Fatigue Masks Fitness
Throughout this season you’ve probably altered your total training volume (miles) day to day, week to week, and hopefully month to month. Doing so is the basics of programming/periodization. The general goal for most cyclists training for CO is primarily building mileage so you can comfortably ride around 500 miles during the week. Consequently you should have accumulated a lot of miles this year. All the training stress eventually builds to the point of “masking fitness.” The week before CO is ALL about removing that fatigue.
Mileage: 30-90 miles the week before the event. The more miles you’ve put in this season, the more you want this week. This is NOT a time to “make up” missed training, but rather to taper down and remove fatigue.
Ride Pace: Recovery pace. More experienced riders can add short periods of high intensity.
Training Drills: None.
Recovery: Eat healthy and use the foam roller to stretch. Enjoy the down time.
Any good training program takes the goal and builds around it. Unfortunately, while preparing for Cycle Oregon, mileage is not the only variable – the vertical feet, number of days, number of beers consumed, rest days and weather all need to be factored in. Hopefully you’ve done all you can and will have a great ride this year! If not, you’ll want to do something different next year.
A common question after CO is this: “How do I retain my fitness level after the ride?” There are a few things that need to be clarified first. One, the SAID principle (Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands). In the case of getting ready for the week-long CO event, you’re looking for an adaptation to be able to sit comfortably in the saddle for 4 to 8 hours per day for multiple days while enjoying amazing company (ideally not in the SAG van) and gorgeous views. Two, what is fit to you? Everyone has a different view of fitness. A muscular bodybuilder and a lean cyclist can both be considered “fit” though they resemble each other very little.
The SAID principle is important to understand because if you don’t spend hours on a bike you will lose that adaptation. On the positive side, maintaining fitness takes less effort than gaining higher levels. So you won’t need to put in the same miles to keep your aerobic ability fairly high. If your view on fitness is more rounded than just endurance training, you can use the fall and winter months to build strength with cross training. Regardless, in order to continually progress as an athlete you will need to work more than just one component (endurance, strength, power, etc.) of fitness. A good example of this is how your Training Drills changed throughout the season. If you’d like to start building a winter strength and conditioning program, email Paul ([email protected]).