These are exciting times. Winter is in the rear-view mirror and event or racing season is back like we haven’t seen for over 2 years.
Coaching through covid provided some aha moments.
As we had to balance around races on, races off, repeat, I had to find a level of work that could keep them “almost” ready, so they were fit enough to be able to bring it up to race prep quickly.
The results were fantastic. Athletes got stronger as we stayed in this holding pattern with training in both cycling and running. Essentially all I did was extend the March / April type of programming with the addition, for the cyclists of a longer aerobic ride with now being able to ride outdoors.
The coach’s lesson, be more patient with the athlete’s development. Add 4-8 more weeks of the long tempo and sweet spot workouts we generally end the indoor training season with. For the runners this would mean workouts of 10 miler race pace to ½ marathon race pace.
Athlete’s lesson, listen to the coach when he tells you to be patient and trust the process. Remember how well your mock races went last year on more tempo and sweet spot sessions and an overall more relaxed but still focused approach to training.
I also found athletes were generally happier, on most levels, but still disappointed about not racing. Athletes, even at the recreational level which most of us are at put way too much pressure on themselves and worry too much about what others think. The covid break allowed athletes to really enjoy the workouts and the process while avoiding the stress of race finishes.
The lesson, for most of us we do not do these events for money or podiums. When we first register, we are usually thinking, I wonder if I can do that, or I wonder if I can improve on my last performance. Essentially it is me versus me, you versus you. So do not add that false external pressure to yourself and enjoy what you have done.
ONLY a FEW SPOTS LEFT!!!!!
May 27-29: Rocky Mountain Cycling Camp in Jasper
We are so excited to be back hosting our cycling camps. Our first one will be in the beautiful rocky mountains out of Jasper.
This camp will offer two main objectives. For the novice groups you will develop the skills to perform group rides safely, learn to descend with confidence, cornering, braking, and shifting gears to optimize your efficiency riding all the while developing a new level of fitness to take on your summer riding goals.
Our experienced groups will review all the essential skills in group riding/racing, as its been a few years since we have raced, learn how to attack descents with more speed and push your fitness limits with a challenging weekend of riding at altitude.
Details found online at aerobicpower.com
Vancouver 1/2 Marathon
Garth Lane: 2:09
Damian Bennett: 1:42
Maren Barros: 3:30
WORKOUT of the MONTH
For the runners working toward a 5 or 10 km event in the next 6 weeks it would be time to focus on their specific preparation appropriate for their upcoming race distance. Over the later part of the winter this group would be finishing up their general prep work. This would include some longer slower distance work and some short speed work, possibly some velocity Vo2 intervals. Then with 6 weeks to go training would incorporate specific work done at their 5-10 km pace.
COACH’s TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS
My Vancouver Marathon
Following race weekend my wife commented that I’ve matured a little bit because I was not grumpy for the rest of the weekend with not hitting my ‘A’ target in the Vancouver marathon. I just replied I’ve lowered my expectations. All joking aside, as I have not lowered my expectations but maybe with maturity at least can look at the bigger picture.
The finer points of race prep were coming back to me leading up to Sunday. I think athletes all have their routines that make them feel ready to go, and by Saturday I felt like I was back into mine.
One thing I enjoy about Vancouver is getting to the race start is very easy. Once there we were hit with a 45–60-minute delay due to a bomb scare but fortunately the weather was great so it did not feel like a big setback in race plans. As a racer though one should always prepare for the unexpected. Extra clothes and food is always a must.
As it’s a new course for me I did not expect as much up and down as there was. It seemed to roll for 30 km until you hit Stanley park for the final 12 flat km.
The plan was to roll out at just under 7 minute per mile pace. I. thought anything around 3 hours would be a fabulous day.
I carry a nutrition bottle for the first half of a marathon in order to ensure I’m getting all in that I need. So I sipped on that through the first 25 or so km, and had a gel along with that. So I felt like everything was in order there. As a side note I do always wonder about the specific hydration. I’d love to have someone actually measure how much water I take in as I run through aid stations trying to drink out of a miniature dixie cup.
I saw Kate at about 30 km as we approach Stanley Park. I ditched the empty bottle I carry and mentally it was time to put the head down and finish hard. You know at this point it’s going to hurt so be prepared for that and just go to war with the final 10 km. At this point I felt like everything was going how I expected and no matter what I can push for “4 laps around Hwlk Park” as I use that to help with my race finishes.
Unfortunately, at about the 22-mile mark tight hamstrings became really tight and turned into a major inhibitor towards my projected race finish. They felt like they shortened by about two inches and the strain was creating such an intense steady pain that pace drastically slowed. The goal became just to keep running. You learn from many Ironman’s that if you can just avoid the strong desire to walk as much relief as it would bring, the shuffle will be a lot faster. The last bend out of Stanley Park felt like it was 10km by itself but as you get closer to downtown the crowds get louder and it provides just that little boost to help you make it up that long finisher chute to the finish line.
Although we always wish we had done a few more long runs, or more race pace workouts, post-race evaluation has me leaning towards more body work in order to hit my target next time. As mentioned in a post, I think the best change I can make to my programing is to make time for a bigger commitment to muscle balance and mobility work.
Post-race I was quickly distracted from my own woes by the amazing accomplishments had by friends and aerobic power athletes. Congratulations to them all!!
Now it’s time to ramp up the bike work and speed up the run work in preparation for the PTO here in Edmonton in July.
GETTING TECHY: RIDE GEAR
It's time to get outside!! I know our indoor set ups never get windy or wet, but our events and races do. On most days you can't beat a nice 90 minute to 3 plus hours, for some of you, outside. Sunshine and ride buddies make those miles and minutes tick by. To maximize the enjoyment though you do need to make sure you have a few key pieces of clothing. Typically, the fingers and toes go first and are the most unenjoyable, so a good set of gloves and booties are probably the most important. A vest is the simplest wind break but on cooler days or rides with a chance of rain, a good quality somewhat water proof wind break jacket can help extend your ride. Arms and knees or leg warmers are easy to pack in jersey and a simple way to make jerseys ad shorts long sleeves and tights for the cooler starts and then easily peel off as the day warms.
Check out https://pedalhead-bicycle-works.shoplightspeed.com as they love seeing the Aerobic Power peeps.