Welcome to April; the clocks have gone forward, spring is in the air, the weather is improving, all of which are making it more pleasurable to be out on the bike. We have been training for 3 months now and at this point it’s not uncommon to have a dip in motivation as the Etape is still some way off. But we need to maintain a healthy level of fear of the forthcoming challenge so this month the training goes up another notch. Until now we’ve been laying a solid foundation to build upon, but now the sessions are becoming even more structured and focussed with alternate sessions changing each week. Mid week you might be able to get out on the roads, but otherwise turbo sets are still on offer. In May you might be going on a training camp and riding one or two build up sportive events, so it’s important this month to nail these key sessions to build on those foundations we’ve laid over the winter.
TOP TIP: Why not book an Alpine training camp in May to discover the route? More information here
Training is testing and testing is training, so with the Time Trial season under way you could look to try and enter a few events to test your pacing and threshold tolerance in a real-world scenario that we started working on in February. You can find events from 10 miles through to 100 miles, and most areas will have a weekly 10 mile or 25 mile time trial which you can substitute for the midweek threshold session on the training program.
To ensure you are still thinking about the quality of the pedalling technique your test this month is a maximum cadence test and a Floating Leg drill (FL drill). The Floating Leg drill is; roughly 90% force on one leg – 10% on the free leg, done as 2 mins one leg – 1 min both legs recovery – 2 mins other leg = 5 mins.
During the recovery ride (scheduled for Monday on the program) at the start and end of the month test your maximum cadence achieved for the following durations:
So let’s not make a Fool of ourselves in April – let’s be Smart instead.
Warm Up. Start at 60 rpm and increase by 5 rpm every 1minute until you reach 120 rpm
Single leg drill with floating free leg – to increase strength & smooth pedalling.
Left leg for 5 mins in LCR @ 50rpm – 5 mins both legs recovery – then Right leg for 5 mins in LCR with other leg floating. Recovery 5 mins both legs.
M/S 4 “ block under front wheel. Or long hill ~ 3 miles if real hill available.
15 mins climb @ 50 rpm – ht rate ~ 75 bpm. Then 5 mins recovery spin. 4 x = 80 mins
Spin Down pyramid, start at 60 rpm and increase to 110 rpm then reduce back down to 60 rpm. (1 min on each rpm).
WU 10 mins easy spinning, then 5 mins as 30” max effort @ 70 – 80 rpm 30” recovery. Then 5 mins ez spin
M/S 6 x 5 mins seated @ 50 / 60 rpm – 2mins recovery spin
Spin Down 10mins
Warm Up, then 20k moderate –20k mod/hard – 20k hard – 20k v. hard = 80k then Spin Down
(Recovery week 10k ez – 10k mod – 10k mod/hard – 10k hard = 40k then S/D).
For those with a power metre use your FTP, for those without use the heart rates as indicated.
Warm Up, then 15 mins @ 110% of FTP ( ~ 90% ht rate ) – 15 mins @ 90% FTP ( ~ 80% ht rate.) Repeat 3 x = 90 mins. Then Spin Down.
With the increase in volume and intensity of your training you must pay close attention to your recovery strategies, particularly your post training nutrition. It is easy to think that because you are training hard that you can get away with eating what you like. I touched on this topic last month, but now we pay even closer attention to it. Just like your car, if you put poor quality fuel in you will get poor quality performance from it. Thinking about your post ride refuel strategy you can break it down into two key timings. Firstly that 30min window post ride where you need to replace carbohydrate stores, replace hydration, replace amino acids, replace electrolytes, and reduce metabolic acidity. This can be done through a recovery shake, either homemade (see recipes below) or a prepared powder version. Then you have a second window of 90min to 2hours post exercise where you need to take on more solid food with a similar goal as before.
This month, if you’ve not been doing so already, get a massage from a recommended physio or soft tissue therapist and ensure you are keeping up with the foam rolling yourself. I have laid the foundation of self-massage with foam rollers in the earlier articles, but with the increased load this month it is important to revisit this topic. Getting a massage now will help you identify areas which are getting too tight or any niggles which have not yet turned into a full blown injury. This can help you target your own conditioning program to address your particular needs, whether that is tight hip flexors, glutes or lower back for example. Hopefully you had a musculoskeletal screening back in January to put a plan together to reduce your risk of injury, but don’t loose sight of the supplementary work you need to do to keep injury free. Lost weeks from training due to injury now will impact heavily on your ability to complete your events in the summer.
The tools you should have available to look after yourself are as follows:
Foam roller – eg. The Grid (basic self massage)
Foam roller – eg. The Beast (deeper muscle tissue work)
Peanut – 2 tennis balls taped together (soft tissue work / spinal mobility)
Tennis ball (localised soft tissue work)
Mobility band / old inner tube cut down the middle (tack and floss work)
Recovery smoothie 1
2 cups frozen berries
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup almond milk (canned coconut if you want more calories/fat)
1-2 eggs (safest if from pastured chickens)
Fill a blender with the frozen berries and quickly pulse with a little hot water to break them up.
Add shredded coconut, eggs, and almond milk.
Continue to blend until smooth, and divide into two glasses.
Note: you may have to cut the recipe in half and blend two smoothies separately, depending on the size of your blender.
Recovery smoothie 2
Strawburst Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie
This smoothie combines the anti-inflammatory ingredients of pineapple, ginger, turmeric, and Flora Oil (omega-3 fatty acids). It’s a great daily post workout drink, soothing aching muscles and is loaded with healthy fats as well as carbohydrates and protein.
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 1 to 2 minutes, until smooth.
|Phase 4 April|
|Recovery rides- easy 30-60mins SCR (include x4-6 spin ups, gradually build to fastest sustainable cadence and hold for 1min- start and end of month do cadence test)
Alternate between Hills set and Strength set.
|Core/ gym / pilates / mobility
Build ride and FTP set.
|Rest / stretch and mobilise
| long 4-5hrs.
Alternate between Long ride 1 and 2.
Stretch and mobilise
Strength and Conditioning April
Foam roller / tennis ball 30secs each area
Feet, Calves, Peroneals, Quads, Glutes, TFL/ITB, Groin/Adductors
Pecs, Lats, Posterior shoulder
Resistance day 1:
|1a) Deadlift||201||3-4x 5||3min|
|1b) Bench Press||201||3x 5||2min|
|2a) Gym ball hamstring curls||Dynamic||3×8||90sec|
|2b) Bent over rows||201||3×6||90 sec|
|3a) Bulgarian split squat (back leg on gym ball)||211||3×15||60 sec|
|3b) Mountain climbers on gym ball||Dynamic||3x 10||30 sec|
Resistance day 2:
|1a) Backsquat||201||3-4x 5||3min|
|1b) Pull ups||211||3x as many as possible||2min|
|2a) Reverse lunges||201||3-4×8||60sec|
|2b) Press ups||201||3-4×10||60sec|
|3a) Side planks single leg hold||Static hold||6x 10seconds||30sec|
|3b) Front plank with hip extension||Static hold||3x 30-60sec||60sec|
10min easy spin on the bike
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