Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
The off-season has been a welcome chance to dial back on all things sporty, enjoy other aspects of life and and mix up the usual order. At some point, however, we have to get back to the normality of the “basic training week” if we want to continue to improve and become competitive over the next year.
At this preliminary stage of the season with a long winter ahead of us and the race season just a very distant dot on the horizon, there is little need to overdo things or to overspecialize. The Basic Training Week will likely consist of 10-12hrs of structured training made up of as wide a variety of activities as I can manage to mix in. Strength work and cross-activities will consume up a larger amount of our training time until the winter thaws.
A sample of my week 1 training plan:
Of course, the training plan is only a roadmap, and there should be flexibility allowed based on how one feels on any particular day, the weather (rain on skate days will usually see the session bumped to the next day), and special seasonal events that tend to pop up on our calendars at this time of year.. mean that adjustments will always need to be made along the way. We want flexibility yes, but not liberties.. so if you find yourself not hitting the training plan that you’ve set so early into a season or are left feeling tired from it then it’s better to have a reality check as soon as possible. However, with a couple of years of training history behind me, I know that these numbers should be realistic and achievable for me.
The great coach Joe Friel has been doing the rounds on the podcast circuit lately to talk about his new book “Fast After 50”, but his principles are applicable to all of us, not just Masters athletes.
He talks about how an athlete’s development should be a multi-year endeavor, and how the macro cycle should evolve from one year to the next. As I start my 3rd year of “serious training” I’ve been musing about in respect of my own training and racing goals. Friel’s general philosophy for long term development goes something like this:
Listen to the fantastic full interview with Joe Friel on Endurance Planet..
The discussion about when to inject intensity is at 8mins, quote:
“Once you’re beyond about the 3rd year of consistent training then Intensity becomes the key to performance… [but] what most athletes do is tend to stay focussed on the volume.” – Joe Friel
Interesting food for thought. It makes sense, and it doesn’t contradict anything of the Maffetone-based training philosophy I have employed up until now – Friel himself was quick to point out how much he & Maffetone agree on most things in his interview on the equally excellent NBT Podcast.
Note that this doesn’t mean that we add 20 heartbeats beats per minute onto every training session we do and neglect the aerobic sessions. That’s a misunderstanding of what Friel is saying – you will always still need the easy days to support and recovery from the hard days. What he says is that some key intensity sessions should be added in order to continue long term progress.
All in all, this probably means devising a plan not very dissimilar to a Polarized Training model during the specific prep and build phase of the season.
However, that can be put on the backburner for the next couple of months – it has to first be earnt by putting in the basic training weeks as I have outlined above. Castles built on sand don’t stand a chance of weathering a race-day battering. My goal for now is to put in the work, improve technique, get stronger, and prepare my body to absorb the intensity & volume I will be sending its way in the spring.
I’m hoping to trim back on peak volume – in fact it should be a necessity if I throw in the right intensity as per Friel, so I will aim for a 15-20% reduction in peak week training. I find a 16hr week is far more manageable than the peak 20+hr weeks I was hitting last season.
One reason I wish to mix things up is because my race goals are ever changing. Le Mans Solo will not be happening this year – instead I want to focus on improving my technique and marathon times (both skating and running). I will definitely return to the Le Mans solo category in future years, but the best chance of a new PR will be to do so only once I am a far better skater, so that is my focus for 2016.
Do not despair, for there will likely be an ultra-distance event or two thrown in over the next 11 months when I feel it’s right to do.. but in what form we will have to wait and see!