<![CDATA[legsmith.com - Articles and more]]>Fri, 11 Dec 2015 15:42:08 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Coming off the Bench: Off Season Base Prep and two Race Seasons]]>Fri, 14 Feb 2014 00:32:49 GMThttp://www.legsmith.com/articles-and-more/coming-off-the-bench-off-season-base-prep-and-two-race-seasonsIt's been nearly a month since Dade City states and you're either a) riding again, b) wondering when to start riding again, perhaps c) wondering what to do now that you're riding again.

As I suggested last time, how long one takes off after the end of race season depends. One of my clients told me flat out he was burned out and wanted to cross train a couple of months. No sweat. Three others wanted a two week break and back to it, either because they just love riding bikes or in one case because they have some late spring and summer events planned.

Off-season base training

If CX is your focus all year, everything but it can be prelude. In that case, now is a perfect time to rebuild a solid endurance base, to do some strength training, to work on your off road handling skills, all the things you knew you needed to work on but couldn't fit in with two races a week and trying to train. 

8-12 weeks of base training--plenty of steady endurance and tempo pace riding, a couple of days a week of strength training if you like that is plenty. After that it is time to move to a bit more structure--maybe you found your accelerations out of corners and/or finishing sprint to be lacking. In that case, incorporate some sprint workouts into your weekly training. 

Whatever you're doing, what you want to avoid is building in so much intensity that you peak early in the year. 

Two Race Seasons

Practically speaking, it is feasible to peak twice in a year. Ideally those periods should be at least 3 months apart, preferably further in time. So, for example, if you'd like to perform well at the state road championships in late May/early June, that is feasible. You could even plan on that now and spend less time in base training mode (recognizing that you'll do it again in July-August). In this case you will pinpoint the two weekends on which you want to be your best and work backwards, with the last week or two before go time being devoted to tapering and peaking and the four weeks prior to that two-week block focusing on volume and the highest training stress load.

How to plan this?

Some people do well planning their own training. Others like to have someone else planning their big cycles of training. If you're the former, there are lots of resources available to help you and among others Drew Edsall has plenty of generic training plans to get you started. If you're the latter, you know already the coaching options available. In either case, don't fret; cross season is only 8 months away!]]>
<![CDATA[The Off-Season]]>Thu, 23 Jan 2014 01:26:41 GMThttp://www.legsmith.com/articles-and-more/the-off-seasonOff-season planning

Yes, I know, the state championships were only a few days ago and I’m tired of training too. All the more reason to think just a little while about how the 2013-14 season went.

Did you plan to be really on for specific races? If so, how did that work out? What turned out to be your strong points this season? Your limiters? What do you think would be the biggest benefit to your CX racing next season? Write down answers to some of these questions while your memories are still fresh.

THEN stop thinking about training for a few weeks. What’s a few? Whatever you need. 2, 3, 4, 6 if need be. But that doesn’t mean, in the immortal words of Eddie B, “Lie down, drink, and smoke.” All the fitness you have right now is a fantastic resource—a gift you gave yourself by training and racing hard. Don’t squander it.

Off-season means giving your body a rest, but more importantly your mind. Do something active more days of the week than you don’t, but don’t stress about hours, miles, watts or any of that stuff. Do all the active things you miss during race season. I'm taking my kayak out this weekend...

Then, after some weeks (I find two to be my sweet spot most times, and after 10-12 days I am eager and fresh to ride regularly again), sit down and revisit those answers.

Was endurance a problem? Think about focusing on that this coming year—longer threshold-type intervals starting in mid-summer will improve your ability to be strong the last 10 minutes of a race.

How about bike handling skills? If you own a mountain bike, plan to spend more time on it this year, really working on the kind of cornering etc. that CX requires. If you don’t own a mountain bike, no sweat. There are some awesome 38mm and 40mm CX tires that will get your CX rig ready for even rough single track. I just ordered some Schwalbe Smart Sams for that very purpose so I can weave together trails, lime rock, pavement in a single ride whenever I like.

Sprinting? Easy to solve—let’s work on that.

How about non-bike specific issues like body balance, core strength, lower back problems, etc.? This is the perfect time to address them. I have become quite fond of Tom Danielson’s Core Advantage and am doing the level 2 workouts now myself.

This is not a primer for training again—more a way to think productively about, and during, the off-season. We’ll touch base again in a few weeks with some thoughts on base training, road and mountain bike racing, etc.

<![CDATA[September 30th, 2013]]>Tue, 01 Oct 2013 00:54:06 GMThttp://www.legsmith.com/articles-and-more/september-30th-2013The first article in what I hope will be a long-running series at flcx.org on training for cyclocross.

<![CDATA[Upcoming Article Series on flcx.org]]>Sat, 28 Sep 2013 22:18:41 GMThttp://www.legsmith.com/articles-and-more/september-28th-2013I've signed on to contribute articles on training, cyclocross skills, and more at the website of Florida Cyclocross, the state's longest-running premiere points series. Here is the trailer; content to follow beginning Monday September 30.