For those of you that read my blog regularly or if you train with me, you will be aware that I am a bike specialist, utilising my key strength to propel me through the field after the swim to build a significant advantage over my competition entering the run. I will also take this early opportunity to reveal I come from a strong cycling background and have been the bearer of an Elite Road Racing License. Indeed even this year, I won the first of the opening round of the Corley Cycles MKCA Summer Series.
In this blog, I'll take you though a normal off-season training week or what might be referred to as base training.
After my final race of the year, I usually take a few weeks away from training all together, in fact last year it was closer to four weeks as I did nothing at all in December except attend Christmas and New Year parties and drink way to much! But those weeks off are what set me up for the rigours of the new season.
During December, I will plan my racing year looking at which events I want to do well in and then choosing races that will allow me to assess my fitness leading to the big race or as it's known in coaching terms, my 'A' race.
This year I chose: The Beaver Middle Distance, IMUK 70.3 and my 'A' race of IMUK.
So, with IMUK the main focus, I'll look to begin my long training rides in January aiming to complete 3-4 hours in the saddle which can mean riding up to, and in some cases, over 80 miles. Now, this is where I do things slightly differently, most coaches, training guides etc. would recommend rides up to 6 or even 7 hours in duration, I on the other hand rarely exceed 90 miles in training. With 90 miles being the longest ride I do, the shortest are still around 50 miles long. How my training differs is that as the year progresses I look to complete these rides faster and faster, using the same courses to gauge and assess my fitness.
That means the majority of my training rides are done well above my target race pace of 20mph (I averaged 19.9mph at IMUK) with the average speed being in the region of 21.5mph. Of course training at this intensity constantly is not recommended but it works for me, every once in a while I will ride for several hours at my target race pace and it feels comfortable bordering easy, which means I still feel fresh(ish) for the run.
I do intend do things differently next year however, now that Helen has returned to work, I have resumed my role as full-time Dad, part-time athlete! But the changes are already afoot, I have for the first time obtained a turbo trainer which I intend to use before every training run for at least 45 minutes to improve my running efficiency off of the bike, will it work? Only one way to find out! Sunday's will be the domain of the century ride, which this year will be done in accordance with a Heart Rate Monitor to control my efforts. But, where possible I will continue to train with intensity over shorter distances which will most likely take the guise of Criterium Racing at the Hillingdon Winter Series.
My results this year have revealed a glimpse of what I am capable of, if I commit to a more structured and organised training schedule, my 2010 results were achieved off of the back of an average training week of about 12 hours, so if I can increase my training and continue to absorb it as I have been then 2011 will be a very exciting year for me