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PCC athletes are adapting to the ‘new normal’ we find ourselves in. Creating a new routine of training indoors takes adjusting particularly if you are used to training on the road year-round. Amiel Flett-Brown – who won a Bronze medal in the Team Pursuit at the Track Worlds in January – is finding a way how to stay fit with while keeping safe and healthy. It is giving him the opportunity to work on his strengths and weaknesses and with the change of pace he feels he will come out of it all a better athlete.

Amiel shares his routine and how he is making indoor training fun and challenging.

I’ve found that overcoming mental barriers are the most common occurrences that may hinder my training routine. Creating tasks, schedules and routine have helped me stay on track with my fitness.

  1. Showing up – often a majority of mental barriers can be overridden by simply getting on the bike. I try to set a realistic time of day that I will start training and either set my bike up the night before or just after breakfast when I have some free time. Having the mental clarity that all you have to do is get on the bike, helps to simplify things.
  2. Having nutrition ready – depending on the energy demands of my training, another one of the things I do is prepare my nutrition before I get on the bike. The nice thing about indoor training is that you don’t have to keep your food in your pockets. For example, instead of eating a packaged fig newton bar, you could have a jam sandwich (on a plate). Hydration is largely more important than we may be used to, even if you have the latest cooling systems in place, you will still likely need to add at least an extra 500-1000ml of fluid to your ride plan. I like to set up a table with all of my hydration needs, including a post ride recovery drink in the ready. That way, you don’t have to get off the bike too often and can keep the quality of your training high.
  3. Warming up and cooling down – preparing physically and mentally are both two of the most important factors for me. If you’ve ever heard of the Pavlovian Response “a learning procedure that involves pairing a stimulus with a conditioned response.” I like to think of my warm up routine (breath work, muscle activations, on bike warm up) and cool down as an actual procedure to prepare my mind (and body) for the riggers of training. The more frequent positive experiences I have training, the more my mind and body will associate training with being happy. If you’re having a tough day, look at what you can improve for next time and consider what you did that made you feel good and add that to your routine!
  4. Keep the stimulus simple – there are a lot of things to focus on while riding these days, some good and some less helpful. For me, I tend to have a busy mind when I begin to suffer, say in an interval for example. The more internal noise, the less I am able to focus on the effort. If you can find a way to pair down your distractions and amplify the ones that really count you may find that the RPE of doing an effort indoors will go down. Another example; do you need your Garmin screen to tell you what the temperature is during your interval? Or do you need to be watching YouTube, Zwift and listening to an audiobook while doing a threshold interval? Finding ways to simplify your external input may help with focus. If I have a hard training session I keep my screen to a maximum of three data fields, find a good song or playlist. Virtual riding is good for this too! But keep it simple. This may be an acquired taste, but I actually like to have a blank wall to look at and Zwift off to the side. I’ll also let those who I am living with know that I am going to be doing a hard session so not to interrupt if possible. This may be harder for those with children, so finding time when kids are occupied could be the most optimal time for intervals. You can always talk about lightsabers and Frozen during a zone 2 ride.
  5. Flexibility – not just in the muscles, but in your planning and mindset. These are not optimal times and there will be many things you cannot control but you are always going to be responsible for your mindset. If something is blocking you from getting everything that you wanted to get done in the day, take a step back and consider what has gone right in your day. I try to stay grounded to the idea that I am grateful to be healthy, mobile and able to train on a regular basis. That is something that I can always come back to when things are not going to plan. Having the plan is one part, being able to adjust based on experience is key to enjoying your time training. A better snapshot of the trainer set up.

 

Pacific Cycling Centre is adapting to the current situation by offering indoor training alternatives. While we have coached the traditional way over the last 40 years – one-on-one and through camps – over the last decade we have been coaching athletes online all over the world. So offering virtual training is not new to us. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing training advice to make your indoor riding a meaningful experience for you.

Setting up

Set up your trainer in an area with good airflow. The room temperature should be on the cooler side. Have a mat or towel under your trainer and bike to absorb some of the noises and vibrations during your workout. Have a small table beside you with all the things you may need during your ride including hydration, nutrition and a towel.

Hydration is crucial as you will sweat more indoors compared to riding outside. You become dehydrated faster and lose more minerals through increased perspiration, included but not limited to chloride, potassium and sodium. To offset this you should be consuming 500ml of your favourite electrolyte mix for every 30-45 minutes of riding time.

During the trainer ride there is no need to be energy deficient. Nutrition for the workout should not differ much from your regular road ride (have your main meal three hours before the workout). You may think your ride is short, and that you don’t need any fuel. Though you may feel and think this way, going into a calorie deficit during the workout will harm you in the long-term.

Warm-up

Breathing Exercises: Before you get on the bike for your ride, start with 5-10 minutes of breathing exercises (if you have respiratory muscle training devices, such as a power lung, use it). Breathing exercises helps to warm up your lungs, and increases working capacity while also strengthening your diaphragm.

Dynamic warm up: Dynamic Leg Swings (see below for exercises)

On the bike

  • 15-30 min below 2w/kg -use a light gear and increase the cadence as you are warming up. This allows your core and muscle temperatures to increase to ideal working conditions.
  • 1-2 min x CP (Cadence Pyramid) a good on bike activation and leg speed maintenance (example below)
  • 5-10 min easy at (~1.5-2.5w/kg) before the start of the main workout

Main workout

Based on individual needs, and training program.

Example: Training target –  mid aerobic endurance; duration:  60-75 minutes  including 3-4×15 min at tempo pace; rest 5 min

Cooldown

  • 1-2x 5 min PT (Pedaling Technique) Single leg pedaling, focusing on pedaling techniques
  • 10-15 min cooldown below <1.5w/kg using light gears and low resistance – lower the cadence as you are getting closer to the end of the ride. This begins the process of returning body temperatures back to normal.
  • 15-20 min static flexibility exercises (this is an important part of your training routine, this brings your body and core temperature to normal conditions)

 

Dynamic warm up: Dynamic Leg Swings

1×10 each Front Leg Swing

1×10 each Rear Leg swings

1×10 each Side swings

1×10 each Side rotational swings

1×10 each Side rotational swings reverse direction

Cadence Pyramidgeneral prescription and guidelines must be adapted to your needs and abilities

Choose the peak cadence for the top of the pyramid, this is what you will hold for 2 minutes. e.g. 125rpm

Start at 95rpm in one-minute segments and increase the cadence 10rpm until your reach 125rpm, hold this for 2 minutes. Reduce the cadence 10rpm for every minute until you are back at 95rpm. For repeat sets take 5min of rest under 95rpm.


By Houshang and Alex Amiri

 

All of the training plans in the world can never prepare us for what we are going through right now. With races cancelled and group gatherings banned coaches all over the world are having to adapt training programs for their athletes. Is this the ‘New Normal’ we ask ourselves?

Given the current Coronavirus situation there is a need to adapt and change the way we train. Many countries hit hard by the virus and the restrictions forced upon the population have to think change and this means training indoors.

Training indoors is no longer the boring, slog it used to be. You can set up your trainer and ride online with others while challenging yourself. If this is the New Normal, we need to embrace it and take advantage of the technology that is out there – enjoy it and have fun.

Switching training to indoors means setting new parameters and standards which includes new indoor target zones and levels, duration of workouts, nutrition requirements and room temperature. Doing this will ensure you adapt physiologically and maximize your fitness gain.

With no races in the immediate future, taking advantage of online training, including group training and racing, will be an important part of your program for next few weeks.

Pacific Cycling Centre will be embracing the New Normal by planning and organizing online group rides with specific goals in mind, as well as integrating online races into training programs.

By Houshang Amiri / Louise Hodgson-Jones