May 25th was the US Pro Men’s Time Trial Championship and 5 of the top 10 riders spent time in a PH jersey to get there! Read the rest of this entry »
Do you know someone that has been considering getting a little more involved in cycling? Tomorrow night (May 5th) we are offering a free clinic to prep for the Gran Fondo. There are 12 mile, 40 mile and 80 mile options. At this clinic, we’ll cover everything you need to know from equipment, to nutrition, to how to be fit and ready. We’ll give away a free training plan and raffle off a free registration. Click here for more info!
The Kalamazoo Gazette and mlive recently report that Gull Lake Girl’s soccer is off to dominating start this season. At 6-0-0, the Blue Devils have outscored opponents by an overwhelming 32-1 margin. Here is what they said when asked what they are doing differently:
“Sweat equity: Knowing this could be a special season, Gull Lake players put in extra effort during the offseason. The Blue Devils trained with Mark Olson, out of Athletic Mentors, three to four days per week. “It started at the end of November and we would all train for 18 weeks – almost the whole, entire team plus some of the people on JV,” senior co-captain Carley Rice said. “Just getting ready, lifting weights, conditioning, stuff like that. And you can see it (in the team’s results) – like our endurance. Sometimes that wins us games.”"
Here is a great opportunity to step up your game and improve race results. If you are not using a training plan designed for your fitness level, age and ability, attend this half day clinic and leave with a training plan tailored to YOU. You’ll have an online account to log and track your progress. Only 2 spots left in this class ! Click here for more info.
With the lakes finally starting to thaw, we are weeks behind last season in getting out in that open water to prepare for our first triathlon. For most of us, this means more time staring at lines at the bottom of the pool. A good way to spice up your pool time is to mix up your workouts and try some new ones. Here is one of my favorites. Try to incorporate some of the drills you know for stroke correction right after the warm-up and before the main set.
We call this workout the “BELCO 500″
Warm Up: 200 swim, 100 kick, 150 pull
Drills: 200 of drills of your choice
Main Set: Do this set once for a beginner, 2-3 if intermediate and 4-6 for advanced triathletes.
Swim 500 broken down as follows:
1. Swim 100 where the 4th 25 is a sprint
2. Swim 100 where the 3rd 25 is a sprint
3. Swim 100 where the 2nd 25 is a sprint
4. Swim 100 where the 1st 25 is a sprint
5. Swim all out, 100 yards
Rest 30 seconds before starting the next set of 500
10X25 All out kick w/15s rest
Cool Down: 200 swim easy
College coaches say Gull Lake is “the team to watch” after they attended Athletic Mentors’ Fall & Winter Soccer program. Discover the secret in our 2013 Summer Soccer Camp. Early bird prices now through April 30th. Click here for more info.
We still have room in our “Build Your Own Training Plan” Class this saturday, February 23rd. In this class you’ll complete bike and run field tests and learn how to execute great workouts. Using the data collected from the tests, we’ll help you design your own 90 day training plan for sprint, olympic or half iron distance. Click here for more info.
Come experience XC skiing with free instruction provided by Team Priority Health and Nordic Ski Racer. Rental equipment is available and with the ability to make snow, conditions are guaranteed.
In my last blog I spoke about 5 things that you need to get done ASAP, that is, very early in the beginning of your new season (i.e. the off season). These 5 things are very important for determining how to best go about training for the coming race season. The answer to those 5 questions will help you decide how many hours to train per week and what to spend those hours focused on. In other words, those answers will help you build an annual training plan. Simple! Or maybe kinda easy? Or ummmmm, what do I do next?
Building a plan can be easy but it takes time and some understanding of periodization, which I will discuss in a minute. First here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about planning:
1) Best to work backwards from your first “A”(Important) race. Then work back to the next big race, and so on.
2) The longer you have been training and the more advanced of an athlete you are, the more important the plan. If you are a beginner, any plan will work to some degree as long as you do not over train.
3) Recovery is EXTREMELY important! In general you should build in recovery days every week and recovery weeks every 3-5 weeks. If you are a beginner I recommend at least 1-2 recovery days per week and a recovery week every 3-4 weeks. If you are advanced there are better ways to plan your recovery. I will discuss this in depth in another blog.
4) Have a plan and follow it! BUT, all plans need to be flexible to account for LIFE. The plan will change throughout the season.
5) Build your plan with some structure. Any plan is better than no plan, but with some structure your plan can take you a lot further. This “structure” is Periodization!
What the hell is Periodization? The word is used a lot and I’m sure many of you have read something, somewhere about it. It ends up meaning slightly different things to different people. Here are some concepts that I feel Periodization encompasses:
1) A systematic approach to training
2) Training with varied volumes and intensities
3) Training in blocks of time, with each block having specific purpose
4) Training with a purpose to arrive at your “A” race in the best possible condition to reach your race goals
I think number 4 is the best summarization.
Check out Joe Friel’s training bible books for help building the details of your plan or better yet, sign up for the Athletic Mentors Build Your Own Training Plan CLINIC. This is a very cost effective way to get some coaching help while putting your plan together.
In my next blog I’ll talk about some different approaches to developing periodized training plans and give you some ideas on what to put into those training weeks to come.
Exposure to various environmental conditions (i.e. altitude, cold, and heat) has been shown to promote physiological adaptations. Specifically, since the 1990’s athletes have been utilizing the “live high, train low” philosophy to improve athletic performance by taking advantage of our body’s natural ability to adapt to altitude (primarily through the increase oxygen carrying capacity of the blood)1. If altitude is able to promote adaptations that improve endurance performance, cannot the same be said about other environmental stimuli such as cold and heat stress?
According to a recent study titled, Heat Acclimation Improves Exercise Performance2, it appears that physiologic heat adaptations can be used to improve performance. In this study, the effects of heat acclimatization on performance in both hot and cool environments were determined. There were two groups: twelve highly trained endurance cyclists receiving a heat acclimation protocol and eight highly trained cyclists not receiving a heat acclimation protocol. Measures of performance – maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), time trial, and lactate threshold – were determined in both groups prior to and after heat acclimation protocol during both cool (13°C) and hot conditions (38°C). The heat acclimation protocol involved 90 minutes of daily cycling at low to medium intensity while exposed to a temperature of 40°C, for a total of ten days. Control participants partook in the exercise over the course of the ten days, but were not exposed to the heat stress.
What did they find? They demonstrated that 10 days of heat acclimatization increased VO2max (5% and 8%), time trial performance (6% and 8%), and power output at lactate threshold (5% and %5) in both cool and hot conditions. Whereas, the non-heat acclimatized group showed no changes in VO2max, time trial performance or lactate threshold in either cool or hot conditions. Mechanistically, the improvements in performance appear to be the result of a heat induced increase in plasma volume. An increase in plasma volume tends to increase cardiac output leading to an increase VO2max, ultimately improving time trial performance and lactate threshold values.
It appears that incorporating bouts of heat stress (sauna, hot tub, trainer by the furnace, etc) into your training routine may improve performance in hot as well as cool conditions. The bottom line, if you are looking for a quick and easy way to improve your performance, it might be wise to consider living in a sauna somewhere high in the mountains and taking a daily jaunt down to sea-level for training. However, it might be best to run this idea by your significant other first!
1 Levine, B. D. & Stray-Gundersen, J. “Living high-training low”: effect of moderate-altitude acclimatization with low-altitude training on performance. Journal of Applied Physiology 83, 102-112 (1997).
2 Lorenzo, S., Halliwill, J. R., Sawka, M. N. & Minson, C. T. Heat acclimation improves exercise performance. Journal of Applied Physiology 109, 1140-1147, doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00495.2010 (2010).