Training

Learning how to train properly, and to improve your cycling and overall fitness, are keys to becoming a better road cyclist, and to better enjoying your time on the road. From specific training techniques and fitness-boosting workout tips to the psychological side of cycling, we offer an array of helpful advice.

My Favorite Stretching & Core Strength Exercises, Part 2

We recently launched Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist, our new 57-page eBook in which my co-author and I clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program. One of the points I made in the launch article (click for additional info on how to put together your own program using the book) is that you can and should choose your favorite stretches and core exercises for your personal routine(s). In that light, I thought I would share my own personal favorites last week and today.

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My Favorite Stretching & Core Strength Exercises, Part 1

Last week we launched Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist, our new 57-page eBook in which my co-author and I clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program. One of the points I made in last week's article (click for additonal info on how to put together your own program using the book) is that you can and should choose your favorite stretches and core exercises for your personal routine(s). In that light, I thought I would share my own personal favorites today and next week.

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New eBook: Stretching & Core Strengthening for Cyclists

We don't all necessarily want to be faster on the bike. But I think every last one of us roadies would like to maintain the strength we have, or get even stronger, in our core. And we undoubtedly all would like to be pain-free when we ride. A regular stretching and core strengthening routine can help you achieve any or all of those 3 aims. In Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist, my co-author and I clear up the confusion and take the guesswork out of knowing what to do, and how to do it, to implement a stretching and core strengthening program.

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Why 'No Pain, No Gain' is Wrong

If you ride just a little harder than tempo riding, you start to recruit fast-twitch muscles in addition to your slow-twitch muscles. You aren’t breathless; you can still talk in short phrases. This is called riding in the Sweet Spot and is the opposite of the “more pain, more gain” approach to training. The harder you ride (the more pain), the more recovery you need between hard efforts and between hard days, so you can handle less hard volume. Riding in the Sweet Spot balances the level of intensity with the volume of intensity to achieve the maximum overload on your muscles.

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Improving Performance Through Marginal Gains, Real Life Example

Elizabeth Wicks, 72, is a long-time friend and client of mine. We’ve written about her preparation and accomplishments in earlier Newsletters because she's a terrific example of putting into practice – and benefitting from – so many of the training concepts that all recreational roadies have at their disposal for improvement. Elizabeth is a real-world example of a roadie who illustrates the benefit of many of the concepts the pros lay out in my Learning from the Pros eArticle. But today we'll just focus on one of those concepts.

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Personal Comeback Reflections, Trainer Tips

As I continue to recover from my crash and surgery, it makes me feel somewhat better about the situation if I can pull from my own experiences to share some insights that might be of use to readers who may suffer a similar injury, or at some point be going through a situation not unlike what many of us face from time to time in coming back from an injury or layoff. In his accompanying article today, Coach Hughes lays out a number of common-sense principles and guidelines to follow to help avoid any relapse or new injury in a comeback. To his list of sage advice, I would like to add one more rule of thumb: Be flexible! 

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The Comeback, Part 2: Step-by-Step

John Marsh fractured his left collarbone on April 16, had surgery on April 27 and got back on the trainer May 6. He’ll be stuck on the trainer until June 4, at least, and after a trip with his family, he’ll have just four weeks to finish training for the Tour of Wyoming July 17 – 22, 355 miles with 32,620 feet of climbing. John had very little exercise for 18 days between the crash and surgery, except for walking. Further, his body had the trauma of an accident and surgery with general anesthesia. After any significant amount of time off the bike due to an injury or anything else, your comeback should be step by step.

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The Comeback, Part 1: No Sweat

RBR Editor John Marsh recently fractured his collarbone; he had surgery on April 27. The surgeon told him that he shouldn’t ride the trainer for two weeks or until the incision is healed – to avoid sweating on it and risking infection. John just got the OK to resume showering and trainer riding a couple days ago, a bit ahead of schedule. The following was written before that time to give John and anyone coming back from such an injury an array of activities that can be done before resuming trainer riding and, ultimately, road riding. I'll follow this column with ongoing advice over the next 2 issues.

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How to Use Spring to Prepare for a June Event

Last week I described how to train effectively this spring. Today I'm focusing on a specific real-world example of how to prepare for a June event. Reader Randy Brich wrote in using the Ask RBR a Question feature open to Premium Members. My answer to Randy's query follows. (Quick reminder: Premium Members, if you have a specific cycling-related question you can't find an answer to on our site and would like to ask one of our experts directly, fire away.) 

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Where Are You Going on Your Bike?

Last week I shared with you the plan that I wrote for Randy Brich to train for the Gravel Grinder he's doing in June. Randy knows where he wants to go; he just didn’t know how to get there. Training plans are divided into phases for several reasons. A rider will get maximum improvement if the rider focuses on just one type of training at a time. To keep improving, the training must keep getting harder; however, at some point a rider plateaus (or burns out). To keep improving, the type of training needs to change rather than just increasing the volume.

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Ride Like A Pro This Spring

March is our heaviest snow month in Boulder, Colorado, where I live, but spring is finally here and the days are getting up into the 60s! Many pros live here. The top pros are in Europe training or racing, while the domestic pros are getting ready for the domestic season ahead. When I’m riding with my buddy, we play a game “Spot the Pro.” We look for certain signs that tell us the rider is a pro. Most of those signs involve what the pro is NOT doing so early in the year: hammering, high-intensity riding, riding with bare legs on cold days, etc. 

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Why Your Max Heart Rate May Be Irrelevant

I’m very pleased that 87% of RBR readers monitor your intensity while riding, because training by intensity is the most effective way to train! However, setting your training zones based on max heart rate isn’t the best way. The coaching consensus is that heart rate training zones based on a rider’s lactate threshold (LT) are better. “Wait a minute,” I can hear you thinking. “Last week Coach Hughes wrote about “Why Your Lactate Threshold May Be Irrelevant.” Lactate threshold takes into account your fitness – and that’s why it’s a better way to set your training zones.

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