In a few month's time I will turn 37. Geez I am getting old. It truly feels not nearly that long ago I was lining up for my first race in 1993 at the Spring Creek Motocross Track in Millville (I was 18th out of 30 juniors in the beginner class). 20+ years of racing; some years a lot, some years very little, some success, lots of none. Jeesh, I AM old.
I have a fair bit of experience I guess. Enough that I take a lot of things I do for granted, assuming it is well known knowledge. I have been asked about coaching before (by those that don't know me enough). Well, I don't want to be responsible for others, as I can barely handle myself with my life duties. So this is my first and maybe last installment of what I think as far as training. With all this there can be differences between what I know and what I do because I am human and forget.
-It is not all about riding, but mostly. Core work and stretching is more important than you think. You hear all the time about core work. Well, it is for a reason. You really don't have to go crazy with tons of different workouts, but do it up. Stretching is must as well. As I age it really seems important. I get more aches and pains, many related to all the hours in the saddle over the years without care and attention to the core and stretching.
-I have done weights, I really don't anymore. See previous note. Now, I do like to do what I call on bike lifting. That is, hard gear, low rpm riding intervals. I don't do them often, but especially for slogging long miles in fat bike adventures I find they do the trick.
-4 hours. That is the magic number. I have found this on my own, and found other sources saying the same. Your training rides don't need to be much more ever. Sure, you may want to be an ultra warrior and think mindlessly going out for 8 hours on a Saturday is the key missing ingredient to you dominating all things ultra. I would argue it would be far more beneficial to do back to back days of 4 hours. Beyond 4 hours and your return on investment greatly diminishes, but your recovery greatly increases. Ride what you can, but don't worry about those guys posting about an all day training ride.
-Race races you don't want to focus on. I like the long stuff and like to focus on it. However, I know shorter race intensities help with that training. If you want to go faster for a long period you need to learn how to go fast period, and short intense races are the way to do it.
-Leave the gadgets at home. Look at your watch for ride time, maybe use mileage to help gauge how much time is left for you to get home. My handlebars are electronic free. Mentally I love to look around at my surroundings and scout out new places to explore. Most people out there with power and heart rate really aren't doing it right anyways or at all. Your brain will thank you.
-Read Joe Freil's coaching bible. It is a great resource, pull from it what will help you the best. Don't let it be an end all be all though.
-There is no magic pill or energy drink, sorry to burst your bubble. Those guys that crush the field week in and week out do it through hard work and genetics, not because they preloaded with some sweet new formula of crap.
-Most of all, take everything you read as suggestions. My crap, what others do, it may not be right for you.
2 hours ago