For Road and MTB Racers and for Less Serious Cross Racers who are Doing Road and MTB for Now (Serious Cross Racers See Below)
Monday is a recovery day after the weekend. Do a little light swimming, walking or spinning for half an hour or so. Stop lifting weights this month unless you are rehabbing an injury, but keep up a routine of sit-ups or crunches, planks and stretching. We suggest three sets of abdominal exercises long enough to get a mild burn going.
Tuesday is a focus day for power, speed or skill work. If you are getting to the ends of your races pretty comfortably, do a sprint workout consisting of a good long warm up and up to ten 30-second sprints with five minutes rest in between. Stop sprinting when you start to feel tired. Don’t practice slow, tired sprints. You could also dedicate Tuesday to working on a weak area of skill such as cornering, riding out of the saddle, riding the very edge of the pavement, sitting between other riders or bunny hopping. If you had only one hard day on the weekend, go for a harder ride that focuses on your specific weakness, or attend a Tuesday Evening Twilight Race. WARNING: Don’t do a hammer ride mid-week unless you are feeling really well recovered from the weekend. If you race already tired, you won’t be recovered for the following weekend.
If you are NOT racing the following weekend, Wednesday do three Moderate Intervals. A Moderate Interval should be four times as long in minutes as your weekly long ride in hours. (E.g. If you get in a three hour ride every week, do 12 minute intervals.) Between intervals, rest for about half the interval time. Warm up for at least 20 minutes before the first interval and spin for at least ten minutes after the last one. Intervals should be done in the moderate zone, from about 10 to 20 beats below your lactate threshold. (If you want to know your LT but don’t, contact
If you are finishing road races with most of the pack but not winning, find a way to get to the track. Talk to Ron or Meredith about how to work it into your schedule. Track racing is the surest way we know to improve road and criterium placings for riders who have any talent at all.
Thursday through Sunday are the same as they have been for the last few months. If you are racing Saturday then:
Sunday race (or endurance if you are cooked).
If you are racing Sunday but not Saturday then:
Thursday: endurance (about 1-2 hours)
As before, a tune up is a ride of about one hour with some hard jumps or an LT interval near the middle.
If you are starting to feel cooked or burned out, it is best to take an easy period before you are tempted to quit entirely. Take one week each month in June, July and August really easy, doing only recovery rides on Monday through Thursday, and then jump back into your normal schedule for that weekend. Another great way to revive your motivation is with an achievement ride or a social event. Set yourself a new one-day distance record, do a century or metric-double. Call or e-mail for more ideas. If you are starting to feel cooked and want to be strong in July and/or August, consider a rebuild month in June. A rebuild is a rest week, followed by a week of base only, a week with lots of base and two days or moderate intervals, and a week with lots of base and two days of Hard Intervals. See previous months’ programs for descriptions of those intervals. If this is getting confusing and you’d like to make a program for you, call us.
For Serious Cross Racers
If cyclocross is your highest priority, it’s time to get serious about building base for cross. Take a week or two off or close to off to recover fully and then start riding again for endurance building and resistance training for anatomic adaptation. The first week or two of June are a rest period. Ride at least once per week for one-and a half to three hours including warm up and cool down. Continue cross training also once per week for an hour or two or substitute another easy ride. After the first week of June, add one day per week of endurance training, either on the bike or in some other activity in which you can go steady for over an hour. All the endurance building exercise should be done between 60 and 80% of your maximum heart rate and at least 15 beats below your anaerobic threshold heart rate. For most racers, this is the most frustrating time of year because you never get to go fast. Fat wheezers may pass you on upright balloon tire bikes on occasion in the first weeks of June. It is also a very satisfying time of year because if you are religious about maintaining an endurance heart rate you should find that your speed at those low heart rates increases very rapidly. By the end of June you should be riding five days per week if possible. Your rides would ideally be about 2/3 as long as the longest rides you’ll be able to do later, but if you can only ride an hour or two on weekdays and need to go longer on weekends, do that. Aim to make each ride easy enough that you feel good the next day.
You don’t have to start running in June, but it’s not a bad idea. If you do start running and you haven’t been running in a few months, start with five minutes in the first session and add five minutes per session. Keep the pace easy on these runs. Aim to run 2-3 times per week, but always with at least one day between runs.
If possible, go to the gym once the first week of June and just go through the motions of a weight workout with an empty bar or no weight at all. Put together a routine that works your quads, calves, biceps, triceps, pectorals, hamstrings, abdominal muscles and low back. Wenzel Personalized Programs include detailed lifting instructions. Warm up for at least twenty minutes before lifting and stretch afterwards. In the second week, lift once with very light weights. Add one lifting session per week until you are lifting three times per week. This is the anatomical adaptation phase of lifting. You are getting used to the form of lifting and strengthening your joints and connective tissues. You should not be challenging your muscles much yet. You may get sore after the first two gym visits. If you are still getting sore after the third visit, you need to lighten your weights.
If gym training is just not in the cards for you, you can do a core-strength routine at home and low-cadence, On-Bike Strength training, but don’t start the On-Bike Strength until you have been riding for a month or so to prepare your knees and muscles for a higher-force workout.
For All Club Members
Wenzel Coaching offers a discount to Club members on detailed, individualized coaching programs including daily ride times, heart rates, cadences and so on customized to your available time, fitness, strengths and weaknesses. Programs can be guided by heart rate, power or perceived exertion. Programs are available for road, criterium, MTB and century riders, as well as triathletes and cyclocross racers. Basic programs are $82 per month working with Ron or $97 working with me and include a printed program and 60 minutes per month of consultation. Completely customized programs focusing on a peak event or built around a difficult work-schedule are also available.
Your club coaches:
Scott Saifer, M.S. has been coaching professionally for 17 years. His clients have won district, national and world championship medals as well as earned numerous upgrades, lost unwanted weight and trained with the confidence that comes from knowing that they are following tested and proven training plans. He has a monthly column in ROAD Magazine. Call him at 925-933-7306 or check out www.WenzelCoaching.com to find out what Wenzel Coaching can do for you.
Meredith Nielsen (Meredith@WenzelCoaching.com) is a USAC Level 2 Cycling Coach who has been riding and racing since 1998. She was a founder of the Left Coast Racing Team, a women’s team that was the Best All-Round master women’s team in the Northern California/Nevada Racing Association (NCNCA). A criterium and stage race specialist, she raced in more than 120 races all over California. Now retired from racing, Meredith remains active in the cycling community. She is the coordinator of the NCNCA Mentoring Program for beginning men and women racers and has been coaching Bike Skills Clinics for the last 5 years. She is available to coach individuals and groups though Wenzel Coaching. Meredith is the only woman Lifetime Member of the Berkeley Bike Club.
Ron Castia (Ron@WenzelCoaching.com). http://www.wenzelcoaching.com/RonCastia.htm
Scott Saifer, M.S.