what to do???

17 06 2009

SO what is the advice when you have just done a hard overload week and you ready to do the same again but your starting to get a sore throat and a bit wheezy???

I was thinking of going on the turbo for an hour tonight?

I was thinking of going to jacuzziand swim and relax the legs?

or will i just relax and go to bed early hoping to be better to cycle 120km round trip to the club race after work???

Seth doing a good early session

Seth doing a good early session

Yesterday mornings lovely recovery spin seems miles away now!!!

problem after problem!

10 06 2009

Yesterday i set out to Dunboyne with the sun shining and a good days work behind me. It really went downhill from there!

The trip out to the race in Meath was perfect. I rode alone and got there in about 45mins. The race was a bit delayed so it involved sitting around for about 30mins which wasnt too bad as the sun was really shinning now and was quite warm. 

The C vets and Juniors had a 3 min lead and the B’s and A’s headed off together the attackes started reasonably early but it wasnt tough going really. One group finally got a good gap and a few lads kept bridging accross. This is where i dropped my only water bottle of the day. I did one small attempt to bridge accross but afterwards my mouth was dry as the sahara so i decided to sit in a pick up my bottle off the roadside on 2nd lap of 3. When i stopped and got it it was smashed to pieces by a car so i bridged through the cars (much tot the help of Gay Howard) and sat back in the bunch thirsty and thus hungry as i couldnt eat a gel or bar without water. This lasted for 90mins and at this stage i was just waiting for the race to end. 

With nothing to race for and i could focus more of my attention on the noise coming from my rear wheel. It was a noise i hadnt heard before and sounded like a mixture of a whirring, a rattle and a grinding? I soon realised that my cassette had actually come loose and was shaking about. Looking back on it i should have stopped to avoid further damage but with my recent run of DNFs i had to plough on. When i stopped at the finish line and took out the wheel the cassette actually just fell apart. Lucky i did stop so! I was delighted that one of the cars had a cassette tool and i tightened it up but the noise still continued on way home. If i just leave it alone maybe it wont get any worse…???

Couldnt download the powerfiles as my PC decided to stop working! but the race was 90mins with avg power of 230 (i think)? so pretty tame.

For the day i did 5h with another effort of 60mins at 240 on way home so pretty hard going. My aim of racing on wednesday too ended when i only got in at 1045pm. 


A quick pick from Howth Summit

A quick pick from Howth Summit



One hour up Howth this morn and the club race tomorrow should make for a good testing week.

Back on the bike

9 06 2009

Tonight will be first day back on the bike since the drowning of Saturday Roundwood race! Lets see how the legs respond.

Sitting in will be the order of the day and lets see what the power file says. Its nice to race with it on but a bit tougher on the legs due to the extra weight and the wheel bieng only a training one. 

I would definitely consider getting a racing powerTap as the data is essential from racing. Its where you do your best/worst efforts!!!

rain, rain go away

6 06 2009


SO my legs just dont like the rain. They got too used to the sun and warmth of late and today in Roundwood they just gave up. The day started rough and the weather was terrible on the drive out.


Not a pretty site ahead!

Not a pretty site ahead!

We got there fine though and put the bike together in what was cold but only drizzly weather. “not too bad so far” i was thinking!


All set for the race

All set for the race









The first 10 minutes were a good warm up with it being pretty dry there were some attacks but not much stuck until the rain came down and visibility became more difficult and i could see groups up the road chasing. I was caught out tactically though as id be chasing across and just when id need someone to do the final part one or two would jump past and catch on leaving me off the back. I then hope that a few others would tow me across so i was caught out a few times much to my own fault.

The rain was pelting down at this stage. I cant remember many colder days in december and at one point i thought my shifters were broken but it was just my hands werent working properly! After finally getting on to the chasing B pack we hit a nice little draggy climb and one or two lads dropped the wheel and so did i and i had nothing left to get back across. It felt like the end of a 100km race and my legs werent pushing anything out. Needless to say after about 10mins off the back alone it was a right turn when the course clearly went left. 

I changed and drove to watch the finish of the race. The leaders were very impressive with one rider attacking a group of very strong B group and staying away for an impressive win. He almost did it last week too. I would have sat there myself but shows alot of balls to do it.


Not pleasant weather

Not pleasant weather

ON the drive back to the sign on i could see the pain on the lads who had been out there for 2 hours+ in that weather. Shocking but fair play to the organisers they did a great job and were unlucky again with the weather.

Pretty dissapointed but plenty of racing next week. No time to drop the head.

Aint Wicklow great (in the summer!)

2 06 2009

Well after a tough day in Wexford racing we had a nice relaxing recovery ride ahead of us. Anto said it would be zone 1 recovery and he didnt mind where we went. we rode through town and met seth at yellow house pub at 10am. 

The scene was set for a beautiful day relaxing and easing the legs out until we hit the bottom of first climb and all hell broke loose. I dropped off back hoping they would slow down but to no avail. Then i pedalled back on and it rose up again get faster and faster until it was at avg of 330watts for 10mins. this after a tough day racing. (i always find it tough!!!).

Taking a break

The lads motoring!
Sallys gapSo in the end i rode with them to the top of the climb feeling good and knowing it was gonna ease off in a moment at the summit. Well we turn the corner and BANG off goes anto again. i let them go for 10 mins and have a coke and a bar and catch back up when they slow up. Then off we go again up the Gap and same wattage again. Seth drops off a bit i sit on anto and when we crest the hill he keeps on going. Seth come back on and when it hits a downhill he slips into the drops and must be putting out 500watts down the hill!

The video from me sitting at the side of the road will soon follow… (tough day)

Peaking to race by Joe Friel

28 04 2009

A good article on the thorny subject of training and resting. I must say i usually err on the side of resting just because its easier! BUT i am strating to see the benefits of actually training and not just tipping the legs. The other question that is on my mind is if a race is on is it better to do it or to train for something specifically that you need to work on ie. endurance or sprints? 

This weekend will be a test of this when i spend it training instead of racing. Conclusion will be posted in the coming weeks!


Peaking to Race

© 2006 by Joe Friel

An issue that most athletes find mysterious is coming into competitive “form” at

the times in the season when their most important events are scheduled. Form is

a vague concept used by athletes in some sports to describe when they are

ready to compete. The word has its roots in eighteenthcentury

horse racing

when sheets, or “forms,” would be provided for race track bettors showing the

past performances of each horse.

Exercise scientist Andrew Coggan, Ph.D., defines form as the timely combination

of fitness and freshness. Fitness has to do with how well the body’s many

systems function at a given point in time. A fit endurance athlete has optimized

the cardiovascular, metabolic, respiratory, muscular and nervous systems. A

fresh athlete is one who is rested and ready to go. It’s possible to be fit but not

fresh due to lots of heavy training but not much resting leading into an event.

You’re tired. It’s also possible to be fresh but not fit. You’ve been taking it easy

for too long and are undertrained. Bringing fitness and freshness together at the

same time is called “peaking” and is the underlying purpose of training for the

competitive athlete in the last few days and weeks before a race.

To increase freshness as you get closer in time to the competition you cut back

on the training workload by reducing the duration and frequency of workouts. You

include more easy, recovery workouts or days off each week. As a result you

become more fresh. To maintain the fitness created over the previous weeks and

months of training you do a few key workouts at race intensity and otherwise

train easily between them. Getting the intensity of your workouts right is why your

heart rate monitor, powermeter and/or pacing device is so critical to peaking.

How Peaking Works

Actually, sports scientists don’t fully understand the physiology of why tapering

the training load by increasing the amount of rest over a few days or weeks

before a race results in increased fitness. But they do know of several changes

that occur in the body with such reduced training. The most notable is an

increase in strength and power. Others are reduced blood acidity, increased

blood volume, greater red blood cell concentration for oxygen transport,

increased carbohydrate storage in the muscles and sharper mental skills.

Although tapering the training load before important competitions is widely

practiced by top athletes, many are afraid that cutting back on training will cause

a loss of fitness. They are wrong. There are numerous research studies that

support reduced training. Several using athletes in many sports have found that

reducing training by more than half of what was normal for two to three weeks

produced no losses of fitness or performance. Others have shown improvements

in performance when the taper was done in a certain way.

In a classic study conducted at the University of Illinois a group of runners and

cyclists who greatly cut back on their training by reducing the frequency and

duration of workouts while keeping their intensities the same improved their

aerobic capacities, an important measure of fitness, and endurance performance

significantly. Those who reduced intensity but kept frequency and duration the

same lost fitness. Do not decrease the intensity of training as you approach your

most important races.

Take special note here of the ingredients for a successful taper according to this

and similar research studies—reduced weekly volume (freshness) and an

emphasis on intensity (fitness). So the key to tapering is keeping workout

intensity—heart rate, power, pace effort—at high levels while resting more.

The tapering of duration and frequency occurs during the final two periods before

the competition—the Peak and Race mesocycles.

The Peak Mesocycle

The Peak mesocycle typically begins about two or three weeks prior to the

competition. The length of this mesocycle varies by sport, fitness level and nature

of the targeted event. Sports that are orthopedically stressful, such as running,

require a long period of tapering. Reducing frequency and duration starting three

weeks or even more before an important competition is common for runners. A

sport such as swimming that does not have any hard surface pounding

associated with it can benefit from a shorter taper period. For swimmers seven to

fourteen days of tapering is common. Other sports, such as rowing and cycling,

will fall between these two extremes. A triathlete will taper each of the three

sports at different rates.

The greater your fitness is the longer the taper should be. Another way of looking

at this is that if your fitness is poor due to, perhaps, getting started late in

preparing for your event, you need all of the time you can get to build fitness. So

in this situation the Peak period is shortened in favor of a longer Build period.

The taper may only be for ten days.

The longer the event is you are training for the longer the taper should last. For

example, a runner may taper for three weeks for a marathon but only taper ten

days for a 5km race. Longer races usually mean greater training loads with an

emphasis on longduration

workouts. Long workouts take a greater toll on the

body than short workouts and so more time is necessary to recover and rebuild


During the Peak mesocycle reduce training volume by twenty to thirty percent

every three to four days. The shorter the taper length is, the greater the reduction

should be. Again, do not decrease the intensity (heart rate, power, pace, effort) of

your workouts, only the duration.

The frequency of your workouts, how often you train, may also be slightly

decreased while tapering so long as you have been doing at least five or six

workouts in a sport in a normal week during the preceding Build mesocycle. A

triathlete, for example, who has been doing three swims, three bike rides and

three runs weekly should not decrease the frequency of these sessions as it is

already marginal. When the frequency of training gets too low you may

experience a loss of economy—how efficiently you move. Essentially, your

movements may become sloppy as the muscles forget how to move

economically. Swimmers call this losing their “feel” for the water.

The basis of the training structure for the Peak period is to simulate the intensity

of a portion of the targeted race every 72 to 96 hours until seven days before the

event. To do a simulation workout you select a segment of the event that is

critical to your success and practice exactly how you will gauge output (power or

pace) and input (effort and heart rate) for that segment. For example, there may

be a hill on the course that is critical to how well you perform on the day. Find a

similar hill, warm up and then simulate the intensity you plan to use in the race.

Or it may be that the course is flat and you need to maintain a specific intensity to

reach your goal. Rehearse that intensity in each of the simulation workouts. That

intensity could be based on heart rate or on pace, power or perceived exertion as

compared with heart rate.

Whatever you decide is the portion of the race that is critical make the simulation

a dress rehearsal in as many ways as possible. This may be clothing, equipment,

mental approach, refueling or anything else that is a part of your raceday

strategy. One or two of the simulation workouts in the Peak period may be a Cpriority

race done as a tuneup.

Note that while the intensity of your simulation is critical to the success of your

Peak period going beyond the targeted race intensity is not beneficial and may

even be counterproductive. For example, a marathoner who sets a goal of

running a sevenminute

pace in Zone 3 should do simulations only at this

intensity—not at sixminute

pace in Zone 5.

So if you do a race simulation every 72 to 96 hours in the Peak period what is

done in the two or three days between these workouts? You do short, easy,

recovery workouts or take a day off. The idea is to be fully recovered and ready

to go again for the next simulation.

Joe Friel is the founder and President of Training Bible Coaching and the author

of numerous books on training. He may be reached at jfriel@trainingbible.com.