hangouts and coach interaction: stay tuned!
Of course, 1:1 athletes will also be working directly with their coaches, but for Squaddies this is a wonderful time to grab a coaching consultation to help you plan your season, apply race builds and set up a plan of how to nail this critical phase.
And don’t forget!:
- April 10 Big Live Ride Party - remember this is free, and ALL athletes are encouraged to attend!
- The launch of PLUS -- with the full suite of Live and Video-on-Demand coaching offerings (and more to come)
It’s getting exciting....
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