Thursday, February 19, 2009

Getting Advice from the Experts

Last night, we went to a lecture on planning your training calendar by Arnie Baker, M.D. He knows his stuff. Arnie is a doctor, a cycling coach, an adviser to the International Olympic Committee. He was a CAT 1 Elite cyclist with 200 wins and 6 US National Champion titles. He's coached for the Olympics, US National Championships and 40 US record holders. In his spare time, he's written books on cycling, endurance sports and nutrition. In other words, if Artie is speaking near you, go listen.

The audience at the lecture was mostly cyclists and a few triathletes. I was probably the only runner there, but I found an awful lot of useful information. A few minutes into his talk, I realized this was going to be really good stuff and I started taking notes on my blackberry. If you're interested, you can "read more" to see my notes.

Planning Training Periods - Arnie Baker, M.D.

Schedule time to fully plan your calendar for the year (or longer). The calendar should have blocks set aside for each training period listed. Each period should be months, not days.

Recovery - Downtime and preseason. Get your family, home, taxes in order. Recovery isn't just for your body, but also for your life in general. Everything needs to be ready for the rigors of training.
Foundation - Build your base of strength, aerobic fitness and overall endurance. Lot of miles.
Fitness Systems Prep - Work each system individually to build it: aerobic, lungs, legs, form, race nutrition, mental preparation. Utilize High-Intensity Training (HIT). Re-evaluate your goals. Do mental training to practice shifting your mental focus and using your focus to reach goals. As an example, on a hill do you focus on the whole hill, focus on the next small segment, focus on your breathing, focus on form. Knowing how to control your focus gives you options to conquer challenges.
Racing - The racing season.
Specialization - Specialization training to sprint, ride a century, run track, etc. Do specialization as needed for your discipline.
Peak - The planned culmination of your season when you plan to be your best.

Some other notes:
  • The most common mistake is going too easy during your hard workouts and too hard during your recovery workouts. It prevents full recovery which eliminates the progress gained by working at your maximum during hard workouts. Go easy when you go easy. Go hard when you go hard. Use your heart rate monitor to confirm your easy workouts.
  • You can't train hard all the time and probably much less than you expect. A limitation is the amount of glycogen your body can produce. If you're really, truly going hard - 2 hours per week.
  • Strength work only helps if it's at the correct time in your training calendar. Doing individual leg training or heavy weights will not help you during the racing season. Instead, it will leave you with dead legs.
  • While backdown weeks are needed, Arnie doesn't plan them for his athletes. Instead, when life (or soreness) demands a lighter week, it's not a big deal. No need to stress, we knew there would be some weeks of backdown.
  • When you're over training, your family knows before you do. If you're irritable or you go through your entire workout without any joy, then you're over training. If you think you need a day off of training, then you do.
  • Plan easy workouts in every week. If you don't, you're likely to have a bunch of mediocre workouts instead of a variation of easy and intense workouts.
  • How long you need to taper before a competition is dependent on the activity. Cycling may require only a day or two. Eccentric exercises, such as running, require a much longer taper.

No comments:

Post a Comment