With light around the corner and race season close enough to put some extra energy back into our workouts April is a great month. Although I warn you to be mindful of your personal race calendar and training / racing goals and not get too excited in those early outdoor rides and runs with your training groups, myself included.
You have been too methodical with your training and appropriate recovery periods over the winter to make it all for not by jumping into too much in the first 4-8 weeks of outdoor cycling and running. Be patient.
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
ATHLETE HIGHLIGHTS: Taking on the David Goggins 4x4x48 Challenge
As we have all dealt with a lot over the last two years and continue to do so moving forward I thought the best piece to highlight was Maren Barros’s experience in March. As she explains it was more about finding out what would happen mentally then physically
I first heard about David Goggins a few years ago on a podcast that I listen to regularly. He sounded like a total badass, not only for the extensive physical endeavors that he has accomplished but more so because of the kind of life circumstances that he has had to overcome (his full story can be read about in his memoir Can’t Hurt Me if you’re interested). When I read his memoir it became super clear to me that if that guy can overcome the level of trauma that he endured (and not just survive it but THRIVE), then I can too. Although my story is different than David’s, I feel like I have had a lot of challenges to overcome, many of them mental and emotional. And, as an aspiring Ironman triathlete, I was inspired by his resilience and feats of physical fitness!
The 4x4x48 challenge:
During these covid-times, David devised an ‘ultra-style’ challenge that is super accessible. The idea is to run 4 miles, every 4 hours for a total of 48 hours. The challenge officially runs in early March but it can be done virtually (and really, you can do it anytime). I chose to do the challenge at the exact same time as David this year and so my challenge began on March 4th at 9 pm.
So why this particular challenge – as in, what the heck does it have to do with training for Ironman?! Well, as I said above, I feel like this challenge presents a great opportunity to work on the mental and emotional side of the training process. When you set big, long-term goals like I have (I ultimately would like to qualify for Kona as an age-grouper), the physical component is only a part of getting there. As a working mom, I am going to have to find ways to both train extensively and still show up in the other areas of my life. In other words, sometimes I might have to get up at 3:30 a.m. to get that ride in before we head out of town for the sports tournament, or head out for a run after a super long day of work and kid stuff. I wanted to test some of these perceived “limits”.
The challenge itself was a wild success. The running was in fact the easiest part (which is good because I don’t feel like I had to go too deep into the reserves physically to do it – I ran all of the runs in Zone 2). And it did push me well out of my comfort zone to go out into the night at 1 am (in -20 degrees) and do a training run. Here are a few important take aways, tips and tricks:
· You need to eat a shocking amount of food! I ate (at least) 300 calories after every run – even after the middle of the night runs. Plan the food/meals beforehand and have the fridge and pantry stocked.
· Come up with a staging area/system for changing/drying your clothes (and wash up between runs)
· Stay on top of hydration by drinking 2 cups of water after every run
· Find people to connect with (either in person or virtually) – having folks to talk to who were doing it at the same time was hugely fun and inspiring. I also participated on Instagram using hashtags and that was pretty fun too!
· Run the same route J I didn’t think I would do this but I’m super glad I did.
· Take photos of your journey!
So, in summary, this event did exactly what I was hoping it would – give me practice around the mental/emotional elements of training. I even got to practice the ‘let down’ which came and hung around for about a day afterwards. All in all – I would recommend the experience!
WORKOUT of the MONTH
We may start to see athletes getting into some races as early as May or June, so workout intensities will now tend to start to match race paces or percentages of power on the bike.
A spring marathon is popular for most runners, and I will recommend it to many of my long-distance triathletes with their half or full ironman’s later in the spring or summer. One great option is Vancouver at beginning of May. Therefore, early to mid-April I like to incorporate one or two of a few race specific long run sessions. One of my favorite test workouts for the more experienced runner is the Execution Run. The distance will vary depending on the training of the athlete leading up to the run. The execution run is like a long progression run where total distance could be upwards of 30 km for the experienced runners, and the bulk of the mileage will be targeting marathon pace. Second option is the simulation run. This run can be up to 16 miles of marathon pace running. For a great third option I would use long runs finishing with race pace or long runs that would have intermittent race pace intervals throughout it.
COACH’s TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS
My Long Run with Race Pace Finish.
Normally I would want to have a little more work built up in the running legs before completing this work out. A last-minute trip to Penticton mid-march provided some much better run conditions then the skating rink in Edmonton and an opportunity to give it a solid attempt. If nothing else, I would receive some very real feedback on what my expectations should be for the upcoming Vancouver marathon. So with the nerves and adrenaline going I set out on the old Ironman run course. Then I would avoid lights, and I knew the terrain extremely well from many previous Penticton rides and runs.
I warmed up running to the edge of town before picking it up ~ 30 seconds /mile above race pace for the next 9 miles which brought me up McClean Creek road. There I turned around for my return to town at marathon pace. Being at the top of McClean Creek Road and a solid tail wind my start was quick, 20 seconds below goal pace. I should have dialed it back to do the workout properly but similar to the Vancouver half marathon I’m still not completely sure of my race fitness. The inconsistencies in terrain from the weather have made pacing impossible and a few less long runs then an ideal build up has left me questioning the chassis, so once again I just went with it. For the most part it was successful. I did have a tiny positive split which I’m not a fan of, but fatigue and the false flat from the edge to center of town made me pay for my quick start. I think the best success comes from negative splitting your long workouts and your races.
Life at An Elite Cycling Training Camp
19 Year old Eric Berg shares what it’s like at an elite cycling camp but also that the same benefits can be gained even by those of us far from the elite levels.
As many of you may have known, I was recently down in the lower mainland training with the Alberta Provincial Team for the upcoming 2022 Canada Summer Games. We were based out of South Surrey with the ability to drive to different riding locations over the course of 8 days. The camp was focused mainly on Endurance (Zone 1/2) riding aiming to get lots of volume and mix in bits of intensity here and there. Over the course of the week, I ended up logging 34.5 hours on the bike, covering 987km, and 11,686m of climbing. There were 5 athletes on the camp, all of us were able to cater the week respectively to our own focus. This being said, most rides were completed as a group, adjusting workloads (ex. who is sitting on the front, and for how long) accordingly. Having each athlete come from a different training program and/or coach, I found the flexibility very beneficial as all of us were able to ride together and share the same experience despite being at different levels.
A training camp such as this, can be very beneficial either for riders like myself who have a full calendar of racing ahead, or even for your average guy/gal who wants to gain bike fitness and compete in a few events per year. The main reason being that when we are at home, we are always juggling different stresses, and time constraints causing our traditional training program to be generally sub 10ish hours per week. With nothing wrong with smaller condensed training weeks, having the ability to only focus on riding really helps the body adapt to dealing with big miles day after day, and even the mind to learn what we are capable of. Often when we are training with day to day stresses surrounding us, we are energy depleted and feel weaker than we actually are.
Aside from the actual bicycle riding part, having a large block of time to narrow our focus allows for more time to recover, fuel properly, and get the correct hours of sleep for whatever the following day may have in store. As a team, our daily routine would go something like this:
- Scheduled wake up time
- Make breakfast as a group (usually eggs & veggies with some rice/oats to get a good balance of protein and carbs)
- Go ride for 4-8 hours (making sure to pack enough food/drink to replenish all the calories burned; often café/convenience store stops would be included on rides)
- Return home and clean/re-lube bikes for next day.
- Make a big meal as group (again... lots of carbs, protein, and a BIG salad)
- Team recovery (foam rolling, theragun, mobility exercises, core strength, and LOTS & LOTS of stretching)
- Team meeting, discussing routes, roll-out times, and training loads for the next day
- Sleep (I personally aimed to get around 8-10 hours of proper sleep each night)
Of course, being the dumb 19 year old that I am, I may have stayed up a bit later than I should have a couple of the nights.
Now for the not so technical data, my highlights of the week include:
- Riding from Squamish back to our house in Surrey 201km 2285 m of elevation gain. (Marine Drive from Horseshoe Bay into West Vancouver is world class)
- Completing the Triple Crown (Climbing Cypress, Grouse, and Seymour in the same ride.) 145km 3071 m of elevation gain.
- Racing on Saturday. 4 laps on a 19km course.
I am super happy to have had this opportunity and can’t wait to get back on the saddle after a couple days of R&R.