So here we are only a few weeks into the start of the 2013 season, and you’re still trying to work off the Christmas turkey and NYE beers from your bulging waistline. Starting a training program can be daunting. It takes time and there’s so many different approaches out there – how do you choose? Well you’ll be glad to know theres a few different approaches.
One approach is regimented interval sessions on the turbo trainer. If you can follow a complicated series of efforts all whist reading a sheet of numbers while at 190bpm, 95%ftp and dribbling over your living room floor, then that’s going to give you the best bang for your buck. If you’ve just come off injury, then this also works because the session will stretch the legs and cardio system, without draining the body and mind too much. This is the approach I plan on using in the coming weeks, mainly to make up for lost ground from my own injuries.
If you’re an insomniac and don’t mind getting up at 5am every morning to join the fastest bunch ride in town before work, then that will also be effective. Just try explaining to your boss why you keep nodding off on the job at 3pm every day.
“If you can follow a complicated series of efforts all whist reading a sheet of numbers while at 190bpm, 95%ftp and dribbling over your living room floor, then that’s going to give you the best bang for your buck.”
If you’re reading this then none of those appeal and you’re looking for a more realistic approach. Fantastic results can be had just by riding to and from work two or three times a week, if done right. The average Sydney-sider spends 45 minutes each way vegetating on a bus, train or in their car. This time could be used to ride to work, saving you money. It also means you don’t have to then come home and think about training when you’d rather be watching Masterchef or the Biggest Loser.
Short on time? Head for the hills
A twenty kilometre journey in 45 minutes is not hard, even if you’re not fit yet. For someone working in the Sydney CBD, that’s as far out as Collaroy, Wahroongah, Homebush, or Hurstville. The key is to push yourself at key points along the route. Raise the heart rate till you’re just out of your comfort zone, recover, then try again. Do this on hills and try to keep the intensity to the top of the hill. Experiment with trying to hit and hold a speed or heart rate at the bottom of the hill and then maintain it. Recover on the downside. At first you may only do this once in your trip, but this will improve with persistence. You’re trying to merge interval training with transport and so bumbling your way to work whilst listening to Kyle & Jackie O with your ironed shirt flapping in the breeze off your back doesn’t cut it.
Once you’re comfortable with the 20km journey to work and you’re ready to take it to the next level, then leave earlier and take a longer way to work incorporating some bigger hills. Get involved in setting some benchmarks, and keep track of how you’re improving up your key hills. Strava is an incredible motivator in this way. Forget the leader board, filter by your own results so you can assess your own progress.
If you’re planning on a 100km race, then allocate a 4 hour time slot on the weekend for a longer ride on the mountain bike. It’s important to test yourself a few hours into a ride too. Remember, smash the hills, recover on the downside.
Specific intervals may be more effective than this, but if you don’t have the discipline to follow them through, then there’s not much point. Follow this and before you know it, you’ll be surprising your mates with the progress, and possibly be the new leader of the pack.
Now get out there, have fun and be safe.