Topics Covered In This Episode:
- What to do differently once you’ve been training for a while.
- The value of cycling skills work – even at the Women’s WorldTour level
- How recovery and doing less off the bike makes you faster on the bike
- Perspectives athletes can change that lead to improved performance.
- Race day tactics when you have teammates – and when you don’t!
Host and CTS Coach Adam Pulford is joined by Emma Langley, a professional cyclist for EF Education-TIBCO-SVB and 2022 US Pro Road Race National Champion. In addition to being an incredibly strong cyclist, Emma graduated from The College of William and Mary with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2017, obtained a strength and conditioning certification through NASM that same year, and competed internationally in triathlon before focusing solely on professional cycling.
Emma Langley’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elangs1/
Pneumatic recovery boots: Hyperice Normatec 3.0
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Please note that this is an automated transcription and may contain errors. Please refer to the episode audio for clarification.
Adam Pulford (02:14):
Welcome back, or welcome to the train right podcast. I’m your host coach Adam today, we’re continuing a multipart series exploring answers to the question. What does it take to get fast or in some cases faster, straighten to the point. Many people think it’s simply doing more volume or more intervals or doing more of something training harder and doing more definitely has its place. But at some point you have to be smarter to get the gains in endurance training. I’ve made my point in previous episodes that organizing your volume and your intensity and wise ways can improve employment in, in improve performance. At any point in your training, when it comes to racing your bike, you can beat your head against the wall by asking how much more, how mu how, how much harder when really refining your overall approach or doing things slightly different, maybe the game changer you’ve been searching for. What do I mean by the overall approach? I’m talking about being smarter with your time, your thoughts, your training, just like we talked about in your execution. I’m talking about improving your skills on the bike, working with a good team around you and knowing how to do that at any level in the sport. We’ll explore how to do that. And more today on the train ride podcast, there’s no better person in my opinion, to interview on this topic than our current elite us national champion, Emma Langley, Emma, welcome to the show.
Emma Langley (03:46):
Hi Adam. Thank you for having me super excited. Yeah,
Adam Pulford (03:49):
For sure. For sure. And thank you for taking time outta your busy training, racing and coaching schedule to to join us.
Emma Langley (03:58):
Adam Pulford (04:00):
So where, where are you joining AROM today? Where are you at?
Emma Langley (04:03):
So I am actually calling you from England at the moment. I arrived a few days ago, getting settled in over here before next big block of European racing. So pretty excited about that.
Adam Pulford (04:14):
Very cool. And what, what is the next race that you have coming up? What’s what’s on the, on the list,
Emma Langley (04:20):
It’s a brand new race called CIC ponies. It’s a four, or it’s a, excuse me, three day race, four stages. So it’ll be a lot of fun, a lot, a lot packed in to three days of racing
Adam Pulford (04:32):
For sure. And I, and I think I heard there’s a TTT in that one, right
Emma Langley (04:37):
There sure is that’s that’s a stage. Yeah. Stage one. Start off, start off with a triple T
Adam Pulford (04:43):
Start off with a bang. Cool.
Emma Langley (04:45):
Adam Pulford (04:45):
Well good luck to you on that. And, and I know you got a few days to kind of get the sleep cycle under control and get some training in, but again, thank you for joining us.
Emma Langley (04:55):
Yeah. Thank you again for having me.
Adam Pulford (04:57):
Yeah. So we, we originally connected through a mutual friend when you wanted to do things a little differently for this year. And I know our listeners don’t know a, a ton about you. But I think like we’ll just like get straight into the podcast and into the good stuff, because anybody who wants to know more about you, they can Google you, they can watch you race. He can watch you race at the purities. And I hope they do. But for the purpose of this podcast, we’re talking with an elite athlete. Who’s been racing at a high level for a long time and the desire to become better. I is always there for an elite athlete. And like I said, this year Emma came to me through a connection and she wanted to step up her game. And one of those, one of those ways was through some skills work on the bike. And before we get into that, Emma, I, I wanna kind of turn it over to you because you have been at that high level for a long time. And what was the, what was the catalyst for wanting you to kind of take it to the next level and do things differently?
Emma Langley (06:13):
Yeah, yeah. So I, I spent the first few years of my racing career, really just focused on the numbers, focused on training, trying to dial that in. And then last year was the first year that I started racing professionally with Tipco Silicon valley bank. And then this year in 2022, we joined forces with EF education to become EF education Tipco SVB. And would that jump up to the world tour? So huge step for the team. And I was really excited to get re-signed to, to join them with this too. So, as I said, I was focusing at first, really just on the fitness side of things, but once you work up to those higher level races, it becomes pretty apparent that fitness can only get you so far. Really. So the, the true catalyst was with the team jumping up to world tour. I knew I really wanted to step up my game too. So kind of just started to look at what other improvements I can make. And handling confidence kind of work in the bunch were a few big things that I knew I really wanted to work on. Which was then the reason for reaching out to you to, to help me out with that.
Adam Pulford (07:21):
Yeah, for sure. And I, and I recall like when we were kind of originally talking, I mean, your, your background is, is like triathlon first and, and yeah, and you, you seem like a writer who is like, if you put it on training peaks, you’ll do it right. Kind of obsessive about the numbers
Emma Langley (07:39):
For sure. Yep. That is me to a T <laugh>
Adam Pulford (07:42):
<Laugh> and, you know, I think that’s, I mean, it’s very typical, I think in, in a lot of athletes, it’s great because that work ethic is, is definitely needed if you want to go anywhere in the sport. Right. but at some point, yeah, launching away, getting away from kind of the mechanistic part, part of it and getting into the art form of racing or just the dynamic form of racing, I think is is super huge. So, and I guess staring down the the barrel of racing in Europe will, will be a good catalyst for making you want to change that as well.
Emma Langley (08:16):
Adam Pulford (08:18):
Yeah. So when, you know, when we first started doing the skills work up here in, in kind of DC in Maryland I’d say just like high level. I mean, it was cold. It was January, February, and we had, I think we had like 10 sessions planned and we only got in like, I don’t know, 60% of those because of some snow and, and all this kind of stuff, but just on a super high level. Can you, can you describe some of those skill sessions, like where we started and maybe what was going on in your head when we were doing some of those original skills and drills?
Emma Langley (08:56):
Yeah. Yeah. So we, we really did what I would call and I think you actually probably called it the same back to basics. Like our first few sessions, we were really just going over the fundamentals. And I remember saying to you, I think on our first session, like, gosh, outta my, I feel kind of silly. Like I’m a world tour rider now, and here I am doing like these, these fairly rudimentary skills. But really the lesson with that is that no one is above skills work. And you, you really need that foundation. You need to go back to the basics to, to then build from that. So I think that was, that was an important realization for myself and a really important lesson for everyone is that no one is above skills work and everyone should be doing skills work, no matter what level you’re at.
Adam Pulford (09:41):
Yeah. I, I mean, I couldn’t agree more because I, I think with somebody like yourself who has a big engine and they come from, from a sport, that’s not really technique driven in, in triathlon. I mean, there’s technique in the, in each of the sports itself, but especially on the bike, there’s not much in the, in compared to road cycling. Right. So you’re, you know, you’re strong enough, you’re fast enough to, to keep up and you are even, I mean, you’re, you’re a great rider and you’re doing a lot of the things I would say right. For, you know, what I noticed originally is like, knowing why you’re doing them and knowing how to refine it, when stuff changes like that was, that was the thing that you needed the most. And, and, and then that goes into the art form of racing. Right. And then having the confidence when stuff goes sideways is like, yeah, you can, you know, course correct.
Adam Pulford (10:28):
You can kind of, you know, maybe put a shoulder back in and be like, yo, I’m Emma I’m here. You know, that kind of stuff. And so in for our listeners, yeah. We started in the grass. I mean, simply clipping in, clipping out bumping elbows, bumping shoulders, that kind of stuff builds up to some group ride skills work, some speed work, and just being comfortable in, in fast paced echelons and group down in DC and stuff like that. So, I mean, that’s, that’s kind of like the high level of, of what we did, but I’d say, you know, that was one spoke <laugh> in the wheel probably changed for making the leap from a pro continental to a world tour leap, so to speak. So I’d say, let’s, let’s talk a little bit about some of your changes that you made in your training, and then we’ll probably, you know, we’ll get back into how the skills planted the seed for that, because correct me if I’m wrong, but as like, you didn’t really even know if you’re going to make all the races over in Europe, but once you got over there, it started to really cascade, right?
Emma Langley (11:45):
Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly right. Okay.
Adam Pulford (11:47):
Emma Langley (12:00):
Yeah. So I think you mentioned this as well. I’m definitely a very methodical rider when it comes to training. So if something’s in training peaks, I’ll do it. So it was kind of in assessing the types of things I needed to work on and with you know, group skills, as well as just handling skills. Once, once we identified that those were things I really wanted to work on, it was then a matter of all right, well, how do we still optimize this with, you know, still working in intensity and miles, getting all that in and then figuring out how to best work in the skills training as well. So a lot of it was, I guess, scheduling, making sure the workout program was still, you know, big picture, all coming together and all being optimized. And then on top of that, it was kind of just looking at specifically, what do we need to work on to, to get ready for the races? So again, the handling skills and then also just high speed group work. So making sure to work in group rise and that type of thing.
Adam Pulford (13:03):
Yeah. And I, and I think to that point, like when you are working on, in, in a place in time where you still needed the fitness, like for maybe amateur athletes where maybe they don’t have the pressure of doing some skills and keeping the CT up or building, I’d say building the CTL, going into some of the first early races, like maybe not so much of a, of an urgency if it’s mid season for them and they have a huge race coming up sure. At that point, that is huge. But for you driving up from Richmond to, you know, DC or Frederick, right. You’re killing time in the car, you’re killing time with coach freezing your butt off in the, in the frozen grass. And, and so, I mean, you have to manage that accordingly. We did put in some miles and I think the first ride too, we were going up Hamburg and it like pitched up.
Adam Pulford (13:53):
I was like, I was like, oh gosh, she’s, she’s a climber. It is gonna suck <laugh>. And we’re just like going up and down. But you know, we, we got some training into, I think I probably got in more training than, than you did, but but I could tell, yeah, I could tell you’re a climber. Anyway, so managing that I think is, is clutch so that, you know, fitness doesn’t wane so that we don’t lose too much there. I think that’s important once I’d say, how did you use, how did you and James use a group ride for both say fitness training or physical training, right. As well as like tactical training, what, what was some of the conversation that you had or what were some of the tactics that you employed in doing that?
Emma Langley (14:36):
Yeah, well, part of it was first identifying, I guess, what rides work best for that? So you can, yeah, you can definitely fine tune everything if you, if you know the ride. So you and I went on the noon ride in Washington DC a couple times, and that was great because I was definitely, maybe not at my highest fitness, I was still building. So it was, you know, a matter of be tactical, don’t just sit on the front or don’t maybe necessarily go launch some attacks, try to stay in, follow the wheels and make it to the sprint, that type of thing. So kind of going in with, with a focus like that before the ride to then have that, that idea so that you’re working both on skills and fitness.
Adam Pulford (15:22):
Yeah. And another good point there is like you know, B tactical versus beyond the offense, it’s almost like a little defense versus offense and, and what Emma means by that to bring some context to this, this group ride that we chose is first Emma’s a pretty small person. She’s good in the Hills. I mean, she’s good everywhere, but this is a flat terrain with like super like hard at the time. Cuz it was kind of like the changing like February weather. Yeah. We would, we have like some super strong tail crosswinds going on. Yeah. And the majority of the riders were like really fit masters level racers that actually could get cranking pretty good. Right. Yeah. Yeah. So for Emma, who’s super small. And then like this wind is just plowing into her. It was, it really forced her to get on those wheels and, and get outside the comfort zone because I mean just getting close to, you know, people that you have never ridden with. I mean going 30 miles an hour, that’s not the most relaxing thing in the world. And then doing it above threshold all the more non relaxing. Right. But makes you made you really good for what you had to do over in Europe. And so, you know, any, so in my opinion, from a coaching standpoint is like, there’s no number, there’s no metric. There’s nothing to really achieve from the numbers standpoint. It is simply survive. Yeah. Make it to that split point. Right. And survive the survive the group ride.
Emma Langley (16:54):
Yes. Yeah, exactly. It’s kind of like, yeah, you, you don’t have to, it’s not a structured workout, right. You’re not, you’re not programming to hit this zone for this amount of time. It’s just, it’s gonna be a hard workout. You’re gonna get your intensity. And then you’re also knocking out the skills as well. So kind of two, two in one.
Adam Pulford (17:13):
Yeah, exactly. And that’s, and that’s the specificity I think of training for racing, right? Like interval training is kind of the opposite of racing cuz it is structured. It’s planned, you know, what’s coming racing is chaotic. Never know what the hell’s going on. Right. Well hopefully, hopefully you have some clue what’s going
Emma Langley (17:30):
On, but <laugh> sometimes you don’t know what’s going on.
Adam Pulford (17:33):
<Laugh> sometimes you don’t know what’s going on. So <laugh>, so that’s how we used, you know, that group ride in particular to do it. Were there any group rides saying Richmond or, or elsewhere where you could deploy some of that like tactical stuff in combination with some other goals at all?
Emma Langley (17:54):
At the time over the winter, there weren’t too many, since coming back, I’ve been jumping into some more, some more group rides there. Yep. And those are maybe a bit more focused on like just trying to make it hard for everyone. But again, no matter maybe what the, the workout focus of a group ride is, you’re still always able to practice those pack handling skills by having to be alert and be aware and kind of read the wind, read the riders, all that good stuff.
Adam Pulford (18:20):
I know one other thing that was on your kind of goal list or, or the, the area to focus for you is you, you’re pretty good at like kind of steady hard, right? Mm-Hmm <affirmative> and group rides somewhat elicit this, but you know, I think we call it the pop or that snap one minute or less sort of power I notice in just watching you race this year, you develop that pretty pretty well. Too. So not only from the handling side of things, but you’re just, you seem more snappy to me anyway, what, what did you work on to, to elicit that pop? How did you get that going this year?
Emma Langley (19:01):
Yes. Well, first of all, thank you. <Laugh> thank you for noticing. Yeah. I did, yeah, solid work. That, that was something that the James and I, and actually our performance director on EF education Tipco SVB we all kind of identified that that was another, another weakness that my, my pop was maybe not, not so good at the beginning of the year, just because it’s, it’s you know, you, you need to train it. But, and it’s, it’s not something I maybe spent so much time focusing on and you really need that in racing for sure. You, you need to have that snap to be able to cover moves, follow moves, make a move, you know, so a lot of it was just identifying that that was a weakness and then doing specific training for that. So my coach James and I did a lot of specific like very high power workouts. And then the group rides on top of that certainly helped with just, you know, even if someone’s going and you don’t wanna follow just forcing yourself and that that’s how you get, you know, time in those high zones.
Adam Pulford (20:07):
Yeah, no, that’s a hundred percent true. And you know, I think on previous episodes I’ve talked about to, to bring some of this home, I’ve talked about anaerobic capacity or functional reserve capacity FRC, and how to develop that. And you can do, you know, interval workouts to build that up. And I would say the best way though, to, to probably supersede anything that you’ve done, like in a training session before is to push all the chips in, you know, on, on a group ride or a race, you know, for that sprint in terms of developing that anaerobic capacity, cuz at that level, it’s really hard to push yourself as an individual and you need, yeah, you need someone else suffering next to you, somebody to compete with in order to, to get that done. So
Emma Langley (20:55):
Adam Pulford (20:57):
Was there like a key workout that you would share with our listeners that helped to improve that pop?
Emma Langley (21:05):
Yeah. One thing we did was a, was an FRC workout where I would do 42nd repeats with, with a lot of rest mm-hmm <affirmative>, we’re talking like 40 seconds and then, and then over nine minutes of rest, so you’re fully recovered before then going again. And then that, that 40 seconds is an all out effort. So we, yeah, we did that workout, I would say almost weekly throughout the spring. So that was yeah. When I wasn’t racing. Of course.
Adam Pulford (21:31):
Yeah. Yeah. And then, I mean to, to stress two points that 40 seconds, like how did you feel at the end of that 40 seconds? Like
Emma Langley (21:40):
So dead <laugh>
Adam Pulford (21:42):
Yeah. Yeah. So the workout that she’s describing, I mean, it’s, it’s not enjoyable. I think for people like Emma or myself, like I need to work on my, on my pop, but it’s yeah. It’s it’s like the worst workout possible <laugh> yep.
Emma Langley (21:54):
<Laugh> yeah. It’s so it’s so foreign. I I’m, I’m very good at using oxygen to generate power and so once you’re going anaerobic, I’m just, it’s not yeah.
Adam Pulford (22:04):
It’s, it’s terrible. Yeah. How many, how many, like intervals did you of those 42nd efforts? How many did you start with and do you recall how many, like you built up to
Emma Langley (22:16):
Like over time? Yeah, I wanna say we, the, the reps didn’t actually change too much. I think we started at four and worked up to six. I don’t think we went over six. But we were repeating the same amount each week, but, but I could see my power increasing if, if not weekly then every few weeks. And that’s always really nice kind of validation of, of seeing that, that curve go up. So it was pretty cool.
Adam Pulford (22:43):
Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s super cool. And, and it was, I mean, without seeing her workouts, I mean, that’s, that’s exactly what I would anticipate. So it’s super, super hard. You wanna barf at the end of everyone
Emma Langley (22:55):
Adam Pulford (22:56):
She, she only did like four and up to six. So my point is, is like, you actually don’t need to do a, a ton of these mm-hmm <affirmative> to, to see results. Right. Right. And I would say probably start on the low end, build yourself up, but more specifically what you want is more power on these. You want intensive anaerobic power production. So and then that chill time in between, like you said, you know, eight to 10 minutes yeah. To fully regenerate, so
Emma Langley (23:21):
Adam Pulford (23:22):
Yeah. And it’s, and it’s great to see that I, I think in action too, cuz again, like I said, anybody who’s been watching your race can see that. So so other than maybe the, the hard training sessions, what’s one or two things that you did well this year or at least so far this year that has helped to make a difference.
Emma Langley (23:43):
Yeah. So in, in addition to incorporating that specific training kind of to, to change, focus to more of the mental side of things again, I said I’ve, I’ve, you know, been working on my, my training and power for a long time. So that even if it’s a, a workout that maybe is a bit new or, or I’m not so good at the, the training part, I feel like I’m more or less have nailed down. The mental side of things is also really huge. And so one thing that I’ve been working a lot on this year is just to be more relaxed <laugh> in general, you know, whether that’s training, racing, race, prep, travel you know, with, with this jump up to this, this big new team, there’s, there’s a lot of other new things that come along with it. So there is a, you know, a lot of time away from home and traveling around. So a lot of just letting go of what I can’t control, whether that’s travel logistics or, you know, the, the race itself, there’s a lot you can’t control do all you can to, to be prepared. But after that kind of set everything else aside and still work in progress on that. But I, I do think I’m getting better and it makes a huge difference. <Laugh> yeah. Don’t, don’t stress about what you can’t control.
Adam Pulford (24:55):
There’s some quote that comes to mind right now and I’ll completely hack, but it’s like, life is the subtle art of learning to let go kind of thing. And it’s like <laugh> and every time I read it, I’m like, but yeah. I mean, we’re all a work in progress on that. Yeah. yeah. And, and I, and I think that’s like the yin and yang of like being an athlete, being endurance athlete in particular, cuz like I said, at the start of this episode, we typically the type a and us want to do more go harder, all this kind of stuff. And then you’re in this, you know, over the washing machine of, you know, racing on a world level and it’s just like, oh I have no control until you maybe get to that start line. Right. yeah. And even then it’s bonkers. So but yeah, that’s good to, that’s good to hear. I think feeling more relaxed, not wanting to control stuff. I mean that’s just good for health. Yes. Level one performance
Emma Langley (25:48):
Adam Pulford (25:48):
Yeah, for sure. Any, any cool and, and fancy recovery tactics that Emma endorses or has taken on this year? That’s any different from in years past?
Emma Langley (26:03):
I will generally say my recovery tactics aren’t too fancy, but I do have to plug my Norma tech boots. I’m absolutely obsessed with those and I do really think they make a difference. And they’re actually, they’re two sided they’re, you know, the, the boots themselves help and then they also force you to just sit still for a bit. So that’s something that typically I’m not very good at. I always, you know, if I’m home, I can always kind of think of find something else to do essentially. And sometimes you really do just need to, to sit and actually relax. That’s how you recover. So yeah,
Adam Pulford (26:38):
It’s, it’s funny you mention that. I, I love so I’ve been, I’ve had, nor I, one of my claims to fame is I sat in one of the original like prototype Norma texts and I had a write, write paper on it. Yeah. This like
Adam Pulford (26:55):
2087, maybe fact check that I don’t know. It was, it was a while ago Uhhuh and I mean, and I’ve been using them kind of everywhere around the world and tell my athletes about them. The, the research is a little 50 50 on them. Right. Kinda like massage and all this kind of stuff. But if you take a writer’s massage away, I mean, hell no. Right. Yeah. Because we need that. Right. And so the beauty, I think behind, you know, massage and Norma text is like, it, it feels good. It’s relaxing and all this kind of stuff. So whether the pressure is helping from a recovery modality standpoint or it just makes you chill the fuck out or, sorry, probably can’t say that on this podcast, but chill out. There’s a huge power in that.
Emma Langley (27:36):
Adam Pulford (27:38):
And it makes the type, A’s the personality that personality, it does make you relax. And I think that, I mean Norma tech or whatever other squeezy boots are out there, it’s pretty good. And you don’t have to be fancy with recovery if you’re dis disciplined and can put your legs up and, and do nothing. Yep. Probably just as effective.
Emma Langley (27:59):
Adam Pulford (28:02):
And I guess just on the, on the side of recovery real quick, you know, if, if you are sitting in, in your Norma techs or you’re on this journey of kind of learning to let go, I, is there anything on, on the cognitive side or the mental side that you’ve been working on more this year than in years past,
Emma Langley (28:21):
I have actually started just like very, very basic meditation. And like I’m talking super simple, like two to three minutes because that’s generally the amount of time I can focus, but it really makes a huge difference just to take a few deep breaths and essentially try to clear your mind way easier said than done for a lot of people. Yeah. Yeah, but, but a lot of stress comes from, you know, the mental side of things and you kind of get wrapped up in thoughts or worries or, you know, thinking through other stresses, whether it’s in your training or racing or daily life. So again, really just taking that time to sit and be still like sounds super basic, but it’s like, I wanna say life changing <laugh> it’s like it’s yeah. Not to be overlooked. Yeah,
Adam Pulford (29:13):
For sure. Say that. And it’s I’ll, I’ll put a plug in for being still as well because I, I think when I do it more, I’m, I’m definitely more grounded. Yeah. I’m definitely more collected in my thoughts and whether that is for, you know, heading in, you know, into the next work call, doing a podcast for me or a training session, just me personally. I think it, it definitely helps in that grounding. Yeah. I think with my athletes that I, I work with, especially at a high level, you, you need that grounding and you need that calmness, you know, before you enter in the chaos of racing. Yeah. And, and it, and it could be, you know, the roadside of things downhill cross country, anything where there’s chaos, I think when you can and cuz because it helps to trigger flow and that’s a really good thing.
Adam Pulford (30:03):
And one of the ways that I do it simply is I am a big fan of the aura ring and it can sometimes like if you’re just like just relaxing, you can hit a thing on your app and then it’ll like guide you through like three to five minutes sort of oh cool. Like a meditation. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so if you’re somebody who kind of, like I said, you can’t do it on your own. The Norma techs are not the catalyst to making you relax. Right. The aura ring is the catalyst mm-hmm <affirmative> mm-hmm <affirmative> you can use that, but if you are, once you get into the habit of it, I would say move away from any device for a meditation or a focusing thing because that it will add happiness to your life I think, and probably performance to your, to your game.
Emma Langley (30:44):
So yeah, for sure, for
Adam Pulford (30:46):
Sure. I, I do wanna talk about your team here for just a second, if we can, because you know, in, in road racing, I think, you know, we can lift ind individual riders up on a pedestal, especially when they’re producing results in that, you know, shouldn’t and that should happen because you know, they do the hard work, they deploy the tactics and they, they get it done and very similar to you in your national championship. So congratulations. I, I don’t even know if I’ve officially even said that to you other than on Instagram. But you know, with a road racer, the team plays a huge role not only in the, kind of the day of successes, but kind of throughout the, the seasons. So could you tell us a little bit about your team kind of the, the merger of the, the two sponsors and how your team has played a role in your successes this year?
Emma Langley (31:40):
Yeah, absolutely. So I think I mentioned briefly at the top of the podcast, we jumped up to the world tour this year. We became EF education Tipco SVB. So that’s, you know, in and of itself an, an awesome kind of step up for the team and everyone involved. And it’s really cliche to say, but it’s you, you can’t do anything in the sport alone. Like any rider, no matter how great their Palmara is, is it’s, they’ve got a wonderful team behind them. So I know for me personally, I’m really grateful that I had the opportunity to ride for the team again this year because everyone on the team, I’m talking all my teammates, our, our staff founder, Linda Jackson, everyone pours their heart and soul into the team. You can tell that when you’re in the environment and that, that makes me wanna just give my all as well.
Emma Langley (32:34):
So it really is, it’s a collaborative effort. It’s, everyone’s, everyone’s there to support each other. We all have these, these big goals that we’re working towards and we’re, we’re helping each other achieve them. So nationals is a perfect example of, you know, yes, I, I get to wear the Jersey eye. I was top step on the podium, but it was a hundred percent a team effort. And with all of us going all in with the goal of, of retaining the Jersey in the team. So that was, that was super cool. It still, still hasn’t sunk in yet, but, but that’s my Jersey for a year now.
Adam Pulford (33:09):
Yeah. I, I mean, I, I kind of have goosebumps right now. <Laugh> cause it is, it’s so cool. I think when you have, when you have a, a, a high performing team that has good synchrony and like good feels and that usually goes to good performance.
Emma Langley (33:26):
Yeah. Right. Absolutely.
Adam Pulford (33:28):
Yeah. And, and it’s, it’s a passion, you know, it’s a passion thing. It’s a it’s, it’s a collaborative thing, it’s a culture thing. And so you know, your team this year clearly has it, you’re a part of that. And you know, the other thing, when I think of team for a rider too, is you’ve got, say that the, the team, as we know at EF F Tipco, and then you have like your performance team around you as well. Yeah. And can you speak maybe a little bit to, I don’t know, just like maybe how you view your performance team, maybe who’s in it and whether you like proactively cultivated it or if it just kind of happened naturally and what that means to you.
Emma Langley (34:10):
Yeah, absolutely. I think to answer your last question, I think it, yeah, it does happen naturally. So, so for me, my, my support team is my people who are surrounding me all the time, always there when I need guidance, help of any kind. So that’s my coach, James, my partner, my cycling community at large, whether that’s just enrichment or, or people I’ve met out training in racing you know, people who send either messages of encouragement or congratulate you that’s just, yeah. You know, maybe it’s just the smallest message, but it makes a huge difference. And every athlete needs that support kind of knowing that they have those people around them because you can’t do anything by yourself. So it is, it’s really important, really special. And I do think it’s kind of just a product of, of the community I’m in, if that makes sense.
Adam Pulford (35:08):
Yeah. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. And I think, you know, one question to kind of curtail off of that is I, I don’t believe you need to be an elite rider to have that support network mm-hmm <affirmative> right. And in fact, I mean, it’s, it’s, you know, pretty obvious that we all have our own support networks, but you know, if, if, if a listener is, is listening to us having this conversation and thinking like, oh, professional athlete, of course they’re gonna have support people around him. What would you say to an amateur athlete who maybe doesn’t have that support network? Like how would you develop that? Or how would you advise to get some good people around you? Whether, whether it’s just strictly for a performance or if it is for like encouragement and get out there and get training.
Emma Langley (35:52):
Yeah. Yeah. I would say don’t, don’t be afraid to reach out to people. You know, I think actually the, the pandemic has taught a lot of us that as, as human beings, we don’t do so well on our own. At least, at least most people, obviously people have their preferences, but no matter what, what level athlete you are or whether you’re an athlete or not, you, you need a support network. So if maybe you’re questioning, if you have that or, or not sure how to maybe garner some of that feeling of support is reach out to people. Whether that’s asking for help asking to get coffee, go on a bike ride. You know, you don’t, you don’t need to be an elite athlete to, to kind of create that support system. Everyone needs it and it’s, you know, really just a matter of not being afraid to reach out if, if you feel like maybe you don’t have that support network. So close,
Adam Pulford (36:47):
That’s a, that’s a wonderful answer. And, and I think more and more when you do reach out, you’ll realize people are, are more willing to help than you realize.
Emma Langley (36:55):
Yeah. Oh, absolutely. That’s a great point. Yeah.
Adam Pulford (36:58):
Yeah. And, and even, and sometimes too, I I’d say get a training partner is also like somebody that you ride with once or twice a week mm-hmm <affirmative> and cuz that can hold a different level of accountability. And sometimes it’s like, Hey Emma, do you wanna go for a ride? And, and sometimes it’s like that person it’s like, oh yeah, I was almost gonna skip my ride today. So let’s get out there or whatever. Yep. Or maybe you say I’m tired today. Let’s go get a coffee
Emma Langley (37:21):
And that’s right.
Adam Pulford (37:22):
Oh yeah. I’m tired. That’s what I should do too. So right. I think, yeah, it
Emma Langley (37:26):
Definitely helps works both ways for sure.
Adam Pulford (37:29):
Yeah. <Laugh> exactly. So while we’re on the topic of, of kind of developing good habits in offering, good advice to say amateur athletes is maybe let’s like one or two points that you would give for somebody listening to this podcast to help them look a little differently at their lives to help improve that performance.
Emma Langley (37:58):
Yeah. So the, the first thing that comes to mind and it’s, it is quite a general statement, but I do think it’s it, isn’t something people consider, especially in terms of training. And that’s the it’s I guess a cliche phrase, but a happy head will mean in happy legs. So I’m, I’m a coach as well. And I always tell my athletes that training should be enriching. It shouldn’t be this like, Ugh, grind that I have to go out and, and, you know, kind of trudge through the miles on your bike. So if, if that is the case, then we need to reevaluate. And kind of the, the big picture evaluation is, are you happy? And if not, maybe ask yourself why not? And it could be that you feel like you’re maybe actually training too much and you don’t have the energy or time to, to spend time with friends or family or, or doing another hobby that you like. So it’s, you know, training more, isn’t always the answer. You know, riding your bike should bring a lot of happiness. But it’s, it’s always a balance and looking big picture at, at everything in your life. It’s, it’s all intertwined.
Adam Pulford (39:07):
Yeah. That’s, that’s really good. And I think, you know, happiness is a weird topic in itself. I think everybody can like when we, yeah, right. Like it’s, it’s very elusive sort of thing. But when we talk about happiness, we, I think everybody knows essentially what we’re talking about or can like associate a feeling to it. And I think, you know, with that, I would a hundred percent agree with you, happy head equals happy legs and to learn how to get your head happy in order to get those legs. That’s, that’s super crucial. And yeah, I, I’ve been doing some research on like recovery rides lately and, and what’s the research in recovery and it’s normally, it’s normally like in like interval sessions and stuff. And in very rare, like I haven’t seen much that says, you know, one hour hour and a half recovery ride elicits a better recovery response.
Adam Pulford (40:00):
Mm-Hmm <affirmative> so I think how, and then how I deploy that as, as a coach is like, well, if you, if you aren’t tired and you’re deeming yourself, or if I deem yourself to have a recovery ride for today, it’s really your choice. You go out for a ride or you stay on the couch. Yeah. Like, or you go and get coffee with a friend, like be a human being. Right. And I think that that contrasted training helps to give autonomy, to give, you know, true rest li listening to the body to get that happy head. And I think that’s really, really good advice. Really good advice. Is there, is there a second piece or another point that you would offer up?
Emma Langley (40:39):
Yeah, I think this it’s, I guess, slightly different to what you were saying about choice of, of riding a recovery. But don’t be afraid to switch things up. So I feel like it’s pretty easy to just fall into this kind of mindset of, again, I, I wanna be faster, so I’m gonna just do more miles log, log, more training, get out on the road, hammer it. And maybe, maybe that’s actually not what’s best. Maybe that is making you too tired or just leading to, to burnout and kind of less enjoyment. So by switching things up, I mean, like maybe spending a day in the gym, doing some functional strength training versus going out on the road, or maybe it’s going for a fun ride on the trails, if you, if you mountain bike or gravel ride, something like that. So just kind of not falling into that trap of every day has to be this structured road ride day.
Adam Pulford (41:33):
The way I do that is I go ride my mountain bike and it’s like, yep. I never do intervals on my mountain bike. I never right. You just like ride and it’s, it’s all better. <Laugh> so, you know, we, we kind of started off talking about the, the skills that we worked on for the 20, 22 season, and that helped to you know, refine your own skills, gain some confidence, and that led to racing differently in Europe. And because you’re able to do that, it just kinda like spun into more opportunities to race. And therefore you just, you know, in part became a, a better racer because of that. So for somebody who, you know, listening wants kind of that say opportunity, you know, but they’re maybe, you know, across the nation, we’re over here on the east coast and maybe they’re listening in California or something like, how would you, like, what’s the advice that you would give on how to get some skills work in?
Emma Langley (42:30):
Yeah, I would, I would say the, the first thing would be maybe search for a local maybe club or team or someone who is known in the area to do skills work. So just reaching out to, to your community to kind of see, see if there’s something to be found there. In addition, so that might be kind of more on the skills specific side. And maybe if that’s not something available or that is, is going on at the moment, just jumping into a local training ride. And then you can make connections too and say, Hey, do you guys, you know, wanna do a skills clinic, something like that. And even if not, you’re still, you’re still getting in some good, some good training on a, on a group ride with handling. And then there’s also a lot you can do on your own. So it is, it is easier and can help with accountability. If you, if you have a coach to work with, but you could always, you know, look up some drills online and then just carve out the time yourself to, to work on some of it. Maybe you can convince a friend or two to, to join you as well, but, you know, spearheading it yourself is an option too.
Adam Pulford (43:34):
Yeah, really good points. And I think like an overarching theme here of like how to do things differently and, and kind of where to do is like finding a friend and like reaching out to people I think really helps for sure. But I get it, like if I was I don’t know, practicing to do something, I mean, watching a YouTube would be, and then trying it myself before I go and do things with others might, might be a good way to do it too. Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, that’s a good idea. Lastly it just kind of hit on some of the, kind of the racing tactics, because a lot of our listeners too, maybe they’re master’s level racers, junior racers, or just getting into it. But not everybody has a team to work with. Right. A a as you said, I mean, there’s a lot of the results are driven by a team. So could you offer up some advice on how to deploy some race tactics? And let’s just say in two ways, one, if they have a team and then two, if, if they don’t have a
Emma Langley (44:32):
Team, that’s a tough question to answer because, you know, there’s, there’s so many different pieces of advice you could give, right? The, the art of, of bike racing is, is ongoing. There’s always things you can be, you know, searching for and refining, but to pick, you know, pick one or two things. If you have a team, I think my number one piece of advice would be to communicate with each other. That is huge. You know, you might have your prerace meeting and you, you form a plan and that’s awesome. Maybe you even form, you know, plan a and B. But once you’re actually in the race, you know, things, things change, maybe, you know, you tried both plans and they fell through. So now you have to think on your feet for a plan C and that’s all happening in real time. So being able to communicate with each other on the road is huge. So this is actually where having a, a team captain or team leader can be really helpful to, to help with communication. And I feel really lucky that I have some really great mentors and leaders on my team, cuz I, I will say that makes a huge difference when, when you’re in the race.
Adam Pulford (45:38):
Absolutely completely agree with that. So if you don’t have a team, you know, and you’re out there racing solo what’s your best advice for somebody like that?
Emma Langley (45:49):
Yeah. I would say first of all, don’t let not having a team deter you from racing, right? Cause the, especially in the you know, maybe the more local or regional races, a lot of people are just turning up. Haven’t, haven’t joined a club yet or just kind of want to get a feel for racing before committing to a team. So certainly don’t let it deter you, even if, you know, you see a couple of big teams on the start list but don’t do all the work is my number one piece of advice. So I don’t mean to be, you know, too conservative, go out, have fun, try things, but you wanna be a bit more savvy with your matches. You know, if, if you have a team, maybe your job is just to chase everything down. If you’re solo, you’re gonna wanna be a little bit more kind of astute to the moves that are going. So don’t be afraid to give things a go, but, but don’t do all the work <laugh> be, be cognizant.
Adam Pulford (46:43):
Couldn’t agree more. And we’ve probably all made that mistake once or twice before.
Emma Langley (46:48):
Yeah. Oh for sure. It’s, <laugh> an easy mistake to make and that’s probably probably have to make that mistake a few times to really learn it, but
Adam Pulford (46:56):
<Laugh> yeah, exactly. If no one knows what we’re talking about, well next race, just go stay off the front the whole time and then you’ll get swarmed at the end. And that’s what we’re talking about. Yeah. Don’t do all the work. Yeah. So I guess in summary to, to, to wrap this thing up, Emma you know, the take-home message is I find a lot of athletes just think that doing more, you know, going harder, stacking more stuff up, adding more recovery toys to the, the pile is the answer. And yeah, I’ll admit, I mean, you know, more volume and sometimes more intensity it, it does have its place and time, but you know, burnout injury and false expectations, they happen too often when, when you take that approach. So slowing down to inquire what you really need to improve upon slowing down to see is, is my head happy, right? And getting good people around, you can help refine those areas to get you to, you know, increase your performance, but also just be a happier person. Is there anything else that you would want to add to that, that we talked about in our conversation today?
Emma Langley (48:02):
Yeah. I mean, I, I completely agree with, with all of that, and I think we touched on a lot of really, really big, but really important points. And I guess the last thing I think we did actually touch on it a little bit. But the last thing I guess I really wanna to, to add is that, you know, training is always gonna be a, a part of what makes an athlete successful. But in my mind, the, the key to success is really to, to be passionate about what you’re doing. So the, if you’re passionate about riding and racing your bike that’s gonna, that’s gonna bring you so much more success than any, any planned training plan will. So it’s, you know, you need to sup support your find support and, you know, have that group to, to support you. And you know, it, it takes a lot, you wanna cultivate that happiness. But having that passion is really what, what is gonna get you the furthest
Adam Pulford (49:02):
Yeah, no, that’s, that’s wildly true. And that passion will, you know, when that, when the happiness WANs you know, that passion can be there to like pick you back up. Yeah. Right. And kind of remind yourself of why you’re doing what you’re doing. And, and you have all the people around you, you, you look at all the people around you and you’re like, yeah, this, this is why I’m doing it. Yeah. And I think that passion is, is the common thread through it all.
Emma Langley (49:23):
Adam Pulford (49:25):
Well, Emma, thank you again for taking time out of your day and out of your training to be with us here on the train right podcast, it’s been super cool to be a spoke in that wheel and, and see you along along the journey. So I wish you good luck in the ponies and for everything else to come this year.
Emma Langley (49:43):
Thank you. Thank you so much, Adam. This is super fun.
Adam Pulford (49:47):
Thanks for joining us this week on the train right podcast. We hope you enjoy the show. Make sure to visit our firstname.lastname@example.org slash podcast, where you can find social links, bonus content, and more about CTS. Go ahead and subscribe to the podcast. So you’ll never miss a show and leave us a rating on iTunes until next time. Train hard train, smart train, right?