Weekend Reading: 3 Ways to Fire Up Your Mid-Season Training

For the second June in a row, the biggest news out of Colorado Springs is a major wildfire. Last June it was the Waldo Canyon Fire that blackened 18,000 acres, destroyed 346 homes, and killed two people. This week it’s been the Black Forest Fire, which as of Friday afternoon has burned 15,700 acres, destroyed 390 homes, and killed two people. It’s been amazing to see the rapid and coordinated response from multiple agencies, from local right up to federal resources, civilian and military, and an outpouring of local donations.

Thankfully, the fire is well north of our Colorado Springs facility (10-15 miles) and the winds have been mostly pushing it away from downtown. None of the CTS Coaches or staff here have lost homes in the blaze, although many of us know friends and athletes who have. As we did last year, we’ve opened up our training facility to anyone who wants an indoor place to ride the trainer or run on a treadmill.

Though we’ve been a bit pre-occupied with the fire this week, I’ve been trying to get back to training. I have a private camp coming up during the Tour de France and then I’m riding the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Race Experience again this August. Following the Tour of California and Dirty Kanza, I’ve taken it easy over the past two weeks to get some rest, but now it’s time to get back to business.

Here’s what I’m going to do, and what you should consider doing as well:

Training Races:
I’ve started heading to a weekly training criterium, which is something I haven’t done in a long time. I’m going for the speed, kind of like a motorpacing session. Actual motorpacing is great, but it’s harder to arrange. A training criterium gives me the opportunity to ride in a large group going nearly 30mph, and I can choose to make the ride harder or easier by where I ride in the pack.

For racers, evening group rides on weekdays can be a great component of your training. This is especially true if you’re in that “race-and-recover” period of your season, where weekend racing is providing the biggest training stimulus and there’s not that much time for productive training efforts during the week. An interval workout on Tuesday or Wednesday, and a training crit Thursday evening, with a few easy spins thrown in for active recovery, and you’ll be ready for the next weekend’s races. For non-racer, the weekly group rides are a great place to work on skills, have fun, and get a hard workout without having to remember the specifics of interval timing/intensity.

Hard, Hard Intervals:
After Tour of California and Dirty Kanza, and all the training that went into them, I have plenty of aerobic endurance. But what I really have is a diesel engine; I can go all day, but I don’t have much power for accelerations. That means I don’t have the power for the fun stuff! This is a common problem around this time of year, because athletes have increased their training volume through the spring and are now reaching plateaus with their fitness. You can’t just ride more miles at a steady pace to continue going faster!


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  • Power to the People Offer: Sign up for 12 Months of CTS Coaching and CTS will buy you a power meter, like a PowerTap G3 Carbon Wheelset or even an SRM!
  • USA Pro Cycling Challenge: Next up on the CTS Endurance Bucket List! Ride every stage of the Pro Challenge with Team CTS and VIP Access. Go Pro for the week and experience a stage race from the inside!
  • 2014 Dirty Kanza 200: Pre-register between now and July 31, 2013, to race the 2014 Dirty Kanza 200 with CTS, and we’ll send you two Clement X-Plor MSO cyclocross tires for training, and a second set for the race! Email AthleteServices@trainright.com for details.

So, I’m going to do DescendingIntervals. No, not downhill intervals, the interval times and recovery times descend across the set. I start with a 90-second max effort, take 90 seconds of easy spinning recovery, then complete a 60 second max effort with 60 seconds recovery, 45-second effort with 45 second recovery, then a final 30-second max effort. Then spin easy for 4 minutes and repeat. I try to do five of them in a workout. You can also play with the times, like starting with a two-minute effort.

As I said with the training races, I’ll do these on a Tuesday or Wednesday and then ride a training race on a Thursday.

Stay Cool
Since I’m going to be doing more volume and more intensity over the next few weeks, recovery is going to be increasingly important. In addition to staying hydrated, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep, one of the things I’m focusing on this summer is staying cool. That means focusing on bringing my core temperature down more quickly after rides on hot days, doing harder workouts in the cooler parts of the day (but endurance rides in the heat for acclimation), and using more external cooling (dumping water on head/jersey) on hot days. It’s one of those things that’s difficult to evaluate in terms of effectiveness (did the cooling lead to improved power, or would that improvement have occurred with the training workload anyway?), but I know it’ll feel good regardless!

Have a Great Weekend!
Chris Carmichael
CEO/Head Coach
Carmichael Training Systems

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