Time-Crunched Cyclist, Take Two
A little over two months ago I started one of the time-crunched training programs in Chris Carmichael’s The Time-Crunched Cyclist (Velo Press 2009). I had hoped to document my progress and quantify any improvement in my fitness through the use of a PowerTap power meter. Two weeks into the program my plan was laid to waste due other constraints on my limited time. Now with some degree of balance returning to my work and family life, I once again have some time to ride my bike again.
With my next targeted event almost eight months away, there is no reason for me to try again with the time-crunched training program at this time. I don’t need to peak for indoor trainer season here in New England. Rather, the focus for the next few weeks is rebuild some fitness over the next few months and prevent any further detraining.
One topic that is somewhat ignored in The Time-Crunched Cyclist is the foundation period between the training programs. As described in an earlier post, The Time-Crunched Cyclist includes four different training programs that last approximately 8 to 11 weeks in length. Following the completion of a training program, the athlete is advised to do at least a four to six week foundation/preparation period.
The period of reduced intensity is necessary because the limited time to ride does not permit the athlete to build a sufficient base to support extended periods of training at intensity. If you try to maintain the high intensity, low volume lifestyle for too long, you are highly likely to suffer burn out. As I alluded to above, there is not much discussion, let along any examples, of appropriate workouts during the foundation/preparation period. The only guidance offered is that the athlete should focus on steady intensities at 65 to 85 percent of the average wattage sustained during the athlete’s field test (i.e., tempo in Carmichael’s parlance).
Performing extended tempo intervals can be rather boring. I find it rather difficult to maintain my focus, especially on an indoor trainer, for forty minutes or more while trying to sustain my wattage output at about my threshold. Workouts during the foundation/preparation period need not be limited, however solely to tempo efforts. The foundation period has less structure and is a great time to incorporate other types of workouts such as low cadence, high force intervals and leg speed workouts. On of the training devices that I rely heavily on during the foundation period to keep things interesting are PowerCranks. There are a number of different exercises that you can perform which will help to you smooth out your pedal stroke, improve efficiency and speed up your cadence.
Over the next few weeks I plan to experiment with a number of these workout and share them with you. Be sure to subscribe to this blog so you can receive my upcoming posts as soon as they become available. Thanks for reading and see you back here real soon, promise.