Welcome to the Berkeley BiCYCLE Club
August: Racing – Late Season
For Road and MTB Racers (CX Racers See Below)
The plan this month is basically the same as July, except for the attitude. The program is premised on you ending your season at the end of August or in early September and taking the remainder of September as a rest period. If you plan to race through September or longer, keep up all your training this month except when you are fatigued.
Remember that if you race through September, the earliest you can expect to have a good base, be fit and start racing next year is March. If you love the early season road races, plan to rest in September. If you are planning to race cross more than one or two races this year, see the bottom of this note for your own plan.
So, assuming you will be resting in September, this month you can go short and easy any day you don’t feel like training. You won’t lose fitness until after the season ends. It’s time for the big taper. Here’s the general plan: Saturday and/or Sunday race or do a club ride. Don’t worry about riding extra distance or intervals after the race any longer. Just cool down for twenty minutes by spinning easily and go home.
In fact, if you are going to be doing any more racing this year, don’t even go hard on the club rides. Endurance cruise the whole way.
Monday is a rest day: go for a half hour of light spinning, walking or swimming.
Tuesday and Wednesday: Tuesday is a one-hour recovery ride if you are not feeling 100% after the weekend. Otherwise get a group together for an endurance ride and practice skills such as bumping, cornering, bunny-hopping, off road riding or no-hands riding at low intensity. Practice giving and receiving feeds if you have any more road-races this year.
If you are not doing weekend races any longer you could do a Tuesday or Wednesday night practice crit or track race. Otherwise, if you won’t be racing the following weekend, Wednesday you could do 2 x 10-20 minute intervals at 10-20 beats below LT. If you will be racing the following weekend, go for a few hours of endurance riding. Remember, only do this training on Wednesday if you are feeling good, otherwise just take a recovery day.
Thursday through Sunday: Thursday is a rest day again before a Saturday race or club ride. Friday is for your tune-up before a Saturday race or club ride. To do a tune up, ride very easy until your legs get fairly loose (20-40 minutes) and then do one interval of 5-10 minutes at your ventilatory threshold, or three or four hard jumps of about 15 seconds. If you are racing Sunday and not Saturday, ride an hour or two at Endurance pace on Thursday, rest on Friday and do the tune-up on Saturday.
The most important thing to recognize in August is that it takes two to three weeks for the benefits of training to show up as fitness, so if you train hard mid-August, you’re not going to benefit from it until after the season ends. On the other hand, if you train hard, the fatigue comes immediately and sticks for a week or two, so you’ll hurt your racing short term for the benefit of a non-existent long term. Dumb idea?
A good piece of research showed that muscles sore from weight lifting had damage visible under the microscope until 21 days after the last lifting session, long after the soreness had cleared up. The study has not been repeated that we know of with muscles tired from hard aerobic exercise, but anecdotal evidence suggests that recovery from several days of hard riding takes at least ten days to two weeks. This is why the pros often do short stage races that end two to three weeks before the big Tours. Take a clue from this and taper through August.
September will be a very light month of resting and a tiny bit of endurance maintenance. Go into September tired so you will appreciate it. September will also be the month to check into alternative sports, so plan your hikes, rock-climbing, rafting trips and so on now.
Wenzel Coaching suggests taking a rest month in September or October. It is possible in our climate to race year round but we find that people who don’t take a rest month or don’t dedicate several months to building base never reach their potential as cyclists. While it is hard to break away from the racing scene in the fall, that breaking away is necessary if you want to break away from the field next year.
For Cyclocross Racers
Racing cross seriously means being less serious about road racing since you’ll be training and racing cross just when a road racer would be maximizing base miles, but, assuming you just can’t resist the feeling of mud in your chamois, here’s a plan for August to get you ready for a Cross season that really gets moving in October:
Mondays: Go for a very easy ride for an hour or so and stretch thoroughly. Also do a core strength routine of sit-ups, back extensions, planks and similar stuff.
Tuesdays: Warm up and then do 2-3 Moderate Intervals on the road. These are 10-20 minute intervals about 5-15 beats below LT (good pressure on the pedals but no heavy breathing at all). Allow 5 minutes rest between intervals.
Wednesdays: Go for an easy run, starting with five minutes the first week and adding five minutes to your most recent run length until you reach 30 minutes, and follow the run with a core strength workout plus 10 lifts of the bike onto your shoulder on each side. Many racers always lift on the same side and that works okay, but once in a while in a crowd or a corner it’s helpful to be able to lift on the other side, so mix it up.
Thursday: Do a Push Ride to fill whatever time you have. This is a ride where you warm up, then shift to a gear that allows you to pedal 70-75 rpm in your endurance zone (70-80% of max heart rate) for the rest of the ride.
Friday: Go for a long spinning ride in your endurance zone
Saturday: Do intervals of the same length and intensity as Tuesday, but on a cyclocross course including barriers, run ups, creek crossings, off-camber turns on hills and whatever other challenges might realistically show up in a cross race.
Sunday: Go for a long spinning ride in your endurance zone and follow it up with a run the same length as Wednesday.
Individual training plans for club riders preparing for the next road or MTB season or the the upcoming CycloCross season start at $97 working with me or $67 working with Meredith or the other Wenzel Coaches. For more information about Wenzel Coaching individualized programs for road, criterium, MTB, cyclocross, century riding and other activities, call Scott Saifer at 925-933-7306 or check out the web site at www.WenzelCoaching.com. Good luck with your racing.
Scott Saifer, M.S.
Pix by Katie Truong
Pix by Doug Pearl
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