Even Power Output Over Un-Even Terrain: Four Tips To Make The Most Of Your Local Training Grounds
Steady-state power output and pacing are some of the most sought after attributes of a well-rounded and powerful cyclist.
These lengthy efforts, especially when performed at or near lactate-threshold, demand an Athlete be mentally tough, physically resilient, and of course, consistently powerful.
Unfortunately for most cyclists, their regular training grounds feature uneven roads, ‘punchy’ climbs, or otherwise undulating terrain that can make performing a steady-state workout extremely challenging.
So what is an Athlete that is surrounded by rolling terrain to do to develop this critical aspect of their cycling repertoire?
To answer this question we came up with four tips every Athlete can use, regardless of the ‘lumpy’ nature of their local roads, to execute well-paced and effective steady-state workouts. Enjoy!
Trainers are not the only place to perform steady-state efforts! Check out these tips to perform better sustained workouts out on the open-road. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
Tip #1: Predictive Shifting
Predictive shifting is a fancy way of saying that shifting should be done priorto the demand for a high or lower gear.
In practice, this means shifting to harder gears as the road or terrain falls away from you, or into easier gears as the ground tilts upward for a climb.
Although this seems intuitive, shifting to easier or harder gears is not always first on a riders ‘to do’ list when tackling undulating terrain.
Instead, most riders choose to stay in the same gear preferring to ‘power over’ a small climb or challenging segment.
This slows pedal cadence and requires our muscles to produce more torque to maintain the same power output, a recipe that leads to premature fatigue.
The moral here is this, by looking ahead and honing in on the terrain, a bike rider can predictively shift to minimize massive changes in their leg-speed thus maintaining a steady power output.
By looking ahead and analyzing the terrain, a cyclist can predictively shift to maintain an even and steady power output. Photo Credit: Keith Whipprecht
Tip #2: Utilize A Smooth Pedal Stroke & Cadence
As indicated in Tip #1 RPM or pedal cadence is an important component of maintaining a steady-state power output.
For an Athlete to operate in a narrow power-range, such as those at or near lactate threshold, a smooth and powerful pedal stroke is required.
In pursuit of a smooth pedal cadence an Athlete creates neuromuscular connections in the leg muscles allowing their bodies to engage and disengage the muscles powerfully and efficiently.
Once developed, a smooth pedal cadence can help moderate power transfer on undulating terrain, whether on road or off.
It is this smooth and linear power transfer, instead of a short choppy pedal stroke, that will help you execute your best steady-state efforts.
It's rare that a cyclist gets to enjoy lengthy roads featuring gradual climbs. Momentum changes due to 'punchy' terrain are inevitable. Photo Credit: James Piccoli
Tip #3: Soften Your Efforts On Climbs
One easy way to turn ‘lumpy’ terrain into a linear environment is to ‘soften’ your effort on every climb or undulation.
That is to say that instead of focusing on maintaining speed, look to keep an even power output. This is where power-meters are incredibly helpful and unparalleled in their usefulness to a cyclist.
By tempering your effort on a rise to stay within the prescribed training zone you will avoid unnecessary ‘spikes’ in power, which sap energy and could potentially cause you to ‘blow-up’.
The key to using this technique to maximum effect is to be unconcerned with speed as a metric, focusing exclusively on power output.
It should be said that this focus on power output over undulating terrain will further develop an even pedal-stroke.
Note: This technique requires the use and perfection of tip #1, predictive shifting.
Steady climbs are great for performing evenly paced efforts, but they are not always available, so it is important to learn how to make due with the terrain available. Photo Credit: Brian McCulloch
Tip #4: Maintain Pressure On The Pedals Over The Flats, Crests, & Downhills
Just as tip #3 asked you to soften power transmission going uphill, the opposite is true, meaning that when the road is flat or downhill, more power must be applied to the pedals to maintain a steady-state effort.
Unfortunately, it is all to common for cyclists to push hard on climbs only to seek rest or easy-pedaling as a rise crests.
This tactic is not only energy sapping and inefficient, it is also slower than the technique of ‘maintaining pressure on the pedals’ being described.
By using the predictive shifting tip to perpetuate a steady output on a climb, rest is not needed when a rise finally eases. This means that steady and uninterrupted pressure on the pedals can be maintained.
By continuing to apply pressure to the pedals over the crest and onto the downhill, you can extend a steady-state effort in distance and duration, both of which will pay dividends in the form of increased fitness!
Note: Pedaling on a downhill should only be done when safe. Steep or curvy downhills need not be pedaled. Always use your best judgement.
Even in a group ride setting it is important to constantly be scanning the upcoming terrain in order to shift early and soften accelerations.Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch
Steady-state efforts can often be daunting to perform, especially when local terrain does not include an adequate gradual climb to perform a prescribed workout.
By using predictive shifting, applying power via a smooth pedal stroke, and adjusting your power output to compensate for a climb, crest, or downhill you can turn any terrain into a suitable training ground for a steady-state effort.
Once mastered, these techniques are sure to help you perform excellent steady-state efforts over varying terrain, which will help you develop a robust level of fitness and an increased resiliency to fatigue…
All of which adds up to better performances in any event you do!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
The Belgian Waffle Ride: An Epic “European Spring Classic” Inspired Cycling Festival
Mixed-terrain cycling events that demand endurance fitness and off-road skill are exploding across the cycling world.
With epic ride distances, brutal courses, and generous support, these gravel rides offer each participant a chance to challenge themselves in ways that need to be experienced to be fully appreciated.
Of this emerging genre of monumental rides, one in particular stands above the rest as a “must do” event, The Belgian Waffle Ride in San Diego, California.
With a ride distance of over 130-miles and nearly 12,000’ of climbing, not to mention over 1,100 participants taking on this colossal test, “BWR” is a challenge that demands respect from every Athlete that takes to the start.
So what makes BWR special and what does it take to tame this mighty event?
To answer these questions we asked Big Wheel Coaching’s very own Coach Brian, after his win of the 2018 edition, a version of BWR that was billed as, “the most difficult course and competition in the events 8-year history.”
The dirt sectors of the infamous Belgian Waffle Ride are notorious for being incredibly challenging! Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
Question #1:Coach Brian, in only your second participation at BWR you scored a big win, what is it that makes this event special and unique?
Coach Brian:To me the the Belgian Waffle Ride is more than just a hard race, it is an iconic event that tests every Athlete to their limit.
This race blends the magic of European “Spring Classic” road events with the premier ride support of a Gran Fondo, but goes a step further by adding treacherous dirt sectors and a pre/post-ride meal that brings every participant together to ‘break-bread’ and share their race experiences.
In the morning, everyone enjoys Belgian Waffles and coffee together as they contemplate the days challenge and ponder what the brutal course might hold for them.
Then, after every rider spends the day battling the course, they are welcomed to the finish by cheering fans and fellow finishers before being treated to a feast that is fitting of such a monumental event.
In short, I think the Belgian Waffle Ride is unique because it requires every Athlete to be an ‘all-arounder’. One must be able to climb, handle heat, buffet wind, work with a group, put the power down solo, and of course, tackle the insanely challenging dirt sectors!
The Belgian Waffle Ride draws an internationally talented field of heavy-hitters from various disciplines of the sport. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
Question #2: A 135-mile ride is massive for anyone, and that doesn’t even consider the notion that BWR is comprised of 100-miles of road and 35-miles of dirt. So what does it take to ‘tame’ this event?
Coach Brian:Great question, even though I won the event, I am not sure you can ‘tame’ this beast…I think it is an experience to survive more than it is to ‘tame’!
Success at the Belgian Waffle Ride takes many things, most certainly fitness and off-road skill, but a component that is less obvious is maintaining an intense focus on the task at hand.
At 6.5hrs+, my winning race time was fast by past-event standards, but for all 1,100 participants to finish, it took nearly 12hrs. No matter who you are, be it the yellow jersey winner or the “lantern rouge” (the final finisher), every rider will be tested to their limit at BWR!
That’s something that doesn’t happen at every event.
In addition to maintaining mental acuity throughout the event, one thing that I think is absolutely important to success at BWR is a solid hydration and nutrition strategy.
No matter how fast one rides the course they will be depleted, so managing the heat and exhaustion that comes from the massive workload out on course is imperative.
As a reference I consumed nearly ten bottles of GQ-6 hydration and ate eight energy bars out on course on my way to the finish.
Question #3:So BWR is a cool event, but what can the Athlete balancing a full-time job and family commitments do to make sure they are prepared for their best performance?
Coach Brian:That’s a great question, one that I think deserves an individual answer based on the unique skillset, schedule, and training capacity of the Athlete asking it.
But if I had to offer a piece of broad advice for anyone wanting to prepare for a monumental event such as the Belgian Waffle Ride, I would say this:
Start preparing right away and dedicate the most time you can to the challenge, trust me, on event day you won’t be disappointed you allotted a large amount of time to get ready!
Getting a jumpstart on your preparation for a big endurance event can make it much easier to progressively increase the training-load required to perform well at this caliber of event.
Mastering the course at BWR is a monumental over-taking that requires careful equipment selection. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
Want To Know What The Cycling Media Thinks About BWR?
We hope so!
Be sure to check out these great resources and write-ups about the 2018 Belgian Waffle Ride and be on the look-out for your favorite photo from Coach Brian’s big win!
The Belgian Waffle Ride Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/Belgianwaffleride/
The Belgian Waffle Ride Website: https://belgianwaffleride.bike
Cycling Tips Article: https://cyclingtips.com/2018/04/photo-gallery-2018-belgian-waffle-ride/
VeloNews Article: http://www.velonews.com/2018/04/news/gravel/the-nitty-gritty-racing-the-canyon-belgian-waffle-ride_463508
Road Bike Action Magazine Article: https://roadbikeaction.com/being-there-belgian-waffle-ride-2/
We highly recommend every cyclist put the Belgian Waffle Ride on their 'to do' list of events. You won't be disappointed! Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
We hope you have enjoyed reading about what makes the Belgian Waffle Ride an epic event that is captivating cyclists from all over the United States and the world.
As Coaches and Athletes, we know the nervousness that can overtake someone when they commit to a colossal event such as the Belgian Waffle Ride.
At Big Wheel Coaching it is our passion to help calm those nerves and combat that accompanying paralysis by helping each Athlete develop the fitness and skill necessary to perform their very best!
It’s why we use the ‘hashtag’ #TrainYourPotential.
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, And Have Fun!
Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
A Season Opening Win That Was Two Years In The Making: 4-Questions With Keith Wipprecht
The Malibu Gran Fondo is a premier early-season cycling experience that draws riders from all over the country, most of which are looking to escape winter weather in favor of the California sunshine!
One such rider, Keith Wipprecht, hails from Ohio, which at race time was still battling the clutches of a frigid winter.
Since 2016 Keith has made the Malibu Gran Fondo his season-opening event and this year he arrived with his best fitness to date!
Armed with the confidence of an offseason of specific workouts, not to mention some virtual training tools to enhance his preparation, Keith tenaciously took-on the brutally tough course of this years MGF.
And what was the result?
After finishing the Malibu Gran Fondo with a spectacular win in his age-category and an impressive 13th overall out of all competitors, Keith is understandably more than excited about his accomplishment!
Following his MGF success we caught up with Keith for this weeks Athlete Profile to learn more about his preparation for the event in a four-question interview. Enjoy!
The peloton of the Malibu Gran Fondo heads covered many of the fabled climbs in the Santa Monica Mountain Range of Californias coast. Photo Credit: Malibu Gran Fondo
Primary Sport/Discipline: Road Cycling
Average Hours of Training Per Week: 10-14hrs
Upcoming Goals: Explore Corsica by Le Tour de France
Question #1: Congratulations on an excellent performance at the Malibu Gran Fondo, Keith! You finished 1st in your age group and 13th overall, what was the highlight of the event for you?
Keith Wipprecht: Hey, thanks very much!
With the Malibu Gran Fondo being held so early in the season I was really happy with my performance over the two-day event.
The format of the event is fantastic because it combines a 95-mile Gran Fondo on Saturday with 5,500’ of climbing followed by a 20Km individual time-trial along the Pacific Coast Highway on Sunday.
It’s a memorable event, as I first met Coach Joy there 2-years ago and started my structured training program with BWC right after that.
The highlight of the event for me, aside from taking 1st place in my age group, was really being able to see the dramatic improvement the last two-years of structured coaching has had on my fitness and performance.
I felt much more comfortable on the short punchy climbs, which helped me maintain my position in the peloton. Additionally, my improved fitness allowed me to conserve more energy in the first 3-hours of the race before having to ascend Latigo Canyon (a very steep climb) at the end of the race.
During Sunday’s time-trial the goal was to keep my Average Power and Normalized Power as close as possible throughout the ride and I was able to achieve that, which was great!
Coaches Perspective/Coach Joy: I was very excited for Keith to go back to the Malibu Gran Fondo to test his fitness and freshly honed race savvy, as I know it’s an event he really enjoys.
Since that first MGF, Keith has been diligent about developing all aspects of his cycling, so having an early-season event like Malibu on the calendar gave him the chance to put his fitness, pacing, and tactics “to the test”!
We were confident he would have a solid performance, but finishing in the top 15 overall, along with winning his age group was really exciting!
No doubt, this result was a testament to his commitment to training and his continued focus on preparation.
Top the winner go the spoils! Keith was very excited to win his age-category amongst so many talented racers. Photo Credit: Keith Wipprecht
Question #2: Most of your preparation for the Malibu Gran Fondo took place on an indoor trainer, yet the MGF is known for having a large amount of sustained climbing. How did you use indoor workouts to prepare for this monumental challenge?
KW:This has been a particularly challenging winter with colder than expected temperatures and nasty road conditions for cycling, which has required me to train indoors more than in years’ past.
I should also say, I never really took a break from training after last season ended, so I took my training straight indoors on my Smart Trainer in December.
The duration of each of my training sessions is now shorter, but I balanced the missing workload with a combination of high-intensity intervals Coach Joy designed for me with the Rouvy Virtual Training software to ride real cycling routes with substantial climbing in them.
The combination of a Smart Trainer with the Rouvy VT software has been a total game changer for me.
This set-up allows me to ride big climbs that I would otherwise not have access to because the area I live in is devoid of mountains.
Often I would choose HC categorized climbs in the French Alps because they include 60-90 minutes of continuous climbing.
This prepared me really well for the last big climb at the Malibu Gran Fondo, up Latigo Canyon, which comes at the very end of the race.
Coach Joy: The variety that the virtual training world provides nowadays is pretty awesome.
Since Keith is an Ohio native, his two major challenges when preparing for an early season event like the Malibu Gran Fondo are the severe winter weather and the lack of substantial climbing around his area.
By utilizing indoor training and blending structured interval work with the Rouvy Virtual Training, Keith has started his season better than ever!
I have been very impressed with how much fitness, and form, Keith has built throughout the winter by maintaining his commitment to ride indoors.
Keith has ridden many marquee events around the world, but always does the Malibu Gran Fondo as his 'season opener'. Photo Credit: Keith Wipprecht
Question #3: What is one of your biggest cycling objectives for this season and what events are you most excited about?
KW:This year I am focusing on doing more Stage Races with the objective of placing high in my age category, plus I want to get into the top 10% of overall finishers at every event I do!
One event that I am really excited about is Explore Corsica by Le Tour de France!
This is a spectacular 3-stage race that takes place on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Corsica in June.
Each stage has a combination of timed KOMs and sprint segments that are used to determine the Yellow, Polka-Dot, and Green jerseys, as well as age category classifications for each day.
The Tour de France organization runs the event and simulates the same atmosphere as they do with A.S.O. professional races.
Having done the event last year, I must say that it is amazing to race in a foreign country with an international field of competitors!
Last year Cadel Evans and Frank Schleck were the ambassadors for the event and I got to ride with both of them, which was super cool!
Coach Joy: Keith competed at the Corsica event last year and did a stellar ride considering the rugged terrain and multi-day format.
Although he has completed a number of multi-day tours, Corsica 2017 was his first official multi-day race.
The best news was that he got stronger with each stage! Now with his improved fitness, he is going back with bigger ambitions, which is great.
With the potent indoor training he has been doing, along with winter beginning to subside, I am confident he will be ready for a stellar performance at Corsica this year.
Keith has several big events during the ‘run-up’ to Corsica, which will offer an opportunity to fine-tune his tactics, strategies, fueling, and pacing to make sure he has the best performance possible in June!
Corsica 2018 is already on Keith's mind, not just for the amazing views, but because he has big aspirations for his cycling performance! Photo Credit: Keith Wipprecht
Question #4: What is/are your favorite workout(s) in your training program? Also, please share a ‘knowledge-bomb’ you have learned while training with BWC.
KW:My favorite workouts are the Attack and Bridge or Under/Over style workouts because I find them super challenging and sometimes I question whether I can maintain the wattages prescribed by Coach Joy!
When I complete these workouts, I feel I’ve accomplished something really significant!
I have learned many things over the last 2-years while training with BWC, but one of the most important lessons I learned, albeit sometimes the hard way, is to identify who my “peers” are in the peloton during a race and stay with them.
I have a tendency to want to ‘bridge-up’ to the front group and hang-out with the fastest riders, but more often than not I eventually get dropped and left in “no man’s land”, by myself to suffer in the wind.
It’s mentally tough to concede your fitness does not meld with a faster group you really want to ride with, but from a race tactics point of view it is smarter to stay with a groupetto of your peers so you can finish strong!
Coach Joy: Keith really enjoys making each moment on the bike count!
Since he had minimal erosion to his base-fitness over the winter, we were able to add more focused workouts earlier this season. This ensured he was ready for the attacks and surges that were sure to plague the peloton along PCH during the Malibu Gran Fondo.
I am glad that Keith has been open to learning new ways of riding with large and diverse pelotons. Although it can be a hard lesson to learn, sometimes the best group for us (on the road), is actually behind us.
By ‘sitting-up’ and joining a more sustainably-paced group of riders, Keith has found he is using less energy and burning fewer ‘matches’ during Gran Fondos and race events.
This has allowed him to be more fresh for the finale, where he has repeatedly had ‘Personal Best’ performances.
As he has become more confident riding within these pelotons and better at conserving energy for the bigger climbs, Keith has continued to progress, find success, and finish strong!
Keith's body-language says it all, he is living his dream, testing his fitness at the most challenging events he can all over the world!Photo Credit: Keith Wipprecht
We hope you have enjoyed reading about Keith Wipprecht’s Malibu Gran Fondo success as much as we have enjoyed sharing it!
Through Keith’s accomplishments we can see that “how” an Athlete rides an event, not to mention how specifically they prepare for it, can make a major impact on their performance.
What’s more, we see how the sport of cycling is quite complex, as it has taken two-years of diligent work for Keith to put all the necessary pieces together to start his season so successfully.
And that’s why Big Wheel Coaching exists!
We love coaching, teaching, and supporting our Athletes to see them earn break-through performances, not just at their goal event, but all season long!
Great job Keith, we are proud of you, buddy!
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian & Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
Active Recovery has been a part of cycling culture for decades, with many cyclists routinely performing ‘easy spins’ or coffee rides intended to flush the lactic acid from tired legs.
Interestingly, more mainstream 'stick and ball' sports have only recently begun to embrace the notion of Active Recovery. What’s more, the term “recovery” has even become something of a buzz-word/marketing tool, spawning a whole industry of products intended to help Athlete’s ‘hack’ their recovery.
However, despite the increased awareness regarding the benefits of Active Recovery, time (mainly the lack thereof), remains the major barrier keeping most Endurance Athletes from implementing quality recovery techniques into their routines.
It is with this in mind that we have assembled the following Active Recovery techniques that every Athlete, even those grappling with the time-constraints of a demanding job and family commitments can fit into their training.
Active recovery comes in many forms, but each shares the same intensity, the minimum possible. Photo Credit: Brian McCulloch
Active Recovery Defined:
Active Recovery is performing very lightexercise that stimulates blood flow to damaged muscle tissues within the body, thus delivering nutrient-rich/oxygenated blood to these areas enabling the body to repair itself more quickly.
In short, Active Recovery speeds the bodies natural rejuvenation process and primes muscles for the next workout.
Active Recovery In Practice:
Since the purpose of Active Recovery is to stimulate blood flow to damaged muscle tissues, it is important that Active Recovery not be thought of as a ‘workout’.
Instead, Active Recovery techniques should be viewed as the minimal amount of movement necessary to stimulate muscle repair. In the world of recovery, over-achieving relies on embracing the “less is more” concept.
Below we have identified four common types of Active Recovery that can, and should, be incorporated into your weekly routine in order to help speed your bodies adaptation to training stress.
Note: There is no single ‘holy-grail’ of Active Recovery. We encourage you to test each technique and see what activity best fits into your weekly training.
Four Common Active Recovery Techniques
#1- The Recovery Spin Or Coffee Ride:
Recovery spins and “coffee rides” are a staple in cycling culture. Most often they consist of a very light ride, restricting gear selection to just the small/inner front chainring to keep effort light and leg speed up.
Coach Says - Make Your Recovery Spin Count:
We suggest flat routes and high cadences for recovery rides, but the real killer of an easy ride is a lack of discipline.
Sprinting up a hill to hold a higher speed, increasing your speed to hold the wheel of someone who passes you, or joining a group that has no intention of "going easy" are all ways to sabotage a recovery ride.
Keep in mind that only with adequate recovery do our bodies get stronger and adapt to training, not during the training itself. That means, if you never slow down, you will severely limit your bodies ability to get stronger!
Hints For A Successful Recovery Ride:
-Consider riding with your spouse or kids.
-Connect with a friend that is also in need of a recovery ride.
-Slow down, enjoy the scenery, and explore different routes for future interval sessions.
Recovery rides can be a social affair! Adding a few friends can make it easier to ride easy and more fun too! Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch
You can perform light stretching after a workout or recovery spin, you could even do it while you are watching TV!
It is important to have warm muscles when you begin stretching and to ease into each movement. Also, be sure not to strain your muscles by pulling them too hard.
10-15 minutes is all you need to perform a quality stretching session.
Coach Says - Make Your Stretching Session Count:
Select stretches that counter-act the regular position of cycling. You should also target any areas of tightness that cause you pain or discomfort.
Normal stretching routines should include the following stretches:
-A hamstring stretch
-A hip-flexor stretch
-An IT band stretch
-A calf stretch
-A quadricep stretch
As a bonus, add stretches that twist your body (gently) as cycling is a two-dimensional sport, which reduces our bodies dynamic flexibility.
Hints For A Successful Stretching Session:
-Try stretching right after a training ride, workout, or even just before bed.
-Breathe deep to and take long exhales to allow your body to relax into each stretch.
#3- Foam Rolling
A foam roller is a very effective recovery tool that is becoming more and more common.
Essentially it is a self-massager that uses body-weight to loosen damaged muscles.
Using a foam roller is fairly simple, it requires an Athlete place tender muscles or areas of tightness, such as hamstrings, glutes, calves, quadriceps, lower-back, etc. on the roller, then move back and forth to ‘roll out’ the area being targeted.
It should be said that foam rollers can be purchased in varying densities for different applications. Think of the densities as akin to massage, in that, harder foam rollers mimic deep tissue massage, while softer foam-rollers mimic more of a Swedish massage.
As with stretching, 10-15 minutes of foam-rolling while watching your favorite TV show is enough to receive a benefit.
Coach Says - Make Your Foam-Rolling Count:
Begin with a softer roller, as the pain created from dense rollers can be very uncomfortable and reduce the 'rejuvenative' component of this practice.
Foam rolling is not something where the “no pain, no gain” mentality is beneficial. Ease into the practice and pay close attention to your individual trouble areas.
Hints For A Successful Foam Rolling Session:
-The “go-to” areas for foam-rolling include the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and IT bands.
-Watch a few ‘YouTube’ videos on foam-rolling techniques to understand the best-practices of foam-rolling.
Foam rolling at the conclusion of an easy-spin is an easy way to squeeze-in this Active Recovery practice. If pressed for time, you could even cut your ride short to add in some time on the roller. Photo Credit: Joy McCulloch
There are numerous styles of Yoga from Flow Yoga to Hot Yoga to Restorative yoga, and everything in between.
For the purposes of Active Recovery, we recommend the Yin or Restorative yoga practice where the intensity and heat is minimal.
This type of yoga practice focuses on deep-stretching, aligning the body, and quieting the mind. Most often there is a pronounced meditative or zen emphasis in Yin Yoga routines.
For the Endurance Athlete, yoga is a great activity that allows an escape form digital-distractions in an effort to better understand what's going on in our own bodies.
Coach Says - Make Your Yoga Practice Count:
Regular yoga practitioners develop the ability to breathe more deeply and rhythmically than even the most experienced Athletes. This focus on breath work brings mental clarity and helps ease tension in the body, even under stressful situations, which carries over nicely to racing and training.
Hints For A Successful Stretching Session:
-Embrace the tenant of yoga that diminishes competition. Within yoga, there is no demand to push yourself, achieve specific goals, or out-stretch the person next to you, which can be a welcome respite from the focus and data of training.
To get the most out of ourselves on event-day an Athlete must train hard, that goes without saying, but they must also rest 'hard', which is often more difficult to find time for each week. Photo Credit: Danny Munson, DMunsonPhoto.com
In closing, it is important for Athletes to keep in mind that hard training is only half the equation necessary for optimal performance. Proper recovery is the important 'missing link' that allows our bodies rebuild, get stronger, and make the gains we seek through training.
As Coaches we should mention that we generally encounter Athletes that train hard and are willing to do all the intervals or long-rides necessary to achieve their best fitness.
But what is less common, yet just as important, is finding the time to incorporate and embrace Active Recovery.
That is why we tell our Athletes to train hard AND recover hard! It takes both to be your very best.
Until Next Time, Be Safe, Train Hard, & Have Fun!
-Brian and Joy McCulloch
Big Wheel Coaching
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.