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Should a sunny day determine your training?

I've been asked by many cyclists to write something specific for cycling on the Rhino Fitness web site, seeing as I compete in cycling and coach gold medal winning cyclists.

This article applies to cycling and other summertime fair-weather sports.

Most summer athletes can't wait for that first day where they can get out in shorts and short sleeve shirts and put the hammer down in intensity.

After going stir crazy on our rowing ergs, indoor trainers, and treadmills for 6 months, the athletes of summer salivate and go almost giddy when the temperature finally rises above 10 degrees Celsius.

While psychologically rewarding, the outdoor early season hammer fest can be damaging to spring training if we're not careful. While those in southern British Columbia and much of the US have already enjoyed over a month of half decent outdoor weather, those of us in the prairies are just coming out of the deep freeze in April. Regardless of the month your area moves into spring weather, you aught to measure your spring riding - or whatever sport you are doing.

How many times has that first club ride of the season turned into a quad burning - lung hurling competition? Every time? That's why I don't do them. "Sacrilege! You're not a real cyclist! Are you nuts? You're still on your trainer? But it's soooo nice outside!"

Yep, I get ribbed about it every year. But year after year my athletes have better spring and late season performances than those who forgo controlled and productive training for the short term reward of feeling good about a sunny day. Ask yourself; is it the weather of the day that determines your training; or; is it where you are in your program, your current state of recovery and fatigue and other important training variables?

You know the answer is the latter. "But you take the fun out of it when you do that!" Really? I though winning was fun. I think most would enjoy being a little faster and more fit, but I could be wrong..

There is something magical about a hot dry day with dead wind and hammering to your physical limit. So why not train your body as effectively as possible so when those days come, you can maximize them?

Unless your training specifically calls for a hard training session, don't blow your training plan by succumbing to the irrationality that cabin fever gives us. If your training plan calls for an easy ride, don't forgo the easy ride on account of the sunny weather. Go out on an easy ride, you can still enjoy the weather. Better yet, if you know you still require more specific base training at a specific speed, heart rate, lactate level, or wattage, you will have a far more effective training session by hitting those numbers exactly on the trainer instead of contending with spring road conditions and the variability that comes with riding outdoors - not to mention those riders who always hammer off the front tempting you to chase if you do a club ride. Worse yet, you may be that rider who hammers off the front merely because it's the first ride, not because it has anything to do with your training plan.

Don't worry; you will get plenty of road mileage in during the season. It really is not that important to go nuts the first two weeks the roads are clear and the temperature is above zero.

If you go too hard, you have to add an extra one or two recovery days to compensate. Your one day of fun just cost you two days of training. If you don't compensate with recovery, you may burn out early in the season. Is it really worth it?

Besides, the real warm days aren't here yet so save it. Build your fitness gradually through the spring and the rewards will be far greater than a couple misplaced early season lung burners.

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2004 - 2005 Cris LaBossiere Rhino Fitness www.rhinofitness.ca

 

 

 
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